Category Archives: Newborn

[Review] Breast Milk Making Workshop with Soap Ministry

Soap Ministry generously sponsored a giveaway on Mummies’ Voices earlier posts and 2 lucky mummies got to attend a Breast Milk Soap Making workshop!

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Mummy Priscilla (Left) and Jerelyn (Right) with their frozen breast milk before we start!

 

What is soap making?
Soap making is using natural oils to make soap. Natural soap is highly sought after as it is soap in its purest form, without unnecessary chemicals. Making full use of nature’s best gifts to clean our skin allows our skin to remain supple and healthy.

There are a few different types of soap making such as melt-and-pour and cold process. For breast milk soap making, cold process method is used as melt-and-pour method does not allow much liquid to be added to the soap. In cold process method, usually around 20-40% of the soap is made of breast milk (depending on exact recipe).

Breast Milk Soap?
In the cold process soap making, water is also needed to be added to the natural oils. In place of water, breast milk can be used.
Breast milk has natural anti-bodies, enzymes and many other undiscovered goodies in it. By adding breast milk into soap, we can harness the natural goodness of the oils and breast milk for our skin.

Who needs breast milk soap?
Breast milk soap is great for the ENTIRE FAMILY!
Depending on the oils used, it can be made for generic use or specific uses. Popular recipes are those for eczema sufferers as common commercial soaps are too harsh for their sensitive skin.

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Safety briefing and introduction to soap making

 

Now, we were all super excited about the workshop and thought it will be super easy. Put oils, add breast milk, whip whip and viola!!!

However, we were in for a surprise!

Soap making is AN ART. It requires so much knowledge which we could barely squeeze into our brains in such a short time. However, Diana from Soap Ministry was so patient and animated with her explanation that we understood quickly and enjoyed the session very much!

In Singapore, you can’t make soap at home by regulations set to protect the general public. Lye, which is necessary for soap making, is considered a controlled substance in Singapore and only licensed businesses are allowed to import/stock/use them. Even the location in which they are allowed to store/use lye is controlled too.
As such, cold process soap making is only offered at Soap Ministry’s Head Office at Pioneer Point.

Different oils have different purposes for our skin. They also have varying properties. These properties need to be carefully considered during the soap making process as it will affect the final product. If you use an oil which is ‘soft’, you may end up with a gooey bar of soap instead of a solid bar of soap! It’s a fine balance and even the amount of lye & liquid required need to be carefully calculated to decimal points!

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It’s not easy! Loads of calculation and thinking goes into the soap making process!

Calculating and recalculating to get a good recipe which they prefer really took up a lot of time!

Diana’s helpful staff stepped in to check the calculations to ensure that the recipes created by Priscilla and Jerelyn will work. Otherwise, their breast milk and efforts will go to waste!

So they started carefully…. Noticed Jerelyn’s baby missing? Auntie Audrey was carrying him so that mummy can work on the soap. If you are keen to join the workshop, do arrange for a caregiver so that baby stays far away from the lye.

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Carefully measuring after calculations.

 

Another though part was mixing the FROZEN breast milk and the crystal lye.

As the chemical reaction when lye touches a liquid produces heat and may overheat the breast milk, frozen breast milk is used. This ensures that the breast milk will not over heat and destroy all the goodness inside!

It was very tough having to poke and mix the lye into the frozen bits of breast milk.

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And after that, the lye & breast milk mixture had to be added carefully to the oils.

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Done mixing! It was TEDIOUS!

The most memorable part of cold process soap making was the whisking required! Imagine whisking non stop for 30++ minutes to get the mixture right!

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Pouring carefully into the mold & keeping them safely.

From the briefing to completing the soap took us a whooping 5 hours!
It’s definitely not simple and this is why breast milk soap making services are pricey.

And the soap isn’t ready at the end of the session! It has to harden in the mold for a few days, then taken out to slice. After slicing, it has to be aired to allow the lye to cure properly so that the soap will become safe for use.

Soap Ministry is dedicated to safety and they set minimum timelines for the curing process and check carefully before they release the soaps to customers.

It typically takes 8 to 10 weeks to cure in a cool dry place. Soap Ministry has a lovely area designed for this and they are very meticulous with labeling. Don’t worry about getting your soaps mixed up!

Check out this short video on our session at Soap Ministry!

Audrey BM Soap

Mummy Audrey’s Breast Milk Soap from Soap Ministry

Jerelyn

Mummy Jerelyn’s Breast Milk Soap from Soap Ministry

Priscilla

Mummy Priscilla’s Breast Milk Soap from Soap Ministry

 

Now… the true test will be using the soaps ourselves (this is the reason why this post is here so late when we did the workshop a few months back)…

Personally, the kids are all using the breast milk soap. Myself included.
Comparing with other soap makers, I like the ones made by Soap Ministry (details in another post coming soon).

Mummy Priscilla has also told me that she likes the soap and they are happy with the soap. The ones that she made in the workshop are a little more mushy than the standard formula ones she ordered from Soap Ministry (made by their staff after our workshop). I guess this is the difference between recipe designed by the experts and us. :p

Mummy Jerelyn also likes the soap very much and said that just rubbing a little on the skin was enough to clean baby well.

Anyway… While the mummies were busy with their soaps during the workshop, I walked around and chanced on these…

Shampoo

Shampoo Bars!

I’m sure most mummies face the same issues as me… HAIR LOSS!
Mine was pretty serious so I was a little on the desperate side. And I saw these!

I bought all 3 types to rotate as I have oily hair, I have hair loss and I do want my hair to GROW back!
After 2 months of using these, my hair loss did lesson significantly and I’m having baby hair growing back already!

But, bar shampoo aren’t the same as commercial shampoo. They do leave the hair dry. You will need to use conditioner separately. I decided to use coconut oil as conditioner as I heard that it helps with hair growth too.

 

CONCLUSION

Breast milk soaps are GREAT! And the workshop was superbly fun! I think it’ll be a very fun mummy gathering activity!

Do contact Soap Ministry for more information on their workshops.
Melt & Pour soaps are suitable as a family activity with the kids. You can bring along their fave small toy and hide them in the soap to encourage them to use the soap!
After attending their workshops, they also allow you to head back to make more soaps on your own! Simply pay rent (it’s a small sum & includes washing up service) & pay for the ingredients used, and you can make more soaps on your own!

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Hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure at Soap Ministry!

Mummy Audrey
Mother of 3
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[Sharing] Stay Calm. Don’t Panic.

On 31st Jan…
My darling monster boy gave us another heart attack.

“Boys will be boys.”
“They are accident prone.”
“Every mummy of boys will have a visit to A&E at least once.”

Above are commonly heard advise from mummies of boys.
I 100% agree. This is his 2nd accident requiring a visit to the hospital! So no panic for us, we knew the drill. We are prepared.

*** WARNING: GROSS PHOTOS AHEAD ***

So I was out the whole afternoon with something important…
And the boys were spending their Sunday at their usual place – My mum’s place.

After lunch, Monster was playing alone in my mum’s room and we didn’t know exactly what happened.
But my mum walked in to check on him after clearing the dining table and got a huge shock!

THERE WAS BLOOD EVERYWHERE.
She screamed for my sister and my dad, all rushed in.

Checked the boy and saw this:

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Photos taken at hospital after nurse cleaned him up and stopped the bleeding

What they saw was a lot more messy. The photo is too gruesome to share.

My sister picked him up and ran to the nearest clinic (just next block). The poor young locum doctor was probably shocked beyond words too. The clinic nurse was shocked, when I spoke to her about it a few weeks after, she said she was so frightened.

So the doctor advised them to send him straight to the hospital, he can’t do much for Monster except to tell my sister to press on the wound to stop the bleeding. He gave them some sterile gauze and my brave sister pressed on the wound.

Because they remembered my instructions: NO KKH.
So they called me to ask what I want them to do.
As mentioned before, this is not our first such emergency with the boys, so I was calm.

I asked for a photo to assess the situation first. My sister sent me a photo via WhatsApp. I concluded it needed stitches and so I told them to wait a while, let me call the doctor directly to confirm arrangements.

With Monster and such a wound, I knew LA would probably be out. He is not the type who will hold still for the doctor to stitch him up. And the wound is pretty deep, proper cleaning and patching up will definitely be required.

So I called Dr Loo who stitched up the boys previously. You can just call his clinic number and it will be diverted to his mobile if his clinic is closed.

And our convo went something like this…
Me: Dr Loo, the boy hit his head, quite deep. Need stitching. Shall we head to TMC?
Dr Loo: How old is he?
Me: 4yo
Dr Loo: When was the last time he ate?
Me: 1.30pm (I called him at around 1.45pm)
Dr Loo: Oh dear… Need to fast around 6h.
Me: I know. But my parents are freaking out. Shall I ask them to bring him in and he can fast in the ward? Anyway we need to clock 6h in ward to claim hospitalisation insurance. 
Dr Loo: OK. Bring him in and go straight to the clinic. The nurse will know what to do. I’ll inform them now. What is his birthcert no? 
Me: *gave full name & birthcert no*
Dr Loo: OK. See him at 2.30pm? I just ordered my lunch… 
Me: No prob. By the time they reach should be around then. 
Dr Loo: See you later. I’ll book the OT for 7pm or 7.30pm.

So I called my sister and told her to bring him to Thomson Medical Centre where Dr Loo usually does the stitching in the Operation Theatre. My poor mum was so shocked, she didn’t bring her handphone along. She wore her PJs and rushed to the hospital.
So I had to confirm if any of them had money with them to pay the deposit first. My dad brought his wallet along, so I told him please pay the deposit first, I will return you later.

Where was Ahjussi when all this happened? He was busy working. So I called him, forwarded the photo and told him to please head down to Thomson Medical Centre to help my parents who were shocked and scared.

When my parents arrived at Thomson Medical, everything was smooth. They headed straight to the 24h clinic’s counter and told the nurse his name. The nurse brought him straight into the treatment room, washed his wound, applied antibacterial meds and wrapped his head up. Dr Loo was already there (attending to another case, the girl cut her eyebrow), so he inspected the wound and told us not to worry. He will fix it well.

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All wrapped up

Then Ahjussi arrived and went to the admissions counter to settle paperwork and make payment for the deposit.
Well, he didn’t have Monster’s birthcert with him and being the ‘clueless man’ as usual… He didn’t know Monster’s birthcert no.

But… He is smart enough to have saved a copy of it in his phone/email, so he managed to retrieve it and sent it to the admissions staff via email.

So the 2 of them hung out at the ward while my parents and sister went home to rest. I joined them once I could and Monster was a trooper. No crying, no whining. Happily playing iPad!

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Prepped for the OT

So the afternoon went by and 6.30pm came. The nurse came in to get him ready for the stitching. He looks so cute.

He was carried down to the OT by Ahjussi. Everything went smoothly and the nurse came to ask us to accompany him back to the ward. I went this time as I recalled the last time he woke up from GA, the poor boy screamed and had a meltdown. I had to hug him tight and it was tough.

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Waking up gently and pouncing on the iPad straightaway

This time, he was great. No tantrums or anything. He woke up and Dr Loo said that as long as he can drink, eat and pass urine, he can go home. And the first thing Monster asked for when he woke up was… RIBENA.
Ahjussi being the loving daddy, walked across the road to buy Ribena for him.

He was famished too. So we asked the nurse for some food and they gave him cheese sandwich. I’ve never seen him eat sandwich with such gusto before. Appetite is back, Ribena downed. We waited for him to pee (shortly after). And we were ready to head home.

The bill wasn’t ready so we left first. They sent the bill to us a few days later by email (at my request) & post.

Dr Loo said everything as usual. Nothing special. Can shower, play, sleep, etc as usual.
Just to note to wash the wound carefully to prevent infection. He deliberately left the stitches long and in a different colour from the hair so that we can find the wound easily to wash it clean. We had to apply antibacterial meds on it every 1-2h to keep it infection-free and also it works as a barrier/moisturiser to allow the wound to heal nicely.

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When we got home, he went to bed and was a little afraid to sleep on the wound, so he set up his sleep area with a towel to prevent the meds from dirtying my bed. What a sweetheart.

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I knew Dr Loo said everything as usual, but I was afraid that the other kids might pull on the stitches so we kept him home. Poor boy was bored, so we brought him out to Waterway Point for some shopping.

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So happy to see hamsters & rabbits!

So we survived CNY with stitches in his head… And after 10 days, we went back to remove the stitches.

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At Dr Loo’s clinic to remove stitches

Monster was really great. He allowed Dr Loo to remove the stitches quickly and didn’t complain. He was hopping around and curious about everything.

The wound healed nicely and it was really assuring to know we can always count on Dr Loo.

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After 2 weeks…

 

Now… Many of you will be curious to know about the bill…
Let me share a little on this.

Big Boy cut his chin (20++ stitches) in 2012: Bill before Medisave deduction was $10k++
Monster cut his chin (20++ stitches) in 2013: Bill before Medisave deduction was $9k++

Monster’s bill this time: Bill before Medisave deduction is $3800++
I think stitching the head (8? stitches) is cheaper than stitching the chin. :p

And what did we pay? Only the deposit which we got back. & the Medisave portion was deducted from our Medisave account. The rest of the bill was settled by insurance.
Even follow up visits to wash the wound (for the chins only, none needed for the head) and remove stitches, insurance paid for the follow up consultations and medications required.

There was even extra money (cheque from the insurance company) for ‘hospitalisation income benefit’.

Our main advise to friends with kids:
(a) PLEASE INSURE YOUR KIDS. You can buy for them 14 days after their birth. I strongly suggest you talk to your agent when you are preggy, know what you want. Then just pass the birthcert to the agent once it is ready and let your agent settle for you as soon as possible. Why? Because any medical issues discovered before you buy the policy can become a headache for you. The earlier you buy, the better.
(b) HAVE EMERGENCY SOP & COMMUNICATE TO CAREGIVERS & FAMILY. See how my parents and sister in their scared state still managed to know what to do? We communicated to them many times on this and they know our preference.
What to do in emergencies…
(1) If you or the caregiver are unsure of how serious it is, call for an ambulance or if your child is awake & mobile, go to nearest clinic.

(2) If you are able to assess the situation, then make a quick decision on which hospital or clinic.
Ahjussi and I always have such discussions and we have agreed we will go private as long as insurance covers.
For us, any cuts requiring stitches, we call Dr Loo (contact at the end of this post) and go to Thomson Medical Centre.
Fractures we will go Mount A.
Others we will go NUH under private (A ward).
Our reasoning for avoiding KKH is due to bad experience and stories of bad experience. And also, since we are covered by insurance, we thought that leaving subsidised care for those who really can’t afford insurance or private hospitals will be better (less crowd, better care for all).

(3) Always have their birthcert and health booklet on standby. We use a hard plastic file to keep those ready at hand when needed. All at home know where the file is for easy retrieval when needed. It is also more convenient this way when we need to bring them for vaccinations.

(4) Save a copy of their birthcerts in your email or phone in case you are rushing from office or outside direct to the hospital and don’t have the file with you. (This is also useful for free birthday treats at Swensons – Just saying.)

(5) Always have your insurance agent’s contact ready on hand. Call to clarify on the policies you have and the coverage. Also double check with agent on documents needed for smooth claim.
If your agent can’t assist on the above, time to change agent. We’ve called our agent 4 times over such emergencies and her response is super fast and assuring. I’ll leave her contact at the end of this post.

(6) Make sure you have your credit card or NETS card with you for deposit.
We had to pay $1200 deposit first (Thomson Medical Centre) and insurance will pay the hospital. Then the hospital will send us a refund cheque. From our previous experiences, they will send us the cheque within 2 weeks.

(7) Always brief and communicate to caregivers and school teachers in your SOP. We’ve told the teachers we prefer private hospitals and our insurance does cover the children up to single bedder. We have also written down all doctor’s contact in their communication book for quick reference during emergencies.

USEFUL CONTACTS

I know many mummies feedback that they can’t find a reliable insurance agent who is genuinely concerned for them instead of seeming like vultures.

I’ve known my agent for 9 years and she is great. Patient, attentive and not pushy. I’m upfront with her on what I can afford and she is always helping me to understand what I’m buying and weighing out pros & cons for me.

You can contact my agent: Serene Teo from AIA
Her email is serenetyl@aia.com.sg & you can reach her via mobile at 98388008.
Please contact her during SANE HOURS please. She is also a mummy and she is super woman attending to her hubby’s medical needs too.

Alternatively, you can also contact my primary school friend, Jemima Wei. She is also from AIA.
Her email is jemimawei@aia.com.sg & her mobile is 97258335.

Do save Dr Loo’s contact too. In case you need him (for stitching or skin problems or laser facial)…

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I hope our experience will help you understand what to do in medical emergencies and most importantly: DON’T PANIC!
Stay calm and get appropriate help.

Mummy Audrey
Mother of 3 and Owner of TLO.com.sg
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[Review + Giveaway] Best Memories: Family Photography with PhotoKraft

Growing up watching fashion shows and attending photoshoots, I’ve always loved the studio environment. At 17yo, I did a brief stint as a hair and fashion model and totally loved it. On a daily basis, I don’t wear make up or bother to tidy up my hair. However, it’s always amazing how make up and the right photographer can work wonders to anyone.

This is why we decided to do as many professional photoshoots as we can ever since our first son was born in 2007.
Why must be professional photographer? Because I’m not a selfie person. Neither do I like to take photos. Paying for the shoot forces us to take photos with our kids and I feel more confident (with full make up done by professional make-up artist). Otherwise, my kids will just have zero photos of us when we grow old and die. Serious.

We’ve tried many studios over the years and what we always noticed is how drastic the price increases once each photographer has built their own portfolios. I recently contacted a studio we used in 2008 and I was shocked that the family package went from $200+ in 2008 to $1500++ now in 2016! Too scary for my pocket! However, the charges probably reflect the experience of the photographer and his team.

BUT, don’t worry! After my crazy scouting, I finally found a studio which is friendly on the pocket. They seem new because they just launched their new brand & logo in 2016, but I found out that they are veterans! They’ve done photoshoot for magazines, events, weddings, and many other families too!

They are… PhotoKraft (previously Max Clyne at Work)

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Kelly is the main contact person who replies my queries and confirmed the booking for the shoot. Max is the photographer, handsome dude. Smiling at him behind the camera was easy. :p

This is what they quoted me:
Family Studio Photography Package @$238/-
– Up to 60 minutes studio photoshoot
– Max 5 pax (additional pax @$10/pax)
– All softcopies returned (up to 8R resolution) + basic editing
– 5x 5R photo print (with defined touch up)
– 1x S8R (8×12 inches) high quality German canvas print with frame (with defined touch up)

Remarks :
– Weekend/PH surcharge $30
– 50% deposit required as confirmation (non-refundable)

Make-up by their make-up artist is $100. Initially, I planned to head to my usual salon for a hair wash followed by a make-up session and hair styling, which costs $65. However, the mere thought of having to drag 3 kids along to the salon (though they can actually walk to my mum’s place to rest) was s.c.a.r.y.
So, I opted for convenience and asked Kelly to arrange for their make-up artist for me.

They have other various top ups available which were clearly stated upfront with no hidden costs.

  • $150 – Return all softcopy with basic editing in CD (Resolution up to 8R) + 5 x 5R Photo Prints
  • $200 – Outdoor location shoot for 1 hour (Location of your choice)
  • $100 – Make-up + Hairdo per head per session (Appointment only)
  • $30 – Accelerated Editing (Process photos by 7 working days)
  • $30 – Weekend/Public Holiday Surcharge for Studio Shoot
  • $10 – Additional Pax

And if you prefer them to print additional photos, they have a list too! You can email them for more information as the list is a little too long to be posted here. 🙂

Let’s go into more details about our shoot…

TIP #1: Choose a timing in which you know your children will not be cranky!
We opted for a 2.30pm shoot as this is usually just after Meimei’s first afternoon nap (12 – 2pm). This means that she will be fresh and less chances of her being cranky.

And of course, because she just woke up, high likely she will want to latch. So Kelly is super thoughtful as a fellow mummy herself and prepped a comfy armchair with privacy from curtains as a breastfeeding area!

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Please pardon our messy clothes lying around when I took this photo!

TIP #2: KEEP YOUR KIDS OCCUPIED WHILE YOU GET MAKE-UP DONE
As mentioned earlier, the thought of dragging the kids and making them wait for me for around 45 min to an hour to get make-up and hair done was scary!

Again, Kelly is super thoughtful and prepped a play yard to contain my super active Meimei! And there are many colourful balls which the boys loved.

So while I got my make-up done, Kelly & Max were looking through the selection of clothes we brought along. Ahjussi and my helper got the kids changed first.

And while waiting, Monster chanced on the props and fell in love with the vintage looking car!

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He kept playing with it and Max decided on some quick test shoots of him on it. And end up, the boys started their shoot while I was still getting ready!

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TIP #3: Prepare outfits in advance
Upon arrival, I got Ahjussi to hang up our outfits for Max and Kelly to take a look so they had an idea on background colour/theme for us. They have thoughtfully prepared a rack, so we simply hung them up! We brought them in their hangers as they have been nicely ironed at home.

I didn’t send photos of the outfits I prepared before the session but it is good to do so as the photographer can take some time to plan and conceptualise your shoot before your session. This will mean a more personalised session too.

Choose something your kids have worn before so that they will not be distracted by the new clothing.

TIP #4: Think about what you want out of the session & communicate it to the photographer
If you have a particular pose or group shot that you must have, let the photographer know beforehand so that once the right opportunity arises (when kids are warmed up and not cranky), the photographer will direct you to get it captured!

TIP #5: Aim to reach early if your kids are slow to warm
Only you as the parent will know how your child will react to strangers. If your child takes a while to warm up to strangers, reaching early and allowing your child some time to mingle will be good.

TIP #6: Talk to your child a few days before the shoot
Let them know what is going on and what to expect. Children are a lot more cooperative when they know what to expect!

TIP #7: Bring your child’s fave toy along!
We forgot to bring Meimei’s fave toy and had a hard time getting her to look at the cam and smile. Check out a short video on the process!

And this is the result!

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And after this… She got somewhat hungry so I had to latch her. And since we were already there…

I thought: Why not do a quick breastfeeding shot for memory sake?

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Not many mummies are comfortable with letting a male photographer do a breastfeeding shoot of them, but let me share, it is really not as bad as you think! Breastfeeding is NORMAL! I’m just feeding my child! My breasts are not sex objects!

Max is super professional. Kelly stepped in to help with the pose and positioning while Max stayed far (behind the camera). It was purely him shooting a mother feeding her child. Simple.

And Meimei was covering the other nipple with her cute little hands. Nothing much exposed. Don’t worry!

TIP #8: Prep snacks & drinks
It can get tiring for the little ones, so their face snack will lift their spirits! Otherwise, you will get a semi-grumpy boy like the following:

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TIP #9: Plan early!
If you intend to use the photos for their birthday invite or any special occasion, do plan early!
The typical lead time for photos to be ready is around 4 weeks, so we are still patiently waiting for more photos to be sent to us. Kelly has graciously sent us a few photos for the purpose of this blog post within a week from the shoot. (BIG THANK YOU!)

Although PhotoKraft’s studio is located in an industrial area, it is quite easy to find and once you step into their beautiful studio, you will forget that you are even in an industrial area!

And no worries about the loo. They have one right in their studio!
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I hope you will enjoy your photography session with PhotoKraft like we did!

With Love,
Audrey
Mother of 3 & Owner of TLO.com.sg
Audrey Wong Profile

Contact Details:

PhotoKraft FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/photokraft.sg
Email: photokraft.sg@gmail.com

Location : Blk 3005 Ubi Avenue 3 #03-56 (S)408861 (Beside Traffic Police Headquarters)

Direction by MRT/Bus : From Tai Seng MRT Station
Walk towards Bus Stop @Upper Paya Lebar Road (opposite Tai Seng MRT Station)
Take Bus 58, 2 stops later alight at Ubi Ave 3 (opposite Traffic Police Headquarters)

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Prize: 60 minutes family studio photoshoot with PHOTOKRAFT!
Includes: 1x edited soft copy returned (up to 5R resolution) + 1x 8R photo print with default frame (same image as soft copy) to 3 lucky winners

How to Join:
1. Like Photokraft Facebook page.
2. Like Mummies Voices Facebook page.
3. Like & share this post on your Facebook wall (*remember to set as Public*).
4. Comment at Mummies Voices Facebook Post and tag 10 friends or as many as you like!
5. Fill in this form (we will pick the winner list from this form): http://goo.gl/forms/JIVRSR5pKx

Giveaway ends 17th Jan 2016. Winners will be picked on 18th Jan 2016.

 

NOTE: Mummy Audrey has arranged with PhotoKraft for free sessions for all mummies who shop with thelittleonesinmylife (TLO.com.sg) at the upcoming baby fair!
It is Baby World at Expo Hall 5 from 15th to 17th January 2016. Check them out at Booth A03/05!
Vouchers will be given out to customers who purchase min $20 in single purchase. Limited to 1 voucher per customer. Only 1000 vouchers available daily!

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[Sharing] DIY Children’s Book For Your Kids This Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner. Are you racking your brain on what to buy for your kids this Christmas? Why not make something for them instead?

I have always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story when I was 8 years old, about 10 plates that ran away from the kitchen cupboard. I remember I wrote and illustrated the story on pieces of drawing papers. Though they are gone with my childhood, my dreams still remain. With the arrival of a close friend’s child and the soon arrival of my own child, I am reminded of my childhood dream  once again as there are potential readers now.

So for this Christmas, I decided to handmake my very first Children’s book (since the one I wrote when I was 8) as a Christmas gift for the child of my close friend. You can do the same too, and I am going to show you that it is actually not that difficult to make a book from scratch for your kids.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

1. A story in mind
You need to have a story and its character(s) in mind before you even start with the book. You don’t have to come up with a very complicated story, trust me. Kids are simple and innocent. You can focus on one object or subject and write about it, say, an animal, a plant, a special occasion, an activity etc. For my DIY book, I wrote about a cat and the main character (my friend’s child).

2. A draft
Next, you need to write your story out. You can do this on MS word or you can just write them out using pen and paper. Assuming you are writing for kids between age 0- 6, you should use simple sentences, not too long. You should aim to have maximum 2 sentences in each page only. If you are writing for older kids, you may increase the complexity of the sentences and number of sentences in each page.

3. An idea for the layout and design of the book
Is your book going to be a simple picture book or are you going to make it more interactive? Are you going to hand write and hand draw each page or are you going to use the computer to help you with it? This will help you to decide on the next point. For my book, I decided to hand write, hand draw and make it interactive with the help of origami (another one of my hobbies) and some handicraft materials.

4. Materials
Materials needed 1
Some materials you may need are:
– Drawing papers
– Scissors
– Marker pens
– Ruler
– Pencil
– Colouring material (Crayons/ paints/ colour pencils/ water colours/ felt tip pens etc)
My personal favourite is Faber-Castell’s Watercolour Pencils. They are really easy to use and very mess-free for me. You can use it as colour pencil, and if you want to use it as water colour, simply colour the object like how you would do with colour pencils, then use a wet brush to go over the surface. You can see the difference from the pictures below:
Page 12 in colour pencilPage 12 in water colour
Page 14-15 in colour pencilPage 14-15 in water colour

– Origami papers (If you are interested to add in some origamis in your book)
– Cardboard for making book cover (You can buy them or go green by using cereal boxes or old cardboard boxes)
Materials needed 2
– Felt and sewing materials (For those of you who are talented in fabrics and would like to add some 3D objects or more textures into your book)
– Glue
– Double sided tapes
– Scotch tapes
– Any other materials like glitter powder/ beads and sequins… basically up to your own preference and creativity!

5. The outline
Now you will either handwrite or print out the story page by page. If you have illustrations, whether handdrawn or printed, get them on the papers too.

6. Colours
Colour the images if you need to, otherwise, go on to the next point.

7. Book Cover
Making book cover
Using cardboards or recycled cereal boxes and double sided tapes/ glue, stick the cover page of the book onto the cardboard to make it harder. Remember to estimate some area for the back cover of the book too.

8. The pages inside the book
After you are done with the cover, you can use tapes or glue to stick the pages inside the book cover. There are many different ways to do this, depending on your creativity and how much time you have. If you want your book to have a fancy bind, you may use threads to hold the pages together. If you are a beginner, you can just use double sided tapes or scotch tapes. If you are a working mum, you get bring the pages to a local bookstore to have them binded together using plastic binder or you can buy a fastener from a stationery shop and fasten the pages together.

9. Finishing
You may wrap the cover of the book with a plastic if you prefer. Here is my almost finished product. I will be adding the plastic wrap later. Add any finishing touches to your book where necessary. Inside the book cover you can write a message to your recipient.

Cover Page

This is how the inside of my book looks like. It is a very simple book with interaction parts where the child can touch and feel the material and move the origami cat from page to page:

Page 1Page 2-3Page 4-5Page 6-7Page 8-9Page 10-11

Page 12-13

Page 14-15

If you have any questions about DIY books for your kids, please feel free to contact me. Give it a try! It is fun!

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This post was originally posted at MamanDeFrenchaporean – DIY Children’s Book For Your Kids This Christmas
***

Submitted by Maman de Frenchaporean
Follow her at her Facebook page!

About the Writer: Mama is a Singaporean living in France with her French husband! She’s currently pregnant and sharing her experiences on being pregnant while in France.

[Sharing] Of Nursing Rooms & Diaper Changing

As parents with a child still breastfeeding, bottle feeding and/or on diaper, nursing rooms and diaper changing facilities in a shopping mall become our #1 priority when bringing kids out, on top of the variety of F&B outlets and retail outlets at a mall.

Recently, there has been numerous posts on Facebook complaining about the use of these facilities. They are either abused by mall tenants (for sleeping!), cleaners (as pantry!), young students (for hanky panky!) or fellow parents.

Though the facilities in Singapore are not excellent (that’s for another post), everyone using the facilities can make it more pleasant by playing their part to have some manners and consideration for others.

 

Nursing Rooms

Who are they for?
Nursing rooms are designed for privacy of nursing (breastfeeding) mothers.

Why?
In our conservative Asian culture, boob flashing isn’t very welcomed by the older generation and surprisingly, there are young daddies who do not want their wife to breastfeed in public (even with a nursing cover) for fear of others looking at their assets.
I’ll be honest: My breasts are no longer my own when I breastfeed. You want to see? See lor. All I’m interested in is to feed my baby. And no, I’m not out to make you feel uncomfortable by flashing my boobs. I will do it discreetly.

Why only for nursing mothers? Then those who bottle feed leh?
Well, most people believe that if you are bottle feeding, you can simply grab at seat elsewhere and feed your child. It’s true: If your child isn’t easily distracted.

Now, then the argument comes: So bottle feed cannot use nursing room ah?

In my opinion, I will suggest this:
(1) Nursing mothers get priority as they need the privacy.
(2) Give way to mummies with screaming babies who are demanding to be fed. Try to share if you will be using the room for a while longer.
(3) Nursing mummies also need privacy to produce enough to feed their babies even if their babies are not with them. Do not rush them, simply knock and inform them of your intent, they might be willing to share the room! (SPEAK NICELY!)
(4) If you really need to bottle feed in the nursing room, don’t lock the door, just close it, be prepared to SHARE the room if a nursing mother comes along.
Of course, this can be solved easily if our ideal nursing room exists (upcoming post – keep a lookout!).

The Ideal Diaper Changing Room we found in Korea (Lotte Departmental Store, Myeongdong)

The Ideal Diaper Changing Room we found in Korea (Lotte Departmental Store, Myeongdong)

Another common complaint: So noisy!
I agree. The noise makes my baby distracted too!
Let’s encourage:
(1) Keep your children in check. If you are bringing your older children along to the nursing room, ensure you have something to keep them occupied. Bring a book or some small toys. It may not be 100% effective to keep them quiet, but at least help to lower their volumes. Explain to them the purpose of the nursing room and teach them to be considerate towards others too.
If possible (you have extra help with you), get someone to watch them while you nurse in peace too.
(2) Don’t yak on your mobile while using the nursing room. The rest of us are not interested in your conversation. Really.
(3) If you are watching shows or dramas on your mobile while nursing, use an earpiece. I might want to kaypo about the drama you are watching, but not everyone feels the same.

 

Diaper changing rooms are often together with nursing rooms. Then daddies how? They cannot change baby’s diapers?
Well… Due to ‘limited space’ at shopping malls, most of them design the nursing room inside the diaper changing room. For us, we usually push our stroller along and use the stroller as a diaper change area in a discreet place (not in restaurant of course).

Let’s encourage:
(1) Knock before entering.
(2) If there’s a nursing mother inside, nicely inform her that you need the diaper changing area and ask if it is possible to share the space (she can face away from you if she is willing). If it is not possible, then ask her how long more she will take so that you can decide to wait or find another place to change diapers.
(3) Always wrap & dispose diapers properly.
I love the dog poo bags available in a roll at Daiso! It’s SMALL and each bag is just right to put a soiled diaper and tie off the top to keep it contained.

poo bags

Daiso Poo Bags – Perfect for outings! Tie off soiled diapers or rubbish that you have before you throw them into the bin to keep offending smells away!

poo

Dispose off soiled diapers properly to keep our environment clean!

Remember, our TONE when speaking matters a lot.
A frustrated, “Can share?”
Versus a sweet, “Can share?”
Which would you be more receptive to? Definitely asking in a nice tone will get higher chance of success. And don’t curse when the other party rejects sharing. Some people really are more sensitive are need more privacy.

Wah… So many ‘rules’.
These are not rules but guidelines to help make our environment a better place for all.
A little consideration for others can make another person’s day better.

Let’s be positive role models for our children and show consideration towards others!

Written by Mummy Audrey Wong
Mother of 3 & Owners of TLO.com.sg
Audrey Wong Profile

Wraps – The Whats, The Whys & The Hows

An Introduction to the World of Woven Wraps

I love sharing my passion for wrapping with other babywearing mamas. It’s not often that I spot another wrapper out in public, but when I do, I get a thrill. I want to run up to that mama and say “hello” because I know that she understands. She is like me, a kindred spirit who has taken the plunge into the wonderful world of woven wraps. I’m confident that if I actually did find the courage to approach this mama and if I were to ask to pat her wrap (after the pleasantries of course) that she would not find this strange at all. Not at all. She gets it. Instant BFFs us woven wrap lovers.

Unfortunately, such sightings are rare. Babywearing parents are more likely to be found sporting a Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) such as an Ergo or Tula. Of course this makes me happy too. It’s great seeing parents bonding with their little ones by keeping them close and carrying them whether it be in arms or using one of the dozens of baby carriers available today. The choices can be overwhelming to a new parent or just a parent new to babywearing. So, as an avid babywearing wrapaholic, my goal here is to offer a basic introduction and to demystify the sometimes intimidating yet, oh so, wonderful world of woven wraps.

So, what is a baby wrap?

One of the most common misconceptions about wraps is that they are complicated and that it takes some kind of babywearing mystic guru to be able to use them. When in fact, it is quite the opposite. A wrap is simply one long piece of cloth that can be tied in many different ways. There are two main kinds of wraps: stretchy and woven.

Stretchy wraps such as the Moby, Hana or Boba Wrap, are usually cotton, but some are blends using spandex or even bamboo. They are most appropriate for newborns and lighter babies (despite what the manufacturer says) and should never be used for back carries. They are extremely soft, easy to wrap with and, due to their significant amount of stretch, are very forgiving. Characteristics that are good for a beginner wrapper. These characteristics combined with the fact that they can be found on the shelves of most baby stores means that stretchy wraps are quite often a gateway into the world of wrapping.

Unlike stretchy wraps, woven wraps can be used to carry babies from newborn to toddler on the front, hip or back. They come in different lengths and are woven from all kinds of different materials from 100% cotton to linen and bamboo, silk, wool and cashmere to more exotic animal fibres like camel, alpaca and vicuna. Woven wraps also fall into two categories: machine or handwoven. Classic names in the world of machine woven wraps include Didymos, Storchenwiege, and Natibaby. Well-known handwoven brands include Uppymama, Woven Rainbow and Warped and Wonderful.

Sizing and choosing a wrap

Woven wraps come in different lengths in order to allow for different carries. The longer the wrap, the more versatile.

Length                                 Carries

size 1 –  2.0 meters                             Rebozo

size 2 –  2.7 meters                             Rebozo and super short carries

size 3 –  3.1 meters                             Shorty carries

size 4 –  3.6 meters                             Petite base size and short carries

size 5 –  4.1 meters                             Small base size

size 6 –  4.6 meters                             Average base size

size 7 –  5.1 meters                             Plus base size

size 8 –  5.5 meters                             Longer carries and fancy finishes

For beginners, it is important to determine base size and most babywearing consultants would suggest starting there when choosing your first wrap. Base size is determined by the Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC). The user should be able to comfortably tie off in back. As you can see from the above chart, the average base size is a 6. A FWCC instructional video is included in the “Carries” section of this article.

After determining your base size, the next step in choosing a wrap is to find one that can be described as “a good beginner” wrap, meaning they are soft, floppy and easy to wrap with. Wraps that are good for beginners tend to be 100% cotton or cotton/linen. There is no specific brand, but it’s helpful to decide on a price range to help narrow down the search. The average cost of a woven wrap is $40-$200USD. Finally, look for one that is aesthetically appealing to you – one that you’ll want to use every day, but also one that is not too expensive or too pretty that you’re afraid to use it!

w1

My first woven wrap was a pre-loved cotton/linen Didymos Ruby/Gold 1975 Old Standard size 3 that I bought for $125USD. One of my biggest concerns when choosing my first wrap was babywearing in Singapore’s hot and humid climate. I was determined to buy the absolute coolest fabric and airiest weave.  Didymos Indios seemed to fit my criteria perfectly. I ran an internet search for linen blend Didymos Indios and came across the Ruby/Gold 1975 OS, which I thought was gorgeous. After reading a couple of reviews online, I decided to buy a preloved one that was fully “broken in” or, at the very least, on its way. Most woven wraps, regardless of the fabric, have a breaking in period similar to a new pair of jeans. New linen can be a little difficult to work with for beginners. However, once linen is fully broken in, it is wonderfully soft – making it suitable for a newborn, yet supportive enough for a toddler.

I also chose not to follow the standard rule of starting with my base size, which is a 5 since I am petite. Instead, I chose a size 3 because I did not find working with too much length appealing especially in a hot and humid climate. I had also done my research regarding all the carries I could do with a size 3 and I was confident that I could make it work. And, I did. Within a couple of months, I was able to master quite a number of carries including FWCC tied under bum (TUB), semi-FWCC, Front Cross Carry (FCC) with a sling ring, Short Front Cross Carry (SFCC), Kangaroo, Poppins Hip Carry, Robins Hip Carry, Inside Out Coolest Hip Carry (IOCHC) and a Rucksack Back Carry.

w2The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn and the more interested I became in trying other wraps and sizes.

In the year since I bought my first woven, I have tried many, many wraps. However, my Didymos Ruby/Gold OS survives the churn bug and remains. To me, it is still the ultimate wrap for Singapore’s weather and it is the one I reach for whenever I am planning to spend any significant amount of time outdoors.

Size 3s remained my favourite size for more than a year. However, as my little one grew and became more curious and squirmy, the less manageable wearing her on the front had become. It was awkward having an 8kg squirming, grabbing bulge on my chest all the time, especially when also caring for an older child. It seemed as though my baby had turned into a toddler overnight. And just as quickly, I stopped using my size 3s and found myself reaching for longer wraps that allow for more supportive, multi-layer back carries and ones that include a chest pass or chest belt such as a Double Hammock (DH), Double Hammock with a Candy Cane Chest Belt (CCCB) or a Rucksack Tied Tibetan (TT).

w3It is definitely possible to get similar support from a shorty (sizes 1, 2 and 3), but these wraps tend to be thicker, which often translates to warmer and more difficult to wrap with.

Carries

Just to reiterate, it does not take a babywearing mystic guru with godzilla arms and a gymnast flexibility to use a woven wrap. Of course, like most things in life, there is a learning curve. But watch a few YouTube videos and you will be amazed to see those seemingly complicated carries deconstructed before your eyes. Most beginners start with Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) and Front Cross Carry (FCC). Once you feel that you’ve mastered these, move on to other front and hip carries such as Kangaroo, Robins Hip Carry and Inside Out Coolest Hip Carry (IOCHC). Do not move on to back carries until you feel confident working with the wrap. However, once you do, a basic Rucksack Carry or Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC) are good starters. When learning and practicing new carries, always keep the “T.I.C.K.S.” of safe babywearing in mind.

w4

 

 

Why are woven wraps so expensive?

Another big misconception about woven wraps is that they are all very expensive. In reality, like all consumer products, there is a wide-range of brands to choose from for all budgets. For the budget-minded, some common classic brands on the market are Storchenwiege, EasyCare, Lenny Lamb and Little Frog. On the other side of the spectrum are brands such as Artipoppe, Woven Wings, Solnce, and Kokoro. Handwoven wrap brands such as Uppymama, MadHatter, and Farideh will always fall into the more expensive category. Like any handicraft, these brands are lovingly and painstaking custom designed and created by an individual weaver. However, there are also budget handwoven companies that mass produce wraps like Girasol and Inda Jani. And, of course there are many others that fall in-between. New brands are emerging every day. Retail prices can range wildly from as low as $45 to as high as a few thousand for some of the luxury high-end (HE) blends and custom handwovens.

Thousands???  You ask. I’m imagining that this has sparked a bit of shock and awe from a reader (or two) here. Maybe a few readers are wondering why anyone would spend any significant amount of money on a baby product that is inevitably going to be spit on, chewed on and there is a good probability that it is going to be pooped on. In part, retail cost are largely influenced by the quality and sourcing of materials – the more exotic or refined, the more expensive. Then, there is basic economics and boils down to supply and demand. Most woven wraps are produced in very limited numbers in a single release (some are even 1 or 2 of a kind) and don’t come anywhere close to filling the demand, especially the highly sought after (HSA) designs. In turn, this enormous discrepancy has created a huge resale market. It’s fairly easy to recoup some, if not all, the money spent on the wrap. Nor is it uncommon to see some high-end wraps that are highly sought after or hard to find (HTF) being resold for 3 or 4 times their original retail value.

w5

Wraps can be most simply compared to shoes. Most peopw6le have more than one pair of shoes, some more expensive than others, for different occasions and purposes. However, unlike shoes, woven wraps do not wear out. Instead, wrapping qualities tend to improve with use or after the breaking in period. This is another factor that contributes to the strong resale market and has, in turn, created the expectation that money spent isn’t necessarily gone forever, which certainly makes spending it much easier. It also allows for “churning,” the trying out of different wraps, through buying, trading and selling on the numerous “B/S/T” (Buy/Sell/Trade) Facebook groups. This is where the slope can start getting slippery- very slippery for some and is lovingly referred to as the rabbit hole of the wonderful world of woven wraps.

Most seasoned wrappers will agree that not all wraps are created equal. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Each wrap is special and has it’s own unique wrapping qualities (WQs). However, WQs do not necessarily correlate with price. Wrapping qualities are entirely subjective and come down to personal preference. Ask any seasoned wrapper to choose their favourite wrap and you will more than likely get a different answer from each. Personally, if I had to name my favourite wraps, most would fall more into the budget-friendly category. For example, my current favourite based solely on wrapping qualities, is Tiny Tiger Baby’s American Beauty. It is a 100% cotton, plain weave natty (natural coloured wrap) that is thin, airy, and moldable. A perfect beginner wrap that has the perfect amount of stretch and a little bit of bounce. It is extremely soft, making it ideal for a newborn, yet supportive and cushy enough for a toddler.

 

w7

Why choose a woven wrap over other carriers?

There are so many reasons to choose a woven wrap over other carriers, but my first response is always, versatility. No other carrier can carry a child in such a myriad of ways on the front, back and hip from newborn to toddlerhood. Breastfeeding in a woven wrap can be done both easily and discreetly. No other carrier can fit all body types as comfortably as a woven wrap. When wrapped correctly, woven wraps are also the most ergonomically suited for both parent and child conforming to the body, distributing weight evenly and alleviating pressure points. Finally, it’s impossible to leave out aesthetics. They are beautiful: allowing parents to maintain a sense of style while also keeping little ones safe and close.

My journey down the rabbit hole of the wonderful world of woven wraps has brought me far more than I could ever have imagined. I think everyone can agree that life changes dramatically with parenthood. Gone are the days of spontaneous, carefree adventures. Gone are the late nights out with friends and the lazy mornings lying in. Time spent previously on favourite hobbies and activities is now relegated to tending to babies and young children. We see less and less of our childless friends and it can be challenging making new friends that fit into the children’s varying nap schedules. The transition into parenthood is rarely smooth and easy for most. For me, I could never have known that the day I bought my first woven wrap would become one of the most significant choices I would make influencing my happiness.

Picture1
Since becoming a mother, my marathon training has been put on hold and my stilettos are buried in the bottom of my closet. However, journeying into the world of woven wraps has taken me on a new adventure – one that has become a new hobby that I can explore, most importantly, with my children. I have a new appreciation for textiles and the intricacy of these beautifully designed pieces of fabric – each woven wrap is special with it’s own unique wrapping qualities. The wide-array of colors and myriad of designs to choose from has also allowed me to maintain my sense of style. Even though I still wear my “mommy uniform” (shorts and a tank top or t-shirt) on most days, using a woven wrap helps me feel beautiful, while performing the important yet, not-so-glamorous, work of motherhood.

w9

 

Lastly, but certainly not least, is the community I have found on my journey. I have spent countless hours chatting, stalking and geeking out over wraps with other wrap-loving mamas. The wrap chatter inevitably turning into conversations about our lives, family,  and children – sharing with one another the highs and lows of our day, offering support when a child is sick or providing a much needed giggle at the end of a long day (a recipe containing breastmilk and curry comes to mind here). Eventually, we are sharing our wraps with one another and organising playdates. Babywearing connected me to a community of like-minded parents, while wrapping has bonded me to some amazing women and lifelong friends.

w10

Written By: Mummy Kristi

[REVIEW] The Rose, the Tula, the Lamb and the Tamishoo

I love babywearing! Hubby and I embarked on the babywearing journey with the birth of our firstborn in 2012 and we’ve not looked back since. Babywearing allows us to bond and provide security and comfort for our children. With a 3 year old toddler girl and a pair of 8 month old twin boys, we use a combination of the double pram and babywearing. Like many mothers, I started out with ringslings and stretchy wraps for the newborn, and then eventually progressed to soft structured carriers (sscs). I have experimented with ringslings, wrapping and mei tais, but have concluded that I am a buckles kind of girl. I love the convenience and ease of sscs, and how short the learning curve can be. Let me share my thoughts on four different brands of sscs that I have tried before.

Rose and Rebellion (R&R)

Rose & RebellionMy first ssc was a Rose and Rebellion ssc in the Animal Crackers print. All R&R sscs are made of canvas and are fully reversible to an all black reverse side, so you effectively get two sscs for the price of one. This also means you can choose your favourite girly design, and daddy can still babywear simply by using the reverse side! R&R’s tagline ‘Pretty or Punk, Rose or Rebel’ sums up their designs – funky and pretty at the same time. It is also extremely lightweight and easy to handle. According to the R&R website, the ssc weigh only 450grams! No infant inserts are needed and the baby size sscs are suitable from 3.5kg – 20kg. The panel is tall and provided adequate support for my sleeping babies without having to use the integrated sleep hood. However I found the panel narrow compared to the other sscs I will be reviewing in this post. It was also difficult to get a good deep seat, and most importantly, the thigh area was not padded, which meant my babies were always left with deep red markings on their thighs after each use. Major dislike! All in all, a decently good ssc at a very reasonable price: retailing from $170 onwards at its authorized local dealer.

Tula

Tula‘Tula in the wild!’ One of the most popular and raved about brands. When my husband first bought his Tula in 2012, we had no idea it was going to become such a phenomena brand. To us, it was just the most comfortable and easy to use ssc after trying on many others at the one and only authorized (back then) retailer in Singapore for Tula. The Tula is generously sized so it is typically recommended for babies above 6 month old, without the use of an infant insert. However my smaller twin could only fit in it at close to 7.5 months. Interestingly, my lanky toddler still fits the standard size comfortably: the panel is halfway up her back, her legs are just everywhere, and I would probably feel a lot more comfortable with her in a toddler size, but for quick ups, it works. Money saved for mummy!

Personally, my favourite bit of the Tula is the padded thigh area. We simply love love love this feature. So cushy and comfortable for baby! The stiffer waistband was great for us too as it provided much needed support as the children got heavier. Another feature that I love about the Tula is its detachable hood. I could take it off to show off my panel design, and I knew of friends who had their hoods custom made to include dinosaur spikes, etc. Somehow it was also extremely easy getting a good deep seat with the (broken in) Tula so we could usually just pop baby in with minimal adjustments needed. The market is simply flooded with an abundance of beautiful cutesy Tula prints, and generally, not only does the Tula holds its resale value, a used Tula can at times fetch a higher than retail price. Having used the same Tula since 2012, I must say it is really sturdy and well worth the money spent! Do I have any complains about the Tula? Only that the Tula canvas requires quite a bit of breaking in before it gets really soft and comfortable. A brand new Tula retails from about $229.90 from the five authorized retailers in Singapore.

Lenny Lamb

Lenny LambLenny on the loose!’ I recently decided to try a Lenny Lamb after reading many rave reviews about it. Not disappointed at all! All LL sscs are wrap converted, and this means they are buttery soft even when brand new out of the box! Can’t imagine how much more softer and cushier they would be when fully broken in! Being full wrap converts, they are also much more cooling compared to Tula’s canvas. LL can generally be used for smaller babies from 4 months onwards by flipping up the waistband, no infant insert needed. I personally feel that whereas Tula’s prints are more loud and cutesy, LL’s prints tend to be more artistic and adultish in nature. LL is definitely upping the ante and rapidly gaining market share with a lot of new exclusives and prints every few weeks. The thigh area is softly padded and it is easy to get a deep seat with baby. Everytime I wear my LL, I feel that I am wrapping my baby snugly against me. And it comes with lots of sleepy dust too! The twins fall asleep in it easily after about five minutes or so once I raise up the hood against their necks.

My biggest gripe with LL is that the waist buckle cannot (or at least, with great difficulty) be undone with one hand. It has a safety feature where you have to press down the catch on the buckle and its sides simultaneously before the buckle releases. Another gripe is that the hood is non detachable which means the beautiful panel design and placement is hidden unless you roll up the hood (though this could be an advantage as it means there is less risk of misplacing the hood). There are also a whole lot more buckles and places for adjustment: it makes finding of the perfect sweet spot that much more elusive, and that much harder to share with your partner. The floppy waistband makes it very comfortable to wear, but I find it does not provide sufficient support for heavier babies and toddlers. I have tried on the toddler sized LL but did not feel that it was supportive enough: my back and shoulders were killing me after half an hour of wearing my 12kg toddler.

There are currently four authorized LL retailers in Singapore and the price ranges from $190 onwards depending on the choice of material and weave. All in all, extremely value for money considering it is a wrap convert ssc. It is right up there alongside the Tula!

Tamishoo

TamishooSometime before my twins were born I bought a wrap which I simply loved. Unfortunately I subsequently decided that wrapping was not for me and decided to convert it into a ssc with local converter Tamishoo. At that time Tamishoo had just begun to offer conversions for sscs and I scored a conversion slot at their introductory price of $230 (usual price is $250). I did not have to wait too long for a conversion slot and loved that I was able to get a consultation with Tamishoo, and try on different styles before deciding how I wanted to customise my ssc. I paid close to $300 after adding on details such as (non detachable) hood, personal fit adjustors (pfas) and a cinchable belt. It was completed within a week and I was overall pretty satisfied with the quality and workmanship.

However I was not able to use the ssc on my then 5m old twins even with the cinchable belt. When I used the cinchable belt, it shortened the panel length at the thigh area, resulting in my boys’ thighs rubbing against the strap. So I had paid extra for a feature I was not able to use, and I still could not use the ssc until they were more than 6 months old. Further, I realised that if I tightened the pfas, the chest strap buckle ended up smack against my neck and there was no way I could move the chest strap any lower. Tamishoo suggested sending me a separate chest strap with velcro to use first before deciding what adjustments I want to make. That was on 18th July. TIll date I still have yet to receive it. Am very disappointed at Tamishoo’s mistake with the pfa/chest strap buckle issue, and even more so that I have yet to receive her follow up close to 3 months after. So although there is a lot of convenience and money saved by going with a local converter, and being able to get a conversion slot and consultation session easily, the overall experience just didn’t leave a good aftertaste.

So there you have it, my take on four different brands of sscs. Hope this was useful!

A review on four SSCs by: Jennifer Yuen-Chen
Mummy to a 3 year old toddler girl and a pair of 8 month old twin boys

Note by Mummies’ Voices: All SSCs (Soft Structured Carriers) belong to Mummy Jennifer and her review is based on her personal experience while using these SSCs. Mummies’ Voices highly recommends interested parents to try before making a purchase.