Monday, February 1, 2010

This Blog Exists for a Reason or Two

I created this blog because:

1. I needed a reference for myself; particularly for the books I've read as most books are borrowed and I am unable to refer to them as and when I like.

2. To share the knowledge and information that I've acquired since becoming a parent.

Many a time when embarking on a new parenting adventure, I wish that someone who's been there and done there could advise me. Unfortunately, I do not have such a person at my beck and call and have to learn things the hard way. Hopefully, this will help other new parents in their own parenting journey.

Book Review:

Baby Led Weaning
Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food

Author: Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
ISBN: 0091923808
Publisher: Vermillion
Format: Paperback
Published: November 2009
No. of pages: 256 pages
Available for loan from: National Library Board
Price: S$26.64 (
Suitable for: Anyone who has yet to offer finger foods to their child
Verdict: Highly recommended (4.5 / 5)

I wish I read this before I started weaning my son.

I've heard of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) through friends and on the internet. However, there was a dismal lack of information about how to go about doing it and how to deal with the various situations and comments one will come across. I was unable to get the book until recently when we've been on solids for about 5 months and had stumbled through BLW with many doubts and questions.

After reading this book, most (if not all) of my concerns were answered. I am a lot more confident about BLW, sharing it with my friends or when I need support for when Grandma is horrified. This is certainly a good read for parents who think that feeding a baby means jars and purees. Even if one chooses not to use BLW, this book contains useful general information on topics such as nutrition, portion sizes and feeding.

The photographs included in the book are a cute diversion and gives one an insight into BLW in action. What was missing are recipes that can be used for BLW once baby progresses beyond the beginner's steamed vegetable sticks, cut fruit and toast soldiers. If you're looking for recipes for "baby" food, tables of what food to introduce at what age, or detailed lists of foods to avoid, you won't find them here. This is just a reassuring introduction to the idea of simply feeding your baby from your own healthy meals.

About the Author(s)
Gill Rapley has studied infant feeding and child development for many years. She worked as a health visitor for over 20 years and has also been a midwife and a voluntary breastfeeding counsellor. She developed the theory of baby-led weaning while studying babies' developmental readiness for solids as part of her Master's degree. She lives in Kent with her husband and has three grown-up children, all of whom tried their best to show her that they didn't need any help with solid foods.

Tracey Murkett is a freelance writer and journalist. She originally trained as an artist and was deputy editor of Artists and Illustrators magazine until she left to have her baby. After following baby-led weaning with her daughter, she wanted to let other parents know how easy and stress-free mealtimes with babies and young children can be. She lives in London with her partner and their daughter, now aged three.

Baby Led Weaning Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food


Singapore's 1st Subscription-Based
Toy Rental Service

We used toy rental services mainly to try out expensive and/or bulky items before deciding if we wanted to purchase for long-term use as we felt that the rents do not always do justice to the cost price of a toy as well as having to deal with the inconvenience of having to collect and return the rented item or pay delivery charges.

However, our interest was piqued when we received an email advertising a subscription-based toy rental service that included free delivery and collection of toys. Baby J was only 6 months old then so we decided to KIV this service. When he was 9 months old, we felt that he was bored with his existing collection of toys but didn’t know which new ones to buy; hence we embarked upon a 3-month trial period with Toys-A-Month.

We signed up for the basic package which provides 3 toy credits per month for $48. That means, that we could have either 3 toys worth 1 credit each, 2 toys worth a combined 3 credits or just 1 large toy worth 3 credits. Furthermore, we could either select the toys by adding them to an online wish list or leave it to Toys-A-Month to propose a selection of toys. Families with more than 1 child will probably find the Silver or Gold packages with 5 and 6 credits respectively a good deal.

Compared to some toy rental companies (which do not operate on a subscription basis), Toys-A-Month’s selection of toys is limited. However, since we joined, we’ve noticed that they’ve added quite a large selection of new toys so we assume that the lack of variety is due to the fact that they are still a fairly new business (which translates to the advantage of having rather new toys!).

Now into our 4th month, we’ve been very pleased with their service and outcome. We don’t know if it’s baby J or us parents who anticipate the new toys more! The toys are always delivered cleaned and in good condition. Where possible, they are shrink wrapped to keep them in their pristine state.

Towards the end of each month, we will receive an email arranging a mutually convenient collection/delivery date and time and the proposed toys for the upcoming exchange. If we prefer to have other toys, Toys-A-Month tries its best to co-ordinate other members’ rental schedules unless the toy has been reserved by someone else. When we did not know what to select, Toys-A-Month will revert with appropriate suggestions. If baby J doesn’t like the toys of the month, we could get an exchange by paying a $15 transportation fee. However, we have never exercised this option as baby J always had at least 2 toys of which at least one will capture his interest for the next 3 to 4 weeks. Thus far, it has also helped us to figure out what types of toys suit baby J’s interests and developmental stage when we would like to buy him something.

Toys-A-Month also responds promptly to feedback. The first delivery coincided with baby J’s nap and the door bell woke him up. Since we informed them, the delivery person has always sent a SMS to inform us that he is on the way so he can find out whether it was convenient to use the door bell. It’s a small matter, but such a gesture means a lot to a mom who struggles with naps almost everyday.

We will certainly continue using this service indefinitely. Even if we could afford to buy every single toy available for baby J, living in land- scarce Singapore where apartments are becoming smaller means that we have to resort to creative toy storage methods. It will also save us the hassle of having to discard or sell toys that baby J has outgrown - and we all know how quickly that happens!!