Eczema help: Creams, supplements, and prayers

First of all, no single magic cream is going solve our fiery eczema problems. Not even if it is named Egyptian Magic Cream (which I love for Lil Pea’s itchy, raw skin, by the way).

Topical Steroid Withdrawal, also known as Red Skin Syndrome and Topical Steroid Addiction, is real. Most mainstream doctors don’t believe this, but the National Eczema Association in America recently formed task force to conduct a scientific study published in 2015. It shows up as red hot itchy skin – weepy and raw or dry and scaly.

Burning, stinging, and bright red skin are the typical features of topical steroid overuse and withdrawal. The signs and symptoms occur within days to weeks after TCS discontinuation. – National Eczema Association

What works for Lil Pea may not work for you – because your skin is different, your diet is different, your allergies are different, and the way you react to foods and products is different.

Even the products that used to work for him during the earlier stages of the flare-up may not work in later stages of the flare cycle, or so many other TSW (Topical Steroid Withdrawal) sufferers have told me.

If you want to stop using steroids, be prepared for what is to come. It isn’t pretty, it’s really tough and painful, and it will take a long time to heal. But you will heal – slowly, but surely. Like what happened to Lil Pea, who had red, raw, weepy skin or the Red Skin Syndrome.

Here are some of the products which helped him, including moisturisers, ointments, and supplements.

The bottom-line is this: Healing the gut is more important than any cream we can apply. Creams and ointments are like band-aids, they soothe the itch, calm the redness, let you sleep better, or even disinfect. In some cases, some applications are necessary to help treat staph infections, for example.

But most importantly, you have to heal the root cause – which is the immunity system. It resides in the gut; and research shows that eczema has links to leaky gut syndrome (see this article with references to medical research). Leaky gut is more serious than the funny name it has, by the way.

For ointments, moisturisers and creams. I’ve tried SO MANY products, scrambling to buy this and that and spending a fortune to find creams and ointments that are:

  • Anti-itch
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Highly moisturising
  • Not stinging to skin

And I had to figure out what cream or ointment was suitable at different stages of the flare-up, or for a different ailment. It’s important to moisturise well and often, 5-8 times a day even, to help re-create the natural skin barrier that is sorely lacking in eczema patients’ skin. Dry skin can also lead to a itching and flare-up. Little wonder they call eczema the “itch that scratches” – the itching is actually activated by scratching. Once you start scratching, you can’t stop, and the flare-up gets worse.

Lotion, cream, ointment – in order of long-lasting moisturising, lotion is the least because it’s water-based. But ointments or balms tend to be occlusive, which could make it really hot and unbreathable for the skin (and make the flare-up worse), so watch out for that, especially if you live in conditions similar to the tropical climate of Singapore.

We were at our wits’ end, didn’t know what to do, and could only pray that God would heal our son. And God is good. I hope this guide will help you or your child. Press on, healing will come!

CREAM/OINTMENT GUIDE

Moogoo Eczema and Psoriasis Cream

Also known as Moogoo Irritable Skin Balm in retail shops in Singapore. I bought it online from Moogoo Australia, because it’s cheaper even with shipping thrown in.

Lil Pea used their new improved version with marshmallow and elderberry, but Moogoo also offers their original version for customers who didn’t want to switch to a new product.

The cream has the consistency of a lotion, and feels cool when applied on skin. It doesn’t sting even raw, weepy wounds. At least, not for Lil Pea, who was vocal enough to tell me every time a particular cream or lotion hurt his raw skin.

After I wrote to Moogoo Australia, they explained to me that their Eczema cream worked more as a soothing balm than a moisturiser. They recommended this as the first layer on the skin, followed by a thicker cream like their MSM Soothing Cream.

Effects: Helps with itch, calms irritated skin, does not sting, light consistency.

MSM Soothing Cream

Although this cream came highly recommended by other TSW sufferers in the Facebook group which I’m part of, it didn’t quite work for Lil Pea.

In fact, he told me that it stung his raw skin. But he was fine with this cream after his skin had healed.

Which goes to show, what works for someone else may not work for you. What did not used to work for you could likely work well in the future. So don’t rule out anything.

According to Moogoo Australia, this is supposed to be applied as a second layer on top of their Eczema cream. This has a really thick consistency, and the moisturising power lasts well.

Effects: Stings raw skin, helps with skin barrier, very moisturising, thick consistency

Moogoo Nappy Balm

If the skin is raw and weepy, and oozing, the first step is to dry up the ooze first. This nappy balm has high zinc oxide (15%). Now, it seems strange to use diaper cream for face and body, but this nappy balm is key to healing and drying up wet wounds during the weepy phase.

Read this study done on healing wounds using topical zinc. When Lil Pea was going through the oozy phase, his skin was really red and hot and itchy, plus the open wounds hurt. This cream cools down the hot skin. Lil Pea really liked it whenever I put this on him, followed by calendula balm or Egyptian magic cream.

I follow a rule of thumb – if the wounds get too wet and oozy, I don’t moisturise those parts. Instead, I slather on this diaper balm instead, to dry it up. The skin turns flaky (which is fine and part of healing). When the oozing is gone, you have to moisturise very well again.

Effects: Dries up oozy skin, cools and soothes down hot skin, speeds up healing

Egyptian Magic Cream

Pity about the name. For people who are unfamiliar with this, it sounds like snake oil or a Hogwarts potion. But hey, Hollywood actress Kate Hudson says it’s her go-to skincare!

When Lil Pea’s dad first saw the jar’s label, he made a sound that seemed something inbetween a snort and a “tch”.

But don’t diss this cream. It works wonders. It’s very moisturising and lasts long, and has the consistency of an ointment. But it doesn’t feel gluggy or occlusive, and is absorbed well into the skin (yup I used it on my face as well). And most importantly, it does not sting.

It helped Lil Pea with itching, and I would slather it on even parts that had open wounds because it has antibacterial properties. When he has this cream on, I noticed that he scratched less.

When it’s time for moisturising, Lil Pea will point to say approvingly, “This! This!”

The little boy recognises immediately the creams that sting his skin and says “Noooooo! Don’t want!” if I even made a move towards that tube or bottle.

Effects: Anti-itch, anti-bacterial, emollient, does not sting raw skin, absorbed well, highly moisturising, ointment consistency

Four Cow Farm Calendula Remedy

I love the way this balm simply melts like an oil as I rub it between my hands, just before I apply it onto Lil Pea’s skin.

It’s ultra-moisturising, and smells pleasantly of calendula flowers – it has the healing flower’s signature golden yellow hue, too.

Needless to say, it is one of my favourites right alongside Egyptian Magic Cream.

In the night, before tucking him to bed, this goes onto his skin all over, so that the air-conditioning doesn’t dry out his skin.

This balm also serves to calm down his irritated skin.

Since it’s so very moisturising, this works very well on skin that has become very dry and flaky.

When it’s time for moisturising, Lil Pea will also point to this and say approvingly, “This! This!”

See my other post for more on Four Cow Farm’s products and to score a promo code for your purchase!

Effects: Does not sting raw skin, absorbed very well, ultra-moisturising, emollient, ointment consistency that melts into skin

Madre Magic Cream

Its ingredient list is very similar to Egyptian Magic Cream’s. In fact, on US online store iHerb.com, Madre Magic has replaced Egyptian Magic Cream.

It was with some trepidation that I tried Madre Magic on Lil Pea, after much success with the tried-and-tested Egyptian Magic Cream.

I’m glad to report that it did no ill harm to Lil Pea, in fact, it went very well.

The consistency of Madre Magic is softer than Egyptian Magic’s balm, and it is well absorbed too. In fact, it one-ups Egyptian Magic Cream with its inclusion of manuka honey. That, and Madre’s olive oil and beeswax are organic.

Effects: Very moisturising, does not sting, emollient, antibacterial, anti-itch, well-absorbed

Ingredients: Olive (Olea europaea) Fruit Oil*, Beeswax (cera alba)*, New Zealand Manuka Honey, Bee Pollen Extract, Royal Jelly, Bee Propolis Extract, Glycerin (Plant-Derived), Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Tocopherol (Non-GMO).

*Certified Organic Ingredient

BATH SOAKS

Rooibos tea

Rooibos or African red bush tea is highly anti-inflammatory. High in quercetin, this helps quells flare-ups, reduce itch, and cool down hot skin. Use it as a bath soak, bottle it in a spray to mist on skin, or make a cool compress with a face towel and leave on skin. Make sure bath water is just lukewarm, never hot. Hot water makes eczema skin flare up worse.

Put a few bags of rooibos tea in bath (the longer the better for higher quercetin content in the water). Have a long soak. There’s no need to rinse, just towel or pat skin dry. This calmed Lil Pea’s skin a lot.

Can be used at any stage of TSW (Topical asteroid Withdrawal) or eczema – weepy, red, itchy, dry, scaly.

Effects: Does not sting, reduces itch, calms down skin, cools and soothes hot skin

Pink Himalayan sea salt bath soak

Very good for raw, weepy skin and open wounds. Reduces itch, calms down skin, and most importantly, it’s anti-bacterial. It’s important to ensure raw, open wounds don’t get infected.

Not all salts are equal. Choose a sea salt that’s high in minerals and nutrients, as the skin will absorb these transdermally, which aids in healing. I use pink Himalayan sea salt.

Start with small amounts first. I used about 1/8 cup (think baking cups) in a baby bathtub. Soak for about 10min, and rinse well. Rinse very well.

This sea salt soak will sting a little at first, but after a while, the soothing and anti-itch benefits will be felt, and it gets quite enjoyable. Can be used also as a cool compress using a face towel.

Use only during the raw, oozing phase of eczema or TSW.

Effects: Anti-bacterial, anti-itch, soothing

Jo Lauren Colloidal Oatmeal Bath Bags

This silky bath soak really worked for his itching. His red raw skin would immediately calm down to a light pink, after a good 10-15min soak.

Colloidal oatmeal, which is simply oatmeal ground into a fine powder, is known for its moisturising properties and ability to calm irritated skin. You can find it in  many skincare products.

Lil Pea used Jo Lauren’s Colloidal Oatmeal Bath Bags with Organic Calendula and Chamomile.

Remember to use lukewarm or almost-cool water. Hot water will make the skin flare up and itch even more.

After his usual bath routine – all over body cleanser, then rinsing with water – he will step into his bath tub and soak it up.

I even use the little wet oatmeal satchets and gently pat it all over his face and upper torso, to get the moisturising goodness on his skin.

It feels silky and creamy to the touch; squeeze, and more of the good stuff will come out.

SUPPLEMENTS

*I will update this section soon

Olivaforte

LactoGG Probiotics

Lifespace Probiotics from Australia – multi-strain probiotics

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/27/new-research-shows-poorly-understood-leaky-gut-syndrome-is-real-may-be-the-cause-of-several-diseases.html

Advertisements

Day Out With Kids In Thomson

Day Out With Kids In Thomson

The Thomson area has one of the oldest and longest roads in Singapore, fringed by lots of green on either side. It is named for a Scotsman who helped build roads into the interior of the island back in the 1840s and 1850s.

But this is no fuddy-duddy neighbourhood with only tropical foliage and sleepy shophouses for company. The neigbourhood has room for young families who want to eat, play and chill.

Made up of three parts – Thomson Road, Old Upper Thomson Road and Upper Thomson Road – this long stretch of road is home to some gems your kids will love, including chic eats and creative play spots.

One Man Coffee

One Man Coffee

You don’t want to be late for brunch at One Man Coffee. The rows and rows of chairs outside the cafe are there for good reason.

Slightly past 11 am on a weekday and a queue was already forming outside.

If you somehow can’t seem to find the cafe, it is helpful to know that One Man Coffee shares premises with the Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar.

The space is small – but charming in an indie sort of way – and it can accommodate perhaps a high chair or two at the most. But if you can jig up a spot, you’ll be seated at the popular rustic wooden tables with long benches – especially if you are with a big group – in cool air-conditioned comfort.

Kids will love eating from the wooden slab, where the tomatoes will roll around (and off) like crazy marbles, and makes you feel you’re eating off a chopping board. Hungry ones can go for the Big Brekkie ($12), with six-minute-cooked eggs, roasted cherry tomatoes, spinach, and ham on sourdough bread. In fact, they’ll happily whip up a small tot-sized set at your request too. A simple extra order of egg and roasted tomatoes for your kid will set you back only $3.

Also, don’t miss the Gashouse Egg with Bacon Jam ($10), which is One Man Coffee’s version of Toad-in-the-hole.

You’ll be happy to know that they serve up a complimentary babycino for kids! (But only when they are not crazy busy; and you might have to ask.)

One Man Coffee
Address: 215R Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574349
Opening Hours: Monday: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm, Wednesday – Sunday: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm

Read more, for the full list of places you can take your kids in Thomson.

Oodles of fun,

The full story first appeared in Little Day Out, where I’m a contributor. Little Day Out is an online resource dedicated to curating the best of Singapore for families with young children, including kid-friendly places, events and activities.

Sili Squeeze Giveaway Contest Winners

IMG_1736.JPG

Announcing the winners of Stardust&Bloom’s first contest! Two Sili Squeeze reusable food squeezes, sponsored by PrettyMums.

IMG_1734.JPG

The Best Kid-friendly Places in Tiong Bahru

The old and the new nestle snugly next to each other in Tiong Bahru. Hip cafes and swanky boutiques lounge easily side-by-side, against the backdrop of iconic conservation buildings.

One of the oldest housing estates in Singapore, the neighbourhood was built in the 1930s.

Now, neo-gentrified Tiong Bahru is also home to chic resto-cafes and upmarket shops where people – yes, even the little ones – can have some playful chomp and romp.

Come on, let’s have a little day out on foot with our kewpies and eat, browse, and play!

Nana & Bird

Nana & Bird

Both mummy and bub can have a good time at Nana and Bird Kids. Chic wear and accessories for mum, and hip apparel for children. Everyone goes home happy.

And oh, harried mummies will love the spacious – and safe – play area strewn with lovely toys to occupy the kids while the adults shop.

Bop around on a larger-than-life sized leather rabbit, muck around with click-clack wooden toys, or simply play make-believe with silly hats and weave in and out of the Alice in Wonderland-esque colour-block fitting rooms. We didn’t really feel like leaving either. 

Nana & Bird was started by two best friends Nana (Georgina) and Bird (Chiew Ling). The carefully curated multi-label store carries apparel and accessories such as Los Angeles-based Building Blocks, and funky homeware such as Heinui from France and British brand Falcon Enamelware.

Nana & Bird Kids, a recent offshoot of the original brand, features refreshing, edgy designs by labels like Singapore-owned Cavalier and Swedish brand Mini Rodini.

Nana & Bird Kids (Eng Hoon)
59 Eng Hoon Street, #01-65, Singapore 160059
Tuesdays – Fridays: 12.00 pm – 7.00 pm
Saturdays – Sundays: 11.00 am – 7.00 pm 

Read more, for the full list of places to visit.

Oodles of fun,

The full story first appeared in Little Day Out, where I’m a contributor. Little Day Out is an online resource dedicated to curating the best of Singapore for families with young children, including kid-friendly places, events and activities.

Dos and Don’ts of Baby Led Weaning (And 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make)

In a nutshell, here’s a list of things to watch out for when doing BLW.

These guidelines are from Gill Rapley, the author of the book Baby-Led Weaning. I didn’t always follow these dos and don’ts religiously – of course I have tried to hurry him a little by putting food into his mouth (we’re late for church!), and he doesn’t always eat whenever the family is eating (yeah, I know, so contrary to BLW, how dare we! But it works for us).

But some of these things ring true – for instance, keep trying to offer food which baby rejects at first. Best advice ever.

It takes Lil Pea some time to accept certain foods, which is more the exception than the rule, cos he LOVES food – but he comes around and starts eating a previously-rejected food after a few tries. It can take more than 10 tries over several months for a baby to accept a new food.

Giving up too early is one of the common food mistakes that parents can make, according to a nutritionist in a New York Times report.

What are some other food mistakes?

Forcing baby to eat – it will make him associate mealtimes with stress and anxiety, rather than discovery… and other good things.

See the other common food mistakes in the report.

Tip: When it comes to veggies, why not cook or toss them with some fat eg. butter, coconut oil, olive oil? Not only does this make them tastier, it also helps unlock their fat-soluble nutrients. Dress up your veggies and take them to town!

In another post, I talked about some of the myths of baby-led weaning, including parents’ anxieties over whether baby will choke. And if he ever does choke, I’ve included a handy video on first aid for a choking baby. 

Righto, and here’s the guide of Dos and Don’ts of BLW by Gill Rapley!
 

DOs & DON’Ts OF BLW

1. DO offer your baby the chance to participate whenever anyone else in the family is eating. You can begin to do this as soon as he shows an interest in watching you, although he is unlikely to be ready to put food in his mouth until he is about six months old.

2. DO ensure that your baby is supported in an upright position while he is experimenting with food. In the early days you can sit him on your lap, facing the table. Once he is beginning to show skill at picking food up he will almost certainly be mature enough to sit, with minimal support, in a high chair.

3. DO start by offering foods that are baby-fist-sized, preferably chip-shaped (i.e., with a ‘handle’). As far as possible, and provided they are suitable, offer him the same foodsthat you are eating, so that he feels part of what is going on.

4. DO offer a variety of foods. There is no need to limit your baby’s experience with foodany more than you do with toys.

5. DON’T hurry your baby. Allow him to direct the pace of what he is doing. In particular, don’t be tempted to ‘help’ him by putting things in his mouth for him.

6. DON’T expect your baby to eat any food on the first few occasions. Once he has discovered that these new toys taste nice, he will begin to chew and, later, to swallow.

7. DON’T expect a young baby to eat all of each piece of food at first – remember that he won’t yet have developed the ability to get at food which is inside his fist.

8. DO try rejected foods again later – babies often change their minds and later accept foods they originally turned down.

9. DON’T leave your baby on his own with food.

10. DON’T offer foods which present an obvious danger, such as peanuts.

11. DON’T offer ‘fast’ foods, ready meals or foods that have added salt or sugar.

12. DO offer water from a cup but don’t worry if your baby shows no interest in it. A breastfed baby, in particular, is likely to continue for some time to get all the drinks he needs from the breast.

13. DO be prepared for the mess! A clean plastic sheet on the floor under the high chair will protect your carpet and make clearing up easier. It will also enable you to give back foods that have been dropped, so that less is wasted. (You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your baby learns to eat with very little mess!)

14. DO continue to allow your baby to breastfeed whenever he wants, for as long as hewants. Expect his feeding pattern to change as he starts to eat more solid foods.

15. If you have a family history of food intolerance, allergy or digestive problems, DO discuss this method of weaning with your health advisers before embarking on it.

16. Finally, DO enjoy watching your baby learn about food – and develop his skills with his hands and mouth in the process!

Easy Roasted Cajun Chicken With Hearty Veg

Serves 2

What’s easier than a one-tray bake?

For busy mums who want to avoid slaving at the stove (more time for baby!), here’s a hearty recipe that allows you to chuck the tray into your oven and go play with your baby. I serve the first half for baby’s lunch and keep the second portion for his dinner either in a Thermos food jar, or in the fridge to be reheated.

Since cooking for baby involves no salt or sugar, adding spices and lemon will ramp up the flavours and make your tastebuds ZING!

No chilli involved!

Ingredients
2 chicken drumsticks (preferably free range or Sakura chicken or probiotic-fed)
2 small purple sweet potatoes (red or Japanese is fine)
One small potato
Half a small eggplant
Florets of broccoli
3 cloves of garlic, lightly bashed
1 onion, quartered
Half a lemon
Virgin coconut oil or light olive oil

Spices
Paprika
Basil or oregano, dried or fresh
Thyme, dried or fresh
Turmeric powder

Method
Wash, peel and cut all the potatoes into cubes or a size your baby can handle. In a baking tray, add the onion,  garlic, eggplant and broccoli, then lay the chicken drumsticks on top, with skin on.

Toss everything with a drizzle of oil, and coat well. Then add the spices.

Tip: You can be generous with paprika, basil and thyme, but go easy on the turmeric. It’s bitter. But it lends a lovely warm colour to this dish, and depth of flavour. Also, turmeric is healthy and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Zest half a lemon onto the chicken, and squeeze some of the juice onto the meat. Rub the oil, spice, and lemon mixture into the chicken with your hands.

Now, remove the eggplant and broccoli from the tray and set aside.

Then rearrange all the veg into a single layer to cook evenly, and let the chicken sit on top.

Tip: If you have time, let the marinade sit on the chicken and veg for a while. If you don’t have time, it doesn’t matter. It will still taste good, which is the beauty of this one tray bake.

Chuck the tray into the oven for 45min. Turn the chicken halfway through the cooking time. If the veg looks dry or it’s burning up, add a splash of water. Cool or hot water is fine. I like my veg moist (as opposed to crispy on the outside) so I always add water halfway through the cooking time. This is a nice little tip from Jamie Oliver.

Add the eggplant and broccoli back to the tray for the last 10min of cooking. It takes less time for these veg to cook, so you don’t want to burn them.

I disovered this wonderful (and easy) way of cooking broccoli by trying it out. I used to steam broccoli all the time. Baking broccoli makes it taste like the Mediterranean way of grilling veg; it’s beautiful.

When the meal is done in the oven, stab the chicken with a fork and check if the juices run clear. If so, the chicken is cooked. If the juices are pink, chuck it back into the oven for 5 min more.

Tip: But if you need to cook the chicken further, don’t forget to remove the broccoli and eggplant from the tray first – cos 10min of cooking is about all they can bear!

When done, leave the tray of food to cool.

Tip: This also allows the chicken to rest – this means you give the meat time to re-absorb the juices and makes for tender, juicy meat. Otherwise when you bite or cut into the meat, most of the juices will flow out.

Sili Squeeze reusable food pouch for mess-free self-feeding: Babies, tots, kids [Giveaway+Review]

I’m always on the lookout for things that would make going out easy.

Alright, easier.

The Sili Squeeze promises mess-free self-feeding for babies, and also a healthy snack option for older kids. Yummy veg and fruit smoothies on a hot day!

So you don’t have to buy expensive ready-made food pouches – now you can make your own healthy, snacks or meals to go.

Founded by a mum in US, The Sili Company makes two versions: The original Sili Squeeze that’s spill-proof, and the newer Sili Squeeze with Eeze that’s free-flow. And each version comes in three sizes: 2oz (60ml), 4oz (120ml), and 6oz (180ml) – and four colours.

I found the Sili Squeeze after trawling through reviews of all kinds of food pouches. See this for a quick overview of the types of food pouches in the market.

The good people at Prettymums.com sent me both the spill-proof Sili Squeeze ($27.90) and free-flow Sili Squeeze with Eeze ($29.90) versions in size 180ml (60z) to review. Here’s the low-down.

What I like about the Sili:

1) Non-toxic material. Silicone is better than BPA-free plastic, because even BPA-free plastic can degrade and leach chemicals.

2) Can stand on its own, much like a bottle – no single-handed fumbling when I’m pouring a smoothie into the squeeze pouch. Most food pouches can’t do this.

3) Wide opening for ease of pouring. Sili Squeeze functions just like a bottle, so you just need a funnel to pour your smoothie in. Some food pouches have fumbly ziplock closures at the base, which sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, especially with repeated use.

4) Easy to clean, disassemble and assemble. No fiddly parts or hard-to-reach nooks and crannies that could grow mould.

Things to watch out for:

1) The Sili Squeeze and the Sili Squeeze with Eeze have different spouts. The original spill-proof version is great for mess-free self feeding, but it could take your child some time to master getting anything out of the pouch.

2) From what I’ve observed of Lil Pea – and I’ve even tried it myself – you need to combine sucking and gnawing to release the leak-proof opening of the spout. I wouldn’t complain about it, because you get what you ask for – it’s leak-proof, which means liquids don’t get out so easily.

3) Lil Pea got the hang of it after a while. But take note that it’s better to use the original spill-proof Sili Squeeze for thinner smoothies or purees which are more liquid.

4) For thicker breakfast smoothies – with chunky ingredients like oats, for example – use the free-flow Sili Squeeze with Eeze. It’s targeted at older kids who want a healthy, easy snack on the go. But if you want to use this with a younger baby, the little one will need help from you. Otherwise you will have a squirting good time (cleaning up) during breakfast!

Tip: To keep your smoothie cold on a day out – freeze a smoothie in your Sili Squeeze and chuck it into the freezer overnight.

Take it out just before going out with your child, and it will thaw nicely in a few hours into a yummy, cold smoothie. Works the same if you want to use the Sili for a pureed meal for baby; just warm it up in hot water before serving it to baby.

Recipes

Here are some recipes I whipped up for Lil Pea; really quick and easy.

 

Avocado and Berry Breakfast Smoothie

Fills one 6 oz. Sili Squeeze (more suitable for Sili Squeeze with Eeze)

80ml plain Greek yogurt or milk or formula

2 Tbsp instant oats, stirred into 20ml hot water

Half a ripe avocado

4 strawberries

Put everything into a blender and blend well till you get a smooth consistency – about 20 seconds. Add a sprig of mint before blending for a nice, refreshing zing.

 

Avocado and Banana Blast

Fills one 6 oz. Sili Squeeze (suitable for both spill-proof and free-flow)

100ml plain Greek yogurt or milk or formula

Half a ripe avocado

Half a banana

Mash the avocado and banana with a fork into the yogurt/milk and mix well. You can use your blender for smoother results; but mashing with a fork is fine, too. Add a dash of ground cinnamon and nutmeg before mixing, if you like, for adventurous taste buds.

Avocados are rich in folate (healthy cells and tissues) and potassium (metabolism and healthy bodily function) and are a good source of Vitamin K (clots blood). They are also full of Omega-3 and -6 goodness. Strawberries are chock-full of antioxidants. Bananas are creamy and give an energy boost, and Lil Pea looooves them. (“Nana! Nana! NANA!!!” he insists on having a banana every time he lays his eyes on one)

More yummy Sili Squeeze recipes here.

This is not a paid review, and the opinions here are entirely my own.

 

SILI SQUEEZE GIVEAWAY

Stardust&Bloom is giving away ONE Sili Squeeze original and ONE Sili Squeeze with Eeze. Click below to enter the contest, sponsored by Prettymums.com.

 

 

 

Myths about Baby Led Weaning

 
I wondered about many things when I was considering whether to let Lil Pea go down the Baby Led Weaning route. Will he choke? Will he eat enough? Will BLW really prevent fussy eaters? Will he be really handsome when he grows up?
 

Answers, please!

Our entire family has really enjoyed BLW with Lil Pea. But of course there are some days where he wolfs down everything and asks for more – and other days where he doesn't feel like eating so much. Just like any adult, really.

So, whether – and how – you adopt BLW is a personal choice based on what you think is best for you baby and your family. You know your baby best! Don't let judgey people get you down.
 

See my other post for an overview of our Baby Led Weaning journey.

Here are some of the common anxieties for parents considering Baby Led Weaning. I will update this list if I think of more!

Baby might choke.

Don't mistake gagging for choking.

In young babies, the gag reflex is very far forward on the tongue (so that baby will spit out food that is too large or goes down too quickly).

When baby is gagging, let him sort it out himself. It's a life skill, like pooping in the toilet and chasing girls. He will get better at it.

What you can do is fight the rising panic and try to look calm, while mentally running the baby Heimlich maneuver in your head. When I first started BLW I was always on the alert for possible choking!

Lil Pea actually choked only once, from being over-enthusiastic about a huge chunk of raw apple at 7 months. I did the baby Heimlich (see below) and it worked. He wasn't afraid, he didn't cry, and went back to the offending apple without missing a best.

Since then, he's learnt and always spat out pieces of food too large to swallow or too difficult to chew. A tip is to steam hard foods lightly to soften them.

See the latest guidelines on choking and infant resuscitation. You can also learn from the videos by Sky News and UK National Health Service on how to help a choking child, and how to perform baby Heimlich.

Parents will need this basic first aid knowledge anyway, as baby becomes more mobile and starts putting things in his mouth.

Alright, back to your gagging baby.

When baby is gagging, he will splutter noisily while trying to spit out the food. When he is actually really choking, you will know – there is almost no sound at all because baby can't breathe, and the face and lips will start turning blue. He will try to cough out the dislodged item.

If you hear gagging noises, baby is fine.

Stay calm, wait a bit, then help him dislodge what's stuck in his airway using the method above.

The idea with BLW is that he will learn to chew, spit and swallow.

 

The cleaning up will kill you.

Yes, it might. Is this something you're prepared to do?

Anyway, having a baby is a lot of cleaning up, whether you are doing BLW or not.

I spent my mornings cleaning Lil Pea up, changing him into fresh clothes, and cleaning up his high chair, the floor, and the surrounding environment. That's after cooking his breakfast, just before I went to work.

Just like changing diapers 20,000 times a day, you get used to it.

 

Baby can't digest large pieces of food.

It's true, he has no teeth. But he can gum foods like steamed apples and carrots and even meats. When he's happily gumming food, it means that he's scraping small bits off – so don't sweat it.

Lil Pea never had tummy troubles even when feeding himself strips of meat.

It was just slightly disturbing to see food in huge chunks in his poop, almost the same way they went in. But that was soon resolved as his digestive system matured.

As he grows older, his chewing skills will become better, and his young intestines will also get better at digesting, so don't worry.

 

Baby will not become a picky eater.

Nothing can guarantee your baby won't become a fussy eater. Babies change all the time. Toddlers, especially, are likely to go through a phase of refusing foods.

What BLW does is that it sets the stage for better eating habits. If meal times are not a battleground but a place of fun and exploration, it makes things easier in future for the baby and the parent.

A study by Dr Ellen Townsend and her colleague suggests that babies on BLW have lower BMI while babies on the weaning style of spoonfeeding have a higher incidence of obesity. But picky eating? Not that much difference.

A more recent study by Sonya Cameron and her colleagues shows that while health professionals are hesitant to recommend BLW, parents have been reporting good experiences with BLW, in this first paper to include interviews with health professionals.

I suppose you can ask me again when Lil Pea goes into the terrible twos when food fussiness kicks in (here are some tips to combat fussy eating), but BLW has been brilliant for us and our entire family had so much fun with Lil Pea.

 

 

 

 

Oven-roasted Chicken with Curried Pumpkin [Recipe]

So I whipped up some lunch for Lil Pea, with spices and herbs he likes. Yes, a custom job! And no, there isn’t chilli.

Just let me say this – this is YUMMY. Heh. #humblebrag

Using the oven and electric steamer are top choices for me, because it means I don’t have to slave at the stove. Who wants to do that when there are diapers that need changing and little boys who need dancing?! Chuck it in to cook and literally forget about it.

I use fusili that’s made of brown rice and quinoa from iHerb for a more nutritious and gluten-free option. My organic spices and herbs are from the same place. (You can save $5-$10 off your first order from iherb by using this promo code LGF536 at checkout. Shipping to Singapore is only $4 up to 6.3kg. Worst kept secret in Sg, I gather!)  Continue reading

Lookback: The First Year

Some of my friends call my son Ah Huat.

I think it’s because he is so blessed, and gives us much joy. (And also because when I was pregnant with him, I was able to flag down cabs without waiting and win prizes in contests.)

Here are some of his milestones – including daddy’s thoughts – in his first year that I want to ink into digital memory.

Continue reading