Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fashionista's Book Review: French Children Don't Throw Food

I had the opportunity of reading this book before I gave birth. It was recommended by my pal Farhah, and since I was kinda gung-ho about the whole mothering thing (truth be told, I've never thought of myself as a motherly type of person, and even now that I have a baby, I still don't think I have evolved to a motherly kind of person) I decided to give the book a try. 

I would have to admit, this is among one of the most fun parenting books that I've ever read. It's funny and witty and it's written in a way that makes it easy to relate to (and I don't even have kids yet at that time so it was good to be able to understand the mechanics of parenting before they actually make their appearance).

What I love about the book is that it shares the personal experience of the writer in bringing up her own daughter (and later twins). She shares what she has been through; the sleepless nights, the crying, not knowing what to do etcetera etcetera.

So far I have actually implemented a few things in the book that I find to be really useful. Before I continue, do take note that each baby is unique in his or her own way, therefore what works for me might not work for you.

The first thing that we tried was the 'pause and observe' technique. The writer noted that most French parents would observe the habits and behavior of their infants/ babies/ kids in order to know the cues that the babies are sending to them. It took us (me and hubs) awhile to get to know our baby better but this technique is really helpful in helping us determine whether our baby is crying because she is hungry (or still hungry even after a feeding session), wants her diaper to be changed, is sleepy, has tummy pain/ gassy, wants to be burped or simply wants to be hugged. Although there are times where we can't understand why she's crying but those times are far and few in between.

The second technique that we tried is to 'let the baby cry'. There are times when we do feel that it's quite exasperating where we have tried everything we can to calm the baby down but she's still crying so we do let her cry for awhile. This technique has been really helpful in getting the baby to establish her nightly sleeping pattern (since she was one month old she's been sleeping her nights well with only one or maybe no feeding in between). However this is one practice that we very seldom do simply because we believe that most of the time the baby cries for a reason but sometimes this technique is necessary in establishing new habits/ patterns with the baby.

There are many other techniques and methods as mentioned by the writer but I am definitely not going to share them here because I want you to go out and get the book. It's definitely a life saver for a first time mom (like me) and it really helped me to see how I can manage my journey towards becoming a good mother (I don't aim to be a perfect mom, just a good one, good in my own unique way). I would have to say that it helped me to become calmer in handling a wailing baby.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Fashionista's Review: Philips Avent Sterilizer 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer

This is the one item that hub's colleague, Sharina said is an absolute must-buy in terms of baby gadget. Although initially after I bought the sterilizer, I seem to be doing a lot of direct latch to the baby (i.e. feeding the baby directly from the breast) I began to question my purchase. However, now that the baby is almost 3 months old (time definitely flies) and feeding both from the breast and also from the bottle, the sterilizer is definitely a godsend.

There are several different types of sterilizer from Avent (and they cost differently too) but we decided to settle on this one because we can simply put all of the baby bottles etc into the sterilizer, make sure that the base is filled with about 100 ml of water and press the blue button to start sterilizing.

Here's a photo of how the sterilizer looks like. 

It's called 3-in-1 because there are three ways in which you can use this sterilizer, but normally I use it with both top and bottom parts. What made me question my purchase in the initial days post birth was that you can actually sterilize all your baby bottles etc by putting them in a container and pouring hot water into it. Now that the number of items needing to be sterilized have increased (I normally sterilize three 4 oz baby bottles with teats and all, a manual breast pump and seven Avent via cups for me to put my expressed milk) I find that using the sterilizer is really a convenient way of helping me make sure that all the items that needs to be sterilized gets sterilized. Do take note that in order to make sure that your bottles and such gets sterilized, you need to make sure that there's enough room for the steam to reach the insides of your bottle/ teat/ bottle cap if your stacking them in the sterilizer.

I usually use the sterilizer once every two or three days (after one round of using all the baby bottles etc). My preferred time would be at night before I go to bed at night because that would ensure that I have the bottles all sterilized and ready for use the next morning and the sterilizer and the bottles in it has cooled down (I did once open the top of the sterilizer post a sterilizing session and almost scalded my hand). I decided on Philips Avent simply because I am using their bottles and pump but I am sure that other sterilizers would also be able to do the job with the same level of efficiency.

To mummies out there who are contemplating on whether to get a sterilizer or not (whether your breastfeeding or bottle feeding), a sterilizer will definitely be a time saver. Unless of course, you decide to direct latch your baby all the way. To find out more on this product, you can go directly to Philip Avent's website [here].

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Halal Food in Phnom Penh

I was supposed to complete this post last year after my trip to Phnom Penh in September. Unfortunately, it's been left gathering dust since I came back. So here's a compilation of the halal food outlets in Phnom Penh that we found.

There are a number of halal outlets in Phnom Penh, and due to their dispersed location, it is quite difficult for one to vary the restaurants that one visits. We ended up visiting only three restaurants.

First up, Mamak's Corner. This restaurant is pretty easy to find because it is located near to Phsar Thmei. It's located at a very busy street, Street Kramun Sor and I guess it's one of those streets that you have to pass through in Phnom Penh because we seem to be passing by this restaurant a few times a day. They serve local Malay cuisine and if you're missing Malaysian food, it would probably be a good idea for you to drop by. On our visit To Mamak's Corner, we found that they serve what we call Nasi Campur here in Sarawak or Nasi Kandar in Semenanjung Malaysia. It basically means that they serve a number of pre-prepared food on a long table and you can pick and choose which dish you want to go with your rice. Unfortunately for me, being a lover of authentic Malaysian food, despite their efforts in preparing and serving Malaysian food, I find that the taste is a bit lacking but it's not that bad (although I still prefer food that is made and served in Malaysia, if you get what I mean). If you're interested to drop by or know more on the restaurant, you can access their website [here]. 

Restaurant Asmak 81. This is the restaurant that we frequented the most since our trishaw driver seems to have a liking to this restaurant. However I must say that he does have good taste. The food is absolutely wonderful and the ambiance of the restaurant is great (it's a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, by the way). It's located at Sangkat Phsar Thmei 3. I absolutely recommend this restaurant for those who like Asian food like Malaysian food or Thai food (their cooking is absolutely delicious). Here's a link to a review of the restaurant by Trip Advisor

Last but not least, Phnom Penh India located at Preah Sisowath Quay (it's right opposite the Tonle Sap river) and very easy to find. We finally got tired of Asian food and since we were passing by this road on a daily basis, we decided to stop by and try out some Indian food. The price of the food is slightly more expensive that Mamak's Corner and Restaurant Asmak 81 but the food is absolutely delicious. This is one restaurant that I would definitely come back for more. Although as the name of the restaurant suggests, they only serve Indian food. Alternatively you may also want to click [here] to find out more on the restaurant.

It's a tad unfortunate that we were only able to try out three restaurants in Phnom Penh but we were there for a conference and our time was rather limited. I would have to say it's not that easy to look for halal food here (unless you have a Muslim guide or driver) but we managed to find a few. 

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fashonista's Review: Washable Breast Pads

In the duration of me being a mom, which is not very long though, roughly about two months and seven days to be exact, I have been fortunate enough to experience breastfeeding (if you've been reading my blog for a while you might have realized that) and breastfeeding comes with (whether you like it or not) leaky breasts. Definitely you would need leaky breasts to be able to breastfeed, otherwise, where would the milk come from, right? To manage leaky breasts, you need to have nursing pads (these comes in two types, disposable and washable) to make sure you don't embarrass yourself in public. I've come to read that later on (which means more than two months of breastfeeding, I presume), your breasts will be more efficient at producing milk, thus leading to less leaky breasts. However, I have yet to experience this efficiency, so I have come to depend on nursing pads to help me manage the let down (this is the term for the leaks that breastfeeding women experience, by the way) and here's my review of the three (fortunately or unfortunately I don't have and need that many) washable breast pads that I have.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you're uncomfortable at me mentioning breasts over and over again, maybe you should stop reading this post (as this is a review on nursing pads there's certainly going to be frequent mentions of the breast in this post).

The first one is Pureen washable nursing pads. These retail for somewhere around RM11 per pair. If you're in Kuching, I bought these at Teck Kong Trading in Tabuan Jaya, it's very near to my home thus the reason for me buying these is simply because it's convenient for me to do so. It only comes in one color, white. The nursing pad has different fabrics on different sides, one side is waterproof (this side of the pad faces your bra) and the other is cotton (this side should face your breast). After using this pad for about a month (I stopped using it once I experienced less let down, I think due to my milk production is getting more efficient), I would have to say that I don't recommend this pad to moms out there. The reason for this is because I find that the breast pads are not that comfortable to use. For one thing, when there's let down, your pads would absorb whatever leakage from your breasts. Unfortunately, this would cause the pad to stick to your nipples thus making it quite sticky and if you are experiencing nipple sore due to breastfeeding it would hurt (not much but it's noticeable) when you're removing the pads from your breasts. And another thing, the breast pads are flat in nature (if you've noticed, a woman's breasts are not flat in nature), thus the pads do not rest comfortably underneath the bra (the pads are unable to mold itself naturally to the breast). So if you're wearing a flimsy bra like the nursing sleep bra, the irregular shape of the pad is quite noticeable underneath your t-shirt.

Following that, I decided to try another brand, Autumnz washable breast pads. These pads comes in four colors, glorious graphite, natural nude, pure white and sugar pink (I don't know why they need to overdo the names of the breast pad colors, I would have preferred grey, cream, white and pink but maybe that's just me). I bought these online (I forgot which store unfortunately) and these are priced at RM15.90 for three pairs. The pads have different fabrics on different sides, one is lace (which faces your bra) and the other is soft cotton (to be used facing the breast). To tell you honestly, I really recommend these pads as they are really soft and comfy, it's contoured to fit the breast and the best part is, it's not sticky even after a let down (psst, it's even cheaper than Pureen). Unfortunately, it doesn't hold well, meaning I do find that sometimes there are milk stains on my shirt despite me wearing a nursing pad. This usually occurs when I've positioned the nursing pad too high up; due to gravity, the milk flow downwards and is not absorbed by the pad, or sometimes because there's too much milk leaking out and the pad is unable to absorb them all. Despite the occasional leakage, this is still my preferred breast pad. 

The last pad that I bought is Philips Avent comfort breast shell. I bought these for RM72 from Little Kids because they offer free shipping on orders above RM100 (if you've purchased as many things online as I have, you might be tempted to save on shipping costs as they could add up to be quite a lot). The reason for me buying this is that it has two functions, it can collect let down when you pump or it can also be used as a breast pad (do note that you are supposed to throw away any milk that is collected when you are using the shell as a breast pad). Unfortunately I only used this shell a couple of times and since then have never used it again. The reason being is that because it is waterproof and non-absorbent, breast milk will pool in the breast shell after a let down and if you are not careful (or just plain clumsy like me), spillage might occur when you're removing the breast shell from your bra. After using it twice and spilling the milk both times I decided to stop using it. And another thing, the shape of the shell is quite noticeable underneath my shirt so I wasn't comfortable with that either. So, I don't recommend this to moms as a breast pad, but as a milk collector when you're pumping, maybe yes, it's quite handy (although I don't use it as a milk collector).

Unfortunately my experience is limited to these three because since I've gotten Autumnz's breast pads, I'm happy with them that I don't need to buy any more pads. Initially I wore the pads night and day (changing them whenever they're soaked or at the very least twice a day). However one month after giving birth, I don't experience as much leakage as I did before, so I only wear the pads whenever I go out to town. That could also contribute to me not needing that many pads. And oh, I almost forgot, all three pads wash easily and dry easily.

Happy shopping peeps!

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

PS: I am not affiliated with Autumnz in any way nor do I earn commission when you buy any Autumnz washable breast pads.