Monday, March 31, 2008

Mark Twain

Inspired by the quote on Alison's Malaysians in Motion site:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Malaysians in Motion - A family around-the-world expedition

Alison has been a wonderful friend to us at The Baby Loft for years, join us in following her family adventure. As the family begins their around-the-world expedition in a couple months, Adrian (her 3-year-old son) will have a personal journal featured on their website Malaysians in Motion.

The Baby Loft is proud to be a part of their journey, and we can't wait to share in their ups and downs as they bring Adrian on this very exceptional journey!

A couple interesting parts to their site:
~ Adrian's journal
~ Recent article in New Straits Times
~ Preparation for the trip, and we thought packing our children for a weekend trip was tough enough!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Edible playdough

Make some edible play-dough for your kids at home. You can be sure it is with it then they can even eat it as a snack!

Equal parts:
Peanut Butter
Powdered Milk

Credit to Kate Gosselin...from the TV show "Jon and Kate plus 8"...the Gosselins show us all how to take parenting in stride, enjoy the good and laugh off the challenges.

Apple - age 4 months

Choose a sweet variety of eating apple and peel, halve, core and slice 2. Put them into a saucepan, cover with water and cook on a low heat until they are soft. approx 10 minutes.Then puree. (For a more healthier way steam the apples over the water.)

Strip-washing diapers

Diapers sometimes need to be stripped in order to remove the residue left on the fleece by detergents and/or softener.

Fill a sink with hot water and add in some dish washing detergent. Hand wash your diapers, rubbing the fleece vigorously together or use a medium bristle dish brush or hard bristle tooth brush to scrub the fleece. Turn inside out and repeat on this side. Rinse very good, making sure that the water runs clear. To make double sure all the detergent has been rinsed out, we recommend washing them again in the washing machine WITHOUT any detergent.

It's best if you do not return to using the same detergent that caused the problem.

Fix stinky diapers

Cloth diapering should never be stinky. If your diapers smell bad as soon as they get used, then there is a problem. Usually the problem is detergent build-up. Occasionally the problem is that they are not getting clean enough.

Smell them when they are wet out of the washer or warm out of the dryer. If they smell at that point, then they are not getting cleaned enough. If they smell fine but stink as soon as your baby pees in it, then they have detergent build-up problem.

Build-up refers to residue left by detergents, fabric softeners, and other substances used to clean diapers. The first suggestion which will work for both problems is to make sure you have enough water in your washing machine and enough "swish" room for your diapers. Some front-loading washing machines do not add enough water to thoroughly soak the diapers and will not do a good job in getting them clean. Adding water to the machine can remedy this problem. Do not overload your machine with diapers or they will not get clean. The diapers need their "swish" room!

If you have detergent build-up, then it is time to strip wash them. Please refer to the section on strip washing the diapers.

Fix leaky diapers

When you receive your cloth diapers, wash and dry them several times in warm water. Brand new diapers require several washings to remove natural plant oils before they become absorbent. Try shaking a few drops of water on your diapers - does the water bead up on the surface or get instantly absorbed? If the water droplets bead up then your diapers need a few more washings in hot or warm water using detergent.

If your baby's diaper leak from around the legs while the inside stays relatively dry, then most probably you have the repelling issue with the fleece. To confirm this, perform the water droplets test on the fleece like we described above.

What if you wash repeatedly - and the fleece is still repelling waters? Then most probably it's the issue with the detergent. Check your detergent to see if it contains fabric softeners. Fabric softeners work by coating fabric fibers - and this coating can greatly decrease absorbency. In Singapore, we have found the brand "Kao Attack" to yield the best result. Dynamo and Persil seems to give rise to this repelling issue.

Refer to the section on strip washing the diapers in order to fix this problem.

Preparing your cloth diaper for first use

We cannot stress often enough how important it is to wash your new diapers and inserts at least three times before using for the first time. This will ensure the absorbency of the cotton and will make the diaper "fluff up." If they are not pre-washed, the diapers will not absorb urine properly, this is because during the manufacturing process, there is a waxy buildup on the cotton.

A great way to pre-wash your diapers is just to wash them with your regular clothes for 3-4 times. Avoid softeners as they create waxy build up on the cloth diapers that will cause the diapers to repel water instead of absorbing it. To test whether the diapers are ready to be used, drop a few drops of water on the fleece. The water should be absorbed straight into the fleece and not bead up on it.

Washing a cloth diaper

After removing a soiled diaper from a baby, shake any solids into the toilet. The fleece is great for releasing anything fairly solid. Remove the insert, then rinse any solids still on the diaper; you may want to add a squirt of hand soap while you are rinsing the diaper and the insert. While not necessary, we highly recommend the mini toilet spray for rinsing any dirty diapers. Finally, drop the diaper into your dry diaper pail ready to be laundered.

We normally wash our diapers at about 60 degrees Celsius. You may hang your diapers to dry (The sun naturally bleaches out any stains!) or put them in the dryer on LOW heat!

A Few Important Tips:

Caring for your diapers properly will keep your diapers looking & performing their best. The following is a list of things that can harm your diapers and cause the fabrics to break down, resulting in a leaky diaper!

  • Don't use any bleach products. Bleach leaves a residue on diapers and can cause irritation to the baby's skin. It also breaks down the fibers in the diapers, shortening their life.
  • Don't use fabric softener. It will coat the diapers making them water repellent and will cause leaks! Some babies are sensitive to the softener residue left on diapers as well. The same problem might happen if you use dryer sheets in your dryer. If you encounter leaks, try line drying instead.
  • Don't use natural soap products such as pure glycerine soap. They may clean the fibers, but a slight oily film or "soap scum" is left on the fleece. When this happens it makes it very difficult for urine to get through the layer of fleece to the insert.
  • Don't wash or dry on HOT or HIGH HEAT! The PUL layer (waterproof outer) is meant for warm or low heat only! Preserve the life of your nappies by following this recommendation
  • Don't use a nappy barrier or balm cream with these diapers - it will leave a greasy residue on the fleece which is very difficult to remove. If you want to use a cream because of severe nappy rash, use nappy liners to prevent cream getting onto the cloth diaper.

Why use Cloth Diapers?

There has been many discussions on why we should use cloth diaper and not disposables. Whilst there are many good articles in the internet on this issue, followings are some of the reasons on why we should use cloth diapers instead of disposable.........BUT really, if you had a choice, would you rather sit in plastic/paper all day long or soft cotton?

Health Issues
Disposable diapers contain synthetic chemicals and their by products. Examples:
  • Dioxin - an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process in the manufacturing of diapers. Dioxin is a known carcinogen toxin that causes cancer. The EPA has lists it as the most toxic of all cancer chemicals and is banned in some countries but not in USA.
  • Sodium polyacrylate - This is the chemical added in powder form to the inner pad of a disposable to make it super absorbent. When wet, this polymer will be transformed into a gel-like beads in the diapers. Sometimes, traces of this gel beads can be found on baby's bottom when changing the baby. This polymer can cause skin irritations and severe allergic reactions including vomiting, infections and fever. It was banned from tampons in 1995 because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome.
  • TRIBUTYL TIN (TBT) - An environmental pollutant considered highly toxic. It spreads thorugh the skin and has a hormone-like effect in the smallest concentration. It harms the immune system and impairs the hormonal system.
Disposables have been associated with the following symptoms:
  • Widespread diaper rash - According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 54% of one month old babies using disposable diapers had rashes. Several independent medical studies found an astounding increase in diaper rash from 7% in 1955 to 78% in 1991. Critics of disposables say this parallels the increase in usage of disposables. Reasons of diaper rash has been cited as allergic to chemicals, lack of air, higher temperature because plastic retains body hear and babies are probably changed less frequently because they feel dry and not wet and are thus subject to bacterial growth and the ammonia from the accumulated urine in the diaper.
  • Disposables have also been linked to cause asthma.
  • Fertility concerns - A 2000 German study found out that disposable diapers raised the temperature of the scrotum far above body temperature anc can lead to a total breakdown of normal cooling mechanism. This may have effect on fertility in the future.

  • Over 27 billion disposable diapers are put in landfills in countries around the world.
  • A single disposable diaper may take up to 500 years to decompose.
  • In a house with a child, disposable diapers make up almost 50% of household waste.
  • Disposable diapers when thrown in landfill may contaminate the water and may cause many diseases.
  • Disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials.
  • Cloth diapers are much kinder to the environment.
Money is always an important consideration when choosing diapering system. In fact disposable diapers are one of the highest perpetual expenses hidden away in the monthly expenditures of families with diaper age children.

The savings associated with using cloth diaper is phenomenal. This saving is enhanced when the diapers are used for another baby. With cloth diapers, although it is expensive initially, but in the long run it will save you a lot of money.

Consider this:- A baby will need around 6,000-8,000 diapers during the first 3 years of his life before potty trained. The following is the average cost of cloth diapers over a 2 1/2 years period that is approximately 7,000 diaper changes. The cost are as follows:

Cloth Diaper
12 AIO Small (including soaker)12 X RM63 = RM756.00
24 AIO Medium/Large (including soaker)24 x 73.50 = RM1,764.00
TOTAL for 2 1/2 yearsRM 2,520.00

Disposable diapers
Disposable diapers7,000 x 0.60 sen = RM 4,200.00

For a family of 3 children, the costs of the 2 systems will be as follows. For simplicity, we have assumed that the cost of diapers will remain the same.
Cloth DiapersDisposable Diapers
1st ChildRM2,520 (USD 666)RM4,200 (USD 1,117)
2nd ChildNilRM4,200 (USD 1,117)
3rd ChildNil RM4,200 (USD 1,117)
TotalRM2,520 (USD 666)RM12,600 (USD 3,351)

Early Potty Training
As babies grow older, they are more aware of the difference being wet and dry. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, babies diapered with disposables, diapers an average of 36-42 months whilst cloth diapered babies diapers for 24-30 months. This makes babies in cloth diapers potty train a year earlier than those using disposable diapers.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cloth Diapering Resource Page

This is the main resource page to route you to everything you need to know about Cloth Diapering

~ Why use Cloth Diapers?

~ How to use a Cloth Diaper?: Just got your diaper? Trying to decide which one to get? This is your Cloth Diapers 101 area.

~ Frequently Asked Questions: All your questions answered. Email us at if you have a question about cloth diapering.

~ Products: Cloth diapers can be modern, chic and easy-to-use too, you can find many options:
- Bumwear - colorful snap-on with terry inserts
- EASI - all-in-one with a sewn-in soaker
- Freshbots - easy velcro/snaps with cotton inserts
- Prefolds - unbleached 100% cotton to use on its own or as a soaker
- Snappi - multilayered terry cloth
- Bambino Mio - trial packs with everything you need to start
- Training pullups - for those in between stages

~ Reading Corner: Articles and news on Cloth diapering

Slings Resource Page

This is the main resource page to route you to everything you need to know about baby carriers, including slings and pouches.

~ How to use a Sling: Just got your sling? This is your Sling 101 area.

~ Frequently Asked Questions: All your questions answered. Email us at if you have a question about babywearing.

~ Products: Baby carriers come in several styles and fabrics. Choose yours to fit your preferences...
  • Ring Sling - versatile to carry baby in different positions, adjustable for mommy and daddy to share, doubles as a blanket or nursing cover.
  • Pouch - easy to use with no buckles or rings to fumble with, reversible design, choose cotton for daily use or fashionable silk

    ~ Photo Gallery: See it for yourself, you can find pictures of other mommies and daddies with their baby carriers.

    ~ Reading Corner: Articles and news on babywearing
  • Bubble Fun

    Bubbles … homemade with love.
    This is a favourite from 6 months to 6 years (maybe more!) Get your camera ready to snap some hearty chuckles from the lil one!

    You'll need:
    Dishwashing Liquid
    Paper clips (2)

    1. Bend one paper clip to form a circle, the other to form the handle
    2. Mix three tablespoons of dishwashing liquid into half cup of water
    3. Dip the loop into the mixture and blow steadily through the loop.

    Watch what happens...

    ** Be careful of slippery floors when having bubble fun

    Adapted from 'Rainy Day Play" by Nancy Fusco Castaldo

    SCRATCH 'n' SNIFF Painting

    Ever wonder how to recapture those fun (and pricey) "scratch and sniff" pages in children books? Try this out.

    You'll need:
    Craft glue
    Paint brush
    Food essence

    1. Spread the craft glue over a drawn spot/shape/picture on the paper
    2. Brush a drop of food essence of your choice (banana, strawberry, vanilla, mint, … yummy!)
    3. Sprinkle powdered gelatin over the wet craft glue with food essence.
    4. Let it dry. The craft glue will dry clear and you'll be left with a sweet-smelling "scratch and sniff" spot.

    1. Draw a picture of the fruit (eg. Strawberry).
    2. Paint it with watercolors. Leave to dry.
    3. Repeat step 1-4 of above, over the painted picture (eg. Strawberry). Use the appropriate food essence (strawberry), and you'll have a yummy yummy picture!

    ** For babies and toddlers, this activity is great for stimulating their sense of "smell", in a safe and fun way !
    ** For older kids, have them involved to draw, paint, spread, sprinkle and SMELL their fruits of success!

    Adapted from 'Rainy Day Play" by Nancy Fusco Castaldo

    Cheese Potato

    Daddy's signature dish. It has been a hit with Athan and now his sister, Dionne, too.

    Ingredients: (for one kid's portion)

    One mid-size potato, very thinly sliced
    One slice of cheddar cheese (or any other cheese your child likes)

    1. Pan-fry the sliced potato.
    2. Place fried potato on kitchen towel to remove excess oil.
    3. Place fried potato on plate
    4. Scatter pieces/shreds of cheese on potato
    5. Microwave on High for ONE minute

    Cut the Cheese Potato into bite size for younger kids.
    For a more exciting "gourmet" dish, try adding toppings to your cheese potato. The cheese potato will be just like the pizza base, you can have fun with kids' favourite toppings - mushrooms, tuna, chicken, tomatoes, shredded carrot, and more cheese !

    Tips for cooking Asian food for baby

    Preparing ingredients for baby-food:

    RICE: Wash the rice, dry it in sun/low-heat oven, grind it fine, store in container for use. Porridge cooked with ground rice takes a shorter time to cook (great for busy mums). There's no need to blend baby's food before each meal.

    IKAN BILIS: Do the same for Ikan Bilis. Wash-Dry-Grind-Store. A small amount is added to baby's food when cooking. Remember, Ikan Bilis has high salt-content. Use in moderation.

    Use to add flavor to porridge, naturally. No need for seasonings. Red Dates are also naturally rich in iron, put in 2-3 when cooking porridge to make it healthy, and yummy.

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Reasons to Cloth Diaper

    by Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

    Cloth diapering used to be the norm because - well, let's face it - that's what was available. As disposable diapers were invented and became popular, cloth diapering became something that not everyone did. Eventually it became thought of as more work for less benefit.

    You've probably thought of many reasons why cloth diapering may not be for you. Perhaps the cost worries you. Maybe you're worried about messy diaper leaks from cloth diapers. Or maybe you simply don't know enough about cloth diapers to even formulate an opinion.

    Cloth diapers have come a long way from rubber pants and diaper pins. Nowadays there are literally scores of choices. From simple all-in-ones (AIOs) to prefolds with wraps (no more diaper pins on most), there are tons of choices to keep your baby covered.

    There are many benefits of cloth diapering. Here are some of the most often heard:
    - Cost Savings
    Cloth diapers can cost a bit of money to get started, but in the long run cloth diaper users are often ahead of the game in expenditures. If you figure that the average newborn goes through 8-12 diapers a day, 6-8 diapers a day for an older baby, that can really add up at the cost of about $0.29 per disposable diaper, and rising.

    - Better for Baby
    Cloth diaper users tend to have less issue with diaper rash, irritated bottoms and other common complaints from disposable diaper parents. Fewer chemicals touch the baby's bottom and the less likely they are to be sensitive. If you do have a sensitive baby, you can choose very natural, even organic, materials to use for the diapers that go on your baby.

    - Better for the Environment
    This one will be hotly debated for some time, but in general it is established that cloth diapers don't take up room in landfills and take hundreds of years to break down. The reduce, reuse and recycle concept means less trash for the environment.

    - Less Time in Diapers
    Many parents will tell you that they spent less time trying to potty train or educate their child about elimination communication (EC) when they used cloth diapers.

    - Adorable!
    Okay, it's also important to look at cloth diapering as a fashion statement. Cloth diapers are cute! They come in fashion colors and prints. Have fun with it!

    About the author:
    Robin Elise Weiss, BA, ICCE-CPE, CLC, CD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE is a childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, doula trainer, lactation counselor, and proud mother of seven beautiful children.


    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    Foods known to cause allergies in babies

    This list of baby foods to avoid contains foods known to provoke allergic reactions or digestive problems in babies. This doesn't mean that all these foods will make your child unwell. But if you're worried that your baby is very sensitive - maybe because you have a food allergy yourself - then it is definitely worth avoiding them for the first year, at least.

    Baby Foods To Avoid - Foods Likely To Cause An Allergic Reaction Or Digestive Problem
    Eggs (especially the whites)
    Cow's milk
    Peanuts or peanut butter
    Shellfish - lobster, prawns, crab and shrimp
    Gluten - contained in wheat, oats and barley
    Fish - particularly plaice, tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines
    Berries - especially strawberries
    Citrus fruits - orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime and tangerine
    Sesame seeds/sesame oil

    Baby Foods To Avoid - Foods That Present A Choking Hazard
    Large chunks of fruit or vegetables, raw or cooked
    Large chunks of meat
    Whole grapes or cherry tomatoes - always cut into quarters
    Raisins - wait until your baby has teeth and is chewing well

    Baby Foods To Avoid - Honey
    NEVER give honey to a baby under one year of age.

    Honey can contain botulism spores. In babies, the spores can grow and produce life-threatening toxins.

    Do not use honey to sweeten yogurt, or in any other form, before your baby's first birthday.

    Credit: Homemade Baby Food Recipes

    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Have you visited The Baby Loft's new boutique yet?

    The Baby Loft has added many exclusive items at our parenting resource boutique in Desa Parkcity, have you stopped by to take a look?
    - baby cots and mattresses
    - strollers from MacLaran and other dependable name brands
    - chic maternity wear by Runway Maternity (c)
    - extended collection of nursing wear and kiddie clothing

    We will also be starting classes soon at the studio, including prenatal yoga, birth confidence, baby signing, baby massage, hypnobirthing...keep yourself posted for announcements at the main TBL website. Email us and tell us your ideas for workshops that you would like to attend!

    The next 3D Baby Hands & Feet Sculpturing session is on Mar 23, 2008, sign up now.

    FF21, The Waterfront @ Parkcity, 5 Persiaran Residen, Desa Parkcity 52200 Kuala Lumpur (I need a map!!)

    Come to check us out, and try on the products that you see online!

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt take their kids out in slings

    Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have 4 kids, and twins on the way! I'm guessing they need every parenting trick they can find! Here they use the pouch style slings, which are easy to set up, no buckles to fumble with.

    Get your own pouch sling from The Baby Loft - LOFTPouch

    Monday, March 10, 2008


    TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?

    GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the
    ground than you are.

    Saturday, March 8, 2008

    Honey seems to calm children's coughs in 1-night study


    CHICAGO (AP) -- A teaspoon of honey before bed seems to calm children's coughs and help them sleep better, according to a new study that relied on parents' reports of their children's symptoms.

    The folk remedy did better than cough medicine or no treatment in a three-way comparison. Honey may work by coating and soothing an irritated throat, the study authors said.

    "Many families are going to relate to these findings and say that grandma was right," said lead author Dr. Ian Paul of Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine.

    The research appears in December's Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

    U.S. health advisers have recently warned that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be used in children younger than 6, and manufacturers are taking some products for babies off the market.

    Three pediatricians who read the study said they would tell parents seeking alternative remedies to try honey. They noted that honey should not be given to children under age 1 because of a rare but serious risk of botulism.

    For the research, researchers recruited 105 children with upper respiratory infections from a clinic in Pennsylvania. Parents were given a paper bag with a dosing device inside. Some were empty. Some contained an age-appropriate dose of honey-flavored cough medicine containing dextromethorphan. And some contained a similar dose of honey.

    The parents were asked about their children's sleep and cough symptoms, once before the bedtime treatment and once after. They rated the symptoms on a seven-point scale.

    All of the children got better, but honey consistently scored best in parents' rating of their children's cough symptoms.

    "Give them a little time and they'll get better," said Pat Jackson Allen, a professor at Yale University School of Nursing.

    The study was funded by a grant from the National Honey Board, an industry-funded agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency had no influence over the study design, data or results, Paul said.

    Monday, March 3, 2008

    Study sees rise in imaging exams for pregnant women

    CHICAGO, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Pregnant women are receiving more high-tech imaging exams, exposing their babies to higher doses of radiation than a decade ago, a study said on Tuesday.

    While the levels of radiation exposure are low, they carry a slight risk of harm to the developing fetus, said study author Elizabeth Lazarus, a professor of diagnostic imaging at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

    A review of 5,235 imaging examinations performed on pregnant women at Brown from 1997 to 2006 found the number of those exams rose 121 percent. The exams included computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine and plain film X-rays.

    An abdominal ultrasound, a routine exam performed during pregnancy, does not expose the patient to ionizing radiation, which can cause cell damage.

    CT exams, which deliver more radiation than other procedures, saw the the greatest increase in use, rising by about 25 percent a year. Use of X-rays increased 7 percent a year, and nuclear medical exams rose by 12 percent annually.

    CT scans are used in pregnancy only to detect potentially life-threatening conditions such as bleeding in the brain, blood clots in the lungs or appendicitis.

    Researchers estimated the average fetal radiation exposure for CT was 0.69 rads, compared to 0.04 rads for nuclear tests and 0.0015 rads for X-rays. The data were released at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

    "A patient being recommended for a test like this should talk to their doctor to find out if there are any alternative tests or if there is any harm waiting," Lazarus said in an interview.

    "But if one of these tests is needed, we would not discourage any patients from undergoing one, because making a diagnosis could also be life-saving."

    (Reporting by Susan Kelly, editing by Philip Barbara)