5 food proven to boost breast milk supply

I am lucky to have a good supply of lactation during my post partum days and people kept asking me what my diet was to maintain the supply. These are some of the proven food that will aid in breast milk production:

Cost of raising a child in Singapore

Time really passes fast, my baby is now 15 months old! It seems just yesterday I was writing about my first trimester. With mounting family expenses. I am keen to find out how much I have spent for my pregnancy and all related expenses. Besides my prenatal and delivery cost, there are also other expenses. Let's find out the approximate first year cost of raising a baby in Singapore.



EatDreamLove review on SnackFirst

Snack First (snackfirst.com) is founded by a fellow blogger Jes (simplyjesme.blogspot.sg) and Lucas. They love munching on nuts and seeds when they were travelling overseas. Thats where they got the inspiration and created Snack First. Snack First offers snacks are delicious yet can give you lots of nutritional benefits. The natural occurring antioxidants and other vitamins found in them can help to delay aging, fight cancer and lost weight. Snack First offers Free Shipping in Singapore!

Many thanks to Snack First for the lovely cookies and nuts. 
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Amazing Almond Cookies (杏仁曲奇饼) Delicious Crunchy Cookies From Malaysia. My favourite! I am an Almond nut lover. They have many nutritional benefits and antioxidants. Love the fragrant crunchy and nutty texture. Heard that it may be able to boost milk supply for mummies . Sound like a delicious way for mummies like me. It is Halal certified with no MSG, Trans-Fat and Preservatives. 
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They also offer other types of cookies like Chocolate Chip Cookies and Delightful Bangkit Cookies. Sound so Delicious. 
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Brown eyes Almonds (烤杏仁) Almonds from USA and Roasted in Singapore. The nuts are roasted in Singapore as this will help to prevent early rancidity which enables longer preservation. Delicious rich nutty crunch. Understand that almonds are highly recommended for breastfeeding mothers as it has the high amount of dietary fiber and Calcium. There is also no MSG, trans-fat or preservatives used. 

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They also offer other delicious nuts like Creamy Macadamia (Baked) and Smiley Cashew (Baked). 

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Wholesome Original Granola from Indonesia (原味格兰诺拉麦片) When I am in a rush to make breakfast, I love to make myself a healthy and hearty bowl of granola. Quick and Nutritious. Snack First's Wholesome Original Granola is filled with Rolled oats, cinnamon, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, rice crispies, palm sugar, maple syrup, oil, dried cranberries. A great mix of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. All my favourites. There is no preservatives or artificial ingredients.A great Source of protein and dietary fiber. 

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They also offer other flavours like Energizing Banana Granola and Addictive Chocolate Granola. 

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Shiok Wasabi Peanuts Love the mildly spicy with a zesty unami flavour! Super Addictive! Definitely a MUST-TRY for wasabi lovers. It is also Halal certified. 

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Oishi Japanese Nuts The peanuts are encased in a variety of different hard, crunchy, sweet flour shell. A good mix that offers different flavours and textures. It is also Halal certified. 

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Sambal Shrimp Rolls (Hae Bi Hiam) Our All-Time Family Favourite Snack! It is so Addictive! Spicy, and Crunchily SHIOK! 

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~PROMOTION (Till 31 July 2017)~
Use code 'EATDREAMLOVE15' on checkout at Snack First (snackfirst.com) to enjoy 15% off the snacks. 

Enjoy your Snacks Shopping~ I am sure your loved ones will love these.
Above information is for reference only. Please always contact Snack First (snackfirst.com) for latest details. 

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Disclaimer: This post is written by Eileen on EatDreamLove and first appeared on her blog. Like her on Facebook or follow her on @eatdreamlove on Instagram. Eileen is a very friendly food blogger who is also a new mum like me. I am honoured to get to know her as it seems we are on the same frequency, hitting it off instantly. I like her attitude towards life especially this quote "What's the point of earning more to have bigger house when you are not even inside to enjoy it!" How very apt. 


Best business account for Start-Ups and SMEs

I am on an investigative mood nowadays.

After comparing the prices of diapers, milk powder, Integrated Shield Plans and kids' savings accounts, I am now trying to find out the best business account for my own business, SnackFirst


Tian Wei confinement meal review - Excellent variety!

I have a few gripes about confinement meals during my confinement month last year.

1) Only payment by cash/bank transfer
Top of the list is that I have to pay cash during the start of the delivery meals. I don't normally keep more than $200 cash in my purse so it's definitely very inconvenient for me. Bank transfer is also not that convenient either, especially just when I just got discharged from the hospital after delivery.
Pork trotters with broccoli and green papaya soup

Critical illness policy and early stage vs ILP hospitalisation plan

My insurance agent sends me a newsletter every month to talk about insurance coverage and the events they held. This was done privately by them and not by the insurance company. I was pleasantly surprised this time when I found a very honest yet important piece on critical illness.

Many people have been asking if they need critical illness plan. Isn't it similar to hospitalisation plan?

No, of course it is different.
Can die but cannot be sick? It doesn't have to be this way.

Walnuts - Fight cancer, delay aging, helps in weight loss

Walnuts have been trending this decade thanks to new research on their wonderful health benefits. Besides, they are so tasty and crunchy! If you need some snacks every day, you should definitely consider incorporating walnuts into your life. Here are 5 reasons why.
1) Cancer fighting
You can lower the risk of breast or prostate cancer with daily intake of walnuts. Even if there are no other benefits, this particularly reason is good enough for you to scramble and purchase some walnuts now. You are what you eat, don't regret too late for not snacking healthy. It can start today.
2) Anti Aging 
Do you know which nut has the most antioxidants? And do you know walnuts have almost twice as much antioxidants compared to all the other nuts? Walnuts are the king of nuts for containing so much natural goodness. These antioxidants are useful to prevent free radical damage to our cells. With less damage, our body will age slower. A most natural way instead of taking botox. 
3) Weight Loss
Just by eating 7 whole walnuts or 14 halves a day can make you more satisfy and less likely to eat other unhealthy food. It's particularly important to control weight gain in new mothers, yet able to boost breast milk with great taste. A win-win-win just by consuming them.
4) Better Skin
Not just skin, walnuts are great for the hair, brain, eyes, basically the whole body! Walnuts help to prevent hair fall and improve texture, thereby strengthening them. There are Omega 3 fatty acids present that is proven to be good the brain and eyes. It is also good to get stronger bones. All in all, it's such a magical snack!
5) Healthy Heart
Besides being dairy and gluten free, walnuts contain a high amount of unsaturated fats that are effective in lowering cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart. Eat and stay healthy, it's simple but not everyone knows about this.
Spread the word, share the secret to a healthy life!
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This article first appeared on the blog of Snackfirst.

Top 5 food trends in Singapore 2016

We are still going crazy over these food that started trending since last year. Now that the hype finally died down slightly, most of us could taste them and finally understand the long queues. Let's see what are the food that made us lose our rationality: 
1) Bingsu - Kpop is here to stay and Kdramas are just taking South East Asia by storm! From their fashion to songs to drama and food, everything Korean seems to be trending. Bingsu is just perfect for Singapore's weather and they look so romantic for couples to share one big bowl. Not to forget the drool-worthy pictures you can get.
2) Rainbow/Galaxy everything - They look so pretty in pictures which is no wonder they started trending easily. Children love them and adults like to show them off in social media, but I am not so sure if their taste is also that unique!
3) Salted Egg Yolk - With Mcdonalds and Breadtalk jumping on the bandwagon, you can be sure that salted egg yolk flavour is going to expand to more areas. Burger patty, croissant, tarts, snacks, western food, prawns, crab, fish skin and many more dishes, salted egg yolk seems to go well with everything! Addictive and sinful, the flavour definitely pack a punch!
4) Cheese anything - From cheese fondue, cheese hotpot, raclette cheese wheel, Japanese cheese tarts... Chocolate fondue is so yesterday and we Singaporeans just love our cheese. Luckily you do not have to queue for 2 hours anymore for the to-die-for-but-oh-so-expensive baked cheese tarts. Bread talk also have them but it's not as creamy inside. 
5) Health food bowls - Everything above are so sinfully delicious but not to worry, on diet days, we still treasure our pockets and health. Eating clean is not a rich man's thing anymore and many restaurants are making them affordable. We see more yoghurt, salad and organic shops popping up and the trend is definitely here to stay. Of course, we are also playing our part supplying the condiments with our nutsseedsdried fruits
Which trend do you think will remain in 2017?
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This post first appeared on the blog of Snackfirst.

Why I chose not to have epidural

I am not that brave at all. I am scared of pain too. However, I chose not to go down the road using epidural. The top question I got was why.

Why suffer through the pain when you have safe and modern medication?



9 financial tips you must know during the 9 months pregnancy

Congratulations on the expansion of your family!

After the initial excitement, most of you will start to have a panic attack because the responsibilities on your shoulder have just gotten heavier. Taking care of another family member is going to put a dent on your finances but don't get so stressed that you start taking on a part-time job or borrow money. You have 9 months to prepare and manage your financial health before you welcome this bundle of joy!

Here are 9 tips on how I managed my finances, which I think could help all new parents embark on a financially-sound future:
Not just love, you need financial planning too! 

1) Compare prices of gynaecologists

The costs of a gynaecologist vary widely between a government hospital and private clinics. The more popular ones usually require at least an hour of waiting in line so be prepared for that. Some indicative prices are stated here:
Breakdown for my approximate pre-natal charges in private clinics
Do take note that in some cases such as premature babies or jaundice treatment, your baby might need to stay in the hospital for a longer period of time. For a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the daily ward charges would be up to $647 in NUH (for A1 ward type), or more at a private hospital, so be sure to have some emergency funds on hand.

Bonus: The location of the gynaecologist's clinic is also important because you would want a convenient place to go for a check-up every month.

2) Compare the cost between different hospitals

For private clinics, you can only choose the private hospitals for delivery such as those listed below. They will cost higher than public hospitals. You can check the average hospital delivery charges based on ward, normal vaginal birth and caesarean section from the MOH website. Take note that the price listed is after the deduction of Medisave claimables. Based on my delivery in 2016, my bill works out to be $7,040.

Average hospital charges by ward and hospitals, accurate as of 3 May 2017 . Source: MOH website

Bonus: Find out which credit cards will give you the most rewards/cash rebates for these hospital charges.

3) Buy online and look for deals

There are many baby items to buy and one way to save cost and effort on transport is to buy online. You can also visit baby exhibitions to take advantage of special offers. Before the arrival of the baby, you will need to plan and purchase these 20 things, such as baby cot, diapers, wet wipes and sterilizer. I spent less than $1200 for these things and these expenses can be made over a few months. You don't have to buy everything at one go.

Pay by credit cards and get some rewards back
Bonus: Hospitals do give free gifts to new parents such as bath tub, nursing covers and diaper bags. So do some research on what you will be getting and only buy what is needed.

4) Know your benefits

When my foreign friends heard of our government grants for maternity, the first thing they said was, "So good, how envious!" Not every country has such incentives to support parents, so let's take a look at the benefits that are available.

👶The Medisave Maternity Package allows parents to use their Medisave to claim for pre-delivery expenses, such as pre-natal consultations, ultrasound scans. It can also be used for delivery expenses up to the Withdrawal Limits.

In summary, here are the Medisave withdrawal limits to take note of and total cash and grants you may be eligible for:
Maternity package and withdrawal limits

👶There is also a Medisave Grant for Newborns. The amount goes into your child's Medisave account that will help with the costs of his/her recommended childhood vaccinations, hospitalisation and approved outpatient treatments. It can also be used to pay for your child's MediShield Life premiums.

In addition, there is the Baby Bonus Scheme, which includes a Cash Gift and Child Development Account (CDA) benefits.
*Applicable for 1st and 2nd child. Refer to Baby Bonus Website for 3rd and subsequent birth orders. Total cash and grants from the government.

Bonus: On top of these grants, parents will also qualify for tax relief.

5) Start a baby fund

Now that you know the costs involved, you should start setting aside a small amount of savings each month in preparation for the baby's expenses. If you still have existing debts, furniture loans, wedding loans, renovation loans, it would be wise to clear them before the arrival of the baby. This will help to prevent you from getting overburdened when additional recurring costs come in.

Hello world, I need some baby funds!
Bonus: CDA bank accounts give a guaranteed, 2% interest for up to $36,000!

6) Cut down on unnecessary expenses

It's a good time to tidy up your house and arrange a space for baby stuff. Some unnecessary cost includes buying too many baby clothes, feeding sets, shoes and toys. These are things you will receive as gifts from family, friends and relatives and so, there is no hurry to buy them first.

Try to delay buying things that are not needed during your baby's first 3 months. Chances are you may forget that you ever bought them, or your baby may outgrow them in a blink of an eye.

Bonus: During my pregnancy, I wore my husband's t-shirts at home and they are definitely fitting and comfortable!

7) Re-evaluate your insurance coverage

Now that you are going to have a dependent, it is important to review you and your spouse's own insurance coverage and hospital plans. All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents have MediShield Life coverage, even for those with pre-existing conditions. Our Medisave account can be used to pay for MediShield Life premiums so you do not have to worry about the cash portion.

Bonus: You may also like to take a look at Integrated Shield Plans (IP) where I have compared the price difference for different companies.

8) Be prepared for other expenses

A confinement nanny is helpful to parents during the first month. Do reserve them as soon as possible as the popular ones are snapped up very quickly. Be aware that price is around $2,500 to $3,000, excluding cooking ingredients. If you are without a confinement nanny, you may intend to get confinement meals which cost around $60 a day for both lunch and dinner. For post-natal massage, 5 sessions cost around $300.

When your baby is older, you might need to look at the price comparison of different brands of formula milk and the prices for different brands of diapers. With these, hopefully you can make more informed decisions. Not to forget, planning for your baby's first month celebration can be a lavish affair. Buffets, decorations and door gifts all require upfront costs.
They are worth every penny!
Bonus: Ask for gifts in cash!

9) Evaluate infant care, nanny or grandparent options
If a grandparent is available to take care of your child, then you have one less headache. You may still need a maid or part-time helper to help with your house work. For caretakers, a nanny will charge around $750 to $850. If you are looking at infant care options, note that going to a government-run infant care centres ($600 - $700 for Singaporeans including subsidies) will be less expensive than going to privately-run centres (Usually at least $1,000) so do consider your options carefully. Don't forget to read up on the pros and cons of each option!

Bonus: You can claim the Grandparent Caregiver Relief if your parents are taking care of your children. There is also the Maid Levy Relief for foreign help and Additional Subsidy for infant and child care centres.

Conclusion
Financial planning is a big part of family planning. It may seem like there is a lot to do and I was initially quite worried if I could handle all these challenges.

Just take a deep breath and go through the list one by one. You do have enough time and these 9 months will prepare you in becoming a great parent. After which, get ready for all the crying, whining, milk stains and poop! I guarantee you all your efforts and sleepless nights will be worth it!

Final tip: If you want more grants, give birth to more babies! Just don't ask me when I am having my second child. :)

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Disclaimer: This article was brought to you in collaboration with CPF Board. Follow me on Facebook for more updates on how to better manage family finances.