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Deanne Chong-Duffield looks like the woman every girl wants to be when she grows up. The Founder-CEO of GUG (Growing Up Gifted), one of Singapore’s premier preschools, glows. It’s hard to believe that this poised and eloquent woman once battled an autoimmune disorder. Even more impressive is the fact that she worked all the way through her three-year illness, writing 40 phonics storybooks and an entire literacy curriculum — while bedridden. The 50-something mother of one shares her inspiring story, for the first time, here.

Growing Up

“My dad used to tell me, when I was 9 or 10 years old, that I would be the lawyer in the family. I could speak quite well, and he felt that I had the spunk of an advocate. He bought me my first law textbook when I was 12, and he would introduce me to everyone as “my lawyer to be.” I grew up thinking that being anything else would disappoint my father.

Eventually I went to the UK to study Law. It felt like a cross I had to bear, rather than something I was inspired to do. Back in Singapore, not surprisingly, I left legal practice after a few months. I joined the world of corporate banking instead, and persevered for a couple of years, but in truth I felt like a fish out of water.

Finding Her Calling for GUG

Then one day, I came across a huge write-up in the newspaper on brain development, and on what makes some children grow up to be geniuses.

Maybe it’s one of those things in life where it’s your calling — I became both fascinated and obsessed with the subject, so much so that I decided to go to the U.S. to pursue my Masters. I chose to do a double major in Early Childhood Education and Gifted Education – a rather unique combination.

I remember telling my parents how, for the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed studying and learning. To my astonishment, my dad wrote back, “I think you have finally found your niche.”

When I came back to Singapore, I planned to start my own preschool, to marry gifted education and early childhood education, and to raise the standard of local preschools.

However I wasn’t trained in business, and I had very little courage to start out on my own. So even though I had big plans, I shelved them because I was afraid I was going to fail.

At 35, I got married and my son came along. Then when he was four years old, I became a single mother. I felt I had to work even harder now in order to raise my child singlehandedly.

Learning From The Womb

When I was pregnant with Ethan (now 18, and enlisting into National Service soon), I was brimming with excitement. He was like a little project where I could download my pent-up passion and skills. To help boost his brain development, I forced myself to eat sardines and salmon every day. I purchased things that were not available in Singapore, like this instrument which was strapped onto the tummy to expose the foetus to rhythmic sound patterns.

At 12 months old, Ethan was a precocious child. I brought him around to some preschools and realised that even the so-called ‘best’ ones did not provide enough to stimulate him. There was no stretching of the boundaries. It was all normal early childhood education activities where they teach according to the child’s age.

Gifted education takes a different approach. No matter what your age is, it will challenge you and stretch your mental development, but in a way that is appropriate for your emotional development. So in the case of preschoolers, it would have to be challenging but fun, playful and interesting for the child. The goal is to encourage more complex thought processing.

Making the GUG Decision

When I talked about early childhood education to the other mummies in Ethan’s playgroup, I would be really passionate and excited about it. They asked, “Why don’t you start your own preschool? We would enroll our kids if you did.”

I looked at my son and thought, he’s going to grow up really quickly. I knew very well that 90% of brain development takes place from birth to 5 years, and how important it is to provide adequate stimulation to take advantage of that growth spurt period. With that consideration, I decided to start GUG.

I faced strong objections from naysayers telling me I was going to fail. That I had no prior experience running a business, that I was starting out as an entrepreneur too late (at age 36), that I had chosen a “bad luck” location, and so on.

I had many fears, and almost gave up at some points. But I had just completed a personal development leadership course then, and one thing it taught me was that Fear and Courage go hand-in-hand together. To pursue my dreams, I must not be afraid to feel afraid!

Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you,” said one-armed surfer Bethany Hamilton. My challenges became my drivers and motivated me to push harder towards my goal.

Developing the GUG Phonics Method GUG student giving the sound and signal for the letter n

I did exhaustive research, exploring the best phonics programmes out there. In the end I zoomed in on Zoophonics. I liked that it involved hand signals and actions. The science behind it made sense. Whenever you move, what you are learning gets locked into your long-term memory more quickly and efficiently.

However, it was designed for older children from the age of 4 to 5 years and up. And so I modified it to suit the youngest students in GUG, who would be 10 months old and up.

I tested it out on Ethan when he was 14 months old. Within three months he knew all the phonetic sounds, and at 18 months, he amazed us all by speaking in perfect sentences. Then at 20 months, he started stringing the letter sounds together to read words.

GUG as Pioneers in Preschool Education Exploring and evaluating a chemistry project

Ethan attended K1 in another school as I was still preparing the kindergarten curriculum for GUG then. As soon as our K1 curriculum was done, I pulled him out of K2 in the other school. I felt that GUG’s K1 was more than enough to prepare him for primary school as it was pegged at a higher level than other schools’ K2 standards.

In Singapore, children are expected to have already acquired certain academic skillsets and content knowledge by the time they enter primary school. That is why I don’t believe it is enough to have just a play-based, inquiry-based curriculum without also placing an equal and well-structured emphasis on the academic subjects. When taught well and seamlessly from PG to K2 levels, children grow to enjoy learning, and results will be consistently positive. This eliminates the “culture shock” and stress from being ill-prepared for our primary school syllabuses later on.

It is not just about what is taught, but HOW it is taught that matters. Reading, writing, math, science, history… young children and even babies can learn all these through fun, playful, creative methods. GUG has been doing it this way. We ensure that our kids not only have a great time learning, but are also very well prepared for primary school — academically, socially, emotionally, holistically.

Besides being pioneers in teaching phonics to babies and toddlers, we were also the first preschool in Singapore to have Science as a core subject, as well as weekly Social Studies and Current Affairs sessions.

With Social Studies, there is great emphasis on courage. The children would learn about political leaders, athletes, and those who had made it despite handicaps and obstacles. We also talked about ordinary kids who had done courageous things in their lives. I wanted children to feel that they could make a huge difference, and not be limited by their age and their size.

(See also: Growing Up Gifted and Courageous!)

Juggling it all, things falling apart

I am very passionate about my work, but that also meant I would be so absorbed in the process that hours would fly by without my notice. For many years I worked around the clock, and skipped meals.

Then in 2015, everything started crumbling. I suddenly contracted Mycoplasma, which left me quite debilitated. This was followed by stomach ulcers, and because I would work at my standing desk for up to 14 hours, I developed plantar fasciitis and I couldn’t walk or stand. I also started having acute pains in my neck and tendonitis on both wrists due to extended hours of typing on the laptop. I was bedridden, with braces on my neck and both hands. Not a pretty sight.

Shortly after, I developed Meniere’s Disease, which brought on dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hyperacusis (hypersensitivity to sounds). I also noticed a mysterious and painful lump in my neck. And if all that wasn’t enough, I was given a diagnosis of thyroid autoimmune disorder. I was talking in whispers and could only utter a couple of sentences each time.

I didn’t know what was going on within me. I felt scared, alone and chronically weak as my weight plummeted from 50 to 36kg. The doctors were not positive; they said I was going to be permanently deaf, that I needed multiple surgeries and so forth. I was gripped with fear and felt despondent for a long time. But finally, I decided that since I had created this “mess”, I would clean it up. I would learn to heal myself naturally with changes in diet, lifestyle, herbs, meditation, and alternative treatments.

Getting Well Again

They always say it’s only with hardship or with challenges that you grow to become a stronger and better person. It wasn’t easy trying to be my own cheerleader, but through the process, I became more spiritual.

I finished writing 40 phonics readers while bedridden. Even at my lowest point, inspiration came quickly.

My mother would say, “Look, you should just concentrate on recovery. The teachers have been carrying out the lessons for a few years already. Just let them continue.” But I couldn’t. I insisted on working from the bed. I didn’t want to let the kids and my teachers down. And so I pushed on. Apart from my immediate family, I told no one about my condition.

That’s why I feel hurt sometimes when people say I do this just for the business. If I was, GUG would have mushroomed everywhere and not just remained as one centre for so long.

Mothering Through Illness

Ethan was busy doing his IB during the three years I was ill. He made cards and wrote me numerous messages, expressing love, appreciation and encouragement through his writings. He even compiled my favourite songs or meaningful songs in CDs and thumb drives.

There is a simple black-line drawing of us together which means so much to me because he drew us looking so happy together. That was the time when my health was at its worst and I could barely get up to hug him.

Like Mother, Like Son?

Ethan is similar to me in his creativity, his analytical skills, his love for writing and his musical intelligence. However he is also different from me in many ways. He is more an observer, and careful, instead of jumping into something.

Ethan was in the GEP (Gifted Education Programme) in ACS and he enjoyed it even though there was a lot of pressure. He said that the best part was having freedom and creativity in project work.

He wrote short stories, poems, created a photo journal, and a graphic book about the momentous separation of Singapore from Malaysia. For him, the worst part was the stress of balancing long term projects with regular homework.

But I think the GEP is great. It teaches you to be independent, to do your own research and give persuasive presentations. It allows you the freedom to find what you are passionate about, and to do more of that.

(See also: Is your Child a Bright Spark?)

Moving On, The Future of GUG

In January 2018, I finally recovered and felt more like a normal person. Shortly after, we had to move out of United Square after 16 years there. I decided it was time to start GUG Preschools at Thomson and Tampines.

For the first time recently, Ethan attended one of my talks at an open house for the Tampines branch. I talked about the GUG philosophy, instilling five kinds of Courage, as well as our three processes — exploration, experiential learning, and evaluation.

Ethan told me that this was exactly what GEP was all about. Maybe this is something you should bring up to parents, he said.

That hadn’t occurred to me before. I just did it all based on my own training. And I thought, maybe this is why so many parents have given credit to GUG for having prepared their kids for GEP!

Connecting the Dots

The other day, in the supermarket, I saw a girl of about four or five years playing with a latch on a shelf. She was asking her parents what it was for.

Her parents just said “don’t touch!” — what many parents do. They impose limits on their children, and on their children’s learning and miss the teachable moments.

Steve Jobs once said that “creativity is just connecting things.” What parents need to do is to empower their children with the knowledge and the tools to make these connections.

But I would say that, above all, developing a courageous mindset is the most precious thing we can do to help our children thrive in the 21st Century.

Let children feel worthy, give them the tools and confidence so they learn to value themselves. When they do, they feel that they are capable of achieving or being something greater and better, and they boldly seek it. This is what “growing up gifted” is about, and what we at GUG have been doing all this while.”

Want to find out more about GUG?

Come to the Open Houses, meet the Growing Up Gifted team, and find out why GUG could be the best fit for your bright spark. Register your centre visit here

GUG Preschool @ Tampines
Sat 22 June, 11am – 2pm
Venue: 300 Tampines Ave 5, #07-01/07

GUG Preschool @ Thomson
Sat 29 June, 1pm – 3pm
Venue: 2 Derbyshire Rd

Open House 17 – 29 June 2019
  • Popcorn, carnival games and activities
  • Talk by Founder-CEO Deanne Chong-Duffield
  • Promotion: Save up to $2,000 when you enrol your child during Open House days.

All images: Deanne Chong-Duffield


The post Deanne Chong-Duffield, mum & founder of GUG (Growing Up Gifted), on passion, obsession, and gifted education appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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With the school holidays coming up, you’re probably planning trips, excursions, and outings with the kids. If you’re like most parents, that mobile phone or that DSLR is always in your hand, ready to capture every smile on those precious little faces.

But being trigger-happy does not guarantee beautiful kids photos. In fact, you could easily end up with multiple shots of blurry faces #truestory instead of that Annie Leibowitz-worthy capture you were imagining in your head.

We asked Irene Kuok, founder and chief photographer at Cloud Productions (who recently shared with us the 10 Best Places for Family Photoshoots in Singapore) for some much-needed insight and tips.

What’s the best things about taking kids photos? 

One of the best things about taking pictures of children is that I know I am helping families to bond together during the photoshoot. With our daily lives so busy with work and other commitments, having quality time as a family may not be the easiest. Having a photoshoot allows families to spend time together, and eternalise these moments.

Also, we all know that children all grow up so quickly that we forget how they are like as children. I immortalise these special moments of children at different milestones during their growing up years. Photos mean a great deal as they allow us to take a trip down memory lane when we look at them.

The hardest thing about taking kids photos? 

Photographing children is not hard considering the myriad of expressions they have. What is truly difficult is capturing a genuine smile from children, especially those who have been constantly trained by their parents to smile for the cameras.

As parents always want to capture happy smiles on their photos, often when they take pictures of their children, they will ask them to smile for the shot. It definitely is a plus point if the child is able to smile upon request for photographs, however, the smile that is portrayed by these children are often “forced” and “staged” and not necessarily a true reflection of what they are feeling or the real joy they are experiencing.

Will it make any difference if I take kids photos using my phone, and using a DSLR? 

Yes and No. It depends on your expectations and the personality of the child. If the child does not move around much, a mobile phone’s camera would work just fine in capturing the shots. However, if the child is an active kid and cannot keep still, it can result in blurred images.

Due to the lack of manual controls, we are limited in terms of settings when using a mobile phone to shoot. With the use of a DSLR, settings such as the shutter speed and ISO can be adjusted and controlled. Consequently, this ensures the quality of the photographs, especially when shooting moving objects (read: the kids).

If you like to print your images, remember to pay attention to the image resolution. You should use a DSLR so as to ensure high image resolution and good quality images.

If I only want to use a phone, which has the best camera?

Right now, Huawei P30 Pro’s camera would probably have the best zooming quality. The portrait mode on iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max work well if you are taking stationary portrait shots of children. This is similar to a professional camera in terms of the depth of field effect, which blurs the background of the photo.

What basic rule of photography should I follow?

The most basic thing is to pay attention to the photo composition. Photo composition is all about the placement of every element in a single photograph. The easiest composition guide is the rule of thirds. Creating a balanced exposure is just as important.

5 Things to know when taking family photos 1. What to wear

Comfort is key! Wear:

  • Clothing and shoes you feel most comfortable in for the shoot
  • Outfits that are memorable to you
  • Accessorise! Wear accessories such as earrings and bracelets
  • Themed clothing sets can look cute too


  • Wearing slippers
  • Shirts with corporate logos
  • Oversized shirts / dresses
2. Which props (optional) to use
  • Balloons
  • Flowers
  • Decorative Umbrellas
  • Picnic Mats & Basket (for Gardens)
3. What to bring for your child and family

Bring items that are memorable to the family, as well as your child’s favourite toys. If you need to, you can shop around for props to theme your shoot. Sweet treats can help too! Ensure that everyone is hydrated and has more than enough water for the shoot (especially with Singapore’s weather and intensive walking).

4. Time of the photoshoot

Many have misconceptions on natural light when it comes to photography. The best time of day to take portrait photos is a couple of hours after sunrise and before sunset. Within that time, it is better to shoot after the morning golden hour or before the evening golden hour. It’s important to avoid choosing a mid-day timing. It can be tough to stand under the hot sun with harsh lighting for a long time. We have no control on the weather, so it is advised to schedule a timing when the sun is less harsh on the family.

We recommend:

  • 7.30 – 9.30am – less heat caused by the sunlight
  • 9.30 -11.30am – bright and sunny
  • 4.30 – 5.30pm – bright but less hot
  • 5.30 – 7.30pm – catch the sunset!
5. Location Planning: where to go?

When it comes to choosing a location, revisiting the places of good memories is always a good choice for photoshoots. Outdoor photography makes photos come alive, and having a picturesque background, may make the foreground livelier. Ask yourself these, what places are most memorable to you and your family? Does your family have a favourite hangout spot?

Images: Cloud Productions

The post How to Take the Best Family and Kids Photos appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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A child with Haemophilia can be hard to care for, as they can be easily hurt and bleed internally. Payroll assistant Lee May, 44, mum to Lee Jue Ming, 10, know that first-hand. Born with Haemophilia B, her lively boy cheers this mother’s heart with his innocence and his laughter, making each day’s burdens easier to bear.

“At two days old, doctors at the hospital where he was born found that Lee Jue Ming’s head circumference had increased. This isn’t normal, so he had to undergo a barrage of tests. They revealed that he had Subaponeurotic Hemorrhage, bleeding between his skull and his scalp.

In addition to that, Jue Ming has Severe Haemophilia B or Factor 9 deficiency (Haemophilia is a bleeding problem due to lack of normal levels of a clotting factor). Haemophilia B is also known as the Christmas disease. When the doctor told us, your son has Christmas disease, we were like, ‘Huh? What is that?’

Haemophilia is genetic (although there are some mutated cases). It is usually passed on by the mother. The female is usually the carrier, and the male gets it. Of course, I felt a lot of guilt about it. But life still has to move on.

Moving On after the Haemophilia Diagnosis

Haemophilia is quite rare in Singapore — there are only 300-plus people with this in Singapore. Hence we Googled it and got information on the disease and learnt how to take care of him.

My husband quit his mechanic job when Jue Ming was about a year old, to look after Jue Ming full-time, and so he could bring Jue Ming to all his medical appointments and therapies.

Yes, it’s usually the mother who stays home to look after the child. But I earn slightly more than him, and Jue Ming was a big baby (about 3.895 kg at birth) so my husband’s strength helped.

We kept thinking, ‘Why did this happen to us?’ Then came the worry: how to take care of him? In addition to Haemophilia, he had GDD (Global Developmental Delay) too. That affected his development so he did not follow the usual baby milestones.

Initially we were very worried. We let him wear socks, just normal socks, but when we took out the socks there would be bruises, which meant there was internal bleeding. And of course the medical costs were another problem.

(See also: Common Newborn Conditions Every Parent Should Know)

Handling the High Medical Costs

One vial of his medication (Factor 9) is enough for a 10 kg child. As the child grows, you will need more. Currently, Jue Ming needs three vials. One vial – after all the subsidies, is $100-plus. So three bottles is $300-plus. Without subsidies, each vial costs over $400. Thankfully, the hospital’s MediFund helped to cover the costs.

Jue Ming been taking this since he was born. Initially we only let him have it when there’s a need. After that we went every three weeks. Because it is expensive, we would only bring him to the hospital for an infusion when he has a bleed.

He can have spontaneous internal bleeding even if there is no fall. So even something as simple as sitting in a baby walker could hurt him.

Once when he was about one year old, we brought him to the hospital for physiotherapy and to see the doctor for a checkup. It took a whole day and we only got home in the evening.

I was helping him to change his clothes, and lifted up his hand. He started to cry. When I compared his hands I noticed that one was bigger than the other. That’s when I knew that there was a bleed. We went back to the hospital. He had to be admitted and given Factor 9 every eight hours until the internal bleeding stopped.

Coping with Incidents and Accidents

The biggest episode that scared me? There were a few. One was that bleed in his hand when he was a baby. Another time he was sitting in a playpen, and he suddenly toppled and knocked his head. I had such a scare! I told my husband we’d better bring him for a scan. My husband monitored him and said he seemed okay, that there was no vomiting, that he seemed fine.

When he started learning how to walk we would know if he had internal bleeding because he would start to limp. Then we would have to bring him to the hospital.

Another time was when his molars started coming in. His gums would bleed. Sometimes it would happen in the middle of the night. So we’d let him bite on cotton gauze and bring him to the hospital the next morning. The whole cotton gauze would be bloody.

Because of his GDD, and his muscle tone is very weak. There are many things that he can’t do. I see other kids with Haemophilia who can run like normal kids. Sometimes I think, ‘How come Jue Ming cannot do that?

(See also: Children’s Clinics and PDs in Singapore open 24/7, on Weekends, and on Public Holidays)

Staying Mentally Strong through Haemophilia

But, perhaps thanks to his conditions, Jue Ming is a very happy child. Because of his GDD, his level of maturity can be two to three years behind that of his peers.

He sees things in very simple ways. For him, life is perfect, he lives in a perfect world. He’s very innocent.

As a consequence of this he is also very confident, and has no stage fright at all. There was this one time, when he was six or seven, when he was invited to the Istana to give a token of appreciation to the ex-president. In front of everyone, all the dignitaries and the reporters, he was very calm and confident. I guess it’s because the gravity of the situation did not occur to him. Unlike him, the other kids were very shy.

Jue Ming attends mainstream school, but he had a year’s delay. In school he seldom plays with the boys. He’s usually with the girls. But sometimes the girls don’t want boys with them so he is by himself. We do have concerns about bullying. It’s been happening since P2 hence we transferred him to another school. Jue Ming is currently coping well in his new school.

(See also: Why ‘Safety First’ may not be the Best for your Kids)

Looking Ahead to the Future

For now Jue Ming seldom has emergency cases. The last one was when our family participated in an event for charity. Jue Ming did not sit down for the entire day as he was helping to man a stall. I think he overworked his knee at the event. After that we had to bring him to the hospital for infusion for four days.

I get the most support from family, friends, and of course, the Haemophilia Society of Singapore. We have a group chat so if something happens and we’ve never come across it before, we discuss about it. We also joined the Rare Disorders Society of Singapore. He has made good friends with the children in these groups.

At home he watches TV and reads. He likes the Harry Potter series. This started because his sister liked Harry Potter. So my husband borrowed the audiobooks from the library and taught him how to read while following the audiobook. That’s why Jue Ming wanted a Harry Potter-themed birthday party.

Jue Ming always been thoughtful. When I asked him what birthday present he wanted, he said, ‘I don’t need any gift. I just want my friends to attend my birthday party and I will be happy.’

You can’t forsee what will happen in the future, so we’ll handle things as they come. My wish for him? That he is happy and healthy. That’s the most important.”

Jue Ming’s Harry Potter-themed Birthday Party

Jue Ming’s Harry Potter party wish was granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Singapore on 23 June 2018. It included:

  • dinner at Platform 1904 – a Harry Potter-themed Café
  • a surprise Harry Potter-themed gift box
  • an ‘Amazing Race,’ which led him from home to the party at Siloso Beach Resort, Sentosa

The hotel ballroom was transformed with Harry Potter-themed decorations, props and outfits. The children played games according to the theme, including everyone’s favourite; Snape Piñata. All guests went home with a Harry Potter-themed goody bag, and Jue Ming’s family enjoyed a one-night staycation at the eco resort.

The post Haemophilia & GDD don’t stop Jue Ming from being the Light of his Mother’s life appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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Mothers have an amazing ability to think on their feet while running around all day. They make sure everyone in the family is cared for, often at the expense of their own well-being. And this is on top of everything they go through to bring their beloved children into this world! But Mums, your family can only thrive if you take care of yourself too. It’s crucial that you nourish your body at every stage of motherhood, starting from pre-conception.

Trying to Conceive Source

Promote regular ovulation by upping your intake of plant-based fat, such as that found in avocado and nuts. A good supply of the antioxidant glutathione in fruits and veggies can also help boost egg quality.

Reduce inflammation and replenish good bacteria in your gut and genital organs by taking probiotic supplements. They can also be found in foods such as organic yogurt with live active cultures, kombucha, kefir, and fermented vegetables.

Start taking folic acid, or increase intake of folate-rich foods such as brown rice and asparagus. It’s needed in the production of cells and DNA and helps reduce risk of certain birth defects.

Take Chicken Essence for Pregnancy Plan (想孕). Taken both before and after ovulation, it contains herbs that nourish the Yin element. This chicken essence also helps the body build a warm constitution ideal for conceiving.

While Pregnant Source

No, you shouldn’t literally ‘eat for two’ in terms of quantity, but rather, focus on increasing your nutrient intake. And the easy way to do that is simply to eat clean!

This means relying on healthy eating principles of the old days – wholesome homemade meals and snacking on fresh, whole foods. Limit processed foods, saturated fats and added sugar.

Include a variety of fruits, veggies and whole grains, legumes (nuts and seeds), and full-fat dairy products. Consume quality proteins such as cold-water fish full of healthy fats and moderate amounts of lean meats. Chicken essence is also a good protein source.

Take Original Chicken Essence (原味). It contains herbs to help replenish Qi and blood. This chicken essence is also rich in good protein and essential amino acids that are easily absorbed. Low in fat, it will nourish both mummy and foetus without causing you excess weight gain.

Take Chicken Essence for Digestion (四神). It contains herbs beneficial for the spleen and stomach, organs responsible for the transportation and absorption of nutrients. Nourish them first so that you and the baby can receive better nutrition.

(See also: Tian Yuan Xiang Chicken Essence offers Optimal Nourishment for Pregnancy and Beyond)

During Confinement Source

The month of confinement is possibly the stage of motherhood that Asians focus on the most. The idea is that postpartum mums suffered blood loss in childbirth and their bodies are extra vulnerable to cold.

Hence the confinement diet traditionally includes lots of ‘warming’ ingredients such as old ginger, sesame oil, wine and black vinegar. Use these in conjunction with lean meats, which contain lots of iron.

Greens are important too. Spinach is rich in calcium, while fenugreek leaves can help increase breastmilk production. It’s important for breastfeeding mums in particular to stay hydrated. For the Chinese, red dates tea is typically the traditional drink of choice as it’s a tonic for the blood.

Take Chicken Essence with Vaccaria Seed (王不留行). It contains herbs believed to promote lactation and prevent mastitis. For mums experiencing post-delivery aches in their waist and back, this chicken essence also boosts kidney Qi to help you feel better.

Young Mums

Mothers of babies and young children often struggle with sleep deprivation. Keeping iron levels up is one of the keys to boosting energy and overall health. Lean meats and fish, and dark green leafy veggies like spinach and kale, are good sources of iron.

Life can be stressful for a mother who’s constantly juggling schedules and housework, often while building a career as well. Antioxidants in blueberries and strawberries, and potassium in bananas and beets can help keep hypertension at bay.

Maintain a good intake of soluble fibre by loading up on whole grains, high-fibre fruit, beans and legumes, eggplant, okra and kale, and fatty fish. These increase heart-healthy HDL cholesterol while lowering artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

Take Chicken Essence with Nourishments (石斛). Lack of sleep leads to internal heat rising, causing conditions such as constipation. This chicken essence replenishes body fluids to relieve the conditions caused by internal heat, while boosting energy levels.

Mature Mums Source

Women need lots of calcium in their diet to help reduce risk of osteoporosis. This is particularly important for menopausal and post-menopausal mamas. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, tofu, sardines, and calcium-fortified cereals.

You also need magnesium and vitamin D for your body to properly utilise calcium. Find magnesium in broccoli, cucumber, quinoa and various nuts. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, and of course, good old sunshine!

Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish are crucial to brain function. They not only lower blood pressure, but are also known to enhance memory and slow mental decline. Superfoods like blueberries may also aid in keeping Alzheimer’s disease and age-related dementia at bay.

Take Chicken Essence with Cordyceps (冬虫夏草). It contains herbs such as red dates, goji berries and cordyceps that are believed to enrich Qi-blood and lungs. It also helps boost and maintain energy levels to keep fatigue at bay.

Nourish Your Body at Every Stage of Motherhood

Yes, one convenient way to help nourish your body at every stage of motherhood is to supplement your diet with Tian Yuan Xiang Chicken Essence (田原香滴鸡精). Whether you’re a mum-to-be, new or mature mother, there’s a variety just for you. There are even options for daddies and kiddos! You and your family can all benefit from a powerful concoction of nutrients brewed using organic chickens and nourishing Chinese herbs.

From 30 May to 16 June 2019, save up to $39.50 per box in Tian Yuan Xiang’s Customer Appreciation Sale!

In other words, the more you buy, the more you save! No space in your freezer? No worries, simply arrange for partial delivery service and Tian Yuan Xiang will deliver the remainder at your request.

Click here to put in your order today!

Header image: Source

This post is freshly brewed together with Tian Yuan Xiang (田原香).

Like this? Follow SingaporeMotherhood on Telegram for more.

The post How to Nourish Your Body at Every Stage of Motherhood appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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The other day, my children cuddled up close to me and stared. I thought they were being affectionate, but it turned out they had something of urgent importance to impart to me. The loves of my life (and speakers of The Brutal Truth) informed me that my face looked like Io.

“One of Jupiter’s moons,” they helpfully explained.

As I failed to greet this proclamation with the desired ecstasy they thought it deserved, they told me, “We’re comparing you to a heavenly body. It’s a compliment!”


Hence when ONLY Aesthetics offered a trial of their new GLASS SKIN™ Laser treatment — the first in the world btw — I thought it was serendipity and said “yes!” even though I had no idea what it was. 

A trippy journey down the Google rabbit hole later, as words like “dewy” and “glowy” joined “translucent” and “clear as glass” in my head, I was sold.

(See also: 8 Common Baby and Child Skin Problems)

Getting Transparent about Glass Skin






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A post shared by BAE SUZY (배수지) (@suzybz) on Apr 7, 2019 at 8:59pm PDT

So what exactly is glass skin? According to my new BFF Google, it is basically dream skin — smooth as a calm lake on a windless day, poreless as a baby’s bottom, blemish-free, and infused with an otherworldly shimmer.

You see it on airbrushed, digitally-enhanced celebs and models in magazine spreads. And of course, on all our favourite Korean drama idols and K-Pop stars. Outside of the K-sphere, celebs like Beyoncé, Karlie Kloss, Priyanka Chopra are fans.

Online articles and Youtube tell me that I can perform the 11-step Korean skincare routine to achieve glass skin, but seriously, which mum has the time?

The Science Behind the Treatment

GLASS SKIN™ is a laser treatment that promises glass skin within five minutes and ONLY Aesthetics is the first, and only one in the world, to introduce the GLASS SKIN™ laser.

This is:

• Suitable for Asian skins
• Great for those who struggle with sun damaged skin and acne-inflamed rosacea skin
• Able to help prevent post laser hyperpigmentation (PIH)
• Effective in treating various skin concerns
• Completed in under five minutes, without any downtime so you can pop in and out during lunchtime!

Significant results can be seen in a short period of one to two sessions. 

Another treatment under the GLASS SKIN™ range is the H2 GLASS SKIN™. This 15-minute “Hydrogen-infused” treatment is where the anti-aging magic comes in. Apparently, hydrogen is the most powerful antioxidant that can fight free radicals.

Incorporated into the GLASS SKIN™ treatment, it helps eliminate wrinkles and fine lines safely, and boost skin’s antioxidant properties, making this a treatment that goes beyond skin deep.

(See also: Choosing an Allergy Test: The Lowdown)

The Process

Before undergoing any treatment, there is a consultation with the in-house aesthetician, Dr Sin Yong. He examines my skin, tells me what’s wrong with it (too much!), and explains how the GLASS SKIN™ treatment can help.

After this it’s in one room and out another for a thorough cleansing, and then the treatments. A friendly therapist takes before and after photos of my face, all of which I am too embarrassed to look at. Everything is over in less than 30 minutes, and I didn’t even have to take off my top!

Back at reception, the other therapists tell me how much clearer my skin is. It’s definitely looking calmer, with visibly reduced redness, and much, much smoother. Dr Sin Yong assures me that my skin will improve over the next few days, and that blemishes will heal more quickly from now on.

It’s not at Korean star level yet, but over the next few weeks my skin continues to glow. Those pesky ‘time of the month’ pimples come and go in two days instead of staying for a week. They’re also smaller and less angry than usual.

Of course, nothing beats drinking lots of water, using sunscreen religiously, eating right, and getting enough sleep (#mumgoals). But if I can get closer to flawless in minutes with ONLY Aesthetics’ GLASS SKIN™ Laser treatment, why not?

Want glass skin too? We’re giving three mums a chance to get it!

:: Giveaway :: 3 x GLASS SKIN™ Laser + H2 Infusion treatments at ONLY Aesthetics

We have three GLASS SKIN™ Laser + H2 Infusion treatments at ONLY Aesthetics to give away. These treatments are worth $388 each (before GST) for first-time customers at ONLY.

How to win:
  1. Like and share this article on Facebook with the hashtag #ONLYxSM2019
  2.  Comment in the FB post what skin problems you hope the GLASS SKIN™ treatment can help you with
  3. Relax! We’ll get in touch with you if you are one of the three winners
Terms and Conditions:

• Treatment type will be decided by ONLY Aesthetics upon consultation
• Vouchers are not exchangeable for cash
• This giveaway is applicable only in Singapore

Closing date: 12 noon, Wednesday 15 May 2019


Featured image: Linh Ha on Unsplash

Images: ONLY Aesthetics, unless specified

The post Mum-tested: ONLY Aesthetics’ GLASS SKIN™ Treatment (review and giveaway) appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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Two weeks after tearing a muscle in her knee, Hazleen Panayiotou defied her doctor’s orders to rest and recuperate. Instead, the founder of the Amazing Trekkers Club (ATC) put on a knee brace with metal support, and led a climb up Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

The 47-year-old mother of three has now summited 50 peaks worldwide. They include: Mount Kinabalu (thrice), Kilimanjaro (twice), the Inca Trail in Peru, Monte Rosa Massif and Gran Paradiso in Italy, Everest Base Camp, Mount Fuji (twice), Mount Jade, Mount Rinjani, the Blue Mountains, Mount Popa in Myanmar, Mount Agung and Batur (which she climbed back-to-back over two consecutive days).

She has also conquered Lantau and Sunset Peaks, and Dragons Back in Hong Kong, Mount Merapi, Scafell Pike (England), Snowdonia (Wales), Smittenhoehe (Austria), Vinacunca (Peru), Mount Sermeru, Bromo, Belumut, Mount Pulag and Mount Ledang (eight times), and Lambak (countless times). 

After retiring from a highly demanding career in real estate development and Investment banking to care for her children — now 20 (son), 11 and 8 (daughters) — Hazleen worked in communications for 16 years, mostly in the Middle East. 

These days, when she’s not outdoors, on a mountain somewhere in the world, or guiding other women to reach new summits, this true-blue Singaporean mama is busy planning her two daughters’ schedules, and managing the ATC. 

Seaching for Meaning in Life

“I have always been active since I was a child. I remember spending lots of time cycling with friends and participating in all kinds of sports. But when I was working I travelled a lot and there wasn’t much time for exercise.

When my first daughter was born and my son was nine, I took a career break. Two and half years later we had another baby in the family. My life revolved around caring for the children at home. This shift in lifestyle led to me losing my identity. I craved the challenge and euphoria I was used to when I was working as an executive director of corporate communications.

“My children kept me busy and happy. But I was searching for purpose and it led to self-doubt and loss of confidence. Nothing I did felt like enough. I realised it was because I had lost that sense of value, of contributing to a larger purpose.” 

During this time we were living between London and Singapore, travelling with two babies. My son was in boarding school in England. One night, a freak accident with a broken jar of relish in the kitchen led to a severed tendon in my foot and I had to undergo mallet toe surgery.

Back from the Brink of Death

Following the surgery, I had to rest for two months. During this period of inactivity I got a terrible illness called quinsy which can be fatal if left untreated. I had fever, a terrible pain in my throat, trouble opening my mouth, and a sudden change in my voice. 

I cannot imagine what would happen if I hadn’t gone to see the doctor. He was a brilliant ENT specialist who performed an immediate incision and drainage literally the moment I walked into his practice. 

He wasted no time explaining what was happening to me. All he said was that it was a life and death situation. I still cannot believe this actually happened.

After the surgery, I was determined to be back on my feet. I made a resolution to get out and get strong — physically, emotionally and mentally. 

Getting Strong Again

I started running. I couldn’t even last 10 minutes at first, but I persevered. I lost weight, got stronger and fitter, and completed many 5K running events, as well as three half marathons.

I was training for Urbanathlon Race — an 18 km run with nine obstacles — four years ago when a friend asked me if I could take over her place to climb Mount Kinabalu. But there were only two weeks left to the start of the climb, and I had no idea where or how to start preparing.  

My husband stepped in and gave me courage. He used to climb mountains in his younger days. He took me to a sports store to buy everything I needed to get ready for Kinabalu.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

The Zen of Hiking

I fell in love with the simplicity of hiking. And I wanted to create a supportive space for like-minded adventurous women. That is how the Amazing Trekkers Club (ATC) started. 

While I was working in the corporate world, I noticed that many women existed in a work-home rut. When I left that world and returned to Singapore, I searched for a group to train and trek together, and to form a space where women could network, expand their horizons, and disconnect from the fast-paced, stressful, electronically-overloaded world. 

I wanted to create a sanctuary; a therapeutic, peaceful environment that was not a spa. My idea was to go back to the jungle, to nature, to everything rustic.

We are a club for women only. This idea is rooted in women supporting each other, a kind of networking-with-a-purpose. Because when women believe and decide to ‘take the stage’, they shine. And the entire female community shines and celebrates together. Our club encourages women to connect with positive women who can lift you up as they rise.

This element is crucial. As women we tend to overly criticise ourselves, and to underplay our successes and achievements. In the friendly and nurturing environment of women, we can thrive, support our friends, and bring out the best in each other. 

I want my daughters and other women to see how far they can push their comfort levels to reach their full potential. I want to pave the way for the next generation to become part of the conversation by sharing our stories –- of women who have been inspired by mountains.

Inspired by Mountains

When we are preparing for a climb, we train almost every day.  Recently, my 11-year old daughter climbed Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, with me and nine other women.

There were two sets of mother-daughter teams on this climb and we had so many adventures throughout the seven-day trek — in arctic weather. What we went through would fill a book!

Yes, we encourage members to bring their children along on treks. In Singapore, our most frequently covered trails are those at MacRitchie Reservoir and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

ATC goes on hiking trails for beginners, too, to train, and to prepare for a bigger challenges. Before a trek, we make sure our members are equipped with the right gear, have done the required training, and pack the right attitude.

For myself, my must-haves are a good backpack, great quality boots, a pair of reliable hiking poles, and a headtorch”. 

I get occasional emails from spouses querying about membership and trips on behalf of their wives and partners. It is also wonderful to witness the encouragement our members get from their family during their trek preparation. Many husbands and partners wish to join us on our treks, but we remain a women-only mountaineering community for the reasons I shared earlier. 

Being a Trekking Parent

My husband Peter is my rock. He fully supports what I do. In fact, it was his idea to set up a trekking club for women when he witnessed how uplifted and ecstatic I was after climbing Mount Kinabalu. Furthermore, he strongly believes that I am a better wife and mother when I am happy, thriving, strong and confident.

My son keeps fit and maintains a healthy lifestyle – he does weight training and enjoys cooking healthy meals. He is serving his National Service at the moment, but will soon be starting his degree course in the University of Edinburgh, specialising in Mechanical Engineering. 

I encourage my daughters (age 11 and eight) to choose the sports they enjoy and are passionate about. Both girls are active in athletics and football in and outside school. Both also enjoy mountain climbing.  

We have climbed Mount Bintan, Snowdonia in Wales as a family. My 11-year old climbed Mount Fuji when she was eight, Mount Kinabalu when she was nine, and Mount Kilimanjaro when she was 10. 

I believe that climbing mountains teaches my children hard work and perseverance. It also teaches them to show gratitude for the basic freedoms we are blessed with. It is good for the soul.” 

The Amazing Trekkers Club (ATC)has members from Singapore, Myanmar, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, America, Dubai, Bahrain, Africa, Poland, Seychelles, Trinidad & Tobago, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.


Header image: Source

The post Ain’t No Mountain High Enough for Hazleen Panayiotou, founder of the Amazing Trekkers Club (ATC) appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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Who doesn’t love oohing and aahing at a bonny baby discovering life in the earliest days? This adorable double bill of newborn photography will surely set your hearts a-flutter!

Baby Aiden was born in late-2018 (his parents prefer to keep details private), and his angelic little face at birth has changed as he’s grown into a handsome chappie these past months. His parents, Audrie Soh, 32, Sub-editor of SingaporeBrides, and Eugene Cheong, 35, Marketing Programs Specialist, are really glad that they managed to capture those early days in not just one, but two separate newborn photoshoots. The glowing first-time Mummy shares about both photoshoots, and offers a snapshot of Baby Aiden’s journey into our world.

Credit: Bows and Ribbons Photography Could you share a little about your pregnancy journey and how you prepared for baby’s birth?

My pregnancy was smooth-sailing. I had no morning sickness and was spared of most aches and pains until the last trimester. I also slept exceedingly well, bump and all!

I read up a lot on everything from breast pumps to diapers, but with so many options and differing opinions, I decided to stick to tried-and-tested recommendations from friends and family. I also collected lots of goodie bags from baby fairs and signed up for samples online. It’s a great way for first-time mums to try different products without spending on trial and error.

(See also: The Newborn Checklist: 18 Must-haves to Get When You’re Expecting a Baby)

In the final few weeks, I did squats, walked a lot, and took raspberry leaf tea to induce labour. I was hoping to have baby out slightly ahead of schedule – preferably on a handful of dates, but none of them worked out. Still, I did pop a week ahead of my EDD!

Credit: Fion Boon Photography Tell us about Baby Aiden’s grand entrance!

Here’s a funny story: The day before I delivered, I had false contractions and thought I was going into labour. I quickly ordered McDonald’s delivery, just in case. But the false contractions stopped right after I placed my order and I finished my meal uneventfully.

Turns out the real deal was the following morning. I was actually pretty calm – I timed my contractions for a good two hours (they were pretty bearable). Once I was convinced they were here to stay and were getting stronger, I woke Eugene up – it’s D-day! I even had time to take a relaxing shower, have breakfast and watch Hannibal on Netflix!

My labour was pretty short – roughly 18 hours from the first contractions to the moment Aiden made his entrance. I also opted for an epidural once the pain became unbearable. Pushing was the hardest part – it felt like my veins were going to burst and my eyes would pop out! Luckily, neither happened and the baby was safely delivered.

(See also: 7 Antenatal Classes in Singapore that’ll take you from Bump to Baby with Ease)

Credit: Bows and Ribbons Photography How has motherhood been so far?

Motherhood has been a steep learning curve. It has been since the first day, and I believe it will continue to be in the future. At every stage of baby’s development, there are new things to read up on, learn and do, even before you’ve figured out the last developmental phase. Sleep deprivation aside, there are also the constant doubts that you’re not doing something right.

The first two weeks were particularly challenging. My confinement nanny insisted on feeding baby on a strict schedule, against my wishes and the advice of my doctors and nurses. She quit on me halfway through my confinement, leaving me with a newborn I barely knew how to care for. Thankfully, family and friends stepped in – they say it takes a village to raise a child, and it truly does. I’m also grateful to have a 100% hands-on husband who willingly cares for our baby so I can take breaks.

(See also: Confinement Nanny in Singapore: 5 Important Questions to Ask before Hiring One)

Despite knowing that motherhood would be tough, it wasn’t until I became a mother that I realised just how tough. But although things may not be easy, I’m rewarded whenever I see Aiden smile or hear him coo contentedly. Aiden can be quite fussy and it’s often a struggle just trying to coax him to sleep. Yet it is very satisfying when I manage to rock him into sweet slumber.

Credits: Fion Boon Photography Why did you decide to do newborn photography, and not once but twice? Tell us more about the process.

From the moment I discovered I was pregnant, I wanted to do a newborn shoot. Babies are known to change drastically within the first few months, and I wanted to immortalise the way he looked in the first few days of his life.

After shortlisting a couple of photographers I came across on Instagram, Eugene and I decided on Fion Boon Photography. We liked the clean, natural light look of her photography and the price point was also comfortable for us. Aiden was just 10 days old during that first photoshoot.

Aiden can’t tolerate any noise or light when he sleeps, and he doesn’t like being touched when he’s asleep either. So despite the photographer using white noise to calm him, Aiden was frowning and resisting being moved into certain poses.

Credit: Bows and Ribbons Photography

The second photoshoot was with Bows and Ribbons Photography, another photographer on my shortlist. That came about because I was lucky enough to win an Instagram contest that they ran. This photoshoot took place three days after the first.

In both cases, we just went with the flow and let the photographers decide on the concept and sets. Both were done at the home/studio of the photographers. I didn’t have to prepare any outfits or props; the photographers provided everything.

(See also: 31 Best Maternity, Baby & Family Photographers in Singapore)

The photos are definitely adorable! Do you have a favourite?

I love that both sets of newborn photography turned out very differently. The first with Fion Boon is very natural and full of light, while the one with Bows and Ribbons is more rustic and warm-looking.

Credit: Fion Boon Photography

A favourite photo? They are all my favourite! But if I had to choose, it would be this one (above) where Aiden has his hands behind his head, and he’s smiling like a boss. Another one I love is the one (below) where he’s in a basket, chin leaning on hands.

Credit: Bows and Ribbons Photography

I’m so glad we decided to do newborn photography for Aiden. He looks so different already, and you can hardly see that brand-new baby in him now. Except through these photos. So I definitely have no regrets. I have two photos displayed at home, and plan to have more.

Credit: Fion Boon Photography More babies too, perhaps?

Before I gave birth, I wanted another child – hopefully a daughter. But all thoughts of number two are shelved for the time being! For now, I just hope to be able to parent Aiden well enough, and instil the right values in him. I want him to grow up healthy and happy, responsible and filial, confident and kind. I hope that he will travel the world, broaden his perspectives, and pursue his own dreams and passions.

(See also: Dawn and Nicholas’ Whimsical Night-time Maternity Photoshoot with Knotties Frame)

Credit: Fion Boon Photography

Photography & Styling Fion Boon Photography & Bows and Ribbons Photography

Want to see your baby’s adorable newborn photography featured on SingaporeMotherhood too? Get in touch with us here!

Header image: Fion Boon Photography
Feature image: Bows and Ribbons Photography

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The post Baby Aiden’s Doubly Delightful Newborn Photoshoots with Fion Boon Photography & Bows and Ribbons Photography appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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Parents are asking if it’s really necessary for their teenage daughters to receive the HPV vaccine. We get the lowdown from a doctor.

You’ve probably heard the news from the Parliament session on 6 March 2019 about how secondary school girls now have the option to get the HPV vaccine in school for free. Naturally, Singaporeans have varying opinions on this. In particular, many parents are questioning the safety, efficacy and necessity of this vaccine for their daughters. To help you make a more informed decision, we check in with a doctor and discuss the pros and cons of the HPV vaccine.

The Opt-in HPV Vaccine Scheme

First, let’s recap the facts about this scheme. The HPV vaccine has been added to our national school immunisation programme, madrasahs included. Starting this month, all Secondary One girls will be offered the HPV vaccine Cervarix. Those who opt in will also receive a second dose in Secondary Two. The scheme will also be progressively extended to all current Secondary school girls as a one-time catch-up. Students aged 15 years and above get three doses. But it’s not compulsory. This is an opt-in scheme, which means that it ultimately falls on parents to give consent.

(See also: What You Need to Know About Vaccinations)

What is HPV? Source

HPV stands for human papillomavirus, a virus which causes cervical cancer. The Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) says it’s Singapore’s eighth-most common cause of cancer deaths in women – 70 deaths every year. From 2011 to 2015, more than 200 cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed in Singapore each year.

Cervical cancer is known as a silent killer. This means that by the time most patients develop symptoms, the cancer has already progressed to the late stages. But the SCS believes that the disease can be eradicated through vaccination and routine screening.

But that’s not all. “HPV is a virus that can infect both males and females of all ages,” says Dr Chester Lan from DTAP Clinic Group (Dr Tan & Partners). “HPV infections may lead to diseases such as skin warts, genital warts, cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, penile cancer, and anal cancer.”

Dr Lan goes on to explain, “There are more than 100 types of HPVs, with about 40 known to affect the genital area. Of these, there are high-risk types known to cause cancer and low-risk types which may cause genital warts.”

Benefits of the HPV Vaccine Source

Out of the over 100 types of HPV, subtypes 16 and 18, in particular, cause about 70 per cent of cervical cancers. HPV vaccines such as Cervarix offer over 90 per cent protection in preventing the development of cervical cancer precursors, says Dr Ida Ismail-Pratt, Consultant at National University Cancer Institute.

“In fact,” says Dr Lan, “we are already starting to see the benefits of this vaccine in reduced precancerous lesions of the cervix in countries with high uptake of this vaccine.”

Indeed, researchers in Scotland have just reported that the vaccine has nearly wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer in young women 10 years after an immunisation programme was introduced. Over the past decade, schoolgirls aged 12 to 13 years across the UK have received the HPV vaccine.

Other versions of the vaccine, such as Gardasil 9, also reduce your risk of genital warts from low-risk subtypes of HPV. That’s why in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends girls and boys aged 11 to 12 years get two doses of Gardasil 9.

Dr Lan shares, “I have advised some male patients to get the vaccine and have been met with faces of surprise. Many people think that this vaccine is only for females. That’s not true! For males, the HPV vaccine can reduce the risk of warts, penile and anal cancer.”

(See also: 10 Amazing Things Every Woman Needs to Know about Her Body)

Safety Concerns

But if the HPV vaccine has such benefits, why have some countries like Japan withdrawn it from its immunisation schedule? We pose this question, one that many are asking, to Dr Lan.

Cervarix, what our schoolgirls are getting, is the oldest version of the HPV vaccine. This means that it is very well-studied in terms of safety and efficacy.

– Dr Chester Lan, DTAP Clinic Group (Dr Tan & Partners)

Dr Lan’s response: “It was based on spurious case reports and unsubstantiated allegations on possible side effects. More than 270 million doses of this vaccine have been given out, and the safety of it has been reviewed by the World Health Organization’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) seven times. The conclusion is and has always been that this vaccine is safe.”

He adds, “An interesting thing to note is that the people who have been trying to debunk this myth of vaccine danger in Japan have recently been awarded international prizes for their efforts. If you are asking if the HPV vaccine is safe or effective, there is overwhelming data saying that it is both safe and effective for our daughters.”

Side Effects of the HPV Vaccine Source

As with most jabs, there are the known side effects of pain and swelling in the area of injection. You might also feel slightly unwell or develop a fever after a vaccination. “However, these side effects are temporary and usually won’t last more than a few days. If you feel unwell after the vaccination, consult your doctor for advice,” advises Dr Lan.

Studies show that HPV vaccines are most effective if given before exposure to sexual activity. The response to the vaccine is also better at younger ages. But doesn’t this mean… “If you’re wondering if giving the vaccine would be encouraging young ones to explore their sexuality earlier, research has shown that receiving the vaccine at an early age is not linked to an earlier start of sexual activity,” remarks Dr Lan.

“The only other down side is the time spent to travel down to your doctors to get the vaccination, and the cost incurred. However, if you ask me, it is time and money well spent!” quips Dr Lan. Depending on the vaccine used and the person’s age, it can cost from about $300 to over $700 for the full course.

With the opt-in scheme, Secondary school girls don’t have to make a special trip to a clinic to get the HPV vaccination. Just like the compulsory boosters students receive in Primary 5, it will take place in school. And it’s free!

(See also: Singapore Vaccinations 101: What’s Compulsory and Optional for Your Kids)

But Is It Really Necessary? Source

Dr Lan doesn’t mince his words. He says, “Whether it is necessary or not depends on your risk appetite. This vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in reducing the risk of cervical cancer. If you are okay with living with the increased risk, then the vaccine can be seen as optional. You can always choose to not allow your daughters to get the vaccine. Having said that, my three sisters have already gotten the vaccine, and I fully support their decision!”

53-year-old Madam Dianna Tan felt it was necessary for her 12-year-old daughter, Chloee Lee. In an October 2018 Straits Times article, she shared that her mother passed away last year from cervical cancer. “That got me worried for my girl, so I decided to get her vaccinated, since it is good for her at a young age and cervical cancer can be prevented.”

So what will it be, parents? Will your daughters be opting in… or out?

Header image: Source
Feature image: Source

The post Opt-in HPV Vaccine for Girls in Singapore: Should My Daughter Get It? appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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The youngest millennials are on the cusp of adulthood this year, and they’re not in a hurry to settle down and have babies. 

I’m 23 years old this year. My boyfriend and I have been together for two and a half years. I don’t think we would say we’re each others’ first loves. However, we are in a committed relationship with plans for the future. We’re hoping we’ll be financially stable in five years, and be able to get married then.

I think I first entertained the idea of being a mother when I turned 21. I thought it was something I’d like to pursue when I was older. It’s hard to picture myself in this role though, not because I don’t dream of having a family of my own someday, but because it seems so far in the future.

Parenthood may not spark joy

Parenthood brings great joy, but it is not without its struggles. Many of my peers already feel burnt out and overwhelmed in our 20s. It’s hard to imagine taking on the added responsibility of parenthood. We’d much rather be the cool aunt or uncle!

That’s not to say that all millennials won’t start families. Still it’s hard to deny that rising costs have affected our desire to start families. Add in housing loans, renovation costs, and wedding budgets, and it can seem more of a hassle than a step forward.

I think the biggest factor preventing me from becoming a mother in Singapore is that (to me) the financial responsibility of raising a child here is very high.

The future is childless?

A decade ago, it was the norm to start your own family once you turned 25. Earlier, even! Now, it’s hard to picture achieving that before we’re 30. There are so many more opportunities offered to us in our studies and careers, who could blame us for choosing to pursue those first?

Furthermore, even though most of us have entered adulthood, we are still perceived as a freewheeling generation with no clear direction. Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers see us as not interested in settling down, or more concerned about “finding ourselves”.

Millennials are also known to be non-traditionalists, with more of us choosing not to get married or have children. Most of my friends aren’t thinking about it. The only people (our age) we see with babies are often celebrities, and we know all too well that’s not our reality.






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Side-by-side @blakelively @vancityreynolds #blakelively #slsidebyside – ❌⭕️❌⭕️


A post shared by Sophie & Lili ™ (@sophieandlili) on Dec 21, 2016 at 1:24pm PST

Rather than see this as a decline in traditional Asian values, I think of it more that millennials are planning for what they really want.

Plus, living in this day and age, technology affords us more time. Age is not such a deterrent as it used to be. While a woman’s age still affects her fertility, she has options. More women are giving birth in their 40s. What was once a “scary” age to procreate is now becoming more normal. Some couples may even consider adopting or fostering children if pregnancy isn’t for them.

Parenting still inspiring though

I feel that motherhood is hard work, really. In Singapore, lots of mums juggle their career and motherhood, which I think is amazing. Even though I’m not a mum, they inspire me to see the world from a different point of view.

I feel that millennial mums are more open to learning about parenting and aren’t stuck in their ways. They’re more receptive to advice from experts or other mums too. Raising kids is hard work, and seeing how these mums juggle all their responsibilities motivates me to do better in my own life.

To me, the most important thing about being a mother is to be patient and understanding. If I do become a mother I think I would try my best to be an approachable one. I want my (future) kids to be able to talk to me about everything. I might be pretty strict, though!

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The post I’m a Millennial. Don’t ask me to have Kids… Yet appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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Not sure which clinic to bring your child to if they need medical attention after their regular doc has knocked off? Bookmark this quick-glance list of children’s clinics in Singapore open on Sundays, public holidays and 24 hours.

Dealing with a sick or injured child can be stressful! And stress levels rise when your child falls sick or sustains an injury on a PH or late at night. Don’t fret − we’ve got you covered. Scroll down for a comprehensive guide to children’s clinics in Singapore open on Sundays, and family clinics open 24 hours a day. They’re grouped in alphabetical order according to regions for easy reference. We’ve also included a list of Children’s Emergency and Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments with specialist paediatric care for good measure.

Do note that paediatricians (marked PD below) are specialists in treating babies and toddlers. You can take children from three years of age to general practitioners (GPs) at family clinics.


Children’s Clinics in the North / North-east 1. Care4Life Medical Clinic

Where 136 Marsiling Road, #01-2170, Singapore 730136
Contact 6909 2259
Open 24 hours

2. Central 24-HR Clinic (Hougang)

Where 681 Hougang Avenue 8, #01-831, Singapore 530681
Contact 6387 6965
Open 24 hours

3. Central 24-HR Clinic (Marsiling)

Where 303 Woodlands Street 31, #01-185, Singapore 730303
Contact 6343 7731
Open 24 hours

4. Central 24-HR Clinic (Woodlands)

Where 768 Woodlands Avenue 6, #02-06A Woodlands Mart, Singapore 730768
Contact 6365 4895
Open 24 hours

5. Central 24-HR Clinic (Yishun)

Where 701A Yishun Avenue 5, #01-04, Singapore 761701
Contact 6759 7985
Open 24 hours

(See also: Childhood Fever: When to See a Paediatrician)

6. *PD* Cheery Child Clinic

Where 1187 Upper Serangoon Road, #02-20 The Midtown, Singapore 533971
Contact 6702 7108
Open Sun & Mon 9.30am to 1.30pm | Tue & Thu 9.30am to 3.30pm | Mon, Wed & Fri 6pm to 9pm

7. Intemedical 24 Hr Clinic

Where 525 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, #01-2407 Cheng San Centre, Singapore 560525
Contact 6919 2998
Open 24 hours

8. *PD* International Baby Child & Adolescent Clinic

Where 726 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6, #01-4154/4156, Singapore 560726
Contact 6554 9554
Open Mon-Fri 9am to 12.30pm, 2pm to 4pm, 8pm to 8.30pm | Sat & Sun 9am to 12.30pm

9. *PD* Kids First Clinic

Where 728 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6, #01-4224, Singapore 560728
Contact 6452 1048
Open Mon-Fri 9am to 12.30pm, 6.30pm to 9pm | Sat & Sun 9am to 12noon

Children’s Clinics in the South / Central 10. *PD* Babes n Tots Clinic

Where 46 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee, #01-878, Singapore 160046
Contact 6273 7303
Open Mon-Fri 9am to 1pm, 6.30pm to 9pm | Tue 2pm to 4.30pm | Sat 9am to 1pm | Sun 9am to 11am

11. *PD* Thomson Paediatric Centre

Where 339 Thomson Road, #03-06 Thomson Medical Centre, Singapore 307677
Contact 6258 3353
Open Mon-Fri 9am to 1pm, 2pm to 4.30pm | Sat 9am to 12.30pm | Sun 9am to 11.30am

12. Thomson 24-Hr Family Clinic

Where 339 Thomson Road, Level 1 Thomson Medical Centre, Singapore 307677
Contact 6350 8812
Open 24 hours

13. Unihealth 24-Hr Clinic (Toa Payoh)

Where 178 Toa Payoh Central, #01-218, Singapore 310178
Contact 6203 1639
Open 24 hours

Children’s Clinics in the East 14. Central 24-HR Clinic (Bedok)

Where 219 Bedok Central, #01-124 Multi-storey Car Park, Singapore 460219
Contact 6247 6122
Open 24 hours

15. Central 24-HR Clinic (Pasir Ris)

Where 446 Pasir Ris Drive 6, #01-122, Singapore 510446
Contact 6582 2640
Open 24 hours

16. CMY Medical

Where 37 Chai Chee Avenue, #01-295, Singapore 461037
Contact 8388 0902
Open 24 hours

(See also: 6 Most Common Reasons Why Children in Singapore End up in the A&E)

17. Maven Surgery

Where 319 Joo Chiat Place, #02-05 Parkway East Medical Centre, Singapore 427989
Contact 6355 5285
Open 24 hours

18. Raffles Medical @ T3

Where 65 Airport Boulevard, #B2-01 Changi Airport Terminal 3, Singapore 819663
Contact 6241 8818
Open 24 hours

19. Tampines 24-Hr Family Clinic

Where 201D Tampines Street 21, #01-1151, Singapore 524201
Contact 6786 7228
Open 24 hours

Children’s Clinics in the West 20. Central 24-HR Clinic (Clementi)

Where 450 Clementi Avenue 3, #01-291, Singapore 120450
Contact 6773 2925
Open 24 hours

21. Central 24-HR Clinic (Jurong West)

Where 492 Jurong West Street 41, #01-54, Singapore 640492
Contact 6565 7484
Open 24 hours

22. *PD* Chia Baby and Child Clinic

Where 431 Clementi Avenue 3, #01-308, Singapore 120431
Contact 6776 7670
Open Mon-Fri 9am to 12.30pm, 7pm to 9pm | Sat 9am to 12.30pm | Sun 9am to 12noon

23. Prohealth 24-hour Medical Clinic

Where 259 Bukit Panjang Ring Road, #01-18, Singapore 671259
Contact 6765 2115
Open 24 hours

24. *PD* The Baby & Child Clinic

Where 644 Bukit Batok Central, #01-66, Singapore 650644
Contact 6569 0981
Open Mon-Sun 9am to 12.30pm | Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri 7pm to 8.30pm

25. West Point Surgery Centre

Where 235 Corporation Drive, Singapore 619771
Contact 6262 5858
Open Mon-Sun & Public Holidays 7am to 12 midnight

Children’s Emergency and A&E Departments

Note that of the hospitals listed below, only NUH and KKH offer dedicated Children’s Emergency departments. However, the others also offer 24-hour walk-in clinics and general A&E departments that include specialist paediatricians and nurses experienced in paediatric care.

26. Gleneagles Hospital

Where 6A Napier Road, Singapore 258500
Contact 6470 5688
Open 24 hours

27. KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH)

Where 100 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 229899
Contact 6394 1177
Open 24 hours

28. Mount Elizabeth Hospital

Where 3 Mount Elizabeth, Singapore 228510
Contact 6731 2218
Open 24 hours

29. Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital

Where 38 Irrawaddy Road, Singapore 329563
Contact 6933 0100
Open 24 hours

30. National University Hospital (NUH)

Where 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119074
Contact 6772 2555
Open 24 hours

31. Parkway East Hospital

Where 321 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427990
Contact 6340 8666
Open 24 hours

(See also: When should you Bring your Child to the A&E Department?)

When little ones suddenly fall ill, we’re often beside ourselves with worry. By bookmarking this list of family and children’s clinics, GPs and paediatricians (and emergency departments) in Singapore, you won’t have to worry about not being able to find a doctor!

While we’ve made every effort to ensure these details are correct at time of publishing, clinics may change their opening hours. Do drop them a call before you head over!

The post How to Locate the Nearest Children’s Clinics in Singapore Open on Sundays, Public Holidays and 24 Hours appeared first on SingaporeMotherhood.com.

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