Product Review – Maternalove

Maternalove Logo

As a nursing mother, I’ve realized that my entire pre-pregnancy wardrobe has been rendered redundant, at least until I stop breastfeeding. I’ve been on the lookout for pretty nursing tops and dresses, and was thrilled to discover Maternalove!

To be honest, the nursing wear I’ve seen in the malls can be a tad ugly boring unimaginative and some are downright ‘auntie’ looking. I’m fully aware that I’m not one of those yummy mummies who look as though they just stepped out of a fashion magazine. The only kind of modeling I’d probably be allowed to do will most likely be for buffet advertisements. It can be rather demoralizing, trying to squeeze into a top or dress that doesn’t seem made for women who have just given birth. All I want is a top or dress that doesn’t accentuate my post-pregnancy flabby belly, allows me to breastfeed easily and discreetly, and doesn’t look like it came from the local wet market or the fifties. Is that really too much to ask for?

I admit that I had my doubts about purchasing clothes for myself online. It’s tough enough to find clothes that fit me well when I try them on in the shops, let alone without being able to try them on or even touch them to feel the material. Thus, it was with much skepticism that I placed my first order with Maternalove. I dutifully took my measurements, compared them to their size chart, ordered two tops and a dress, then crossed my fingers and waited for my purchase to arrive. There were so many interesting designs that I had a hard time deciding what to get!

When the items arrived, I followed the washing instructions closely, as I’ve had bad experiences when I washed other pieces of clothing that I purchased elsewhere. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the colours didn’t run or fade, neither did the items shrink or expand in size after a wash. I must confess that I have since worn these items numerous times and they have been through the washer and even the dryer on multiple occasions, and have come out looking exactly the same. They are even as soft as the day they arrived after so many washes!

This time round, I got the Ariel Nursing Top in Cobalt Blue as well as the Goddess Convertible Dress in Black.

Ariel Nursing Top in Cobalt Blue 

Maternalove Top 1

Ratings Guide
♥ Hmmm…     ♥♥ So-so     ♥♥♥  Not bad     ♥♥♥♥ Like it     ♥♥♥♥♥ Love it!

1. Comfort and Fit: ♥♥♥♥♥

The soft material is a definite plus and I love how comfortable the top is, even on really warm days. When I head out with my baby, he’s usually seated snuggly in his baby carrier, which I wear in front. This means that it can potentially get really warm for both of us, but the top is made of such good material that I am perfectly comfortable in it, even for long hours with the baby strapped to my chest.

Sizing was easy to figure out, as the size chart provided on the website is very accurate. This is a definite plus point as it makes shopping online much easier and I can rest assured that my items will fit me well.

2. Nursing Access: ♥♥♥♥♥

The nursing openings are very discreet and can be accessed simply by pulling aside the drape overlayer. I thought it was a very good idea to have those three buttons running vertically down the middle opening, as they prevent any accidental slips or ‘wardrobe malfunctions’. These buttons were easily opened and closed with one hand, which is important when you are holding a squirming baby with your other hand.

Close-up of nursing access 

Maternalove Top Close-up

3. Quality: ♥♥♥♥♥

The stitching and workmanship are impeccable. There are gathers that fall prettily in front, making up the stylish and elegant overlayer.

Close-up of top

Maternalove Top 2

I was surprised to find that it is made from 95% rayon and 5% spandex as it felt similar to one of my bamboo cotton tops. I also love the top’s bright cheerful shade of cobalt blue, and it adds a lovely splash of colour to my wardrobe. This top is also available in Rose, and I’m extremely tempted to get it too, as good nursing wear isn’t easy to come by.

I had no problems with washing and drying the top at all. Although the washing instructions state that it should be dried flat, I threw caution to the wind after the first wash and popped it into my dryer, without any adverse effects. I do recommend following the washing instructions, since they come from the manufacturer direct, but as we don’t have a drying area in our flat, most of our clothes go into our dryer to save time and space.

Goddess Convertible Dress in Black  

Maternalove Dress

1. Comfort and Fit: ♥♥♥♥♥

The material of this dress is nice and soft, just like the top, and I was perfectly comfortable in it.

This is a convertible dress that can be worn in TEN different ways! I really wish I had this dress when I was pregnant, as it doubles up as a maternity dress too. This is definitely worth the investment, as it can be tied up differently to create a variety of looks, and no one will even know that it’s the same dress.

I tried the Butterfly Sleeve method for the wedding dinner I attended last week, and loved that it covered my shoulders well and kept me warm in the air-conditioned ballroom. The dress was also loose enough to allow me to pig out, even though my post-pregnancy belly still makes me look as though I’m in my second trimester.

The dress is basically a tube dress, with two extremely long pieces of fabric which serve to form the sleeves, although they can be neatly tucked away if you wish to wear it as a strapless dress. Just follow the wearing instructions on the website, which can be downloaded as a PDF file for your convenience.

2. Nursing Access: ♥♥♥

I found the nursing access on the tube underlayer to be a little small, and preferred to pull down the tube on the side from which I wanted to breastfeed. This may just be the way I prefer to nurse my baby, as he is in the stage where he struggles a lot under the nursing cover, and I found it faster to pull the tube down, rather than try to position him properly at the nursing access area.

3. Quality: ♥♥♥♥♥

The material used for the dress is the same soft one as the Ariel nursing top, and the workmanship is also flawless. I really love how cleverly simple and versatile the dress is. Personally, I think that this dress is the ideal Little Black Dress for both the pregnant and nursing mother, perfect for all occasions. If you prefer something bright, the dress also comes in Fuchsia.

As with the Ariel nursing top, I popped this dress into the washing machine, with no adverse effects. However, I chose to line dry it on our tiny drying rack, as the rack happened to have some extra space on it that day. It dried quickly despite the lack of sunlight in my kitchen.

Overall Conclusion 

I love both the Ariel nursing top and the Goddess convertible dress, mainly because of how comfortable they are. Discovering the Maternalove range of nursing wear has really been a godsend as good, affordable nursing wear is hard to come by, in my opinion. My current wardrobe is less than one-tenth of what I used to have, as I am limited to nursing wear, so it makes me very happy to be able to shop online for more clothes now. My friends who have seen me in these outfits actually commented that they didn’t know they were nursing wear, which makes me confident that I can still wear them after I stop nursing.

*******

Maternalove Year-end Sale Image

Maternalove is currently having its year-end sale, with up to 50% off storewide. For purchases above $300, you can enjoy an additional 10% off by keying in the code LESS10 during checkout. Both promotions are valid till 27 December 2012.

Do take a look at their wide selection and get yourself an item or two (or more). If you need an excuse to shop, you can always think of it as a Christmas gift for yourself! Nursing, be it in public or in the privacy of a nursing room, is difficult enough without having to struggle with poorly made nursing wear, so I don’t believe in settling for ill-fitting ones. In addition, the Maternalove range is pretty enough to be worn even after you stop nursing, so you don’t have to feel guilty about expanding your wardrobe to fit your current needs.

PS. To my male readers: If your wife is currently pregnant or breastfeeding, a nursing top or dress (or both) will be a practical and thoughtful Christmas gift!

PPS. Do ‘like’ the Maternalove Facebook page for updates on new arrivals and sales.

*******

Disclosure: I received the Ariel nursing top and Goddess convertible dress for review. All opinions are my own.

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Silly Things We Say / Do #2

This happened about two weeks ago during Noah’s growth spurt, in which he woke up every two or three hours for milk at night.

After yet another exhausting night, I was trying to go back to sleep at about 7am when C woke up, looked at me and said happily, “Hey! He slept through the night!”

Me: What? This is the fifth time I’ve woken up already! You just slept through it all…

A few days later, after I had gotten Noah to fall asleep after nursing him, C woke up and asked, “He just woke up for milk?”

Me: Yes, this is the second time I’ve woken up tonight already.

C: Huh? Second time only? I’ve woken up five times already! You just slept through it all…

Me: (thoroughly confused due to the lack of sleep) How’s that possible? I didn’t hear him and YOU did? How did you get him to go back to sleep without milk?

C: Hahaha.

It then dawned on me that he was trying to be funny by repeating what I said the previous night. Duh. There’s no way he would have been able to (a) hear Noah fussing if I didn’t and (b) get him to go back to sleep on his own!

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Silly Things We Say / Do #1

I’ve decided to start recording the silly things we say, do and encounter in our daily lives as parents. This is, I hope, the first of many amusing moments!

PS. S*** Happens really should be #1 but I didn’t think of starting this collection when I wrote that entry. Was too busy laughing! 😛

C was away for a business trip and as usual, I took photos of Noah and sent them to him, knowing that he was missing our little boy.

Here’s Noah, dressed for bed.

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C’s response to the photo was that he resembled the tiger in the cereal advertisement.

This morning, when he came back and was playing with Noah, he asked Noah:

“Are you a tiger? Are you a tiger in bed?”

Then, realising the blunder he had made, he looked at me and asked, “What does that even mean?”

I was too busy freaking out over just how wrong it sounded to reply him. *shudder*

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S*** Happens

The funniest (to me) thing happened to C just now. I passed the baby to him while he was lying on the bed, after telling him to spend more time with Noah since he’s leaving for another business trip tomorrow.

After a few minutes of cooing at C, Noah produced a loud farting sound, and C started yelling. Background information: We’ve been having some leaky diaper issues recently. I think it’s because Noah is in between sizes and I’ve been alternating between the S and M sized diapers for him, trying to figure out which size fits better. C however, told me to finish up all the small diapers first. His exact words? “A bit of leaking at home is okay what.” Haha. Yeah, right.

Anyway, I ran over to see why C wouldn’t stop yelling and saw a huge puddle of poo on his tee and our bed! I couldn’t stop laughing as I ran to get some tissues. I flung two sheets of tissue paper at him, realised that they couldn’t make any impact on the huge mess, and screamed, “I don’t know what to do!” as I giggled hysterically. C was, by this time, freaking out, while Noah had the most innocent look on his face.

Someone pooped on daddy? Not me!

20121211-153944.jpg

I took Noah off C and carried him to the changing table while C quickly removed his heavily-pooped on tee. I was more concerned about the mess on our bed and told C to change Noah so that I could change our sheets. Thank God our mattress protector saved our mattress from being stained! Time to get waterproof mattress protectors for our bed too, I think.

As C cleaned Noah up, he kept asking the babe, “How could you poop on daddy? Huh? How could you?”. Then, he asked me, “What kind of lousy diaper did you use?” In my defence, I reminded him that he was the one who told me to use up the smaller diapers first. He kept quiet for a while, then, “Where are the bigger diapers?” Haha. Mummy 1: Daddy 0.

What a mess! The sheets, mattress protector and C’s shirt are all in the wash now, and C is refusing to carry Noah at the moment. “It’s okay, it’s not your fault that you pooped on daddy. It’s mummy’s fault.”

C told me to wait till it happened to me, because I kept laughing when he was recounting the feeling of having poo flow down the side of his belly.

The best part? After C had finished cleaning him up, Noah looked at him, let another loud fart rip, and pooped all over the changing table. C yelled, “Nooooooo!” while I struggled to change the sheets, impaired by my uncontrollable laughter.

One day, when Noah is old enough to understand this post, I think he’d be pretty appalled that I actually blogged about it. But hey, parents are here to tell embarrassing stories about our kids, right? I think we’ve definitely earned the right to do so, after getting pooped on and cleaning up all the messes they’ve made. This was a story too funny to be left untold!

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Nursing Room Review: Hougang Mall

A friend of mine once warned me about the nursing room at Hougang Mall as she found it very smelly and dirty on her first (and last, according to her) visit. She had used the one on Level 2, near the various eateries, and told me that it was probably the worst nursing room she has ever encountered. Thus, when Noah started fussing for milk after I spent too much time browsing in Popular, I decided to check with the Information Counter staff if there was another nursing room in the mall. Thankfully, I was directed to the one on Level 5, which, although was also situated near the toilets, was odour-free.

Hougang Mall Nursing Room (Level 5)
I located the nursing room quite easily as the mall itself is rather small and the directional sign was clearly visible. It also helped that the nursing room was along the corridor right in front of the escalator.

Facilities: 3.5/5
I was pleasantly surprised that the room was rather spacious, with a very generous space for bags, right next to the changing station, which was also quite large.

Changing Station

20121210-155946.jpg

There was a cushioned bench for nursing, and a curtain which could only be drawn to separate the nursing and changing area from the sink. I didn’t think that was very practical, as it doesn’t allow another parent to change his/her child’s diaper if there was a mother nursing her baby there. In addition, the nursing room could be locked, giving the nursing mother privacy, but denying other parents access to the changing station and water dispenser.

The nursing bench
PS. Check out the gross stain on the curtain!

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There were two power points available in the room, but these were rather inconveniently located away from the nursing bench.

Power Points & Bag Area

20121210-160145.jpg

The sink had a soap dispenser and was situated diagonally beneath the hot and cold water dispenser. There was also a dustbin underneath the changing station, but no paper towels or toilet paper were provided.

Sink & Water Dispenser

20121210-160618.jpg

My main grouse with the nursing room is the extremely low temperature in it. It was very cold and I had to cover my baby’s legs with a cloth while I was nursing him.

Cleanliness: 3/5
The floor was slightly damp and had some stains on it but what really bugged me was the curtain next to the nursing bench. There were numerous unidentifiable stains on it (refer to above picture) and I couldn’t help feeling uncomfortable as I nursed my baby. I don’t even want to think about how the stains came about! *shudder*

Conclusion
Although the nursing room is next to the toilets, it didn’t stink at all, either because the loos on the fifth floor aren’t heavily utilised or the cleaners are doing a good job. I didn’t check out the one on the second floor since my friend had a bad experience there and I think I’ll just stick to using this one whenever I’m there. Hopefully, it won’t be occupied when I need to use it, since nursing rooms are in very short supply here.

The management should really get rid of the grubby curtain and look into raising the temperature there as well, to provide a more conducive environment. Of course, more nursing rooms will definitely be a big plus too!

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Nursing Room Review: Nex Isetan

After my bad experience with one of the nursing rooms in Nex, I decided to check out the nursing room situated within the Isetan there. I found it to be a little better designed and equipped, and I plan to use this nursing room whenever I need to in the future, even though it might be a little out of the way.

Nex Isetan Nursing Room (Level 3, Children’s Department)
Tucked away in the corner of the Children’s Department, I wouldn’t have noticed or even found this nursing room if I didn’t go looking for it. It’s a nice touch though, on the part of Isetan, to include a nursing room within its premises, especially since the mall itself has quite a number of nursing rooms available.

Facilities: 4/5
There were two small rooms available for nursing mothers, but when I was there, both were initially occupied, and I ended up nursing my baby in the open area where the changing tables were located. It was a good thing that no one was actually using the changing tables then! After a while, one of the rooms became free, so I quickly popped in as Noah has recently gotten into the habit of lifting up my nursing bib to look around while he’s drinking. Sigh.

The room itself is a tad small and might not be able to accomodate a stroller, but I can’t be sure of that as I didn’t have my stroller with me to test the space out. There was a chair and a bench in the room, together with a power point and mirror. Very basic, but nicer than the other nursing room I visited the last time. The door can also be locked, ensuring privacy while nursing.

Inside the nursing room 

Nex Isetan Chair & Bench

Mirror

Nex Isetan Nursing Room Mirror

Outside the nursing rooms, there are three changing tables, two high chairs, a sink, two water jugs and a hot water dispenser. What I liked about the changing tables is that they have very thoughtfully placed a roll of plastic bags there, so that parents can use them for soiled clothes or diapers. The tables are also of a good height (ie low enough for me) and come with safety straps. I was a little puzzled by the high chairs in the area though, especially because they were directly below a ‘No Food and Drinks’ sign. I thought that the two water jugs were a nice touch too, as they contained boiled water at room temperature, which can be used for preparing formula milk.

Changing tables 

Nex Isetan Changing Area

Close-up of plastic bags and bin 

Nex Isetan Bags

High Chairs 

Nex Isetan High Chairs

Sink, water jugs and hot water dispenser 

Nex Isetan Sink

Cleanliness: 4/5
There wasn’t any hand soap nor paper towels provided, if I remember correctly. The chairs in the changing area were badly stained and I didn’t dare to take a closer look at them while I was seated there nursing my baby, for fear of what I’d see. Apart from that, I think the area was quite well-maintained and clean in general.

Conclusion 
The nursing rooms here are definitely more comfortable than the ones situated within the general shopping area of the mall. The area is brightly lit and the warm, brown hues are quite welcoming, in my opinion. The little additional touches, such as the plastic bags, are a bonus and show that quite a bit of thought has gone into planning this area.

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We’re Five!

C and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary on Saturday! It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years of marriage already, and eleven years since we first got together. Gosh we’re old. This year is also especially special, simply because we have our little one with us to celebrate the occasion and it was great being able to spend time together that day.

We haven’t gone for a buffet in ages and were looking forward to sampling the Italian fare at Basilico, after reading reviews like this one online. To be honest, C and I aren’t into cheese, so we gave the extensive cheese counter a miss, and pigged out on the other delicious dishes like the Wagyu beef lasagna, cod fish, pizzas, and of course, the desserts. C was also playing with his new camera and different lenses, so I think I’ll let his photos do the talking!

The entrance

Basilico Entrance

The buffet spread 

Buffet Spread

Clockwise from top left: Tiramisu, Cheese, Parma Ham, Focaccia  

Food Collage

Noah with my plate of food 

Noah at Basilico

Should I try the lasagna? 

Lasagna?

Love

Love

After a short nap at home, we headed out again to Gardens by the Bay, where C spent some time taking photos of the Supertrees. I never had the patience or skill to take photos properly, so it’s a good thing that C does!

 The Bridge 

Bridge

Supertrees & MBS

Supertrees & MBS

Close-up 

Close-up

Happy fifth anniversary to us! 🙂 

Happy 5th!

We thank God for being forever in our lives, seeing us through the ups and downs, and of course, for blessing us with Noah. May He continue to shower His blessings upon us and give us many more good years ahead, till we are grandparents or even great-grandparents!

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Sleep. Please.

Recently, Noah started waking up every two to three hours at night for milk. Either that or he doesn’t know how to go back to sleep on his own when he wakes up, and needs to nurse to sleep. He will curl his legs up and thump them down hard on his mattress, and this loud thumping sound is repeated until I pick him up. Sometimes, it happens when I put him back in his cot after he falls asleep too.

I don’t know why he started sleeping so poorly, and what’s worse is that he naps very infrequently during the day too. Previously, he could sleep for at least five hours at a stretch at night and I really pray he will go back to that routine soon. It’s so tiring waking up so many times at night! I have no idea why Noah doesn’t seem affected by it at all. He’s still smiley and ready to play all the time, when all I want to do is to SLEEP.

I’m really tempted to let him cry it out but my MIL is staying with us now after arriving on Monday and there’s no way she will be able to take the crying, be it during the day or at night. Sigh.

Dear God, please let Noah sleep through the night again. Help him to take longer naps during the day too. I’m so, so tired! Please help. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Online Shopping – Jam and Muffin Christmas Sale!

I used to love shopping for the perfect Christmas gift. I’d spend hours walking around malls, spotting several items that I thought would be good for certain family members or friends and KIV-ing them for some time before making my purchase, because I’m extremely indecisive so that I could be absolutely sure that they were the best possible gifts (within my budget of course) for the specific people.

Last year, I couldn’t do that as we had just found out that I was pregnant and required plenty of bed rest. This year. HA. I consider it a productive day, shopping wise, if I could just sit in front of my laptop for half an hour of online shopping! I’ve found some good gifts so far, and being the ‘auntie’ that I am, I love good deals and will always try to share them with everyone. So here’s one!

Jam and Muffin (no, they do not literally sell jams and muffins) has a good range of items suitable for babies/toddlers/children. I just bought a Dingaring teether for Noah, even though he hasn’t started teething yet. There are so many cute designs that I had a lot of trouble trying to decide which one to get! I was also very attracted to their Mother’s Corn utensils, since we are going to start Noah on solids soon. I’m really looking forward to reviewing these items at a later date, once we receive the items and try them out.

In the meantime, in the spirit of Christmas, I just wanted to share this website with those of you still shopping for gifts for your little ones. Almost everything is on sale, and best of all, there’s free local delivery via normal Singpost, regardless of the amount you spend. Do check Jam and Muffin out ya? 🙂

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Intuition: Mom’s Assistant

I read about this iPhone app called ‘Intuition: Mom’s Assistant’ and decided to try it out for myself since I often find myself forgetting things on my list of things to do/buy.

I used to use the ‘Notes’ app to keep track of my lists but I’m quite taken by this new app. I get to colour code the different categories which is a very frivolous reason, but hey, these things make a difference to me. More importantly, there are actual categories and this helps me to be a little more organised, especially when I remember bits of my shopping list at random moments. Another plus point: when I put down ‘Email xxx’, the app cleverly syncs with my address book and mailbox, saving me the hassle of looking for my contact’s email address. Any time-saving app is worth sharing, in my opinion. Hope you’ll find it helpful too! Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a mom to use it. It’s good for anyone who, like me, needs help keeping track of the crazy to-do list.

Now to find an app that will actually DO my shopping and tasks for me…

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