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There are countless articles on the Internet about what not to say to new parents, but what if someone you know has had a baby and you’re unsure what to say when you pay them a visit? Bringing a new life into the world is an emotional time for any couple. It also comes with feelings of joy, pride, nervousness and sleep deprivation. Here how you can be more supportive when visiting a new parent in your life:

1. “You look great!”

The new mum is no doubt feeling a bit shell-shocked and overwhelmed after giving birth, so tell her how well she did and how great she’s looking.  You could say something like, “I can’t believe you’ve just had a baby, you look great!” to make her day.

2. “Do you need anything from the shop?”

Venturing out of the house and running errands with a newborn baby can be difficult, so ask the new mum if you could pick up a few things for her or better still, ask for her shopping list.

3. “Can I bring you something to eat?”

Like most new parents, figuring out what to put on the dinner table may be a chore, especially when you’re trying to settle in with a baby. Offering to drop off a meal is a practical way to help new parents transition into their new roles.

4. “You’re doing a great job!”

A new mum or dad might feel a bit nervous about their new role and responsibilities; parenting is a steep learning curve after all. Encouraging words will help them feel good about the job they are doing so keep it coming!

5. “Yes.”

Do what you can to help a new mum out and make things flow more smoothly for her. Nothing means more than a helping hand who would be glad to – for example – hold the baby while the new mum showers or takes a quick nap, or take out the trash, or … well, you get the idea!

Image Credit: Envisioning the American Dream

I’ve never cooked confinement dishes before and as my eldest daughter, January, approached her due date, I agonised over what to cook during her confinement period. I found myself searching for confinement food recipe online, hunting for recipe books at bookstores, consulting some friends and even recalling my own confinement experience. There was so much to consider and I worried over giving January the wrong food.

Once January and her twin babies came home, we found a routine and didn’t have time to worry. As both of us coped with our new roles – January as a new mum and I as a first-time grandparent – we had to learn things quickly. I made her fried rice because that was my favourite dish during my own confinement and it was easy to make. Preparing January’s confinement meals gave me new skills in the kitchen: how to steam fish and double-boiling soup. I also stocked up on a lot of sesame oil and old ginger (tip: the best ginger comes from Bentong, Pahang).

There’s no need to slave over the kitchen stove, really. Complicated confinement food recipe and those that use too many ingredients confuse me. I essentially made dishes that are easy to prepare. In retrospect, preparing my daughter’s confinement meals weren’t as difficult or as daunting as I thought it would be.

Here are three recipes that worked really well for me, and I hope they’ll work well for you too.

 

Menu - Rice

 

Method:

  1. Heat up sesame oil and sauté ginger until fragrant. Add beaten eggs into oil.
  2. When eggs are almost set, add the rice and stir until well heated through.
  3. Add the light soya sauce and stir until well combined. Add spring onion and coriander leaves to garnish the dish.

Note: You can also add minced meat of your choice. Cook before adding the beaten eggs.

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Screen shot 2013-10-14 at 10.06.25 AM

Method:

  1. Fill up a pot with enough water before adding sesame oil, old ginger slices and a dash of black pepper.
  2. When water begins to boil, add the prepared vegetables. Scoop out after three to four minutes.
  3. Serve hot.

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Menu - Steamed Fish

Method:

  1. Heat water in steamer. Once water starts to boil, put fire on medium.
  2. Pat fish dry, inside out. Stuff fish stomach with white end of the spring onion and some of the ginger strips.
  3. Pour the sesame oil and light soya sauce all over the fish.
  4. Place fish in the steamer and steam for 12 to 15 minutes on medium fire.
  5. Remove from steamer and garnish with spring onion and coriander leaves.

Note: You can also use ikan kurau (threadfin) steaks.

What’s your favourite confinement food? Let us know in the comments section below.

Cecilia Low is a mother of three; and more recently, a grandmother of twins. Her heart lies with her family, between Phuket and Kuala Lumpur.

Image credit: Flickr user Martin Cathrae

[This article was originally published October 14th, 2013]

Some of us may take hand washing lightly, at times just rinsing without even applying soap. But did you know that Hand, Food and Mouth Disease (HFMD) can be prevented by practicing good hand hygiene like handwashing with antibacterial soap?

During the recent Lifebuoy’s Global Handwashing Day celebration, YB Dato’ Seri Dr. Hilmi Bin Haji Yahaya, the Deputy Minister of Health shared that from January till April this year 13,497 cases of HFMD were reported nationwide, with an average of 964 cases a week.

Handwashing is one of the most effective ways of staying healthy and preventing the spread of germs. The simple act of handwashing is essential to your well-being as germs are tough and their numbers double every 20 minutes! Handwashing is also able to reduce the risk of diarrhea by up to approximately 45%.

Lifebuoy is advocating hand washing behavior change particularly at five key daily occasions – at bath time, before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner and after visiting the toilet. Parents – especially mothers – play a key role in educating their families and teaching their children good hygiene habits from young. Below are the seven proper hand washing techniques for a healthier family.

LB_GHD_Infographic-01

But how often should we wash our hands?

  • After coughing or blowing your nose
  • Before making or eating food
  • After playing with animals
  • After using the toilet
  • After playing outdoors
  • Wash your hands whenever they look dirty

If you are in situation where there is no clean, running water and soap available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are able to quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands effectively.

It is also essential to know where the hot spots for germs are and to sanitiae and clean them frequently especially when you have infants or toddlers who tend to put things into their mouths.

LB_GHD_Infographic-01

This year, as part of the Global Handwashing Day initiative, celebrated annually on October 15, Lifebuoy is gathering pledges from mothers and families to increase awareness on the importance of handwashing to safeguard families from potential infections. To support this cause, just take a picture of you and your family pledging to practice good handwashing habits and post it up with the hashtag #‎LifebuoyGHD2015.

“This initiative brings to life our company’s philosophy of ‘Doing Well by Doing Good’. I am extremely proud of Lifebuoy’s involvement as a founding partner of Global Handwashing Day. As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), we aim to help 1 billion people by 2020 to improve their health and well-being. Lifebuoy is playing a key role in helping us achieve this mission by spreading awareness on the importance of handwashing and empowering mothers to lead behavioural change in their family,” said Rakesh Mohan, Unilever Chairman of Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia & Laos.

Besides the Global Handwashing Day, Lifebuoy is partnering with the Ministry of Health for another ongoing behavioural change programme called “Program Doktor Muda Bersama Lifebuoy”. Launched in 2011, this programme involves one hundred selected primary schools nationwide, where students selected as the “Doktor Muda” will undergo special training on the basics of healthcare by completing exercises and learning modules set by the Ministry.

The Doktor Muda programme aims at empowering students to promote and influence good hygiene behaviour amongst their peers and family members. This programme has since reached out to over 250,000 children and Lifebuoy is targeting 100,000 more children in 2015. Lifebuoy will also be reaching out to some rural schools this year.

Geek Mommy tries to makes sense of the tech world for the less techie while managing a household, a part-time job and keeping an active toddler busy.

Image Credit: Lifebuoy.