Our favorite early morning breakfast spots in Singapore

Our two year old twins wake up around 6:45-7:00am. On Sundays, we enjoy venturing to one of our usual early morning breakfast spots. Most places in Singapore open around 8:00-9:00am, so parents with early risers may often wonder where to go for an early morning brunch. Our current go-to places include:

Kith Cafe

Family friendly cafe with 8 outlets in Singapore. The Marina Square cafe has a small play area for kids, and the Robertson Quay spot is right off the boardwalk–perfect for cycling and scootering.

Locations

1) 11 Cairnhill Road (6:30 am to 10:00 pm)

2) 619D Bukit Timah Road (7:00 am to 10:00 pm)

3) 69 Spottiswoode Park Road (7:00 am to 10:00 pm)

4) 7 Rodyk Street #01-28 (7:00 am to 4:00 pm Mon-Fri, 7:00 am to 6:00 pm Sat-Sun)

5) 9 Raffles Boulevard #01-44/45 (7:30 am to 10:00 pm)

6) 163 Penang Road #01-01 (7:30 am to 10:00 pm)

7) 6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-49 Marina Square (10:00 am to 10:o0 pm)

8) 350 Orchard Road, Level 2 (11:00 am to 9:00 pm Mon-Th & Sun, 11:00 am to 9:30 pm Fri-Sat)

Our favorite dishes

Hot dog, breakfast wrap, pulled pork & eggs (dishes vary slightly depending on location)

Baker & Cook

Bakery with 7 outlets in Singapore. The Namly Estate location has a playground across the street.

Locations

1) 77 Hillcrest Road (7:00 am to 8:00 pm Sun-Th, 7:00 am to 10:00 pm Fri-Sat)

2) 64 Namly Place (7:30 am to 10:00 pm)

3) 44 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-56 Chip Bee Gardens (7:30 am to 8:00 pm Sun-Th, 7:30 am to 10:00 pm Fri-Sat)

4) 41 Sunset Way, #01-23 Clementi Arcade (7:30am to 8:00pm Mon-Th, 7:30am to 10:00pm Fri-Sun)

5) 1 Swan Lake Avenue (7:30am to 10:00pm)

6) 80 Middle Road, Intercontinental Hotel (8:00 am to 7:00 pm)

7) 2 Magazine Road (Kiosk at Holiday Inn Express)

Our favorite dishes

Savoury french toast, eggs benedict

Common Man Coffee Roasters

Pricier than Kith Cafe and Baker & Cook, opens at 7:30am. Serves the best coffee out of the 3 cafes listed here.

Our favorite dishes

Common Man full breakfast, organic eggs benedict

 

Do you have any favorite early morning breakfast spots? Let me know by leaving a comment!

8 free places for your active toddler twins in Singapore

Recently I have been scouring the island for free activities. My toddler twins have become increasingly active and adventurous. Here are some of my favorite places in Singapore:

1. Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden – Open 8am to 7pm but closed on Mondays (except when a public holiday is on a Monday). One of our go-to places. There is a water play area, two sand playgrounds, and a fun suspension bridge.

2. Botanic Gardens – Open 5am to midnight. There are plenty of places to roam around, collect sticks (my twins’ favorite new hobby these days), blow bubbles, etc. There is also a cafe called Food for Thought at the Tanglin Gate. The food is mediocre, but it is a good place to cool down for drinks. There is  also a small playground outside. Check out the new Learning Forest at the Tyersall Gate…amazing!

3. Central Public Library – Open 10am to 9pm; closed on public holidays. Has a spacious kids’ area with plenty of books and exhibits to entertain.

4. Pip’s Playbox – Open 11am to 6pm (closed 2-3pm for cleaning). Beautiful, well lit play area located at Level 4 of Esplanade. There is a large craft table, playhouse with stairs, blocks, crawl spaces, etc. Great for babies, toddlers, and older kids.

5. Art Playscape – Open 10am to 7pm, Sundays to Thursdays & public holidays; 10am to 10pm Fridays, Saturdays, and eve of public holidays. Beautifully painted murals and play area at the National Gallery.

6. West Coast Park – Amazingly spacious park with 8 separate play areas and obstacle courses. Highly recommended. There is also a McDonald’s nearby.

7. Palawan Pirate Ship – Open 10am to 6pm. At the former Port of Lost Wonder at Sentosa; park at Beach carpark. Meant for older kids but toddlers accompanied by adults should be fine. Lots of water spouts, slides, etc.

8. Water play area at Singapore Sports Hub – Open 8am to 10pm. Great for toddlers and older children. Has shorter and longer slides, swings, and a small pool.

If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!

My twin birth experience at Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore

Twin births are fragile and require special attention. Luckily, I received the right care at Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore.

My pregnancy

I was extremely fortunate to have a smooth pregnancy. I had 2-3 days of mild morning sickness during my first trimester, traveled to the US during my 17th week, and experienced the predictable backaches and mild heartburn during my final few months. At 37 weeks–full term for twins, I delivered my babies via elective C section.

Before the birth

My obstetrician / gynecologist (‘gynae’ in Singapore) has a private practice, and at the time, delivered at three hospitals in Singapore: Gleneagles, Mount Alvernia, and Thomson Medical Centre.

My husband and I went on tours of all three hospitals (tip: tour your prospective hospitals around month 4-5 of your pregnancy). The care at Mount Alvernia was supposed to be excellent, but we found the environment to be quite dreary. Thomson also has a good reputation, but the hospital was often crowded and a bit chaotic. We found Gleneagles to be the most mellow hospital of the three, and the staff were very friendly during our visit.

A few weeks before my expected due date (EDD, as they call it here), we pre-registered at Gleneagles. We brought a letter from my doctor and paid a sizeable deposit for our elective C section package (tip: ask for package price sheets for twins during your hospital tour; they vary greatly among hospitals).

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Obtaining our twins’ birth certificates, US passports, and Singapore visit passes

My husband and I were quite lost when we began this process. Birth registration was simple, but obtaining our twins’ US passports and Singapore visit passes was rather tedious. This post will outline each step in detail.

Steps involved

1. Register for birth certificates (same day collection)

2. Take your child’s passport photos (different dimensions for US and SG photos)

3. Apply for passport at local embassy (for US citizens, you will apply for passports and social security cards together)*

4. Collect passport

5. Actualise your child’s “stay” at ICA (stamp passport) and apply for visit pass*

6. Collect visit pass*

* Must bring child for these visits

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Going out with twins in Singapore, from birth to year 1

Despite the mountainous struggles you’ll face the first 3-4 months, this period is the best time to go out with twins out and even travel on long haul flights. Most young infants will sleep through loud noise and movement.

Our stroller setup (Chicco Keyfit 30 car seats + Baby Jogger City Select stroller) made it easy to tandem bottle feed our twins when they were hungry.

Local outings

We frequented shopping malls with wide spaces such as:

  • City Square Mall (arrive before 11am on weekends, as it usually gets crowded mid-day)
  • Square 2 / Velocity (also best to arrive before peak hours)
  • Ngee Ann City
  • Paragon
  • Zhongshan Mall (which has an amazing FairPrice Finest!)
  • Suntec City (enormous space but the lifts are spread out, so you’ll get lots of exercise)

We ate at these baby friendly restaurants quite often:

  • Paradise Inn
  • Jamie’s Italian
  • Food for Thought
  • Omakase Burger
  • Kith Café (the Robertson Quay branch opens at 7am)

Indoor playgrounds are extremely popular in Singapore, and most offer free admission before age 1. We started taking our twins to play parks around 8 months. Our favorites:

  • Pororo Park at Marina Square (admission is quite expensive for kids age >1)
  • Cool De Sac at Suntec City
  • Fidgets World at The Grandstand (weekends and public holidays are often crowded, so the toddler play area can become too rough for small children)

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Where to buy twin baby products in Singapore

Before I gave birth, my husband and I prepared the basics at home. During the first few months with our twins, we quickly discovered that we needed all sorts of baby and nursing related items. Between juggling two babies and recovering from childbirth, I couldn’t go out often, so I spent a lot of time Googling what / where to buy what I needed. I often had to purchase from 5-6 different places, while in the US, I was used to buying everything in one store.

Here are some of my most frequently visited stores and websites for buying baby items in Singapore.

Online stores

Lazada – Online marketplace which I use to purchase Japanese GOO.N diapers. Use the app and purchase on Fridays, when you can use a code to get 10-12% off your order.

Pupsik – Pupsik is great during your first few months with twins. They carry a wide selection of items, most of which you can’t find at the brick and mortar stores here. I’ve bought discounted Mustela and California Baby goods, breast pump parts, Bravado nursing bras, my Beaba Babycook, and Parklon play mats for the twins.

Kulily – Similar to Pupsik but with some different inventory. We bought our Baby Jogger City Select stroller from Kulily.

Amazon – Free shipping on select items over $125 USD. Most baby items in Singapore are extremely overpriced, so I have purchased about half of the twins’ stuff from Amazon. My orders usually arrive within 1-2 weeks. I’ve bought board books, toys, Avent bottles, Lanisoh items (disposable breast pads, lanolin cream, breastmilk storage bags), baby feeding items (bibs, cutlery, bowls, food storage containers, sippy cups), sleep sacks, swaddle blankets…and the list goes on and on!

Redmart – Great for groceries and also for diapers, wipes, formula–all the heavy stuff you don’t want to lug around when you’re at the grocery store.

Carousell – Easy-to-use app for buying and selling new / preloved items. There’s a huge market for baby items on Carousell. I’ve purchased preloved clothes for my twins, new Avent baby bottles (at a very reasonable price–similar to what I paid on Amazon without the minimum purchase requirement), new breast pump accessories (those pesky little Medela membranes). I’ve been able to sell most of my twins’ old clothes as well.

Brick & mortar shops

FairPrice Finest – For most items, FairPrice is sufficient for diapers, formula, wipes, etc. But FairPrice Finest usually has a larger selection, especially for Pigeon items (they make great teething toys, straw cups, toothbrushes, and we use their disposable wipes for eating out). They also carry a decent selection of baby snacks for those 6 months old and above.

Guardian – Great for first aid items, especially sterile nasal solution for flushing out snotty noses, syringes for giving medicine, hand sanitizer to keep at the diaper changing table, and other health related sundries. Unity is a useful pharmacy chain as well.

1010 Mother & Child Essentials – Located at City Square Mall, Seletar Mall, and Waterway Point. Great little store that carries a wide selection of baby bathing and skin essentials, feeding accessories (e.g., bottle nipples and cutlery), baby snacks, toys, etc.

Clearly, online stores are a great help to frazzled moms in Singapore! Do you have any others to recommend?

Preparing for your twins in Singapore

This post was updated on 11 July 2017 with Amazon affiliate links.

In my debut post of this blog, I will summarise how to prepare the basic essentials for twins in Singapore. The subsequent posts will share how to manage your first year with twins.

Most twins are born premature, with 37 weeks considered full term. Therefore it is essential to have your baby gear and support system ready by 30-32 weeks. The earlier, the better.

Help

At least three months before your due date, hire a live-in helper with infant care experience. During your third trimester, it will be very difficult to get any housework done. You will need about a week to train your helper, one to two weeks to assess her skills, and some time to find a replacement if needed.

Book a confinement nanny four to five months before your due date. Ask for a nanny who is experienced in caring for twins. I hired mine through an agency (Supernanny Services, one of two official agencies in Singapore), and she was fantastic. She was an excellent cook, cared for my little ones with lots of love, fed them at night, and was easy to get along with. I kept her for two months, and we still stay in touch.

Changing essentials

You will probably change thousands of diapers during your first year. Make sure that your changing station is well equipped with quality items.

Ubbi diaper pail. Expensive but great at keeping the smell out, and you can use any trash bags (we used liners from Daiso).

IKEA Stuva changing table. There is a limited variety of changing tables available in Singapore; most locals change their babies on the bed or floor. With twins, however, a functional table is essential. The IKEA Stuva coverts into a desk .

Serta changing pad and Summer Infant changing pad covers. I shopped all over Singapore for a changing pad and couldn’t find a thick, sturdy one. The Stuva changing table can fit 2 Serta pads, but don’t be naive like me and think that you’ll be changing both babies at once! Use disposable underpads for easy cleaning. Your babies are going to poop and pee like mad the first two months.

We tested several diaper brands and liked GOO.N (buy them in bulk on Lazada on Fridays for an extra discount) for daytime and Merries (often on sale at Giant or NTUC FairPrice) at night.

Tip: Don’t stock up on newborn sized diapers. Your twins will grow out of them very quickly.

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