Monday, December 20, 2010

Breast and boys?

Shocking entry title...just a gimmick. But this entry is related to both of them. Read from on a study on how 'Breast-Feeding Improves Academic Performance, Especially for Boys'. I want to share it with you, just grabbed it from the website.

Evidence for the long-term benefits of breast-feeding — well beyond infancy — continue to grow. In the latest analysis of the academic performance of children who were breast- or bottle-fed, researchers found that breast-fed babies scored higher on tests of math, reading and writing skills at 10 years old, compared with those who were bottle-fed as babies.

The study is only the latest to support the long-term academic benefits of breast-feeding. In a 2009 paper, scientists at American University reported that among brothers and sisters — one of whom received breast milk, and the other formula — each additional month that a sibling received breast milk was linked to a higher high school GPA and a greater likelihood of attending college.

In the latest trial, led by Wendy Oddy at University of Western Australia, more than 1,000 children were followed from before birth to age 10. The mothers were asked about whether they breast-fed their infants when their babies were 1, 2 and 3 years old; the children then took standardized national achievement tests in the third, fifth and seventh grades.

Oddy's group found that by age 10, the children who were breast-fed for six months or longer scored 16 points higher on these tests than those were not breast-fed: babies who breast-fed scored 18 points higher in reading and writing skills, and 16 points higher in spelling.

“Breast-feeding may influence children's academic achievement through brain development and general health,” Oddy said in an email interview. “We think that the improved cognitive differences between breast- and formula-fed infants was due to unique constituents of breast milk.”

Breast milk, she says, is loaded with nutrients that are known to enhance brain development, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which are not always included in formula. In brain studies of infants, scientists have found higher levels of omega-3 fats in the cortex of babies who were breast-fed compared with those who received formula.

Oddy's findings support the recommendations of both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advise new mothers to breast-feed infants exclusively for at least six months.

Oddy's study further revealed that the benefit of extending breast-feeding time was particularly pronounced in boys. Compared with girls, boys who were breast-fed for more than six months scored even higher on academic tests a decade later. While the reasons for the gender difference aren't clear, previous studies offer some clues as to why boys may reap a bigger benefit. For instance, cognitive development in boys occurs more slowly than in girls, presumably because of girls' higher levels of the hormone estrogen, which can be protective of neural brain growth. Girls may also not be as negatively affected by maternal stress during pregnancy, according to some recent studies, while male fetuses may experience a shrinking of some brain regions due to an expectant mom's anxiety.

Finally, some less biological reasons may explain the differences in breast-feeding's effects on the genders. Some studies suggest that boys may be more dependent on the maternal bonding that occurs during breast-feeding than girls, and that this bonding is important for language acquisition and cognitive development. This interaction may explain why boys who were breast-fed longer enjoyed the greatest benefit in academic performance later in life.

Findings like Oddy's raise the inevitable question: are moms who choose not to breast-feed being reckless with their baby's care? “Not breast-feeding may be an irresponsible decision if a mother chooses to bottle-feed knowing the benefits of breast milk,” says Oddy. “But some women have difficulty with breast-feeding, so it is a complex issue. Women need support to breast-feed — support from their family, their partner and friends, society, the health system and community in general.”

In fact, the latest figures on breast-feeding confirm that while many new moms want to breast-feed, keeping it up often proves too challenging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75% of newborns were breast-fed in their first month or so of life in 2007, while only 33% were being exclusively breast-fed at three months; by six months, only 13% were predominantly receiving breast milk. Nearly 40%, however, were getting breast milk supplemented with formula at this age.

Oddy notes that in order to breast-feed exclusively for the recommended six months, and for children to receive the full benefits of being breast-fed, mothers need support from health-care systems that teach and encourage breast-feeding, as well as assistance from family, friends and employers to make breast-feeding easier. The benefits, she says, are too strong ignore. “We must all be responsible for the promotion of the ‘best way to feed a baby,' from the mother's milk,” she said.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fly to Seoul Boom Boom Boom...

Nowadays, when I login to my facebook account, I would usually see pictures of my friends with snowy backyard of their houses or playing snow with their kids. It reminds me of the last winter that I spent in Korea. It reminds me more of Korea every time I watch Korean Tourism Video 'Fly to Seoul'. I went there for an invention fair held at COEX, Seoul, Korea. It was my first time experiencing the cold of winter besides the cold of monsoon back in Malaysia.

When I arrived at Inchoen airport, the temperature was around 2 degree celcius. For me, a first timer, it was unbearable and it wasn't snowing yet. We were impatiently waiting for the snow. We spent 10 days in Korea, mostly in Seoul. I wore 4 layers of clothes, but still, the breeze of winter could be felt.

During our trip to Nami Island (a.k.a the Winter Sonata Island), we were excited because finally we saw the snow falling from the sky. We told the bus driver to stop and we try to catch the snow with our hands (probably the Koreans will find us as jakun or something).

Back then, I still remember how I would rush back home to watch Winter Sonata during my industrial training days. It was the first Korean drama series that managed to catch my attention. The drama starred Bae Yong Joon and Choi Ji Woo. I can still remember every place they've been in the island at the time I went there. almost like a deja vu.

At that island, we also stumbled upon this cute little squirrel. He was so 'friendly' and really know how to pose in front of camera.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beautiful snaps by National Geographic

Just wanna share this photo with you guys ...


Monday, December 6, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weight Loss Program

Last week I received a phone call from a friend saying that one of our friends is getting married. She has been a widow for a year and a half. Looking back to what she has been through, I realize how she has changed. When she was still married to her first husband, she looked a bit plump and a little aged in her thirties. At that time her husband was ailing, suffering from some disease of unknown etiology. The passing of her husband has rendered her more miserable than ever before. As a close friend, I felt very sad and terrible, but what can I do more than consoling her when she confided in me.

A few months ago when I went to her office to pay a visit, since it was months since we last met. As I was standing near a counter (a bit baffled), looking for her, someone asked me, “Are you looking for someone?”. I said that I was looking for my friend. Then she pointed to a lady at the next counter. Oh my God! Is that really her!? She was barely recognizable. She looked very much a different person now. She looked slimmer and a lot younger. So, I asked her, what is her secret, she said she’s on a diet regime that consisted of strictly organic foods.

I have gained a lot of weight after I got married and after having two kids my weight has never show any sign of decrease. Thanks to all of those late night supper at Mamaks’ with my husband, sharing ice-cream and cake with my elder daughter; these are all the culprit that have contribute to my ‘sustainable’ excessive weight. But then again, it is hard to resist the lure of our culture’s comfort foods with their tempting aroma and enticing savor. Even Mat Salleh like Anthony Bourdain couldn’t help but to succumb to the temptation of roti nan, char kuew teow, teh tarik and nasi lemak (just to list a few).

After that visit to my friend, I realized that I also can shed away my excessive weight by committing myself to organic diet regime. So what is Organic food? Organic foods are made in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organizations. It is food products that produce without using any chemicals and pesticides (which is using biological control).

Besides taking Organic food I also do some reading on how to lose weight. I have just finished an e-book by George Best entitled ‘The Total Solution for the Weight Loss Impaired’. This book discussed how to lose weight and what are major things to avoid when losing weight. It is also interesting to discover that fat storing are control by three hormones; insulin, cortisol and estrogen. Hmmm… nobody ever told me that before.

He also concluded that fat storing is largely stimulated by; excess carbohydrate consumption, excess stress (physical and/or emotional), excess estrogen and estrogen-like chemicals (such as chemical pesticides, fertilizers, etc. [that’s why we need to consume organic food]). Whilst fat burning is stimulated by; Good liver function (avoiding the overconsumption of fat, protein, alcohol, and drugs/medications, Low carbohydrate consumption (yes, we must cut those carbs in our diet), aerobic exercise (relatively short duration, high intensity activity) and adequate sleep (at least 7 hours of restful sleep per night).

The writer also recommends how to lose weight and present many recipes for cutting the carbs in our diet. If I manage to reduce weight after following the techniques recommended, I think you guys should do the same.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gift or present?

Today, I woke up around 5 a.m because my newborn daughter was crying. It was not because she was hungry but she usually wakes me at around that time just to ‘talk’ and grin to me. So, I took her off the bed and went to the living room and put her on her bouncer. Then, I turned on the television (channel 711). Oh, it was American Music Award (AMA)! At the stage was Micheal Buble won his award through Adult Contemporary Award. “God, I love present!” commented him upon receiving the award.

It reminds me of the gift I’ve got earlier. It was not for me but for my new born daughter. One of my officemate came to my house the evening before and gave me a gift that she and another friend of mine bought earlier.

What a coincidence! It was a box of baby one-piece –clothes and stockings as I’m currently like to dress Hana with one-piece-clothing. She already has 5 pieces of that type of clothing. Macam tau2 je korang ni…! I really love it. The box consists of 4 very girly one-piece-clothes matched with really cute stockings.

Later that day, I dressed her up with one of that one-piece-cloth. Even though that cloth is for 0-6 months old, it seem like it fits her very well. And I’m guessing that those shirts could only be used for another month based since she’s gaining weight steadily over couple of weeks ago. Thank you, guys. Really looking forward to give you guys some cute little gift too.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"My secret recipe, is cooking without a recipe..."- Micheal Smith

For those who do not know who is he, Chef Micheal Smith is a celebrity chef who currently appears in four television shows; The Inn Chef, Chef at Large, Chef at Home and Chef Abroad. I like him, I mean his television shows. For me, his idea of 'Cooking without a recipe' is so inspiring as it allow a room for improvisations, almost like playing music without a score to adhere to.

Among his shows, I really enjoy watching 'Chef at Home' the most. I like his clean, neat and well organized kitchen. And, I also like him because he is a good cook, has a beautiful house by the seaside and not to forget, his good look.

He is also the winner of the James Beard Award for Cooking Show Excellence. Apart from TV shows, he is also an award winning cookbook author, newspaper columnist, restaurant chef and of course a home cook. Every time I watch his show, I'm really impressed by the way he transformed an ordinary recipe into an extraordinary cuisine while at the same time made it looked simple.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

School Holiday: Where to go? holiday topic, even though I'm currently not a part of it, but it still reminds me of the good old days where my parents would love to take us traveling around country. Why did I say that I'm not part of it? First and foremost, I do not have kids in school. The second is, I will start working next week....yes...not everybody is lucky enough to be home with families during school break.

Well, for those who want to bring their family for a treat away from a hectic city environment, it probably is a good idea to bring your family closer to nature. If you are mountain person (or a beach person wanting for a change) you can try Gunung Stong, Kelantan. Well, for all of you who are not in the know, it is the tallest waterfall in Southeasat Asia, with its 7 level of cascading waterfall. You can even see it clearly about a few kilometers away (what a sight! Believe me).

These are some pictures taken back then. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bread, bakery, supermarket and fungus??

After having a boring afternoon, I've decided to do some shopping at our nearest supermarket, with my two daughters and my husband. So we went there picking up things into the shopping trolley and then we made our way to a bakery there. While randomly scrutinizing the pastries displayed on the display cabinet, I spotted something that is not supposed to be there. Not on the display cabinet. Why don't you guys take a look at the picture below. was some kind of fungus. A pathogenic one. For heaven's sake, why haven't they realize it because they suppose to regularly inspect their goods even in their inventory let alone the one on the display. The black spot probably suggesting that some airborne Aspergillus niger spores manage to find their way there.

What happen if we get infected by this type of fungus? well, this nasty fungus is notorious for its inherent ability to cause Aspergillosis, a kind of allergenic reaction that could prove to be lethal for asthma patients (Source: Wikipedia).

I urge those who run retail or grocery stores to periodically check your inventories of perishable goods for the sake of consumers health. Just imagine what would happen if a consumer who happens to be an asthma patient accidentally consumed it...For you guys out there, please be careful when you go shopping especially food, make sure that it has not pass it expiration date.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I think I really need a hobby. I can not remember what my hobbies were before I've been really busy with my current life.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Zahra's First Hair Cut

She has never had a hair cut before. So, after almost 2 years in this world and after I had enough with her hair kept covering her eyes, Zahra finally had her first hair cut.

Now I don't have to bother she's licking her hand and wipe her hair just to make her hair stick to her head....

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Sorry kind of busy lately. Currently very busy with my newborn daughter, Haifa Safiya Alhana. It took more than 9 months of tinkering to think of her name (choosing a right name is one of the hardest part for most parents, you can only do mistake that you can't afford once). Labor this time was much easier than the first time. Why, because, 3 hours prior to labor I still can go for a shopping without realizing that i'm having a contraction.

By the way, new style for my blog. Done it while taking care of three other members of my family. Hope that I can update my blog often than before ?(hmm..with additional baby la kan...).

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hi all..

Sorry, been really busy lately, with MQA and APA. Hmmm..can not wait 'till all these things are over. I think I'm not too late to wish everybody 'Happy New Year 2010'. I wish a lot of good things will happen in this year. Apart from my graduation, there are a lot of things I wish to have and achieve this year. Such as, promotion....promotion....promotion...hehehe....

O.K, it has been a while after the last news on Zahra. Well, apart from being able to say 'mama', she already knew how to say 'flower', but instead of saying it correctly, she pronounced it as 'aaaawer'. Well it is O.K for a 11 months old baby to say that. Every time she says 'aaaawer', she will look at me as if she wants to make sure if she pronounce it correctly.

And she get really excited when she see her own photos and my photos and sometimes she even giggled when she saw those photos. It has been 11 months since I gave birth to her and I still remember the first time I saw her. Next month will be her first birthday...1 year already..I wish time didn't fly too fast...Well time and tide wait for no man albeit I'm a woman...