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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Why Sabahan Mothers Prefer Little Penyu Essential

Is this product safe for my baby? This is a question no doubt many mothers have asked before and will continue asking for products marketed for infants, children and toddlers. In recent years with news portals front page peppered with news of asbestos contaminated baby powder, negatives effects of petroleum jelly based products, allergies and the general distrusts in commercial products it is not surprising that many parents seek natural, gentle alternatives when purchasing baby products for their precious little jewel.

Fortunately Sabahans are lucky in this regard, as they have available locally, a very promising product that is safe, gentle and natural. Mothers in Sabah swear by this product as the positive reviews throughout is a testament to their commitment to provide an alternative product to parents. Manufactured locally, with a heartwarming backstory and the drive of a mother wanting the best for her children, Little Penyu Essentials is now the preferred alternative product for vapor rubs and boo-boo cream among many Sabahan mothers.

Little Penyu Essential is founded by a mother of 2, Norfaranina Zaki, she is the CEO of LP Group Sdn. Bhd. and she is also a certified IAIM Infant Massage Instructor. The name Little Penyu Essentials originates from her successful Little Penyu Baby Swim Spa, which is the first baby swim spa in East Malaysia. It is a facility utilizing water therapy concept where babies can float and swim in a safe and supervised water environment which helps encourage brain development, motor movement and strength even before a baby starts crawling. The spa, located in Metrotown, Kolombong also offers additional services such as Kids Spa for children aged 4 to 12 years old. They also hold IAIM (International Association of Infant Massage) infant massage classes for parents to learn baby soothing massages and be encouraged to be hands on throughout the process as an opportunity to nurture closer bonds with their child. They also have an open door policy welcoming all breastfeeding mothers to the spa for to breastfeed their baby.

Little Penyu Essentials with their 3 main products under the Little Penyu Essential brand have captured the hearts and love of Mothers wanting the best products for their children. Formulated from high quality all natural ingredients and manufactured in a certified facility with stringent quality control they have introduced to the market their Little Penyu Infant Natural Vapor Rub, Junior Natural Vapor Rub and Boo-Boo! Balm.

What makes their product special is in their formulation of ingredients which are specially designed to be child safe and friendly. Conventional vapor rubs and other similar commercial products typically have Eucalyptus Oil, Peppermint Oil and Menthol as their primary active ingredients. However, these ingredients might not be suitable for infants or children as it may have too strong of an effect causing burning/cold sensation and discomfort as infant skin is much more sensitive and fragile compared to adults.

I use Little Penyu Essential Infant Vapor rub on my baby Noah in England. Its pretty cold there!

Recommended to rub under feet as well to prevent from cold. 

Little Penyu Essential Vapor Rubs are formulated with gentle Fragonia and Rosalina Essential Oil, which is known as a kid friendly version of Eucalyptus Oil. Another unique selling point of Little Penyu Essential Vapor Rubs is that they are petrolatum (petroleum jelly) free and menthol free, which means a less messy and more pleasant feel to the skin without sacrificing the nose congestion busting abilities which plagues almost ALL parents during flu or cough season. Both Infant and Junior series of the vapor rub are similar except for an additional ingredient – Fir Needle Essential oil in the Junior version of the vapor rub, which gives additional fighting power against sore throat and respiratory infections for the more active 4-12-year-old. Fir Needle Essential Oil is also used to fight fatigue and muscle ache, very useful to rejuvenate an active child.

Insect bites, scrapes, cuts – these are things that every parent wish their baby didn’t have to go through but like many things in the natural world, some things are unavoidable. Alas, such is the life of babies, toddlers and children. Running around (or crawling) without a care in the world while parents try their utmost to keep them from harm. Parents know the inevitability of their child having the occasional bruise, scrapes, cuts from all their playing, crawling and tumbling about in the outdoors (even at home) and the pesky mosquito bites, ant bites etc.

Founder herself featured on TV to talk about Little Penyu Essential.

Norfaranina is seen here explaining about Little Penyu Essential to Jennifer Lasimbang, Assistant Ministry of Education & Innovation in a local exhibition. 

How wonderful that Little Penyu Essentials coincidentally also formulates their own special infant and child safe Boo-Boo! Balm for all the scrapes, cuts and insect bites your precious one might unfortunately go through in their rough and tumbling plays while growing up. LP Essential Boo-Boo! Balm is a nourishing topical application ideal for a range of stressful skin conditions. It is formulated with premium Helichrysum essential oil. Helichrysum essential oil is a very good herbal oil which has a cool soothing feel and renowned healing effects when applied to the skin. It is extracted from Helichrysum flowers growing natively in the Mediterranean region.

This essential oil contains component ingredients that fights germs on the skin and hydrate the skin to stay smooth and soft. It will prevent skin infections with regular use. Helichrysum Essential oil is also commonly used to clear skin spots, rashes from sweat, blemishes and other skin infections. It will treat pimples, acne, eczema, etc and fade every kind of stretch mark away and leave the skin naturally clean. Basically, good for the kids and Mommy!  Additionally, Helichrysum Essential Oil used in LP Essential Boo-Boo! Balm when applied to exposed areas of the body can help reduce the risk of infections in form of bacteria and fungi. All these goes to show that the ingredients placed into the product is well thought out for the well being of the child and parents as well.


Like all other products on the planet, a product is only as good as the customer perceives it and fret not as LP essentials have no lack of glowing positive reviews and feedback by satisfied parents who by now would swear by the products by Little Penyu Essentials.

"Love it to bits! You know, ever since I got into EO I've been extra careful with eucalyptus oil and other oils yang sewaktu dengannya especially on babies. So LP vapor rub is just perfect!”
- Marilyn Mae Pain

“I love your Boo-Boo! Balm. I put on Evan’s mild scratches he got on his arm from playing hand fan and it went off after a day!”
- Jade Cheah

“This vapor rub did wonder to my two ‘cucu’. Actually, from Monday dah start asthma and brought to JMC and medication was given. By Thursday, it got worsen and nak bawa ke emergency but I told my daughter in law to try this vapor rub and it really ease their breathing”
- Anonymous testimony

It is a parent’s primary responsibility and on-going concern to be able to provide the best of anything for their young ones. However, due to many unclear situations, multitude of choices forced on parents and downright misinformation and dishonesty of marketers and large corporations. It can be increasingly difficult to identify what is “best” of any product. Fortunately, though, at the very least for the parents in Sabah and Malaysia selecting the best Vapor Rub and Boo-Boo! Balm will no longer be a topic of debate, but rather a straight up recommendation for Little Penyu Essentials’s Vapor Rub. 

For more information about Little Penyu Essential, kindly visit their website at

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Honest Truth About Confinement For A Modern Mom

The first question most people would ask before I delivered my child is “Who will help you with confinement?” and after the confinement they asked “How was your confinement?” Let me share with you my journey of confinement of 2 child birth with my parents.

To this modern day, there are many convenient confinement methods available for new mothers to choose from. From stay-at-home, hired a confinement lady at home, order take-away confinement food, stay at the confinement centre, there are many factors to consider about. For those whose parents or in-laws are available and able to travel to your place and help, the stay-at-home method is the most comfortable confinement one can experience. I stay at Labuan, but both of my parents live in Perak and my in-laws are in Kota Kinabalu. Hired a confinement lady? I doubted if I knew someone here. Confinement centre? No, there’s none available in Labuan yet. Get a helper? It’s expensive and it has some process to go through yet my mom doesn’t encourage me to have one. Order confinement meals? Not sure if it is a popular option compare to other cities like KL. 

I missed my parents and definitely my mom’s cooking, as well as seeing the only option that I have, I booked flights for my parents to come before the arrival of my first and second child as they were willing to help me through the confinement. My dad has just retired before my delivery, it just make it in time for him to travel to my place helping mom out with their first grandson. He was in-charge of driving mom to the market to shop for the freshest veggies and meats, having breakfast or afternoon tea at kopitiam (it is too boring to just stay at home with me everyday!), sometimes he helped with the laundry, clean up the house, boil water for me to drink and to bath and many more. My mom did the 3 meals cooking; my in-law and hubby did the dishwashing. 

Everyone in the house cooperated so well to make things in order so I can rest and recover with peace of mind. Confinement at home is the best method I have enjoyed so far, it is the most economic yet comfortable method I strongly recommend, if our parents were still fit and willing to help. Otherwise, you have to seek for referral for good confinement lady, helper or confinement centre. I also have a friend who helped his wife with the confinement alone when they were in the United States. The hubby prepared the dishes and did all the house chores by himself while the wife attended to the new-born. It is important for the new mother not to get stressed up throughout the recovery period feeling the helplessness or she will easily develop post-partum depression.

My mother, my strength. She is on her granny duty here. 

A few practices we need to follow according to the elderly’s advices that are surrounding the idea of not getting ‘wind’ entering our body and fell sick. The most common one is cannot bath and wash hair. I understood the practice of not washing hair is to prevent the moist of water from entering our scalp which leads to headache like what the old people said “masuk angin”. Traditionally before the hair dryer was invented and in the colder seasons for places like in China, the women have to avoid shower and wet their hair. 

They need to wrap themselves tight to keep warm as post-partum women were generally weaker hence to prevent cold. And also because we are physically inactive that is how confinement (like being kept in warm room – no air-conditioner, no direct fan) makes us sweat. Even the food and soup added with gingers or kunyit are also to help to increase metabolite rate to sweat and remove toxic from the body. However there’s also a saying that we should not sweat too much during confinement as that will open the pores as we sweat and the wind will enter body easily. So sweat or not, you make judgement yourself. 

When the practice passed down to our elder generation coming from China, we are still practicing these but at a hotter climate place in Malaysia, I just cannot accept that we are so hot, sweat a lot with oily hair but not allowed to bath. So here we take herbal bath to clean ourselves which is said can remove wind from the body. While bathing in the warm water, feeling the oily and itchy hair scalp, I secretly washed and dried it before discovered by my mom. It just made my following days so light and bright. Of course there are still some other confinement practices but I object very much on the washing hair-ban. Another taboo was that we were not allowed to touch tap water fearing the wind in the water (as it is unboil) will get into our body through fingers or feet. Apart from that, I am not allowed to bath later than 6pm.  I believe, as long as we get ourselves dry, clean and comfortable throughout the confinement period with enough rest and nutritious food intake, that is the best confinement for new mother and infant.

Ocean learning to eat on his own. Moments like this makes it all worth it!

Chinese community is very particular on confinement food. Before I gave birth I have no idea why people care so much about confinement to the extent that needed to find a confinement lady to help out. My mom, although she did not have any experience helping in confinement, she learnt a bit here and there about the essence of confinement from her friends. My mother gets all the herbs ready to prepare my 30 days confinement meals, such as dang-gui, red dates, black beans, dang-sen, herbs I don’t know the names but you can easily asked the shop attendants at any traditional Chinese medicine hall to pack these confinement herbs for you to boil and drink. 

My mom also got me su-he wan (traditional supplement to relieve flatulence) and wild chicken wine. I heard the way she described the process of making the chicken drown in wine and jar filled with herbs made me chill – they said people drink it to remove wind from our body during confinement but to me this wine sounds not hygienic and I doubted if it will make me sick. Of course I didn’t take it, but food that are apparel and appetizing for me I’d definitely enjoy it to the max. The herbal soup that my mom made for me were just heaven, so nourishing and nutritious yet milk boosting! Having a healthy and nutritious diet throughout the recovering period is more important for new mothers. The Chinese herbs can be obtained cheaply as they are pack raw and in abundance amount. Similar items could be packed nicely by branded outlets but at a costlier price. It looks nice and convenient to drink. However, the same amount you may spend on the nice packaging I could use to buy more herbs and drink at a larger quantity.

When my husband is on daddy's duty. 

Hormone and Stress
Some are fortunate with their mothers or mother in law to help with confinement, some hire confinement lady and some stay at the confinement centre. When settling down to a new motherhood phase, things changed not only from the physical presence of a newborn, our emotional and mental changed significantly from the moment we stepped into the delivery room until we brought a baby out, when the care and attention are all given to the newborn, we forgot to rest, or maybe, can hardly truly rest.

I can’t recall when was my last time to sleep through the night since I became a mother. When people said confinement period is the time for new mother to rest, you must really capture the moment to rest together with the newborn even though you don’t feel sleep in the daytime but you’ll surely complaint the need to wake up every 2 to 3 hours just to feed and pump out the milk from the engorged breasts.

The strange thing at night is no matter how tired you are, you will still alert to the cries of baby and get up to feed her. I rarely seen my husband could get up by himself even the baby cries were just next to him. It is always the mother’s duty to make sure the baby is fed, asleep safely in her bed. However, to my comfort and little one’s sense of security, I put my baby next to me so I can direct feed him without needing to get up, bend my back to carry him up for breastfeeding. Compare to my first born, my second child has lesser feed at nights, calmer and we have longer sleep. Recalling the firstborn, our nights have never been easy, frequent nights up, burped him, carried him and walked around to put him back to sleep was like a routine for both of us. Perhaps because of co-sleep our bond is stronger until he could sense my disappearance when I left him sleeping alone!

The problem is, we new mother could rarely have “enough” sleep just like everyone wishes. Confinement is the time when people come around to help us to take care of the newborn’s from changing nappies to bath him, while we are recovering from delivery and adapting to the new motherhood routine and change of lifestyle. Without my mother’s and in-law’s help, although my husband could take care of me and baby, but I am sure their presence have sooth a lot of tension that comes with me, so I can talk to them to release stress. As my mother is the closest person to me whom knew my temper so well, I never hide my emotion with her presence. For many advises she and in-law had asked me to follow and not to do, many times I just ignored and followed my habit routine. There were times we both lost our tempers when some of the confinement practices I was disagreed with, although I knew it was for my own goodness, me as a hormonal imbalance woman couldn’t keep myself sane but easily triggered by just little small things. Until now I still feel sorry for the words and action I have done if that have already hurt my mom and in-law. You know you are balanced when you are not emotionally triggered easily. A simple question like “do you have enough milk or not?” is really annoying, whether or not you ask out of care or simple want to tease the mother for not supplying enough milk, this question is a big no no to mother. If we were lack of milk, there’ll be no stack of milk storage in the fridge, baby won’t sleep soundly, peep and poop so frequently. So, observed before you asked any silly or stressor question.

Confinement is a big time for many new mothers to recover from childbirth. The elderly says, once we get sick or did not recover properly at this time it could get worse in the later time. Whether or not it is true, we will find out when we are at the age. Nonetheless, elderly have their wisdom and they passed their knowledge or experience to the next generation. We the younger one could learn from their wisdom too because what they did is all because they care and love for their children.

Thank you to my mother and mother-in-law for taking good care of me and my little ones during the post delivery period. Every childbirth is a new journey for young mother and their presence in indeed a blessing regardless how demanding or naïve their daughter can be throughout the entire process. We learnt and grown by directly experiencing the emotions though.

Written By Kimlee Choy
Mother of two, Health & Counselling Teacher, Founder of Sustainable Urban Living Association Malaysia / FunLabuan.