Project Love 7/365

Project Love 7/365

I am grateful to be given another day!

Woke up at 7.45am today which is really early by my standard. Felt so much more productive and got some stuff done!

Then Edric decided to wake up early too and wanted to feed.

I think direct latching to feed your baby must be one of the most satisfying feeling one can get. So grateful that I have the opportunity to do this all day everyday!

They just look so adorable sucking away. It’s amazing how feeding comes so naturally to babies.

My boy likes drinking with his hands on his face and eyes closed which is super cute to look at! Proud mom here hehe.

And because I was an early bird today I managed to catch up with some people before Edric woke up.

Never really considered myself a social person but have recently discovered how important it is to have social connections as it makes you happier!

Project Love 6/365

Project Love 6/365

I am so pumped up because I managed to go for BodyCombat this morning! Working out never felt so good!

I just had to close one eye and left baby with my parents and helper.

This mama’s gotta keep fit yo.

I love going for classes at the gym because:

1) You work harder (absorbing energy from other people in the class)

2) You work longer (for the entire class duration, usually 1 hour)

3) Time flies

I woke up to birds chirping again, love this! Sometimes I’d imagine the birds happily chatting amongst themselves.

Edric is a champ today! Smiling and laughing when I met a couple friend for lunch. We chatted and before I realised, 3 hours had passed. It’s always good to catch up with friends!

Rushed to my in laws place – was late but they were still happy to see Edric. He was still smiley (with some small unhappy bouts) and this made them happy. Which made me happy!

Project Love 5/365

Project Love 5/365

So I slept a lil earlier yesterday, at 1am! And managed to wake up at 7.45am today yay!

I loved waking up to birds chirping outside my window. Kinda surprised how this is still possible in a city = win!

I remember the feeling of openness, airiness and spaciousness at a friend’s condo yesterday as it is located on a hill. My future house will give me this.

Dad just gave me a sweet concoction of pineapple-apple-pear juice.. yumz!

So today I am headed out to get a second opinion on my glaucoma condition. The doctor I had seen said that I needed to start treatment so that my eyesight does not deteriorate further. Just so so so grateful that I found out early.

Till tomorrow! xx

Project Love 4/365

Project Love 4/365

Wow I couldn’t sleep last night! Tossed and turned and finally closed my eye at about 4am. Was it the tea I had at dinner?

I know sleep don’t come easy for some people. So I am thankful that I can usually fall asleep anytime, anywhere.

I am thankful that Edric is still asleep, and so I can sneak out for a gym session early this morning.

So lucky that I am fit and healthy enough to able to enjoy working out. I can still remember feeling so sick in my first trimester, that made me treasure normal health. Anything that does not involve nausea 24/7 = happy!

I am grateful that we live nearby 2 gyms just 10-15 mins away. And even at the peak hour this morning, my route does not have any traffic!! (The opposite route is jammed).

Ah the little wins in life 🙂

Project Love 3/365

Project Love 3/365

Today, I am grateful that my son only woke up once at night for a feed!! He is turning 7 months soon and was fussing a bit the night before.

He was pulling my night strap as well as an indication to drink! That was something new – soon he will be able to find the boob himself.

I am grateful for the green smoothie that my dad prepared for me. It was very.. healthy tasting haha.

My mom looked very nice in her white dress that she wore to work today. Hopefully I will get some of her genes in looking good and young.

I am currently in line to check my vision at the eye centre. Last week I found out that I have an 80% chance of having Glaucoma and it will be confirmed today whether I have it or not.

Regardless, I am thankful for detecting it earlier as otherwise it could lead to a loss of vision.

My helper is also helping me mind Baby E who is very quiet this morning – double win!

3 Breastfeeding Tips For Before You Have Your Baby

3 Breastfeeding Tips For Before You Have Your Baby

Mothers experience difficulties in breastfeeding due to a multitude of reasons, be it stress, lack of supply, incorrect latching etc.

I wanted to make sure that my breastfeeding journey was as smooth as possible.

Taking care a newborn baby is in itself an enormous task, and I don’t want to be stressed out about feeding too.

Prior to the birth of my firstborn, I decided to read up more about breastfeeding and it was the best thing I could have done for my baby and myself!

I am thankful to be able to breastfeed my baby exclusively. He feeds very well and has gained close to 100% of his birth weight at only 2+ months old.

 

Here I would like to share some of my tips for a successful breastfeeding start that can be done anytime prior to the birth of your baby:

Tip 1: Join Online Support Groups

I never realised this before being a mother, but there are many helpful groups on Facebook that provide support on various topics, including mummy and breastfeeding groups.

If you are a Malaysian mummy, you would definitely want to join TBAN (The Breastfeeding Advocates Network) on Facebook.

Reading about other mummies’ questions and answers helped me immensely – my knowledge went from 0 to at least 50% from that group of 114k members strong.

Tip 2: Read a Breastfeeding Book

The more you read, the more you know, the less stressed you are, the smoother your breastfeeding experience would be.

Reading about other mummies’ experience and what worked for them can sometimes more anecdotal than factual. What works for one might not work for another.

I highly recommend my breastfeeding bible. This book is written by a doctor who is the leading researcher in the field of breastfeeding.

I have provided a summary in a previous post.

This is so helpful because you tend to get a lot of unsolicited advice, especially during the first few weeks post delivery.

And because this book is written by a leading researcher, I trust that what I read and know are facts and not just other people’s opinion. It makes me feel more confident about my knowledge and hence be brave enough to stand up for what I think is right.

Tip 3: Be Optimistic

It is easy to be afraid that for one reason or another that you are not able to breastfeed your baby.

As new mothers, we tend to over-worry about this because so many others suffer the same fate.

Unfortunately, this is a vicious cycle because the more you worry, the more stressed and emotionally affected you are which might ultimately reduce your supply.

According to Dr. Jack Newman, the majority of women are perfectly capable of producing all the milk their babies need for at least four to six months. Most women are capable of feeding twins or even triplets. Only a small number of women truly do not produce enough milk for their babies. These women can still breastfeed, just not exclusively with their own milk.

So, if you follow my tip #1 and especially #2, along with a positive mindset, there is a higher chance of you enjoying your breastfeeding journey.

Trust that you are able to breastfeed.

IN SUMMARY

I hope that the above has given you some idea of what you can do to prepare yourself for this amazing experience called breastfeeding. The bond that you are able to develop with your baby, and also the feeling knowing that you are able to provide for your little one is irreplaceable.

The bond that you are able to develop with your baby, and also the feeling knowing that you are able to provide for your little one is irreplaceable.

I am a firm believer that knowledge is power in breastfeeding. If you know what to expect, then you can prepare for it better.

Good luck mummies!

Till next time! xoxo

How to Bathe Your Newborn Baby – 11 Easy Steps

How to Bathe Your Newborn Baby – 11 Easy Steps

Bathing a baby seemed like the most daunting thing in the world, pre-baby.

What if they drown? What if they don’t like it and keep crying? What if they slip off my hands?

However, once you have a baby, you will have to bath them whether you like it or not. No one else is going to bathe your baby for you.

I would like to share my way of bathing a baby as he seems to enjoy his bath.

I learned most of it from my confinement lady and made a few tweaks due to personal preference.

It is so easy really, I wonder why I was so nervous about it at first.

What you would need to bathe your baby:

  • Baby bathtub – optional but it saves water compared to using a normal tub and is cleaner than using a sink
  • Bath support – optional but it makes my life so much easier!
  • Bath oil
  • Towel – normal, thin towel measuring 30cm x 70cm
  • Small cloth/handkerchief – optional

Please note that this is for newborn and young babies who have no neck control yet.

Step 1: Prepare bath

– Put bath support inside the baby bathtub.

– Fill the tub with warm water.

TIP – Fill water to slightly below shoulder level so that not too much of baby’s body parts are exposed to air (they might feel cold) but not too full that water will go into their ears.

Step 2: Put baby in bathtub

– Place baby into the bathtub.

TIP – Try to place baby slowly into the tub so that baby is not shocked from the sudden transition to the water. If the water is too cold or hot, the baby will probably cry out. Their face will be red or flushed after the bath if the water is too hot, so you will know to adjust it for the next time.

Step 3: Wet hair

– Wet the handkerchief and slowly squeeze the water to wet baby’s hair.

– Again, ‘slowly’ is the keyword, we don’t want to shock them.

Step 4: Wipe mouth

– Wrap the damp handkerchief (squeeze to remove water) around your fingers.

– Rub it against baby’s upper and lower gums to clean them.

– You can rub their tongue as well.

Step 5: Use bath oil

– I was recommended QV Bath Oil as it’s meant to be good and gentle for baby’s sensitive skin.

– I like it because 1) I can use it for both hair and body 2) I just have to rinse off rather than using another clean tub of water to wash off

TIP – One capful measures 5mL. Add 5mL to baby’s bath and bathe for 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 6: Wash hair

– Using half a cap, mix with water and apply on baby’s head to wash hair.

– Make sure you wash the back of his head too.

– Add remaining half a cap to the bathtub.

Step 6: Rinse-Off Bath Oil From Hair

– Wet the handkerchief and slowly squeeze the water to wet baby’s hair while using the other hand to rinse off bath oil.

Step 7: Wash Body

– Using your hands, splash water to wet baby’s body.

– You can either clean their bodies by gently rubbing with your hand or by using the handkerchief.

– Make sure you reach his neck and behind his ears.

TIP – You will note that the water is a bit murky from the bath oil. This is normal. Do avoid splashing this water into baby’s eyes and mouth though.

Step 8: Wash Hands and Feet

– Sometimes the baby’s hands and feet might be out of the water so it is important to wash them specifically by rubbing them in water.

– Remember to wash their armpits and any folds in their hands and legs as well.

– Don’t forget to wash their private parts too!

TIP – Putting the handkerchief on top of their body helps them keep warm and not leave them exposed to the air.

Step 9: Play Time

– Depending on your baby, they might want to spend a little more time in the bath.

– You can sing some songs to them while splashing water onto their body to keep them warm.

Step 10: Dry Baby

– Put the towel over your thighs. I make sure that the shorter end (30%) is enough to dry my baby’s head and the longer end (70%) is enough to wrap around his body from his legs.

– Carry baby out of the bath and wipe them.

– Keep them covered in the towel while you carry them out to keep warm. It also helps to hug baby as well for that extra warmth and comfort.

TIP – You don’t have to wipe them too much, just enough so that they don’t feel cold. You can make sure that they are 100% dry in the next step.

Step 11: Apply Lotion

– Wipe baby until they are 100% dry. Areas that are easy to miss are their ears, neck, and folds.

– Apply lotion to face and body.

– I like Cetaphil as it is gentle enough for babies. I also noticed a huge difference in my baby’s skin (softer and moisturised) vs using olive oil previously. He had dry spots on his face, hands, and feet while I was using olive oil but they disappeared just 1 day after applying Cetaphil!

TIP – I used olive oil to moisturise my baby as I thought it would be milder since it is edible and chemical free but boy was I wrong!

IN SUMMARY

Voila, you’re done!

That wasn’t too bad, was it?

The only part that I dislike is filling my baby bathtub with my shower head as it takes about 3-5 minutes and I usually have to stand there to make sure that the water level and temperature is optimum.

Do you have an easier way to bath your baby?

Till next time, xoxo!

Getting off to the Best Start for Breastfeeding

Getting off to the Best Start for Breastfeeding

This is a summary of a chapter from “The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers” by Jack Newman MD and Teresa Pitman.

AKA my breastfeeding bible.

I have read all 300+ pages religously, some sections even more than twice.

Of course I still had questions when Baby E came along, but at least I knew what to expect.

Baby E is 100% breastfed and has gained close to 100% of his birth weight in 2.5 months.

Perhaps I have an abundant of milk supply, but this book definitely left a positive impact on my breastfeeding journey and made it much easier.

Having a baby can be stressful in the first few weeks with all the feeding, crying and changing of nappies.

So equipt yourself with all the breastfeeding information that you can get before the arrival of your baby. Read more. Learn from other people’s experience.

I sincerely hope that it helps you as much as it helped me.

Knowledge is the key to having a good breastfeeding experience, especially for first time mothers.

Own your breastfeeding jorney.

Till next time! xoxo

**

A mother’s experience of breastfeeding can be profoundly affected by what happens during the first few hours after her baby’s birth.

A good beginning can help her find breastfeeding easy and painless; a bad beginning can make it painful and difficult.

Here are a few ways to get a good start breastfeeding:

 

1. If possible, have a natural childbirth

– Plan to give birth with as few interventions as possible

– Eg if labor is induced with Pitocin, fluids given by the IV may increase engorgement of the breast and result in the baby having more difficulty latching on.

– A poor latch will lead to poor feeding and a lethargic baby who is jaundiced because of poor intake of milk.

– If a mother has Demerol or other painkilling medication close to the time of baby’s birth, the baby will be sleepy and have trouble coordinating his sucking motions.

 

2. Baby is put to the breast immediately after delivery

– Babies usually experience a time of quiet alertness in the first hour or two after birth.

– They are awake but not crying and seem to be primed to learning to breastfeed.

– When the baby is first put to the breast, he will often simply lick or nuzzle the nipple which is fine.

– If the mother can have relaxed, unhurried time with the baby, he will soon indicate readiness to nurse – this might take 10 minutes, 15 minutes or an hour or more after birth.

– It is no use forcing a baby to take the breast when he doesn’t want to – forcing will only make him angry or upset.

– Most importantly, mother and baby stay together during this time with skin-to-skin contact.

 

3. The baby and the mother should room in together

– Rooming in should mean 24 hours a day, not only daylight hours.

– Mothers and babies who are together will get “in sync” as they sleep and wake at the same time.

 

4. Artificial nipples must not be given to the baby

– Babies sucking on a bottle and suckling at the breast are two very different processes.

– During the first few days after giving birth, mothers produce only a small amount of a special kind of milk called colostrum.

– Colostrum is high in antibodies and is a laxative helping to help prepare the baby’s intestines to handle the milk that the breasts will soon be producing.

– “Nipple preference” rather than “nipple confusion” happens – if babies go to the breast and don’t get much milk because they are not latched on well, and are then given a bottle and get a fast flow of milk, they will develop a preference for the bottle.

– The solution is to fix the latch so that baby is able to get milk just as readily from the breast.

 

5. There should be no restriction on length or frequency of feedings

– Unrestricted feedings encourage the mother to learn her baby’s cues.

– She will be watching her baby and learning how he indicates that he is getting hungry eg moving around restlessly, making sucking motions with his lips and tongue etc.

– Limiting and scheduling feedings can actually increase the risk of sore nipples. If the baby is ravenously hungry when coming to the breast, he may grab at the nipple and not be patient enough to wait until his mother gets him properly positioned. His frustration when the milk doesn’t flow quickly enough may make him pull at the breast, often coming off it and relatching poorly, causing more pain.

– Babies at the breast for hours most likely indicate they are not properly latched on and is not really getting much milk. However, there are also some “high need” babies who want to spend more time on the breast even if they are getting enough milk. It is important to watch the baby at the breast to figure out what is going on.

 

6. Supplements of water, sugar water and/or formula are rarely required.

– There are very few medical reasons for giving supplements to babies.

– If there is a true medical issue and the baby needs a supplement, it should be given by a lactation aid or supplemental nurser while the baby is at the breast.

– In most cases, the best way to provide extra milk for the baby is to get the baby well latched on.

 

7. Proper positioning and latching on are crucial to success

– “Latching on” refers to the way the baby takes the breast into his mouth.

– A good latch means pain-free breastfeeding, and it also means that the baby will get the milk he needs.

– If you are feeling real pain when the baby is breastfeeding, the baby is probably not latched on well no matter what the nurse or other people tell you.

– The greater the mother’s supply, the less the baby needs to latch on well, but the mother may pay a price. Eg, sore nipples are almost always due to a poor latch.

Good latch Abundant Milk Supply -> Good weight gain Pain-free nursing “Short” feedings Feedings that are not that frequent
Adequate latch Abundant Milk Supply -> Good weight gain Pain-free nursing Longer feedings More frequent feedings
Poor latch Abundant Milk Supply -> Slower weight gain And/or sore nipples
Good latch Average Milk Supply -> Good weight gain Pain-free nursing “Short” feedings Feedings that are not that frequent
Bad latch Average Milk Supply -> Slow weight gain Sore nipples Long feedings Frequent feedings

 

 

The silent tragedy affecting today’s children (and what to do with it)

The silent tragedy affecting today’s children (and what to do with it)

This article originally appeared here.

There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children. Through my work with hundreds of children and families as an occupational therapist, I have witnessed this tragedy unfolding right in front of my eyes. Our children are in a devastating emotional state! Talk to teachers and professionals who have been working in the field for the last 15 years. You will hear concerns similar to mine. Moreover, in the past 15 years, researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

How much more evidence do we need before we wake up?

No, “increased diagnostics alone” is not the answer!

No, “they all are just born like this” is not the answer!

No, “it is all the school system’s fault” is not the answer!

Yes, as painful as it can be to admit, in many cases, WE, parents, are the answer to many of our kids’ struggles!

It is scientifically proven that the brain has the capacity to rewire itself through the environment. Unfortunately, with the environment and parenting styles that we are providing to our children, we are rewiring their brains in a wrong direction and contributing to their challenges in everyday life.

Yes, there are and always have been children who are born with disabilities and despite their parents’ best efforts to provide them with a well-balanced environment and parenting, their children continue to struggle. These are NOT the children I am talking about here.

I am talking about many others whose challenges are greatly shaped by the environmental factors that parents, with their greatest intentions, provide to their children. As I have seen in my practice, the moment parents change their perspective on parenting, these children change.

What is wrong?

Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as:

  • Emotionally available parents
  • Clearly defined limits and guidance
  • Responsibilities
  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Movement and outdoors
  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

  • Digitally distracted parents
  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle
  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments

Could anyone imagine that it is possible to raise a healthy generation in such an unhealthy environment? Of course not! There are no shortcuts to parenting, and we can’t trick human nature. As we see, the outcomes are devastating. Our children pay for the loss of well-balanced childhood with their emotional well-being.

How to fix it?

If we want our children to grow into happy and healthy individuals, we have to wake up and go back to the basics. It is still possible! I know this because hundreds of my clients see positive changes in their kids’ emotional state within weeks (and in some cases, even days) of implementing these recommendations:

Set limits and remember that you are your child’s PARENT, not a friend

Offer kids well-balanced lifestyle filled with what kids NEED, not just what they WANT. Don’t be afraid to say “No!” to your kids if what they want is not what they need.

  • Provide nutritious food and limits snacks.
  • Spend one hour a day in green space: biking, hiking, fishing, watching birds/insects
  • Have a daily technology-free family dinner.
  • Play one board game a day. (List of family games)
  • Involve your child in one chore a day (folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table etc)
  • Implement consistent sleep routine to ensure that your child gets lots of sleep in a technology-free bedroom

Teach responsibility and independence. Don’t over-protect them from small failures. It trains them the skills needed to overcome greater life’s challenges:

  • Don’t pack your child’s backpack, don’t carry her backpack, don’t bring to school his forgotten lunch box/agenda, and don’t peel a banana for a 5-year-old child. Teach them the skills rather than do it for them.

Teach delayed gratification and provide opportunities for “boredom” as boredom is the time when creativity awakens:

  • Don’t feel responsible for being your child’s entertainment crew.
  • Do not use technology as a cure for boredom.
  • Avoid using technology during meals, in cars, restaurants, malls. Use these moments as opportunities to train their brains to function under “boredom”
  • Help them create a “boredom first aid kit” with activity ideas for “I am bored” times.

Be emotionally available to connect with kids and teach them self-regulation and social skills:

  • Turn off your phones until kids are in bed to avoid digital distraction.
  • Become your child’s emotional coach. Teach them to recognize and deal with frustration and anger.
  • Teach greeting, turn taking, sharing, empathy, table manners, conversation skills,
  • Connect emotionally – Smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, jump, or crawl with your child.

We must make changes in our kids’ lives before this entire generation of children will be medicated! It is not too late yet, but soon it will be…

Reflections of a 29-year-old Mom

Reflections of a 29-year-old Mom

I became a mom this year. 

It is one year later than I’d like (I always wanted to have my first child at 28 like my mom), but that’s the way life is sometimes. 

I write this after putting my baby to sleep. 15 minutes of singing songs and “shh”-ing while carrying him. Something I gladly do every night. 

There is a certain satisfaction to seeing him fall asleep in my arms, looking so comfortable and peaceful.

For some odd reason, this would put hubby to sleep too. 

So there you go, two of my most precious people sound asleep.

I usually turn off the lights in the room so that baby knows that it’s sleeping time and not wake up after 30 minutes.

But what the heck. I need some me time. I’ll take the risk today.

Looking back, this year has been a big one for hubby and me.

Earlier this year, I told him our 2017 goals as a couple: build and move into our new home, have a baby and pass his clinical exams.

I even wrote them on sticky notes and stuck them on our toilet mirror and his computer screen.

It turns out, despite our best efforts to plan around it, that these 3 significant events happened in the months of June and July.

**

Baby just stirred and I had to resettle him. 

I lose!!

The lights are off as I am typing this.

**

It wasn’t easy meeting these goals. 

We were building from scratch and had to deal with our builder and then more than a dozen tradies post handover.

My birthing experience was full of drama but that is a story for another day.

Hubby had to deal with various house matters, a baby, a wife who had a somewhat traumatic birth AND prepare for his clinical exams.

I have since learned to go with the flow. There is no point worrying too much. Everything will eventually fall into place.

It was a stressful period but we made it!

We moved into our newly built home, had a baby and hubby passed his exams!

I am so very proud and satisfied that we achieved what we set out to do this year (with help of course).

And yet a small part of me is already asking, “What’s next?”

Balancing between the ‘satisfied’ me and the ‘what’s next’ me is a fine art.

I struggle with it a lot, especially after being a mom.

One should never be too easily contented, otherwise, they might not strive enough in life.

On the other hand, it is never enough. There is always more money to be made and more promotion to work towards etc.

So is it alright to put my legs up and just enjoy the rest of the maternity leave with my baby? 

‘What’s next’ me might have a problem with that.

But taking my own advice, I will just go with the flow. Take one step at a time.

After all, it is the journey that matters the most, right?