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Second Confinement vs First Confinement – Do You Need Confinement Help for Your Second Child

Second Confinement vs First Confinement – Do You Need Confinement Help for Your Second Child

Following my first confinement experience which turned out to be rather popular, I thought I’d share my experience the second time round.

How does a second confinement compare to the first?

Is it necessary or important to have a confinement lady for your second child? Do you need them? After all, you’ve had your first, so you’d be a pro at handling a baby… right?

To help you make that decision, here are the three major differences between my first and second confinement:

Quicker Recovery

I’ve always heard that the more babies you have, the easier birthing becomes. I would’t say that my second labour was necessarily easier (still very intense), but it was definitely quicker, and so was my recovery.

For my second, I was in full spirits after delivery at 5pm and opted to be discharged the same day! Of course, we had thumbs up from both the pediatrician and obstetrician before doing so.

To compare, it took me 3 months to fully heal from the first delivery, despite having had natural birth both times.

During the second confinement, my overall better physical state meant that I was able to focus more on other things such as my newborn baby, breastfeeding and my toddler.

It made such a HUGE different being mobile and able to do normal things without worrying about your wound and the pain. For example, little things like taking my water bottle from the next room – easy!

Divided Attention

We made the decision to have our second child shortly after the first, so when he was born we were having 2 under 2 (two kids under the age of two).

That meant that my elder child was still young and required a lot of attention too.

Which means despite being physically more able and mobile, my attention had to be divided between my newborn and elder child.

I am thankful to have both my confinement lady and parents to help me out during the confinement period. The confinement lady will focus mainly on my newborn and me, while my parents helped with the elder child (who is, at the age of nearly 2, is a handful!)

So if you are reading this and about to have your firstborn, enjoy your baby to it’s fullest! You will be busy, but at least when the baby sleeps, you have a moment of peace…. not another child to look after!

In this sense, I miss doing confinement in peace.

Experience Counts

First time parents would likely feel overwhelmed looking after a newborn, especially in the first few days and weeks. Simple and basic acts such as holding, feeding, bathing and putting a newborn to sleep is a steep learning curve by itself!

As if to make it even tougher, all babies are individuals and likely to have different temperaments and characters.

That said, if you have cared for a newborn before, you would have likely picked up some basic skills. You would be familiar with the tasks that needs to be done.

I found that it was easier to pick up cues and signals from my newborn due to experience compared to my clueless first-time-mom self. I knew what was coming and what to expect, and this made a big difference!

That also meant that I had my own way and expectations in managing my newborn. It might or might not be the same way that my confinement lady is used to, so it involved some adjusting on her side.

With my first, I relied quite heavily on my confinement lady to teach me things like how to swaddle, bath and burp the baby as I started with zero knowledge on how to keep a baby alive.

An example would be that I preferred to have my newborn lie on his back due to safety reasons. To my horror, my confinement lady was used to putting a rolled blanket to the side of the baby, so that he is slightly slanted on his side and “can sleep better”.

Had I not known any better, it wouldn’t have been an issue but sometimes you can’t just turn a blind eye once you have learned something.

IN SUMMARY

Despite a quicker recovery and more experience in dealing with a newborn, I definitely needed help during the confinement period.

This is especially so when one has a toddler full of energy to deal with.

If I were to do it again, I would definitely get a confinement lady as well.

It is extremely important to fully heal, both mentally and physically, during the confinement period to prepare yourself for what lies ahead! Not one, but two kids! Your life has changed once again!

What are your thoughts? How did your second confinement compare with your first?

Till next time! xoxo

3 Oils for Pregnancy Stretch Marks That Work

3 Oils for Pregnancy Stretch Marks That Work

 

One of the top concerns in a pregnant woman’s mind, besides having a healthy baby (which should be the most important thing), is whether they would get stretch marks during pregnancy, and how to avoid it.

There are some moms who think that stretch marks are proof of motherhood and would be proud to show it off. Of course, I agree that this is something totally natural and not something to be ashamed of.

That said, I would prefer not to have them. This was definitely one of my worries and I am just being honest here.

I think it is a legitimate concern.

Hence, the next few days were spent researching on the best anti stretch mark oils/creams on the market.

My findings are:

  1. Sometimes stretch mark is hereditary. If your mom has it, then you are likely to get it too. Unfortunately, no amount of oil/cream is going to help you.
  2. Different oils/cream work for different people. Some people swear by brand A, some others prefer brand B.

What is a paranoid pregnant woman to do then??

I bought three of the more popular brands and applied them (one at a time) religiously since the second week of my pregnancy. Though some of the instructions encourage application three times a day or as often as required, I applied liberally only once a day after showering.

I don’t know about you but I can’t put oil on myself if I don’t feel super clean, and I only feel super clean after a shower. And the heat from the shower causes your pores to open so that might be the best time for your skin to absorb all the oily goodness anyway.

Below is my experience, sorted from the most expensive to the least expensive:

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil – $68 for 100ml

Clarins’ #1 selling body oil — with 100% pure plant extracts including Rosemary, Geranium and Mint — helps firm, tone and improve elasticity, smoothing the appearance of stretch marks. Hazelnut Oil locks in moisture to leave body skin soft and satiny-smooth. Aromatic natural botanical promote an overall feeling of well-being. Preservative-free.

Clarins Body Treatment Oil
Clarins Body Treatment Oil

Verdict:

+ I love the smell of this treatment oil as it contains one of my favorite scent, Geranium.

+ This oil is thicker and is packaged in a glass bottle which gives off that luxury vibe, like “yes now I know why I am paying top dollars for this”.

– The oil is so thick that sometimes I have to either use a lot of it (not ideal given the price) or wet my hands/body slightly so that it is easier to apply. The instructions say to apply on a damp body so I have to only semi-dry post shower to keep my body damp or wet my hands but it is a bit tedious after a while.

– It is pricey. I finished 1 bottle of 100ml in 1-1.5 months so that works out to be approximately $600 if I used it for my entire pregnancy.

Bio-Oil – $20 for 200ml

The Bio-Oil formulation is a combination of plant extracts and vitamins suspended in an oil base. It contains the breakthrough ingredient PurCellin Oil™, which changes the formulation’s overall consistency, making it light and non-greasy. This ensures that the goodness contained in the vitamins and plant extracts is easily absorbed.

Bio-Oil
Bio-Oil

Verdict:

+ This oil is cheap and can be found in most supermarkets or pharmacies.

+ It feels lightweight and not too greasy. Also, it’s suitable to be applied on the face, which is perfect for lazy days when I am not bothered to put on moisturizer.

– I am not a big fan of the scent. Perhaps this coincided with my morning sickness but I could not to finish the bottle at one go and had to force myself to use it towards the end of my pregnancy.

Palmer’s Intensive Relief Treatment Oil – $9.99 for 150ml

Palmer’s signature Intensive Relief Treatment Oil is a deep moisturising treatment designed to give your skin that velvety smooth texture you’ve been craving. With an exclusive blend of unique ingredients designed to reduce the visibility of stretch marks, correct skin tones and repair damaged skin all at once!

Palmer's Intensive Treatment Oil
Palmer’s Intensive Treatment Oil

Verdict:

+ This oil is light and I did get that smooth velvety texture post application.

+ It does not smell. There is no fragrance so you can’t get sick of the smell and it’s perfect for people who are sensitive to scents. I find this surprising given that most Palmer’s product I’ve used smells of coconut.

Note: I love this oil so much that I brought it back with me to Malaysia. I was 7 months pregnant then and my body was starting to feel extremely hot all the time. Coupled with the humid and hot weather, I was sweating so much that it was impossible to apply any oil or cream on my body.

IN SUMMARY

Having tried all three popular brands for stretch mark, I am glad to say that they worked for me.

I had no stretch marks, even after carrying a 4kg baby which is huge for my frame. My tummy went back to its normal state about ten days after delivery.

3 Weeks Postpartum
3 Weeks Postpartum

Was it just the oils that did their magic?

No. I strongly think that this is due to a healthy diet, proper hydration and frequent but light exercise throughout my pregnancy. Of course, daily oil application helped maintain my skin’s tone and elasticity.

Till next time! xoxo

To Get a Confinement Lady While You are Overseas… Or Not?

To Get a Confinement Lady While You are Overseas… Or Not?

Having a baby is arguably one of the biggest life changing event in someone’s life. From pre-pregnancy to post-pregnancy, there are so many things to prepare for, advice to follow and precautions to take.

One of the most important advice was given to me by my mother.

It was to get a confinement lady to help me through this challenging period post pregnancy, when one was supposed to recover and at the same time learn the ropes of taking care of a new baby.

Like an actual human being who is new to the world. Probably a fussy one at that.

“You must get a confinement lady to help you,” she said.

I have my reservations.

Do I really now?

I would like to think myself young, independent and not exactly super traditional.

Confinement literally means being confined to one’s house (or even room) post pregnancy. It is part of the Chinese culture to ensure that the new mom gets enough rest required for a speedy recovery and not expose themselves to “wind” which could lead to muscle and bone aches when they are older.

One can get “wind” from leaving her hair wet, eating a particular type of food or exposing her body to windy/cold atmosphere. These are just a few general examples.

Must I really not wash my hair for 30 days? Stay in the house for a month without going out? Eat the same wine-chicken dish everyday?

How is it possible to follow these restrictions and take care of my newborn at the same time?

That is when the confinement lady comes in.

There is no set job description for a confinement lady, but the general expectation is for them to look after the new mom and baby. This includes washing, cooking, bathing etc and will vary depending on the mother’s preferences and what the confinement lady is willing to do.

That sounds helpful, yes.

But, as all Asian families do, both my parents are flying over from Malaysia to Australia to help me post delivery.

Aren’t my parents enough then? Why must I hire someone else to look after me? What if the confinement lady and I don’t get along? Worst still, what if she is a Nazi and forces me to practice all her confinement beliefs?

I was hesitant. And still stubborn about maintaining my independence post delivery.

I started speaking friends who have had kids. They agreed that I should accept all the help that I can get.

In the end, towards the 5th-6th month of my pregnancy (which is very late – the good confinement ladies are highly demanded and would not be available at such late notice), I booked in for a confinement lady to help me for 6 weeks.

I still wasn’t 100% sure then.

But now, 6.5 weeks after my delivery, I can see the wisdom behind my mom’s advice.

Having a confinement lady’s help was invaluable not only to me, but to my hubby and sister in law too (SIL is living with us currently) as they get to enjoy the delicious meals that she cooked for us.

All my initial worries were unwarranted.

I washed my hair after Day 4 and had normal yummy meals as confinement food. My favorite confinement dish was homemade chicken essence with steamed D.O.M, yums!

My parents came over to help me, but are they going to be “on call” past midnight for my feedings and resettle my baby? Similarly, do I want my parents to cook and clean for baby and I when they don’t do that in their own home (they have help)?

The answer is no. I would probably feel bad and not let them do so.

And no, my confinement lady was not a Nazi and we got along well.

IN SUMMARY

It is expensive flying a confinement lady overseas as usually we have to cover for their flight, accommodation and food.

But having that extra help does make a whole lot of a difference when it came to my baby’s and my well-being. I was able to focus on healing and breastfeeding. I had time for myself.

Most importantly, I did not feel depressed, tired nor cranky. A girlfriend commented that I was looking good and relaxed for someone who just had their baby. And this is mostly thanks to my confinement lady.

So would I get a confinement lady for my second baby? Yes, definitely.

Till next time! xoxo

My Birth Plan

My Birth Plan

Towards the 30th week of my pregnancy, I started researching about Hypnobirthing and was immediately drawn by the philosophy and reasoning of having a drug-free, natural birth. You can read more about my thoughts and experience here.

Given that there there are various standard practices in different hospitals and countries, Hypnobirthing mothers are encouraged to have a birth plan. In fact, most Hypnobirthing moms would definitely want to have a birth plan to ensure that they achieve their ideal birth.

A birth plan is a document where the parent-to-be communicate to their midwife or obstetrician their preferences during labor and delivery. It includes information such as comfort measures during labor and pain relief preferences.

Questions that I had myself was “What to include in a birth plan?”, “How long or short should it be?” and more importantly, “What are my birth preferences”?

These were a few things I was conscious of when drafting mine:

  • It has to be short and sweet, 1 page at best (like an investment banking CV).

I find the Hypnobirthing sample birth plans a bit too wordy and long winded. If I don’t want to finish reading them, what more busy nurses, midwifes and doctors? Hence the document was written in point forms rather than in sentences.

  • Information is divided into sections.

To make things even easier to read, I compartmentalize my preferences into birthing environment, birthing preferences, pain relief methods during labor, preferences after birth etc. Then I outlined them in boxes. I’m anal like that.

  • I wanted mine to be unique.

Probably just like all moms-to-be out there, I didn’t want my birth plan to be boring. So I created a flowery border to spice things up. Does it matter? To be honest, it probably doesn’t matter to anyone else but myself.

And lastly,

  • I called mine Birth Preference instead of Birth Plan.

Every delivery and labor is different, and sometimes things just don’t go according to plan no matter how badly you want it. I was aware of that and knew the importance of being flexible. Ultimately, the most important outcome is for both mom and baby to be safe and healthy. The difference is very subtle but ‘preference’ just seems more appropriate in my circumstance.

So here you go, my birth plan example is per below. I am very happy with the end result as it had all my preferences yet is concise. Oh and it is also pretty and did not take up too much of my time 🙂

Birth Plan Sample
Birth Plan Sample

Let me know if you want a copy of the Word document – am more than happy to share! But remember, birth plans are very personal and there is no right or wrong way of writing one.

Till next time! xoxo