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My degree was not a waste of time because I choose to stay at home

My degree was not a waste of time because I choose to stay at home

This article originally appeared here.

 

  

     

   

 

 

 

 

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

Project Love 11/365

Project Love 11/365

Today, I woke up to my son waking up. He usually stirs and moans a bit before opening his eyes.

And then I sing his morning song, which goes like this:

Good morning, good morning,

How are you?

Good morning, my little one,

How do you do?

I can’t wait for the day to begin

When I see your cheeky grin

You look so cute with your eyes and hair

Do you know how much I care?

And he always smiles when he hears this. It warms me inside out.

Project Love 10/365

Project Love 10/365

Today started out great!

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to go to the gym and completed not one, but TWO classes. My two most favourite group fitness classes as well – BodyCombat and BodyPump.

The last time I was able to do two classes back to back was probably 3 years ago. #personalwin #littlemilestone

I am just grateful that I am able to walk freely, to be healthy enough to exercise, to enjoy working out. To feel comfortable in my own skin. I know not everyone feels that way.

I came back to my son who was looking for me. My heart was filled with love when I saw him then! Ahhh, I’m one lucky mama 😍

Had another two social appointments which was a joy! They both reinforced my view of #thelawofattraction.

If you think positive thoughts, you get positive outcomes. If you do good, you receive good. Positive attracts positive. Negative attracts negative.

My son received his Christmas present today, three pretty jumpsuits and bibs.

I sometimes feel like Edric gets so much love, and I am so happy that he attracts so much generosity and goodness in the people around him. He emits it too I know.

That makes me love him even more each day. And I know that if he grows up with love, he will be a fine young gentleman 😉

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!

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!

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?

Before Motherhood And After: This Is How You Lose Yourself

Before Motherhood And After: This Is How You Lose Yourself

This article originally appeared here.

Many people will come forth to give you advice before you enter the world of motherhood for the first time. They will tell you things like, “Travel now,” and “Sleep while you can.” If you’re lucky like me, they will even warn you about the added company you’ll have in the bathroom or the significant decrease in shower time. You’ll be told that wearing yoga pants and a ponytail are perfectly acceptable on any given day now that you’re on your way to mommyville. Spit-up on silk. Need I say more?

But the one thing you should hear, probably the most important, is that you will lose yourself.

You’re so busy worrying about onesies and buying diapers in bulk that you probably won’t think much now about how you’re going to fare on the other side. Not that thinking ahead will necessarily change the outcome — a woman can never truly know the type of woman she will be until after she becomes a mother. It changes you. It empowers you, yes. But it also silently detracts some of the most integral pieces of you. Some of the pieces that defined you previously, that is.

You will forget who you were. You will lose rank on your own totem pole. Instead of being first, you’ll subconsciously float down to third or fourth or fifth. How many kids do you plan to have? Take that number and add yourself in at the end. You will come last from now on.

It won’t even be noticeable at first. You’ll be too distracted with feeding and burping and Baby Einstein. On the worst of the worst days, you will simply praise yourself for surviving. You’ll tout on Facebook that you’re off to have a copious amount of alcohol and relax after your long day, when in reality you’ll probably end up asleep on the couch watching reruns of Real Housewives of New Jersey. Then when you wake up in a pool of your own drool, you’ll wipe off your chin and fall into bed. Your brain will be too fuzzy to worry about the pedicure you planned to give yourself that night or the book that you wanted to catch up on.

You will love your kids with everything you have and more. You will exhaust yourself with ten-thousand rounds of peek-a-boo and when they’re older, “Choo-choo.” When you do take a chance and dress up for the day, you will end up regretting that you did. And if you somehow make it through that day unscathed, don’t expect a repeat for the next. Luck like that is damn near impossible to repeat. You will be happy and content with your family. You will feel pride when your children reach the next milestone in their journey.

And yet.

One day you will find yourself pacing back and forth with an inconsolable baby. You will be humming and rocking and, eventually, exasperated. Without a doubt, this is the moment that you will catch sight of yourself in a mirror. You’ll realize that this is the first time you’ve really looked at yourself in awhile — I mean, really looked, not simply slapping on some makeup through zombie eyes every morning. In that moment, you will not recognize that woman. The woman with spit-up all over her shirt. The woman with slightly frazzled hair. With enormous nursing boobs (if you’re nursing, that is), a softer middle than you can reconcile with, and a heavy heart. The eyes will say it all. Every little thing that cannot be or has not been said about this experience thus far. It will be there staring back at you.

The saving grace will be that beautiful, amazing, how-the-hell-did-I get-so-lucky child in your arms.

But there’s hope, dear friend.

Slowly and with time, you will begin to pick up bits and pieces from the old you on the way to the new you. The kids will get a little older, a little more independent, and eventually they’ll give up nursing entirely. With the end of nursing will come more freedom. Freedom to have copious amounts of alcohol (if desired), to go out on dates again with your husband, or have girls’ nights without having to worry that your two-hour window is waning. The spit-up phase will end too, providing the opportunity once more to dress with reckless abandon. And with a little work and a bit of patience, you will reshape and tone and feel pride in your body once more. After all, it was the vessel that grew and carried your little ones into the world. That is certainly something to be proud of.

Of course, the constant in all of these variables in motherhood will be your children. They will be the reason you get up every morning and the light of your life. They will be motivation to pick yourself back up every time that you stumble or fall. And even on the worst of the worst days (because there will always be challenges ahead), they will be in the small group of people who you simply can’t imagine and wouldn’t want to live without.

Take heart, sweet mama. You’ll find yourself again, and this version of you will be the best yet.

Confinement Lady Arrangements At Night

Confinement Lady Arrangements At Night

So you have decided to hire a confinement lady, good on you!

I personally had a very good experience with mine and was well rested after the confinement period.

One of the main roles of a confinement lady is helping to take care of the newborn baby at night.

The first 30 days postpartum would be one of the tougher times.

As your baby is still adjusting to being in the outside world, they require constant attention and checking. Most babies would require a feed at least every 2-3 hours throughout the day and night early on.

For first time mothers, breastfeeding would be a whole new experience. At the same time, your body would be in the process of healing after all that hard work throughout your pregnancy and delivery.

How do you balance between both – taking good care of your baby as well as yourself? How would you maximise the help from your confinement lady, especially at night?

Here are some possible combinations that you might want to consider if you want to feed your baby through direct latching at night:

A. Baby sleeps in the same room as you and hubby + CL sleeps in another room + Pass baby to CL to burp and resettle back to sleep

Pros:
+ You get to sleep in the same room as your baby
+ You don’t have to burp or resettle baby which is 50% of the work

Cons:
– You have to call your CL each time after a feed (you have to go to her room to get her or call or text her)

B. Baby sleeps in the own room with CL + CL brings baby to your room for feeds + Pass baby to CL to burp and resettle back to sleep

Pros:
+ All you have to do is feed the baby (you might not even have to leave the bed)
+ Baby will get used to sleeping in own room from the beginning
+ You don’t have to burp or resettle baby which is 50% of the work

Cons:
– Baby would have to be brought in and out of the room
– Your breasts might be engorged or full before baby is brought in (if he is in the same room then you can just latch anytime)

C. Baby and CL sleeps in same room as you and hubby + CL brings baby to you for feeds then burp and resettles baby to sleep

Pros:
+ All you have to do is feed the baby (you might not even have to leave the bed)
+ You get to sleep in the same room as your baby
+ You don’t have to burp or resettle baby which is 50% of the work

Cons:
– Lack of privacy
– Room might be cramped with so many people

If you want CL to feed your baby with expressed breast milk or infant formula, you will be able to stretch out your sleeping time at night.

That said, there is a higher chance of having engorged breasts if you leave them be without latching or pumping for 4-6 hours. Most mothers I know who express their milk would have to wake up and pump during the night anyway to maintain supply.

Bear in mind, it is advisable to feed your baby through the direct latch to the breast in the first month if possible. This is to establish and encourage milk supply during the early days of breastfeeding.

It is also advisable not to introduce bottle feeding to your baby initially because the sucking motion is different – getting milk from your breast is different from getting milk from the bottle. They actually have to work harder sucking at the breast.

Feeding your baby too early with a bottle before they have “mastered” getting milk from the breast might confuse them, or they might prefer drinking from the bottle instead because it is so easy to get the milk.

Finally, it is recommended that babies sleep in the same room as their parents, either in a bassinet or cot, at least in the first 6 months to reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

IN SUMMARY

Every mother has different priorities and preferences. Some might want to stay in the same room as the baby and some might not; some will want to breastfeed by latching, some prefers to bottle feed.

Each baby is different as well. Some resettle back quicker than others, some are fussier and require more attention.

As a mother to your baby, you should decide what is best for the both of you.

For me, I went with Option C as I wanted to be in the same room as my baby, and think it would be easiest for both me and my CL that she sleep in the same room as us.

There are so many different ways the CL can help you at night. All you have to do it to decide which one fits your lifestyle and preference best.

Till next time! xoxo

Things I’ve Learnt Since Becoming a Mother

Things I’ve Learnt Since Becoming a Mother

They say you will never understand how it feels like to a mother until you become one.

This can’t be truer.

I had my firstborn about 2 months ago. And these are some of the things that I have discovered since being a mother:

The world revolves around your baby

Eat, play, sleep, repeat.

Doing this every 2 hours (or however often your baby feeds) means that you will have hardly any free time.

By the way, you somehow also have to fit brushing your teeth, preparing meals, washing the dishes, doing the laundry and cleaning the house in between.

Oh, and also taking care of yourself.

You will feel like you should be doing more, but in the end all, you want to do is just sit down and rest.

Or play with your phone.

Then begins the endless dilemma on whether you should just take a break when he is sleeping, or be more productive.

And some people dare ask, “So what do you do at home all the time?”

“!!!”

You love every little thing about your baby

As a mom, your baby is perfect. You learn to oversee things that you may not like usually.

Every imperfection is perfect to you, even his poo:

Stubby legs? Awww look at those adorable folds. Cute!

Hair loss? Not to worry, it will grow back. Cute!

Huge double chin? Make that triple chin. Cute!

Poo explosion? It’s actually amazing how much he is able to poo at one go. *continues staring at the pile of mess he just made, snaps photo*

Projectile poo? He can do that?! Too cute!

Babies are more resilient than you think

We tend to treat babies as being super vulnerable.

In some aspects, they are.

Their hands are so tiny that you can sprain them if you are not careful when changing their clothes.

They can’t make their own food if they were hungry.

They can’t move to a more comfortable position if placed wrongly in the cot/bouncer/anywhere.

So many things could go wrong, but it didn’t.

That’s because they have the most powerful weapon of all: being cute.

And oh that smile! That toothless grin that makes your heart melt.

That is enough to make mummy and daddy (and grandma and grandpa and aunties and uncles and mummy’s friends etc) go gaga over him, and protect him from any harm.

Miraculously, my baby survived 2 whole months being cared for by an untrained first-time mum who has never really held or taken care of a baby previously.

In fact, my baby is stronger than hubby and I.

He sometimes only needs 2 thin cotton layer of clothing in winter while we are wrapped up in Uniqlo Down jackets and woolies, and still feel hot to the touch.

He is able to sleep in his cot by himself like a big boy, while mummy sleeps with daddy on the bed.

You will appreciate your partner more than ever

Taking care of a baby is a full-time job. It will be one of the most difficult periods in your life.

Solo parenting is no joke, and I experience that when hubby is at work.

Sometimes, after carrying him for what feels like hours to get him to sleep, you just want to get some rest yourself.

Only for him to wake up 15 minutes after his nap.

That’s when your partner comes into play.

Daddy to the rescue!

He picks up the slack when you need that rest.

He helps settle the baby, put him to sleep, change his nappy, carry baby when he is fussing etc.

Small little things that he does, and does willingly reminds you of how you made the right decision in marrying him in the first place.

You start to see him in a different light. Not just the love of your life, but being a dad as well.

After all, parenting is meant to be done together by two people.

IN SUMMARY

Having a baby is indeed a humbling and memorable experience.

I wake up everyday feeling blessed to have birthed my baby boy who is healthy and happy.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any experience being a mother, you will learn that on the way.

Just enjoy the time spent with your baby as they grow up too fast!

Till next time! xoxo