Browsed by
Tag: post pregnancy

Why We All Decided To Sleep In The Same Room During My Confinement

Why We All Decided To Sleep In The Same Room During My Confinement

I’ve been getting quite a lot of hits on my other post about confinement lady sleeping arrangements at night, and thought that it would be a good idea to expand on why I went with Option C ie my confinement lady (CL) sleeping in the same room as hubby, baby and I.

On hindsight, I really have no regrets with this arrangement. Let me share with you why:

I was able to sleep in the same room as my newborn

To me this is extremely important because I have just delivered my baby and want to spend time with my newborn. And yes this includes night time!

Yes you need rest but you need to be able to see your baby too without walking too far. It’s an emotional thing!

It’s also important vice versa as your baby will most likely be able to smell your milk and feel comforted at the same time.

My newborn had a constant environment at night

He was either sleeping in his cot, feeding on my bed or being pat to sleep in the same room.

He wasn’t being transferred from one room to another.

Perhaps one room was colder and another warmer. Perhaps one had air conditioner on and another didn’t. Perhaps both rooms had the lights offed but the hallway’s light was very bright.

Any change in environment can be off-putting and distracting to a baby still getting used to living outside the womb, especially at night time.

I was able to cope after my CL left

Because I slept with my newborn throughout my confinement I was able to pick up on his subtle cues on feeding, changing etc.

For example, for the first few weeks he required to be fed, then burped, then fed again, followed by a change in diapers, followed by another burp before being pat to sleep.

It made me know what to expect at night and I did not feel at all overwhelmed once my CL left. Win!!

And now, let’s get some of your concerns out of the way! These were my initial worries too but in the end none of them mattered!

What if my working husband’s sleep is disturbed by our baby’s cries?

Men are generally (not all) not light sleepers. Imagine a couple sleeping in the same room as their newborn baby – most of the time the mom will be the one who wakes up and feed the baby while the dad just sleeps on.

He may help if he wants but if he’s got to work the next day, maybe not 😉 That’s why you hired help in the first place!

So try it for a few nights – chances are he might not even stir if you and your CL have it all under control and manage to sort out your newborn before he/she starts wailing.

I want my privacy!

After birthing a baby, your modesty and privacy will be thrown out of the window.

And I don’t mean it in a bad way. You just don’t bother as much, as the most important thing is making sure that your baby gets fed in the easiest and most convenient method possible.

We want our privacy!

This may be a personal preference but seriously? After giving birth to a newborn, there is no time nor energy to do any hanky panky stuff. I was trying to heal myself and had to minimise movement let alone do anything that requires energy.

The most important thing is that we get enough sleep, and baby gets fed/changed/soothed to sleep.

We can’t fit so many people in the room!

We barely made it too! Thankfully my CL is rather simple and did not mind sleeping on our Sealy mattress placed on the ground.

This made it easier to move during the day so that it doesn’t take up too much space and clog up the whole bedroom.

Our sleeping configuration was like this: hubby and I on our Queen bed, baby in his cot next to our bed, CL on the mattress at the foot of our bed.

IN SUMMARY

I am really glad we had a good confinement experience, particularly at night.

I tried sleeping with my newborn separate from the CL on the first day after coming back from the hospital, and boy that was a grave mistake!

I had to carry my lil’ boy all by myself, change him, put him back to sleep. All while trying to recover “down there”!

It was only one night before I decided to use the help we hired. I let go of my ego, my stubbornness and let others help me – and this made all the difference.

However, what works for one might not work for another. As mentioned in my previous post, it really is up to you, the mother of your child, to decide how you want the setup to be.

I hope your confinement will be a great experience too!

Your baby is only newborn once, so appreciate the moment and embrace the hourly night calls 😉

Till next time! xoxo

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!

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?

Things to Consider When Buying Maternity Bras

Things to Consider When Buying Maternity Bras

Your breasts will get bigger during pregnancy, and even bigger post delivery when you start breastfeeding.

As though it isn’t already difficult to get a good fit for normal day-to-day bras, pregnant women have to buy bras for breasts which are constantly changing in sizes for the next one year.

For many first time mothers, this can be a baffling situation.

You don’t know the speed of this change, or how much it is going to change.

There were so many questions I had around buying a maternity bra.

Now that I have gone through the complex journey myself, I hope that the below helps you spend less time figuring out the best solution for you.

Please note that every woman are individuals and likely to have different experiences on this front. I am sharing based on my personal experience.

When should I transition to maternity bras?

I had to replace all my fancy wired La Senza bras (sadly) when I was 3-4 months pregnant.

They just felt so tight and I was suffocating in them.

This is a sure sign to change from a normal bra to maternity bra.

Do I need a maternity bra?

Unless your breasts or under bust did not change in size during pregnancy, I  guess there is no reason to buy one.

However, the majority of women do experience increase in breasts and/or under bust size and have the following option:

1) Buy a bigger normal bra

2) Buy a maternity bra (the one with nursing clips for breastfeeding)

I would suggest going with #2 if you are going to breastfeed. This would be the cheaper option as you don’t have to buy both a bigger bra and a maternity bra.

Ideally, you should not wear wired bra during pregnancy as the wires might impact blood flow and the milk duct, which could affect breastfeeding at a later date.

What size of maternity bras should I get?

Do I need to go 1, 2 or even 3 cups up? What about under bust sizes?

I was so confused initially and decided to stagger my maternity bra purchase instead of buying them all at once.

I bought two pieces when I was 4 months pregnant, another two at 6 months and another two at 8 months.

This probably works if you are in your first pregnancy and have no clue on sizes as every woman’s breasts change at different volumes and speeds.

I was a 32C/70C pre-pregnancy and bought all my maternity bras in 34C/75C despite the different brands. They still fit me now 2 months into breastfeeding.

How many pieces of maternity bra would I need?

I found that 6 pieces is sufficient for me.

I change to a fresh piece every day and 6 pieces gives plenty of time for me to wash every 2-3 days.

Sometimes milk might drip during feeds and I will change it more than once a day.

Pre baby, I only do my laundry once a week. Post baby, I do a quick wash almost everyday.

So the quantity needed really depends on how often you change your bra and how often you do your laundry.

Which brands should I get?

There are so many maternity brands out there.

As I was so confused with my first purchase, I bought the super cheap Kmart ones at $10 each. They were alright but I probably wouldn’t buy it again if given a choice.

Then a friend recommended Bonds maternity bra, which I decided to try at $39 each. These were very comfortable but they were soft cups.

I then found out that there were t-shirt style maternity bras which is important if you are wearing a tighter shirt or dress. I bought my Autumnz maternity bra in Malaysia for only RM39.90 ($12).

These were my favourite as not only are they comfortable, they look good under any clothes, the cups don’t wrinkle after feeding and my breasts feel very supported with the thick 3-clips elastic strap. AND they are cheap.

I did browse through the more expensive Mothercare/Truimph maternity bras but did not see the point in spending a fortune in these.

IN SUMMARY

Buying a maternity bra may be daunting at the beginning but I guess just go with the flow.

Needing one means that you are one step closer towards having your baby yay!

There are more exciting things to mull over such as your baby’s cot, pram, clothes etc so don’t waste too much time over this like I have.

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