Browsed by
Tag: pregnancy tips

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

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

Two Important Pregnancy Exercises I Wish I Knew Earlier

Two Important Pregnancy Exercises I Wish I Knew Earlier

We all know that staying active and having some form of exercise routine provides many benefits during pregnancy. It helps with backaches and bloating, improves blood circulation and reduces excessive weight gain etc.

What sort of exercises would you do? One would naturally think that this involves the usual such as going to the gym, doing yoga, swimming and walking, right?

Those were my thoughts too and what I was doing throughout my pregnancy until I learned about the below two exercises.

They are extremely simple and basic but oh-so-very important! Better yet, you can do it anywhere and anytime!

Pelvic Floor Muscles Exercise (aka Kegal) For Pregnancy

I have always associated Kegal as a vagina tightening exercise practiced by women to have better sex!

Boy was I wrong. I have since learned that it also helps combat bladder incontinence during old age and is important for both men and women.

  • Why is it important?

The pelvic floor muscles help support the bladder, squeeze around the vagina and the rectum and hold the bladder, the uterus (womb) and bowel in their proper place.

Pelvic floor muscle training will help the body support the growing baby and reduce the probability of having a bladder or bowel problem post delivery.

These muscles also help provide support and stability around your pelvic joints, so keeping them firm and strong reduces pelvic pain during pregnancy.

  • How do you do it?

When you are urinating, try to stop the flow. By doing this you are using the pelvic floor muscles. Note that this is different to your butt and thigh muscles. Once you have identified these muscles, don’t stop your urine for fun as it can damage your bladder.

Tighten your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing around the birth canal, front and back passages all at once, lifting up and inwards. Squeeze and lift.

Try to hold for about 2-3 seconds and then release and relax for about 5 seconds. Repeat this 10 times. As your muscles grow stronger, try to hold the squeeze for longer up to 15-3o seconds.

It is more important to do it correctly rather than doing it too many times but wrongly. Quantity over quality!

Abdominal Bracing Exercise For Pregnancy

I didn’t realise this before, but I have always braced my abdomen (aka suck my tummy in) pre-pregnancy as it helps keep your core strong and tight. I think it does have some truth in it as my tummy has been kinda flat (or maybe it is due to my ‘young’ age).

Then I got pregnant, and I let everything go, thinking to myself, “This is nice! I can eat all I want and not suck my tummy in because people will just think that it’s the baby!” Obviously I was mistaken!

  • Why is it important?

The deep abdominus muscle acts like a corset around your lower spine to assist with good posture, maintain abdominal tone and provide support to your back and pelvis.

  • How do you do it?

Gently draw your lower tummy (below the belly button) in towards your spine. An easier way to say it is, suck in your tummy!

You can do this as often and as long as you like. You might be able to hold it in for 10 seconds at first, then try to increase the length.

The more you do it, the stronger your abdominal muscles get. You know you are a pro when you can keep it in constantly without even realising it.

IN SUMMARY

I hope that this post has helped raised some awareness that these exercises are super important during pregnancy.

Post delivery, I have not had an issue with my bladder and keeping my pee in, and my abdominal muscles recovered nicely so I am a 100% believer in these two simple and basic exercises for pregnant women.

I only found out halfway into my pregnancy but every little bit helps! It’s never too late to start!

Till next time! xoxo