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Trying the Baby whisperer 4S Winding Down Ritual

December 17, 2010

Baby R is the sort of baby that does not go down for naps well. Lately, we have been trying to introduce a naptime routine to condition her to fall asleep. According to the Baby Whisperer, babies thrive on routines. If you consistently go through the same set of actions before her naptime, the baby will automatically expect to go to sleep and will not resist it that much.

The Baby Whisperer suggests a ritual consisting the 4S:

Step 1: Set the Stage. Once you spot her tired cues, set the stage by drawing the curtains and making the place conducive for a nap.

Step 2: Swaddle. Swaddle her arms so that she feels nice and snuggly.

Step 3: Sit. The Baby Whisperer suggests that we resist the temptation to rock or jiggle her. Instead, we should just quietly sit with the baby to reduce her reliance on the need for movement before sleep.

Step 4: Shush-pat. If the baby starts to cry, we can pat the baby on her back rhythmatically, while saying “Shh shh shh” continuously.

My verdict on trying this method

 I must say the method is not completely effective for me. If we catch her at the exact period of time when she is tired, but not over-tired, then the method works like a charm. Else, we will have to shush-pat for a really long period of time, all the time struggling with a wailing baby. At this stage, it will be terribly hard to resist rocking and jiggling her in an instinctive need to calm her down.

So my conclusion is that, instead of an elaborate ritual, catching the right window of opportunity is THE key to getting the baby to go down for a nap without resistance. Of course, performing a consistent set of actions to condition the baby makes perfect sense as well, since babies thrive on associations. If you always rock her to sleep before bed-time, she will come to associate rocking with sleeping. Over time, she will need to be rocked before she can go to sleep. So it is very important to pick the right (i.e. easy) actions for baby to associate sleeping with. Shush-pat seems to be easy enough!

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Product Review: My Brest Friend

December 9, 2010
Nowadays, there are so many “must-haves” mummy and baby products out there that I am very wary of buying anything. But once in while, I do hit upon products that I really love. One of them is this brand of breastfeeding pillow called “My Brest Friend”. Of course, for any product, there are good and bad things about it. Here’s a short review of its pros and cons.
Pros:
  • Wrap around design

When I first started learning how to breastfeed, I had a lot of difficulty learning how to position the baby. One of the reasons was because my existing breastfeeding pillow (handed down from my sister) was too soft. When I put the baby on the pillow, there will be a natural gap between my body and the pillow as the baby sinks into it. This makes it hard to maintain a proper position for the baby. My Brest Friend overcame this issue by having a wrap around design that secures the pillow to the body, which really made a world of difference.

  • Elevation of baby to the right level

With the pillow securely fastened around my waist, the baby is elevated to just the proper level for a proper latch on. In fact, nowadays I can breastfeed using one hand, and free the other hand to play with my handphone and do other stuff, which is really great.

  • Washable

This is a godsend since my baby oftens regurgitates milk all over the pillow. Just unzip and take the cover off, much like a pillow case.

  • Convenient Pocket

There is a handy pocket sewed to the side of the pillow. Personally, I do not use this pocket very much. But I do keep some emergency supply of burp cloths and tissue in case both items are somehow not within my reach.

Cons

  • Not made for football hold

This pillow seems to be made more for cradle or cross cradle hold. If you want to use it for football hold, you still need to prop your arms up using lots of blankets. I ended up using only the cradle hold for breastfeeding, which is alright except that football hold is the best position to use if you are just starting to learn breastfeeding, since it gives you the most control over the baby’s neck.

  • Difficult to put cover back after washing

The cover fits really snugly across the pillow, which makes it a struggle to put it back after washing. For the first time, I spent about 10 minutes trying to put the cover back.

  • Size

This is the drawback for all breastfeeding pillows, I suppose. I wish someone can invent a pillow where you can fold and put away neatly.

Bottomline

Having used another brand of breastfeeding pillow before I bought My Brest Friend, I can really tell the difference between the two. If you are serious about learning how to breastfeed, this is a great product to invest in.

 

 

Yucks, my baby pooped on me!

December 5, 2010

I guess every parent has a poop horror story to tell. Mine just happened yesterday. 

Baby R is the type of baby that WAILS when you take off her clothes, WAILS when you change her diapers, and WAILS when she is put into a bath. She is so loud that we dubbed her The Little Trumpet. She is not only loud, she struggles and kicks and scratches vehemently as well.

Yesterday, we had our usual wrestling match of me trying to put her into the bath tub. This is how our conversation went:

Me (trying to get a good grip on her in the tub): Baby R, be good. You know how good the water feels.

Baby R: Waah, waah, waah…

Me (taking her out of the bath tub): Now, now, we are done already. See how nice and clean you are now…

Baby R (wailing and struggling even harder): Waaah, waaaaaah, waaaaaah…. (Poop!)

And out comes out a load of shit.

The shit hit the towel, and a big part of my shirt as well. Luckily it missed my hand. But… yucks! I still shudder when I think of it now.

Snapfish: For those Cute Baby Photo Moments

December 4, 2010

Photos. You will literally be taking hundreds of them when your baby is born.

Recently, I found a great website for turning photos into works of art. It’s called Snapfish. You can use the best of your baby’s photos and use them to make customized calendars, mugs, cards and even photobooks.

What I love about Snapfish

1) It’s Easy to Use

During my confinement period, I did not have the time to go out of my house. In fact, I didn’t have much time at all, what with the breastfeeding, expressing milk, and shut-eyes while the baby sleeps. But I wanted to make a customized item as a gift to my Hubby for his birthday, which happened to fall during my confinement period. So I turned to Snapfish. Within a few clicks of a button, I had made a customized Magic Mug for him. (That’s a Mug with a photo that will only appear when you pour hot water into it.)

2) Cheap Digital Prints

The other thing I love about Snapfish is its cheap digital prints. It cost only S$0.19 a piece to print photos, as compared to the average S$0.35 a piece at neighbourhood print shops. The best thing is, Snapfish will give you 20 free prints when you first upload your photos onto their website.

3) Use Snapfish on your Mobile Phone

And did I mention that you can use Snapfish on your mobile phone? You can:

  • Upload photos from your camera phone to your Snapfish account (if your phone browser supports it)
  • View and share photos and albums from your Snapfish account
  • Turn your Snapfish photos into wallpaper for your phone
  • Get unlimited free photo storage

With Christmas round the corner, if you are cracking your brain on what to give to your partner, Snapfish is a great resource for you!

K.L.I.P: Tips for a Successful Breastfeeding Experience

November 27, 2010

Learning to breastfeed is like learning how to drive. Some women take to it like the easiest thing in the world. Some women never learn to do it. But most women fall in middle category, where they have to put in quite a bit of effort to learn how to breastfeed.

I am glad to share that I managed to learn this skill after much effort. To spare some first time mummies-to-be a little agony in the learning process, here are some personal tips on learning how to breastfeed. I have even come up with a handy acronym, K.L.I.P, to help you remember them!

K. Knowledge 

K is for Knowledge. Many women think that breastfeeding is something that you can only learn “on-the-job”. Well, that is true only to a certain extent. When the nurse comes over with your baby a few hours after your delivery, you have only a very short span of time to learn how to breastfeed. And remember, you are still very weak after the delivery. So it helps to learn everything you can about breastfeeding before the baby arrives. Three main things to learn are: (i) How to get Baby to latch on to your breast properly; (ii) Proper Positioning for Breastfeeding; (iii) Common Issues with Breastfeeding and How to Overcome them. Here are some good articles on breastfeeding that I found on the internet:

L. Lactation Consultants 

We are really very fortunate. Nowadays, most hospitals have a group of specialists, i.e. the lactation consultants, that we can rely on when we face difficulties learning how to breastfeed. And they are really worth their salt. My skills in breastfeeding improved significantly each time I had the benefit of a lactation consultant’s time. So when you are still at the hospital, do ask for a lactation consultant to come around to observe your latch on techniques, and learn as much as possible from her.

I. Invest

There is a saying: To do the best job, invest in the best tools. There are some handy tools out there to help you in your breastfeeding. The number one thing to invest is to buy a good breastfeeding pillow. For me, I received a hand-me-down breastfeeding pillow from my sister, which did an “okay” job of helping me to breastfeed. However, at the start of the learning experience, I really had a lot of difficulties positioning the baby. So I surfed the net and read a lot of reviews about this breastfeeding pillow called “My Brest Friend”. It really did wonders for me in helping me to position the baby. Now I can’t do without it when I breastfeed Baby R.

P. Persevere 

The final word P is for perserverance. This is a bit cliché, but you really need to persevere when it comes to learning how to breastfeed. At the start, it is very common to get sore nipples and engorged breasts. If possible, just bear with the pain and continue breastfeeding. But of course, we have to persevere in a clever way as well. For example, if you know you have engorged breasts, get the help of a lactation consultant to show you how to massage your breasts, then diligently massage your breasts before continuing to breastfeed.

At the end of the day, breastfeeding is a personal choice. You may have very legitimate reasons for stopping or not learning how to breastfeed. If so, do not waste time blaming yourself for it! There is a lot of hype about the benefits of breastfeeding nowadays, but I have friends who use formula from the start, and their babies are as healthy as any other babies.

Wish you luck in your breastfeeding efforts!

 

Michelle Obama’s Blog Entry on Blogher

November 26, 2010

I’m a fan of the Obamas. They seem like the model American family, don’t you think? Doting father and mother, adorable little daughters, and a cute dog to boot.

I was randomly surfing today, and hit upon Michelle Obama’s blog entry on Blogher. To be frank, the blog was not impressive. It was written during Barrack Obama’s Presidential Campaign, and felt more like a scripted advertisement to get votes for him. But there are little nuggets of truth. She mentioned that women everywhere are always struggling to balance our roles as mother, wife, worker. When we are at work, we feel we are shortchanging our kids; when we are with the kids, we feel we are shortchanging our work. And where does that leave ourselves?

Are you ready to be a parent?

November 25, 2010

This is the kind of question that, if you answer “no”, you are not prepared enough. If you answer “yes”, you are also not prepared enough. I.e. “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”, kind of thing.

But are we really ready to be parents? Just try the following “Parent Readiness tests” below  to see…

Test 1 – Preparation

Women – to prepare for pregnancy:

  1. Put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front.
  2. Leave it there.
  3. After 9 months remove 5% of the beans.

Men – to prepare for children:

  1. Go to a local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself. 
  2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
  3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.

Test 2 – Knowledge
Find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run wild. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour.  Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.

Test 3 – Nights

To discover how the nights will feel:

  1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 4 – 6kg, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. 
  2. At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep. 
  3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.  
  4. Set the alarm for 3am. 
  5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of tea.  
  6. Go to bed at 2.45am. 
  7. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. 
  8. Sing songs in the dark until 4am. 
  9. Put the alarm on for 5am.
  10. Get up when it goes off. 
  11. Make breakfast. 
  12. Keep this up for 5 years.
  13. LOOK CHEERFUL.

Test 4 – Dressing Small Children

  1. Buy a live octopus and a string bag.
  2. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that no arms hang out. 
  3. Time Allowed: 5 minutes.

Test 5 – Cars

  1. Forget the BMW. Buy a practical 5-door wagon.
  2. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. 
  3. Leave it there.
  4. Get a coin. Insert it into the CD player.
  5. Take a box of chocolate biscuits; mash them into the back seat.
  6. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Test 6 – Going For a Walk 

  1. Wait
  2. Go out the front door
  3. Come back in again
  4. Go out
  5. Come back in again
  6. Go out again
  7. Walk down the front path
  8. Walk back up it
  9. Walk down it again
  10. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.
  11. Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way. 
  12. Retrace your steps
  13. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you.
  14. Give up and go back into the house.
  15. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

Test 7
Repeat everything you say at least 5 times.

Test 8 – Grocery Shopping

  1. Go to the local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child – a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat.
  2. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight.
  3. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Test 9 – Feeding a 1 year-old

  1. Hollow out a melon
  2. Make a small hole in the side
  3. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it side to side
  4. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while pretending to be an aeroplane. 
  5. Continue until half the cornflakes are gone. 
  6. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on
    the floor.

Test 10 – TV

1.    Learn the names of every character from the Wiggles, Barney, Teletubbies, In the Night Garden and Waybuloos.
2.    Watch nothing else on television for at least 5 years.

Test 11 – Mess

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out :

  1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains
  2. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
  3. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds and then rub them on clean walls. Cover the stains with crayon. How does that look? 
  4. Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor & leave it there.

Test 12 – Long Trips with Toddlers

  1. Make a recording of someone shouting ‘Mummy’ repeatedly. Important Notes: No more than a 4 second delay between each Mummy. Include occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet. 
  2. Play this tape in your car, everywhere you go for the next 4
    years.

You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Test 13 – Conversations

  1. Start talking to an adult of your choice.
  2. Have someone else continually tug on your shirt hem or shirt sleeve while playing the Mummy tape listed above. 

You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Test 14 – Getting ready for work

  1. Pick a day on which you have an important meeting.
  2. Put on your finest work attire. 
  3. Take a cup of cream and put 1 cup of lemon juice in it. 
  4. Stir
  5. Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt
  6. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture
  7. Attempt to clean your shirt with the same saturated towel
  8. Do not change (you have no time).
  9. Go directly to work.

You are now ready to have children. ENJOY!!

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