#mumhack – Getting into the Shower when Alone with Toddler

When you are alone with a baby and needs to shower. You…

  1. Sit baby in bouncer at toilet entrance with door wide open so she can see you while you shower

  2. Give her something to hold

  3. Distract her with Baby Einstein on iPad

  4. When she cries when you are still showering, distract her with “Where’s the bear bear? Where’s the bear bear?”. She’ll turn to watch the puppets and bears on iPad.

That’s what I did one of the morning when Zara woke up before I could get into the shower, with no one else at home to watch over her.

An Electric Breastpump that doesn’t hurt your wallet

It has been three months now since the day I started expressing for Zara. When I had Ayra two years ago, I was using a single electric (manual pump convertible) breastpump which burned quite a hole in my wallet but yet only lasted me for less than 2 months as I stopped lactating after. So when I was planning for my second baby, I wasn’t sure if I should invest in another pump; what if I don’t need it again after 2 months? So I borrowed the pump from a friend and bought new bottles and parts to use. After a week, I realized I should last longer than before, so I invested in a second hand pump which still cost me $300+ (brand new at almost $600!). Of course there are the manual pumps which is less than half the price, manual pumps however is very tiring to use, having to push the lever for 30 minutes each time is no joke.

If you are considering getting a manual pump due to budget constrain, you might want to check out the Electric Breast Pump by Apre Baby, available on my LIFE INC. It is small and compact and less tiring to use as compared to a manual breast pump. It runs on both direct electric power and batteries.

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The things you buy and never used

Are you the kind of person who buy things on impulse? Or think that you’ll use something when you are buying and then end up never touching it after you bought it home? Well I am one of those that falls quite easily into the trap set by good salesperson. One of those big ticket items I bought and rarely used is a big bulky vacuum cum dust mite buster, the $3K+ Delphin Water Vacuum Cleaner. This expensive machine is under utilized, the only person using it now is my PT cleaner who uses it to vacuum once a week. Main reason I bought that was to clean the mattresses to remove dust mites once every two months, well it did happen in the first few months, thereafter everyone in the household just got lazy and didn’t do it anymore.

This $3K could have been better used and stretched for at least 5 years if I had known about De Hygienique’s services. At less than $600 a year, I could have professionals do the cleaning of my mattresses at home every six months!

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Experience with my Gynecologist, A/Prof John Tee of KKH

Having gone through two pregnancies each with a different way of birth, I personally felt that one is more preferred than the other. Sharing my personal experience with natural birth (induced) for my first child and an elected cesarean section due to placenta praevia for my second. I’ll be sharing more about my experiences on the birth processes in another post.

For both my pregnancies, I had A/Prof John Tee Chee Seng from KKH as my gynecologist. He is a senior consultant and the charges is higher for all consultations and procedures right from the first visit. My routine checkups were done at the KKH Satellite Clinic at Blk 721 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8. A/Prof John Tee is very professional and I believe many who are under his care will agree that he is a man of few words. Continue reading “Experience with my Gynecologist, A/Prof John Tee of KKH”

Newborn and Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Zara’s full month baby shower was the first I threw. We didn’t have one for Ayra as it was too closed to our planned wedding dinner. She did have a birthday party for her big 1.

From the day a child is born, friends, colleagues and relatives will mostly bless with gifts or ang baos. Common gifts received includes tonic food for the mum, baby clothes set and gift hampers (which is nice and all, but I’ll rather spend the money on more practical gifts).

Gifting for a newborn though sound easy, it does get challenging for some. For me, be it at the giving or receiving end, I will want gifts which are practical and nice. If you are looking at some quality or new gift ideas, here are some newborn and baby shower gift ideas for your consideration. Promotions included too!

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Breastfeeding Tips with Visuals

I am probably the most unqualified mother to be sharing about breastfeeding! Because I failed at it with Ayra, not because I didn’t have any milk to give. After almost 2 years later, then I realized I hadn’t been persistent enough then. If I had given it more tries and more time, I would probably have had a successful breastfeeding experience. With Baby No. 2 on its way in few months time, I am determined to do more research and be more prepared so that I can breastfeed for as long as I can.

To help myself and you (who have chanced upon this entry from search engines or somewhere online), here are some breastfeeding tips and visuals to help us all become a reliable milking machine. 😛

Latch on techniques Image from La Leche League International website

1. Get the right latch
This is where I (and probably most mothers) failed and gave up too early. With baby being so fragile at birth, I was afraid to hold her in my arms, and getting the right latch on takes a lot of practice. The mother is to bring the baby towards the breast instead of bringing the breast towards the baby. This I must try and keep trying comes September.

From research, I learned that there are many techniques to get the right latch-on. There’s the basic, the bulls-eye latch-on and the asymmetric latch.

2. Learn from someone
The only help I had then was the short few minutes guide from the nurse at the hospital. She wasn’t very detailed and the only thing I remember from that short crash course is that she massaged my breast and pinched my nipple very very hard. It was a painful experience. With baby in my arms, of course I didn’t make a sound and presumed it was supposed to be like that. Even with the guidance, I didn’t manage to feed the baby right.

Now that I am reading more about breastfeeding, I think I should request to attend a proper session at the hospital. Getting help immediately is one of the tips I learned. No point keep trying on my own and only be doing it the wrong way all the time.

3. Be prepared for painful letdown or swollen nipples and breasts
My only painful experience was when my breasts were so filled with milk and I didn’t have my breast pumps with me then. I did manage to express some milk for Ayra in the first month with the help of a Philips Avent single pump. When the pump wasn’t available yet, to ease my pain, I resorted to expressing manually with my hands. It was a tiring process. I learned from my cousins that I should have prepared chilled cabbage or watermelon and put them over my swollen breasts instead. At least that was how they eased their pain when they were breastfeeding. Anyone of you reading this tried this method before?

4. Use a nipple protector or shield

Philips Avent nipple protector
Image from Philips Avent’s website

On some days, our nipple may not be in the right condition to feed. Nipple protectors or shields are good accessories to standby for such days. It helps baby latch-on more easily too.

5. Involve the husband
Support from your husband is crucial, don’t underestimate how much help it is to you emotionally and in practical ways. With their now extended 1 week paternal leave, get them involve in the process immediately. Some things the husband can do to help ease the breastfeeding mother may include:
[list type=”check”][li]bring the mother food and drink while breastfeeding, you never know how long the baby will feed, I read some takes up to hours before the little one is satisfied, especially in the first few weeks![/li]
[li]give words of encouragement to the wife, imagine the many sleepless days and tiring days the mother has to go through to look after and feed your child.[/li]
[li]help burp the baby after feed, so that your wife can have some rest[/li]
[li]feed the baby at least once a day with the expressed milk so that the wife can have a longer rest time.[/li]
[li]even the littlest gesture make a big difference, e.g. bring the baby from the cot to the mother for feed, change the baby after feed, rock the baby to sleep etc.[/li]
[/list]

Philips AVENT Comfort Breast Pump SCF334 Double electric pump_Lifestyle
6. Get a good pump
I shared about the new pumps from Avent sometime back, after reading a few reviews of the pumps from other mothers, I am considering getting one for myself. The question is which one to get, the single or dual pumps. One I can bring to work after my maternity leave, and one help saves up half the time when expressing hence giving me more time to spend time with baby or to rest.

Price point of a breast pump is a common question I get from new mums around me. Few hundred bucks invested into the pump may seem like a lot but if you were to break it down to the number of feeds and amount you’ll save from buying formula milk, I dare say the money is well invested and you will end up saving a lot more in months to come. A quick calculation: A newborn generally need 1 to 2 cans of formula milk a month, each can costs about $50, so in 6 months, you would have gotten back your return on investment for the breast pumps. And if you can express for more than that, any amount saved on formula milk is a bonus! 😉

For breast milk expressing, here are some basics from Philips Avent website:
[list type=”check”]

  • Make sure you have time and privacy when you are expressing. Try gently massaging your breasts for a few minutes prior to expressing to get them ready.
  • Sterilize your pump before you start.
  • Store milk in a sterile container, clearly labeled with date and amount. Store expressed breast milk in the back of the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or the freezer for 3 months.
  • Many Moms find that if they express once every morning after feeding their baby, they will build up a store of milk to use when they wish. This allow for increased flexibility in the future.
  • To defrost breast milk for use later the same day (and always within 12 hours), sit the container in the refrigerator and allow it to defrost slowly.
  • For immediate use, stand the container in warm water or, for convenience, use a bottle and baby food warmer. Once milk has been warmed it should be used within an hour or thrown away.
  • If you are fully breastfeeding, try to introduce a bottle of expressed milk into your routine around 8 weeks, just a few times a week. This will help your baby latch onto a bottle quicker.
  • [/list]

    With all the above tips gathered, I hope I can successfully start my breastfeeding journey with my no. 2! Come our time to breastfeed our second child in September, I am going to apply all the above tips and hope to be able to successfully breastfeed this time. But if all attempts and methods still do not make me a “feeding machine”, I will express the milk at least 6 times a day and get my husband involve in the milking and feeding process. With our experiences from baby no.1 and his full support, I hope to save on formulas for at least 6 months and provide adequate breast milk for our second child.

    May The Loving Mum become a milking cow come September! 😛

    To look out for more to come from Philips Avent.

    This post is sponsored by Philips Avent. All opinions are 100% my own.

    Feeding bottle woes over with new Philips Avent Natural Bottles

    Ayra with Philips AVENT Feeding BottleI have been searching for the right milk bottles for baby since before she arrived. It was confusing at first, with so many types, brands and sizes to choose from. I started off with the Philips Avent Classic bottles as they came together with the breast pump I bought. When time came to use them, I realized it leaks pretty badly then read online that its due to the bad positioning of the ring adapter that’s to be placed before the teat cover. It took us quite a while to learn the right way to use these bottles. Still it wasn’t perfect. So I bought other brands to try, ended up having too many bottles sitting in the kitchen and still none was the right one for Ayra.

    Eventually we used a mixture of milk bottle brands and make sure a handkerchief is used to prevent any staining on Baby’s clothes while feeding. But using different bottle wasn’t good cause I noticed Ayra drinking pattern changed when different bottle was used.

    20111014-180239.jpg
    The nightly gig even up till today, but now with bigger milk bottles.

    Sometime earlier this year, when it was time to change new bottles for Ayra (I change them every 6 months). I saw the new range of bottles by Philips Avent at Robinsons. When I saw that they have improved the design and removed the ring adapter from the bottle, I immediately bought 2 sets of the bottles and 6m+ teats and used them the same day. And then, it was a never-look-back experience. Baby and I love the new Philips Avent Natural PP bottles! (I’m not paid to say this ok! Really love the new design.)

    Here are the reasons why…

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