Baby sleep

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Liam has been having a shitty time falling asleep, be it day time naps or night time sleep. He will fight sleep even though he’s obviously tired, and sometimes the battle between mother and baby can drag on for an hour or two before he finally gives up. I’m still waiting for the day he realises there’s no point fighting and just gives up 5 minutes into the battle. But alas, we are not there yet. One glorious night, he spent two hours fighting sleep. He had two feeds within a span of 2 hours, was babbling non-stop, and intermittently singing along with me as I tried to lullaby him to concussion. He even showed me his new trick by arching his back and throwing himself backward so that all the blood rushed to his head. I thought that might have worked but no, still wide awake. 
I read that babies don’t sleep well at night if they didn’t nap enough in the day. But even forcing him to nap was a trial. Sometimes latching him to sleep worked. Other times I concede defeat and handed him over to my mom and let her magic hands do the trick. She would carry him and pat his butt until he finally dozed off. Even then, his naps didn’t last more than 60 minutes before he woke up crying. Those apparently weren’t good naps as babies were supposed to wake up with a smile on their faces. Really. 

Then I came across this article about baby wake times vs naps and I realised I’ve been doing it all wrong. Babies need a set schedule of feeding and nap times, and while I’ve been keeping to a 2-3 hourly feed schedule (otherwise exploding boobs), I’ve not quite kept to a strict nap schedule. Hence Liam ends up with only 1-2 naps a day instead of the requisite 3-4. My poor baby has been tired out keeping up with mommy’s schedule. 

So this morning we started some sort of schedule. At 4 months old he should be awake only 1.25-1.45 hours each time. So after he had his feed and bath, I let him play by himself until he started yelling for me. Then I fed him one more time, thinking he would latch to sleep but he didn’t. He struggled for another 15 minutes before he finally dozed off in my arms. Right on the dot at 1.25 hours of wake time he fell asleep. Amazing!

It’s really quite funny watching him fight sleep. His eyes would droop a little and he would be still for 4 seconds and then a small part of his brain would be all FOMO and wake him up, thinking I’m doing something fun without him. I would pretend to be dozing, hoping that he would mimic me. And then he’s still for another 4 seconds before flailing his arms as he fought sleep. This goes on for a few more cycles before the zzzs overwhelm him. 

Asleep in 15 minutes! Success!!

So for the next precious 1.5 hours, I did what I could. Kept the laundry. Hung new batch of laundry. Mopped the floor. Swept his room. Packed the diaper bag. Proper nap times give you so much time to do house work (woo hoo) so why didn’t I institute a nap schedule earlier? Like seriously?

I feel so accomplished today. 

Feeding children medication

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Parenting, I found out, is all about reaching milestones with your kid. There are two kinds of milestones; one that your kid reaches and that involves things like flipping over onto his belly, first steps, first words. And then there’s the parental milestone that no one tells you about. Like feeding your kid medication the first time, and having him throw up all over you in response. 

Liam just had his third vaccination yesterday and it’s a big one which includes a 5 vaccines in 1 and a jab of pneumococcal. One or both of these vaccines causes fever, which means his little body is producing antibodies to fight the germs, which is of course a good thing. I was given a list of symptoms to look out for and a bottle of paracetamol to medicate should his fever go beyond 37.5C. 

Liam was fine most parts of the day and the fever only came at night. I took his temperature only when I woke up for his midnight feeds and it was only at 6am that the indicator on the thermometer turned red. Having medicated Liam for thrush previously, I didn’t think much about feeding him medication this time. so I propped the unsuspecting fella up on my nursing pillow, stuck the syringe full of cherry red liquid and slowly squirted a little into the corner of his mouth (years of medicating cats have taught me that much).

What happened next should be made into a “what to expect when you feed your child oral medicine” video. Liam’s face went from gurgling happiness to instant shock. He cringed as he tasted the sugary sweetness of the medicine. Then he gagged. That should have been the cue for me but I’m a first time parent and there’s a first time for everything. The morning’s feed came bubbling out of Liam’s mouth and nose in copious amounts. Liam has vomited his milk before, once when I burped him too soon after he’s done drinking. But you never quite get over that feeling of sheer helplessness and terror as your wee one regurgitates everything out. It’s also something you can’t quite get used to, but then perhaps a mother of three would probably disagree. Well this was my second experience and it was just as horrifying as the first time it happened. 

As Liam’s body tensed up, his face in total confusion as to what’s happening while he’s between coughing everything out, choking and trying to breathe, I froze in panic. I usually pride myself in being calm and collected in times of crises but nothing stops you quicker than the sight of your baby gasping for air. All I could do was freak out and exclaimed OH NO! OH NO!

Then the mommy reflexes kicked in. My right arm immediately lifted to push Liam into an upright position while my left hand frantically thumped Liam’s chest to help him get the liquid and air bubbles out. When the heaving stopped and Liam was still trying to catch his breath, I hugged him close to me and alternated between thumping and rubbing his back. Slowly, the headlights faded away, the deer blinked, and my consciousness registered what I was doing and my brain comforted myself, “it’s ok. He’s ok. You’re ok. Breathe.”

It too awhile longer for his little body to recover from the shock of cherry red liquid. He stopped gasping and spitting, and instead now tried to hack out what remaining gunk that’s start between his airway and throat. His nose wheezed a little from the forceful exodus. By the time both mother and child calmed, my bed was covered with spots of regurgitated milk and wads of wet tissues. 

When I thought everything was okay, I thought to try again since he already puked out his breakfast. A little squirt and a second upheaval of milk came out again. This time I was better prepared so he was already leaning forward when that happened, and I was already thumping his back to help him out. The look on his face was enough to make me fling the syringe across the room. We are doing this the old fashion way.

So Liam has had his bath (what with all the puke on his pyjamas), a second cool wipe down an hour later, and a cold towel “hat” he’s going to be wearing for the rest of the day. His body doesn’t feel so hot anymore so I think the worst is over. 

For now, he refuses to sleep unless it’s on top of some part of me (leg, arm, chest). He fusses a lot and cries when I walk away from him. But I think we will be okay soon. 

Happy 3 months old

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To my dearest son,

You turned 3 months old yesterday. You’re growing so fast and big, Mommy wishes time would slow down so you will remain her baby for a while longer. 
Day by day I watch you grow, and learn new things. Almost overnight, you suddenly stopped grunting at us and you’ve started squealing and chattering as if you had a lot to tell us. Every morning when you wake up, you like to tell me about your escapades in Dreamland. Every night I will tell you stories where once upon a time, there lived a boy called Liam who lived in a town called Liamsville, and the many adventures that he has.

In these three months, you’ve learnt a lot of new things. I watched you learn to hold your head up for as long as you can before flopping back down. I watched you push yourself up on you chubby arms to watch the world around you. You’ve learnt to recognise the people who love you; like mommy and daddy, gong gong and po po, and mama. On this day, you finally learnt to hold you head up without assistance, making mommy’s heart burst with pride as you’ve conquered this first milestone. 
Ever since you were born, our lives have change so much. The first eight weeks were really tough but we managed to pull through together. I learnt what it was that made you smile and what made you cry. As time goes by, we begin to enjoy each other’s company more and more. 

You are very dear to me, my child. My love for you grows each day. I am very glad to have you in my life, and I look forward to discovering more of you in the months to come. 
Lots of love hugs and kisses
Your mommy. 

Baby Outing: Takashimaya

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Every week, I meet my girlfriend Michelle so I can get out of the house and avoid going crazy from boredom. Yes there’s a lot to do when taking care of a newborn, but it’s the same day in day out, that if I didn’t go out and meet another human being that’s not my child, I may lose the ability to communicate with another adult. So my stay at home mom (SAHM) friend joins me every Tuesday mornings and we head out to show Kiwi the world.

Our choice of venues are very simple, as mentioned earlier it has to have air-conditioning (so Kiwi and I don’t die from heat rash), and a viable nursing or diaper changing room. In the forums, the nursing room at Takashimaya holds the gold standard. It is the Queen of nursing rooms and I had to check it out.

It is located on level 4 of Takashimaya where the children’s department is, at the far corner next to Burberry kids. The entire room is split into 3 main areas; the diaper changing room, the waiting room outside and the nursing room (access for moms and kids only). The waiting room outside can be used for moms who bottle feed their babies.

 

The diaper changing room is really spacious, so much so that you can probably squeeze in a ping pong table and play a round or two while waiting your turn. It has 5 stations which means the ping pong game won’t be too long. Each station has a buckle safety harness, and a roll of plastic bags which you use to throw your diaper in before throwing it in the bin. What I like about this nursing room is the diaper vending machine by Huggies that serves M and L size diapers. Never should one be worried about running out because you can always get a spare at Takashimaya!

 

This is the nursing room area, with 5 cubicles. Each cubicle has an armchair, and a changing table. It’s spacious enough to squeeze in one pram, 1 Kiwi, 2 women and a lot of gossip. When we were there just before noon, it was fairly empty so we could exchange mother-in-law stories without worrying about being overheard. However when I went back there at 1pm, it was at maximum capacity. There was a Takashimaya staff on duty who regulated the queue. They also placed 2 additional chairs along this corridor so you can nurse while waiting, because we all know a screaming hungry baby CANNOT wait. In addition to nursing moms, a fair number of pumping moms came in to express their milk.

Everyone was very  caring sharing in this room. When one of the rooms emptied, one of the pumping moms walked in, saw 2 of us moms outside feeding our babies. She then went to look for the staff on duty to ask her if she would like to get one of us to use the room because she didn’t need the privacy as much as we did. When it was my turn to use the room, with Kiwi hanging off one boob and my arms around him, the staff helped me push my stroller into the room, carried my bag in, and helped me lock the door.

This is by far my favourite nursing room to date. Trust the Japanese to get things right!

Baby outing: Brewerkz

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Kiwi’s daddy’s friends wanted to meet Kiwi so we are off to a somewhat Kiwi-friendly place which means air-conditioning and diaper changing station. We had originally planned to go to Little Island but I vetoed that because they had none of the above. Brewerkz is rather child friendly on weekend afternoons as it’s pretty quiet. I’ve seen father and son pairings where dad is watching a game of football or cricket while the son is playing on his iPad, while mom is probably off somewhere having a child-free party.

I like Brewerkz because it’s not very crowded during lunch time, and it’s dimly lit, perfect for babies and for those nursing a hangover with more beer. It’s also not too noisy for a baby, yet not too quiet that when Kiwi protests for milk, it generally cannot be heard by the next table, hence I didn’t have to suffer stares from other patrons. We were seated in a corner of the restaurant which was great as that meant little human traffic in our area, so our stroller didn’t get in the way of anyone, and I could nurse Kiwi in public.


Here’s Kiwi at the diaper changing station within the handicap cubicle next to the restrooms. The room is clean and smells okay, with bare necessities such as the changing top, paper rolls and running water. It is the Japanese capsule hotel of changing rooms. As you can see, Kiwi is moderately impressed.