One Hit Wonder?

On a surprising note, today has been a very good morning. Nat slept 8.5hours straight, from 940pm to 610am, woke up happy and we managed to fit in all his morning activities (tummy time, reading, bathing) before going down for his 2nd morning nap at 1115am. I’m really hoping this will become a trend and not a one hit wonder!

WhatsApp Image 2017-02-27 at 11.48.29 AM.jpeg

We are currently in the midst of some experimentation after Nat decided to waste some of his milk over the past 2-3 days by not finishing a full feed. So we conducted some experiments to find out why this was the case. I know it sounds totally crazy that we have to do such things like a mini-science project but it’s absolutely necessary for me to try and comprehend things!

Our hypothesis was that there were two potential culprits for his milk wastage:

  1. Nat could be experiencing a lengthening of his intervals between feeds such that if we fed him at the 3.5hr mark, he was not really hungry enough to finish a full feed (160ml). My mom is of the opinion that 3.5 hours is too soon since he isn’t even fussing but I read somewhere that if baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet, should feed every 3.5hrs to ensure that they have enough daytime calories. Guess everything you read may not apply to your kiddo. 
  2. I also started using a new teat for 3months+ by AVENT – it is one that has a variable flow that can regulate the flow speed by turning it but it seemed as if he was not liking the teat very much and prefers his current one, with two holes, meant for 1m+ babies.

So yesterday evening’s experiment was about keeping the teat constant i.e. using the current one he is comfortable with but changing his feeding intervals to ascertain whether his inability to finish a full feed is because he isn’t really hungry?

Observations: He could finish a full feed at 520pm and 4 hours later at 920pm, was able to finish 180ml ?!

Conclusions: So based on his two feedings at 520pm and 920pm yesterday, we concluded that he has now progressed to a 4 hour feed interval from 3.5 hours. Somehow, drinking 180ml at 920pm allowed him to sleep non-stop from 940pm until 6am the next day. Before we went to bed, HJ told me he had a good feeling Nat would sleep through the night. I brushed it aside but it was true!

Then for this morning’s experiment, I kept his feeding interval constant by feeding at every 4 hourly but at his 1020am feed but he was fed with the new teat.

Observations: Instead of sucking on it, he was simply playing with it in his mouth and not drinking any milk.

Conclusions: Our suspicions were right that Nat did not really like the new teat very much. So I swapped the teat back to his old preferred one and he drank 145ml of milk. $8.50 wasted on the new teats – perhaps we can try them again when he is a bit older next month.

Moving forward, I know things will only become a trend after it has happened for a few days so I am really hoping that this new schedule works out.

So to prep ourselves for his changes, I’ve updated his schedule as such:

630/7am: 1st feed of the day then go back to sleep [NAP 1 – usually 2hrs]

930/10am: study/exercise routines

1030/11am: late morning feed, bathe (possible to bathe also before a feed) then sleep [NAP 2 – usually 1.5hrs]

2pm: afternoon feed (Not necessary to give a full feed if 4 hours have not passed but just enough to get him through his long afternoon nap. Likewise, feed baby if hungry at the 3 hours mark), play then sleep [NAP 3 – usually 2hrs]

530/6pm: evening feed 

7pm: wash up then relax, put to bed by 815pm*

* If we’re out then this usually happens later but Nat would take a cat nap either in the carrier or his pram 

930pm: night feed

Somehow as he gets older, the earlier “eat/wake/sleep” routines have now naturally evolved to a “eat/wake/sleep/wake…eat” habit. I find it very interesting reading about these from books and then witness it happening in real life while HJ, who was quite confused by all these details yesterday just wants me to tell him what he’s supposed to do next with Nat haha

– CK

27 Feb 2017

This date signifies a couple of things. Today was supposed to be my last day of maternity leave but thankfully, it isn’t. More importantly, this day last year, Mama (what we call my Grandmother since young) went home to be with the Lord so today is her 1 yr death anniversary. We had a simple memorial service for her yesterday, and back at home HJ commented that this was the first memorial service he has been too (make that both of us). He said that this just goes to show that my Grandmother really lived her life in a way that made people remember her very fondly. The Pastor yesterday recited once more something he wrote last year in a tribute to Mama and he summed up what he remembers most fondly about my Grandmother in 3 points.

  1. She had a very good command of English, with proper enunciation of her words.
  2. She was very thoughtful, always thinking of others (indeed) and he remembers her reminding my Grandfather to prepare some fruits whenever he visited because she knew he liked to eat healthy.
  3. She was faithful and trusted the Lord till the very end. Never once throughout her bout of sickness in 2014-2015 did she ever complain about her situation (this I definitely remember, her only lament was that she wished God could heal her so that she could walk through the gates of heaven, and I’m sure she did).

Lastly, he mentioned that while most Pastors are able to recite Psalm 23, my Grandmother’s favorite verse, he knew that she truly knew the Lord from how she recited it by heart every time he visited her in the hospital.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

– Psalm 23

Somedays, I tell HJ that it would have been nice if Nat arrived earlier, so at least she would be able to know she was going to be a Great Grandmother before she left this earth but we all know that could not be possible. Nonetheless, I will always have memories of how she selflessly looked after my sister and I so that both my parents could focus on their work.

Now that only Kong Kong, my Grandfather is left, what we can do is to not take it for granted so we let him interact with Nat as often as we can. This is made easier considering how he just lives 5 minutes away from our house.

Even if Mama isn’t here, seeing Nat and Kong Kong interact is the next best thing and so very precious 🙂

– CK

There, I Applied To Work Part Time ! 

Prior to Nat’s arrival, working on a part time load was never on the cards. I repeat, never. HJ tried asking me to consider taking No-Pay-Leave (NPL) for a year when I was still expecting Nat but no, I was only okay applying for maximum two months NPL. Then last week, with 10 more weeks of leave to go, there was this constant nagging feeling in my gut that made me reconsider going back to work full time. All this while, HJ was sure that he does not want to put Nat in infant care so we don’t really have any care options besides our helper. I was really torn because while I enjoy and miss work, I also want to spend more time with Nat.

The primary reason was really the sheer reduction of time I’ll be spending with Nat if I work full time. On a normal work day, I’ll have to leave the house at 7am and by the time I get home, it would be close to 7pm. So I’ll be able to give Nat his 1st wake-up feed and wash him up at night before HJ puts him to bed. No doubt the daily routines I’ve established these past 3 months+ will be continued and enforced by our helper and my mum but I guess a part of me still very much wants to be a part of some of his routines. Hopefully I can witness some of his milestones such as rolling over, crawling, walking etc. first hand and not just via video.

It was this knowledge that I’ll not be able to do most of the things I’m doing now that was the main push factor, especially our post wake-up feed snuggles 🙂

So the struggle was very real but I just knew in my gut that going the part time route would be the best for the rest of 2017, until Nat turns 1. The other option was HJ’s original suggestion to take a longer NPL but because I do not want to give up my car and have such a drastic change in lifestyle, I need to have partial income.

I still very much want to work so since both work and Nat are important to me, I made the decision to apply for a 2/3 part time load so that I can hopefully balance both roles.

Now that my immediate bosses are supportive, the next hurdle would be clearing the remaining approvals. As it is, I am already very thankful that such an arrangement was possible and was cleared within 2 days?

I emailed my immediate boss on Wednesday night (22/2), told a few close friends, prayed about it and left the rest to God. By the end of Friday (24/2), both my immediate boss and my Director had replied to say that they were supportive of my decision. So I really thank God that everything has worked out thus far.

Sigh…the saying that a child will change your life in ways that you never thought possible is indeed very very true.

– CK

Oohs and Aahs – Nat’s Quirks

At 715am, just after his wake up feed and just before he went back to sleep, we had an impromptu ‘convo’ with our son, basically gimmerish sounds and I thought it would be funny to have a record of some of Nat’s quirks at 15 weeks/3.5 months. 

Eating habits: 

From day 1, he takes everything and anything – breast, bottle etc. Am excited to see how he takes to semi-solids and solids eventually. We have quite a greedy boy! 

Play habits: 

  1. Loves to ‘talk’ (since 2mths+) – time to eat, talk… time to sleep, still talking. Our new nickname for him is gigglypuff for obvious reasons haha 
  2. Can be very focused when starring at his cards, books etc. 
  3. Prefers reading to exercising i.e. tummytime and finger-gripping toys but we still incorporate time for both in his daily routine 
  4. Likes soaking/chillaxing in his bath tub, very strong kicks too
  5. He’s quite a vainpot – always smiling/laughing when we dress him up 

Sleep habits:

He LOVES sleeping on his side during naps and in his car seat… 

And… this is his weirdest yet…

In an event of a sudden awakening or if he’s overstimulated, he falls back to sleep best only when we ‘smack’ and ‘shake’ his butt. It’s now a household catch phrase – smack & shake. 

Yup, Nat has some very strange habits and we love him so. 

– CK

Our Sunday: Murphy & Milk Leaks 

So yesterday had both good and not-so-good parts… let’s see, we went to church after a 1mth hiatus and managed to catch a movie (after 4 months)!

As Nat hardly cries, we got to sit in the main sanctuary at church!

However, while we were out at night and Nat was at my mum’s, there was some milk bottle/teat mismatch and leaking milk drama that saw my sis driving our helper, fast and furious style back to our house to grab the correct bottle/teat match while my mum was soothing a hungry baby.

So the complications started when I accidentally bought some Avent bottles that had an extra ring, so the bottle, ring and teat have to be used together as a set. Prior to this, all our bottles do not have this extra anti-colic ring accessory. Anyhow, the complication is that fixing any other bottle parts from the ‘non-ring’ model will result in leaks.

From a blog post that talks about how to prevent leaks (click on pic)

 

For this set, we’ve pasted them with a “new” label for our ease of recognition.  This is where Murphy came into the picture.

  1. When Nat’s bag was packed, the bottle had the necessary ring but the teat was from our other model so it wasn’t a correct match – a genuine mistake because we have quite a few bottles and teats on the drying rack! 
  2. Usually we will always pack 2 bottles when we go out but as Nat was going to my mum’s and I forgot to remind our helper to pack 2 bottles just in case, only 1 was packed.

As a result of the mismatch, the bottle (with water) leaked onto his PJs in his bag and thereafter when my mum attempted to feed Nat, the milk bottle leaked all over his clothing.

Thankfully… we live just 5mins away from my mum and my Dad was at home so my sis could use his car to zoom my helper back to retrieve a new bottle set and dry PJs for Nat. All this drama happened and was resolved while we were inside the movie theatre!

Though I was quite tempted to run through how on earth this could happen in my mind, I figured that it was pointless to dwell on it and just move on.

Then I focused on how such things can be rectified in the future by buying a spare bottle to be placed at my mum’s permanently and will also pass her a few sets of Nat’s PJs for evenings that he needs to wash up there. Currently we already have Nat’s diaper supplies and onesies for daytime usage over at my mum’s but I guess there were some loopholes that have now been addressed.

Yup… so that was how our Sunday went – too much excitement at night for my comfort haha

– CK

Self-Care & Its Tensions

Last night, being Friday and all, HJ and I had one of those long conversations that somehow jumped across numerous unrelated topics such as my pending return to work, his work, his volunteering , Nat (of course), finances… but more importantly, he was able to help me realize a struggle that I’m experiencing, which I may not be very conscious of – that of the tension between wanting things to be somewhat like before Nat was born and also not being able to really let go of things related to Nat.

So to just name a few adjustments that come to mind after Nat came along…

  • Did we expect our travel plans to come to a temporary halt so soon? Nope. We still talk about the dream of going back to London in 2019 to visit my Great Grandaunt. It is also HJ’s wish to go back every 5 years but I’m honestly not sure how a toddler would handle a 13hr flight. For now, we can start to plan shorter trips to get Nat used to taking the plane in the first place.
  • Am I able to accept all the physical changes that pregnancy brought on? Guess I don’t have much of a choice right. Thankfully I didn’t have any major physical ailment during all three trimesters and even the delivery was a very smooth one (shall elaborate on this in another post) but… the post-birth leftover weight and stretch marks won’t 100% disappear.
  • How do I feel about developments at work in my absence? Somedays I am eager to go back and be busy with work just like how it was before but returning to work after a 6 month hiatus means I’ll have to catch up on new things and also accept and deal the fact that some timelines/deliverables have changed because I was away for half a year. It’s not as simple as handing it over and then getting back into the groove of things just the way things were. Guess it also does not help much that my office location has changed to somewhere that is nearer to home but more inconvenient to get to.

Nonetheless, now with Nat in our lives, I wouldn’t change a thing but I also have trouble taking some things easy – in particular, his routines. I mean some minor disruptions and adjustments are to be expected but in terms of his eat/play/sleep habits, I find myself ensuring that our moms and helper are fully aware of what needs to be done.

Do I think about the possibility of taking a longer stretch of leave? Of course the thought crossed my mind but the reality is, I don’t think a single income is sufficient with our current lifestyles. Sure, one can say give up the car or downgrade to a cheaper car and make some lifestyle changes but that’s just it – I am making  the choice to not change my car or have such drastic lifestyle changes. This is why HJ says I am too greedy and demanding, because I want a semblance of the past in my new current reality as a mom when clearly things have changed and can never go back to the way they were , hence the tension… I’m afraid he’s spot on. 

Some days (thankfully they’re rare), when I have to take care of Nat at home for 14 hours, I feel close to losing my mind. So now I’ve put a coping mechanism in place, such that whenever HJ has a late night (usually 2 nights a week when he comes back at 10pm after volunteering or tuition), I either bring the baby and helper to my mum’s place or we go out for dinner. The main thing is that I can’t be cooped up in my house for 14hours :/

Then towards the end of our conversation, HJ brought up the importance of self-care, ensuring I have adequate “me-time”, time with each other without Nat etc and today I came across this article on my Facebook newsfeed that is SO APT!

So in line with the above, though it is somewhat an errand, I finally had some time to see my skin doctor to stock up on my face wash/creams and since we were around the area, we went to my fave Hokkaido Japanese ramen restaurant – Kaiko who moved out of ION to Marina Bay Financial Tower!

Thanks for snoozing at the right time so we could eat in peace 🙂

– CK

@14weeks

Nat’s 3 weeks shy of 4 months and somedays I wish we could go back to Dec ’16 when he was still a lump inside his swaddle cloth but now at 3 months+, we get to interact more with him and laugh at his daily antics. I’ve 11 more weeks with him before I go back to work so everyday spent looking after him is indeed a blessing.

His schedule is also more of less quite fixed for now. Even our helper is amazed that his feeding, play and nap times are almost the same everyday. Nonetheless, I know it will probably change again come 4 months. According to the books I’ve been reading, babies ard 3-4 months need to get approx. 5hours of sleep in the day over 2-3 naps and 10hours at night* (does not have to be continuous yet).

  • Nat’s day time track record seems okay – he always naps after his bath (30min to an hour), in the afternoon between 2-5pm and ends off with a short cat nap in the evening.
  • It’s his night time hours that needs improvement – assuming we start counting after 9pm, he gets about 9hours in total as he still wakes 1x for a MOTN feed. Us, as parents got to be more disciplined about starting his bedtime routine earlier – now I’ve started washing him up before our dinner instead of after.

Interaction-wise, this is the fun part, it’s priceless seeing how much he babbles and smiles…

Playtime (after his feed and before his naps) now consists of

  1. Reading/looking at flashcards and books (his fave)
  2. Strengthening his grip via his toys
  3. Listening to music/nursery rhymes
  4. Tummy time

Growth-wise, some say Nat is a giant, which caught us by surprise initially because we had no comparison or clue as to how heavy/big babies should be. In fact, I thought he was quite short? It was only after CNY when everyone started commenting that Nat is very tall and chubby did I go and look at the charts in his health booklet. Turns out he is 97th percentile for height and close to 90th percentile for weight?! Today I just took his height, he’s at 68cm (last week he was 65cm). I’ve not weighed him yet. Will leave that to the father haha. It is no wonder he can fit into clothes meant for 4-6months!

As much as I would rather time not pass by so fast, I’m equally excited for the next few weeks/milestones.

– CK

Working Out Post-Baby 

So it’s been 3 months post-partum (ppt) and I’m 6.5kg away from my pre-baby weight after quite a slow start but considering that I started from 68.5kg at 38.5weeks preggers, I’m quite glad that some progress is being made haha 

Rewind back to my 29-30weeks appointment when my Doc told us that Nat wasn’t gaining enough weight and to fatten him up, I had to consume more rich (basically fatty) food such as cheese and durian?! At that time I had put on 10.5kg but it apparently wasn’t sufficient. So I started regularly eating red meat, cheese and durian until I was 68kg at full term (37 weeks)! Total weight gained throughout pregnancy was 15kg. 

Sometimes you think to yourself that you would like to put on 12kg at the end of the pregnancy but one can’t always control such things. 

Thereafter at the end of my 1st month ppt, I was about 61.5kg (-7kg since Nat’s birth). At this point, I was not yet exercising so most of it was probably the baby + the placenta + water weight? I didn’t really have very bad water retention during pregnancy so maybe there wasn’t much to lose? 

Between Dec ’16  and Jan ’17, I did visit my gym but not very often (1x a week?) and because I was breastfeeding/pumping every 3hours, I felt hungry very often?! Food wise I was also still eating anything and everything since most of the time was spent on just coping and learning how to take care of Nat. 

It was only after end-Jan did my visits to the gym become more regular (at least 4x a week) at either our place or my mum’s.

There’s something I love very much about the gym at my old place, which I visit once a week when we go there – it’s old but very peaceful to have a workout especially when you want some “me-time”. 

Strangely, I’ve come to look forward to my gym sessions at night. They are not very long – usually 30mins because I always go down after 9pm when Nat has been put to bed and I’m back by 10pm to shower. Perhaps, it’s the variety of circuit exercises that I found which makes things a bit less mundane. Circuits are also better for me physically because running on the threadmill for anything more than 2.4km would always require a visit to my chiropractor due to my left ankle injury. 

Below are some of the circuit workouts/stretches that I follow: 

So at 3 months ppt, the scale is hovering around 59kg and I’ve got about 6kg more to go but strength-wise, things feel different. I guess at the end of the day, the number on the scale is one thing but I’ve also managed to benefit from re-building muscle strength and just getting into a regular exercise routine, something I did not have when I was pregnant but now looking back, I wish I did. 

– CK 

Cause & Effect Between Day and Night

This is so bizarre but I’m now interpreting data and trying to identify possible cause-effect relationships between Nat’s day time routine and his sleep patterns at night.

I mean HJ is far simpler, the moment he woke this morning at 615am (after sleeping for almost 7hours), he celebrated that Nat didn’t require a MOTN feed. I on the other hand was in a daze. When Nat started fussing, I thought it was 4/5am so I was shocked that it was 615am? Shocked also because Nat didn’t take any dreamfeed last night at 1110pm – he barely woke up, took 20ml and went back to sleep.

So the main question running through my mind was – why was he able to sleep for almost 7 hours without feeling hungry?  

Then as HJ was feeding Nat his ‘early morning’ feed, I was taking screenshots of data to interpret haha

MAYBE… just maybe, Nat had sufficient calories throughout the day, such that by night time, he was not that hungry and was able to sleep for a longer stretch. Conversely, not having enough calories throughout the day may result in baby waking in the night. 

WhatsApp Image 2017-02-11 at 12.30.27 PM.jpeg

My current hypothesis based on the above:

  1. Things were normal in the morning until 1150am where he was hungry 2hours after his breakfast feed. I attribute this to a possible growth spurt and gave him 60ml as a top-up to last him until his 130/2pm feed.
  2. His 2pm and 5pm was also normal just that usually he would nap until 530pm but he woke up at 5pm hungry. Once again, I assumed this could be because of a growth spurt since his usual interval for the afternoon is 3.5hours between feeds.
  3. Things only became a bit strange at his dinner feed at 810pm when he did not finish his usual 150ml but was full after consuming 110ml.
  4. Then after sleeping from 945pm to 1115pm (1h10min), he woke up so we prepared 90ml thinking that he would be hungry since it was already 3hrs after his dinner feed but… he barely took 20ml and spat it out. So we stopped and let him go back to sleep.

Today, we shall try to ensure Nat gets enough calories throughout the day and then test the above hypothesis tonight!

Of course while all these questions are running through my mind, I’m of course glad he managed to go a 11pm to 6pm stretch. Maybe I’m still tired because I was busy watching my shows until 1230am *oops*

– CK

The Good, The Bad and The Strange…

The Good is Nat went back to sleeping on his own last night after we left him there at 945pm with no fussing or swaddling needed (pls do it again tonight so I can binge watch my shows!) 

The Bad but still manageable is that Nat will suddenly stir at 330/4am but is able to be soothed back to sleep after some patting and then there’s the Strange – he will wake up again ard 530am hungry so we give 60ml to last until his proper 7am wake up feed. So now instead of a MOTN feed, we’ve got these “early morning awakenings”, and it’s always 1-2hrs before his wake up feed. Even with a dreamfeed ard 1030/11pm, he’ll sleep for about 5hrs+ and then wake up. 

Possible reasons for Nat’s early awakenings, based on what I’ve managed to read thus far is as such:

  1. He’s not getting enough calories in the day time, which can affect night sleep – erm 150ml on average per feed not enough? Apparently if baby is not sleeping through the night consistently yet, the intervals between feeds should not be longer than 3.5hrs, this is to ensure baby gets sufficient calories in daytime. 
  2. He’s napping too much in the day – his longest nap is usually 2.5 to 3 hrs in the afternoon while the naps before that and after that are shorter cat naps so it’s not as if Nat is sleeping the whole day.
  3. Going to bed too late – sometimes we can be guilty of this as he will take a short nap ard 6/7pm but wake up at 8pm for his feed. After that he only falls asleep properly nearer to 9/930pm. 

Well that’s why it’s strange, because I can’t pinpoint a clear cause for his 4/5am awakenings. 

So we’ll just have to keep observing on a day-to-day basis what happens. 

In other news…. we’ve incorporated regular tummytime 2x a day for 5-10min each and it’s hilarious! Esp. his faces. 

 

– CK