Playtime 

For some time now, we’ve noticed that Nat does not really want to touch/play with his toys. Now that he can roll over, he loves tummy time but no matter what is in front of him, he does not really reach out for it, except his favorite ‘ring’ toy which ends up straight in his mouth.


However, he does seem more willing to use his hands to touch/explore his books. Guess that isn’t too bad! Whatever floats his boat, we’ll go with it. 


So back to toys, last Sunday while we were having lunch at a cafe, we noticed that Nat was very intrigued by a mineral water bottle. We brought it back to the car and he was starring and touching it. 


So that gave me an idea — sensory bottles! However, in the meantime while I am collecting the bottles, I did some sensory ‘mini pots’ first. 


These are breastmilk containers but since my pumping journey is almost at its end, I filled them with rice, pasta, red beans and black beans for different sound effects. However, Nat is just mostly listening to the sounds but not really shaking anything!  

Can’t wait for the time Nat starts playing and exploring everything. Then I can do more DIY-sensory toys such as the examples found HERE. Just need to find a way to neatly store away his toys because the last thing I want is to have the whole living room filled with Nat’s things. 

For now, all of Nat’s current playtime items are in these containers. The one in front is actually a plant stand that I turned upside down to become a basket of sorts haha. It’s like the best value buy ever!


So yes, it may sound idealistic now but am hoping to still keep things tidy even as his things multiply. 

– CK 

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Puréed 

We’ve started Nat on puree for about 1.5 weeks and so far he has tried rice cereal, pumpkin and carrots. We think he does not really like carrots, based on his ‘meh’ facial expression but being the food champ that he is, he still finished the whole bowl. Our helper said that usually when trying new food, babies may just take in 0.5-1 tablespoon’s worth of puree so she’s never seen anything like Nat who chomps down 3 tablespoon’s worth. After that, he still drinks 100-160ml of milk. Next up in April, we’ll be introducing sweet potato and yam before his next PD appointment.

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So on this topic of introducing semi-solids to babies, I came across some interesting reads.

This website, contains free downloadable food charts depending on the age of the baby i.e. 4-6 months, 6-8 months and so on. Very useful.

On my own, I refer to the food brochure given by our PD and plan Nat’s puree menu accordingly. This allows me to do what I love, which is to plot a timetable schedule of his puree breakfast as the PD told us to start feeding him puree once a day at his 10am feed first.

Now that Nat has tried rice, pumpkin and carrots mixed with a bit of milk, individually over a course of 3 days each, we can now combine the various items. This is where things get exciting because you can combine two vegetables with each other and/or combine one vegetable with rice cereal. One does not have to go into such technical detail because estimation works fine but I just prefer to lay out all the details. This way, our helper will be able to take over and prepare the puree accordingly when I go back to work in May.

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Once he had tried sweet potato and yam, we’ll have more combinations to play with come April. Our neighbour also cautioned us about giving too much ‘orange’ root vegetables in case Nat’s skin turns yellowish. This article explains why.

Parents who feed their infants a lot of orange fruits and vegetables may one day notice that their infant’s palms, soles of the feet and even face have taken on an orange hue.

Maybe that’s not happening now as he takes puree 1x a day but will definitely ask our PD this when it’s time to feed him puree 2x a day. Maybe we can regulate the ‘orange’ vegetables to 2-3x a week.

Interestingly, I also found out that there’s a co-relation between sleep and introducing solids! I’m currently reading this book (below), and apparently introducing solids too early and/or the wrong solids can affect night time sleep.

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One case in point was an example of a baby being fed bananas and avocado too much during lunch. While the baby enjoyed the taste, the book states that these two foods are quite hard to digest and not really recommended for babies under 6 months. As such, the baby felt ‘full’ and hence, cut back on her milk intake. As a result of not getting enough milk in the day, she woke up in the early morning hungry.

Moral of story is that the bulk of calories for babies still come from milk so feeding too much puree in the day/evening may affect the subsequent milk intake in the day/evening. Will definitely take note of this and try to balance things when Nat starts taking puree more than 1x a day. Currently, for Nat, what is crucial to him sleeping through the night from 11pm to 6/630am remains the same – he needs to take a full feed of 180ml at 1030pm so whatever meal he has before that should not be too filling such that he isn’t ‘hungry enough’ at 1030pm.

All of it seems to complex but after some readings, it just gets more interesting. Now, the joke is that I am asking HJ to clear some books of his shelf to make way for the baby-related books that I am reading haha

– CK

Sleeping Arrangements?

Now that Nat has learnt how to roll over and turn, he can’t stop doing it! He does it in his crib before/after his bath, during diaper changes, in his night playpen when it’s time for him to sleep and of course on our bed. So one question that I have is, after he can start to crawl and potentially fall over his crib/playpen because the current platform is quite high, where does he sleep !? or rather, what is a safe sleeping arrangement?

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Currently, Nat sleeps in our room inside a playpen on the higher platform. During the day, he naps on my bed because I’m still on leave. He is also able to sleep in his crib during the day but because our camera monitor connection isn’t working in his room, we stop letting him sleep there in January this year.

There’s an article about sleeping options so here are some arrangements we can explore:

1. Playpen in our room – We have the option to remove the higher level of the playpen’s platform but the lowest one is more for Nat to play inside and/or nap during the day. At night, I don’t think it is suitable and it would be back-breaking for us to keep bending over once we remove the higher level platform.

2. Crib in Nat’s own room – We’ll let Nat take his morning nap in his crib once I go back to work, after we fix the camera monitor connection. The crib platform can be adjusted to different heights so it’s a viable a long-term option when Nat starts to crawl and eventually walk. However, HJ would like Nat to bunk in our rooms until he is 1 year old so I don’t think he would be happy and/or approve of Nat sleeping separately in his own room so soon. Can we wheel the crib into our room while the current playpen bed goes out to our living room? It is possible but… space-wise though our master-bedroom is big enough to house the crib, I rather have more space. For the immediate short-term, I’ve already had to put bumpers around in case he knocks his head while turning.

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3. Small mattress on the floor next to our bed – I am currently very keen on this approach. I mean if there’s anywhere “safe”, it’s somewhere that he can’t fall down from right? However, this would entail that we have to literally go down to his level and babyproof our room such that there are no hazards such as electrical cords, small and harmful substances that he can consume e.g. small items and face/skin cream within his reach. So the idea is that Nat can sleep on the mattress at night until it’s time to move him into his own room. I don’t think there is a definitive ‘right’ time to move the baby to his/her own room but for me, the sooner the better whereas for HJ, he would like to be in the same room with Nat at night so we’ll have to reach a compromise eventually.

– CK

 

Strange Awakenings

So the past day or so has been quite strange…  because out of the blue, when Nat is sleeping, he will currently make some “struggling” sounds then when we go into the room, he’s trying to turn over! But why in the middle of his sleep?! Then either his left or right hand will be stuck underneath his body so he will just flip right back. Guess we’ll be witnessing more of such weird antics in the next few weeks.

The two times we caught him rolling over halfway through his slumber!

Maybe we should start to be more aware of what milestones to expect next, as a lot apparently happens between 4 and 6 months of age.

A few weeks back, I took a break from my reading and research once Nat started sleeping through the night because the bulk of my literature revolved around sleep training and the like haha

Oh man, whatever happened to the time when they were just a swaddled lump. Within a few months, I got to start thinking about baby-proofing our house.

– CK

FYI to Self


Yes… HJ has shown me this illustration a couple of times but I guess it takes a whileeeee to apply this. So the most recent thing I was worried about was June school holiday plans. To bring the kiddo or not to bring? There are valid points for either scenario but I think after our staycation, I figured that we would need a ‘baby-friendly’ country/city. I also foresee us spending quite a lot of time in the hotel for Nat to nap. True, he can sleep in a carrier but with my back woes, walking a few hours with a 8-9kg baby is not a good idea. HJ too, has a back injury and not everywhere is ‘pram-friendly’. I also believe that at this age, babies won’t appreciate holidays so it’s more for us, the parents. So, we decided to take up my mum’s offer to babysit him since she will be having school holidays in June and we’ll most probably go to Hanoi and it’s nearby caves for a few days! Definitely something one can do with a baby in tow. Trekking… taking a boat around a lake surrounded by limestone caves… some of the things we want to do but can’t with baby.

Am I okay leaving Nat in SG? 

It was initially a ‘hmm, not really’ that became a ‘yup I’m sure’ and I’m also a bit surprised that I am actually okay with it.

Simply put, I/we need a break and now when Nat doesn’t really understand things and is not clingy, we stand a better chance of ‘escaping’ while we leave him in the hands of my mum and our helper. They are both fully capable of caring for him so I don’t have much reason to worry.

Should I feel guilty? I think I got over that part quite fast because I think we need to prioritize our needs above his from time to time. As precious as Nat is, he cannot become the center of our universe such that everything revolves around him. Moreover, at this age, the concept of abandonment is completely foreign to Nat. If anything, it’s us, the adults who feel bad for leaving the kiddo. So no, I don’t think one should feel guilty/bad but it’s really not as easy to just let go.

Anyhow it will just be for a short period of 4 days. If this pilot works out, I’ll definitely to it again at the end of the year!

– CK

Weaning Begins 

Today is Day 2 of us giving Nat rice cereal and thankfully he’s taking to it rather well. Initially we did a taste test and it’s really bland so we weren’t sure if he would like it but he finished all the cereal in the bowl on both days! Can’t wait to start pumpkin on Wed as it’s recommended to wait 3-4 days before introducing a new food. 

For starters, this is what we know about weaning so far thanks to books and brochures. 

  1. Time of day: Nat’s PD told us to start once a day first at his 10am feed. So that’s his 2nd feed of the day. If anything goes wrong, he would have had a normal milk feed at 630/7am. More importantly, we should to pick a time where baby is happy and alert and you can’t hurry these things so it’s crucial that one isn’t rushing. On Sat, we gave it a good 1hr buffer time to try. In reality, it took about 25minutes. Today took lesser time, around 12minutes. 
  2. Consistency: Ideally it should be a bit thicker than milk but not too thick/dry either so we mix 1 dessert spoon (0.5 table spoon) of cereal to 25ml of formula milk. We derived this ratio from the box which stated 1 serving to be 4 tablespoons with 200ml water. Once Nat can take more, we will increase it to 2 dessert spoons (1 table spoon). 
  3. Milk: For most of the first year, offering semi-solids is more to give babies a taste of food from the various food groups while milk is still the main staple. So in the beginning, the purée is like an appetizer and we end off with approx 100ml milk. Only if Nat consumes a whole purée meal (4 table spoons), then our PD says there is no need to give anymore milk for that feed. 
  4. Food groups: As we are just starting out, our PD told us to let him try the following foods first as they are more starchy – rice, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato, yam and banana (1st column of the brochure our PD gave us.)

Exciting 🙂

Then while reading up about weaning and what not, I’ve also come across BWL, known as Baby Led Weaning where the purée stage is skipped altogether and babies feeds themselves with soft, bite-sized table foods starting from 6 months onwards. I’m sure every weaning method has its own pros and cons but we’re more comfortable with the old school method of feeding purées before moving on to letting baby handle/feed themselves table food later on. 

– CK 

Semi-Solids?? (I’m not ready!) 

At the PD today for Nat’s 4th month vaccinations, our Doctor said that he’s ready for semi-solids after I described his strange milk behavior that started in early March. So apparently, he’s “bored” of his milk and we can start him off on some cereal, before moving on to starchy purée (carrots, pumpkins…etc.). Guess it’s time for me to get up to speed on how to do this semi-solids business. I’ve only had time to read briefly about it so I am definitely not fully prepared yet.

Some ‘obvious’ signs that Nat’s ready include:

  1. Sudden drop in milk intake
  2. Disinterest in milk (super not interested)
  3. Drooling (yup…a lot)
  4. Fingers in mouth (all the time!)

Our PD also explained that while the National Health Promotion Board recommends starting only at 6 months, she prefers to follow the European standard (?) and start between 4 to 6 months. I mean, personally, if Nat is supposedly ready based on all the above signs, no harm just starting. We’re both not insistent on following any particular timeline and if his PD says so, we’ll proceed accordingly.

I guess it is sheer coincidence that I also received an email from whattoexpect.com about Introducing Solids and it has a few good points to note:

  • To prepare, mix a small amount of baby cereal with formula, breast milk or even water to create a creamy “soup.” 
  • Offer a first course of formula or breast milk to whet that appetite, then bring on the solids. 
  • Start by gently placing about a quarter teaspoon of food on the tip of baby’s tongue. If that’s swallowed, place the next quarter teaspoon a little farther back.

To kick things off, Nat’s PD says he is supposed to take 2 small spoons of cereal with milk for his 10am feed. He’ll then be given some milk after, just not a full feed. The rest of his feeds throughout the day will still be milk.

My mom’s helping us buy the Cerelac (I am clueless as to how to begin semi-solids) while I take his food equipment out of our kitchen storage.

For when we eventually start him on purée

Bowl sets we received for Nat’s 1st month party

 

Didn’t imagined we’ll be using the baby food processor set and his other bowl sets so soon but guess we all have to start somewhere!

The good news is that I’ve got 1.5 months of leave left so I get to witness this transition and experimentation before I go back to work. As the weekend begins tomorrow, we’ll both be here to witness Nat trying cereal for the first time. Thereafter, we will also introduce new food items only on weekends, preferably Sat so that both of us can be here when it happens. This is exciting but also a bit sad, our baby is growing up fast :/

Nat at the PD today… sucking away on the carrier strap

 

– CK

Baby Back Woes

I just went to see my chiropractor because of a persistent pain in my neck/shoulder that started last weekend. As it is, I’ve scoliosis (my spine is “S” shaped), imbalanced hips and flat feet so having Nat ard 8kg doesn’t help. Things get worse as I get older and even some exercises are off limits now. Morale of story is… I need to stop carrying Nat only using my right side and using the carrier is the last resort for me 😦

I started going to Family Chiropractic at Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 in 2015 through a friend’s recommendation because the change in office environment and sitting at my table looking at a computer monitor left me with a dull pain in my right neck/shoulder.

Thereafter, I regularly went back to get adjustments roughly once every 3 months.

Even when I was pregnant, I still went to get my back adjusted because as I approached the 3rd trimester, the extra weight left me with lower back aches and pelvis pain.

It’s really to each his own because some, like my mom would advise against seeing the chiro or going for foot massages when pregnant but I only went ahead after checking with my gynae and I was also no longer in the first trimester. Moreover, I had been seeing my chiro since 2015 and she was someone I could trust. I think the foot massages did have a part to play in keeping water retention at bay because my feet didn’t swell much at all throughout my pregnancy.

Due to my scoliosis, there’s nothing that can permanently fix my spine but how I take care of my back is entirely within my control. The tricky thing is that now I have a growing baby who is only going to get heavier.

So here’s what I should keep in mind:

  1. When sitting down, try not to cross my legs because of my imbalanced hips so my bad habit of crossing my legs worsens the misalignment. This is a hard one to kick because I tend to cross my legs almost every time I’m seated except when driving!?
  2. Try not to jog/run too long a distance because of my flat feet and the impact it has on my ankles, which affects how I walk and also contributes to further hip imbalance. Previously doing 3-5km didn’t have much of an impact whereas now 2.4km is my max because I get a strange feeling in my ankle so I stop.
  3. Be conscious to carry Nat using my left side and not only on my right as much as the latter is very intrinsic to me.

Sigh. I just hope I can feel a bit better in a day or two so that I can resume my gym/exercise activities, which I’ve stopped for a few days to rest my neck/shoulder and back. I wrongly assumed that once I gave birth, my back problems won’t come back to haunt me. In fact, last December saw me going to the chiro because we kept bending over to carry Nat up from his crib and rocker.

So… as much as I find him so irresistibly cute, with those mesmerizing eyes….

Sorry son, your father’s gonna be doing most of the carrying from now on!

– CK

Baby Staycation 101 

Thanks to my Grandpa who has 7 days worth of Amara vouchers, the family is taking turns to have staycations. For now, because it’s only in Singapore, things are still pretty easy but I’m quite sure after this, we will travel in June without the kiddo (then it would be considered a true vacation!) With Nat, so many things need to be brought along for just 1 night and most of our schedule is also dependent on when he needs to feed and nap.

Packing: Bring extras for everything baby-related… like really everything because you never know if they will pee/poop/puke on their clothes. This applies to diapers and all milk-related items too unless one is exclusively breastfeeding. Things like bolsters that help baby to sleep better is also necessary to create a sleep environment that is closest to home. As babies can’t use the soap/shampoo provided by hotels, there’s a need to pack their bath items separately too.

Feeding: As I’m still pumping, I chose to bring the Spectra as it’s way more effective than my other manual pump. So below are just some of the “extra” things one needs to bring just for the baby if bottle-feeding. I refuse to bring a bottle warmer so a hot kettle, boiling water and a cup works just fine. Of course it’s easier to just let Nat latch on but nah… his milk intake is already quite erratic this week so I rather know how much he’s drinking as opposed to latching where I’ll have no idea. So what happens to the milk pumped out? Kept in the fridge and then made warm using the old fashion way of boiled water.



Activities: After checking in, it was time for Nat’s feed and PM nap so while the kiddo and HJ slept, I went to the spa! Was originally planning on going to the gym but my whole back has been aching after carrying Nat in the carrier to shop at Bugis Junction last Saturday so better not.  We got lucky with our dinner venue at the restaurant TENDON at Tanjong Pajar, which was usually very packed at lunch and dinner times with very long queues, but still had seats available when we walked in at 6pm!

This morning, Nat managed to get some swim time in the bathtub because we forgot to pack our swim wear! Next time we’ll definitely go to the pool.

Since he was still much smaller than the tub, he was able to kick from one end to the other whereas in the inflatable pool at home, he could only tread water and/or move in circles.

Sleep-wise, we were crazy enough to do an experiment – to listen to Nat’s body, forgo the dreamfeed and see if he still needed a MOTN feed. Most important guideline to follow, only sleep train or do sleep experiments if one does not need to wake up to work the next day. Here’s how it went:

620pm: Seemed hungry (last feed was 4hrs ago) but he only drank 60ml then fell asleep at 7pm

805pm: Hungry and drank 120ml before sleeping at 915pm

We didn’t top up with any dreamfeed and as we rightly predicted, he was hungry at 230am so we fed him 60ml to last until 6am

Verdict: Nat still needs a dreamfeed to last through the whole night and we are 90% sure he’s gonna be bunking at my mom’s if we travel in June. Seriously.

– CK

The Queer 4th Month

Queer because most literature I’ve read says strange things will happen this month – the most dreaded being sleep regression. So after 2 weeks of nighttime bliss when Nat slept through and woke up at 6am+, the streak has been broken. On two different days, he awoke at 4am hungry because he wasn’t able to take a full last feed. He also has taken to finishing a full feed in two parts which makes me wonder whether he is ‘rejecting’ his formula because even when hungry, it takes a long time for him to finish a feed.  This is a strange period indeed.

Even his morning tummy time has become sluggish. I don’t blame him, I mean who isn’t groggy after waking up at 4am haha

Thankfully two very crucial things remain constant…

  • Nat seems to still be interested in his books (hooray for the Kino sale over the weekend)

  • Nat can still go down for a nap with relative ease after his wake time

I think if his eat/wake/sleep routine gets totally uprooted, I don’t know what I’ll do.

So now to solve the other mysteries…

Milk In Segments:

  • When he’s hungry, finishing 150ml at one go isn’t a problem but the last 30ml needs to be separate because he likes his milk warm. If we give 180ml in a bottle, he won’t finish the last 40-50ml because by he time he gets there, the temperature is no longer warm. As Nat takes both breastmilk and formula in the day time when we’re at home, I usually give 100ml breastmilk followed by 60ml formula. If he isn’t hungry enough to finish everything, I rather he waste the formula than the precious liquid gold aka breastmilk.
  • We have also changed the teat to his appropriate age i.e. 3months+, medium flow (not the variable flow one which is meant for thicker liquids) so it’s not a case of the milk flowing out too slowly, making it challenging to finish the whole feed. As such, I don’t have a definite solution to this segmentation of his milk intake – or is a solution even necessary? As long as he finishes his feed (160-180ml) in a sitting, does it really matter if it’s taken at one shot?
  • We’ll definitely let his PD know about this at the upcoming appt this Friday and see what she says. I suspect maybe he isn’t that interested in his current formula anymore but am not sure if it warrants a switch because the whole point about Nestle NAN HA (hypoallergy) is that it is the closest tasting to breastmilk… but if Nat is going to be weaned off breastmilk soon, does the resemblance of the formula’s taste to breastmilk still matter?

The Return of the MOTN feed: 

  • On nights with a dreamfeed (60ml just before we sleep around 1130pm), Nat still sleeps through the night so it isn’t so bad. We are very very grateful as it is already that more often than not, we get to sleep for 7 hours straight. It’s only those nights where he isn’t able to finish a full 180ml bottle at his last feed around 10/1030pm that he wakes up hungry ard 4am.
  • This then links to the milk mystery above. When he’s hungry and his last feed was at 6pm in the evening (4hrs+ before), we don’t get why he does only a partial feed? So based on his cues, we don’t feed anymore once he doesn’t want to drink but will sometimes do a dreamfeed before we sleep.

So many questions… to be hopefully resolved (at least partially?) when we speak to Nat’s PD this Friday.

I think one lesson for me to note is that Nat’s schedule is bound to switch from time to time (I just didn’t expect it to adjust every month!) and when things like this happen, maybe it’s time to observe his cues and update his schedule accordingly and not the other way round.

When Nat is ready for semi-solids, there will be a whole new ballgame of structuring his feeds such that it does not negatively affect his night time sleep. It’s really amazing how everything that happens in the day time (feeding and naps) all somehow determines how well the baby sleeps at night. Really also makes me wonder how did we get to our staple breakfast, lunch and dinner meal times. My parents and grandparents certainly did not have so much time to read various books and then apply the literature on us. It was just wisdom from their parents and probably trial and error most of the time and we turned out fine!

– CK