Days Like These

I spent the whole afternoon out. I just needed to get out of the house. I had a good catch up with a friend. I went for a massage. The lady said my whole body was very stiff. I’m not supposed to be drinking so much ice water. I reached home and felt irritated again. HJ told me to go out after dinner for ‘me time’…. read a book, catch a movie. He and our helper would settle Nat.

So I did just that. 

I decided against exercising because I went to the gym for two days in a row and I figured my body could do with a break today before I resume gyming tomorrow.

I went nearby to Seletar Mall, because yesterday we already went Greenwich for ice cream. 

I brought along a murder-thriller novel, given to me by my friend to read during confinement. 

I went to Coffee Bean to get a hot chocolate to accompany my read. 

After about an hour, I decided to walk around and ended up buying some daytime home tees for Nat. 

Before leaving, I went to buy Bak Kut Teh… just because I want to sit at my dining table, sipping hot peppery soup while I continue reading my book. 

Today is strange but it feels good to unwind and do whatever because I feel like it. 

I can’t fully explain why I’m feeling this way. I have absolutely no ill-feelings towards Nat or his daily routines. 

Days like these, it’s okay to not be okay.

When I try to analyze it, I guess I’m just feeling frustrated that almost every weekday is the same routine. I know this may sound ‘crazy’ but I am looking forward to return to work. I guess I just need to get back to doing what I did before Nat. 

Soon. 

– CK 

Back in Business

Nat has returned to sleeping till 7am for the past 2 nights, hopefully his early awakening remains just a phase that has passed. Actually there was a blindspot – too short waketime in the morning, which our friend then advised us to try and put him down to nap later around 830/845am. Nat’s length for his 3 naps were also in the incorrect order, with his last one being the longest, that affected night sleep. I am just so glad that we’re not alone in trying to understand baby sleep and how everything is connected (naps, waketime, feeding etc.)

So now that we’re back in business to having a continuous night’s rest… I was able to consolidate some thoughts based on the past 2 days of experimentation.

Waketime: 

  • By right, for a 5-6 month old baby, they should be able to have 2.5 hours of waketime before the next nap. Nat is able to do this in the day except after his first feed at 645/7am. We would let him fall back to sleep right after his feed so while the other waketimes were being stretched, his early morning one was stagnant.
  • As such, I’ve started engaging him by reading books and playing music between 715-830am before letting him go down for a nap.

Naps: 

  • By extension of no. 1, his nap times will be pushed back a bit and by right, the first two naps are supposed to be longer than the final 3rd one.
  • However, Nat’s mid-day nap is always the shortest except on Friday where he napped from 1230-115pm. This was much later and longer than usual. Perhaps, his body is also naturally adjusting?
  • So say he wakes up at 10/1030am, his 2nd nap should be 1230/1pm followed by his last nap at 3/330pm. Then the length of his last nap is supposed to be the shortest since it is a bridging nap to evening bedtime.
  • However, not all babies go according to plan and when I experimented, Nat still snoozed the shortest for his 2nd nap (we were out at a family lunch) before clocking 1h55mins for his 3rd nap. Thankfully he woke up naturally before 5pm, if not I would have had to do what I am reluctant to, which is to wake him up.
  • I guess for now, especially on days we have lunch appointments, I am okay with his mid-day nap still being shorter as long as his total day time sleep does not exceed 4/4.5 hours.

Never wake a sleeping baby? 

MYTH. Debunked here.

I am aware of this and have roused Nat from his sleep by 530pm a few times before because if he’s allowed to nap beyond that, he won’t be tired at 8pm and night sleep will be compromised.

Of course now the challenge is to explain this to my mom and helper who will be his main caretakers when I return to office in mid-May. At most, there may be a bit of inconsistency but at least I will be the key person enforcing his routine 4 days a week when I’m not in office.

My principle is as such – there are certain times when it is legit and necessary to wake a sleeping baby. I also certainly don’t want to compromise night sleep or deal with repeated early awakenings. So as peaceful as Nat’s face may look when he’s napping, when I have to rouse him, I have to rouse him.

I also know some babies have greater sleep needs so for Nat, so I’ve included some flexible leeway. For example, while experts recommend no more than 3-4 hours of day time sleep for babies at 5 months, ill cap his at maybe 4.5 hours? So depending on the time he goes down to nap for his final one, 530pm is my current absolute deadline.

Sigh… so complex but necessary to understand and experiment.

Hoping next week will continue to be fairly stable 🙂

– CK

Sleep Regression Woes 

So… for the past 4 days, Nat started waking up around 4/5am crying 😦 We thought it was due to the introduction of evening puree, and thus maybe he was not getting enough milk calories but we also noted that before evening puree started, he was unable to nap in the PM last Sunday. Hence, it is very likely a sleep regression phase, coinciding with a possible growth spurt and introduction of evening puree => 3-in-1 combo that basically obliterated his usual schedule.

It was really mind-boggling because when it happened on a day-to-day basis, we could not see the big picture to ascertain what was most likely the culprit? Everyday was a trial and error experimentation, especially since evening puree had been introduced to the picture.

It helped that everything was recorded down so that we could analyze it to check for any patterns.

We also had to ensure that we adhered to certain feeding guidelines given to us by the PD:

  1. First purée of the day – mid AM (10am)
  2. Second puree of the day – before 6pm (once Nat woke up from his PM nap)
  3. Depending on puree intake, top up milk accordingly i.e. if a full bowl (4 ounces is given, no need milk top up)
  4. Keep the 10pm last feed, before 11pm latest (too late = bad for gum health)

Below is the log sheet of the series of confusing events that occurred over the past few days…

Sunday (16/4): [the afternoon his nap regression began]

  • 330pm – suddenly woke up from nap and could not sleep again despite us trying to coax him for 1h+ *** THIS was the start of the sleep regression, that we missed, thinking it was due to the introduction of evening puree ***
  • 6pm – rice cereal (4 dessert spoons with 40ml milk) *wasn’t completely finished
  • 645pm – went to sleep without any milk top-up, too tired after missing his PM nap
  • 9pm – drank 140ml (last feed)
  • 140am – woke up hungry, we gave 40ml *we didn’t think much of this at that time because his last feed was quite early and, his schedule for the day was messed up already so we thought it would be a one-time episode (so so wrong haha!)

Monday (17/4): [Vaccination day, no puree]

  • 610pm – 175ml in the car
  • 835pm – 60ml suddenly hungry
  • 1115pm – 60ml (last feed) *we didn’t rouse him at 10pm as he fell asleep around 9pm only 
  • 440am – hungry, gave him 40ml milk *we didn’t think much of this as it was expected? since his last feed was only 60ml 

# This also ruled out our first hypothesis that his 4/5am awakenings was due to the introduction of evening puree because we gave him his normal full milk feed after the PD appointment in the car. 

Tuesday (18/4): 

  • 545pm – rice cereal (4 dessert spoons with 40ml milk)
  • 620pm – 100ml (could not finish the last 20ml)
  • 8pm – 40ml (peckish, could not sleep)
  • 835pm – 60ml (still peckish) *potential growth spurt alert!
  • 1020pm – 120ml (last feed)
  • 445am – woke up crying, we gave 30ml water^, Nat went back to sleep

^We experimented with water because after Nat was able to drop his MOTN feed, the last thing we want is to re-start a habit of early AM awakenings for milk

Wednesday (19/4): 

  • 535pm – rice cereal (4 dessert spoons with 40ml milk)
  • 550pm – 60ml milk (part 1)
  • 645pm – 50ml milk (part 2, could not finish remaining 40ml)
  • Not peckish at 8pm+ *maybe because he consumed part 2 of his milk close to 7pm
  • 1030pm – 130ml (could not finish remaining 20ml) *possibly due to the short interval between his part 2 milk feed at 645pm? 
  • 415am hungry, gave 60ml milk but a bit diluted^

^ Reason for this is because his wake up feed was 645/7am and we try not to encourage the habit of large feeds between 11pm and 6am. Afterall, Nat had been sleeping through since end-Feb so we very much like to get back to that.

Thursday (20/4): 

  • 145pm – only drank 100ml (usually he takes 180ml)
  • 335pm – suddenly woke up mid-nap hungry, gave 80ml but he could not go back to sleep until after 1hr of coaxing!
  • 6pm – pumpkin and rice cereal puree (2/3 bowl)
  • 7pm – only drank 30ml (I decided to give an hour break to see how much milk top-up he could taken but he wasn’t that hungry)
  • No hunger pangs at 8pm+
  • 950pm – 160ml (last feed)
  • 245am – woke up crying but…. could be coaxed back to sleep within 5-10 minutes without any milk or water required (Thank God!)

So some preliminary conclusions:

  1. Main culprit = most likely sleep regression because both PM naps and night time sleep is disrupted, sometimes he’s hungrier, sometimes he’s not and it all started on Sunday PM, even before evening puree began
  2. It seems that he is able to last through the night as long as his last feed is big enough i.e. 150ml minimum so even with a sleep disruption, he’s not hungry and can be coaxed back to sleep

Today will be another day we cross our fingers and hope it ain’t too destabilizing. Though when all this is happening, I am reminded that I have to just be more flexible and to go with the flow, while also sticking to an overarching routine.

This article nicely summaries what sleep regression is, when it may usually happen, and how to survive it. We’re still not 100% sure what Nat is going through so we’ll just try our best to adjust accordingly.

So for now, our coping mechanism, which we successfully applied yesterday is to try and sleep earlier so that if Nat were to wake up, we are not too zombie the next day.  Before last night, we were totally zonked in the mornings because of his 4/5am awakenings. I still marvel at how we could wake up at 1am and 4am last time but once we started sleeping 6-7 hours straight, it’s physically exhausting to even have 1 night awakening.

Hopefully this will pass soon…

– CK

The End. 

After 5.5 months (a bit short of my 6 month goal), I’ve stopped pumping for good and can finally keep the pump now! Once the freezer stash finishes, Nat will be 100% on formula milk. Actually, he’s all along been a combo baby so quitting breastmilk isn’t that big a deal.

Emotionally, I’m relieved that I don’t need to sit on my chair to pump anymore though some days I look back and wonder if I could have dragged it on a bit longer. I guess my “self-weaning” was a tad too effective :p

From day 1, I chose to pump exclusively because I felt latching was really quite a hassle especially in the first 1-2 months where I had to latch every 3 hours, for 40 minutes or more each time. I was also 100% sure that once I return to work, I did not want to bring a pump and have to regularly visit the nursing room. I wanted to physically return to my previous norm i.e. not have any feeling that my boobs were going to burst every few hours. These preferences were made clear to HJ from day 1 and he was very supportive in standing behind whatever decision I made. Whether Nat was 100% on formula, majority on formula or 50/50, HJ left it completely to me, while also communicating that he personally would like me to give Nat breastmilk until he was 6 months old. So yes, early communication with your partner is key to helping you keep your sanity in the immediate weeks after giving birth.

So using my return to work (in May) as a guideline, I started planning how to gradually wean off the pump.

November 2016: I was latching Nat every 3 hours and/or pumping to stimulate milk production. Thankfully, I only had some engorgement in the early weeks which my post-natal massage helped to clear the blockages. My daily schedule was 1am, 4am, 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm.

December 2016: I decided to exclusively pump and only latch Nat around 1-2x a day. In the early hours of the morning, HJ would also wake up to help feed Nat, while I pumped away. Some nights, Nat’s feeding time and my pump time would coincide so I would just latch him out of convenience but those were rare because I would set my alarm a bit earlier than his feeding time so that once I was done with pumping, I could move on to feeding him. Of course, feeding directly with the breast would have been ‘logistically’ easier i.e. no washing of equipment in the middle of the night but at 4am, I really did not want to sit there for 45minutes fighting to keep my eyes open. Towards the end of the month, I had reduced my pumps per day (ppd) from 8 to 6 times – 1am, 4am, 7am, 12pm, 5pm and 9pm.

January 2017: HJ returned to work and our helper had not arrived yet so stretching my pump intervals allowed me to do more things with Nat. Perhaps dropping to 6 ppd in the 3rd month was too soon. By the end of Jan, my ppd went down further from 6 to 5 times – 3am, 7am, 12pm, 5pm, 11pm. As Nat was only waking up once a night for a small feed, I matched his schedule to wake up only 1x to pump.

February 2017: My target ppd was 4 times because I needed to reach 3, 2 then 1 by March, April and May when I returned to work. Jan to Feb also saw my most output per pump so I started stocking up the freezer stash during this time. This also meant that each pump’s output was able to match Nat’s milk intake. However, the moment Nat started sleeping longer in the night after his 1030pm feed, I decided to drop my MOTN pump. Surprisingly, I had no engorgement issues or discomfort. Once I dropped the MOTN pump, my supply tanked and never went back up. On hindsight, I could have delayed dropping it until March?

March 2017: I continued pumping 4 times a day, as per Feb’s schedule – 7am, 12pm, 6pm and 11pm until end of March when I dropped it to 3 ppd. So instead of a 5-6 hour interval, I pumped every 8 hours – 7am, 3pm, 11pm.

April 2017: The month isn’t over and my original plan was to maintain 2 ppd – one in the morning and one just before I went to bed. Technically I could also continue with 2 ppd in May when I return to work but I figured that the morning would be a mad rush getting ready for work so I would rather not. Then because my output had already decreased so much, I was like heck it, let’s just try 1 pump a day, which was originally May’s plan. I then pumped 1x a day before I went to bed for a few days before deciding to just drop pumping totally and see if I experienced any discomfort. As I’ve not pumped at all for the past 3 days, I think it’s considered a done deal.

Would I do the same thing again i.e. feeding a combo of formula and breastmilk if I have a second kid – most likely yes, but maybe I would not drop 2 pumps at the 3rd month. I guess once I got the hang of getting so much done by stretching my intervals, I could not go back to pumping every 3-4 hours. Moreover, I also wanted to be able to eat and drink whatever I felt like having without having to worry about it affecting my breastmilk and by extension, Nat.

Owell, because of this, I now have to pay the price, literally for more milk powder haha

– CK

Nat @ 5 months

We just went for Nat’s 5th month vaccine… in a nutshell it was quite a funny session with his PD asking “Aiyo so heavy, what have you been feeding him?” Of which, HJ replied that he thought Nat wasn’t gaining weight fast enough (he’s 8.2kg), which I think it’s alright? Then, his PD laughed and responded that Nat is chubby enough haha all this while squeezing his thighs.

Nat the drool monster while waiting for his turn


So the trip to the PD also answered some of my questions, especially with regard to his puree feeds.

In summary:

  1. We can increase his puree feed to twice a day – once in the mid-morning and once in the middle of the afternoon. However, as Nat usually naps from 230/3-5pm, we can give the purée once he wakes up. 
  2. More importantly, what kind of puree can we give in the evenings? Sweet potato & yam is no no because it can cause gas and lead to digestion issues. Hence, rice cereal, pumpkin and carrots are the safest options.
  3. Order of feed should be puree followed by milk top-up, with the latter to be adjusted according to how much puree he actually consumes. For example, if 4 to 5 ounces of rice cereal is consumed (a whole bowl), then he would be too full to finish anymore milk. Of course things don’t always go according to plan – if baby is too hungry at 6pm, need to offer 20-30ml of milk first, then start the puree. They basically have to be in a good, calm mood to eat their semi-solids.
  4. Since we had already dropped the 11pm dreamfeed quite early on, our PD told us to keep the last 10pm feed so that Nat won’t have any early morning awakenings. In summary, her guideline was 2 puree feeds (10am and 6pm), supplemented by milk and 3 full milk feeds (7am, 2pm and 10pm) over 24 hours. *Nat’s full feed now is quite fixed at 180ml. 

Here comes the exciting part…

In terms of ‘new’ foods that he can try before his next appointment, these have been added to the existing list:

  • Avocado
  • Oatmeal cereal
  • Banana (starting tomorrow!)

This is his menu for the next few days:

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 7.18.00 pm

  • I chose not to give bananas for 3 days straight just in case he gets gassy. 
  • The yam this week is from Thailand and is a lighter shade of purple as opposed to last week’s variant from Japan, which costs twice as much and is a very dark purple.
  • On those days he’s trying out a new food item like the banana and Thailand yam, we’ll be giving him something he has already tried and tested in the evening so if anything goes wrong, we’ll know that the culprit is the new food since he has no issues with rice cereal, pumpkin or carrot.

Then at the appointment, we forgot to ask if Nat can take gripe water in case he gets another gassy episode. Oh well, we’ll leave it until his next vaccination then.

All in all, we’re just glad that all is well with Nat and that he’s getting a chance to try different foods, whilst still taking the bulk of his milk and sleeping well. The two occasions he woke up at 2am and 5am respectively was no joke man. I think we have forgotten how it felt like to wake up in the middle of the night. Looking back, I don’t know how we survived in Nov and Dec last year. 

– CK

High Chair Feeds

As a conclusion to our high chair issue, we bought the IKEA one after quite a number of our friends recommended it. At under $30, most restaurants also use it so it will feel like home for Nat. Currently, we didn’t fix the table yet but I guess we’ll do it soon once he starts finger-feeding himself maybe around 6 months?

Nat on his high chair eating his 10am puree

So far so good…

The perks:

  • The high-backing of the chair offers good back support
  • Price tag is very friendly – the seat costs $29.90 while the cushion is an extra $9.90
  • The inside of the cushion is actually inflatable so you can adjust the firmness of it by blowing in more air or simply letting air escape
  • Easy to assemble, as with most IKEA items

Downsides:

  • While the cushion cover can be washed, it gets stained quite easily – depending on how messy the kiddo is
  • Chair can’t be folded/kept away like some other models in the market but if it’s used 2x a day, then makes sense to leave it near the dining area, tucked at one corner

Speaking of puree, Nat was supposed to try bananas this weekend before his 5 month PD appointment tomorrow but the bananas my mom bought still need 1-2 days to ripen. As such, we’ll KIV that till tomorrow.

In terms of what he has tried…

  1. Rice cereal: comforting food
  2. Pumpkin: the best in terms of texture, really really soft
  3. Carrot: so-so as it not as soft/smooth as pumpkin
  4. Sweet potato: can be quite dry and it caused some gassy problems but no adverse allergic reaction
  5. Yam (Japanese sweet potato): really dark purple in colour but after boiling for 30min, texture is very soft

Once we ascertained that Nat had no issues with the above items, we then gave him the individual vegetables with rice cereal and also mixed two vegetables mixed – pumpkin and carrot puree.

Next week, we’ll be trying the banana and I bought a more familiar type of yam (light purple) vs Japanese yam.

Perhaps at tomorrow’s appointment, Nat’s PD will tell us to up his puree to 2 meals a day? Once in the morning and once in evening? The latter is a whole new ballgame because one needs to give the right food and at the right time, in order to ensure that milk isn’t rejected/refused in the process.

We shall see. Exciting times planning his schedule and menu 🙂

– CK

Finding THE Playmat

I’ve put this on the back burner for weeks… whether we should get a rug, mattress or playmat. Then after hours of research coupled with a lucky find over the weekend, we found the perfect playmat for Nat (and our home) – the PE Parklon Folding Mat. It’s thin but firm enough and best of all, it can be folded and kept away!

So the discussion whether to get a playmat was reopened after Nat started flipping almost everywhere – on our bed, the sofa, his crib. The safest place for him to do all his antics was the floor but we only had a small quilt-like cushion for him to lie on.

We went back and forth with the options below but each had its own issues.

  1. Old school mattress: This was the surface that HJ and I learnt how to crawl. In those days, there weren’t all these fancy playmats. It was either the good old mattress or the floor.
  2. Comforter/quilt: My mom has a spare quilt that we could let Nat lie on or do tummy time. However, while it is fluffy, it’s not firm enough to cushion any impact should his head hit the floor.
  3. ‘Permanent’ Playmats: These range from those puzzle pieces to one-piece mats. I was looking at Parklon Bumper Mats from small small world’s estore. However, my main gripe with these mats is that they tend to become quite ‘permanent’ in the living room. If one is okay with that or intends for that to happen, then no issue there but… I really don’t want to have Nat’s playmat left permanently in our living room. No doubt the Parklon Bumper Mat can be folded and kept in a carrier bag but I rather not keep doing that because it may end up having crease lines after repeated folding. I also don’t think it’s meant to be folded too frequently. Cost-wise, I was really reluctant to spend $120++ on a playmat.

So we were stuck until I found the foldable version of the bumper mat – sold on smallsmallworld and Agapebabies. At less than $90 (before discount), it is more affordable vis-a-vis its bumper mat cousin. We were also very lucky because there was a 15% promotion of all Parklon mats last weekend so that was when I decided it was the right purchase. Material wise, the foldable one differs from its bumper mat cousin as it is made out of PE vs. PVC, but both of which are safe and non-toxic for babies/toddlers so PE or PVC didn’t really bother me.

From Agape Babies

 

The mat comes with a bag and can be kept neatly (above pic) when folded. Actually, I didn’t think we had much choice because it was the only playmat that met all my criteria:

  1. It’s thin yet firm enough to cushion any impact even though it’s only 8mm in thickness. The other bumper playmats range from 10mm to 15mm but a difference of 2-5mm didn’t really bother us because it’s mm and not cm.
  2. It is not meant for heavy usage (the description of the mat also states this) and is supposed to be folded. This sealed the deal for me! Nat is usually having his reading/tummy/play time 2-3x a day at most so it doesn’t need to be open at night after we wash him up and put him down to sleep. I also bring my mom’s dog over on weekday afternoons so even if she’s toilet trained to do her business on her pee pad, there’s no way I want to risk having a carpet/rug/playmat permanently laid out in the living room for fear of pee/poop accidents.
  3. The top surface is strangely flat/smooth and not embossed, unlike its bumber mat cousin so cleaning is very straightforward. Note: the design of the foldable mat is one-sided whereas the bumper mat has two-sides. It being one-sided was fine with us because if the under-side is going to come into frequent contact with the floor, we won’t want to flip it so often either.
  4. I love the design – okay, this has nothing to do with its functionality or price but really just my personal preference. It’s subtle, not too ‘kiddy’ and doesn’t clash with my living room decor/furniture. Coincidentally, Nat also has quite a few ‘twinkle star’ items such as his carrier and onesies so now he has a ‘twinkle star’ mat 🙂

Now, we can literally see how our decision to not have 1) a coffee table and 2) a TV are the two best decor-decisions we’ve made with regard to our home. The lack of a coffee table allows us to have the whole living room space for Nat’s mat amongst other things without having to shift anything away. It also provides ample space at night to do our circuit workouts/stretches. As for the TV, I think we’re quite happy as Netflix junkies and do not want Nat getting distracted with screen time.

So this finally concludes the playmat issue!

– CK

H20, Babies and Sippy Cups?

What led to this question was this – ever since Nat was around 2 months, we had family members ask us whether we gave him water in case he gets dehydrated etc. At that point, we clarified that babies under 6 months do not need to drink water as breastmilk/formula milk contains everything they need. However, we did give sips of water to Nat as our confinement nanny told us that formula milk is more heaty vis-a-vis breastmilk. Now, at 5 months and taking into account how he began taking semi-solids at 4 months, I’ve decided to make sips of water a regular thing in the day. Along with this, Nat gets to try out his sippy cup that our friend gave to him for his 1st month 😀

image1.JPG

Related to this topic of H20 and babies, especially when is it safe to give water and how much water to giveI found quite a few helpful articles online:

Most experts suggest that you wait until you’ve started feeding solids to your baby, when she’s between four and six months old.

From: http://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/feeding-your-baby/giving-water-to-baby.aspx 

This one applies to exclusively breastfed babies – “Exclusively breastfed babies do not require additional water even when it is very hot outside, as long as baby is allowed to nurse as needed.” Whereas for Nat, he has all along been a ‘combo’ baby of breastmilk and formula and since 4 out of his 5 feeds are formula milk, we decided to give him regular sips of water e.g. no more than 20ml each time usually after or in-between feeds. This is to ensure that it does not interfere with his appetite for milk.

As to how much water one should give, ideally not more than 2-3 ounces over 24 hours or as per what your pediatrician recommends.

Then I recalled reading somewhere that instead of using the milk bottle, water can be offered via the sippy cup.

So here are some tips for introducing sippy cups. I think the most important one is finding one with a soft spout vs. a hard plastic one, which is for later on after baby gets more used to it. This morning was pure trial and error because I was not sure if Nat is ‘ready’ but I guess he is since he has no issues with his semi-solids and every time we feed him his milk, he will try to hold onto his bottle. Nonetheless, today I assisted him in tilting the cup backwards so the water could be sucked out so baby steps…

– CK

But first, let’s float

So this weekend, we decided to introduce Nat to the big cold pool during our staycation at Amara. The water doesn’t have such an overwhelming chemical smell so I figured it would be quite safe. Timing-wise, we went at 5pm yesterday and 11am this morning so it wasn’t too cold. Our main purpose was to get him comfortable beyond his inflatable pool. He also seems to kick more without his neck float so we’ll probably ditch that soon. 

“Swimming” with a baby is very different from without one! 

  1. I can’t dip in the pool longer than 30 minutes as babies lose heat faster than adults so 30 minutes is the maximum time for now. When Nat was younger, the recommended time was 15 minutes. 
  2. There’s no actual swimming being done unless one of us tends to the baby so the other can do laps. 
  3. There’s also not much sun-tanning while having an ice cold beer, until after dipping with baby is done. 
  4. Most importantly, one needs to plan and pick the right time to go to the pool.
  • Baby must have been fed, but not too recent as the last thing you want is for baby to vomit. 
  • Ideally, baby should have already pooped or not going to poop anything soon. Nat strangely poops slightly before 2pm everyday so bringing him at 11am and 5pm was safe. Nonetheless, always wear swim diapers as insurance! 
  • Baby also needs to be well-rested i.e. not just before nap time if not you’ll be dealing with a potentially cranky and overtired baby. Yesterday we brought him after his PM nap and today we went down at 1115am, 1hr after his 1015am feed and 1hr to go before his post-bath cat nap.
  • If the baby is unwell, or just recovered, swimming is definitely not possible. 
  • Lastly, the weather needs to be on your side. Swimming before 10am and after 6pm is too cold. The noon-day sun is also another no-no. 

So when all the above is met, then yes, perfect time to go dip baby in the pool. 

I also say “swimming” because I personally think that one needs to be of a certain age before they can listen, understand and perform the skills related to actual swimming strokes. Previously, I came across a video where babies were taught how to roll and float as a safety measure in the event that they fall into a swimming pool. The context for this is that in the US, quite a lot of private houses have pools in the backward. Nevertheless, this isn’t to say there are no perks associated with baby swim classes or bringing babies to the pool at a young age. I also believe it’s entirely possible for them to blow bubbles and swim underwater. Just that for now, we’re focusing on building water confidence such that Nat will eventually be comfortable enough when it’s time to learn the actual swimming skills. Like this article summed up, it’s more fun than form at this point. 

If I have to pick something to teach, the first one won’t be kicking per say, but floating. That was what my Grandfather did with me and I plan to do the same with Nat. 

He called it the “telephone”position because baby is lying horizontal like a telephone. I was told since young that babies or toddlers need to be comfortable lying in the water, with their heads partially submerged (eyes and mouth above the water). Their back are supported initially until they get the hang of it, then the extent of support can gradually decrease. 

 

In the left pic, I supported Nat with both hands under his back but I loosened my grip and didn’t support his lower back anymore in the right pic. Hopefully, floating will come naturally in due time. 
Blowing bubbles, going underwater etc. all can happen later on because now, loving the water is no.1 🙂 

– CK 

Fussy and Gassy

Poor Nat had quite a difficult evening last night. We suspect it’s the sweet potato. He also had more gas than usual in the PM. Then between 9-1030pm, he would cry in discomfort and did not finish his last feed. Finally at 1045pm after a tummy rub then he settled down and slept. So today and over the weekend, we’re giving him his fave rice cereal and taking a break from starchy puree.

If there’s anything we took away from our pre-natal class, it’s baby massage haha!

So once again… I was on some pseudo-detective case to isolate what could have possible caused all that gas.

Q1. Was it the sweet potato? We highly suspect so.

  • Nat was given Japanese sweet potato from Monday to Wednesday and only yesterday (Thursday) we bought Australian sweet potato and fed it to him with rice cereal.
  • I thought it was the switch to the Australian sweet potato but HJ noted that on Wednesday night, Nat strangely cried out in discomfort in the middle of the night at 2am. The last time he did that was when he was less than 3 months old. So HJ thinks it is sweet potato in general because the high sugar content may make it difficult for babies to stomach, literally. Even some adults feel gassy after consuming sweet potato.
  • So apparently, babies can be sensitive to sweet potatoes. I don’t think Nat’s allergic to it as there’s no rash or change in his poop. Instead, he just had a lot of gas.
  • Or maybe, sweet potato puree alone is fine but when combined with a bit of rice cereal = too overwhelming in terms of the starch? Linked to this, it could be that Nat was already eating sweet potato for 3 days (the recommended time to test for food allergies) so on hindsight, we should have given him sweet potato again Thursday morning.

Q2. Was it the evening feed yesterday, which wasn’t warm enough that Nat eventually didn’t finish? I doubt it. 

  • At 6pm, he drank 100ml and left 80ml so we warmed it and our helper tried to feed him again at 640pm, which he wasn’t interested so we dumped the milk away.
  • Hence, I do not think it was the milk because we always keep it warm and then subsequently discard the milk after max. 45mins if Nat cannot finish because beyond 1hour, formula milk will turn sour.

Q3. How do we know that gas was the culprit? 

  • Whenever Nat was in a lying down or reclined position, he would cry out in discomfort. So he could not sleep nor drink his last feed. I knew he was probably hungry because he would directly latch me but when we switched position to the bottle, he would refuse it and cry. Yep, just when I thought my breastfeeding days were over haha. 
  • He only felt better if he sat upright, of which he would let out a burp.
  • There was also the frequent passing of gas, which actually started in the afternoon and disrupted his nap.
  • We then rubbed some traditional Chinese stomach oil, specifically to expel stomach wind. Thereafter, he felt better and could sleep.
  • As there are a lot of possible reasons for gas in babies, we just tried to eliminate them one by one.

Thankfully, Nat was able to settle and sleep by 1045pm. As he had not consumed a full feed at night, I gave him a 60ml top-up at 1am before I slept and that lasted him until 7am.

This morning, he’s also back to his usual routine, rice cereal and a good appetite.

So I guess this gassy episode is over for now. At Nat’s next PD appointment, I’ll let his doctor know and see what she advises next.

  • Do we reintroduce it again but maybe in smaller amounts? I don’t wish to 100% cut something out of his diet, unless the reaction is a severe one. My current plan is to re-introduce it again but maybe a smaller amount and maybe test again for 2 days, not 3.

Good luck to us when we try more foods when Nat is 5 or 6 months old.

– CK