Fighting Sleep

Ever since Nat turned 8 months, his naps have been quite a mess. Some days he manages to take 3 naps, if not he will do 2 fairly long ones. Some days he’ll only clock 2 hours+, and then sleep before 8pm+ because he’s tired. Then for the past week, he will wake up at least 1x in the night when his previous “norm” is to sleep through until 630am. I have no idea what exactly is going on but we’ll just have to try and maintain a routine while being flexible in responding to his changing body/needs. 

So yes, I am back to reading up on sleep articles but this time, for 8 month babies who resist sleep such as this.

I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand babies and baby sleep – they’re clearly tired but still want to sit/stand/play then once they cross that fine thin line of overtiredness, all hell breaks loose. 

Other times when he’s not doing all of the above, he will get peckish early in the morning before 6am. Long ago, he needed 160ml for his last feed in order to sleep through. Then it kept dropping to 120ml, 90ml, 60ml and 40ml but he was still able to last until 6am? Now it’s back up to 60-90ml but he will get peckish around 430/530am. 

Let’s hope we this ‘8-10’ month regression phase will come to pass, if it is even that in the first place? Or you know, it could be teething-related since he has 4 emerging at the same time, next to the 4 he already has. 

The picture, courtesy of my mom is a bit blur but it really captures his antics and his 4 teeth. Yes, this is my happy-go-lucky and mischievous kiddo 🙂

– CK 


Baby Car Seat

So today we tried Nat’s new car seat – courtesy of our neighbour, out of sheer desperation. His usual car seat was in my car which HJ drove to go out so when I decided to go out with my mom, we were stuck. Thankfully, Nat meets the 9kg minimum criteria for the front-facing seat so after a quick research online for installation instructions, we left for town! 

So now, this spare front-facing seat can be permanently placed in my mom’s car while his usual one can remain in my car. 

Personally, I would want Nat to continue using his current rear-facing seat until he has exceeded the weight/age limit as stipulated in the manual, which is either 10kg or 1 year old. 

This is because I read some articles online that a rear-facing is safer than a front-facing? One of them even suggests using a rear-facing until 2 years old. 

This is our current Combi set (below), also given to us by a friend. Coming to think of it, we are very blessed to have most of the pricey baby items given to us. I hope we can maximize using this set for a while more because the permutations/options are amazing! 

Whatever it is, be it a new or second-hand seat, I can’t stress it enough that one must read all the instruction manuals properly before any usage for safety reasons. 

In other news, Nat has a total of 4 teeth coming out – 2 on each side of his front teeth?! Maybe that’s why he has been waking up ard 430/5am the past two nights? Or could it be that the amount of milk for his last feed needs to go back up? That is because we noted that his daily milk intake has suddenly gone up to above 500ml for the past 2-3 days. 

Like HJ said, there is really no constant as far as Nat’s body is concerned. If it’s not a sleep regression due to developmental milestones, it’s teething or something else. I am just thankful he’s still relatively easy to care for – only cries/fussy when hungry or tired. So once again, I am nothing but grateful for Nat’s easygoing demeanor. 

– CK  


Get plain not greek 

So as Nat starts to try a whole host of new foods now that he’s crossed the 8 months mark, we’re also learning how to adjust between strictly adhering to guidelines by feeding him 0 sugar vs what is palatable and edible. Lesson learnt for yogurt – plain is fine! No need to go 100% pure and unsweetened (Greek), which should be reserved for cooking.

That was Nat yesterday when we tried Greek yogurt mixed with fruit. He finished the portion but didn’t really like it. Then yesterday was his 8 month vaccination so we checked with his PD and she says plain is fine, babies probably don’t know how to appreciate Greek yogurt yet.

So today was much better because we used the normal plain yogurt (Emmi), my fave brand and mixed it with one donut peach.

So now we know…

  • Since the yogurt is plain and has a sour taste, the accompanying fruit should have a strong flavor i.e. peaches, bananas etc. to make it palatable for baby
  • Plain yogurt also has some traces of sugar in it under its ‘carbohydrates’ label but nothing too high to worry about

Now that Nat has cleared the yogurt test, we have another thing to feed him for his breakfast besides mixing fruits with rice cereal and baby oatmeal cereal.

Next up: a few days of baby french beans with his porridge because we forgot to test them when he was 6-8 months old before letting him try… wait for it… beef & potato hash on Sat! Yummy.

– CK

Sleep Regression II 

The 4 month sleep regression phase, if Nat actually had it, feels like a distant memory now because we may be going through the 8 month one. I completely forgot about it until this morning when my mom texted to say that Nat refused to go down for his 1st morning nap and just kept wanting to sit/stand up. So in the end, he had a 2-nap day. That’s when it clicked – that his usual sleep routine is possibly being disrupted due to his newly acquired skill of standing and a possible dropping of his 3rd nap. 

This is the Nat whom I found awake and standing in pitch darkness.

By 830pm, Nat went to bed (thankfully), as a result of HJ’s bedtime routine of trying to get him to relax as opposed to struggling with him to sleep. Nat had his last milk feed (now only 40-60ml) around 1015pm. Shortly after, at around 1045pm, he was suddenly very awake and I found him standing up in the dark. 

That was when I had an inkling that we are dealing with the 8 month sleep regression. 

This article gives a good explanation of what the 8 month sleep regression is all about before offering some very helpful advice about transiting from 3 to 2 naps. 

I really thought this would happen much later. I mean, didn’t teething happen not long ago that disrupted sleep for a bit? On hindsight, dealing with Nat at 4 months when he kept rolling over during bedtime isn’t as bad as him wanting to stand up whenever it’s time to sleep. 

I also didn’t expect the 3 to 2 nap transition to happen now as the age I had in mind was around 9-12 months? Then I recall that on some days, Nat would have 2 big naps so it makes more sense now.

It just didn’t register that a nap transition was taking place since as long as Nat has at least 3 hours of daytime sleep, it did not matter to me if he took 2 or 3 naps. 

At times like this, I just need to remember that this phase shall pass and that we just need to maintain certain habits whilst being flexible in responding to his changing body.

This regression will pass in time, but if you make a habit of now rocking the child, letting them sleep in your bed, sitting with them until they fall asleep (unless you are already doing these things), or skipping naps entirely, this regression now turns into a new habit for the child, one that will be tough to break.

Oh well, these are all part and parcel of the first year I guess and I’m sure toddler-hood isn’t a walk in the part either! We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. 

– CK 

8 months ppt

From the start, I knew that I’m not the sort of person who can somehow return back to their pre-pregger state within a span of 3 months. I also knew that it would require a lot of discipline to get back into shape. As it took 9 months to grow a baby and put on +16kg, I gave myself 9 months to lose it and try and fit back into all my pre-pregger clothes. Finally, after 8 months, the scale has returned to the pre-Nat figure in 2016 and am now aiming for my pre-wedding state in 2014 (-2kg more) haha. I’ll set a realistic goal for the end of the year because if we travel again, it always ruins my diet/exercise plans. 

As I didn’t chart my pregnancy and post-pregnancy journey, I only have these to reference how many kilos I had to lose

I also hate to say this but HJ was right in asking me to at least document some “bellypics” i.e. to basically witness it expand and then shrink back. Owell, maybe next time but by then, it would be much harder to maintain I’m sure. 

As it is, going back to work has somewhat slowed down my frequency of exercise, which shouldn’t be the case. Actually, it was  a bout of sickness in May and a fall right after I recovered that started the whole retardation process. 

Even two days ago, just doing some arm workouts at the gym is enough to make my right shoulder feel wonky again. So I have to hold off the weights until after I get my shoulder fixed this Thursday, with a deknotting massage. 

Besides the return to my norm, having a regular exercise routine be it jogging, gyming or swimming really makes a difference in terms of overall wellbeing. Whenever I feel crappy, I need to at least have an estate run. 

Whatever it is, I am just glad the toughest part is over i.e. shedding the last few kilos when I have the freedom to eat and drink anything I want. 

However, alcohol is still hard because of the sheer calories that beer has. Everything in moderation it shall be then. It’s like for every bottle I consume, I have to go and jog it off haha. 

– CK 

Nasal Congestion (again)

The Nat is standing now…

I guess one good thing about my part-time arrangement is that when both the father and son are not well, I am available to bring them to the Doctor. This AM, my mom brought Nat and I to his PD while HJ slept in then in the PM, I brought HJ to the Doctor. This time round, Nat started having nose irritation over the weekend but we don’t know where he caught it from as none of us had any symptoms. Thereafter, he probably passed it to HJ. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter – those two are always passing germs around.

It’s quite strange actually because I observed that whenever HJ gets sick, Nat will sure catch something a few days later but not when I get sick? The last time I was unwell in May, I passed the germs to HJ first then after that, Nat started coughing (2 weeks after I first came down with the flu). Likewise, Nat has been having runny nose and nasal congestion for the past 3-4 days but I feel fine… can’t say the same for HJ though who succumbed to the flu quite fast.

As today was a walk-in appointment, we still have to go back to the PD next Monday for Nat’s 8 month routine vaccination.

Anyhow, since we went down today, we got new instructions from the PD with regard to food testing.

  • She isn’t worried that his daily milk intake isn’t consistently above 500ml – some random days when he really doesn’t feel like drinking much, he takes about 400ml+ of formula.
  • I guess there’s nothing to worry about because he’s gaining weight normally (9.1kg) and eats 4x semi-solid/solid meals a day!?
  • She also told us that we can start testing the following new foods:
  1. Beef
  2. Egg
  3. Cheese (?!)
  4. Yogurt
  • On top of the above list, I checked with the nurse and am going to add blueberries and plums.

Looks like we are in for quite an exciting month ahead with new foods and more milestones. I can already imagine one recipe that we can try in the next 2 weeks – beef potato hash (imagine it with cheese!) … so yummy.

– CK

Menu Planning

A glimpse into what happens on some Friday nights – intense/messy menu editing for Nat… just because we’re still testing new food items while also trying to give him some variety within a routine. This practice only became a bit more complicated after he started having 4x meals a day (with milk inbetween). Now as he is approaching 8 months, the rate of trying new food items have also somewhat slowed down. That’s not much of an issue really since his list of foods is quite extensive already so now it’s mostly about tweaking his menu based on what foods go well with each other.

So here’s some tried and tested porridge recipes that seems to be tasty for Nat between 6-8 months.

  • FISH 
  1. Salmon belly + seaweed (wakame) + tofu
  2. Salmon belly + spinach + winter melon
  3. Threadfin/cod + butternut squash + carrots
  4. Threadfin/cod + spinach + sweet potato
  5. Any of the above fish + broccoli + butternut squash
  • MEAT
  1. Minced chicken/pork + butternut squash + carrots
  2. Minced chicken/pork + butternut squash + peas
  3. Minced chicken/pork + sweet potato + spinach
  4. Minced chicken/pork + broccoli + carrots/winter melon

* Those underlined have been known to cause some wind if given too much so each time, only one such ingredient is added into the porridge and not in large amounts.

Usually, any ‘heavy’ flavours are balanced out with 1-2 vegetables. Butternut squash features quite a lot in Nat’s meals because it’s his favourite so whenever there is a stronger and not so nice-smelling flavour such as peas or cauliflower, butternut squash is featured in the meal.

For non-porridge recipes involving meat, I found these to be quite delicious but we stopped after 2 weeks and switched his dinners to porridge after discovering that he is still not full whenever he has a non-porridge meal in the evenings.

  • Non-porridge MEAT combinations
  1. Chicken/pork + butternut squash or carrots + peas + peach or apricot or apples –> the perk of a non-porridge meat meal is that it can be combined with a fruit for added taste/sweetness and balance vis-a-vis the vegetables.

Actually, most of the time, I plan his meals according to what I think I would feel like eating if I were him haha and I guess I’m the kind of person who likes some variety within a standard menu. 

As such, one meal combination for lunch/dinner is repeated over 2 days before I mix up the fish/vegetable combinations for variety.

Then I realize it’s pretty much like adult meals i.e. pork goes well with apple, sweet potato or pumpkin/squash while chicken goes well with peach and nectarines. So I figured that if it would taste pleasant for me, the same may apply to Nat.

Some useful guiding questions I found myself thinking about include:

a. Are there too many days that a ‘gassy’ food item is being given? i.e. sweet potato, broccoli. It can then be given on alternate days or at most, two days in a row. 

b. Are strong flavours balanced out with a lighter flavour? Like fish generally has a strong smell so the vegetables chosen should not clash with it but instead, compliment it.

c. Is the ingredient more suited for breakfast/lunch or dinner? i.e. bananas also cause wind so it is advisable to feed in the AM, before 3pm to prevent any indigestion issues. Nat’s PD also advised against giving sweet potatoes + broccoli + yam (typically ‘gassy’ foods for dinner. 

Can’t wait for the next stage of 8-10 month foods that he can try. It just gets more exciting as they grow older.

– CK

It has happened…

In view of Nat being a hazard to himself… I wish this day came a little later – he hoisted himself up using his crib bar and just ‘stood’ there while both of us were sitting in bed. All I remember was that he was originally lying down, then when I turned my head to check on him, I got a shock because I saw his head peeping over the crib staring at me! All I could think of was my worst fear, which is him knocking his teeth out against the wooden bar of the crib -.- 

So the above happened around 8pm, when it was supposed to be bedtime. 

It is also evident that cot bumpers are useless against the Nat. He just steps on them in a bid to hoist himself further up so the bumpers don’t really serve their function of cushioning any hits. This is already the higher bumper set with strings on the top and bottom. He has another set which is a bit lower with strings on only one side so he just kept tugging it out of place. 

P.S his crib platform has already been lowered to the lowest, the moment he could sit up 

Then I came across this interesting Q&A article about baby standing in the crib at night, which disrupts sleep because the baby has not mastered how to sit/lie back down. This is because babies master the art of standing before they know how to sit back down from a standing position. 

Note to self: to be prepared that once Nat can hoist himself up more, it may disrupt his night sleep since he won’t just be sitting up in his crib during the occasional early awakenings :/ 

At times like this, I look back to the 3-5 month phase fondly, when Nat was fairly immobile. 

It’s funny how when they were so tiny, you can’t wait for them to grow bigger and attain the various milestones but once that happens, you recall how life was a bit easier when they were just a tiny bundle. The grass always seems greener. 

– CK 

Mouth Injuries 

Yup… besides rolling off the bed once, Nat recently also knocked his mouth/gum against a table top (ouch!) when we were out. Thankfully, it was nothing serious and he recovered after like a minute. Then I went to google and realized there’s quite a number of things to look out for when it comes to baby safety – especially now that Nat can sit, crawl and hoist himself up. This absolutely charming boy is also very mischievous and dangerous

So related to mouth injuries in babies, besides keeping them away from sharp/hard edges, ensuring they don’t crawl or run with a toy in the mouth is another thing. As it is, I ensure that only soft items are inside Nat’s playpen when he’s sitting inside and playing alone.

If the inevitable happens, which is a knock/fall and there’s some blood, the same first aid rules apply -> use a cold wet towel or if not available, a wet-one and put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. Should bleeding persist after 5-10min, it would warrant a trip to the Doc and especially so if cut is a big one. As much as we would want to pry open their mouths to examine the inside, doing so may spilt open the wound and cause bleeding to continue so that’s another thing to take note.

Cot-wise: We have lowered the platform to the lowest so that he doesn’t hoist himself up and over. He probably doesn’t have the strength yet but we also don’t want to take any risks. As it is, his cot bumpers are quite useless because he will pull them down and keep knocking his head. It doesn’t hurt at all and we always joke that it’s because he has his father’s skull – big, hard and relatively numb to pain.

Having his playpen out in the living room is the best arrangement we have thus far because every part of it is so soft so whatever monkey antics Nat gets up to doesn’t result in any physical injuries.

Anyhow, like HJ said, some accidents are bound to happen and we can’t protect him from everything. He has to learn certain painful consequences of his actions but I guess I’ll still try to reduce the likelihood of such things happening.

– CK