Traveling with a cranky almost 1 year old.

So. We just got back from a week long holiday in cold Hokkaido with my family. And boy was it an experience.

So baby J has been cranky for a while now, largely I think cos he’s top two teeth are growing in. He’s drooling endlessly and biting just about everything. My finger and shoulder included. So. I guess I should have know, from the get go, that this trip was not going to be as easy as our last trip when he was 6 months old, to Korea.

And boy was it difficult. Baby J hates wearing clothes. All clothes. So imagine having to put several layers of clothes onto a baby that won’t lie down much less stay still. Sometimes I watch shows where people change diapers or clothes on babies and really wonder if Baby J is just a strange anomaly.

Furthermore. He’s just mastered walking. Try keeping him in the stroller or baby carrier for most part of the day. Oh good lord he was mad.

That and for some reason he decided that he really needed to be carried all the time. By me. While walking. Regardless of whether or not we were on a plane, a train, a bus, a van. I could go on and on. It was not fun times and I’m immensely sorry to the people around us.

This trip has thought me that it really does take a village. My parents were grand (geddit geddit) and baby J adores my sister. So quick lesson learnt having support is important if possible. If not. Grit your teeth, ignores the angry stares. I promise things will get better. Eventually.

More on our travels soon!


Bringing up Bebe.

TLDR: interesting book for parents.

So, I’ve been reading the fairly humorously, light-hearted book Bringing up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. And if i were to summarise the main difference she highlights between American parenting and French parenting, it would be the emphasis or lack thereof of structure and the over-babying (does this word make sense) of the baby.

What struck me as interesting was the fact that before buying the book, I was reading through quite a bit of criticism of the author’s take on parenting, how the French rigidity could be the reason why the French aren’t famous for entrepreneurs and how her take was a bourgeois take on French parenting, the lower-middle and lower income don’t live like this.

I found this interesting because I feel like in Singapore, back in my day (late 80s early 90s), we were all brought up with similar structure and discipline. There was (and still isn’t) any interrupting of parents, no throwing of tantrums, sitting at the dinner, eating what you were given. All this was a given. Behave or you would be scolded, worse, you could be smacked (I refuse to delve into the whole debate surrounding smacking. We were smacked as kids, and till this day, I don’t see it as child abuse, I greatly love my parents and I understand that they love me to. Thats all I will say). To say that this stifles creativity or self-expression, I don’t know if its true, given that creativity and self-expression is also limited by cultural and national norms. But to say that it limits entrepreneurship? Probably not. Singapore is filled to the brim with entrepreneurs or people with business plans.

Interestingly though, I find that Singaporeans appear to be moving toward a more “helicopter” type of parenting where parents are constantly hovering, or anxious about their child, what he or she is doing etc. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Perhaps it’s simply because we are having less children and therefore each child is more precious. What does this mean for such children? I guess only time will tell.

Semi-Pro #4

Feeding baby medicine.

I had a friend recently ask me how I give my (almost 10 month old) very hyper baby medicine. And I realized that was a really good question. Baby J hates medicine. He hates being force-fed medicines, and it makes life just a little more difficult especially when him being sick is already making things tough.

So how do we do it? Well obviously we force him. If someone else is free to help me hold him, they have to cradle him and make sure both hands are secured so that he cannot whack the medicine away. And I will hold his cheeks so that he will open his mouth and make sure he swallows not spit out the medicines. Sounds evil. Sounds bad. But you know what. Him getting fed the medicines makes him feel better in the long run. It’s for his own good. 

So whats the tip? Don’t feel too bad about it. Remember it’s what’s good for him. And. Good luck. 

Semi-Pro Tip #3

So. We got an additional baby carrier as a spare. We sold off the Chimparoo Trek Air-O. It was a great carrier. But what I realized is that with baby carrier is that you really have to try it. With a baby. For a while. Before you can tell if it’s the right one for you.

I say this largely cos we are all so different in size, it’s very hard to say what is comfortable on someone else will be comfortable on you. 

We ended up getting a (more cost effective) spare carrier from Aprica. The Aprica Belt Colan. And we now use the Lillebaby Complete Airflow.

The Aprica is small (fits me, and I’m pretty much am average sized Asian) and extremely light. It’s even lighter than the fully cotton carriers like Tula that I’ve tried.

The Lillebaby isn’t as light. But it isn’t too big for me. 

What I’m trying to say is. Don’t buy a carrier purely based on what you read online. What might work for someone else might not work for you. See if you can borrow one to try, or rent a carrier (there are several places to do that in Singapore) and make your decision from there. 

Once you find the right one, happy carrying. But, regardless of how well it fits, if you’re anything like me. Say hello to shoulder aches. 

Baby Weaning Essentials

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, Baby J has begun weaning. In fact. He’s happily eating solids three times a day and loves his biscuits. What have we learnt from weaning the baby? Feeding babies are messy, time consuming, and utterly troublesome sometimes. BUT it really is quite satisfying to see your child happily consuming his food.

I must say that we got very lucky with baby J because he was never a fussy baby, and doesn’t give us much trouble when it comes to food. He actually really loves his solids (so much so he usually doesn’t finish his milk anymore, it is a problem). We’ve been giving him solids for about 3 months now (he’s 8 months now) and I’ve found some items to be extremely helpful our weaning journey.

The first on my list would be the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender .

Image result for tommee tippee blender steamer

This has been a life saver. And I guess the same would apply to any other steamer/blender combi, just that we happened to purchase this one. And why has it been so helpful? Largely because it saves me so much time. I’d chop up whether vegetable/fruit/fish/meat and either individually throw it in to be steamed and blended or throw in my preferred combination and wait for it to beep. It usually takes me no longer than 15 mins to finish prepping at least 3 portions of his food (3 portions because sometimes my freezer just doesn’t have enough space). And the best part? I really only have to wash the blender, a chopping board and a knife. Compared to if I had to steam the food in a traditional manner and then blend it? Definitely neater. Plus the blending function allows me to mash his food as finely (watery purees that I now use to mix with cereal/oats) or lumpy (for regular feeding) as I wish.

I store my purees in freezable infant food containers  that I can take, thaw and feed him straight out of right now because he doesn’t eat that much (so one container is usually enough). But I’ve also recently purchased a silicon food tray with a cover that can be used to freeze food cubes. This is so that I can thaw as many cubes as I need and with as many combinations as I like. I generally don’t make food in very big batches because of the freezer space constraint, so I don’t store food for that long in the freezer, food should be consumed within 1 – 3 months.

The other important weaning essential is a baby high chair. I’m quite particular about ensuring that baby J is in a high chair when he is being fed because 1. I’m hoping to start with table manners at a really young age 2. I think he enjoys being part of our family meals. We’ve had our high chair since before he began weaning because our high chair can lie flat and we used to put him in it sometimes during meals so that he could be nearby and we could eat in peace. The highchair that we have is the Joie Mimzy 360. 

Joie Mimzy 360 DENIM

It is useful because as mentioned it can lie flat, and at several different inclines. Equally usefully, it can turn 360degrees (hence the name). Which means that we can turn it to face whichever way we want it, which is useful because we don’t always sit at the same seats when we feed him etc and the ability to just turn the chair to where we want it to face without having to lift it manually is helpful. The seat cushions are machine washable (trust me I’ve put this to the test) which is very good because as I mentioned. Feeding baby is a messy messy affair.

The only drawback to this highchair is the fact that it takes quite a bit of floor space when open compared to say the ubiquitous Ikea highchair.

Alright I better get back to more important things, like work. Oh wells. Till the next time.

Travelling with Baby

So, we recently had our first trip abroad with baby J. And I must say that while it was an experience, it wasn’t really quite a difficult thing. At the end of the day, you just have to be ready to do less things, make sure you’re ready to spend more time in the hotel room and not pack in a crazy itinerary.

Or maybe we are just less ambitious parents. Haha.

So we travelling to S. Korea just at the beginning of winter. And while some people might believe that it is too cold for the baby yada yada. Really. babies are born in the cold every single day in so many different countries, remaining quite happy and healthy indeed. The key is to make sure they are dressed warm enough for the weather.

It was about 0-8 degrees Celsius in S. Korea when we were there + slight wind chill in the morning and when it rained. What we got for baby J was long sleeves and pants inside and a fleece lined winter onesie (from H&M) to wear when we ventured out. In addition, if he was in the stroller we would wrap him up in a fleece blanket. If he was in the carrier, I’d simple cover him with my winter coat.

All in all, I think he enjoyed the weather, largely because it was cold, but he was warm and toasty. He enjoyed it so much in fact, he was almost always asleep once we ventured out (he never naps so much back in sunny Singapore). He’d fall asleep in the carrier and stay asleep till we got back to the hotel. So much so we have hardly any photos of him awake haha.

Separately, travelling on the plane with a baby… it was an experience. The red eye we took on the way there was great actually he was asleep slightly before we boarded and once we were up in the air, he slept in the carrier for a while before I transferred him to the bassinet. On the way back though, because it was an afternoon flight, he was wide awake and refused to be put to sleep. This meant 6 hours of trying to entertain a baby in a very confined space. However, I must commend the staff onboard the SQ flight that we took. Not because of anything major, but it was really the little things that made flying that much easier. For instance, they would know that either my husband or myself would need to be watching the baby hence they would ask if we would like our meals to be served at different times. Also, because I am exclusively pumping (baby J refused to latch after a few months) they helped provide the hot water and everything else I needed to pump on board. This plus their general kindness towards us really made a difference.

It is not everyday you get to experience travelling with a little one, and honestly, I would do it again in a heartbeat because it meant that we could show baby J a bit more of the world (although he probably won’t understand it for years more) and it provides us with a break to our normally hectic daily life.

Time flies. 

Omg so much has happened. Baby J is now almost 7 months old now. He’s eating solids twice a day now. I’ve had no time to update this largely because he’s so active now. And I’ve gone back to work more or less (I say that because he’s been sick and hence I’ve been home. I realize that happens with babies more than my boss will probably appreciate).

What shall I update on today? Hmm. So. J has been sick. It has meant a lot of change of diapers. A lot of medication and a lot of crying. What has helped us? Really nothing much else. I will say two things have helped.

1. So frequent poopy diapers means increase possibility of diaper rash. He even developed some redness on his privates. Given have sensitive his area can be we were at a loss at to what we could use. Thankfully. I happened to have some Four Cow Farm Tea Tree Remedy. It’s amazing. We use it for heat rash as well. And it clears everything right up. We don’t even have to apply a lot. I can’t recommend it more. We were really lucky that we were given a starter kit as a gift when baby J was born. My husband really loves the lotion as well. He says it’s the smoothest lotion we’ve tried (Cetaphil a decent second. Following by Aveno and Babyganics). 

2. Badger Company, Aromatic chest rub, Eucalyptus and Mint.  As I mentioned, baby J is sick. Think endless running nose and coughs. Some people were recommending Vicks. But I really hate the smell of Vicks. And I wasn’t sure how safe for baby it would be. I happened to chance upon this Badger Co rub on iherb. In my sleep deprived desperate state, I ordered it. And I don’t regret it. Honestly the husband and I both find that it smells quite pleasant really. Fairly mild (to the point that sometimes I feel like I have to reapply it more), but more importantly. It seems like he likes the smell. And, I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect and/or just a natural progression of his illness. But it feels like he is more comfortable and breathes slightly better. The only downside to the rub is that it is not quite a soft salve, it takes quite a fair bit of time to get a little of the balm onto him. But I think it’s an acceptable tradeoff. 

Anyways that was just a quick update whilst baby takes a nap and I get a break. Here’s to a new (hopefully better) work week. 

I must emphasize that none of this is sponsored. I just really like these products. And they have worked really well for baby J. While I can’t guarantee that it will work for all babies. Ive learnt that everything is worth a shot when you’re at your wits end. 

Semi-Pro Tip #2

Sterimar Bebe. Great for blocked noses. Because. Sick babies.

Long story short. We have a sick baby on hand and therefore. Many sleepless nights. Sterimar Bebe helps with clearing the blocked nose and generally reliving the irritation a little. Only problem? He really hates being held down. Really really hates it. Now we just need to figure that out. 

Semi-Pro tip #1

While I certainly am not a pro, I thought I’d start documenting interesting tips I’ve kinda figured out, usually too late and many dollars in.

For all working and pumping mums out there. When looking to buy pumps and bottles. Buy those that match. Ie. Narrow neck / wide neck bottles. Make sure they match! Cuts down on washing tremendously.

As I’ve mentioned before I own a whole collection of different bottles including both wide and narrow neck bottles. I used to only have a pump that fit wide neck bottles. It meant double the washing to pump and store and separately feed. I now own 2 pumps (long story for another day) but yes now all my bottles fit. My life is so much easier. 

Outings: Baby wearing edition  

So I’ve talked about how I rather enjoy going out with my Aprica stroller.  However,  when I’m going out alone or for a short grocery/lunch run,  I usually opt for my baby carrier. 

We bought a carrier before baby arrived. We didn’t think too much about it back then but I was fairly certain I didn’t want a fully covered cloth piece like the Tula because of how warm both H and I get. It would be incredibly uncomfortable in Singapore. Boy were we right. But more on it this later. 

We ended up getting the Chimaproo Trek air-o from local retailer, 13thirteen.  From what I understand,  the Trek air-o is manufactured specifically for Singapore in mind,  which means it’s more than capable with dealing with the heat. 

We choose it largely because of the huge air mesh spanning the entire back portion. The mesh is incredibly useful and does help keep the baby cool. I say this with full certainty because despite of how sweaty our baby gets normally his back stays dry on all our trips. While it is good at keeping his back cool,  the same cannot be said about his front,  given that he is smushed up against me,  that’s to be expected. 

It would also be the same reason why I don’t actually baby wear him  out for longs walks. I’ve tried it once or twice but he gets warm and so do I. I wouldn’t say it’s comfortable for walks outdoors in Singapore.  
How does the Chimparoo fit? Well it is a bit on the bulky side. I’m about 160cm and 50+kg which is about average in Singapore I suspect. And I find that the shoulder pads are slightly too broad for me. But once they are snapped in place,  you don’t feel it. Which is good. The waist band is nice and broad and with the growing baby,  it doesn’t give me any aches or pains. When worn properly. 

I must say that initially figuring out how to use or put on the carrier was a steep learning curve. I realized that I was initially wearing the baby too high and I was wearing the waist band too high which meant that my back would hurt after I used it. Once I figured it out and wore the carrier at the right height it was all good. No aches or pains. 

Several interesting things about the carrier.  It comes with a built in infant insert. No need for those extremely warm infant inserts required for the Tula or Ergo. I just feel like they look so warm. It’s an additional piece built right into the carrier.  It’s easy enough to use but does require some instruction. Once you figure it out the baby looks comfortable enough. However,  I didn’t manage to use it for very long because baby soon got to a size where he looked uncomfortable in the insert. But still too small to stick his legs out. I would simply carry him with his legs in without the insert, which seemed to work. 

It also comes with a built in hood. Useful for when the baby falls asleep and in sunny Singapore. 

OK I gotta go.  The baby woke up. The rest of my thoughts in a subsequent post.