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. 

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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. 

Baby Outing; Carseat Edition

Aside from the physical act of walking about outside, the other important item for an outing, if you own a private car, is the carseat.

In Singapore, it is mandatory that child below the height of 1.35m will be required to be secured with a child restraint appropriate for a person of that height and weight, use a booster seat to supplement the seat belt or an adjustable seat belt. Those with a height of 1.35m and above, irrespective of their age, will be required to wear a seat belt.

What this means is that even infants will be required to be in a carseat right up from birth, much to the surprise of many older folks. They seem surprised that we would have to restrain such a tiny little baby in a car; why not carry him? well the answer is fairly simple isn’t it? It’s all about safety. In the event of an accident, an infant/young child with his/her small and soft body is more likely to be flung forward and severely injured. its not easy leaving a kid in a carseat. They fuss, they cry, they might not always like it. But at the end of the day, it’s for the best.

So what carseat did we choose? We ended up with the Aprica Fladea Grow.

The above picture shows how it would lie for an infant, and is the primary reason why we choose it. The carseat isn’t the cheapest retailing for $899.00 at major retailers like Robinsons or Takashimaya, but as usual, you’d probably be able to get it for less at a babyfair (which seem a dime a dozen these days).

The Japanese are very interesting people when it comes to the development of baby essentials. They believe that infants should be allowed to lie flat, rather than the more conventional cup/capsule design we see in other products. I liked it simply because it looks so much more comfortable for the baby to lie in. No squishing of airways and such.

We decided against the more conventional carry seat that would fit either into a travel system or a frame. This was largely due to the weight of such a baby seat and some travel systems, and the fact that we didn’t really need a the portability of the baby seat. We did not need to carry the baby around in the car seat. Furthermore, most capsule car seats have a limited life span and you would still have to buy a full sized car seat after a few months, which would mean spending additional money and having an additional items lying around the house.

How have we found the seat? Well, we’ve loved it AND we’ve gotten many compliments regarding how “cool” the carseat looks and how comfortable the baby looks in it.

When baby first left the hospital, we had it in the lie flat mode, and while he looked so tiny in it, he was comfortable enough that he spent most of his time in the carseat sleeping. Indeed, having the carseat in lie flat mode was best in the first two months, as he would fall asleep in the car fairly frequently. However, as he became more aware of his surrounding and more curious, he began to fight being in the lie flat carseat. It became quite a cryfest everytime we had him in the carseat. We figured that since he was big enough (almost 7 kg and 60cm) and his neck was fairly strong (he could hold it up and move around) we could move it to the rear-facing mode. And you know what? He’s loved it. He loves being able to look out the read window in the moving car. And if he is even slightly sleeping, being in the carseat will put him straight to sleep. Impressive. The rotating mechanism is smooth and incredibly easy to use.

There are some downsides to this particular carseat though. Price aside, it is a heavy heavy carseat. Its not the type of carseat you can easily move from one car to another (which shouldn’t be a problem for most people). Also, its a bulky carseat. There is no denying it. In lie flat, it takes up 2 seats (side and middle). In rear/forward-facing, it does take up quite a fair bit of leg space. However, because we drive a regular sedan, the carseat does fit and the size isn’t a problem. I doubt it’d fit into a smaller hatchback though.

So, in conclusion, the Aprica Fladea is unique, unusual, and works really well for us and our lifestyle. The baby loves it and therefore we do too. Worth considering I guess?

Baby Outings

So recently I realised that there seems to be a parental fad. And that is baby-wearing or rather, the use of baby carriers to bring baby/toddle out (or in some cases even around the house). More specifically though, it seems this fad revolves largely around the Tula. I won’t go too much into the Tula, largely because I don’t have one and I’m entirely sold by the whole nice design/limited-edition design logic. When people ask if I have a Tula? Well yes, I have a baby carrier, it is not a Tula, but it fits my husband and I perfectly fine and the baby enjoys going out in it. But more on the carrier another time.

Today I thought I’d compare the use of a carrier to the use of a stroller for outings with the baby. Quick overview, for the carrier, we use the Chimparoo Trek Air-O which is well ventilated with the mesh backing so that baby doesn’t feel THAT warm. We got this at a babyfair for slightly less than the retail of $229.

Chimparoo.jpg

As for the stroller, we use the Aprica Optia. We got the Apica Optia direct from the wholesalers – Aprisin – although I believe this can also be bought at major retailers like Robinsons and Takashimaya for $999 as well. This is what the Aprica Optia looks like:

There are several colour options, but I like the colour blue. (Sidenote, there is a flower design on the inside of the canopy, which for some reason, the baby really loves staring at, I think it intrigues him. So much for the need for  a toy.)

So, what do we use when we go out? Well, it largely depends on whether or not I’m alone while bringing the baby out, or if we (meaning the husband and I) are going out together, usually with the car. Why is this so? Honestly, it’s probaby because the two of us are too lazy to bring the stroller out of the car and up to the house most of the time, and we just leave it in the car. Also, going out alone, without the car usually means I’m travelling either by taxi or by bus, and it’s just not that convenient to carry the stroller up and down while also carrying the baby. The baby carrier is very useful when i’m travelling alone because it means that I can wear the baby on me, leaving my hands free to do apparently simple things like lock the door or wear my shoes. And while it is NOT true that it is safe to travel with a baby in a baby carrier while in the car, it does provide slightly more peace of mind when I don’t have a choice in the taxi.

However, when we have the ability to, we usually prefer to use the stroller (particularly the husband, he loves the stroller). I think this is largely due to the ease that it provides when we are shopping or having a meal. The stroller is large and comfortable enough that the baby is quite happy lying down in it whilst we shop/eat. The Aprica Optia has a lie flat option, which means we’ve had baby in it since he was born with no problems what-so-ever. But now that he’s getting bigger and more curious about his surroundings, we’ve taken to raising it when he’s awake and he’s quite happy being able to take in his surroundings. The stroller gives us the ability to either face the parent or face out (by changing the direction of the handle bars) and this is useful just for us to be able to decide if we want to be able to see the baby or when he is awake and wants to look around more. *Pro-tip, in some situations I’ve found myself unable to reverse out of a place because there might be people around or something. I’ve resorted to simple changing the direction of the handlebars and pushing it straight out HAHAH.

I think what is truly useful about the stroller is that it has a huge basket at the bottom that we can just throw our shopping into which means we don’t have to lug everything around, and when it comes to outings with a baby, it can sometimes be A LOT of things to lug. Also, the husband really likes that the Aprica Optia has an impressive suspension system which means that going over bumps and humps (and it’s actually quite surprising how bumping walking around Singapore can be) doesn’t jar the baby too much. In fact, it is usually comfortable enough that he’ll fall asleep in it while we walk around. Throw in the fact that the canopy is HUGE and can cover the entire top of the stroller makes walking around sunny Singapore a breeze (not literally cos… HOT). We usually attach a small portable fan to the stroller just to keep baby cool on hot days, but the stroller doesn’t get too warm anyways. Its got some sort of mesh like material that forms the base that allows air to flow.

Which brings me to a very interesting observation/question I’ve been wondering about for a while. Notice how both the baby carrier we have and the stroller have mesh like materials so that the baby doesn’t get warm. This is Singapore after all. So, HOW IN THE WORLD DO PARENTS AND BABIES SURVIVE THIS THING CALLED AN INFANT INSERT?! Some strollers (like the Stokke) and most baby-carriers require the use of an infant insert till the baby is strong enough to hold up his/her neck which I guess is usually around 4 months. And while this might not be a problem when the temperature is a nice 15-25 degrees. How do people survive in Singapore? Most infant inserts I’ve seen are basically a thick additional layer of material (cotton I assume). Doesn’t this act like a comforter or quilt and retain heat? I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll be able to survive much less the baby.

Back to the topic. In summary, I like both the carrier and stroller for outings. I like outings period (so does baby). Given the option? We’d probably choose the stroller over the baby carrier BUT it depends on the occasion. As for our stroller, would I recommend for people to get the same one? Well. Yes and no. I think it comes down to several considerations: cost, functionality and comfort. It is a bit on the expensive side although you can probably get it for less the retail at baby fairs and such. It can go from birth till about 3 years so it can last for quite a while, and is cheaper than popular European models like the Stokke and Bugaboo (no need to buy a base and various components as the kid grows). So it really comes down to how much you want to spend on a stroller I guess? As for comfort, well I can only guess, but I think the baby enjoys it. Haha. and functionality; it moves very well and isn’t a heavy stroller, at about 7kg . Which means I can lug it around when needed, but it also does not fold down to be THAT small ie. it takes up a fair amount of boot space in our regular sedan. That being said as with all baby items, it comes down to preference which means please go try everything before you buy it. Don’t buy into the hype of designer strollers or carriers simply because well celebrities use it or bloggers “love” it. Its about your lifestyle (which usually varies very greatly from celebrities sadly) and budget.

Okay I’m finally done with this super long post. Kthanksbye.

 

Milk bottles

Who knew that there can be so many different kinds of milk bottles out there, so many different teats to go with it. So. Yes I bottle feed the baby. Largely because it  is so much more efficient. I know people go on and on about how you should try and delay the use of a bottle for the baby in case the baby suffers from nipple confusion. Well, I’m not sure if its simply because we have a greedy baby who simply does not care where his feed is coming from, or truly babies are usually more adaptable than we give them credit for because although we bottle feed the baby majority of the time, he still has no problem latching when offered. Furthermore, we have not stuck to one particular brand of bottle, rather we’ve used close to 4 brands? With vastly different shapes and teats and he has not had a problem feeding from anyone. The bottles that we are currently using are the Phillips Avent bottles that you get free with the purchase of the bottle steriliser, Umee Baby Bottle, sometimes the Spectra bottle that comes with the Spectra S9+ pump, and lastly, my favourite, a glass Aprica bottle.

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I’m pretty certain almost no one has ever come across, much less used the Aprica bottle before. The primary reason why I like the bottle? It’s glass. And although I’m pretty certain its a psychological thing, glass just looks and feels so much cleaner than plastic. And cleaning the glass bottles in the electric steam steriliser that I have works perfectly. The bottle does not turn yellow, unlike some plastic bottles might, and honestly they just look so clean (although they are probably equally clean). Also, the bottle comes with those cute grips that I can’t wait to let baby try once he’s big enough to start grabbing things. Oh and functionality wise, he never seems to have any problems sucking from the bottle and he doesn’t have any problems with taking in too much air.

To be fair he doesn’t have a problem with the other bottles that we use either. But.. well… its just a case of personal preference I guess. Which is what I’ve generally come to realise is the case with most baby items. There is definitely no one size fits all solution to anything. Don’t feel pressured into buying any particular brand just because it’s widely recommended or because people say its the best etc. Try a few brands out and see what works.

okaybye.

 

Diapers

So, I thought today I’d talk a bit about the all important baby item. DIAPERS. So before baby was born, I put some serious thought into what kind of diapers to get. Honestly, I was kinda intrigued by the idea of cloth diapers. I know that for many, the idea of cloth diapers is still the old wrap sheet held together with like safety pins. After all, thats what we used as babies. But cloth diapering has come so far since those days. There are so many companies producing so many different kinds of cloth diapers. Most involve a waterproof outer shell and a washable inner lining that you replace with every change.

Many people who cloth diaper state reasons like how its better for the baby’s bottom (no chemicals = less likely to get diaper rash) and reducing the amount of waste they generate. For me though, the main motivating factor was really cost. A pack of disposable diapers can cost as much as $20 a pack and can last… maybe a week (if you big the big pack) as opposed to cloth diapers that cost maybe $400 (for a basic set) for a full set and can last… till your baby potty trains I guess? The cost savings do add up after a while.

However, we decided that we would use the disposable diapers at birth because we’re new parents and we didn’t want to unnecessarily overwhelm ourselves with having to learn how to use the cloth diapers and having to wash everything. I think we made a good decision because changing diapers has been a huge learning curve, especially for the husband and I don’t think having to wash diaper linings would have helped anything. Baby currently does not shit a lot, about once a day, which means the amount of shit is fairly astonishing and almost always too much for his diaper to contain (and I know people might say that his diaper could be too small etc. but we’ve just sized up AND tried two different brands just to test it out) he does however pee a lot. With his current diaper,  we can do one change a night and thats just about right. I’m not sure we would have that luxury with cloth diapers which cannot contain the same amount of pee.

Another thing we went through before baby was born was wondering how many packets of diapers we should get for him. If you head down to baby fairs or even buy diapers online, many of the best deals involve buying 3/4 packets of diapers together, often at the same size. Well. DON’T DO IT. haha. Essentially when baby was born (and not very big might I add, he was only 3.1kg, which you would think would mean that he would be using new born diapers for longer) we got 2 packs of diapers from the hospital, one Mami Poko and one Huggies. We had also bought a large pack of Goon (90 pcs) from a baby fair, just to try it out. And on a whim I had bought 3 packs of Pampers (40 pcs each) online during a q0010 sale. Well guess what. I still have 2 packs of Pampers that he has since outgrown and will never get to wear and will sit in the store room taking up space. (sidenote. speaking of shits, baby just took one that did not leak, thank god) Anyways, as mentioned, we’ve recently sized up and we’re now using size S diapers of which i have both Huggies Platinum and Drypers Touch (which we’re primarily using now because it runs a bit shorter, and we have more packs of this). I don’t have much issue with either. Baby doesn’t seem to get rash with either so far…

Ok baby is starting to fuss. Time to go. Bye.

Nuna Leaf Curv

So, as mentioned before, we really did not buy that many things for the baby before he arrived. In particular, we only purchased a stroller and a playpen (as far as large items go) and we received the Nuna Leaf Curv  as a gift for the baby from one of his godmas. For those who have not seen it before, this is what it looks like.

The colour is actually a lot lighter in real life, and it looks really nice sitting in our living room, and honestly, it doesn’t look like a out of place kid item in the living room. And given how many baby things we’ve received in this past month, i’m really glad its something that i can just leave out and not be worried about it cluttering the house.

The leaf is also fairly special because you can sit in it from birth till 60kg. 60 freaking kg. That means I can sit in it as well! Not that I’ve tried. But still… Its nice to know that the option is there. Hahaha.

But anyways. About the Leaf itself.. it has this side-to-side swaying movement, there is no motor (although you can buy an add-on Nuna Leaf Wind that allows the Leaf to sway on its own) so each push lasts about… I would say about slightly more than a minute. The swaying really does calm the baby if he is fussing. But basically the Leaf has been a life saver in the sense that I can strap the baby in and either let him sleep in it whilst I settle some of my own stuff or even if he is not sleeping, he can sit in it and just look around and entertain himself. Surprisingly, he’s fairly willing to look to just sit in it and look around or at the play bar that we attached to the Leaf. It certainly frees us up and gives us time to get other things done when we’re in the living room. I can’t really speak for the baby because.. you know.. he doesn’t really talk. But the fact that he does not fuss when he is strapped into it and can actually fall asleep in it could let us make the assumption that he quite enjoys it? I hope so.

It retails for between $339 – $399 in Singapore although I’m sure you can get it for cheaper at baby fairs and such. Do i think it’s worth the fairly high price? I do actually. Largely because the baby can use it till he is a toddler and beyond. And the fact that i can strap him in, let him sway a bit and get some time for myself… That is priceless. Can I add that there is no annoying motor noise unlike some of his other toys and the motor noise really annoys me after a while. Its different from the regular bouncer/rocker that you’ll commonly find. And well. I like it. Hahaha.

K time to have lunch while the baby sleeps on in his Leaf. THANKS GODMA.

Where do I begin…

So many things I can potentially start with. So what shall we start with? Maybe the most important thing when it comes to a baby… SLEEP. So as I had mentioned before, we purchased a Joie Illusion playpen for the baby. What I had not mentioned before was that I had seen some fairly good reviews of the Cocoonababy and on a whim decided to see if i could get one.

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The downside was that the Cocoonababy cost about $300.00 in Singapore. And you can only use the Cocoona till the baby can flip or turn himself over. Which is about 3 months on average. $300 for 3 months seems kinda steep, even if you think you might keep it for a subsequent child, it’s still kinda expensive.

Thankfully, a friend suggested I check on Carousell and look for a secondhand one. After scrolling through several, I managed to find one that looked to be in really good condition (no stains and all that) for $150. I didn’t feel it was necessary to negotiate for a cheaper price considering the other ones on sale were also going for about the same price (cheapest was around $80) but some had stains or were thirdhand (second hand I can deal with, third hand just feels like too much). The seller was really nice and actually brought the Cocoona to our place for us to take a look and eventually buy. Also, back story, turns out the seller stays at my parent’s condo and knows the area really well. But the Cocoona was in truly good condition and we were quite pleased.

We’ve been using the Cocoona since baby’s come home and he seems to sleep quite well in it. He seems to really enjoy being curled up in it. I won’t know if it has actually improved his quality of life considering he has never slept without it, but he sleeps well in it so… no complaints from me. We bought an addition cover for the Cocoona (the cover was actually $50 on sale at Mothercare, which is insanely expensive but oh well) and that has worked well for us so far. We just place an additional sheet on top of the cover for when he sleeps and that works because he’s such a sweaty baby. We wash the sheet everyday and the cover once a week.

Hopefully the baby will take the transition from the Cocoonababy to a mattress well. He’s starting to fuss before being put to sleep, ie wants to be carried before actually going to sleep. But sleep has not REALLY been that much of an issue for the baby. Hopefully it stays that way FOREVER. HAHA.

Alright, time to put the baby to sleep. Till the next time.

What does a baby sleep in!?

So. When we were shopping for important baby items, the first item on that list was obviously somewhere for baby to sleep. And do you know what we realised? There are essentially hundreds of different sleeping options. How in the world is a new parent supposed to decide where they want their baby to sleep? We eventually decided on one (well actually really two) options. Let me run through our thought process / elimination process to see if it makes sense yeah?

  1. Co-sleeping options (in bed).

Almost 50% of parents we’ve spoken to have warned us that we’re going to give in eventually and have the baby with us in the bed sooner rather than later. Well, I strongly resist this (pre-baby, check back with me again some other time) purely on the basis that we only have a queen size bed, and both the hubs and I roll / kick / push each other A LOT. Basically? Its not safe to put a baby in between the both of us whilst we’re rolling and punching. I know people preach about the dangers of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and I get it, but I also understand why parents do it regardless. But for us, it simply isn’t an option because there isn’t enough space.

For people who do have enough space, there are many options like the Summer Infant by Your Side sleeper that kinda makes it safer for the baby to sleep with you in bed.

Unfortunately, this option isn’t going to last a long time. The baby will outgrow it in a few months. Then its time to find another option.

2. Co-sleeper (by the bed).

I’m not going to go into the history of drop-side cribs because apparently there is some sort of huge debate about whether or not they are safe. Long story short, There are many modern drop-side cribs / bassinets that are (supposedly) safe for use. They look cool, they attach to your bed and is essentially an extension to your bed for the baby to sleep in. Whats awesome about it? Its so easy to access baby. You just have to reach out to reach the baby. Only problem? Most are bassinets or cribs and baby will outgrow it in like… no time (several months). Too bad because it honestly looks good, doesn’t take up THAT much space (which we needed cos the bedroom isn’t that big) and is so convenient.

Image result for co-sleeper cot

3. Playard (with bassinet)

So. This is eventually what we decided on. Why? Because even if the baby can only sleep in the bassinet for a few months, we can eventually just move it to the living room and use it as a regular playpen (a place to keep baby prisoner MUAHAHA). That and its portable, which suits us because we plan to have baby sleep in the same room as us for the first few months at least.

We eventually got the Joie Illusion  because it has a foldaway changer and place to store like diapers and wipes and stuff, which saves space for us and makes it easier for like late night changes. Hopefully. I’ll let you know again. hahah.

4. Crib

So we will eventually have to move baby to a crib when he outgrows the bassinet. We’re likely to get a crib that can grow with the child into a bed eventually. We haven’t actually purchased one yet, but when we do it’ll go into his own room, and hopefully we’ll be able to transition him out. HAHAH.

Okay this was a super long post. Technically, 2 more weeks till baby arrives. Its definitely countdown time. Who knows when the next post will be, but till then. Tata.