How not to be a perfect parent. Feeding style.

I tried to fight it. For a long time, I tried to adhere to the “perfect parenting” ideal, where my child eats his meals like all perfect children do. He’ll have some snacks every once in a while. But not enough to ruin his meals, or to become a norm.

HOW WRONG WAS IT?

Firstly, J does NOT eat well. He’s fussy, only eats a few things (rice, noodles, steam eggs being amongst the few) and hates his veges. He doesn’t always sit well in his high chair, particularly if he’s cranky, tired, ill or when he knows there are people around who might carry him out. And last, but most importantly, he loves biscuits. He loves to snack. And who can blame him. We all love to snack. I sometimes substitute my meals for snacks. I am not a perfect parent and I definitely do not have the perfect child. What I’ve learnt in the last year or so, is to let go. Sometimes yes you need to be strict, but there needs to be flexibility. For everyone’s sanity. There are more important things (like keeping him, and yourself alive) to worry about.

So what is our routine now you ask? Well he has breakfast with me every morning before heading out to school and work. He normally gets a baby cereal mixed with fruit puree. I don’t make my own fruit puree anymore because he’s no longer a wee baby and I simply don’t have the time or energy sometimes.

NurturMe, Organic Yogurt Alternative, Purple Carrot + Banana + Berry, 4 Pouches, 3.5 oz (99 g) Each

This organic yogurt alternative from Nurturme is his currently obsession, and we normally just bulk buy these things off iherb.com.

He normally eats his breakfast with me, in front of the TV (although its not always on, and if it is, its normally to the Ellen Show, because I want to catch a bit of it before we leave the house). Occasionally, I’ll buy a muffin or a scone or some form of breakfast food the day before and try and get him to eat some. More often than not, I fail.

He eats lunch and tea in school, they have a nice rotating menu, packed their required veges and protein, and he would usually have half a bowl of lunch, followed by some fruit and bread/similar for tea. I would say he eats better at school than he does at home.

He comes home for dinner, and depending on where we go, either to my parents or my in-laws, he’ll normally have rice, with some form of protein (usually in egg form) and fruit in his highchair together with us.

The one good thing about J’s eating habits? He loves fruit. He LOVES most fruit. Mangos, bananas, peaches, dragon fruit, watermelon. You name it, he loves it. I’m hoping that makes up for his hatred of veges.

In between all this? He gets snacks. Again, we bulk buy snacks from iherb.com. And he demands for them. He knows where we hide them. he knows which are his favourites. He knows how to make enough noise till he gets what he wants. Its horrid, but after meals, I normally give in. Sometimes, a screaming baby is more than I can deal with. But you know what? I’ve realised that its okay. Its not going to kill him, or give him diabetes, or ruin his love for normal food (debatable at this moment though) or cause his teeth to fall all.

I’ve learnt that being perfect is way overrated, not to mention difficult. Keeping the kid alive, now thats an achievement.

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18 Month Sleep Regression.

J has always been a really good sleeper. He’ll fall asleep at about 830 at night. Either in the car on the way home, or after milk in his room. He sleeps in his own room and wake up maybe once a night to fuss. And again at 0630 for milk. I used to just pat him back to sleep when he fussed. And bring him over to our bed for milk and more sleep. He’ll normally sleep till about 0930 if we don’t wake him up hahaha.

But recently, sleep has not been so fun. Putting him to sleep is usually still quite easy, with him falling asleep in the car. However. He has decided that he does not want to sleep past 1230 if both daddy and mommy are not with him in the same bed. He’ll get up. And scream. And scream and scream and scream till my husband comes by and picks him up (cos I refuse to carry him) and will refuse to settle unless we’re both lying with him. Since I don’t like him sleeping with us on our bed for too long (bad habit that I don’t want to establish) we lie with him in his room till he falls asleep. Which has resulted in me sleeping g with him till like 5am this morning.

I just need to know that this will end. And if there is any better way to do this. My sense is it’s an attachment thing. And the great big internet has assured me that this is normal. But how do we deal with it so much so that his good routine isn’t broken, and we all eventually go back to having enough sleep?

The dreaded HFMD.

So. Baby J got suspected Hand Foot Mouth disease. Why suspected ? He has what the doctor said was herpangina. Which is a strain of the coronovirus which leads to HFMD. But he only has ulcers in his mouth. None on his hands and feets. Which means it is not full blown HFMD. The doctor also said that once his fever breaks, the blisters on his hands and feet will either come out. Or no. If it doesn’t, it means that his body fought of the virus, and it didn’t become full blown HFMD. In baby J’s case, it has been 4 days or so, and there still aren’t any blisters. And his fever has broken. So, I THINK we should be safe. Fingers crossed.

So how did this happen? Well, last week he had a classmate who was sent home from school for HFMD. with little kids who basically all eat their toys. You know that this is going to spread like crazy. Which it did. I think the final count for his infant care class was 7 students who got it. Which is about half his class. I know many people blame the infant care and go on and on about how they are so young etc etc. But honestly, he could have got it anywhere. And at any age. I still feel that the teachers reacted very well, they sent patient zero back and quarantined him the moment they saw ulcers in his mouth. But the incubation period for HFMD is like 3-5 days. Which means that it could have already spread by the time they caught it. I did notice that they sanitised all the toys and the play area.

Anyways. So he got a mild fever on Saturday. Was very cranky and needy. So we immediately started paracetamol and ibruprofen to keep the fever down. Honestly, the fever was very mild. No higher than 38 degrees. But he was very lethargic and needy. It all came to pass on Sunday. He refused all food. Milk. Water. Solids. Everything. I was beginning to worry that it was HFMD, but there was nothing on his hands and feet. However, when I finally got a chance to open his mouth (when he was sleeping because he really didn’t want anyone touching his mouth) you could immediately see A LOT of ulcers. So we brought him to see our family doctor (they are great. If you’re staying in the East and need a good, not too pricey doctors who run night clinics!, Drop me a comment) who confirmed our suspicions. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it except treat the fever and painrelief. So more paracetamol and ibruprofen.

Baby J was in so much pain. He refused to open his mouth. Refused every food/drink (and we tried everything. Ice cream, cold drinks, anything he could possibly want but normally not get). It is a challenge getting him to take his medicine. Honestly, it’s been like 5 days and he still is refusing milk. But I think we might finally be on the mend because he is at least eating biscuits and other nonsense. He’s also voluntarily drinking water. We were forcing him to have some hydralite the past 2 days just to make sure he didn’t get too dehydrated.

It has all been a big challenge. Honestly, it’s something I hope never happens again. But the thing is, kids fall sick, and it’s not all bad. But baby J is just a terrible patient (according to my mom, just like me, so. Karma). It’s been 3 days off work. But it has been so tiring, getting almost no sleep the first few days. But we’re getting better. We’ll be fine. So to anyone who might be suffering the same thing. Or suspect something, it’ll get worse before it gets better. But it will get better.

Portable car seats?

So. I’m having a problem. I sometimes bring baby J on private hire cars if I have to bring him into infant care by myself. Or if I sometimes have to bring him home myself. I can’t really take public transport because there isn’t any near my place and it isn’t convenient.

Unlike taxis, by law, any child below 1.35m have to be in car seats, this includes in private hire cars. I like using private hire cars because they tend to be cheaper and easier to book. Generally will cost me about 20-30% savings. And honestly I don’t think taxis are any safer without a car seat.

We do not have a capsule car seat for baby J. And honestly. It’s too heavy for me to carry around and install on my own and with baby J. Anyway he’s getting a bit big for it.

Problem is, he’s also too small for traditional portable boosters like the mifold.

The only option I can find only now seems to be the urban kanga. Which is a portable car seat. About 3kg extra to lug around. But the thought of having to carry this. And the baby. And all our stuff around on my own is quite scary.

Any ideas?

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. 

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.

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.