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.

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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. 

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.