Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mommy's Reflections of Baby Products

About a month ago, Mommy stumbled upon this pregnancy blog known as "His Boys Can Swim" from BlogCatalog network. What interest Mommy about this blog is the way the many facets of conception, week-by week pregnancy chronicles and prenatal parenting are brought to life with the authors' (their pseudonym being 'Tarzan and Jane') lively, vivid and hilarious narrations. And Mommy can definitely relate and recall the things that Tarzan and Jane went through, except of course Mommy did not have the hormonal temper or mood swings nor strong cravings for a particular food. Well....Mommy's pregnancy journey on the whole was quite peaceful except for the low-lying placenta diagnosed on the 5th month (which resolved itself by the 7th month), news about Juan Or's mild bilateral hydronephrosis diagnosed also during Mommy's 5th month of pregnancy and lastly Mommy having sugar leaked into the urine at about 7 months onwards.

Anyway, there's this blog post in "His Boys Can Swim" that caught Mommy's attention: "Freaking out over baby products like strollers, cribs, and whatever else you buy for a baby boy". Certainly, Mommy had already gone through the period of rummaging through Mommy's grey matter over what's essential, what's useful and convenient, what's useful but not essential and what's merely a novelty item (Hint: meaning it's a waste of money to buy!) when preparing for Baby Juan Or to arrive into the world. And certainly, since Baby Juan Or has been here for 9+ months already, Mommy is a lot wiser already about what baby things to buy, what need not to buy and what not to buy at all. Here's the list (in the Malaysian context for hot and humid weather and frugal living in this tough economic situation):

1. Baby bed - cheapest and simplest and perhaps safest is to opt for baby mattress laid on the floor. No need for crib where you need to buy the bedding material to cover the hole slots of the crib. If you still want something that looks like a bed for the baby, then you can opt for playpen because it can easily be shifted within the house and you can also fold it up if you need to put it ito the car boot for travelling purposes.

2. Baby blanket - no need to buy the proper baby blanket! Merely buy several pieces of adult size bath towels and that will do the job just as fine, if not for a longer period of time and can be used as proper towel when the baby progresses to childhood and then to adulthood.

3. Stroller - opt for those lightweight buggy type that still offers various reclining seat positions. No need to buy those that doubles as a stroller and an infant car seat type (those so-called travel system). Why? Because you need to consider whether your car or car boot is big enough to fit in the travel system type or those bulky stroller types. Even if your car can fit those bulky strollers, you will also need to consider whether, you, in the long run, can stand lugging around this bulky stuff in and out of the car everytime you bring the baby out. Make sense? Next!

4. Baby towel - refer back to Item no. 2 (Baby blanket).

5. Baby bath tub - no need to waste money buying a proper baby bath tub. Just buy a big plastic basin (you know the type used for soaking clothes overnight to wash?) and that will do the job just as well and much, much cheaper too. And when the baby is able to sit up, you can even do away with the basin when bathing....just use an anti-slip (suction) bath mat for the baby to sit on while you pour water onto the baby's body.

6. Baby bottle sterilizer - not a necessity. You can merely boil water, then switch off the gas and then soak the cleaned bottles in the hot water for something as short as 1 minute. Too short a sterilization time? Don't worry, the baby won't get stomachache for that because the baby has his/her own immune system to do the job. Don't forget, the baby is not likened to culturing embryos in a petri dish where it doesn't have its own immune system!

7. Baby feeding set - won't adult plastic plates, cups, forks and spoons do the same job? If you think adult spoons are too big, then use the tea spoon or use those small plastic spoons you usually get when eating Kentucky Fried Chicken's mash potatoes - the size of the KFC plastic spoon is just nice for a baby's mouth!

8. Baby clothes - if the climate is hot and humid, then buy more short sleeve tops, preferably eyelet ones and thin material if possible, and shorts too, rather than long pants - more ventilation. What about baby onesies? The only problem with onesies (not a major or common problem, though) is if your baby's body is the long type, then very soon your baby may not be able to wear it already! Stock up only a little on thicker long sleeve types for cold and rainy whether.

9. Baby bottles - opt for those with straight body, not those curvy ones because those curvy ones are more difficult to wash.

10. Rattles - don't buy those with narrow or near-narrow protrusions because when baby has reached the stage of wanting to put everything and anything into the mouth, baby will shove it in (of course baby won't swallow it!) until they retch or almost vomit or until baby vomits! In fact, no need to buy sophisticated toys for baby because baby will prefer to play with simpler things (usually household objects) like plastic cover/lid, butter cookies empty tin, small basin, water bottle and plastic container.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yes! Juan Or is Actually Doing Proper Crawling!

In Mommy's quest to search for more information on how to stimulate more frequent milk let-down reflexes, Mommy stumbled upon this article from Disney Family Parenting (link is given at right hand panel on Parenting Resources) that talks about what the experts have to say about baby crawling.

The paragraphs and phrases (in bold) that interests Mommy the most are:

"Many babies crawl by supporting their body weight on their hands and knees, and then move by alternating the left hand with the right knee, and then the left knee with the right hand.

However, some babies never crawl in the traditional sense, opting instead to scoot across the floor, moving backward and forward on their tushies; inch along on their stomachs; roll; do a combat crawl; or even bear-walk by fully extending their legs and using their arms at the same time.

No matter how they choose to get around, these methods are all considered perfectly normal, says Dr. Altman."

"Inch along on their stomachs and do a combat crawl".....that's exactly how Juan Or crawls, which to Mommy's perspective is known as primitive crawling. The idea Mommy had about proper crawling was only hands and knees on the floor (no stomach!) moving in coordination with each other. So looks like Juan Or's so-called primitive crawling is actually proper crawling though not in the traditional sense! So looks like all this while Mommy had been biased about Juan Or's crawling method. So sorry, baby, Mommy didn't know enough about crawling before this. Sigh!

Watch more of Juan Or's combat crawl!

Monday, February 23, 2009

On Insufficient Sleep and Brain Cells

Over the weekend (Friday till Sunday), Mommy's faculty was organizing and hosting the Malaysian Society of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MSMBB) Quiz 2009 for undergraduates. So, Mommy being one of the organizing committee member, had to be there for all three days.......which also meant that Mommy had to work 7 days a week for that particular week. Never mind about that, but on Sunday night, Juan Or slept from 9.30 pm till 12.30 am the following Monday. Once Juan Or woke up, Mommy breastfed him and expected him to go back to sleep....but he didn't! So Mommy had to 'wake up' together with Juan Or and entertained his play time instead. Finally, Juan Or became sleepy again and slept from 2.30 am to 6.00 am. So Mommy breastfed him again and he went back to sleep immediately (and Mommy slept too before finally waking up at 6.55 am to get ready to go to work). After waking up, Mommy still felt very sleepy, but what to do....still have to go to work.

When Mommy reached the workplace, Mommy unloaded Mommy's things (handbag, laptop, 2-L water bottle, breastpump bag, cooler box and a bag containing some MSMBB stuff) from Mommy's car. Upon, reaching Mommy's office table, Mommy had the visual memory that Mommy had placed the car keys on the office table and that Mommy put the keys back into Mommy's handbag upon putting down all those stuff that Mommy was carrying. That was what Mommy remembered that morning.

Now, in the evening, around 4 pm, Mommy was packing the laptop to go back home. Lastly was for Mommy to take out the car keys in preparation before leaving the office room. But alas, the key was nowhere to be found in Mommy's handbag! Mommy even emptied the handbag....every damn tissue paper that Mommy stuffed into the handbag previously was all taken out, every damn pocket in the handbag was searched. car keys! Mommy started searching on Mommy's office table, laptop bag, breatpump bag and even in the cooler car keys! Then Mommy starting hypothesizing that the keys could have dropped out when Mommy was taking out the purse to buy lunch. So Mommy was very tempted to call Father-in-law to come to Mommy's workplace with the spare car keys. But anyway, Mommy decided to check the car first before resorting to calling Father-in-law for the spare keys.

Upon reaching Mommy's car, lo and behold, the car was not locked, but the gear was locked and no car keys attached to the ignition keyhole. Funny! Then suddenly everything became clear in Mommy's memory department: The car key was last left at the car speaker which was at the back seat area! Mommy actually placed the keys there temporarily so that Mommy can juggle at lugging all the things that Mommy had to carry at one go! And Mommy actually forgot to take the keys along and even forgot to lock the car! What a joke! Mommy swear that Mommy never once forget to lock the car ever since Mommy started working in February 2006! And now this is happening to Mommy for the first time! Luckily nothing from the car went missing...and luckily the car didn't go missing too!

Uuugghhhh....what's happening to Mommy? Mommy is getting more and more forgetful nowadays, especially after giving birth to Juan Or. Mommy can even jumble up visual images from the wrong day and match it on the wrong day and yet thought that Mommy actually remembered things in the correct order. Seems like Mommy is going cuckoo already! Could it be the insufficient sleep and fatigue of having to work 7 days a week taking a toll on Mommy's brain cells for that particular day? Hhmmm........anyway, Mommy's priority is to do to Mommy's best in taking care of Juan Or.....never mind about the insufficient sleep or tiredness....the rewarding feeling of seeing Juan Or grow up healthily and happily supercedes everything else!

Mommy's sweet and cute Juan Or!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Visit to the Hospital: Mild Bilateral Hydronephrosis

On 18th February 2009, Grandpa and Mommy took Juan Or to the hospital (Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia) for follow-up check on his mildly dilated kidneys (mild bilateral hydronephrosis).

Some history on Juan Or's condition:

When Mommy was 5 months pregnant, the sonographer detected mild dilation on both of Juan Or's kidneys. Mommy was worried whether it was anything to do with Mommy's lifestyle of eating habits that cause this, but luckily the doctor assured Mommy that this condition has nothing to do with Mommy's part and that since the dilation is mild, hopefully the dilation will gradually disappear by itself as time goes by. By the time Mommy was in the 37th week of pregnancy, the ultrasound scan result indicated that the kidney dilation was still there, but still in mild stage.

Finally when Juan Or was born, particularly when he was 4 days old, the doctor did an ultrasound scan on his kidneys and found the condition to be still the same. So the doctor prescribed trimetophrime (which Mommy googled in the internet and found that it is a man-made antibiotic usually prescribed to urinary tract infection patients). Then the doctor recommended for follow-up check when he was 2 months old. And again, the result was the same. No improvement, and neither did it became worse. So the doctor recommended that Juan Or underwent MCUG test at 5 months old. In the MCUG test, some fluorescent dye was pumped into the urinary tract to see the source of blockage. So before the dye could be pumped in, the doctor had to insert a tiny tube into his penis. Boy! Juan Or cried and cried that day. And Mommy cried too! Mommy felt so pitiful for this little baby who had to endure such pain and discomfort at such a young age. However, the MCUG had to be aborted because the tube could only be inserted partially. Even a few paediatricians tried reinserting the tube, but failed. So in the end, Juan Or only had to do ultrasound scan and continue with his trimetophrime medication. The doctor explained that people with hydronephrosis has higher risk of getting urinary tract infection, so has to be on antibiotics as a preventive measure. Otherwise if there is infection, then the kidneys will be scarred and can interfere with the development of the growing kidneys. The doctor warned that the worst case scenario is that heavily scarred kidneys can lead to impaired kidney function. scary!

Without fail, Mommy fed Juan Or with trimetophrime once every night. For the sake of Juan Or's health, Mommy is willing to do anything no matter how inconvenient it may be.

Things started showing a little improvement when Juan Or was 5 months old. The ultrasound scan result indicated that the dilation has reduced a little and the kidneys are growing normally. But Juan Or still had to continue with the medication.

So currently, at Juan Or's 9th month, the ultrasound scan result indicated that the dilation has reduced a little and the kidneys are growing normally. Mommy felt relieve.

On the lighter side, this time, Juan Or cried and cried when the sonographer placed the probe on his abdominal sides. In previous times, Juan Or acted cool when the same thing was done on him. Whatever happened to this baby? Has this baby become anti-social? Even when at the paediatrician's consultation room, Juan Or cried most of the time, except when the doctor gave him a toy to hold! The paediatrician also made physical examination of him including testing him on his behavioural development. The paediatrician hid a small purple colour teddy bear under a pillow, but Juan Or was uninterested and cried instead! Then the doctor dropped another toy onto the floor to see whether Juan Or's eyes followed to which he did. The doctor also commented that Juan Or's body weight is still in the normal range but seems to show a downward trend. So the doctor recommended that butter be added into the porridge or whatever food that Juan Or eats, and that Juan Or can eat more cheese. Later, when Mommy and Juan Or was out from the consultatation room, Juan Or was still crying. So Mommy placed Juan Or back into his stroller and let Grandpa do the pushing while Mommy went to get the next supply of trimetophrime. So along the way, Juan Or slept like a log....which brings to what conclusion? Juan Or was SLEEPY all along throughout the ultrasound scan right up to the paediatrician's consultation! That's why Juan Or was so fretful and in such bad mood! Even when Mommy transferred Juan Or from the stroller to Mommy's lab (when sitting in the car to go home), Juan Or was still fast asleep.

Mommy's baby.......zzzzzzzz.......Mommy will go buy butter and cheese to fatten you up, ya? Mommy loves The 'B'.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baby Longings

Today Mommy checked the Yahoo Inbox and saw this newsletter e-mail by Baby Weekly with the sub-heading "Baby Longings". The contents goes like this:

" Alice, as you watch your baby grow, learn, and become a little person, do you ever long for your cuddly little baby again? Many women start missing their little newborn baby when he or she reaches toddler-hood. Do you have any longings for your baby of days past? Write now."

How true! Mommy does have such longings. Gone were the days when Juan Or was such a little, helpless newborn baby, only sleeping and drinking milk throughout the day. With his little body, arms and legs, and the unfocused newborn eyes....Mommy's little baby! Gone were the days when by just cuddling Juan Or in Mommy's arms, Juan Or could doze off just like that - easily. But as soon as Mommy puts him down again, his eyes would open and his hands and legs went wriggling in the air, and Juan Or would start fretting as if to complain "Cuddle me! Don't put me down just yet!" And of course, gone were days when Mommy had insufficient sleep every day because of having to wake up once in every one or one-plus hour to breastfeed Juan Or.

Quite recently before, Mommy asked Juan Or this: "Juan Or, why do you grow up so fast? You grow up so fast, then Mommy won't have baby to hold anymore!"

Anyway, with the current economic situation and the current cost of living, Papa and Mommy can't afford to have another baby. Also, Mommy's period has not returned yet. At the moment, only one baby will do, and that's Juan Or The 'B'......

Monday, February 16, 2009

Breastmilk Supply for Juan Or

Shortly after Mommy's maternity leave ended, Mommy was able to produce an average of 12 oz. of breatmilk from both breasts (added together) during working hours. At that time, Juan Or was consuming 10 oz. of breastmilk per babysitting day (8 am to 6 pm).

Then the quantity went up to an average of 14 oz. somewhere when Juan Or was 4 to 6 months old. At that time, Juan Or was consuming 12 oz. of breastmilk per babysitting day. On a very good day, Mommy was able to produce a total of 16 oz. during working hours! But that was only once. By then, Juan Or was consuming 14 to 16 oz. of breastmilk per babysitting day.

Somewhere when Juan Or was 7 to 8 months old, Mommy's production went down to an average of 12 oz. again. By then, Juan Or's breastmilk consumption was 18 to 20 oz. per babysitting day.

By 8 to 9 months, Mommy's production dipped again to an average of 10.5 oz. And Juan Or's consumption of breastmilk ranges from 18 to 22 or 23 oz. per babysitting day. How sad!

All along, Mommy had taken steps to help make up the difference of production vs. consumption by hand-expressing breastmilk immediately after Juan Or had breastfed.....but still cannot catch up!

Mommy wonders how long more Mommy's production can last. And the buffer period of frozen breastmilk supply is gradually dwindling - from 14 days (shortly after going back to work) to the current of 8 days! Mommy foresees the day when the breastmilk that Mommy pumps the day before will be used up the very next day itself.....and from that day onwards, Mommy will have to resort to using infant milk powder to supplement.....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The 'B' Romper

Juan Or is also known as "The 'B' " (see previous posting entitled "The 'B'"). Recently, Mommy digged out this romper ( or onesie, whatever you call it!) from Juan Or's clothes drawer because Mommy recalled seeing the tag indicating for 9-month-old babies. And sure, it is a very nice fit. The interesting part about this romper is that there is a "B" label on the left chest part. Actually the "B" label is supposed to mean "Bear" because there is a furry bear picture on the right hand part of the stomach. So the "B" label is a coincidence that matches Juan Or's nickname (The 'B').

Mommy bought this romper from Tesco Extra Cheras for only RM7.90 (during a baby fair promotion) which is a bargain because the cloth is of good quality plus a furry bear design that makes the baby look cute.

Juan Or just can't stop kicking when Mommy was trying hard to get a good shoot of him.

Finally, Juan Or steadied himself, long (or rather, short!) enough to let Mommy take another shoot. See the 'B' label on his romper? That's why Mommy thinks this romper is just the one for Juan Or The 'B'!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Dream of ...... Saturday Night Fever!

Mommy caught this photo of Juan Or's sleeping position at 4.05 am. Looks like Juan Or was dreaming of dancing the Saturday Night Fever!

Let's take a closer look......Hmmmm.......on one hand, Juan Or does look like posing as 'Superman', oops...'Superbaby' in this case!

Sleep, baby, sleep.......

Chinese New Year 2009 Edition

Here is a collection of Juan Or's baby fashion statement during the Chinese New Year (CNY)week. Most of Juan Or's CNY clothes were bought long before he was born (Yes....Mommy was very excited about baby shopping!).

"Yay! My ang pow!"
CNY 1st day: Juan Or received his ang pow from his paternal Great-Grandmother. Oh, sooooo happy! Juan Or was wearing a Mickey Mouse set suit given by the babysitter as his CNY present. Holding him was his paternal Grandma.

Still the 1st day of CNY, Mommy changed his clothes to Chinese New Year suit bought from Tesco. This is a suit meant for 1-year-old toddler and Juan Or was 8 months old and the top part cannot be buttoned anymore because his neck is too thick for it. Mommy bought this suit for only RM2.98 (85% discount), originally sold for RM19.90! Anyway, Mommy put this suit on for Juan Or just for the 'guests' to see. Can't wear for long anyway because this suit cannot absorb sweat efiiciently.

Shown here is Juan Or in his full CNY suit and being carried by his paternal Grandpa.

2nd day of CNY: Juan Or had just finished eating his baby biscuit and ewwww......Juan Or's mouth was totally messed up! Shown here is Juan Or wearing a Mickey Mouse suit set which Mommy bought from Anakku (2 sets sold for RM29.90).

Shown here is Juan Or getting a good wipe on the mouth from his paternal Grandma!

"What's that, Mommy? I can't hear you!"

On the 3rd and 4th day of CNY, Mommy didn't manage to capture photos of Juan Or....too busy.

"Don't say 'Cheese!' Say 'The B'!"

"Why, Papa? Do you want to join in?"

"Look at my hand kung fu!"

5th day of CNY: Juan Or's T-shirt is a Winnie the Pooh meant for 1-year-old toddlers, bought from Hytex warehouse sale in Kepong for RM5. The shorts (brand is 'Little Koala') was bought from a warehouse sale in Giant Taman Connought for RM5 also.

"Me in soldier clothes!"

"I'm a little soldier baby!"

6th day of CNY: Mommy bought this soldier suit set for only RM4.90 from a tenant in Central Supermarket in Old Klang Road. Boy, that's a good bargain!

"Hello, Mommy!"

7th day of CNY: Mommy bought this 'Little Koala' polo T-shirt (toddler size) for RM5 from the same warehouse sale in Giant Taman Connought.