How I Lost Weight Without Affecting Breastmilk Supply


First thing first, the stats:

Pre pregnancy weight/height: 55kg/173cm
Weight at 39th week (right before delivery): 63.5kg
Current weight (5 weeks post partum): 56kg

Total weight lost so far: 7.5kg
Baby's weight: 3.2kg

After months of looking and feeling like a whale, I can't wait to get back to my pre pregnancy weight and being able to get back into regular clothes. However as a mom, I would also have to be careful not to go on a calories-restriction diet. I need the right nutrition in order to produce milk for my newborn. I also don't have my ob-gyn's all clear on starting workout yet, so I can only focus on eating. Yes, in order to lose fat and build muscle (because muscles burn more calories even when we are resting), I need to EAT.

Here is a list of super food that I stick to that helps me lose weight without losing my milk supply:

1. Salmon - One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids that also gets you 20g protein per 100g serving. So easy to cook too. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with a little oil and pan fry with skin side down. Alternatively, you could also bake it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the fillet size) at 220°C.

2. Eggs - It is cheap and you can have it many ways. It is a rich source of protein, vitamins A/D/E and good cholesterol. Don’t worry about cholesterol in eggs. Dietary cholesterol isn’t bound to blood cholesterol. If you have bad cholesterol, lower your body fat rather than throwing the yolk away.

3. Omega 3 Fish Oil - I take this pre, post and during pregnancy. It reduces inflammation (joints/skin), lowers body fat, supports the heart, brain and immune system. Great for our skin too.

4. Yogurt - I buy only plain full fat or low fat yogurt. Frozen yogurt or yogurt with fruits at the bottom are laden with sugar, which is a big no-no. Yogurt has bacteria that improve your gastrointestinal health and also a source of protein and calcium, exactly what you need for milk production. I add berries and roll oats into my yogurt to bulk it up.

5. Berries - Strong antioxidants that prevent cancer, heart & eye diseases. Any kind works: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc. Buy fresh, frozen or dried. Great as a snack when hunger strikes.

6. Oats - Oat is great for building and maintaining milk supply. It also reduces cholesterol and provide low-GI carbs for energy, and high in soluble fiber. I eat it with milk/yogurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon almost every morning.

7. Chocolate - Yay for this one. Chocolate contains theobromine, which has been found to increase a mother's breast milk supply. Some mothers find chocolate affects their baby because of its caffeine content. I have had no problem even when I consumed almost half a bar at one go. Do monitor your intake if you have concern.

8. Broccoli - High in cancer-fighting phytochemicals.  Broccoli is also high in soluble fiber and low calorie, helping fat loss. Do monitor your intake of cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and kale during breastfeeding though. Some mothers claim it makes their baby gassy.

9. Spinach - One of the most alkaline foods. Spinach prevents muscle & bone loss, but also cancer and heart diseases because of its high nutrient profile. Good source of iron for our milk too.

10. Garlic - Garlic has been used by nursing mothers for centuries. You don’t need to go overboard, but adding garlic to your foods not only adds another layer of deliciousness, it also boosts your milk supply.

11. Tomatoes - Lycopene prevents cancer while alpha-lipoic acid helps the body to convert glucose into energy. Tomato & basil soup, homemade marinara sauce with pasta and tomato salsa are our family's favourite.

12. Oranges -  Vitamin A in oranges is necessary for healthy growth and development, thus an essential nutrient in our milk for our babies. However, I only eat whole fresh oranges and I don't drink processed orange juice which often has added sugars.

13. Apples - Pectin in apples helps weight loss by increasing satiety. Apples with skin on are also the strongest antioxidant after cranberries. Unfortunately apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits. Make sure you wash thoroughly or buy organic.

14. Carrots - Their huge beta-carotene content improves milk supply. Carrots are also rich in fiber, low calorie and helps in shedding the extra baby weight. Peel and slice a bag of carrots at a time and store them in your fridge for easy snacking.

15. Mixed Nuts - Contain mono and polyunsaturated fats, proteins, fiber, vitamin E, zinc, potassium, magnesium, etc. Cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts are the most popular choices for giving your milk a boost. Opt for low sodium, or salt-free versions when possible. Excellent snack choice.

16. Water - This is a no-brainer. We need to be adequately hydrated in order to lactate. Drinking water prevents water retention, helps postpartum recovery and suppress hunger. If possible, have a glass of water before or after each feed.

Losing weight and maintaining a svelte figure can become effortless. Watch out for my post on 'Habits of a Fit Mom' by end of this month to find out more. Do follow my Facebook page, so you would not miss out on future posts.

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Disney Baby Debuts In Southeast Asia

*Media Invite*
Creating Magical Moments Right From The Start


Disney Baby launches in Singapore, and Lauren and I had the chance to preview some of the new products!

Disney unveiled the new Disney Baby brand and range last Friday, marking its Southeast Asia debut at the Rise & Shine parenting expo. The entire range of Disney Baby licensed consumer products offering for expectant parents, new-borns and toddlers will now be available for the first time in Singapore. 

“Disney Baby represents a high quality that parents can trust and numerous gifting opportunities for extended family and friends who want to share in the Disney magic,”says Mark Coleman, General Manager – Retail and Licensing, The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia.

With products designed with parents in mind, Disney Baby offers today's parents everything they need to bond with Baby at every stage. The Disney Baby product line includes essentials for: 

o       Dressing Baby Dressing baby is easy with our collection of Disney Baby clothes. From bodysuits to
adorable outfits, we have all the clothing your cuddly baby needs.




o       Mealtime – Baby's favorite time of the day! Mealtime can be messy, but using
the right products can make it a breeze. Disney Baby’s Mealtime range includes feeding bottles, tableware, highchairs and even transitional items like zippy cups and boosters.


o       Playtime Make every moment fun and magical with Disney Baby's Playtime collection. You'll find
everything you can imagine to bring oohs and awwws, including toys, plush, books, music and activity gear to stimulate Baby through every stage.



o       On-the-GoTake your little one on a trip, whether it's to the grocery store or the Disney parks!
From strollers and diaper bags to toys to entertain baby, you’ll have all the essentials for everything on-the-go.


In celebration of the Southeast Asia debut, retailer Toys”R”Us will be launching a month-long Disney Baby promotion in all the Toys”R”Us stores in Singapore starting from 22 August 2014. Toys”R”Us Star Card members have a chance to win a gold Mickey pendant, courtesy of Poh Heng. For details, visit HERE.

For more information, please visit disney.com.sg

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Why Is Your Baby Crying? Look Out For These Signs.


Every baby cries. Yeah, I know it isn't an earth shattering revelation but sometimes, when they seem to cry endlessly, it is hard to think straight. Just remember that it is not personal. They don't cry because they think you are a lousy mother. It is their way of letting us know what they need. Look out for these cues, you will soon be an expert in deciphering your baby's cry.

Hungry: Listen for the 'neh' sound in between cries. Put a finger next to her lip. If baby is hungry, she will try to 'latch' on to the finger.

Thirsty: Similar to being hungry. Baby will nurse for a shorter time.

Windy: Baby might make an ‘eh’ grunty sound. Their tummy might be tight. You could lift baby’s legs so that they are in a squatting position to help them pass wind. I find holding baby upright and burp her against my shoulder works best to ease their discomfort.

Bored: Pick baby up and give her some attention. Switch baby’s toys or view and see if baby is still upset.

Overstimulated: Opposite to being bored, baby turns away from action. She might seems difficult to please. Take baby to another quieter room away from noise / action.

Tired: Baby might look a bit vacant, yawn or rub her eyes. Listen for 'Owh' sound in her cry.

Uncomfortable: Baby might squirm and make a Heh sound. Her nappy might be full or feeling hot or cold.

Wet or Dirty Nappy: similar to uncomfortable (check nappy it will feel full). Change nappy.

Hot: Feel the back of baby’s neck by putting two fingers down back of top. Baby should be warm but not sweaty. If baby is sweaty, take a layer off or move them to a cooler environment.

Cold: Feel the back of baby’s neck inside clothes. If baby is cold you need to put more clothes on her or put her in a warmer environment.

Teething: Baby might be drooling a lot and putting hands in mouth. You could give her something cold to chew on or use teething powder or teething gel.

Over-tired: Baby might seem inconsolable. Calm her by swaddling, let her suck on a pacifier, and rocking her while making a 'shhhh' sound to help her settle.

Do you have other tips/signs to look out for when baby cries? Do share.

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Mummamia Confinement Package Review

Today, I’m reviewing 30 days Mom Series Confinement Package 妈妈坐月配套provided by Mummamia Confinement. It contains everything a mother would need for a fuss free confinement at home. Since I'm DIY-ing my own confinement, I jumped at the chance when Mummmia asked me if I wanted to do a review for their products.

So why is confinement important after childbirth?

Chinese believes traditional postnatal confinement is vital for the recovery of the mother's long term health. It is supposed to nourish the body as well as preventing after birth backaches. Thus, diet and supplements with a perfect blend of ingredients and vitamin goodness is necessary for the mother in aiding the recovery process.

What do I think of the products in the package?

Gold Brand Zhui Feng Su Ho Pill x 6


Processed from 17 selected herbs (I counted the list of ingredients), Su Ho pill is consumed to help postnatal mothers expel wind internally, reduce nausea & giddiness, improve appetite and reduce bloating.

Each box contains 5 cylinders, and each cylinder contains 2 packets for easy consumptions. Take 1 packet twice a day on empty stomach with warm water or red dates tea.

I have one packet upon waking up and before going to bed each day. I did notice that I tend to expel wind (read: fart) quite a bit after taking the pill. I wonder if it is really the pill or post natal women tend to 'rid of excess wind' quite a lot anyway.

As for appetite, I must say it has definitely increased! I'm constantly hungry. I'm now eating more than when I was pregnant! No worries about putting on weight though, post natal mothers do need to eat more in order for the body to recover and to produce milk for baby.

• Gold Brand Ginseng Plus Pai Fong Pill (Small Pill) x 1

Traditionally used by women to replenish blood after monthly menses. It is said to be particularly great for those with pre-menstrual syndrome or menstrual problems and women after childbirth. Regular consumption of this pill is said to relieve menstrual cramps, prevents the symptoms of menopause and PMS, corrects hormone imbalance and acts as a general tonic for the female reproductive system. Apparently, it is also good to treat dry cough as well as dry skin and consuming it regularly will help maintain better health and youth.

I find consuming Pai Fong pills rather easy and it beats the trouble of making and drinking bitter Ba Zhen or 8 Treasures Decoction Soup (八珍汤) anytime!

• Confinement Herbal Bath (Mom Series) x 7

I remember my first confinement nanny used to boil big pot of herb water for me to bath with. The Confinement Herbal Bath makes it much more convenient for me now. I just need to soak the sachet of herbs in hot water, and add it to my bath. Although the direction says to soak for 5 minutes before use, I find that I need to soak the herbal sachet for at least 15 minutes. I guess it is like tea, the longer you leave it in the water, the stronger it gets.

The ingredients in each sachet includes not only the common DAFENGAI, but also other herbs like lemongrass and BUJINZHI that is supposed to help with blood circulation, expels wind and has calming effects that helps soothe mummies’ discomfort during confinement.

I didn't feel the difference bathing in herbal water versus plain warm water. But if you believe in strict post natal chinese confinement practices, it is either herbal bath or no bath/shower, your choice.

• Zhui Feng Su Ho Oil x 1


I actually haven't use this on myself. But I use it on baby Georgia instead. It is safe on baby as it is non-spicy. Everyday after her bath, we pat some oil on her little tummy, her back and at the sole of her feet. This practice is supposed to prevent gassiness and colic in newborn. It is also keeping her little feet warm. There are days when Georgia seems uncomfortable after a feed, I would rub Su Ho oil on her tummy. She would fart almost immediately! Pretty amazing if you ask me. I would definitely recommend this to mothers whose babies prone to bloating.

As for mothers, you can use Su Ho Oil for after birth massage, to promote blood circulation, and reduce water retention, backache and wind-like symptoms. My helper told me it helped relieved her period cramps when she rub some on her tummy and lower back. Avoid using on open wound though.

Overall verdict?

I must say that I'm a sceptic when it comes to things I don't really understand. I'm quite westernized, can't read chinese and know nothing about chinese practices / traditions prior to this. I do believe post natal mothers must rest adequately and eat healthily to get better after the whole childbirth ordeal. However, I also think the chinese confinement practice for an entire month is a little excessive. Having said that, compared to my last childbirth, I did recover a lot quicker, while looking and feeling less tired too. My wound recovered in half the time and my tummy flattened (still a bit more to go!) despite my constant eating. So perhaps I should credit some of my fast recovery to this Mom Series Confinement Package from Mummamia. All of above products are suitable for vegetarian consumer and it is also halal certified.

Overall Value?

The package retails at S$180 (20 days) , S$238 (30 days) and $288 (40 days). Considering the ease of use and money saved from hiring a confinement nanny, I'd say it is a steal. I spent more just buying herbs alone during my first confinement.

****
About Mummamia
Mummamia Confinement (妈妈密友) is a company based in Singapore focusing on pregnancy care and post natal recovery. They are a team of dedicated personnel who focuses on making confinement a hassle-free and joyful experience for mothers by introducing beneficial products and services.
All their products and services are under supervision of their own TCM Physicians.

Mummamia products can be purchased online at mummamia.sg, or at these retailers:

Mount Alvernia Hospital Retail Pharmacy
Thomson Medical Centre Parentcraft Shop
Rochor Centre - Blk 2, Rochor Rd, #01-586, S180001

Find Mummamia at the following event:

SuperMom Bazaar
22 - 24 August 2014
Suntec City Hall 401-404
Booth J24

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Two Is a Little Special

*Guest Post*

When Michelle sent out an SOS, asking for guest bloggers (because she had the foresight to predict that she would soon be busy with a newborn and be too busy to blog), I contacted her right away. My own life has panned out in a way that I could have never imagined, all thanks to two little people in my life. I know how overwhelming it can be having to adjust with a new baby while reassuring an older child that she is still very much loved. Please allow me to share my story, on how our lives at home have changed since our littlest joined us, in the hope that it will help you get through your own early days of motherhood.

******

Poppy was 3 years old when I got pregnant. Prior to that most of that time was spent together, just me and her. I left my job - one that I loved very much (you could say it was my dream job) - to be her full time caregiver. Then I went back to work for a little while but that didn't work out, but in that time, my husband volunteered to be a full-time dad. So to my daughter, she knew life as that; that she would always be cared for by a parent. Leading up to my delivery, I grew guilty at the thought that when the baby arrived, I wouldn't be able to spend as much time with Poppy.

"So that's what happens when we eat too much ice-cream!"

We'd just begun to enjoy spontaneous outings together. Bus rides with no agenda, unplanned trips that led us to all parts of Singapore. I shuddered in anxiety because I wouldn't be able to do all that with a newborn in tow. On top of all the physical discomforts that came with pregnancy, I was a tight ball of nerves, not quite knowing what to expect or how I would manage with two. So to compensate for future lost time, I did so much with her. We had an outing a day, we played, we read, I hugged her more, I told her that she would always be loved, no matter what. Looking back, I'm glad I did it. Because I don't remember the discomfort, nor the tiredness, but it remember the times we spent together, when I was a mother of one.

We're sticky about bedtimes but this was a fun event and we made an exception. I still remember holding her hand and thinking how lucky I was to have one wonderful daughter, and another on the way. This was one of my last outings with Poppy as a mum of one. 
Throughout my pregnancy, I tried to introduce the concept of a new baby to Poppy. I talked in a little voice, pretending to be Meimei. As Meimei, I asked Jiejie if I could share her toys, sleep in her room, and go to school with her. It was always about her being older and more worldly and wise, with a little sister looking up to her. I'm not sure if that played a significant role, but today the girls are 6 and 2 respectively, and Poppy carries out her role as a Jiejie fantastically. In fact, I cannot think of a better older sister. I've always told her that she was 世界上最好的姐姐, and she did turn out to be it.

The first time Poppy saw Calla was at the hospital. We didn't quite know what to expect. But Poppy went right up to Meimei, and gave her a kiss. And then the two little ones took a nap together on my bed. Never mind my painful stitches and catheter, my heart was bursting with pride and love. My two little ones. My babies. My darlings.


We didn't have a confinement lady so the first couple of weeks (wait, who am I kidding - the first couple of months) were really tough. We tried to be fair to the girls, to allocate enough time to both. On hindsight, we really did try our best, but if I could turn back time, I wish I had had more energy to do more. We tried, we really did, but newborn days traditionally aren't easy.

In my mind, I imagined that Poppy and I would continue with our homelearning efforts while Calla took her long naps. Turns out she wasn't much of a napper. But we tried anyway. I would craft with Poppy while breastfeeding Calla. Speaking of breastfeeding, this baby was perpetually stuck onto my chest. I've had times where I had that wretched nursing pillow strapped on me, and nursing my baby while in the toilet. All part of motherhood.

My mother, who's had four children, reminded me that I sometimes should leave the baby alone to show my firstborn that I was still very much her mother and nothing changes that, not even the arrival of another baby. So there were times when I would leave Calla in her cot while working on a project with Poppy. And if the baby cried, Jiejie - bless her heart - would come to me and tell me to pick the baby to soothe her.


Going out was tricky too. Our outings were limited because first of all, I was still pretty much recovering from birth, and secondly, it was just really tiring. We live in a 4-storey walk up apartment and don't drive. So the first few months were rough, but we survived, the 4-year old, the baby in the Bjorn, and I.

The thing about babies is that they grow and change so quickly. It could just be foggy mummy brain but it seemed that Calla hit all the usual baby milestones really quickly - flipping, sitting, climbing, walking That's the thing about the second child - you remember everything about your first but be prepared that you might not be able to record everything for your second,  because you might still be caught up in the guilt of not being that perfect mother to your first.

Anyhow, I ended up including the baby in our learning sessions. Well, kind of. It was more like tandem learning - I'd prepare a basket of stuff to entertain her with while talking to her older sister. But that also made me feel guilty cos then, I wasn't talking much to the baby. So it was non stop talk talk talk from me for I'd say the first year or so.


People always say it will get better and you know what? It's true. The girls started playing together when Calla was about 18 months old, and over time, the length of time I could spend away from them grew. I can pee in peace now!

Watching your kids play together and entertaining each other is possibly one of the best things. These days they are pretty happy playing doctor and patient together, or with train tracks, or blocks, or draw, or simply just mess up - they do that very well. Other times Poppy would bury her nose in a good Roald Dahl book, giving me time to be with Calla. Or I could be doing some homelearning activity with Poppy while Calla is playing with puzzles or bringing us 'food' from her play kitchen. I love that while they enjoy each others' company, they're also individuals that like spending time on their own, engrossed in their own activities.


Our days are crazy, and to be honest, sometimes they drag by. But I am reminded that too soon, they will grow up and they depend less and less on me, so I try to cherish each day. If you've got a newborn and an older child, I do hope that you'll enjoy your first couple of months. Take lots of pictures, and not just perfect shots of your baby. Include daily shots of you and your other kid/s as well. In time to come, you won't remember your aching back or your sleepiness, or your cramped up shoulders, or waking up ten times at night. But you will remember them being tiny and curling up in your arms, and smelling them and watching them sleep.

Happy parenting!

*****

About Adora

Adora is a mum of two and a freelance writer. She enjoys cheap chocolate, tickling her kids' armpits and is only able to hold proper conversations after her morning coffee. Adora blogs at The Gingerbreadmum Blog, where she shares about her parenting hits and misses through her totally professional drawings.

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Wordless Wednesday: Alive Museum Singapore

*Media Invite*

I received an invitation to Alive Museum Singapore (AMS) just 2 weeks after I gave birth to Georgia. It is Korea’s original and biggest chain of Illusionary Entertainment Museum, opened very recently in Singapore. I've seen photos of friends visiting AMS on Facebook and it sure looks like fun!

I was tempted to break out of my confinement. The angel on my right shoulder told me to reject it, that I should be resting at home. But the devil on my left said, "But you are feeling fine. You are bored at home and you should take Lauren out for a little walk".

No prizes for guessing who I had listened to.

Anyway, the following photos show what went down at AMS while we were there.

At AMS, I can fulfill some of my secret ambitions…
I can be a ballerina..
or have my legs above my head.
I can be an extreme kayaker.. (Is that what they call it?)
or be a pole dancer above a city?
I'm smaller than a baby. Imagine having to nurse this baby!
Be Spiderman's love interest. "Excuse me, I'm a one man kinda woman."
I can also be Wolverine. Or looking like I have super power when I'm constipated.
Oh.. did I mention I went with my sporting friend, Jaime. Yes, you need to go with people who are willing to be crazy enough to take these fun photos with you. In Jaime's case, ability to act cute will do too.






And finally, Lauren got in on the fun too.

I think she is either a good actress or truly terrified. What a great mom I am.
My toddler couldn't resist Superman either. She refused to leave!
The ever protective mom in me didn't want her to get wet, obviously.
I don't know what values I'm teaching Lauren by having people kneeling before us. 
Our eco friendly mode of transportation these days.

Overall, we had a great time. It is definitely worth the confinement prison break.

Alive Museum Singapore

Suntec City Mall, East Atrium, #03-372 (between Towers 3 & 4) 
(If you are going by MRT, stop at Promenade station, and take exit C)

Ticket Prices

Adult 13 yrs and above:S$25
Child 3 – 12 yrs:S$20
Package 2 Adults + 1 Child:S$60

Opening Hours
Opens daily from 10am to 10pm (last admission at 9pm)

Current Promotion (As of August 2014) 
Like Alive Museum on Facebook and get a free meal at Burger King Suntec (which is right next to AMS entrance) with a purchase of full-priced ticket.

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Newborn Essentials List: Everything You Need To Buy

I still remember when I was pregnant with Lauren (first pregnancy), I walked into a local baby store and walked straight out. I had no idea what I was looking at. It felt like I was on another planet. Why are there so many different kinds of teats? What the heck is peristaltic and why should I pay more?

If you are a first time expecting mom, this baby shopping list will give you a comprehensive view of everything you will need for your newborn baby. I consider them must-haves and I've also included a few extra nice-to-haves that are in absolutely no way essential.


baby shopping list

Feeding

Must-haves
Feeding bottles & teats in different flows - I bought a range from Pigeon and was given a whole lot of different brands of bottles and teats from Tollyjoy and Avent as gifts. I found them just as good. For some reasons, both Lauren and Georgia have no nipple confusion with both latching on and different teats. 

Bottle and teat brush - For effective cleaning of your bottles, this is a must-have. Here is one from Tollyjoy.

Breast pump - I have a Medela Freestyle which is a hand-me-down from a friend since we had Lauren and I'm still using it for Georgia now. So I guess it lasts pretty well. All I have to do is to buy some replacement parts that aren't very expensive.

Milk storage bags - These save a lot more space in your fridge/freezer than using bottles to store milk.

My Brest Friend pillow - I absolutely love it. It makes breastfeeding much easier by propping your baby up to your breast level. Hello hands-free! 

Nursing pads - I use Tollyjoy Disposable Nursing Pad. I find it very absorbent and fits just right into my half-cup bras.

Nice-to-haves
Nipple cream - Just in case you need them. Alternatives: Organic coconut oil or lip balm would work too.

Steriliser - We got ourselves a Pigeon sterilizer for milk bottles, pacifier, toys and everything else that could fit in it. However, just blanching them in hot water immediately prior to using works just as well.

Nursing cover - I never got one. Lauren used to be in the sling most of the time, so I just use the extra cloth from the sling to cover up.

Milkies milk saver - I've only recently found out about these milk saver that catches let-down milk from the non-nursing breast while you are feeding your baby with the other breast. The tight-arse in me absolutely love the idea that no milk is wasted!

Nursing bras and tops - I didn't buy any of these, I just pull the strap of my tank top down when I need to nurse. Yes, I basically lived in my strapless bras and tank tops during the first few months.

Formula - My milk didn't come in until a week later for Lauren. Some moms just can't produce enough milk when baby is going through growth spurts, so instead of stressing over your baby going hungry, do yourself a favour and have some formula milk on standby.

Sleeping

Must-haves
Cot, cot linen, cot mattress & protector - We got the whole set from IKEA. 

Swaddle - Lauren used to break out of her muslin swaddle, so having a few velcro/buttons-fastened ones really helped keeping her swaddle in place. We love Aden Anais Easy Swaddle; they are available in a whole range of cute prints.

Black out blinds - I sleep better in the dark, so make sense if you do want your newborn to sleep well, no? We bought the fabric from a local fabric shop, and had ours custom made.

Nice-to-haves
Moses basket & linen - These are so pretty. It is also handy if you live in a big house and want to bring your baby with you when you hang out in another room besides the nursery. However, babies grow so fast, you won't get much use out of it for very long.

Baby monitor - Great to spy on babies when they are in another room. Get one with video if possible. God knows how many time new parents need to check if their babies are still breathing. I did it a LOT!

Snuggle Nest - Lauren used to sleep better in one, but she out-grew it very quickly too. We passed it on to some friends and they swear by it too. With Georgia, we pretty much did the same by placing small pillows by her sides (not right next to her head though).

Cot bumper - It is not advisable to put a bumper in the newborn's cot, as it may cause suffocation. It is useful for me when Lauren was old enough to sit up and sometimes rotates herself sideways while sleeping. It prevents her from hitting the hard railing of the cot.

Pacifiers - It helps babies soothe themselves and stay calm during car rides and while on outings. Too bad Lauren didn't like it. She prefers the real thing (my boobs).

Mosquitos net - When Lauren was born, there were many cases of dengue fever in Singapore. So to be safe, we got one. 

Changing

Must-haves
Nappies / Diapers - Whether you decide to cloth diaper or use disposable, just remember to have plenty on standby. Don't buy too many in newborn size though, as your baby will grow very fast!

Baby wipes - We use Korean brand, Kano Premium, purchased on Qoo10. It is cheap and good.

Changing mat - We didn't get a changing table, but instead just got a changing mat from IKEA. We put it on our sofa, the floor or wherever we want to change the baby. It works well and also saved money. 

Nappy cream - For diaper rash, we use Desitin. It comes in such a big tube, I'm looking for other ways to use it. Suggestions, anyone?

Cotton pads - In the first month, we use wet cotton pads to clean baby's bottom. I find it gentler than using baby wipes. We also use them for wiping baby's face, mouth and nostril.

Bathing

Must-haves
Baby bath tub - I love Puj Tub. You can easily put it over any sink. It cradles and comfy enough for newborn baby to lie in, allowing you to wash baby with both hands. 

Towels - I'm not fussed about towels, as long as they are made from 100% cotton. There are many cute ones that can be purchased online, like this one.

Baby oil / lotion - We use California Baby Moisturizing Creme.

Baby shower gel & shampoo - I love buying toiletries; we have California Baby, Johnson & Johnson and Tollyjoy

Nice-to-haves
Baby nail clipper - For some reason, I find ours wasn't sharp enough and ended up using adult ones, and it actually works fine.

Emery boards - I know moms who are afraid they might accidentally snip off their baby's skin off by using nail clipper and opt to file instead. Whatever works for you, I'd say!

Travel

Baby sling - One of my absolute must-have! I used to wear Lauren even when we were at home. She didn't like laying down by herself, so it was the only way I can get anything done at all. She tends to fall asleep easier in the sling too. It was how Nick survived the 4 days I went on vacation with my sister when Lauren was just 6 months old. Mine was a gift from The Birth Shop.

Baby carrier - Very useful for older baby especially during holiday. I love my ERGO Baby Carrier because it is super comfy. It has padded straps that go over both shoulders and it sits on the hips, so the weight is distributed really well. It is also comfortable for your baby as she has a wide support that covers her butt and thighs, instead of hanging off the groin, which can be bad for your baby.

Infant car seat - Maxi Cosi infant car seats are fantastic and easy to use. You can also get a frame to turn it into a stroller, which is great for travel. Borrow one if you could, because babies grow so fast and very soon you'd find yourself shopping for a bigger one. I'm lucky to have friends with older babies, and happy to pass theirs on to me.

Pram / Stroller - It is the first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant. But we didn't use it until Lauren was almost 6 months old and able to sit up properly. Of course, there are those catered to newborn too. For more info, check out my post on how to select a stroller here.

Changing mat - Very handy or else you'd find yourself wiping down public change table every time your baby needs changing. I find it useful when I'm at friend's place as well - I won't risk soiling their sofa or bed.

Nice to have
Diaper bag - I actually didn't get one. I just use a slightly bigger boho bag to store my belongings and baby items. I'm also one of those moms who pack very light when we go out.

Miscellaneous

Ear thermometer - Easy and fast for accurate reading. 

Muslin cloth - You can use it to swaddle baby (the lightweight material is perfect for the hot wether here in Singapore), as burp cloth, as cloth nappy, line the cot, etc.

Yu yi oil / Ban Kah Chai Zhui Feng Su Ho Oil (You can get this from Chinese medical shop) - We rub this onto baby's tummy, back and the sole of her feet after each bath. It is supposed to expel wind/prevent colic and keep her feeling warm. 

Gentle laundry detergent - I like Tollyjoy Baby Laundry Detergent because it is anti-bacterial, smells great, has a mild and gentle formula for sensitive skin, yet effective enough for stain removal. Oh, did I mention it smells so nice I keep inhaling my baby?

Baby bottle washing liquid - Again, you wouldn't want to use harsh washing liquid for your baby's bottles and utensils. Tollyjoy has a baby accessories cleaner that is good enough for washing vegetables too!

Have I left anything out? Do tell me what you think of the list. We could also talk new baby stuff at Facebook.

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Georgia, This Is Your Birth Story

My darling Georgia,


First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for an easy pregnancy. Despite not having much appetite during the first trimester, having you inside me was a breeze. 9 months went by quickly; you've even arrived 1 week earlier. You must have heard me complained how heavy my belly was and it was taking a toll on my back. I hardly have time to digest the fact that you are already here, almost 2 weeks now - smiling, cooing, and contented laying there just by yourself.

Your birth story began on Friday, 18 July 2014. I went to Dr Wee for a routine check up. I was put on the ECG machine to monitor your movement. We found out that I've been having regular and consistent tightening and already 4cm dilated. And since I hardly felt any pain, we were given the choice of going to into delivery immediately and have an induction to hurry things up or go home and wait. It was all very sudden, so daddy and I decided to go home and let nature takes its course.

Saturday went by quite insignificantly. I told you to take your time and come see the world whenever you are ready. Before we went to bed that night, I told daddy I have a feeling I would go into labour very soon because I was going to the loo every 15 minutes. It had been the same right before I had your jie-jie Lauren.  At 4:30am, I woke up to your vigorous movements and felt cramps that came and went in rhythm - it wasn't too painful, just a slight discomfort. Just to be sure and being the considerate wife that I am (ahem), I didn't want to wake your daddy up until I'm sure. I downloaded a contraction timer app and timed myself.

With every oncoming wave of cramps that started from the centre of my womb, I hit the 'START' button. The pain was mild. When it hit my lower back, it would suddenly stop and the pain gone, I'd press the 'STOP' button. After 5 contractions that lasted about a minute each, every 10 minutes, I got up to brush my teeth, put on some moisturiser and got ready for the hospital.

I woke your daddy up. He wasn't responding at first; the fourth time I shook his shoulder and whispered "Nick" a little louder; I could barely finished saying, "I'm having real contractions" he jumped up and said, "Huh. Lets go!". We booked a taxi, woke Amor (our helper) up, and left for the hospital within 5 minutes.

We got to the hospital at 6:09am. We went straight to the delivery room floor, informed the nurse - her name was Angela - that I was having contractions and already 4 cm dilated on Friday. She immediately got me into a hospital gown, asked a series of medical questions, and we found out that I was already 6cm dilated at the time.

I was quickly ushered into the delivery room and within 10 minutes or so, the anesthetist, Dr Yvonne Lim arrived to administer epidural. I felt 3-4 very painful contractions while waiting for the epidural to work; after which, I was able to chat and joke with your daddy.

Your name was still up in the air at this point. We were deciding between Lara and Georgia. So while waiting for the birth to progress, daddy and I typed our preferred name in our own phones and show each other at the same time. We both chose Georgia!

Soon-to-be 2nd time parents selfie right before you were born. 
Not long afterwards, I felt a pressure on my bladder, I think it was what the nurses was referring to as bearing down. They have been asking me if I can feel you 'bearing down'. They checked me again and I heard them said it is time to call Dr Wee. It was all a bit of a blur after this point. I remember Dr Wee arrived not long after, and they propped my leg up and they coached me to push.

I remembered pushing your jie jie Lauren was like doing abdominal crunches, so I did the same when they asked me to push. I couldn't feel anything and wasn't sure if I was pushing the right way, but the doctor kept saying, "beautiful" while the nurses gushed 'good job', so I continued doing my 'crunches'. 

After 5-6 pushes, I heard them said your head was out, and just needed a final push for your body to slip out. I pushed with all my might, and before I realized what was happening, there you were, laying on my tummy and crying. I heard your voice for the first time. And the first thing the nurses said was "Oh, she has deep dimples!". 

I burst into tears. I haven't had a chance to look at your face properly at this point but yet I was sobbing uncontrollably because I was overwhelmed by the sudden love I felt towards you. It is hard to explain but I guess I would always love you, my darling Georgia.

Happy 2 weeks old.

Love,
Mommy



Jie-jie Lauren came to visit us at the hospital.
And then, there are 4 of us.

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