Sleeping in the day?

While I have sort of grasped the secret to making baby sleep at night (bath, lights off, sleeping bag, feed, in that order), getting baby to sleep in the day and at home is a mystery to me. She sleeps well when I put her in the carrier and bring her out. She even sleeps reasonably well in a stroller when I bring her out but at home, I’ve tried drawing the curtains, swaddling, nursing to sleep, sleeping on her own cot, sleeping on the adults’ bed, sleeping on the bouncer, sleeping with her, nothing seem to be able to make her sleep for more than 15 minutes unless someone keeps carrying her, which is of course not ideal. So while other babies are settling nicely into a 3 nap schedule during the day, mine is in a haphazard pattern different each day. I wonder how she’ll cope when I go back to work and grandparents who are caring for her will not bring her out as often. She’ll probably suffer severe lack of sleep!

The mystery of the waking baby

Since day 1 I have been putting Sandra on a very loose schedule. The only thing set in stone is bath between 6:30 and 7, and nursing to bed starting from 7. Nobody is allowed to turn on the lights to baby’s room between 7pm to 7am. Very quickly I found that between 8pm to 10pm was a great time to get in some uninterrupted sleep. The husband and I also used this window to go for massages or supper. However, when I try to use this window to do some sewing or snack at home, Sandra seems to keep waking up. This made me reluctant to go out after 7!unless I really have to but when I do, Sandra tends to sleep well till I return. It has been a mystery to me for some time what makes her sleep through and what doesn’t. I think I finally have it figured out. It’s the scent of mummy. She sleeps well when either I am in the room or, if I go out, I change out of my home clothes and leave them in the room to keep giving out the unique blend of perspiration, baby puke and mummy’s milk. On the other hand, if both me and my home clothes leave the room then that’s when it’s stressful territory for baby.

So far that is the conjuncture of Sherlock mum here. Further experiments got to be carried out to verify whether this theory stands up to the test. What do you think? Are babies really that sensitive to olfactory stimulation?

Bottle rejection again??

What are the odds of a 100% strike rate between 2 babies of bottle rejection? Apparently, quite high because I got it! Seriously? It makes me wonder whether, while I fear bottle rejection, maybe I subconsciously encourage it. It makes me feel needed, indispensable, even if it creates a hell lot of inconveniences. I’m not sure but anyway hence starts my moo moo career again.

Preschooler pride?

It never occurred to me that preschoolers of Sophia’s age would have developed the ability to be embarrassed. She seems quite oblivious about such emotions that I assume she would develop when older such as being ashamed when her mum sends her to school in rags. However, I started thinking about it today when at the playground one of her friends were doing a dangerous maneuver and refused to stop when instructed by the dad. The dad then said “if you don’t stop I will drag you home, in front of your friends”. And she stopped and never tried it again! She must be terrified of losing face in front of her friends. How did I miss out on this aspect of a child’s psyche??

The Truth About Epidural (according to me)

Epidural has a bad rep for many things that really may or may not be true. It seems convenient to blame it for many things that may not be its fault.

After my delivery, as I was being pushed up to my ward, I felt nausea and only just managed to hold out till the nurses found me a plastic bag. After I emptied the contents of my stomach into it, the nurse manager said “don’t worry, it’s because of the epidural” well, what do you know, I didn’t have any epidural. Yet another undeserved bad rep epidural would have borne if not for this fact.

Another is backache. So many women told me they have backache due to epidural. I find that the reliability of this conclusion is suspect. My first delivery was a c-section with epidural and I don’t recall backache. This time I had a drug free natural birth and I suffered some backache. It was probably a combination of being older, strain on the back during the 9 months of pregnancy, carrying baby and rolling back with sitting to avoid putting pressure on the stitches. Again, it would have been easy to blame epidural if not for the fact that I didn’t get one.

That’s not to say that epidural has no disadvantages. It does, and the real disadvantages are (to me) more important than the backache etc. One important one is its effect on labour. Those who received epidural tended to have longer labors and have a higher chance of being diagnosed with failure of labour to progress or needing assisted delivery (vacuum or forceps) or emergency c-section. When I delivered, the only instruction I received was, go with your instinct, push when you feel like pushing. My friends who received epidural told me that they had to be told when to push by the midwives. understandably this would be less efficient than going with your instinct.

The other worry is whether the epidural drug diffuses out of the epidural space and enters the mother’s bloodstream, crosses the placenta and affects the baby. My understanding is that it does, and while current studies shows negligible effect on the baby, there may still be some effect. Even short term effects like making the baby drowsy for a short period after delivery may sound harmless but may actually be detrimental to establishing the first contact and hence have an effect on breastfeeding success, which then of course affects baby’s health and IQ.

So there… here’s my take on epidural, make an educated choice. No judgement, just know what it really entails, do not be unduly frightened off but equally do not jump into it not knowing potential dangers. The above assumes normal successful epidural admission, there is the usual risk as with use of all drugs and all invasive (however minimally invasive) procedures of allergy to the drug, the needle puncturing where it is not supposed to etc and the effects are outside the scope of my knowledge frankly.

Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1

When I was pregnant with Sandra, Spectra was all the rage, everyone claims that it is light, quiet and extracts milk much more efficiently. It was also much cheaper than Medela, so I decided to get one just in case my freestyle no longer works properly given that it is already 4 years old. With Sophia, after I had to switch to exclusively pumping when I went back to work, the freestyle worked very well. I never had blocked ducts and I could sustain enough supply to exclusively breastfeed her as long as I wanted so I have no complaints with Freestyle. When I checked out Spectras, I though the M1 was neither here nor there. It wash’t “hospital grade” but neither is it small enough to bring around conveniently (unlike freestyle which can easily be strapped on the waist. The 9+ seems compact enough to slip into a pocket and so is quite portable but I was told the suction is not strong and I worried whether it would work well. So I decided to get a hospital grade model, S2.

After switching between the freestyle and S2 for a month, I noticed no perceptible difference between yield or speed of extraction between the two. The S2 seems very slightly quieter but I’m not bothered by the Freestyle’s volume. I couldn’t figure out what were the many different cycles of the S2 for while the Medela has a clear cut stimulation and extraction phase that I could use easily. The Freestyle also allowed me much more mobility and so I ended up using it more. The S2’s light function is handy as a night light when feeding baby at night, but that’s just because of the configuration of my room and may not be as useful for everyone. For the purposes  of seeking the screen in the dark, the Freestyle’s backlit screen is probably better as it does not reduce so much light as to bother sleeping partners/babies.

Overall, therefore, I have a slight preference for the Freestyle but there is a hugh price difference and taking that into consideration I may choose Spectra if I were to start over.

Bitten by the sewing bug

I did up a list of things I wanted to do during maternity leave and one of those was to sew dresses for Sophia and baby. I’m pleased to say that I checked that off the list and am going strong still. So much more sensible than the obsession I had last maternity leave – studying for MCAT to apply for med school (what was I thinking?)

The first thing I made was a pillowcase dress for Sophia but I made it ankle length instead of the usual knee length because Sophia likes long dresses, it ended up being very warm and pajamas-like and Sophia didn’t like it at all.

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The second dress was for Sandra and it actually took a failed attempt before this was managed. I quite like it but the husband says its ugly. It looks kind of Thai to me somehow.

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Next was a dress for Sophia. I feel its crying out fora waistband with a different fabric but Sophia seems to quite like it. She put it on after school and came rushing into my room saying I can fit!

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With the little bit of leftover fabric I made a skirt for Sandra, to which my mum said “which baby wears skirts? Babies don’t even have a waistline, it will just fall off. I guess she’s right but I still think its quite cute. Doesn’t go with this particular romper though.

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