Here’s my bedtime routine for Sophia in case any first time mums like a reference. Only steps 4, 7 and 8 are sleep inducing actually, the rest are things that need to get done before she sleeps, that’s all.
1) eat dinner
2) take a bath
3) go for a walk to 7-11 downstairs and get her face pinched by the Indian cashier who says “chomaterpunay” to her countless times. I’m told this means “many many love”.
4) drink milk
5) brush teeth
6) bedtime story
7) lights off and goodnight song
8) get thrown into crib, pull self up, walk all over, tumble down, pull self up again, tumble again, repeat till tired enough to sleep. All the while mummy needs to be sitting by the crib but need not be actually doing anything.
I’m a bit miffed that without the maid dinner usually starts at about 7 and by the time steps 1 to 7 are completed its past 8 and on a bad day (which is, by the way, common), Sophia can toss and turn till 9. The plan was to put her to sleep at 7 each day so I have my own life after 8!
This is not a guide but rather a call for help. I never really knew how to burp a newborn and till now I still don’t. In the first few years of Sophia’s life, nothing I do seemed to work. The position I had least success with was what seemed to me to be the most popular among parents in Singapore – sitted upright on my lap with one hand supporting her chin and the other patting her back. Mostly because she seemed so flimsy that I never dared to keep her in that position for any length of time. The one I have most success with is with her upright resting on my shoulder. And I got most success with that after I carried her higher than I normally do such that my collarbone is almost at her tummy. Something about the gentle pressure there must have helped. But even then success was few and far between and mostly Sophia just led her life with a round tummy and farting a lot. The only other position I know about I never even tried, which is lying down on my lap because I suspected that it would just make her regurgitate milk.
Now that Sophia is older and stronger, all I have to do is to keep her vaguely upright and she will burp after a while. But when my next baby comes along, I’ll be just as clueless as a first time mum!
So tell me, how do YOU burp your baby?
1) Breastfeeding mothers
Most confinement ladies are about the age of our mothers. Remember we are from the formula fed era so they probably raised their own kids on formula and think its the way to go. Most confinement ladies I know of keep telling the new mothers they have not enough milk (I now believe there is seldom a true case of not enough, only of timing mismatch). Even Sister Kang of Mt Alvernia hospital says that when she sees mothers together with confinement nannies often the confinement nanny will say things like its ok here but won’t work at home. To hear this all day long when the new mum (especially first time mums) is already fretting about baby being hungry, crying for food all the time etc, I wouldn’t be surprised there would be higher incidences of post natal depression among mums with confinement nannies. Already without one I was stressing myself out so much for the first few days that I thought I had PND.
2) Uneducated and dangerous
Not properly educated on babycare knowledge. They can have ideas that could potentially harm babies. For example, I was told confinement nanny added an extra scoop of formula to the mixture. That is potentially dangerous. The confinement nanny was sacked on the spot.
3) Short term goals
As Tracy Hoggs said, with babies you should start as you mean to go on. Confinement nannies will only be with the family for a month. They will obviously take the path of least resistance with baby e.g. rock them to sleep so they can sleep. But over time baby gets used to this and dependant on the rocking. when the baby is 5kgs instead of 3, its the parents who have to keep rocking baby to sleep.
Perhaps this is relevant only for weirdoes like me, but I find it really stressful to have a stranger stay with me. I need to ensure she’s honest, clean etc and if she doesn’t, because she has taken care of so many babies, she can easily retort that none of her babies have suffered from her unclean practices. Worst of all would be if she steals etc.
5) If you had the best confinement nanny in the world who doesn’t present the above problems… you will be completely traumatized when she leaves.