My Thoughts On Confinement...

~ Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:38 AM ~

I have previously blogged about my thoughts on confinement and its taboo in my old blog and totally forgotten about it until a recent comment submitted by a blog reader in that post prompted me to revise it and post it here in my new blog.

For your info, both my confinement were DIY, as in hubby is the one taking care of our babies in the first month while I recuperate from the labor and focus on breastfeeding our kiddos. You can read my post in my old blog if you want to know what made us decided to DIY our confinement.

Now whenever any friends or ex-colleagues of mine asked me about confinement, I had to go into a long story on how we DIY ours and why we wanted to DIY it. So here's the list on why we decided to DIY our confinement:

1. The opportunity to bond with our newborn (and older siblings to bond with their baby sibling too)

2. The opportunity to practise with trials and errors on babycare aspects, and what to expect and how to deal with crises or newborn incidents (crying, fussiness etc). Don't let other people handle your newborn child. You are the parent, do your job!

3. Economical - not needing to hire any confinement lady (CL) definitely saves a lot of money. (The confinement lady charges for 4 years ago is RM3300 ~ that is about USD1100 for 28 days of work).

4. No interference or different opinions on how you should parent your children. Some CL are very set and determined in certain aspects to make their job easier, such as formula feeding, bottle feeding, disposable diapers, baby sleeping with them etc, all these so that the new mum will get to rest. But if you allow these to happen, your decision to breastfeed your child will be affected. Baby sleeping in with other people such as the CL will only confuse them and make them attached to strangers than to you! Same goes with bottle feeding. Of course, there are a handful of CLs out there who are pro-breastfeeding and encourage the new mums to breastfeed as often and sleep with the baby. But it is not easy to find such CLs.

I have heard of various counts of CL stories horrors from friends and ex-colleagues, these are amongst the many that I can vividly remember...

  • A friend hired a CL only to fire the same CL in few weeks time as the CL only knows how to change baby's diapers and does nothing else.
  • A friend hired a CL and about a week before the CL leaving, started to panic as she has never been involved in caring of the baby and does not know what to do. Thank God she bucked up and start taking notes and taking over caring her baby before her CL leaves.
  • A friend complained that baby keeps crying at night and refused to be breastfed, only wants bottle feed. Because CL has been sleeping with baby for 1 month and bottle feeding baby all the while that baby is used to bottle feeding and to CL's body smell.

Now you will ask, then how to handle our own confinement? Well, in terms of babycare, you will need to learn and practise each and everyday. Nobody says parenting is an easy thing to do.

And I personally think if you bring the baby into the world, you should very well take care of the baby and not let others do your job. This is also why I quit my job to be a SAHM and decided to fully take care for my children for now.

You might say I just give birth, I need my rest. Fine, rest when baby is sleeping. During the first few months, all baby does is eat, sleep, pee and poop. So rest when they are resting. If you are staying with other family members (such as in-laws), try to see whether they can help out. Probably cooking food for you or anything.

How about foodwise? You want to replenish your energy and strength and want to drink some herbal medicines/food? You can buy those at the traditional Chinese medicine shops. Some even sell the 28-30 days daily packets of herbal drinks/medicines with instructions for you on how to make it. I didn't get those, I just drink more water and take the occasional black beans with red dates drinks that my MIL boiled for me few times a week.

How about those confinement taboos? Now, here's what I need to explain. Firstly, we are not into following any of those taboos, so apologies as I can't advise you how to get around these superstitious rules and taboos. For me, I will think whether such rules are logical or not. Cover up fully and wear socks? Those rules originated from our ancenstors back in China... and they have winter time in China. Malaysia? Winter? Never... so, think whether such rule is logic or not before you apply it to yourself. Same goes for not bathing, not shampooing your hair etc. Trust me... you will reek by the first day itself after birth. If you can survive past day 2 without showering and washing your hair, well kudos to you for making yourself more unhygienic and smelly. I know I already smell or sweat and blood right after birth and the first thing I did when I went back to my hospital room is to shower and wash everything. A clean and refreshed body definitely brings confidence and happiness to yourself.

Well, you may ask, my hubby had to go work, we don't stay with in-laws and definitely nobody help us out. Fine, go get that CL to help you out but make sure the CL does not interfere with your babycare and if you are planning to breastfeed, make sure the CL knows that you must establish your breastfeeding schedules and it would be great if baby is feeding on demand, direct if possible. Try not to introduce bottles or even formula. No pumping in the first month. If you really must have baby sleeping with the CL, try to get CL to wake up and bring baby to you at night when it is time for feeding. Get CL to help out with other aspects like cooking, washing clothes, etc. But do make sure to slowly take over the CL's job before she leaves. Else, you may suffer as you do not know how to handle baby then if she has been handling baby more than you.

That's all I can think of for now. Do share and feel free to ask if you have any concerns!

What Should Your Child Know?

~ Posted on Friday, May 17, 2013 at 7:06 AM ~

I came across this article shared by a fellow mum in my SAHM group and just like it so much! Coincidentally, the title of the article is 'What should a 4 year old know?' and hey, my Benjamin is 4 years old this year!

Excerpt from the article on what should a 4 years old know:

1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.

 2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn't feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.

3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.

4. He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he'll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.

5. She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she's wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it's just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that-- way more worthy.

Now my point is, I do sometimes worry my 4 years old boy is slow in learning things (I'm guiding my kids by the way...) and although I keep reminding myself each child is different and unique, do not ever compare my child with others but you know, somehow you can't help it when you hear/see other parents sharing their kids' achievement in so and so (worse if their kids are younger than yours!)

There were times I was having doubts whether I'm taking it too slow and easy with my child's progress, or should I hurry him up or just maintain the pace, I mean, as a SAHM and teaching my kiddos, I am not referring to any syllabus yet (again, my children are just 4 years old and 1.5 years old) and hence the doubts and worries whether I'm too slow and etc. But if I'm following other preschools syllabus/guidelines, wouldn't I be forcing ourselves to stay competitive or on par with other children?

It doesn't help when you are staying in a country that is pretty competitive, where parents eagerly (or to put it in honest words, can't wait to) send xtheir kids to school so that they get an early head start on education. I once read an article (sorry, I can't seem to find that exact article anymore, the closest I got is this) that parents in our neighbour country send their children to kindergarten/pre-schools as early as 3 years old and their kids even have exams at that age! 3 years old!

Now that is definitely something I do not want to happen to my children. I want my children to play as much as they can while they are still young, not to be burdened by exams, syllabus, stress, competitions and so on. Not at that young age, no!

To be honest, I didn't even attend any preschools or classes or playgroups or music lessons etc... I started my kindergarten at age 6. Before that, I pretty much roamed around freely in my neighborhood area (back then it was really safe and we don't have any fears walking around alone or anything)

So what I would normally do is to on and off knock some sense into my head and keep telling myself to focus on what my kiddos are great with, well, in terms of other things other than academically wise. Be it manners, language skills, imagination, social skills and so on. And yes, I definitely need to increase more book readings to my kiddos!

Well, if you followed my Facebook page, you will sometimes see me posting videos (or Youtubes clips) I took of my kiddos showing me where is so and so countries on this world map of ours in our playroom. Don't get me wrong, I teach them the countries only because they are related to our relatives who stays in Sweden, Australia, Japan or went to Hong Kong for holidays, or Canada for further studies and to some of the shows my kiddos watched (Lilo & Stitch in Hawaii, Captain America in United States). You can watch some of the videos I took of my kiddos' learning using the world map here and here.

Now back to the question of the day... what should my child know? Well, like the excerpts from the article, I want my child to know that he/she still has loads of time to play and just enjoy being a kid for now! We'll take it one day at a time and learn through play and no pressure or stress in learning things!

(First time I jokingly asked Ben to draw a face on the balloon and he did it!)

So what do you think? What should your child know?

How Often Do You Go For Your Antenatal Checkups?

~ Posted on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 7:31 AM ~

I was just sharing with my mummy group in Facebook recently that my first pregnancy checkup for this baby is at 10 weeks and the next one will be when I'm about 28 weeks into pregnancy and some asked me why am I doing so.

And that leads me to writing this post today...

Well, firstly, do note that for my first 2 pregnancies, from 1st to about 7th month pregnancy, I went for monthly checkups and then fortnightly and then gave birth.

FPP Hospital Putrajaya

But for this round, the reason why I reduced the number of checkups are:

  • My 2 previous pregnancies and labors are normal and without any complications so my gynae is OK with this arrangement.

  • I'm tired. I cannot afford to lug my 2 kiddos along EVERY MONTH now.

  • The distance between my house to my hospital is 40 minutes EACH WAY. I really appreciate less travelling time now especially if 2 kiddos are tagging along everywhere I go (different story if we are going on holiday okay?)

  • My gynae is very busy (and so am I)

Don't get me wrong... I will definitely monitor my progress even though I'm not seeing my gynae every month. Just that, I feel this round, I am more relaxed and not too pressured to be going for my checkups every month. Of course, because of the lack of checkups, I do sometimes forgot how many weeks pregnant I was and had to keep checking on Babycenter website :P

As for antenatal pills, oh well, I buy my own vitamins and pills from the local pharmacy near my housing area. Just folic acid, Obimin and vitamin C daily for now. I've been taking the same thing for the previous 2 pregnancies anyway.

I also read one of my blog followers commenting that she is not going for so many checkups during pregnancy as too much ultrasound will affect the baby's foetal development. I googled around for more information as I'm not aware of this and yes, of course I am curious to know whether there are risks to having too many ultrasounds or not!

You can read up the articles I found here on why it is best to avoid ultrasound scanning during pregnancy and why nobody has ever found them to be harmful and another science-based article here. Of course there are a whole lot more articles out there for you to research and read up on and decide for yourself.

My personal opinion? I think ultrasounds are good where by it helps to alert us if there's any complications or risks to the baby or mum but if your pregnancy is normal and no risks foreseen (or no historical healthy risks on yourself or your parents' side) then it should be fine not to do so many ultrasounds.

So, how often do you go for your antenatal checkups when you are/were pregnant and do you think ultrasounds are risky?