Friday, August 25, 2006

The Slow Cooker - A Busy Mum's Lifesaver

With a baby and a toddler in the house, (this was written earlier. now I have a pre-schooler and a toddler in the house) the slow cooker or crockpot is a life-saver. Just dump everything in and a few hours later everyone has good, nutritious, hot piping food or soup. Even baby's food can be be cooked together with the adult's portion. Just remove the vegetable before seasoning and mash up for baby.

My husband and I are always rushing around during the weekend trying to get our chores and errands done. Usually we shop for our groceries on Saturday mornings and when we get home, I will immediately put the freshly bought meat (no defrosting required since it is still fresh). I would buy meat that has been chopped up for convenience and to save time. So all I need to do is to wash and put everything in the crockpot.

Here is one simple meal I usually make for our Saturday TV dinners. :-)

Main Ingredients
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 bombay onion
- 1 potato
- A few brocolli florets
- 2 whole chicken thigh and drum
- pasta (shells or sphagetti)
- salt, sugar and tomato sauce

1. Fill up slow cooker 3/4 quarters full of water or enough to cover all ingredients
2. Wash meat and put into slow cooker
3. Cut onions, tomato and potatoes into wedges and put everything into the crockpot
4. Cook on high for 2-3 hours
5. Add in brocolli florets and pasta and cook on low for 1 hour
6. Season with salt, sugar and tomato sauce to taste

Notes: Apart from brocolli florets, other vegetables like celery or whatever leftovers you have from your refrigerator can be used to add nutrition and taste to your meal. This soup together with the pasta is a whole meal on its own.

Pin It

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Picky Eater

My toddler is a very picky eater. Some days she would not eat anything at all accept biscuits and milk. It makes me want to tear my hair out! Its supposed to be normal at this age though. I have read that they will go through food 'jags' eating only a certain favourite food and rejecting all others but mine seem to reject almost any food I give her.

Most books or aritcles say that it is not wise to scold, plead or cajole your toddler to eat. From my experience, its true. Its no use resorting to any of those tactics as it will not work anyway causing both you and your child to become stressed up in the process. So, I have learned to relax a little and let her eat WHAT she wants WHEN she wants.

Below are recipes of two of her favourite foods.

Mashed potato (with hidden fish and vegetables.)
Main Ingredients
- 1 potato
- fillet of fish (white meat variety)
- vegetables that will soften easily when steamed. eg pumpkin, peas, carrots and brocolli
- a sprinkle of salt, sugar and five spice powder
- cream cheese and mayonnaise (optional)

1. Boil potato with skin for 1 hour.
2. Season fish fillet with salt, pepper and five spice powder then steam together with chopped vegetable for 10 minutes.
3. Peel potato and minced together with the steamed fish, vegetable, cream cheese and mayonnaise
4. Cool and serve

Notes: Alternatively, fish can be wrapped up in aluminium foil and baked in the oven toaster for 10 minutes.

Toddler's pasta recipe
Main Ingredients
- 1 bowl pasta (small shells variety)
- 2 tablespoon minced beef/chicken
- 1 pip garlic (minced)
- 1/2 bombay onion (chopped finely)
- 1 tomato (chopped finely)
- 1 sliced cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoon pasta sauce

1. Boil pasta for 20 minutes till soft.
2. Saute garlic, onions in a pan for 2-3 minutes
3. Add minced meat and stir for 5 minutes
4. Add in tomatoes and boiled pasta
5. Add water to preferred consistency and slice of cheese to thicken the gravy
6. Simmer for 10 minutes
7. Cool and serve

Notes: I use sliced cheese so that it will melt and thicken the gravy because my toddler likes it that way but it can be substituted with sprinkled cheese instead

I wrote this when my girl was just a toddler. She is a preschooler now a little less picky these days.

Pin It

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bedtime Routines when you have two kids

When I had one kid, I thought bedtime routines were tough. I recall days when I couldn't get anything done because the baby woke up in 10 minute intervals during afternoon naps. I would put her down, creep out of the room silently and then "Waaaaaaaaaaaah!" I wanted to cry along.

So when I had two kids, I thought that bedtime would be tough. I struggled over the decision of whether to let them go to sleep at the same time or have their bedtimes staggered. I tried both and I discovered that staggering their bedtimes took too much time. By letting them have the same bedtime, they would inevitably disturb one another but once they got used to it, it was ok.

I still remember how exasperated I felt when my daughter would wake the baby up and then fall asleep, only to be woken up by the baby in the next instant, but thats over now, thankfully. Bedtime routines are smooth sailing now. Yippeee!

This is our bedtime routine:

  • Drink milk while watching tv
  • Brush teeth, wash face and hands
  • Change to pyjamas then off we go to the bedroom
  • Read a book or sing some songs and rhymes
  • Lights off then breastfeed baby and tell my girl more stories in the dark (usually she requests for 3 stories ie thats the limit) or we chit chat about our day if it was eventful
  • Zzzzzzzzzz (Baby will continue to mumble or sing to himself or play with his toycar by himself till he falls asleep if he hasn't fallen asleep during the breastfeed and his sister will wait till baby sleeps and then ask me to stroke her hair if she is still not asleep by the time baby is)

The entire process takes about an hour sometimes more. If I am very tired sometimes I even fall asleep before they do but usually not.

Pin It

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My period returned early even though I breastfeed

For both my babies, my period returned about 4-6 weeks postpartum despite the fact that I breastfeed. It worried me because I had read that when you breastfeed, your period is likely to return only when you wean baby. I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that I was having excessive lochia bleeding. I thought that I was having complications from my caesarean birth. I went to see my doctor and was told that it was probably my period which did nothing to ease my worries because of the word "probably".

I search the internet and was comforted when I read this:

When it comes to menstruation and breastfeeding, just about anything can be considered normal. Some moms get their periods when the baby is two or three months old, even if they are exclusively breastfeeding. Other moms may be partially breastfeeding and not get their cycle back until they wean. It just depends on the mother and how sensitive she is to the hormonal influences of breastfeeding. Read more here.

It worried me, but it does happen, ie the early return of period or menstruation even when breastfeeding exclusively. Read this Q&A: Menstruation: Early return of period with exclusive nursing And no, the return of my period does not affect my milk supply. I'm still breastfeeding my 2 year old and my period still comes regularly.

I hope that this short post helps to ease the worries of some other mums with the same experience.

Pin It

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Recovery from a caesarean birth

I get quite a lot of search engine queries about recovering from a caesarean birth so I might as well write about this since I had two caesarean births.

I can't remember much about the recovery process, only about my feelings so thats what I shall write about.

My first was an emergency caesarean under general anaesthetics.

  • I remember feeling very tired and groggy the first day after the delivery. I'm not sure but I think its probably due to the medication and painkillers I was given. All I remember is drifting in and out of sleep. I could hear baby crying in the background. Luckily hubby was there. We had paid for the use of a double room so he could sleep on the other bed and look after the baby.
  • I remember hubby urging me to get up quickly to walk about because he had read this: How long before I can get out of bed?
    At first you'll probably feel as though you'll never walk again, but as soon as six hours after the birth your midwife will probably cajole you out of bed. However hard it seems, do try to move - the earlier you can, the better for your circulation and general recovery. Also, you'll have to try it sometime - and once you've got out of bed once, next time will be easier. Read more here. I was afraid to, but I managed eventually.
  • I remember the discomfort of lying in bed with a catherer and urine bag for urination and the relief after it was removed.
  • I remember the relief of having a sponge bath by the nurses and graduating very quickly to the bathroom to wash myself up. Washing up was both a relief and a pain. A relief to get clean especially since there was the lochia to clean up from and a pain to stand up straight so soon after the caesarean operation. Luckily there were handle bars at the hospital bathroom to cling on to. I got aid to get to the bathroom and managed to wash up on my own.
  • I remember hubby was eager to go home since he only had 2 weeks off from work and he wanted us to settle home with the new baby as soon as possible. I was terrified because I still did not know how to breastfeed. At the hospital at least there were nurses to show me how and nurses to check on my condition etc. At home, there was no one accept us. As a first time mum, I was terrified and almost had a fight with hubby because of it. In the end we agreed we would ask the doctor and if she said ok, we would go home. I delivered at 2am, 21st May 2002. I was dischared at 12.00pm on 23rd May, 2002. Yes, I was terrified! But I coped.
  • I remember the pain when laughing and coughing or passing gas but passing gas was good according to the doctor as it meant that I was on the road to recovery

My second was an elected caesarean under epidural anaesthetics

  • I remember being much more alert after delivery as compared to the caesarean under general anaesthetics.
  • I remember the recovery to be much faster too (or perhaps it was because I was more experienced now)
  • The only more painful memory I recalled was when I had some infection near the wound area and was prescribed medicine that gave me severe gastric. I remember feeling sore all over from gastric pain, breast pain from poor breastfeeding and caesarean wound pain all at the same time. Then, I truly understood the term "double up with pain" for that was exactly what I felt like doing. "double up in pain" I could hardly sit or stand up straight from the pain.

Oops! I hope this post hasn't been too negative. It helps to hold on to the wound area while walking or coughing. And remember not to lift heavy things for a while. I remember I was given the green light to drive about 4-6 weeks after the caesarean and was able to drive myself for a checkup when my period returned around that time.

Pin It

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My sleep will never be the same again

Once we become mothers, our sleep will never be the same again and it all starts with pregnancy.

During early pregnancy, I remember waking up every few moments to go to the toilet. Frequent urination is one of the early pregnancy symtoms that kept me awake at night. Later on, the big pregnant abdoment and uncomfortable sleeping positions helped to contribute to the poor sleep.

And then baby comes along and........the first few months is the hardest. I don't think I had any proper sleep at all especially the first month. Both my babies mix up their day and nights. They slept during the day and was extremely awake at night. Nothing helped. Not reading up and trying all those tricks to help them adjust their day and night sleep wake rhythms. Eventually, they will just adjust on their own when their developmental time frame is right. At least, thats from my experience with my babies so I just had to wait it out and go with the flow instead of stressing myself out.

With the first baby, at least I was able to sleep during the day when she slept. However, with the second, its impossible because when the newborn slept during the day, I still had to look after a toddler. It was really tough.

During the early days, theres also the breastfeeding problems. That kept me awake, pumping and waking up for night feeds. Our bodies make milk at night so the best time to feed babies is during the night if you want to maintain your milk supply.

The interrupted sleep was really hard on me especially on those days when I could not get back to sleep. Usually I just end up reading or eating(!). Being awake at night makes me hungry! Suffering from sleepiness and imsomnia at the same time is a pain!

Then theres waking up just to check that the babies are sleeping alright. Reading up about the cases of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndromes) totally freaked me out leaving me with very light sleep ready to jump up at the sound of any slight whimper. I no longer sleep like a log now. Sometimes I also wake up just to look at them sleeping peacefully and smile to myself.

After the early newborn days, later on there are teething moments or times when they are ill that kept me awake all night sometimes from worry. Then theres the night toilet training....... the list goes on.

Now my girl is four and my boy is two and at last I'm beggining to get a full night's sleep again but my sleep will always be light. I still wake up at every little sound I hear.

And later on as they grow, my sleep will probably still be disturbed by worries about how they're doing at school, during exams, later on in life at work. Its a non-exhustive list. Nope! My sleep will never be the same again as a mother.

Related Posts About Babies Sleep from my Personal Blog:

Sleep, baby sleep
Sleep Like A Baby
Night Shift
I don't want to sleep!

Pin It

Monday, August 07, 2006

Checklist on What to buy to welcome home a new baby

I was cleaning up my pc when I came across this checklist on what to the list of things we bought to prepare for our new baby:

Big Items
1. Cot
2. Mattress
3. Waterproof pad
4. Pot for boiling napkins
5. Pot for boiling bath water
6. Baby bath tub
7. Crock pot (Slow cooker)
8. Clothes hanger
9. Kettle
10. Steamer for sterelizing baby bottles

Other Items for Baby
1. Baby blanket
2. Receiving blanket for swadling

Toiletries for bathtime
1. Baby towel
2. Washcloths
3. Towels for misc use
4. Baby wipes
5. Sterile cotton balls
6. Soap
7. Shampoo
8. Baby nail clipper
9. Baby hair brush & comb
10.Clothes detergent

Baby outfits
1. Bonnet/Hat
2. Bibs
3. Booties
4. Mittens
5. Two-piece outfits
(2 short sleeve & 2 long sleeve shirts & 6 long pants)
6. Nappy Liners
7. Disposable diapers
8. Cloth diapers

First Aid/Medication
1. Thermometer
2. Nasal Aspirator
3. Cream for Nappy Rash (Eg. Drapolene)

For Mummy
1. Breast pump - Manual
2. Bottle
3. Sanitary napkins
4. Breast pads
5. Nursing bra
6. Brush for cleaning bottle
7. Bucket for bathing during confinement
8. Front opening pyjamas
9. Face towel

Stroller & Car Seat redeemed from Shopping Points.

Eventually, I was to do away with the manual breast pump. Its totally useless to me. Its extremely difficult to use in my opinion. I bought two more expensive battery operated pumps ie the Avent and Medela breast pumps but in the end I became an expert at hand pumping!

My best buy was the steamer for sterelizing baby bottles. Even though I breastfeed, I still made use of bottles for storing breastmilk to be given to baby via spoon or cups during the early days. The steamer was a lot easier than sterelizing by boiling the old fashioned way which we tried at first using a big hand-me-down pot we received for this purpose.

The items we enjoyed shopping for the most were those adorable, tiny little baby clothes! :) Sometimes I still look at them and can't imagine my kids used to fit into those small clothing. They're so big now. They grow up so quickly. I still don't know why we bought so many two piece outfits. I find that the one piece baby suits during the early days are the best. Easy to remove and comfortable for baby.

Pin It

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How to make sure your firstborn child accept the new baby

Our kids are 2 years apart. Born on the same date but a month short of 2 years apart, my girl was almost 2 when her baby brother was born.

To me, there is just one word to describe how we made sure our firstborn child accepted the new baby. And that word is "INVOLVEMENT". We made sure she was involved every step of the way.

We talked to her about the baby and referred to the baby as "our baby" to include her. We took her to EVERY doctor visit (also due to the fact that we didn't have anyone to watch her so she always tagged along with us everywhere we went. Lol!). She looked at the baby ultrasound scans together with us. We took her shopping for baby stuff with us.

And when the big day came (the delivery date), we took her to the hospital with us. Again, it was because we had no one to watch her for us. My sisters helped us watch my girl during the birthing process when hubby was in the labour room with me but she stayed the nights with us at the hospital. We requested for a double bedded room at the hospital but they were full so we had to opt for a single room with a request for an extra mattress to be placed on the floor. She and hubby slept on the mattress throughout my hospital stay which was about 2 nights due to my emergency caesarean birth. The nurses were amused with her antics when we were there.

Hubby took her out for meals during those 2-3 days, mostly fast food meals, (men!) and at night when she had trouble falling asleep because of the new and strange surroundings, hubby carried her in his arms and walked her till she slept before he laid her down on the mattress. She was tired from the excitement so she slept quite well, thankfully. (Even with the baby crying at the top of his lungs)

Back home, whenever I breastfed baby, she would usually be beside me, especially during bedtime, when I would chat and sing to her or tell her stories. So she never had a chance to feel left out. She accepted the new baby very well. I did not detect any jealousy even though she had been princess of the house for almost 2 years. :) Whenever baby cried she would tell me "Mummy, baby is crying. Carry baby/Feed baby."

They are 4 and 2 now and sibling rivalry has kicked in. Lol! Sometimes they are the best of friends and sometimes arch enemies. However, I never had any trouble with my then toddler accepting her newborn baby brother. And it was all due to that one word "INVOLVEMENT"

Another thing I want to share. I have a friend who did the same thing with all her four kids. Her husband tells me that for every birth in the family, he would bring sleeping bags and they all camped out at the hospital and turned it into a family event. Their last baby was a girl so all her brothers tagged along during the hospital stay. I think its a great idea. Turning the birth into a family event. Getting everyone involved helps in acceptance and its a great opportunity for all to bond with the new baby.

Pin It

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Unsuitable baby names

Picking a name for your baby is really not an easy task. When were choosing names for our children we had to crack our heads on some of the following:

  • The name should sound nice
  • The name should be easy to pronounce
  • The name should be unique and special
  • The name should say something about the child
  • The name should have a nice meaning
  • etc etc etc

Sometimes chinese names (and I'm sure names of other races too) give a different meaning when combined with another word for example. It can also give a different sound and meaning when said in another language. It can be mispronounced by school teachers and school mates thereby giving the child a hard time or worse still causing the child to be potentially picked on at school. (On the other hand a chinese parent giving the child an English name may find that it is pronounced in the wrong way by the child's grandparents instead). It is really tough to come up with just the right name for your child.

In fact recently, The National Registration Department of Malaysia, to spare the poor baby the blushes when he or she grows up, has come up with a list of "undesirable" names for Malays, Indians and Chinese. Some of the unsuitable names on the list include:

  • Chow Kow (meaning smelly dog in Cantonese)
  • Ah Chwar (meaning snake in Hokkien)
  • Karrupusamy (meaning Black God in Tamil)
  • Woti (meaning sexual intercourse in Malay)
  • Chang Chee (meaning prostitute in Mandarin)
  • numbers are not allowed to so you can't call your child "007"
  • and you can't name your child after a japanese car!

You can read more about it here and here.

The author of a popular baby-naming book says while she doesn't believe in name destiny, some of the thinking makes sense. "It doesn't only say something about you but more so about your parents and why they chose that name for you," says Laura Wattenberg, author of Baby Name Wizard.

"I asked people on my website to tell me what names they find the most friendly name to be, and what I see is most people find simple, classic names such as Molly, Sam and Ben to be the most likable and friendly. People respond to you a certain way, and it in return helps shape your behaviour."

To ensure your baby does not get stuck in a name that makes him/her the brunt of jokes in later life, parents should really think very hard and do a little research before naming their babies.

Pin It
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...