reminders of being a mum

A friend posted this on my FB wall earlier today – ten things moms with littles need. Definitely bookmarking that for future! I can attest that patience and grace are something required from the get go! I kept reading that website and loved this post – the happy mom pledge.


I felt better this morning (we actually managed to start our day at 9.30am!) because the ninja was sleeping in blocks of 3 hours or so, woohoo! There was a minor setback because as I was feeding him this morning, he had a massive poo that leaked out the side of his nappy which required emergency clean up before resuming the feed.


Also found this other article that was shared on FB – I Wasn’t Treating My Husband Fairly, And It Wasn’t Fair. I am guilty as charged (shamefaced!). There’s no two ways about it, the poor man has copped it on the chin on many occasions and all he wanted was just to help and make the ranting stop.


Right now, I’m watching him contentedly suck on his moustache pacifier while he naps on my exercise mat. It’s moments like this that fill my heart.

mummy’s group

So the ninja and I went for our first meeting of the new parents’ group. There were six of us plus babies (four girls and two boys including the ninja). Ninja was the eldest of the lot at 11 weeks and the youngest being 4 weeks.


Wasn’t too bad actually – everyone was pretty friendly. We shared our birth stories and only one had a textbook delivery. The rest of us all had some kind of event happen to us but all agreed the main thing was that bubs and mum came out safe in the end! Also it was nice to share our experiences thus far of life with a new bub.


I do hope that ninja and I will find new mummy friends through this group! Always nice to widen your social circles!



a little pampering

Every mummy needs a little pampering. Heck, everybody needs pampering now and then.


One of my girlfriends gifted me this amazing facial mask from GlamGlow SUPERMUDยฎ. I tried it on tonight after the little ninja was down for the night – my girlfriend warned me that it’s black so I figured I’d better avoid scaring the little mite, hehe.

Glamglow SupermudInside Glamglow Supermud box

I must say, it’s a very nicely packaged product – look at how it shines at you!

Glamglow Supermud jar Glamglow Supermud jar opened

I pried open the silver foil top to reveal a dark grey mud mask:

Glamglow Supermud opened jar

The instructions tell you to spread a thin layer over your face while avoiding the eye area. It was a thin consistency, easy to spread and right away I could feel the cooling sensation of the mask. It smelt eucalyptus/minty and slightly aniseed-y to me – very refreshing!


As it’s a thin layer you spread on, it starts drying very quickly and I could also see the oil being absorbed out of my T-zone area! There were bits of eucalyptus leaves scattered throughout – probably to remind you there’s eucalyptus in it, heh.

mud skin


Left it on for approx 15 minutes (it says 5-20 minutes) then washed it off with cool water. Wow – my skin felt so soft and clean! My blackheads also looked a lot lighter after too! I quickly applied some facial serum I had to boost moisture (my girlfriend told me she usually does a clay-type mask followed with a hydrating mask).


As she’s the facial products/beauty guru, I asked her how often I should use it on my T-zone area to help clear out my blackheads and she recommended twice a week is plenty.


It felt really nice to do a little something special for myself ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, the little ninja was so easy on me today when we went out shopping earlier. Handled it like a champ in the carrier (by mostly sleeping) and was all smiles when it came time to feeding him halfway through.

the little ninja and his dino friend, spike

For the little ninja’s first Christmas last year, we bought him a toy dinosaur. Why a dinosaur? Mostly because hubs adored his Dino Riders toys when he was a young un so he was keen to pass on the dino love to his son.


This is the plush dinosaur we bought:

He’s pretty cute, hey?


When the ninja “opened” his present on Christmas, he was only 7 weeks so not very interested in toys yet. We’ve been giving him Spike to play with since last week and this week he’s really taken an interest in Spike. He’s working on them fine motor skills with the grasping and poking! It’s really cute (and a bit of a relief!) that the ninja likes to have playtime on his own. Of course, he’s still within view of me and every so often, when I glance over at him, he’s looking right at me and will sometimes flash a cheeky grin *heart melts into a puddle*


We also introduced another toy at the same time, the Oball.

Some dear friends gifted us with this at the ninja’s baby shower. Again, the ninja loves it. It’s very cute to see him concentrating on it with his tiny fingers poking/grasping at it.


It’s quite amazing to think that only two weeks ago, he wasn’t very interested in playing by himself but now, we’re able to pop him in his bouncer and chuck Spike/the Oball in with him and get a few minutes free to do other stuff around the home!

my take on breastfeeding and the bottle

Today we attempted to introduce the bottle to the ninja. I will say that I’m pretty blessed thus far to have an abundant milk supply and that our breastfeeding journey has been pretty good once both he and I learned the basics. Before I continue, let me say that I firmly believe that every mother has a right to choose whether to breastfeed or bottle-feed her child – it shouldn’t be an us versus them thing! We should support each other because at the end of the day, it’s about making sure the bub receives the nutrition s/he needs to grow! Sure, breast is best if you can do it but expressed breastmilk/formula isn’t anything to sniff at. Some mothers just can’t or don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding and there’s nothing wrong with them using the bottle. Hubs and I were both bottle-fed formula milk as babies and we turned out fine.


So let’s start with today’s adventure. We were using the Minbie teat for 0+ months with the 180ml bottle (which I’d won a set from last year’s Pregnancy, Babies and Children Expo). I had waited until now because I wanted to be sure that bub and I had an established breastfeeding routing in case there was going to be nipple confusion.

I’d started expressing this week just once a day with a manual breast pump as I wanted to see if I could build up a small stash for backups as well as let hubs feed the ninja occasionally to give me a break. Thankfully it isn’t too hard to get around 50-60mls each time (I pumped approx an hour after bub has his usual feed). I have to say, it’s somewhat fascinating to watch the milk flow/spray out as I pump (I don’t usually get to see this when breastfeeding).


We thought, let’s give it a go today so it got to time for the bub’s usual feed. We got everything ready but given this was our first time attempting a bottle feed, we didn’t get the timing quite right so poor mite was yowling by the time it was ready. It took a lot of fussing and stress on everyone’s part – bubs was getting frustrated about latching onto the teat, hubs was getting frustrated that bubs was upset and I was getting stressed too because I was busy pumping at the same time to avoid engorgement. Hubs and bub eventually got it but the ninja only downed 70ml from the bottle before fussing again. I ended up feeding him another 40ml using a syringe. Otherwise, when bub initially downed the 70ml, he took quite fine to the teat. We suspect that as he is used to a fast let down from me, we might need to get the 3+ month teat that has a faster flow for him. We’ll report back on this at a later date when we get new teats. ๐Ÿ™‚


Re our breastfeeding journey, as most mums starting out would attest, it was hard and painful at first! In the hospital, I received tons of advice which was overwhelming for me. Each time a different midwife attended to me, she would offer a different method/opinion on how to breastfeed. Whilst they all meant well, it was still difficult for a new mum like me to know just what to do! I also had nipple trauma because I’d let bub nurse for too long – that took several weeks to heal up properly. In the meantime, I loaded on Lansinoh for healing and relief as recommended by a friend.


I faced the challenge of keeping a sleepy newborn awake long enough to nurse, wondered if I was keeping him on the boob for long enough/too long, worried that he wasn’t getting enough milk, later on I worried that he was getting too much milk too fast, worried that he wasn’t getting enough fore/hindmilk and the list goes on. A fellow mummy friend of 2 kids advised that I should just go with my gut instinct and lean on God for wisdom.


My boobs still leak on occasion but from what I read, apparently that’s nature’s way to helping ensure I don’t end up with mastitis from engorgement. Now, if my boobs start majorly leaking, I just grab a clean glass jar and collect that precious milk for later (one night, I collected close to 30mls as bub had a longer sleep that went past the usual feedtime!). Also, there’s been a few times where I haven’t let bub drain my boobs properly (lesson here is never rush it if you can) and I’ve had some minor blocked ducts which I would then be vigilant about massaging out and ensuring bub fed from the affected boob until it was gone.


So I’ve learned to let go of a few things – as long as bub is gaining weight, creating nappy messes as he should and looks bright eyed and healthy, I’m fine with how I’m breastfeeding him. I let him nurse until he either detaches or starts comfort sucking. I feel my boobs to ensure that they feel nice and soft after a feed. I find it funny how I’m now often “feeling up” myself to see which side to start feeding bub with and after feeding, whether it’s drained enough. I follow a feeding schedule that’s half baby-led, half parent-led i.e. aiming for roughly 3 hourly cycle. I’ve stopped stressing if bub sleeps through longer than a 3 hour cycle because I’m now confident that if he’s hungry, he’ll be sure to let me know.


There were a few days during his 6-8 weeks period that he was stretching out feeds from 2 hours to 3-5 hours and I was stressing thinking something was wrong not realising that he was maturing and could go for longer without an issue. Then there were also days that he wanted to feed every 2-2.5 hours (made me feel like we were back in newborn days) but that was due to a couple of really hot days so he just wanted to stay hydrated.


So yeah, nearly 11 weeks in and we’re in a good place with our breastfeeding routine. He latches on well and I just have to make sure I’m positioned properly otherwise I pay for it later (thank goodness for Lansinoh!).


It’s rather cute to see him get all excited about a feed when I place him on the nursing pillow and pop out the boob, haha. His mouth starts opening wide like a baby bird and he makes little excited panting noises and gets all wriggly until he suction caps on. I love watching his myriad of facial expressions when he’s feeding; it ranges from absolute relief to fierce concentration to sleepiness to zoned out. He’ll often make eye contact with me while feeding, as if to make sure I’m still there. I like to take the time while he’s feeding to pray over him, chat quietly to him, just look at/stroke him and absorb his babyhood in and if it’s night time, I’ll look at stuff on my mobile in a bid to stay awake. In the earlier days when he used to take a lot longer to feed, I had our Android tablet set up so I could watch catch-up TV shows as we hardly watch TV nowadays.


So after our initial trial of bottle feeding and comparing it to breastfeeding, I do find breastfeeding tons more convenient (no equipment to sterilise or needing to store/warm up milk, plus no need to guess how much to measure out/worry about milk wastage). However, it can be isolating at times because in our society, people still aren’t comfortable with you whipping out a boob in public. There were quite a few times that I felt quite left out as I would have to scurry away with bub to another room for his feed and I could hear everyone else continuing with their banter or the many times I’ve had to stop halfway though a meal and then come back to an empty table when everyone else is done (or come in halfway after a meal has started but hubs would be lovely and prepare a plate for me). I suppose if you were bottle feeding, if you had everything ready to go, you could quite happily remain in the present company and just feed bub without risking anyone’s offence/awkwardness.


Also, no one told me it was going to be so WET what with all the leaking and milk dribbling out of bub’s mouth! Those stock photos of breastfeeding mothers are a LIE with them looking all perfectly coiffed, stylishly clothed and dry. Half the time I’m trying to yank down the nursing bra cup far enough to avoid dripping from the nipple and place a towel around the little ninja’s cheek/neck to catch any spillage from his mouth. I joked once to hubs that bub gets white linen service with every feed.


So that’s my breastfeeding journey. I am aiming to breastfeed the ninja till he’s 1 year old and may consider continuing to 2 years old given the awesome properties of breastmilk for growing babies.

2.5 hours and that’s all

So the little ninja is currently in slumberland, his tiny left fist firmly wedged in his mouth (yes, we have entered into the beginnings of him discovering how delicious his fist is).


Did another round of babywearing exercise today after his lunch and before mine (update: I just finished mine and it’s now quarter to 4pm…).


Grabbing a couple of minutes to quickly blog about last night/this morning’s sleep routine. The small one finally went to sleep about 10pm last night and woke up at 12.30am, an hour after I’d gone to bed finally after hanging out the nappies on the clothes airer. I had hoped we would be lucky enough to get a 3-4 hour sleep stretch but no, it wasn’t to be. He woke up roughly every 2.5 hours until 7am. After feeding and changing his nappy (he had a small poo incident on the change table but thankfully I’d placed a terrycloth towel under his butt which caught it all), I put him back to sleep in his cot and crawled into bed while hoping he would give me at least 2 more hours of sleep. Again, it wasn’t to be – he started crying an hour later so I groaned to hubs to please take him as I was feeling just so tired.


Now, FYI that we have been trialling since last week with me handling all the nappy changes after the last feed of the day until the first feed after 6am as bubs typically wakes only once between midnight and 6am. This is in a bid to help hubs get a better quality of sleep (he still stirs when bub cries but he doesn’t have to fully rouse himself) so he can actually get through a day’s work. For me, I don’t have to look like I’m concentrating because it’s just bubs and I at home whereas hubs needs to! It seems to be working a bit better for us, he gets (slightly) better sleep and (theoretically) is able to help out when he’s home.


However, I must admit that there are times that I can feel bitterness rearing its ugly head when hubs rolls over back to sleep while I stumble blearily across to the other room with bub to feed and do his nappy change. It’s terrible of me considering that when hubs is home, he does actually help out with the little ninja wherever he can. There was one night I was really upset because as I sat there feeding bub, hubs blearily poked his head into the room on his way back to bed after going to the loo. As I was too zonked to say anything but look at him, he took it to be that everything was fine but in reality, I hadn’t processed the words to say, “You’ve left a dirty nappy on the change table from earlier – please can you handle it?” In the end, I had to rinse out two cloth nappies after putting bub back to sleep and it just plain annoyed me at 3am+ in the morning that I had to be awake for a few minutes longer.


The next morning I did mention it to hubs and tried to tell him in the nicest way I could muster up without sounding like a whinging little b***h. He apologised saying he thought everything was fine when I’d said nothing and reassured me that I could always call on him for help if I needed it. Which is quite true as there have been times I’ve struggled with getting a clean nappy on bub during those early AM feeds and bub starts crying so hubs stumbles in to help take over.


I’m so glad that I have a few friends who are mummies themselves and one of them also admitted that it’s hard when the husband just gets to roll over and sleep while we get up to tend to baby. Made me feel like it wasn’t just me that felt that way! Clearly they’ve all managed to survive it so gambate!


Hubs told me that when he spoke to other dads, he was quite surprised that during the work week, most of them didn’t do anything during night/early AM feeds. Their reasoning was that they needed to go to work so it was important to get a good sleep. When I heard that, I was immediately SO grateful that hubs chose to be so hands on in the early days with doing bub’s nappy changes while I got ready to breastfeed. Definitely a keeper!


Now, while bubs is still asleep (18 minutes so far!), I’m going to hurry and tidy up a little while I can!

shopping day out

My muscles were aching (but in a good way!) from yesterday’s babywearing exercise routine. Decided that it would be good to stretch them out by going shopping = walking!


Packed up the little ninja along with the Manduca baby carrier and Combi pram and off we went! It’s still school holidays so the shopping centre was somewhat busy but it was still easy enough to find parking.


Wandered around with ninja in the carrier while pushing the pram with the nappy bag in it. He did have a couple of brief crying/screams but calmed down as soon as I started walking – if that’s not an encouragement to keep moving, I don’t know what is!


Went into a Bonds store to look for some 3/4 pants and I was pretty impressed by their changerooms. The one I was ushered into was huge enough I could park the pram in there and still have heaps of room! It even had a built in bench with Bonds branded pillows – perfect for lying the little ninja down on while I tried on pants. He woke up as I placed him on the pillows and stared around the room with big eyes, heh.


At the end, I went into one of the parent rooms there to give him a feed and a nappy change before heading home. After having been to different parent rooms at various places, this one was not as nice as some. I’ll give that it’s definitely not newly done up and it had all the necessary items i.e. change table, nappy bin, sink, microwave, toilet and sofa/chair. Only thing it didn’t have was a lock on the door so there’s no guarantee of privacy. I was lucky that there was no one in there but after I’d settled in with ninja busy milking away, a lady came bustling in as she wanted to wash up some cups and spoons (I’m guessing she works at either the centre management or one of the shops there). She did apologise and probably would’ve left it I’d kicked up a stink but I didn’t really mind. Not long after, the cleaning staff entered to do her duties – I was wondering when the next person was going to come in! Eventually they both left and it was the ninja and I again.


Funny enough, as I was changing ninja’s nappy, another mum poked her head in as she needed to change her kid’s nappy. I was just about finishing up so I invited her to come in and set up, even ended up giving her the last of my baby wipes as she’d left hers in her car. It worked out in the end as we both needed to use the toilet so took turns to keep an eye on each other’s bub before we both headed out.


Hubs was home today so it was lovely to come home to a yummy roast lamb dinner! While he finished prepping, I chatted with our boy who was lying on the beanbag. Got lots of smiles and coos, which made hubs a tiny bit jealous. He says he has to “work for it” but I said it’s probably because I spend more time with him by comparison. I do love watching my two boys play together, it’s very endearing when hubs makes up silly songs/games when interacting with our little one.


Tonight, while we ate dinner, I looked over at the little ninja and he made a sound like a trial laugh! Not quite a proper laugh but a very happy gurgle for sure! Cheeky little man wouldn’t go down for a nap until an hour before his next feed was due. Even then, it was only for 30 minutes…sigh. Still battling this daytime napping thing. He finally zonked out after 10pm so fingers crossed he sleep for 4 hours or so!


Well, laundry’s done so gotta go hand out the washed nappies now before heading to bed!

getting back to exercising

Now that the ninja’s 10 weeks young, I finally feel like I can actually a bit more than just feed, nappy change, settle to sleep and hit repeat every 2 hours. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s becoming more cognizant or if I finally have found my groove/routine with him after last week.


I’d heard about babywearing exercises and was keen to give it a go. Before becoming pregnant, I was getting into weights and core body exercises. Once I was pregnant, I slacked off after the first trimester mostly due to laziness. But, honestly, I did miss having muscle definition and strength.


I was inspired into action after having a catch up with two close girlfriends today. One of them is totally into fitness and she looked amazingly tonedย  in her skinny jeans. A little spark went off in my head and I decided it was high time I kicked my butt into gear. I jumped online to do a bunch of research and found this link which has been a great starting point for me – Working Out With Your Baby. It looked easy enough so I was game to give it a go. So, I slipped (OK, stretched) into my workout gear, strapped baby into the Manduca carrier and off we went!


Man, don’t let the “low intensity” fool you! Sure, it’s not fast paced (c’mon, you have a precious little bundle strapped to you. I definitely wouldn’t want to cause any harm to my little ninja!) but having a 6kg weight definitely gets your blood pumping and sweat beading! I felt really good after and am definitely going to be expecting some serious muscle aches tomorrow!


Now, I’m not aiming to be a “yummy mummy” as I’ve always been on the slightly chubby side but rather, I want to be strong and healthy so I can be an active part of my child’s life. Already I’ve encountered the back/arm muscle aches that are an occupational hazard as a parent with all the bending over and carrying needed. Here’s to the start of shedding those extra 3-4kgs that are still hanging around after the pregnancy!

ninja superpower – the crying

Call me naive, but I don’t think I ever fully understood how my baby’s cries would just cut me!


Sure, I was fortunate enough to read a blog post (can’t recall whether it was during late pregnancy or in the early days of ninja) with this golden piece of parenting advice: This too shall pass. It really helped put things into perspective when I hold a screaming baby who’s turning redder by the second and (sometimes) has big fat tears. Ooohh..those tears! ๐Ÿ™ It reminded me that while there are hard moments (crying baby, anyone?), there are also plenty of sweet moments (that first grin/coo) that are all so fleeting. Already my little ninja is 9 weeks!


I also recently came across this other blog post called “Brace yourself: The zero to ten scale” which was such a great reminder when I was (yet again) holding a screaming baby who wouldn’t go to sleep without singing me his sleep song. This particular line hooked me:

At 10, loud and incessant crying, your baby is also doing his job.
He’s just a baby and I have to keep reminding myself that his crying is just his current way of communicating everything. One day, he’ll be able to speak words and we’ll then need to work on new ways of communicating effectively. Till then, sweet little boy, mama will hold you and do her best to stay calm for you when you’re screaming in my ear. I will do my best to soothe you and show you that you are so very loved and safe in our arms.


the ninja’s sleep song

Sigh…there are days that I really wish bub came with a mute button. Look, I know that as a baby, their only means of communication is through crying and cooing. It’s not like the little ninja can say, “Mummy, I’m very hungry right now. Please would you feed me?” or “I’m very tired and would like a cuddle before I go to sleep.”


Bub seems to have this thing of having a big ol’ cry before he’ll go to sleep. Not just a little whimper or a little cry, a BIG red-faced cry that just stabs right through our hearts. All we can do is just hold him and try to ensure he knows we’re there with him.


I coined it his “sleep song” as a nicer way of viewing it. There was once I was holding him and half jokingly told him I’d like it if he wouldn’t keep doing encore performances while I was trying to soothe him. I must admit that once he’s calm and lying there, it’s kinda cute how he tries to keep his eyes open as if to make sure we’re still there. His eyes will flutter open then slowly droop shut several times before finally zonking out.


Which brings me to my next point…this fella will sleep anywhere from 2-5 hours at night (for which we are very thankful for) BUT during the day, he just catnaps. Seriously, he’ll sleep 30-45 mins then his eyes will POP open and boom! I can see that he’s still sleepy as he’ll yawn but noooo, mister here won’t go back down for another sleep without a fight. Grrrr…I really really really really hope that he’ll learn to self settle after a sleep cycle so we can actually get consistent naps of at least an hour. He will very occasionally have longer naps on his own. If he’s held or in the Manduca carrier, he’ll sleep for longer easily. Maybe it’s because he’s still so young (he’s still under 12 weeks).


I have noticed that if I sometimes let him fuss around and “sing” me his sleep song, he will eventually fall asleep. Then it’s me praying desperately in my heart to God, “Please let him sleep at least an hour!”


I remember while we were staying with the hubs’ parents for Christmas/New Year, he would go to sleep during the day in the pram and stay asleep on several occasions past an hour. I couldn’t believe it when it happened and kept peeking at him through the side mesh of the pram to make sure he was still breathing. Yeah, paranoia sets in when you’ve been so used to having him wake up so frequently, hehe.


Bub also sometimes has a pitiful whimper in his sleep – it can be startling and often I rush over to check if he’s OK. Poor little guy must be having a bad dream or something, it wrenches my heart when I see his little face all screwed up with a downturned mouth ๐Ÿ™ It’s also quite funny when he sometimes yelps or does this weird laugh like sound (he’s not yet properly laughing) in his sleep.