Parenting, self taught

Some parents have said no amount of reading on baby books or attending childbirth education course will prepare you for taking care of a baby. That, my dear, is absolutely 200% true! For new parents, and maybe for experienced parents too, there’re a lot of trials and errors because each baby is unique.

First of all, how would I know breast feeding will not come easy and I should be prepared for blocked milk ducts which hinder me from feeding the baby? All the literature and experts kept saying supply will come with demand, and advocate total breast feeding if possible. Yes, but how about also giving us the various scenarios that may hinder a successful breast feeding? In my case, blocked milk ducts reduces supply, and because I didn’t realize what was happening and considered formula milk (FM) as inferior, I caused baby Alex to get dehydrated. Even without the milk duct problem, supply may not meet demand for whatever reasons.

The truth is breast milk doesn’t flow as you wish. My friend, Mae, told me to stand by formula milk just in case I need it. But I didn’t take her advice; I was too gungho. In the end, Alex is fed more formula milk than breast milk because my supply was drastically reduced. Still I’m slowly making a comeback, starting with half a feed of breast milk a day, to one full feed and now 2 feeds.

When it comes to formula milk, it’s not all the same and trial and error come in. We tried Dumex HA (hypoallergenic milk) Infant milk powder from the beginning and it suits Alex. Unfortunately it’s not widely available, and so when my husband couldn’t find it at the supermarket, he got the Similac brand of infant milk powder, which is not HA, without realizing the difference. He got an earful from me, and even though I was ambivalent, he didn’t think the difference mattered. But it turned out he was wrong. The milk powder caused Alex to become more gassy than usual and as a result, he was upset. In fact he was difficult to console and I had to rush to the nearest 24hr supermarket to look for the Dumex FM and thank God it was in stock.

At another time, my husband decided to try another brand of HA FM, Nan. But after trying it a few times, again it’s found not suitable for Alex. But this time he couldn’t find the Dumex HA milk, instead he tried his luck with the non-HA formula from Dumex. Strangely Alex is able to take it, but we don’t know why the powder produces a lot of bubbles after we mix it with water. Anyway we’re definitely sticking with Dumex. But now we’ve to get rid of the extra tins of Similac and Nan FM my husband bought. I’m going to try to sell them at a discount. The same goes for diapers. We tried a few brands such as Mamypoko, Merries, Pampers, Drypers and Huggies. Personally I like Pampers for its snug fit, good absorbency and easy to use, but it’s also the most expensive. Currently Alex is using both Huggies and Mamypoko. We still have half a bag of Drypers which we’re looking to give away.

We’ve been told initially that we shouldn’t rock baby to sleep. Even Gina Ford stated in her book that baby should be allowed to sleep on his/her own. But guess what? When baby refuses to sleep and thrashes around for more than 5 mins, and then started crying, you can’t just let the baby cry it out. Alex doesn’t cry himself to sleep, he can wake up the dead! The rocker we bought is a God-send when it comes to soothing him. Yes, we rock him to sleep and my husband also cuddles him to sleep as well. Once he does, we then put him in the cot. But he doesn’t sleep very long in the cot during the day. Thing is he wants company and he doesn’t like us leaving him in the cot alone in the room. There’re experts who advocate cry it out, but according to the blog, Troublesome Tots, that should not be attempted for newborns (1-3 months old) because at this young age, babies require a lot of soothing. We’ll deal with the sleep problem when it comes later, and will look at the cry it out method.

I did try to put Alex on a routine but it’s not been very successful. Right now we’re following a very fluid routine which basically is the morning feed (between 6.30am to 7.30am), after which I don’t put him back into the cot as he’s supposed to be awake until 8am. Most times he can’t stay awake and will nap after the feed and it’s almost impossible to wake him up. I put him in the rocker instead as he doesn’t like the play mat now. He prefers to sit up and look around him. Then there’s the morning bath which takes place between 10.30am to 11.30am. In the early evening, there’ll be feeding then follow by a wipe-down between 7.00pm to 8.00pm, and bedtime. But he doesn’t fall asleep easily and even when he does, he’ll wake up after 30 minutes and stays awake until 11pm. It’s really not possible to follow the nap time in the Gina Ford’s routine, because Alex has a mind of his own.

The good thing now is that Alex is able go 2.5-3 hours between feeds, and during wee hours of the night, it’s even longer, between 3-4 hours. So I realize, at least for Alex, I shouldn’t expect a newborn to go longer than 2 hours between feeds before he/she is more than 2 months old. Even when Alex seems to show hunger signs when it’s less than 2 hours or even at 2-hour mark, he’s not really hungry. When we rock him, he goes back to sleep instead, and only when he keeps crying despite being rocked is he truly hungry. I seriously do not know how a newborn (under 2 months old) can go on a 3-hourly routine.

Oh, the advice to us not to buy too many baby clothes is a good one. Alex has already outgrown his newborn clothes, and now wearing 3-6 months old clothes. Thank God his amount of feed has reduced from 1.3 liters a few weeks ago to currently 1 liter, which means his growth rate will stabilize.

Alex hearts his rocker

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Babies fall asleep easily in car seats as any parents will tell you

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(Update on 10 August)
If only baby can talk. There’re times when Alex cries even though he isn’t hungry and it’s not because he requires a diaper change, nor is he sick. Sometimes he just feels cranky or we think he is cranky because we seriously don’t know why. The only thing we can do is to cuddle him. He prefers to be carried by my husband than me; my husband thinks it’s because he feels more secure being carried by him and besides he has a broad chest which must be comfortable for Alex. So I mostly cuddle him for a while before putting him down on the rocker. Now the couch is my second bed. When I’ve to put Alex in the rocker in the early hours of the morning, I sleep on the couch to keep him company.

I’ve also just realized that I repeated half of my points here, which were brought up in various earlier posts. Goes to show how sleep deprivation affects memory. I can’t even remember what I had for my dinner 2 days ago.

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