Sunday, January 29, 2012

Heat Rash: The Hot Weather is Not Cool

We were all dressed, packed and ready to go to church this morning when Micah decided to throw a massive tantrum. It almost got quite scary, as his face turns red like a lobster. As a new parent, it is the scariest thing to see your young baby cry like that. Our house also heated up very quickly in the summer heat. We didn't turn the air conditioning on because we were going to church, but even at 10am it was already creeping up to 28 degrees in the house. That is hot. Outside it is now well and truly 35 degrees and very sunny. 

So we made a parental decision to stay home, turn both air conditioning units on in the lounge room and in the family room to cool down the house quickly. Micah responded by calming down and actually even smiling. I believe we did the right thing by staying home. Micah is a hot baby, and he's always warm and taking him out today would have irritated him even more.

 My precious little angel.. :)
Micah has a few bright red pimply red rash spots on his body so I did a bit of research by reading the "Baby Love" book I got from my sister in law as well as some research online. This Babycenter website seems quite reliable and this article gives a very good summary to explain the Heat Rash.

So far, hubby and I seem to have done the right thing. We give him regular baths and wipe him down with a wet cloth whenever he seems hot and sweaty. We don't put any clothes on him (other than his nappy of course) when he's at home and the weather is hot. We should probably give him more time completely nude without his nappy. He feeds a lot more regularly now and I let him feed more regularly to avoid him getting dehydrated because of the weather and the air conditioning.

I love this photo of Micah and his cute little "angry face" heheheee...
Hopefully, his heat rash goes away soon - it seems to be getting a little bit better. As I write this blog post now, he's very calm and relaxed on his bouncer now that the house has cooled down.

Aahhh... the joys of parenthood :-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Week 7: Thoughts on Being a Stay Home Mum

Another week has gone by and Micah will officially be 7 weeks old tomorrow. Sometimes I look at him and still can't believe he is my little baby, and that he actually grew inside of me for 9 months. I stare at him most when he is asleep. He looks so peaceful and content, I just want to pick him up and hold him! But when I'm holding him, sometimes he wiggles and squirms so much, plus he's quite heavy, that I just want to put him down or pass him on to someone else, lol.

Today I'd like to share my thoughts on what it's like (for me) to be a stay home mum. No fancy photos, just my thoughts. To be perfectly honest, I am quite content at the moment! Micah is quite an easy baby. He feeds, then plays quietly and looks around with his big brown eyes, and then sometimes I put him in his little bouncer and bounce him to sleep - other times I wrap him up and put him in his cot and by now he already knows that cot means sleep - so he looks around for a while, has a few big yawns, and as soon as I give him his dummy he falls into deep sleep. 

His nappies are a lot easier to change now too. This piece of information may sound strange, but hear me out! When he was a younger newborn, he poos everyday and I used to dread changing his nappy. Now, he only poos twice a week so his nappy changes are just easy wet ones. Hehe. Just nice to not have to change a pooey nappy every time! Makes a HUGE difference to how much I enjoy looking after him.

We go out every now and then if I get bored - I take him grocery shopping with me, we have an appointment with the nurse every two weeks until after 8 weeks, sometimes I run errands and just take him along, we go out to socialize with friends and Micah's very easy in the pram or we take the playmat and bouncer and just set up a little corner for him to relax, and when the weather is fine I take him out for a nice walk in his pram.

The best thing right now about being a stay home mum is that at this current stage, he sleeps more than he plays and I don't have to chase him around yet because he can't crawl or walk or run.. so it's great that during the day I can still get on top of my chores and sit down and have a cuppa, have a decent lunch while I relax and watch my TV shows and leisurely write my blog posts.

I am sure as Micah grows up it will be a completely different routine. We will have play groups and mothers group to go to, he will be a lot more active and sleep less so I will have to be more "active" too. We will have more sit down meals as a family as he starts eating solids. When he starts talking, I will have to talk back! We will pray together and read books together, etc... 

So really looking after a kid IS a full time job. Right now though, I am quite happy to say it's quite a relaxing full time job - unless he has a fussy day of course - and minus the sleep due to the late night feeds of course.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year 2012!

Micah dressed in festive red! Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!
Being away from family back home in Malaysia does feel tough every once in a while, no matter how much I love it here. Don't get me wrong, Australia definitely feels like home to me now, but especially when Chinese New Year comes around, which used to be my favorite time of the year when I was a kid (yes, CNY tops Christmas AND my birthday!) I actually do get quite homesick.

It's not just about the festivities and the red packets - it's the getting together with family for the Reunion Dinner, and then again for "Chap Goh Meh" on the last day of Chinese New Year, it's the sumptuous glorious FOOD and visiting friends and family, some we only get to see once a year!

When Micah gets a bit older, I will be sure to start our own family tradition for Chinese New Year in Australia. In the mean time, we seem to do quite well in "crashing" other families' Reunion Dinners haha! A few years back we actually had dinner with hubby's family at a Chinese restaurant. Last year, it was a CNY gathering with friends and we also went to the CNY Festival in Springvale. This year, we were kindly invited to our dear friends' house for their family dinner cooked by my friend's lovely mother. She's a great cook! The proof is in the pictures... click on the "Yee Sang" picture below to access the Photo Album on my Facebook page:

"Yee Sang" aka the Prosperity Toss salad... so yummy!!
So we had quite an amazing feast last night, and today's the actual first day of Chinese New Year. Micah and I spent our morning at Coles grocery shopping. He was so well behaved, and he eventually fell asleep so I continued shopping at a very leisurely pace so he can get some rest. Besides, it was good to enjoy the cool air-conditioned supermarket when it was hot and over 32 degrees outside!

When we got home, I put him to sleep and put away the groceries, did the dishes, folded the laundry and now I still have time to write this blog entry! Our aircon at home is doing a great job at keeping us cool. I guess I probably have enough time now to watch some TV before he wakes up for his next feed :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Week 6: The "Six Weeks Change"

Apparently there is a thing called the "Six Weeks Change" when a baby at 6 weeks would fuss for no reason at all, be unsettled for hours, and just wants to feed every hour so the mum can start producing more milk to meet his growing demands.

You know what, I've decided that some days are good, others may be bad, and I just need to deal with it one day at a time!

Yes, I won't doubt the fact that my little man is changing. But then again, he changes every day! He is growing bigger and bigger, and if he needs extra feeds instead of sticking to the so-called "routine" then he needs extra feeds. If he cries, then there's something bothering him.. even if it seems like it's for "no reason at all". I've learned to get through the bad days and look forward to another day hoping it'll improve. Today is one of those days when he's behaving like normal again, like my happy little man again.. after going through Immunisation yesterday.

A bit of Baby Panadol helps too - recommended by the nurses of course to help relief babies from post immunisation pains and mild temperatures.

Our "Mum & Bub" 6 Weeks Check Up at the GP went well too. All is good.

I even had time to go to the Medicare Office yesterday after all that, and claim the refund for his circumcision and the GP appointment. We went to a non-bulk billed GP and they charge $104 for a "Long Consultation" - so because it was for both Micah and I, we paid $208 just to see a GP! Medicare only gave us about $150 back so we're still over $50 out of pocket (compared to the SuperClinic which is FREE!). But I suppose you get what you pay for. We usually have to wait a MINIMUM of 30 minutes sometimes up to 2 hours if it's really busy. The private GP had a quiet reception, they address you by name and there is NO waiting to see the doctor. Oh well... still not sure if it's worth the money. Maybe I will just go to the SuperClinic for "little things" and Micah and go and see this private family GP for his major baby things...

Coming up this weekend - we're off to Seaford on Saturday night for my sister in law's birthday dinner and on Sunday night we're going to our friends' house for CHINESE NEW YEAR dinner! Woohooo.. yes we are sort of "crashing" their family dinner but it's Chinese New Year on Monday!! If only I have all the time in the world I could've cooked and hosted a CNY dinner myself.. but as you know, there is a BABY demanding my full attention! Speaking of CNY we are hoping all 3 of us as a family will make it back to Malaysia to visit my family at Chinese New Year next year.. that would be awesome if we did. Just need to wait for Air Asia to release flight fares for next year!

Oh, and one more thing.. we're going on a roadtrip in February! We're off to visit hubby's family in NSW for a few days early Feb and we're going with my sister in law's family which should be fun! I get to spend time with hubby and Micah, AND with our two little godchildren *hugs*

I get so excited about "family holidays" - I'm starting to think that's what having kids are for, so we could plan fun family holidays together. Yes, couple getaways are good too every once in a while - but as a family unit it's just a different kind of excitement. Almost like I feel like doing "kids things" so I can feel like a kid again... E.G. someday I would love to take Micah to Disneyland!

Ok going wayyy off topic now. I better stop writing!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Photo of the Day

"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking..." - Derek Zoolander

Monday, January 16, 2012

Family Day Sunday

We all had a pretty big day yesterday as a family (especially for Micah and I since we normally spend all day relaxing at home!) and I'm feeling quite exhausted today! It was a great, fun day though. It was a taste of what would be our typical Sunday as a family, and spending time with friends.

It started with church in the morning - because I only fed Micah at 8.00am he was actually due for his next feed at 11.00am which meant I had to feed him at church. It was fine though, the church foyer where parents with young kids sat was quite private and away from the rest of the congregation so I could peacefully feed him and cover myself with a thin wrap cloth. By the time church was over, Micah was fast asleep so people just stood around him and admired him. 

We didn't get to leave church until about 12.30pm - Enoch and I were busy talking to people! So we quickly rushed home, I quickly changed Micah's nappy and packed up the pram, etc whilst Enoch went to hang the washing we put in the washing machine earlier in the morning before we left for church. We desperately needed to do that load of washing!! If we go more than one week of not washing Micah's sick rags and face washers and towel and favorite clothes, etc... we would struggle to find a clean one when we need them!

On our way to the trout farm, we stopped at McDonald's to get a large fries to share and a Chocolate Frappe for me (yum!) and a Strawberry Thickshake for hubby. We knew we would end up having a late lunch anyway, because we have to go CATCH lunch first!

We arrived at the Rainbow Trout Farm in Macclesfield just after 1pm. It was such a BEAUTIFUL day yesterday! Not too hot, not too cold, nice and sunny. It was the perfect day to be outdoors and the trout farm was already filled with a lot of people especially young families. We were there to meet up with some friends from church so it was a really fun afternoon!

We started off by fishing in the "big pond" where it actually takes patience and time to fish and catch something. Fortunately, hubby cast his first line and straightaway caught a big trout! After that though, the boys probably fished in the big pond for another hour, maybe even close to two hours. So I got myself settled under a tree sitting on a camping chair, and discreetly breastfed Micah whilst enjoying the lovely weather and peaceful outdoor surroundings.

At the "large salmon pond" this photo was taken just as hubby caught a huge one!
Then we moved to the farmed "little ponds" area where you basically catch a fish within a few minutes of casting your line! The trout farm consists of various "little ponds" with various sizes of trout or salmon. This way you know exactly (roughly) how big the fish you catch was going to be, because you are not allowed to throw them back in the pond - you catch, you BUY! And at $17 per kg for trout, and $24 per kg for salmon... you don't want to catch a huge fish if you're not prepared to pay for it.

We were more than prepared to pay to catch MASSIVE fish though, so we went straight to the ponds with large fish. Hubby ended up catching about 3 large salmons and the trout he caught from the large pond earlier. We spent hundreds of dollars on those fishes yesterday! But it was so worth it, nothing beats eating fresh fish - and we have kept some in our chest freezer for later, after all how often do we get to go to the trout farm and have fun catching those fish as well as eating them fresh?! Plus, the size of the salmon we caught means that we could easily feed about 8 people so we can save it for a dinner party sometime in the near future :)

"Little ponds" at the Rainbow Trout Farm

Playground and BBQ Area at the Rainbow Trout Farm
The Australian Rainbow Trout Farm has really done quite well to provide this place as an option for families to have a great day out. This was our second time here, and each time has always been quite enjoyable. Hubby definitely loves fishing, and I definitely love eating fish. So we can truly see ourselves coming here a lot more often as Micah grows up as a family.

We ended up cooking the fish we caught at about 4pm - pretty late lunch! It was soooo yummy though, freshly cooked freshly caught fish. 

Unfortunately this was also when we found out that Micah has done a massive, explosive poo that filled up his nappy completely and even leaked onto his back and on his stomach! It was HUGE... I've never seen so much poo come out of him, ever. That was the biggest nappy I've ever had to clean, ever. Thankfully we did come prepared so changing him on one of the tables (and our nappy bag extends itself so we can have a change mat) and after using tons and tons of wipes we cleaned him up and he was all fresh again and re-settled. So basically, other than that little hiccup, Micah was perfectly behaved the whole afternoon and enjoyed being outdoors and being walked in his pram and had restful naps!

We left the trout farm at about 5.30pm, got home around 6pm. I fed Micah again whilst hubby brought the washing in. At 6.30pm, I left Micah at home with hubby and drove all the way to Bittern to pick up a dryer I bought off eBay for $30.

Bought a clothes dryer off eBay.. not bad for $30 eh! Would come in really handy for washing Micah's baby stuff in the middle of winter or when we have rainy, cold days like we did last week.
I got home from Bittern at about 8pm (yes, long drive back and forth!) and then we packed up the little man again and headed off to our friends' place for dinner. Whilst our host were cooking, I sat in the lounge feeding Micah (again!) and he very quickly after that fell asleep peacefully on their couch so we could enjoy a lovely dinner cooked by our friends.

Micah sleeping peacefully at our friends' couch while we enjoyed their company and a yummy dinner!
We finally got home around 11.30pm, one more feed for the little man and then sweet dreams for all of us at midnight. Wow, what a big day. No wonders I am feeling so tired today... just had real coffee though (not decaf) so feeling OK for now. As I typed this blog post, Micah went from being happily content on his play mat, to his rocker, and my foot was rocking the rocker and he's now fast asleep...

Oops... this blog post ended up a lot longer than I thought it would be!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Week 5: Cooler Weather = Cuddles and Sleep!

Even though we are in the middle of summer, here in Melbourne the weather can be quite unpredictable. If you were to land in Melbourne sometime this week from somewhere overseas, you would never think it's actually the middle of summer! We have had 4 straight days of temperatures BELOW 20 degrees, and this was after we've just had 3 straight days of temperatures ABOVE 33 degrees. Crazy, huh?

Well, I can't complain about the weather because the cooler weather seems to make my little Micah a lot more cuddly and a lot more sleepy. He sleeps so much more during the day the past few days, fusses a lot less, and sleeps so well at night. 

No wonder I've already blogged so much this week alone, because Micah goes to sleep more during the day, giving me lots of free time! 

It only takes me 30 minutes to feed him and change him in the middle of the night and put him right back to sleep again. It's like he never really woken up! It's almost like he is "sleep feeding".. his eyes remained closed, and he wiggles and cries a little but as soon as I finish wrapping him up, he's gone. To dreamland. Somewhere far far away in deep sleep. What's funny though is that even though he seems like he's in such deep sleep nothing would wake him up, hunger or thirst always does! Babies are so funny how they work like that... 

Also, I used to complain about how Micah only treats me as a "milk machine" and doesn't really let me hold him and cuddle and snuggle him without trying to latch on to any part of my skin like a vampire, searching for food... well not anymore! As long as he is fully content, I can now happily hold him and snuggle with him without him "protesting"... until he eventually falls asleep in my arms (like the photo above). Aaahhhh... such precious moments :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo of the Day

His face is changing, he is very much more aware of what's happening around him and he gives a lot more eye contact now and follows the camera. Micah at 5 weeks :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sleeping Habits in Week 5

In the first few weeks, looking after Micah was really easy. As a very young newborn, Micah's sleeping routine was pretty much "Feed, Change, Sleep". Now, his routine is basically "Feed, Change, Play, Sleep" during the day and "Feed, Change, Sleep" at night.

I'd like to think we have his sleeping routine pretty much solid by now - but babies are so unpredictable and sometimes it may not go as smoothly as you think it should. For example, I'd like to think his cycle during the day is 3 hours and by now his night time cycle should be 4 hours. Most days, he's pretty good with 3 hours. Some lucky nights we do get the 4 hour cycle. To give you an example to illustrate an ideal 3-Hour "cycle":

9am: Breastfeed.
9.35am: Change nappy
9.40am: Play - tummy time - talking to him, look directly into his eyes and be engaging.
10.15am: Put him in his "day bed" and start settling him to sleep. Wrap him up tight, pat gently, use dummy, play a soft lullaby etc.
10.30am: He sleeps.
12pm: He wakes and the "cycle" starts all over again.

So that's an example of an ideal cycle. Of course, this changes when we go out. We can usually get away with feeding and changing him before we go out - and his play time would be to look around while we're out or be held / talked to by other people and eventually he will fall asleep whilst in the capsule if we're back in the car by then, or in the pram if I take him out for a walk.

Little man in a large cot - "Night Bed" - in our bedroom
This week, we've "upgraded" Micah from his little bassinet to a much larger cot. It is so much better now that he won't be hitting his arms on the side of the cot if he somehow manages to wiggle out of his wrap and sets his arms free to startle himself in the middle of a deep sleep!

Micah's Night Routine pretty much involves a big feed at around 10pm which should take him through to 1am (or 2am if we're lucky). I usually let hubby sleep through the night between 12am - 7am and just "deal with Micah" solo during the late night shift. However, in the early mornings when I am most tired - hubby would get up and pick Micah up when he wakes, change his nappy and then hand him over to me for a feed. He will then get ready for work and have breakfast, etc while I feed him and then help me settle Micah back to sleep so we can both have one more "cycle" to sleep all the way until 9 or 10am. That way, I don't even have to get out of bed in the morning and that really helps :)

Sometimes on the weekends, hubby and Micah would snuggle up together while I have a nice, long hot shower to wake me up ready for a new day.

Now that the large cot is in our bedroom, we've decided not to let the bassinet just go into storage until the next person is ready to use it - and turned it into a "Day Bed" in the nursery. This has worked really well as Micah has already learned to associate the nursery and the bassinet as a place for him to sleep, and he usually sleeps very soundly during the day as the nursery is the furthest room at the back of the house (very quiet) and the fact that it's not a dark room means that it is easier for Micah to associate it with daytime. 

This works really well for daytime but I'm not ready to let him sleep in the nursery at night yet as I am not willing to get up twice in the middle of the night and walk all the way to the other end of the house to feed him!

On a really good day, Micah sleeps twice during the day for at least 2 hours. That gives me 4 hours during the day to do whatever I want! Have my shower, eat lunch, maybe cook dinner in advance on days when I'm organised, write blog posts, go on Facebook, do the dishes, do the laundry, and any other chores I can be bothered doing.

See, motherhood can be enjoyable and manageable. I'm not the most experienced mother, but here are a few tips I already have up my sleeve and these mostly serve as gentle reminders to myself:
  1. Get as much rest as you can - a happy mum equals a happy bub. The more patient you are in dealing with your newborn, the happier and more settled they will be as you go through the list of making sure he's as comfortable and happy as possible. Keep reciting these words: CHORES. CAN. WAIT.
  2. Communicate with your husband / partner - make sure he knows how you feel, what you want, talk to him about how HE is coping, how he feels about helping you out when he comes home from work each night, go for walks with the baby with your partner so you can talk, find out if the current routine is working well or needs to be improved. Remember you still have a husband living in your house and your whole life does NOT just revolve around the baby. Keep nurturing your relationship. A solid (and happy) relationship equals great teamwork with a smile.
  3. Be organised - know your calendar well enough to plan around it. E.G. if you know you are going out, time the cycle the best you can so the next feed will be just before you go out. If hubby is going to be out at soccer tonight, do NOT plan to cook - just have frozen meals / takeaway for dinner. If hubby is coming home on time tonight and is happy to watch bub, plan to cook a fresh meal as a nice change and also as "me time". Plan your grocery shopping list. Cook meals in bulk e.g. casseroles so the frozen meals can be restocked.
  4. Get used to the crying - do not let yourself be upset or stressed if baby is unsettled and cannot seem to stop crying. He is just communicating with you. This is one I struggle with most when I am tired myself, that's why #1 is so important for the patience to work through "the list" e.g. Hungry? Gas? Wet or pooey nappy? Too hot? Too cold? Overtired? Wants a cuddle? Etc.
Aahhh... motherhood. If you are a bloke or don't have kids, never EVER say to a mum "what do you do at home all day??!!" because being a stay home mum is definitely a full time job on its own. I've said before that I have much more respect for mothers now that I've gone through labour, now I will say again, I have much more respect for mothers for the patience, perseverance, strength, endurance and love for caring for their child day after day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bath Time

Strangely enough, ever since Micah was born he was never really a huge fan of bath time. Very strange! Most babies find bath time a relaxing time and the fact that they were "floating" in their mums' womb for 9 months meant that being in warm water is soothing and calming to them. Unfortunately, Micah has always cried and screamed during bath time and we've always had to bath him very quickly to get it over and done with...

Thankfully in the past week or so that has changed and Micah now truly enjoys his bath time.. so much so that the last time we gave him a bath, he was so relaxed he fell asleep! Even when we took him out of the bath and wrapped him in his towel and dried him, he stayed floppy and sleepy. Usually he hates it and drying him have always been a struggle! Yayy to my little man who now enjoys bath time.. the way it was meant to be!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Week 4: Chubby Bunny & Sushi

Being born in 2011 means that according to the Chinese Calendar, Micah was born in the year of the Rabbit. Also, having been to his 4-week routine nurse appointment this week and now weighing 5.52kg (gained 1 kg in the past two weeks) - Micah is officially our little Chubby Bunny!

I originally bought this suit so he can wear it on his baptism - but his baptism won't be until 1st of July now (when my parents will be in town) and I doubt he would fit in this suit by then, so he wore the suit to a friend's wedding on Thursday this week!
Chubby as he is, I am so glad that he is feeding really well and that breastfeeding is going well for the both of us. So no complaints there!

Our family portrait at 4 weeks - taken at Marie and Luis' Wedding 5/1/2012
This week, I was also hit by the sudden realisation that I can eat sushi again. Being pregnant meant no alcohol, no deli meats, no certain types of cheese and no raw seafood which meant no SUSHI! Sushi is like one of my favorite foods in the world, and now that it's summer again - sushi is the perfect lunch treat! So on Wednesday, Micah and I took a trip down to Fountain Gate (our local shopping centre) to Sushi Sushi where they sell the best, freshest sushi in our area and I went and got my sushi fix. Today's Saturday - and I craved sushi again, so off I went to Fountain Gate again while hubby stayed at home to keep an eye on the little man!

Digging straight into all the "forbidden" sushi I didn't get to enjoy while I was pregnant - salmon sashimi (YUM!), California Rolls (with more raw salmon!) and Seaweed Salad. Mm mmm!!
That's basically it this week. Another week at home with the little man. Some days are good, some days are bad. He usually sleeps much better at night, he's a lot fussier during the day now. At least we had some cooler days in Melbourne this week after the 3-day hot temperatures over last weekend. It was great to have friends over for dinner on Thursday night (although they brought dinner so we didn't have to do anything, lol) and then spend an evening with family on Friday night at my brother in law's birthday.

Micah gets "upgraded" to a cot starting tonight, as the bassinet is starting to get a little bit "crampy" and too small for him. Whenever he waves his arms around (usually when he successfully wiggles out of his wrap) he would just startle himself by hitting the sides of the bassinet! So onto the cot he will go... hopefully he will get more restful sleeps in this cot.

So thankful for family and all of the hand-me-down baby furniture and clothes!