Food I feed my baby

I came across one posting by a fellow mother today on Facebook, commenting that she fed her 6 month old baby white potatoes, and that he developed skin rashes as a consequence of it. Not too sure about potato allergy, but this incident made me realise how some mothers don’t really do a lot of research about food before they feed their babies. So, I figured, why don’t I write about what I feed M, and why I’d selected these foods, and why I avoided certain others. You know, just thought it will be useful for other mums out there. So here goes.

I started feeding M her first food when she was 4.5 months old. There are a few cues to look for if your baby is ready for first solid foods. M could sit well while supported. She’s extremely curious when she sees us eating, to the point she would open her mouth wide when I tease her with an approaching spoon. So yea, she’s ready for her first solid foods and yay for this mama as I can now start planning her daily menu. So exciting! 

I followed the 4-day wait rule in the first few weeks when I started her on solids. It was to check for possible reactions to new foods such as food sensitivities or food allergies, and also to look out for possible digestive problem causing culprits.

I first gave her sweet potatoes, sweet peas, butternut squash, avocado, pear, applesauce (which she totally hated! So into the freezer it goes), broccoli (another one into cold storage) and carrots (who now completes the ABC threesome in the freezer!). I puree them with breastmilk to dilute as well as to make them more palatable for M. Here’s the age-by-age guide on when and what general good groups you should feed your baby. The chart below might come in handy too. 

  
I started M on brown rice cereal when she was 7 months but changed her to oatmeal cereal not too long after as she was constipated from the rice intake. Oatmeal cereal is easier for the baby to digest, hence easier for her to go. I mixed the oatmeal with her usual vegetable and fruit purées, and fed her once a day. 

Now that M is already 8 months old, I’m more adventurous in my culinary preparation. I’ve introduced her to soups (added into her oatmeal cereal), and started to feed her 2 times a day (lunch and dinner) with a single helping of fruit yogurt (plain yogurt with fresh fruit puree) for tea time! I use the same base ingredients for the soups – carrots, potatoes, soybeans and garlic. So far, I’ve made soups out of chicken, pork, pork bone, beef and fish. I just throw in all the ingredients into the slow cooker and let it simmer for 2 whole days, and voila! I’ll mash up the meat, add in some veg puree, and mix it all in with the soup and oatmeal cereal. These meals are packed with wholesome nutrients and tastes so good, M never said no. I also started to introduce her to pasta bolognese too. And she loved it! 

Why don’t you have a go at it? It not only makes cooking for your baby fun, your lil one will have a tasty and nutritious meal together with the family. And what else? It saves you money, and most importantly, you know what goes in to your baby food. Happy planning and cooking mommies! 

Ps. I hope to have a great working week ahead (I’m totally dreading going back to work after the weekend. Cry me a river!). Boo-the-Hoo-Hoo! 

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Mommies, don’t freak out!

Being first time parents are simply just too overwhelming, as now you have this great responsibility over another tiny helpless human being. You want to be assured that you’re making the right decisions when it comes to her well being and upbringing. It’s just so distraughting when the tiny one runs a fever, or has rashes on her face (the horror!). Do we take the lil one straight to the A&E every time she is unwell? Or hits her head on the floor/ wall? 

So I figured, why don’t I list down a few of the things we need to know before we turn into some crazed lunatic each time our precious presents us with some new unpleasant shock and surprises. 

1. It’s not always eczema 

Yes. Their skin is so smooth it’s almost translucent. And once we see any red dots or rash on their face/ body, we freak out big time. It could be heat rash. It could be baby acne. It could be so many things, so before we jump to conclusion, do read up all there is to know about baby rashes. M started having heat rash (she’s such a sweaty baby!), which developed into eczema-liked patches. Brought her to the doctor, gave her steroid cream. I didn’t use it except for one small tiny dab. Just once. I decided to instead use oatmeal bath and virgin coconut oil. And it was effective. The rashes went away after a couple of weeks. So please don’t jump the gun so soon. 

2. It’s not always colic

Yes, babies cry all the time. Sometimes, a lot. Without reason (or so we thought). You’ve changed them. Fed them. Carried and cuddled. Sang songs. Danced with them. And yet they still won’t stop crying. They have colic, your wise elders will tell you. Please, it’s not always colic. There’re signs to see if your baby is colicky. A baby with colic cries excessively, often at the same time of day (usually in the late afternoon or evening). If your baby is colicky, you may notice that his cries at this time are louder and higher pitched than his normal crying and that the episodes start and end suddenly. Otherwise, it may just be a bad case of wind, which M had. Plain old good fashioned gripe water saved the day. 

3. It’s not always an A&E situation 

Well, this third point is going to be a long one. Be patient now. 

Your child gets a fever. Started out probably at 38 degrees Celsius. Then sky-rocketed to 39 degrees. Yes, I’m guilty of this one. Took M straight to A&E when she hit 39 degrees. Gave her baby paracetamol and placed a kool fever patch on her forehead before we head out. By the time the doc saw us (after close to 45 minutes wait!), she was fine. Fever gone! And we ended up paying the bill for something that was easily self-managed at home. 

The next time she fell ill, this time with dry cough and cold (mostly the sniffles and blocked nose), I decided to instead rely on natural remedies; breastfeed as often as I can (I piled on my multi-vits, especially Vit-C), placed a humidifier in our air-conditioned room, and used baby saline nasal spray to clear her blocked nose and mucus. No meds. No antibiotics. No clinic/ hospital bill. The power of breastmilk, I tell you! She recovered in no time, and I believe she built herself one heck of an immune system against colds now. 

One day, she fell off the bed. Cried a massive storm. Hubs freaked out big time, asked to rush her to the A&E, less she suffered brain damage. Guys, I know everyone will freak out. I’m super worried myself. But before you scream at each other and bolt to the nearest hospital (and accusing me of being a total nutcase for not sending M to one), again, please be calm and know the signs to look out for when your baby hits ground zero. First, if your child is crying up a storm, it’s the first sign that she’s ok. If she’s unconscious, please don’t move her. Call 911. Second, after crying for a good 10-20 minutes, she’s consolable and willing to breastfeed, she’s ok. Third, if she falls asleep right after she’s calmed down, check for her breathing. If it’s normal and regular, she’s ok. If the incident happens near her nap/ sleeping schedule, wake her up after 2 hours to check on her activity level and response. If she responds normally like how she would on any given day, she’s ok. Lastly, if she doesn’t vomit after the incident within the next 24 hours and plays like how she normally does, SHE’S OK! Follow your gut feeling, mums. It’s almost always right. 

4. It’s not always a poop SOS 

Your baby’s poop a funny color? Color depends on what she eats. Unless if it’s diarrhea (which won’t happen to a fully breastfed baby), there’s pretty much nothing to worry about. Or she didn’t poop for 2 days? At one point, M didn’t poop for a week! But hey, nothing to worry about. If your baby is a fully breastfed baby, they can go without pooping for days! Breastmilk is so wonderfully packed with nutrients that the baby’s digestive system adsorbs every single bit of its goodness, leaving almost nothing behind for her to exit from her behind (excuse the pun, couldn’t help myself!).   Only when your baby has started to take her solids, do you need to look out for foods that might make her constipated. And look out for signs whether your baby’s indeed constipated. If she is, prune juice (1:4), papaya (1 tablespoon will do) and “baby cycling” would do the trick! I realized rice cereal made M all “stuck”, so I changed to oat cereal, and she’s pooping fine now. Yay. 

5. It’s not a hunger strike. Your child is not famished. 

You go to work, you send your baby to the babysitter and she refuse to take the bottle. Ok, probably just enough to stave off the hunger till you pick her up after work. And you’re worried sick that she’s not feeding enough, that she’s gonna starve herself silly. Hey, relax! Your baby knows more than you think. She wants to feed from you, her most favorite person. It’s called reverse cycling, where baby compensates her “loss” of daytime nutritional intake by nursing more frequently at night from the mother. My 8-month old M, till today, only takes 4-6 oz of breastmilk from the bottle during the day while I’m away at work, and compensates through frequent night time feedings, on average, every 2 hours! And she weighs a good 9kg, with thunder thighs mind you. I’m so used to sleep deprivation, to the point my body somehow adjusts itself to survive on 1.5-2 hours sleep intervals, and yet able to perform like a perfectly normal person the next day. I think it’s just called being a zombie. LOL. 

Lastly, it’s not going to last forever. Whatever that you’re facing now – the incessant crying, the frequent feedings, the not-sleeping-through-the-night, the clinginess, the fussiness, it will one day end when your little precious grows up and goes to college! So, enjoy your baby while it lasts folks. I know I will. 

Have a great weekend everyone! 

Hey, it’s coming real soon! 

We finally got our fabric samples, all the way from Japan! There’re just so many beautiful designs, both F and I were literally swept off our feet and swooning over them. Here are a few samples that we loved: 

  
 And we also met up with our OEM manufacturer today. Su is a good friend of mine, she was my classmate during my MBA days back in 2011. Thank God we kept in touch till now. Who would’ve known we would cross paths again, working together in making both F and my dreams come true! She handed us our first prototype, and it was beautiful! Not perfect, lots of improvisation to go, but yet, seeing our new baby coming to life, slowly but surely, is definitely another ride over the moon for us. 

Here’s M modeling the prototype:

  
So, what do you think? Isn’t the outfit the cutest thing? Can’t wait for the final prototype to be out. There’re so much to do! Gonna sit down with Su again this weekend to go through the finer details just so that we can get it right and make it perfect. 

Stay tune for further updates! Happy mid-week y’all. xoxo

Happy Mother’s Day !

Never a day goes by without me missing and reminiscing the time I had spent with my mum, who is now watching over me from Heaven, God bless her soul. 

Was telling my husband this morning that I’m exposing our 7.5 months old M to the little things that matter, such as your good mornings and good nights. The morning and night hugs and kisses. My brother and I have been giving my mum hugs and kisses, not forgetting the good mornings and good nights, for as long as we can remember. 

She was a stay home mum, the best I can ever ask for. She would pack our school lunches – not just your standard jelly sandwiches, mind you. Sometimes, she would make us fried rice, or noodles, accompanied by our favorite sides.  On weekends, she would make us our favorite breakfast – sunny side ups with sausages and fries. My brother, who’s 6 years younger than I, would have double portion of eggs and sausages because he ate like a pig! And we would eat while watching cartoons. Yes, she allowed us eating in front of the tv. How cool is that? It was all simple food, but she knew each one of our personal favorites and what we hate, and she will make an effort to cook separate dishes for the both of us. Heck, she spoiled us so much that she even took out those fish bones for me even when I was old enough to cook for myself! Ahhh… Never liked fish as much anymore. They just have too much bones! 

She would braid my hair before school, if I were up early, that is (otherwise it’ll just be up in a ponytail, without combing my hair!). She would walk me to school in the morning, carrying some of my books for me. And this was when I was in high school! 

She took us for our swimming and taekwondo classes. And there’s always our favorite oven-baked chicken waiting for us at home after our swim. Always. And we never got tired of it. We just love it so much, that both my brother and I can remember the recipe by heart till this very day! 

She homeschooled me, teaching me Maths and English before I even hit kindergarten at 6 years old. She would read short news articles and we would do dictation. She would read and I write. Every single day. To my chagrin. She would also make me write to my cousins in Bangkok at least once a month! But hey, look who’s writing now. 

Of course, it’s not all bed of roses. She’s the disciplinarian as well. When I was in primary school, she would make me do squats (not forgetting caning too) if I got less of an A for Maths and English exams in school. Doesn’t matter if it’s mid term or the finals. Get an A or I’ll get the C (C is for cane, just so you know). I used to hate her for this, and I remembered writing it in my diary when I was 11 years old. But in hind sight, each time she hits me, when night falls and it’s time for bed, I’ll still go to her, with swollen eyes, to cuddle up to her and apologise for not getting an A for her, and she would always say that she’s sorry that she had to hit me, and explains that it was for my own good that I excel in school so that I don’t end up like her (both of us will end up crying together!). A helpless housewife, stranded in a foreign land with two children, having to rely on our father to take care of things. (Side note: she’s a PR holder, and our father was, how shall I put this mildly, does not have a well paying job). There are days where she had to pawn her jewelry (the ones she got for her wedding) just to put food on the table. 

In the last decade of her life, she worked as a sales rep in a local departmental store selling men’s clothes. I remember going over to her workplace to hang out after school just to spend time with her. Sometimes I would do my school homework there while eating my lunch. Sometimes I would help her fold clothes. Which she will have to refold. Because I sucked at folding!

There are nights where she would drive us out for Mcdonalds soft serve ice cream. Or on better days where we would go out for lunches in the kopitiam (Malaysian word for coffee and eatery). And we loved it. We enjoyed our simple outings with mum. 

When I scored all As for middle high (PMR), she brought me to the mall and asked me to get myself a top. I remembered getting my very first hoodie. A purple one. It wasn’t expensive. But it was all she could afford. And all that I could ever appreciate. Till today. 

We didn’t grow up in a well to do family. In fact, just barely enough. But mum made sure she gave us the best she can afford too. Every single night, we never fail to have our cuddling sessions before kissing each other good night. In fact, to me, I’m thankful that she gave us the most invaluable gift ever – her time and life. Thank you mummy. We miss you so much and will continue to cherish you in our hearts. I will nurture M the way you nurtured me. I LOVE YOU. 

In loving memory of Dana Lim. 

 

The overly protective mother hen?

The nation has recently been shoved to the limelight once again, for the utmost wrong reason. In fact, for the sickest reason. A 23 year old Malaysian student on a scholarship studying maths at Imperial College London, was caught with thousands of vile  photos and videos of little children. Yes, folks. We have yet another pedophile in our midst.

Now that I’m a mum, I am particularly sensitive to these sort of news, or any other heart  wrenching and nerve wrecking news that relates to babies and children. At most times, I cannot even bring myself to finish reading the entire article without breaking into cold sweat or even tears.

So call me over protective, or crazy if you want. I am dead serious in keeping my daughter safe from any harm. No man shall ever touch my baby ever. NO MAN. Ok, with the exception of her own father of course. But then again, he is probably allowed to bathe and change her until she’s perhaps 2 years old, maybe 3? Other than her father, NO MAN SHALL EVER TOUCH MY BABY. PERIOD. And I will educate her about that very fact when she knows better. And so should every mothers out there. Regardless if you have a girl or a boy. So yes, please educate ourselves before it’s too late folks. And by the way. This overly protective hen is actually a uber protective crazy bald eagle. So watch out!

P/S Do sign the petition to prevent giving this pedophile a second chance in continuing his studies under the same scholarship  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/556/797/477/demand-majlis-amanah-rakyat-mara-to-stop-giving-a-paedophile-a-second-chance/

A week of many firsts

It’s been awhile since my last post. Thanks Ade for the reminder! Well, what did we miss so far?

M went for her first swim and totally loved it! Was expecting her to resist the cold water and wail up a storm. Or perhaps catch a cold afters since she wasn’t wearing a thermal swim wear (this mum was on a tight budget!). But hey, she had fun. And I was such a worry wart. 

  
She also took her first crawl! Not butt shifting, not crawling backwards. Yup, she finally got on all four, and crawled forward! I was as excited as any first time mum could get, but didn’t have my iPhone with me to capture the precious moment which took place after her morning bath. Sigh. Took me the entire day to encourage her to crawl for the camera again, but nope. This girl decides to make her mother wait. And waited I did, till the evening did I manage to capture the act again.

Oh, she finally took the apple puree today! She took an entire 2 oz with glee. This mum was a happy cow. The simple things that make my heart skip a beat and jump with joy. 

Well. Talking about purées. You know what else I came to know? Nestlé Cerelac contains sugar! I bought a 350g can of cerelac brown rice the other day only to realize the horrid ingredient it contains. I did not feed M one bit of that stuff. I cannot fathom the idea of feeding M any foodstuff containing salt, sugar or any of those horrible modified ingredients. 

So I’ll just stick to making my own food for M. Made her brown rice porridge with beef stock and she wolfed it down this evening! It’s not difficult to make at all. Just throw in your brown rice powder together with diced carrots, potatoes, sweet peas and lean beef (don’t forget to add in water too!) into your slow cooker and the next day, voila! You have the rich wholesome beef stock porridge chockfull of vitamins and iron your baby will love. Oh, you can freeze these for later too. The flavor and nutrition stays the same. Way better than serving sugar-filled cereals, yes?

So what’s next? I will introduce her to beetroot tomorrow. Gonna puree it with potatoes. Fingers crossed that she will like it. Else, into the freezer it goes, until the next attempt. 

Well, till the next post y’all. Have a great week ahead. Xoxo