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Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness



Solid food soon?

1. Time it right: Babies are usually ready to try solid food between 4 and 6 months, but check with your baby's doctor beforehand.

2. Watch for signs: Good head control, a growing appetite, and interest in what you're eating are all indications that your baby is ready to try solids.

3. Get the gear: A soft-tipped spoon, a bib, a nonbreakable dish, and a highchair are all helpful.

4. Start simple: Try baby cereal mixed with formula or breast milk. Or begin with purees like pear, sweet potato, or peas.

5. Expect a mess: Babies aren't known for their table manners, so be prepared for food to land on the floor, highchair, your baby, and you.

6. Keep on trying: Don't be surprised if your baby doesn't seem crazy about solids right away. Keep offering them and your baby will catch on.

7. Take pictures! You'll want photos to show off your baby's first foray into eating real food.


Baby is starting on solids soon! I haven't decided which first food to introduce to him. Baby rice cereal is the traditional first food. But, I would like to introduce fruit purees first, most likely avocado.


Additional references:

Important reminders:

  • Do not feel as though your baby should be eating solid foods according to any schedule. Your baby will eat as much solid foods as your baby needs - trust your baby's cues.

  • Remember the 4 day wait rule when creating a menu plan for your baby and offer only those foods that your baby tolerates well.

  • Breast milk and/or formula are THE MOST IMPORTANT sources of nutrition for your infant up to 12 months old. Do NOT replace a nursing or bottle-feeding with a solid food meal and do not feed the solids first until your pediatrician indicates this is right for your baby.

  • Always consult your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.


Crunchy parenting, anyone?

This article - What is Crunchy Parenting? - makes a list about crunchy parenting, which I find is a good reference checklist to follow.
Attachment parenting
- Yes, practising this. It's good!
- Learn more about attachment parenting.
- Yup, this is the best hassle-free way to ensure my baby gets all the night feedings he needs easily.
- I'm a big fan of babywearing. I have a ring sling and an Ergo soft-structured carrier (SSC).
Cloth diapering
- I still believe in disposable diapers and potty training (when the time comes).
Elimination communication
- I don't know what this is until I googled it. This is what I found: Elimination Communication (EC) is NOT potty training. It is a gentle, natural, non-coercive process by which a baby, preferably beginning in early infancy, learns with the loving assistance of parents and caregivers to communicate about and address his or her elimination needs. This practice makes conventional potty training unnecessary.
- Wow. This is new to me. Not so sure about practising it though.
Natural birth
- Yup. Read about my baby's birth story.
Home birth
- I know about home birth but I choose a pro-natural birth and pro-breastfeeding hospital to give birth.
Water birth
- I hope to do this for my second baby.
- Yup! I blogged - Why do I breastfeed my baby?
Extended breastfeeding
- Minimum 6 months, better to continue to a year old, best to continue into toddlerhood. I'll breastfeed my baby until he weans himself off.
- Not so sure about this. Let's see in 5-6 years' time.
Natural products
- Not hardcore about this. Plus, they are so much more expensive.
Toxin aware
- I don't buy baby stuff made in China. Does that count? :P
Plastic free
- No way. How is that possible?
No Cry-It-Out
- I don't let my baby cry for prolonged period of time. When I'm driving and he starts to fret, I'll find a place to stop when his cries become unconsolable.
No spanking
- I believe in more reasonable ways to deal with a child's misbehaviour.


Preparing for my first Chinese New Year with Baby Luke

Time flies. Baby Luke is already five months plus and this little rock of mine is all cute and cuddly and oh-so-handsome!
The Year of the Horse is coming in one-and-a-half weeks' time and it'll be Luke's very first Chinese New Year. It'll also be my very first Chinese New Year as a mom. I can't wait to "parade" him around, expecting lots of ooohs-and-aaahs and of course, RED PACKETS from everybody we meet. :P
His little outfit is ready. It's red and shiny. He'll look super duper adorable! Gotta get ready to snap lotsa photos.
But finding my outfit is a problem this year. Looking back at my outfit on the first day of CNY 2011-2013:

They looked normal; expected color - red. Hmmm. Now that I've a new status as a mother, I wanna try something different. Yummy mummy wannabe!
Shopping for clothes at malls is a tug-of-war with time. Plus, I don't really have the mood to shop. It's tiring having to browse for outfits that I really like, trying them out one by one, and finding the right size. With a baby in tow, spending time to find THE outfit is really difficult.
So, shopping online is the best! Coincidentally, I've been receiving quite a number of emails/newsletters from different online boutiques. One that catches my attention is Zalora's Chinese New Year collection.
I'm interested in the Melinda Looi X Amber Chia's collection, especially this particular modern Qipao with Scalloped Sleeves and Jacquard Piping. There are three colors – red, dark pink, and blue.
Okay, excuse me as I log in and buy the blue qipao.


Green papaya soup with salmon head, red dates, and snow fungus

Green papaya soup is a popular breastmilk supply booster. I cooked green papaya soup with anchovies and red dates when I was down with flu last week.
This week I cook green papaya soup with salmon head, red dates, and snow fungus. I have gotten three salmon heads for RM10 from TTDI wet market. To cook this soup with a medium green papaya, I use one-and-a-half salmon heads.

First of all, I pan-fry the salmon fish heads on both sides with some olive oil and ginger slices until the heads turn light brown. According to this recipe, pan-frying the salmon heads removes fishy smell, keeps the fish intact during long cooking, and gives that lovely white stock.

Next, bring 1.5-2 liters of water to boil. Add in the pan-fried fish heads, ginger slices, and the rest of the ingredients (snow fungus, red dates, papayas). Bring to boil over high heat for about 15 minutes. Then, let it simmer over low heat for about an hour or so.

Ready to be served hot. :)


Why do I breastfeed my baby?

6 Reasons Why To Continue To Breastfeed
(taken from Dr Sears)

It takes effort to keep up with breastfeeding when you must be away from your baby for part of the day, but there are good reasons for sticking with breastfeeding to begin with, your baby gets better nutrition and the two of you continue to enjoy a special closeness. There are also other practical benefits, too:
  • Breastfed babies are healthier, so mother (and father) will miss fewer work days to stay home with a sick baby who is not welcome at daycare. Studies show that breastfeeding mothers have three to six times less absenteeism than mothers who formula-feed.
  • Breastfeeding saves money. A one-time pump purchase is cheaper than buying formula. Even renting a hospital-grade electric pump may be cheaper than buying formula. Breastfed babies also use fewer healthcare dollars, because of fewer visits to the doctor and fewer serious illnesses.
  • Providing breastmilk for feedings while you're gone protects your baby against allergies.
  • Pumping, saving the milk and even leaking while you're at work helps you feel connected to your baby when you must be apart.
  • Because only mother can breastfeed, a baby always knows who is the person he loves the most. Nannies, babysitters, and daycare workers are no substitute for a nursing mom.
  • Mothers can look forward to a warm and cuddly reunion at the breast after hours of separation. Mother and baby can enjoy the convenience and closeness of breastfeeding during all the hours they are together, day and night.

WHY Breast is Best? Breastfeeding Benefits (Top to Bottom)
(taken from Dr Sears)

  • Brain. Higher IQ in breastfed children. Cholesterol and other types of fat in human milk support the growth of nerve tissue.
  • Eyes. Visual acuity is higher in babies fed human milk.
  • Ears. Breastfed babies get fewer ear infections.
  • Mouth. Less need for orthodontics in children breastfed more than a year. Improved muscle development of face from suckling at the breast. Subtle changes in the taste of human milk prepare babies to accept a variety of solid foods.
  • Throat. Children who are breastfed are less likely to require tonsillectomies.
  • Respiratory system. Evidence shows that breastfed babies have fewer and less severe upper respiratory infections, less wheezing, less pneumonia and less influenza.
  • Heart and circulatory system. Evidence suggests that breastfed children may have lower cholesterol as adults. Heart rates are lower in breastfed infants.
  • Digestive system. Less diarrhea, fewer gastrointestinal infections in babies who are breastfeeding. Six months or more of exclusive breastfeeding reduces risk of food allergies. Also, less risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in adulthood.
  • Immune system. Breastfed babies respond better to vaccinations. Human milk helps to mature baby's own immune system. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of childhood cancer.
  • Endocrine system. Reduced risk of getting diabetes.
  • Kidneys. With less salt and less protein, human milk is easier on a baby's kidneys.
  • Appendix. Acute appendicitis is less common in children who were breastfed.
  • Urinary tract. Fewer urinary tract infections in breastfed infants.
  • Joints and muscles. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is less common in children who were breastfed.
  • Skin. Less allergic eczema in breastfed infants.
  • Growth. Breastfed babies are leaner at one year of age and less likely to be obese later in life.
  • Bowels. Less constipation. Stools of breastfed babies have a less-offensive odor.

Each mother provides custom-designed milk to protect her infant. When a baby is exposed to a new germ, mother's body manufactures antibodies to that germ. These antibodies show up in her milk and are passed along to her baby. Many a nursing mother can tell the story of the entire family–dad, mom, siblings–coming down with the flu and the nursing baby having the mildest case, or not getting sick at all. When mother comes down with a bug, the best thing she can do for her baby is to keep breastfeeding.
While babies are breastfeeding, they have fewer and less serious respiratory infections, less diarrhea, and less vomiting. When breastfed babies do become ill, they are less likely to become dehydrated and need hospitalization.
In summary, breastfed babies are healthier.

As a working mom, I make sure I still breastfeed my baby whenever I'm back with him, whether at home or when we go for shopping. I'm a fan of nursing in public and wearing my baby.
Maintaning my milk supply tops my priority list. I pump at work and I breastfeed my baby on demand when he's with me.
Here are some very good tips from Nancy Mohrbacher about The "Magic Number" and Long-Term Milk Production:
  • Breast storage capacity affects how many times every 24 hours a woman's breasts need to be drained well of milk—either by breastfeeding or expression—to maintain her milk production.
  • The "magic number" refers to the number of times each day a mother's breasts need to be well drained of milk to keep her milk production stable. Due to differences in breast storage capacity, some mothers' "magic number" may be as few as 4-5 or as many as 9-10.
  • The amount of milk per day babies need between 1 and 6 months stays remarkably stable, on average between 25 and 35 oz (750-1050 mL) per day.
  • By thinking of the 24-hour-day as a whole, it becomes obvious that the more times each day the baby breastfeeds directly, the less expressed milk will be needed while mother and baby are apart.
  • Understanding these basic dynamics can go a long way in helping mothers meet their long-term breastfeeding goals.
  • Ideally, to keep milk production stable, do not regularly allow your breasts to become uncomfortably full, as that gives your body the signal to slow milk production.
  • Don't just focus on your pumpings at work. Also keep your eye on the number of breastfeedings outside your work hours.
  • It's not just how many times you pump at work that determines your milk production. More important is the number of breast drainings every 24 hours and how this total compares to your "magic number".


Dinner @ Chicago Rib House: The City of Steaks & Ribs, One Utama

Chicago Rib House: The City of Steaks & Ribs specializes in cooking its famed, tender, succulent, and meaty barbecued pork ribs (YES! PORK) slow-roasted in hickory wood.
Hubby and I went to the CRH outlet at One Utama because I wanted pork ribs. Tony Roma's in Malaysia doesn't serve pork ribs. What a waste.
There are 3 outlets at the moment:
Penang: 170-G-43, Gurney Plaza, Persiaran Gurney
One Utama: Lot F346, First Floor
Leisure Mall: L2-52, Level 2, Cheras Leisure Mall

We chose their famous Pork Ribs Combo platter. Three choices: Famous Pork Ribs and Grilled Salmon; Famous Pork Ribs and BBQ Charbroiled Chicken; Famous Pork Ribs and 7oz Striploin. We decided to go with the third combo with honey garlic sauce and a well-done striploin.
Each combo will be served with two side orders from this list of choices: Beer Battered French Fries; Coleslaw, Fragrant Rice, Baked Potato, Mashed Potato, Corn on Cob, Fresh Vegetables. We chose french fries and fresh vegetables (broccoli, carrot, zucchini). The mini bowl of sauteed button mushrooms was a separate order.
We also ordered Carbonara Pasta. I loved this dish so much for its generous amount of BACON BITS!!! Holy bacon! :P
Find out the rest of their menu on their website.

By the way, the restaurant utilizes portable tablets for meal orders.


Green papaya soup with anchovies and red dates

Green papaya soup with anchovies and red dates

It's the flu season. I'm quite desperate to increase my milk supply back to its normal volume because being sick causes my supply to drop precariously. Increasing fluid intake is almost a sure-fire way. Most mothers swear by green papaya soup. So, I cook a pot.

I cook my green papaya soup with anchovies and red dates. The green papaya flesh looks a bit too orangey but it's okay according to some mothers. Maybe I'll find a really green, green papaya (green flesh) next round. Also, it's better to cook with ikan kurau bones. Yup, will do so next round.

Another good milk booster is red dates lactating tea.

On a side note:

To all mama. Whether you are a full-time working mom, part-time working mom, stay-at-home mom, exclusive pumping mom, exclusive breastfeeding mom, partial breastfeeding mom, regardless of the condition of your breastfeeding journey, I just want to say, WE ARE AWESOME!



Babywearing with a ring sling

Updated: 4 points to consider when you decide to babywear
Babywearing is fun and convenient when hubby and I bring our little one to shopping malls. He doesn't really like to sit in his stroller. So, after the father is worn out carrying the little rock, it's my turn to wear him in his green ring sling. :)

I found out about the reasons babywearing is good for babies:

1. Wearing a baby is convenient.
2. Wearing a baby promotes physical development.
3. Babies worn in slings are happier.
4. Babywearing is healthy for you!
5. Toddlers appreciate the security of the sling.
6. Babywearing helps you and your baby to communicate with each other.
7. Slings are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers.
8. Slings are a safe place for a child to be.
9. Slings are economical.
10. Babywearing is fun.

My green ring sling from The Babyloft is a gift from a friend.

If you love DIY, you might want to sew your own ring sling. Here's a pretty good tutorial - DIY Ring Sling Tutorial.

If you want to learn how to wear a ring sling, this is a pretty good article - Using a Ring Sling.


Annual year-end summary posts (2007-2013)