How to help a new mum…

So, three of my friends were pregnant all around the same time and finally, all their babies are here! The first one was born exactly 6 months (to the day) after Jacob was born, the next one exactly 3 weeks after and the final baby was born on Monday night. I can’t wait for all 4 babies to be together to take some photos together!

In the last few months, I have experienced so many new mums (and their new babies, of course) and there’s been so much trial and error on my part with giving them the support from my end. When I say new mums, I don’t mean just mums who have had their first baby – but any mum who’s just had a baby, be it their first, second, third or fourth child! From experience, these are some of the best things you could do for a new mum…

1. Cook for her
I’m not sure about Caucasians here, but us Asians LOVE a good clear soup when we’re not feeling our best – beef soup’s probably the favourite as it’s just so nourishing! In the Chinese culture, some mums have a ‘confinement’ period where they take it easy and have to follow a strict dietary plan which involves lots of soups! But what I found anyway is that soup is good to encourage breast milk production, so you should have some (even if you’re not Asian, haha!).

If you can’t think of anything to cook (or if you have your hands full), a fruit platter is always welcomed! Or just buy takeaway or treat her to a meal. She’ll thank you as that’s one less meal to cook!

20140408_083711_AndroidJacob my sweetheart is cooking some food for me (though I don’t eat plastic shapes)

2. Help her with cleaning
Even now, I still struggle with finding the time to clean the house – today I managed to vacuum the floor while Jacob was in his cot playing with this musical phone/remote that my parents gave to him. Now he’s mobile, he always finds something to mess up – and don’t even talk to me about eating. Yesterday we had egg yolk smeared all over the high chair and pieces all over the floor.

But yes, I digress – new mums have SO much to take in that the last thing on their mind will be to clean up the house, or at least the last thing they will get to do aside from rocking, feeding, changing, etc. So just offer to do a load of dishes before you go, or even pop their laundry onto the line or fold some clothes. ūüôā

3. Offer to babysit
While I love Jacob to bits, there are times that I wish that I could put him away for one hour, just for some me time. I am sometimes wary about getting a babysitter for Jacob, and at times I’d rather not spend money on such things when I can just suck it up and take care of him anyway. But every mum needs a break – so babysitting is a great gift.

Of course, this all depends on your confidence and experience. Before Jacob was born, I admit I would never have offered to babysit for anyone because I’d be so afraid that I’d not know what to do. Even now, I’m happy to babysit babies but am not as sure what to do with toddlers and older kids. What you could just do is hang out with the mum and mind the baby while she can do what she wants to do – even that is a help.

4. Help her run errands
This is particularly handy for ladies who have had C-sections who can’t drive for 6 weeks! There will always be things to do like¬†getting¬†groceries, picking up other kids from school, etc. This helps if you can drive, of course, but even if you don’t, just do what’s in your power to do.

20140408_102116_AndroidJacob can’t drive but he can take out the trash! (Haha, don’t worry – I don’t let my baby touch trash. That’s just a bag of clothes!)

5. Help provide her with resources
I’m not sure about other mums, but I’m an Internet consulter – that is, I always consult the internet to find out information. I know in the first few months (and even now), I search about things like breastfeeding, immunisation, baby poo, etc. When I find good resources, I’m always happy to share with other mums. If you’re a researcher like me (or if you like to pick up brochures from here and there), pick something up for your new mum to read. Do keep in mind to not “push ideas” onto the new mum though – this information is just there for her perusal but in no way are you dictating the way she should parent her child.

6. Spend a bit more time together
One thing I found with motherhood is that sometimes it can be a bit lonely – when your partner is working all day and you’re stuck at home with the baby, it can just drive you up the wall. I know it’s hard for people who work full time, but if you do have time to spend with your new mum, just go over for a visit (or organise to go and have a coffee perhaps). She’ll appreciate the break (and you get plus points if you carry her baby for a while!)

7. Just be a listening ear
I think what’s been really good in these few months of motherhood for me is having people to talk/rant to about the big and small stresses. Like when you have a poo explosion, or when he has a “I want you to carry me all the time” day. Because sharing the burden just makes it lighter and soon enough, you’ll realise it wasn’t such a big burden anyway, and will find the grace to laugh about it.

20140406_080554_AndroidJacob is a great listening ear – plus, he doesn’t give unwanted advice!

New mums out there – do you think I hit the nail on the head? Are there other things that you appreciated when you were a new mum?

I admit that I haven’t done all of these things for the mums I know, but I have tried to do what I can to help them. And I know that little things count – I remember the little things that people did for me when Jacob was little, and I’m so grateful for it. My mum was wonderful with helping me take charge of the house too, getting all the other stuff done so I could just focus on the baby.

But anyway, congratulations to all the new mums I know and I hope that you are all having a wonderful time with your babies. Do enjoy this time lots because you can’t get it back. Photos and videos can immortalize the way your baby is, but he’ll be different every day and one fine day, you’ll look back and wish you were there again – just holding him or her in your arms.

Over and out! ūüôā

Advertisements

Musings on a murderously hot day…

Heat wave! Yesterday’s temperatures soared to 45 and today it’s meant to hit 46! I was tempted to stay in all day yesterday, though it gets pretty hot in the house too – our air con’s working overtime. We escaped to the shopping mall for some retail therapy while Jacob slept in the pram. Dan picked up more work pants, while I pondered about what swimwear to get. My old bikinis are too small and my pregnancy swimsuit is a bit too big. I was toying between these two pieces from Dotti:

Image

Which one do you prefer? I love the bold colours… Well, since they were on sale, I got both! Ironically, I’ll probably have shorts or a tank over the bikini anyway. So now, I just have to¬†head to the beach one of these days. It’s hard with a baby though, especially since I don’t want to give his poor skin too much sun exposure.

Poor Jacob doesn’t like the heat, so he stays relatively nudie all day (apart from the nappy). Since we were all hot and sweaty, we had another dip in the shell.

ImageEven on the hottest days, babies still get cold if the water is too cold. The last time we had a bit of a swim, Jacob got really quite cold – so, even though it was sweltering today, I added a kettle of hot water to warm it up a bit. Yay for little swimming shells!

Hot weather also makes me more inactive, hence I’ve sat on the computer most of the day. To be fair, I had some projects that I was working on. I’ve been doing a bit of designing as well as arts and crafts with regards to baby showers – would love to share but will keep it quiet til after the showers. First one coming up in less than 2 weeks!

I went to a friend’s baby shower a month or two ago… and she’s just had her baby! I went over to visit her today and it was just lovely to see her and her gorgeous little boy. My sister in law also had her baby back in December, and it’s lovely to see all the cousins together:

ImageAll the baby talk is making me clucky again! I was thinking about the early weeks after Jacob was born and how challenging it was at times. If I could do it all over again (and I probably will if I have a second baby), here are five things I would have done differently:

1. Spent more time in hospital – I didn’t even stay the night (though I guess you could count my night in labour as staying the night). My rationale for going home so early was because I didn’t want to be moved to a shared room in the event that someone else came in in labour and because Jacob and I were doing alright. Thinking about it, I probably would have appreciated a bit more rest. I was buzzing from the adrenaline of it all and didn’t even sleep very much the day he was born.¬†

2. Shared the baby a bit more – my parents and Dan were at home, but I would choose to sit in the room with Jacob alone just because I wanted to be close to him. I felt directly responsible for anything Jacob did and would always take him when he cried. Now I realise that I could have given myself a few breathers by just passing on the responsibility.

3. Used a nipple shield for breastfeeding – boy, were those first weeks a bit sore! I didn’t even know about them but perhaps they might have helped. I would have liked to speak to more people about what to expect from breastfeeding too, though now I need no introduction.¬†

4. Not freaked out every time the baby cries – I’ve realised now that babies just cry because they need things. They’re not necessarily sad or upset, but are just trying to communicate their needs. It would have helped the baby stay calm too if I had been calm, but I guess sometimes it’s harder than it sounds.

5. Enjoyed every moment just a tiny bit more – I admit I didn’t enjoy everything I could enjoy in the early weeks. I could have spent more time watching Jacob sleep, or cuddled him more, or even taken more photos. Time puts things into perspective, and I can’t believe how much time has already passed me by.

For now, rather than looking back in retrospect, I’d like to look forward and spend many joyful moments with my lovely family. Tomorrow’s going to be 42 degrees and then we have a cool change (if you can call low 30s cool, I guess). Stay cool, everyone!

 

 

Babies babies babies!

I did I say I was going to blog more regularly but I had to choose the busiest month of the year to start, didn’t I? It’s been a crazy end of the week but I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

This week was particularly busy because the youth at our church were in charge of preparing a sermon. I have to admit that we always do things rather last minute (at least we gave ourselves a week this time!) but it usually turns out alright. We ended up doing a panel discussion on The Rich Young Ruler and discussed things like materialism, prosperity, spirituality and so on.

I just wanted to share the video we showed, which gives some really interesting insights into money and how it affects one’s mindsets:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuqGrz-Y_Lc

It’s funny but I have actually noticed the trend mentioned in the video (that people of a higher economic standing can be less generous than people of lower economic standing). In my work selling MBAs, I met an array of different people from a wide range of economic backgrounds. I found that people with higher incomes actually were more petty about small charges like application or exam fees than people earning less – even though it was a relatively small amount of money that they would be parting with.

I hope that I don’t get like that – I don’t claim to be a high earner (in fact, I’m not earning anything at the moment – gasp!) but I am blessed with a comfortable lifestyle and many luxuries others don’t have. Around Christmastime especially, we have our Christmas tree up with gifts all under it, while some people don’t even have a house to live in. I want to always remember to help those that are less fortunate than I am.

ImageOn a separate note, this is Jacob in his new chill-out spot. Warning: there is nudity in this picture, but naked babies are cute anyway.

Jacob’s had a bit of a stuffy nose the last few days and has developed a bit of a cough from the nasal drip. Poor baby sounds like he has a smoker’s cough at times! We’ve been using a nasal aspirator as advised, but it isn’t really clearing it out – maybe it’s a bit too solid. We’ll just keep it going and also give him steam treatment (i.e. breathing in steam from a bowl of water and steam from the shower). But he’s still his happy ol’ self and is sleeping like a baby now.

Speaking of babies, Jacob is no longer the youngest baby in the family. My sister in law just had a beautiful baby boy yesterday and named him Malachi. He was almost the same weight as Jacob, and when I was carrying him, I couldn’t even imagine Jacob being that light and tiny. Jacob’s now like a little elephant compared to him.¬†Welcome to the family, Malachi!

Image

Happy weekend to all, and to all a good night!