Archive for Pregnancy

 

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Baby 3: Liam Turns One

25 March 2010

Liam Turns One Year Old

You know, I first started talking about having a third baby in October 2007. I was considering the issues of two vs three kids. And every week since then, I’ve been writing a little bit about the whole journey in a series, Making Baby 3.

And it’s funny, because I often forget that for the last 3 years, a lot of my readers have been “on” this journey with me. So the fact that this baby is now ONE YEAR OLD… completely shocks some people.

They can’t believe how fast time flies! How kids grow up so quickly! How life can move along at such a swift pace! How they remember when he was first born!

That’s right! Life is short!

It scares some people. And heck, it scares me.

To see my little baby with 8 teeth and a cut on his nose, from where he fell into a rose bush. He’s so big now!

Liam Day 1

I remember the morning after I gave birth to Liam in such exquisite and vivid detail.

I remember pulling back the curtains in my hospital room and letting in a beautiful blue morning light. I opened the window a little bit to let some fresh air into the room too. I scooped up my baby from his cradle, lay him on the bed and changed him into a new outfit with polka dots.

I remember thinking, my goodness, I made a baby! How do I look after a baby again?

I turned him around so I could see his face and eyes, and he blinked slowly in a sleepy daze.

Now look at him!

Liam Turns One Year Old

It’s pretty hard to say what kind of personality Liam has. Overall he is very easy-going and undemanding, with a lot of energy and interest in the world.

I have a feeling that a big part of his personality will be defined by his big brothers. They are just the most amazing things in the world to him, and all he wants to do is follow them around.

Anyway, I love how these photos turned out! I love spontaneous and natural portraits!

I was mucking about with him on the floor, and I put a hat on his head. Then he just scrunched up his face and broke out in a series of cute, little, snorting laughs.

He is one cute and cuddly little guy, and I feel very, very blessed.


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Making Baby 3: The 8 Month Update

30 November 2009

liam_karen01

My little baby Liam is 8 months old. Within a week, he went from commando crawling, to a little hand-foot shuffle, to crawling on all fours. He is creeping along like a little lizard, happily exploring every nook and cranny of our house.

So it is now time to make the house BABY PROOF.

We have set up a play pen around our TV and electronics corner. Put away books, games and DVDs. Fitted kid-safe door locks on cupboards.

I have painstakingly picked out and packed away every single small-sized object and toy that could fit into a baby’s mouth.

Everything that is precious or breakable has been placed on higher shelves. Pot plants have been moved outside.

I guess it’s not such a big shock to me. I’ve already done this vertical migration twice. But it’s just funny to notice how our surroundings and living habits have changed over the years, as kids grow up.

Another big milestone for Liam is his eating. Ever since I introduced him to lumpy, chunky food, he has not looked back. He retches at pureed foods now.

If he eats a spoon of pumpkin puree, the next spoonful I offer him, he will actually look at what is on the spoon, and then decides whether to keep his mouth shut and turn his head away.

Sometimes I’ll try to trick him by putting a pea on top of the pumpkin puree, but he works it out pretty fast. I don’t remember my other two kids learning this quickly. And I don’t remember enjoying the humour of baby-feeding-time so much.

I think most of my pleasure comes from me being very relaxed about what he eats. It’s all very experimental and spontaneous.

He basically eats what we eat for dinner, just chopped up into tiny bits.

If I cook pasta for dinner, I’ll cut some up and spread it out on his high-chair tray. I might add some cooked peas, cooked cubes of potato, carrots, broccoli and grated cheese.

It all just sits on his table in one huge mess, and he will happily pick it all up piece by piece and pop them into his mouth.

It really is such a cute age!


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Baby Food Beginnings

5 November 2009

I have had lots of people asking me what kind of foods I feed my 7 month old baby. At the moment, it’s been very simple. Pureed vegetables and rice.

I’ve forgotten the strange pleasure of turning lumps of hard vegetables into velvety, soft, creamy mush, then filling up freezer bags of colourful ice cubes.

And at the risk of sounding like a complete nerd, I just have to say – vegetable colours are so beautiful.

So without further ado, I hereby introduce you to baby food porn and all its pureed goodness!

Baby Food Beginnings

This is raw pumpkin, chopped, ready for steaming and pureeing.

Baby Food Beginnings

Pureed pumpkin. I find it hilarious that it looks the same coming out of the baby, as it does going in.

Ok move along, don’t look and think about it for too long.

Baby Food Beginnings

Chopped carrots. Just check out the colour of the orange!

Baby Food Beginnings

Broccoli, green beans and mushy white rice. Doesn’t the deep green just scream CALCIUM!

Baby Food Beginnings

I slop all the goop into ice cube trays. When it’s all frozen, I transfer them into labelled freezer bags.

Then before feeding time, I defrost various combinations of green mush and orange mush, or mix it with mashed banana, apple puree or pear puree.

When I make apple and pear puree, it always turns out too tart, or just funny tasting. So I buy ready-made fruit purees and mix it with my own vegetable mixes.

I’ve been making baby food by the truck load these last few days. Liam is soooo hungry!

I’m sure there’s a growth spurt on the way. Or maybe just a very big pumkin coloured poo.


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Making Baby 3: My Super-Duper Pooper Trooper

16 October 2009

Liam - Almost 7 Months

Liam - Almost 7 months

My baby is almost 7 months now and he eats SOOOO MUUUUCH FOOOOD.

I seriously feel like I’m preparing food every single minute of the day.

Food for the baby. Food for the kids. Food for my husband and myself. Then oh look I need more food for the baby.

And when I’m not actually MAKING FOOD, I’m thinking about what food to make for the next meal. What’s for dinner tonight? What about tomorrow’s lunch? Leftovers? And morning tea? Do I have enough food for tomorrow? Baby will be hungry soon. If I make lunch for the kids NOW, they won’t nag me while I’m feeding the baby. But what am I going to eat? Because the baby wants food NOW!

ARGH.

This cooking thing? I’m so over it.

So the consequence of my baby eating so much food, is that he makes SOOOO MUUUUCH POOOOOO.

I am a 24/7 arse wiper. Always armed and ready with a wet wipe.

But moving right along…

Liam is at the pre-crawling stage.

He gets up on his hands and knees, wriggles back and forth, stretches and arches, squirms, rolls and plops… and after a few minutes, he’s moved to the OTHER SIDE OF THE MAT!

It’s not graceful, and it’s not fast, but he does manage to get what he wants.

He sleeps 11-12 hours through the night. 2-3 hours in the morning. And takes a little nap around 4pm.

His personality so far is still easy-going and placid. In the mornings he’s very dopey and blur. But after his morning nap, he’s bright as a button, hungry, noisy and very active.

He’s my very happy chappy (doing a whole lot of poo).


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Making Baby 3 – The 6 Month Update

15 September 2009

Liam at 6 Months

Liam is approaching 6 months… and he just loves curling up like a ball and rolling around the lounge room.

I love how babies are so flexible! The photo above is Liam when he’s in his toe sucking mood.

He has 2 teeth now. They popped up at the same time, last week.

My other two babies were quite grumpy during their “teething stage”. But Liam, true to his style, cruised right through it. The only thing that happened was: he drooled a lot, and his chin got a bit red. He still sleeps 12 hours straight through the night.

However, his appetite has increased phenomenally this week. I have been eating large meals, 6 times a day, pigging out on dairy and carbs, and I still can’t keep up the milk production. I don’t have enough milk!

He was unusually irritable one day – grizzling and crying, I thought it was his teeth, until I realised that he was just hungry. I had no milk, so I supplemented him with a bottle of formula. Presto, he was happy as could be.

I’m also offering him a small amount of solids about 3 times each day. He will hungrily chomp on anything I wave in front of him – rice, banana, apple, pumpkin. But he just swirls it around in his mouth, and it dribbles back out when he smiles at me. So he hasn’t gotten the hang of SWALLOWING yet.

Every time I place him next to another baby his age, he looks so SMALL in comparison! A part of me is a teeny bit worried that he might be underweight.

But like my other two kids, he is as active as can be. He’s not one of those cute pork-dumpling, sumo babies who lay about. Liam wriggles, jiggles and squirms like crazy during his mat time.

In fact he’s digging his toes into the carpet, bringing his knees up and moving very quickly towards CRAWLING!


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – Baby Lovin’

4 September 2009

Liam The Plane

My bub is heavenly at the moment. He’s just so chilled and happy all the time. And super cute!

I call this one the airplane.

Liam The Plane

Every time we plonk him on the floor, he flips over and does this sky diving thing. He might prop himself up on his elbows, and try again and again. But most times we’ll find him frozen in this position.

Extra cute when he kicks his little feet and waggles his hands.

And serious cuteness overload when my OTHER two boys join him on the floor, like 3 little turtles out of water.

Look at his hair in this light! And his eye brows! It looks ginger!

Oh and he finally fits this What A Hoot Romper from Baby’s Got Style. Too cute.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – He Rolls!

26 August 2009

Liam rolling at 5 monthsBabies are just so darn cute.

Some people prefer to look at pictures of kittens or puppies. But not me.

I love babies. Babies eating yoghurt. Babies with funny hats. Babies with raincoats. Babies dressed up like bumble bees.

So if you’re a bit like me, here’s today’s baby fix for you.

Liam is 5 months, and he rolls over.

Ok, I know, I’ve already seen this with my other two kids. But it still amazes me.

Babies seem to work things out and learn so quickly.

Scrunch up knees. Tuck arms in. Roll to the side. Force top shoulder forward. Land on the belly and pull arm out.

In front of your eyes, you’re watching all the neural pathways connecting and being formed in his brain.

Then the next day they’ll do something different, progressing on what they learnt.

Like one of those super-intelligent, learning robots.

Cool. But freaky.

Next they’ll take over the world.

I just love the way he rocks back and forth, playing with the movement of his body.

And I especially love his little laugh right at the end.

He still can’t seem to keep his head up and smile at the same time. We call it his Chuckle Head Splat.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – Starting Solids

13 August 2009

Liam starting solids at 5 monthsFor the last few weeks, my 5 month old baby has been taking long gazes at my food, smacking his lips and reaching out to grab whatever was on my spoon.

I figured it was a sign that he was ready to eat more than just breast milk.

Time to start him on solid food!

Now most veteran parents might admit with some fondness, that starting their baby on solids was exciting, hilarious and novel for…. hmm, the first 5 minutes.

And for the next 13 years, it is just HARD WORK.

I completely agree.

So I thought I’d capture, the first FIVE PRECIOUS MINUTES of my baby’s first meal.

Today on the menu, was watery, cooked brown rice.

My other two boys said, “Mum, why are you feeding Liam glue?”

“Why don’t you give him some pizza? I’m sure he’ll like that!”

It’s funny how you can buy those exquisite cookbooks for baby food, featuring beautifully photographed pureed avocado, as if it came straight from a chef’s kitchen.

Then you can spend hours peeling, cutting, steaming, pureeing, food for your baby – then have it spat out onto the floor.

And how you can experiment with every recipe in the book – tuna patties, corn fritters, slow cooked lamb ragout, cheese pinwheels – but all your kid wants to eat is frozen bread.

Suffice to say, my baby was not impressed with the rice and spat it out.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – Three Children and Relaxed As Ever

6 August 2009

When I had my first baby, I was a very proactive mother. I read a lot of books, magazines and pamphlets, did lots of research, and I was constantly talking to people, asking for advice and hearing different opinions.

Each month, I knew exactly what to expect in my child’s development, all the different things to look out for, how to handle these new situations, and even what to prepare for next month.

I did everything by the book – everything that was recommended by experts, and the wonderful world of parenting books and magazines.

I sterilised my bottles. I wiped toys before I gave them to my child. Swaddled him before putting him to sleep. Sang songs to him. And I waited 6 months (to the day) before I fed my baby solids – of course, following the recommended schedule of introductory foods.

Bringing up a child was like running a small business. I was constantly thinking, thinking, thinking, planning, planning, planning and organising EVERYTHING.

I knew a lot of women like me, so I guess I thought it was all quite normal. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved it! Having all that knowledge really empowered me as a mother.

So during those early days, I met a mother who just had her third child. We became friends and as I got to know her, I realised that she was an incredible mother, yet she was doing everything differently!

In particular, she seemed to disregard all “the recommended blah”.

She was feeding her child teething rusks at 5 months! She didn’t keep her child’s toys in a separate zip-lock bag! She didn’t carry wipes with her! She kept her nappy bag in the car! How did she survive??

I was puzzled as to how she managed to NOT be bamboozled by the whole BRAIN STRAIN of keeping on top of her baby’s development.

For me, I was constantly thinking about… when will he start crawling, what to do when his teeth come through, where the best place to buy nappies, what’s the right way to cut his nails, should I start baby swimming yet?

Whereas, she would shrug her shoulders and say things like, “Oh teeth? She’ll get them eventually. Nails? I cut them when I have time.“

I was blown away and shocked, yet I found it to be very, very cool. I really admired how she found her own parenting style – confident, bold, relaxed, intuitive, with an excellent sense of humour. And I was inspired to be the same. Somehow.

So now it’s 6 years later, and I have 3 kids.

And I finally understand the whole concept of this “relaxed and intuitive” parenting.

Suddenly I’m the one saying things like, “Oh, have I started my baby on solids? I’m a bit busy this week, maybe next week I’ll give it a go. I’ll feed him some leftover rice or something.”

And as the words come out of my mouth, I laugh.

I don’t know if it’s a matter of being truly instinctive, because my view is, my world doesn’t revolve around my baby, and I only have time to focus on what’s truly important. I want to spend as much time cuddling and playing with my baby, and all these other things I “have to do”, I will do them when the time comes.

How’s that for parenting wisdom?

Because I agree. Baby teeth? I’m sure they’ll come through sooner or later.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – The 4 Month Update

28 July 2009

Liam - 4 monthsLiam is 4 months old, and still as cute as a button.

Not much has changed in the last 4 weeks. Which is a good thing! He is still a very happy and contented little baby.

He sleeps 12 hours through the night. He has a big 2 hour nap in the morning, and grabs little 30 – 45 minute naps throughout the day – in the sling, in the car, in the shopping trolley.

He would probably sleep a bit more during his naps, but I’m often waking him up and dragging him around the place, picking up the other kids from school etc.

I think he’s about 6kgs. He’s much bigger and longer than my other 2 sons at this age, so he doesn’t fit ANY of the winter hand-me-downs!

He has been sick with a running nose and a phlegmy cough a few times in the last month, but he didn’t seem to be greatly affected by it. He still feeds and sleeps all the same.

Liam’s pretty sleepy and dopey in the mornings, but he brightens up considerably in the afternoons and evenings. He chuckles and sings, and he’s just such a pleasure to be with.

Liam - 4 months

He has begun to look at things with interest, reach out to grab things, bite things and get tangled in things.

Liam - 4 months

He can hold his head up for a few minutes now! But he can’t do that and SMILE at the same time. If he does, his head wobbles, he face plants the floor, and he breaks out into chuckles. Very funny.

When he is on his tummy, I can see that he is beginning to bring his knees up and giving a little kick – the first signs of crawling.

To be honest, I’m dreading the moment when he begins to move. It means I have to be a lot more diligent with the cleanliness of my house. Small bits of lego, coloured matchsticks, bits of stickers, and cashew nuts… I can’t walk past it all and think, “Meh, I’ll do it later.”

I’m really, really enjoying this baby phase. I get a bit weepy and precious whenever I think that this will be the last time I get to cuddle a baby. But in the same second, I’m looking forward to fishing and camping trips with the whole family in the future. Ah, such bittersweet moments.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – Coping With Three Kids

30 June 2009

When I first considered whether I wanted three children, I was terrified. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to cope. Two kids are great, because mum and dad can hold one each. Not to mention, I have two hands to hold each kid.

But what happens when there are THREE kids?

I would sometimes see a mother with three or four children – walking to school, in the shops, getting in and out of the car… and I think “My goodness, how does she do it???”

Those mothers were truly super-mums in my eyes.

So the other day I had a kind of epiphany.

I was dropping my two big boys off at their school. It was pouring with rain, it was windy, and the air was really cold. I parked the car. I got out of the car and stood in the rain. The car park was full of cars, kids, parents, puddles – it was utter madness.

There I was, holding a baby in one arm, two school bags in the other arm. I had my head crooked to one side so I could hold my own open umbrella under my chin, while trying to keep the baby dry. The boys were also standing in the pouring rain, in a huge puddle, with water soaking into their socks, enjoying the novelty of rain and trying to open their umbrellas.

I was shouting “PAY ATTENTION, WE’RE ON A ROAD! DON’T SPLASH THE PUDDLES! DON’T OPEN THE UMBRELLA TOO CLOSE TO THE CAR! DON’T POKE YOUR BROTHER IN THE EYE! STOP SWINGING YOUR UMBRELLA AROUND! DON’T STAND TOO FAR OUT ON THE ROAD!” as I used my knee to herd the boys away from the zooming cars.

I was so stressed. I stood there… and I could feel my blood boil with frustration. I was going to explode. THIS IS SO HARD!! THIS IS CRAZY!! I’M GOING CRAZY!!

I had a moment of insanity.

Then a thought flashed through my head – Oh. I see. This is how THOSE MOTHERS DO IT. WITH PLAIN HARD WORK.

I quickly realised that it probably didn’t have to be so hard. I needed to calm my nerves. I just had to do things slowly. Maybe adopt a slightly more positive attitude. And stick with what was important at that very moment. Which was, crossing the road.

Rain? Puddles? It’s just water right?

So, oh well, the baby got a bit wet. My hair got soaked. The school bags were drenched. The boys looked like they just had a shower. And I’m sure we’re all going to get a cold by the end of the week. Ah well.

As we approached the classroom, one of my boys looked up at me with big happy eyes and said, “Whoa, I feel like I’ve been in a washing machine!” And I actually laughed.

Later on that afternoon, I thought about this whole “super-mummy with three kids” thing.

We’re not THAT SUPER. We’ve just gotten used to the hard work, the juggling, the busy-ness and being organised.

It’s not glamorous, but it’s life.

And learning how to love it, is perhaps the most super thing about it.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – Not a Newborn

23 June 2009

Liam at 13 weeks

The other day I went to visit a girlfriend, who had just given birth 10 days ago. As she held her tiny baby, wrapped up in a pink bundle of blankets… I sighed at the beautiful sight of soft, squishy skin, and tiny crinkly eyes.

Then to my shock horror, I realised that the baby in my own arms WAS NOT A NEWBORN ANYMORE!

Look at him! He’s like a big monster baby compared to the fragile, helpless, kitten-like baby he used to be. What happened?!

Liam at 13 weeks

Liam is 13 weeks old and he has discovered his hands, as you can see in the photo on the left.

I just LOVE this stage. It’s hilarious. Babies will just sit and stare at their hand, as if it was the most interesting thing in the world.

He’s also experimenting with his expressions. From spaced-out blurred looks, to squinty-eyed laugh-out-loud looks, to this… super-cute frowning.

Is everyone just dying from cuteness-overload yet?


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – Getting Back into Shape, Part 1

17 June 2009

I have been getting lots of people writing in to ask me about my weight before and after pregnancy, gaining weight, and how I have been getting back into shape etc. And I have been finding it absolutely fascinating to see THE EFFECTS OF THREE PREGNANCIES over time, age and lifestyle.

My History

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was 25 years old and 47kgs. I literally ate to my heart’s content. I gave in to any craving for junk food, meat pies, fried noodles, cheese, chocolate.

Surprisingly, I didn’t gain much throughout the pregnancy. But near the end, within a few days, my appetite grew and I suddenly put on 5kgs – and got big purple stretch marks on my tummy. (So big lesson, gradual weight gain ladies!)

In total, I gained about 15kgs (pregnancy was 38 weeks long).

After I gave birth, I breastfed, and the weight instantly melted away. It definitely had something to do with natural metabolism or genetics or SOMETHING, because I wasn’t on a vigorous exercise regime, nor did I go to the gym. However, I was an active mother, going out every day, walking, carrying baby in a sling, and pushing the pram.

The stretch marks faded to a silvery colour over time. A very, very small price to pay for having a baby! I also did a lot of pelvic floor exercises.

When I was pregnant for the second time, I was 27 years old and 45kgs. I had a much healthier lifestyle and diet this time, but I still ate as much as I liked.

Again, I gained 15kgs in total (pregnancy was 38 weeks). And again, the kilos melted away after birth, with hardly any work on my part, and the stretch marks faded to silver. I felt that I was lucky with my genes. Once again, a lot of pelvic floor exercises.

Then it was 4 years between my 2nd and 3rd children. I was not very fit. I got tired easily and had very low stamina. I did do various spurts of exercise and sports, but no regular cardio workouts, or muscle building or toning exercises.

I was slightly concerned that after four years, I still had a small JELLY BELLY – as they call it in post-pregnancy circles. Since I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight, I assumed that jelly belly is due to loss of muscle tone in the abdomen.

Now, I say “slightly concerned” because, I guess if I was VERY concerned, I would have been motivated to do something about it. And the only person in the whole world who would ever noticed was me. Once again, a very small price to pay for the joy of having TWO babies.

With my third pregnancy, I was 30 years old and 45kgs. My lifestyle and diet had never been as healthy. Throughout my pregnancy I did lots of exercise, body stretches, I ate very well, I didn’t over eat, and I practiced a LOT of self-control with my cravings.

I put on 14kgs in total (which was really good, considering I was pregnant for 2 weeks longer this time, and delivered at 40 weeks).

A week after the third birth I was 8kgs over, which is completely normal.

But now, it’s been 3 months since the birth and I’m still 3kgs over. The weight isn’t exactly “melting away” like when I was 25, and the loss of muscle tone is a lot greater, so the jelly belly is obviously a lot bigger.

In addition to all that, I don’t seem to have the same natural reservoir of energy stored up. I’m even more tired, I need more sleep, I get more headaches, and my bones and muscles actually hurt when I use them.

Yes that’s right, I’m over 30! I’m finding it harder to keep myself fit and in shape! Haha how clichéd is that? But it’s the simple truth.

Of course, the “mummy tummy” is very normal. After all, my skin and muscles were stretched out like a balloon for 9 months. If I “let it all hang out” I look 3 months pregnant.

To be completely honest with you and myself, while I LOVE being a mother, I just don’t want to have a “mummy tummy”. And I can see how this will continue to become more of a problem as time goes by. So, I am determined to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and flatten my tummy somewhat. And I have been inspired by some other mums I know who have done it.

So What to Do?

My husband and I are trying to improve our eating and lifestyle habits.

So we are eating very well – lots of raw vegetables, limiting processed carbohydrates and high-cholesterol meats, sugar and fats. However, our kids need all this stuff for their growing bodies, so they often get a different variation at meal times.

We’re including more exercise into our daily routine. For example, my husband rides his bike to the shops, instead of driving, and I walk the boys to school, pushing my newborn in the pram. This is actually great, because I get to chat with other walk-to-school mums in the park, and it doesn’t seem like work at all.

I’m also researching abdominal exercises specifically for mums, and I discovered a few fascinating facts about the mummy tummy and some simple exercises to help get me started… and I’ll share it all next time around.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – Liam’s 3 Month Milestones

10 June 2009

Making Baby 3 - Liam’s 3 Month Milestones

Liam is almost 3 months old. He weighs about 5kgs – I say “about” because I haven’t actually gone into the clinic to weigh him. He just feels like the same weight as a bag of rice.

He sleeps 11-12 hours through the night, and takes a big 2 hour nap in the morning, followed by several small 30 minute naps through the day. He is, by far my favourite baby, just don’t tell the others.

He has very good control of his head. He can turn to look at things. He notices people when they walk into the room. And smiles a lot.

New for this week, is that he can bring his hand to his mouth and suck on his thumb. Sometimes he misses and you can often find him bashing himself on the chin – which is actually quite cute, and not at all as cruel as it sounds.

But his cute factor has also risen threefold this week, as he is quite a chatterbox.

If he is awake, and if someone picks him up, makes eye contact with him, and talks to him… he will immediately goo and gaa and sing back with smiles, chuckles and a little sparkle in his eye. Good lord, it is so so so cute.

It’s enough to make me want another baby – but that WON’T be happening!

Photo: He also likes talking to his new friends, Goldilocks and the three bears. At first he eyes them up suspiciously, then after a round of introductions, he’ll happily chat away at them. Like I said. So. Cute.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – Who does he look like?

2 June 2009

When I first became a mother to a newborn baby, I quickly got used to all the QUESTIONS. Questions about my pregnancy. Questions about the delivery. Questions about the newborn.

How many months pregnant are you? Did you have morning sickness? What are you craving for?

How long was the delivery? Was it a natural birth? How much did the baby weigh?

Is your baby a boy or girl? How old is he? Does he sleep a lot? He’s got such long fingers!

I found it quite endearing that all these questions seemed so universal. And I’ve learnt not to be so irritated by these questions, because hey, I ask other new mothers the same things.

Liam is now 10 weeks old and I’ve reached the stage where everyone is asking me: WHO DOES HE LOOK LIKE?

My aunties use their hands and cover Liam’s forehead and say, his mouth and chin look like Callum, and his forehead looks like Sean. Or that he’s got Karen’s eyes and lips, but Andrew’s brow and nose. And for some reason everyone is obsessed about his eyelids and ears!

So I thought I’d share a few pics of my three boys, and everyone can make up their own minds.

Liam 10 weeks

Baby 3: Liam is 10 weeks old.

Sean 12 weeks

Baby 2: Sean is 12 weeks old.

Callum 6 weeks

Baby 1: Callum is 6 weeks old.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Making Baby 3 – Sleeping Through the Night

25 May 2009

Liam at 9 weeks

At 6 weeks old, my newborn Liam had established a night time routine – but not a good one.

He would go to bed at 8pm on the dot. Then he would wake up at 12am, 2am, 4am and 6am. Every two hours!

And guess what, my other 2 children also woke up at 6am! And we all have to leave for school at 8:00!

It was really hard. The broken sleep in the evenings, plus the very busy days looking after the other children and running the house… it was a very bad combination.

I was really cranky and irritable. I was constantly dazed. I kept having little memory “black-outs”. I was snapping and shouting at the kids – saying things like “Mummy’s got a headache! Can you just GO AWAY??”. I was emotional. I was grumpy at my husband. I would cry at random things. I would be really angry and breakdown if the smallest thing went wrong. And I could feel myself slowly sinking towards depression.

This went on for 8 days.

I soon realised that there was a pattern in my newborn’s night time feeds:

He has a huge feed at 8pm. At 12am he wakes up for a medium feed and goes straight to sleep.

At 2am, he cries out. I pick him up and he’s very sleepy and sluggish. He’s so sleepy that he doesn’t actually seem hungry, he doesn’t attach well, and so he gulps down a lot of air. He only drinks for 3-5 minutes and falls asleep on the breast.

When he’s done, I burp him and he usually throws up half or all of what he had drunk (I thought he had reflux). I clean him up, change his clothes, change his nappy, I burp and pat him a lot. He falls asleep, I put him down. All up, it takes 45 minutes.

At 4am, pretty much the same thing happens.

After 4 nights of this, I had perfected the art of aiming his head so his vomit goes on the floor without getting any on his clothes!

After 6 days of all this, I begin to suspect that he was waking up and crying out of habit. He just didn’t seem hungry, and maybe he just wanted something to suck on.

So after 8 days and nights of all this craziness, I decided to do something about it, to save my sanity, and to save my family from “mad” me.

Day 1

I put him to bed at 8pm. He woke up and had a big feed at 12am.

At 2am, he cried out and I went in to pat him, stroke his head, and say reassuring things to him. But NO FEED! I left the room. He cried.

After 5 minutes I went in again and gave him another pat, stroke and kind words. But NO FEED! He cried!

After 10 minutes, I did the same thing. Still crying!

After 15 minutes, I did the same thing. Lots of crying!

Whenever he started his angry or his breathless crying, I went in earlier. The sound of my voice and my strokes seemed to soothe him considerably. But I always left the room after a few minutes. And NO FEED!

It went on and on for 2 hours – every 15 minutes, going in to say hi.

Man, I was wrecked. I was really upset. My heart was crushed from hearing him cry. I felt like I was abandoning my child. I felt like such a terrible person, and a bad mother. I was starving my child! My child is going to have issues! My child is going to hate me! I couldn’t look at his face while he cried, or else I would have given in.

The only thing that kept me going was the fact that we had used the same technique with my other two children to sleep through the night. And it worked for them. So I knew he’d be ok.

Also my husband was very supportive, he stayed up with me to make sure I didn’t go crazy.

Liam finally went to sleep at 4am!

He woke up at 6am, I gave him a big cuddle and a big feed. And he went straight back to sleep.

(So he had gone 6 hours without a feed. During the day I was watching him like a hawk. He showed no signs of distress at all. He was happy, smiling at me and locking his eyes onto things whenever he was awake. And he slept soundly for 3 hours in the afternoon.)

Day 2

I put him to bed at 8pm. He woke up and had a big feed at 12am.

At 2am, he cried out and we did the whole thing all over again – every 15 minutes, going in to say hi.

This time he only cried for 45 minutes. But he only did a whimpering kind of cry, not an angry cry.

He went back to sleep and woke up at 6am.

(Again, he went 6 hours without a feed. He was absolutely fine and happy during the day. He had several big sound naps too.)

Day 3

I put him to bed at 8pm.

This time he didn’t wake up at 12pm. He woke up at 3am!

He just whinged for 15 minutes. I went in to pat him and say hi.

He went back to sleep and woke up at 6am.

Day 4

I put him to bed at 8pm.

And he woke up at 6am.

Day 5 to Now (3 weeks later)

Still sleeping at 8pm and waking up at 6am.

In the evenings he gets pretty hungry. He feeds 5:30pm, 6:30pm and 7:30pm. I figure that he’s topping himself up for the long night sleeps, which is great.

I’m SO RELIEVED.

Officially, this technique is called “controlled crying”. I am aware that there are some people who don’t believe in it and discourage it. I’m making no judgments, and I hope no one else does either.

I’m simply sharing my experience here, which is that – I can’t be a good mother to all my kids, I can’t be a good companion to my husband, and I can’t manage a home… if I am suffering from sleep deprivation.

I know that Liam is putting on lots of weight. He’s reaching his baby milestones (smiling, gooing and gahing, following things with his eyes and ears, doing lots wet and dirty nappies), his breast attachment is much better (no more reflux and throwing up his feeds), he is sleeping soundly during the day, and… he gets a lot more cuddles and kisses from a relaxed and happy mummy.

(The photograph above is Liam and I ahgoo-ing at 9 weeks. When he is bright and awake, and you say “AH GOOOO” to him, he’ll respond with an AH GOO too. It’s so darn cute that it even makes my husband ovulate.)


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Making Baby 3 – Sleep Deprivation

18 May 2009

At 5 weeks old, Liam’s sleeping and feeding patterns were all over the place.

Most times he would need to feed every 3 hours, sometimes 2 hours, or 4 hours. Sometimes he would surprise me and sleep for 6 hours straight. Followed by a feeding frenzy every 1 hour.

During the day, irregular feeding patterns were fine – but at night, it was terrible.

He soon fell into a night time pattern. He went to bed at 8pm. Woke at 12am, 2am, 4am and 6am.

The sleep deprivation was shocking. My brain was completely fried. I was walking around like a zombie.

I couldn’t get enough rest to give me the deep REM that I needed, so my waking hours were a blur. It felt like every time I blinked or close my eyes for a few seconds, I was launched back into my dreams and my brain was mixing up strange visions with reality. I couldn’t do things properly, nor could I sustain a conversation. I was living in a complete haze.

It was all pretty hard work. Especially having two other noisy children who needed to be taken to school, needed after school activities, feeding, bathing, talking to, reading to, and help with homework. Not to mention I had to juggle cooking dinner, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, running the house, hanging out with my husband and other things.

I didn’t take naps during the day, because I still had a 4 year old to look after some days. And there was so much work to do around the house!

Everyone asks me…. How did I do it all? How do I manage?

The secret is: to have a loving, hard-working, and understanding husband!

And really… I just have to get on with it! I just get organised! I discovered that the human body is quite capable of amazing things, if you’re willing to push it.

Juggling, adapting, staying active and busy. I’d rather push myself, than be a lazy blob.

Life is going great! Although a little hazy.

(By the way, Liam is actually 8 weeks old now and he sleeps 10 hours through the night! But more on that later…)


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Making Baby 3 – Confinement!

12 May 2009

Making Baby 3 - Confinement Food

Chinese people have a tradition called “confinement”.

It’s based on the belief that when a woman has given birth, her body is “cold, weak and empty”. In order to bring herself back to health, she must observe 30 days of certain lifestyle and dietary changes.

Some of these changes are:

The woman must stay indoors for 30 days. She should not go out and expose herself to cold temperatures, cold wind, or breezes. She must rest. She must lie down as much as possible. She should not do anything strenuous or vigorous.

She must not wash her hair or bathe for 30 days. Yes, you heard me right. No washing for 30 days after delivery. She has to avoid all contact with water – including, not washing her hands. She must stay warm and cover up all parts of her body

She can’t drink plain water. Instead, she has to drink a special red date tea at all times.

While I appreciate the significance of traditional beliefs and customs – I chose not to follow many of these practices, for obvious practical and hygiene reasons. In fact, I had a shower about 30 minutes after Liam was born! It was the same for my first two newborns.

However, the aspect of confinement that I was VERY happy to observe was – CONFINEMENT FOOD. There’s a whole list of weird and wonderful Chinese foods that are said to nourish the woman’s body, revitalise health, expel wind, create warmth and increase the supply of breast milk.

When I explained this to my husband, after the birth of my first child, many years ago, he thought I would be eating an amazing array of fresh, healthy green vegetables and rich protein dishes. Oh how he was wrong.

Because the dishes were more like this.

Making Baby 3 - Confinement Food

This is slow stewed pig trotters with old ginger in black vinegar. It’s absolutely delicious. It’s to die for. In fact, my mouth is watering as I write this. But my husband thinks it looks like someone already ate it once.

After each of my children were born, my mother made a huge pot of this stuff for me. The thick, black soup bubbled and simmered on my stove for weeks. She kept adding more ingredients to the pot each week, enhancing it’s richness, flavour and texture. The smell of vinegar and ginger filled my house. It was divine. My husand spent a lot of time opening the windows to let the smell out, and my mother closed them all up again to stop me from getting chilled.

She also made delicious dishes with chicken, sesame oil and ginger. Sometimes it was pork and ginger. Eggs and ginger. Broccoli and ginger. Green beans and ginger.

Day and night. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I had something cooked with sesame oil and ginger. I loved it.

My mother came over every day to help. She arrived in the morning, cooked me breakfast, got the boys ready for school, took the boys to school, washed the dishes, helped with the laundry, made me lunch, cleaned the kitchen, swept the floors. I got lots of sleep. And most importantly, I ate LOTS of confinement food! It was wonderful! I am a very fortunate Chinese girl.


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Making Baby 3 – Love, A Third Time Around

5 May 2009

When I had my first baby, the first few weeks were an amazing experience.

I have a baby! I am a mother! It was exciting and exhilarating. But it was also scary and terrifying. Everything was just so new and different! It was thrilling, rewarding, pleasing and overwhelming.

I was completely drunk with the rush of love, excitement, sleep deprivation and the fact that I was at the beginning of a brand new life.

Motherly love was a new experience, and it was grand.

When I had my second baby, life was a bit rocky for our family. I was pretty drained emotionally.

I didn’t feel “connected” to my newborn. There was a bond, but we were hanging by a fine thread. Waking up in the middle of the night, feeding, changing, burping – I was tired and cheerless. It was all a chore and a duty. I didn’t have a good time.

As I held my newborn, I knew I loved him so much. But I didn’t glow with any radiance, nor did my heart swell with the sweetness of motherhood. The love I had for my child was more of an intellectual truth.

I guess it’s nice to know that despite the two very different beginnings, the relationship I now have with my sons are the same – I absolutely love both of them, with my everything.

This time with my third baby, the feeling of love is again very different.

It’s quiet and peaceful. Stronger perhaps. More mature. And much wiser.

It’s knowing that I’m blessed. It’s knowing that this will be the last time I will hold a newborn so intimately. That every moment from this time onward, is precious… and a last.

My love is a deep and treasured gratefulness.

Liam - 5 weeks


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Making Baby 3 – The Middle of the Night

21 April 2009

It’s 4am. I’m sitting in the nursery, rocking back and forth in my rocking chair. Every molecule in my body is glowing with happiness.

Liam is asleep on my chest, purring like a happy kitten after a good feed. I’m gently patting his back hoping he’ll burp out any air he might have swallowed during the feed.

Burping is important – I’ve learnt over the years. Burping can’t be rushed. If I put the baby down too early, he’ll grizzle and grumble, and will probably throw up his entire feed. There will be curdled milk all over the blankets, carpets, floor, chair, and of course me. Not something I want at 4am in the morning.

So I rock back and forth, and pat. The top of his head is nuzzled into my neck. I can feel his velvety, fuzzy hair tickle my chin. His skin is soft and squishy.

And, ah yes, then there’s that newborn smell. The smell of milky, clean skin and warm fresh cotton.

And newborn noises. Little, squeaky breathing. Tiny, bubbly gurgles. And the cutest little sighs you’ve ever heard.

The weight and warmth of his body, pressed against my chest is unlike anything I can describe.

I am a mother and I am totally in love.

Liam at 3 weeks
Liam at 3 weeks, looking like a stately old man in deep thought.


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