Pages

Baby | 6 Months Update




Becoming a parent is a life changing journey. Your perspective on life, relationships, and the world is reengineered. There is a new-found respect for anyone who’s a parent, and an understanding on how difficult this role can be. Sometimes, it brings out the best in you, other times it takes all of god’s mighty strength to stow away the worst in you. You discover patience you never knew you had, and impatience to a lot of things in life which now just seem too much of a waste of time – time that is now ever so precious.


I am incredibly lucky to be able to take so much time off from work, to be able to provide for my son with everything that he needs and more. I cannot imagine how difficult it is for those who don’t have enough resources, whether physical, monetary, or mental support that I have in abundance. I mean, being the first grandchild in a large Chinese family to have a kid means all of the attention and resources go to the first great-grandchild, my son. 

Thank you to our family members, nannies (both confinement and babysitting nannies), and friends of are also mothers, the past 6 months has been smoother than what it could’ve been if we left parenting up to trial-and-error. There are only so many books and articles you can read, but actual experience from a mother of 3 is more valuable than anything else. 

Here’s a little (long-winded, apologies) update on what we’ve learned from each other. 

But first, Happy 7 months, little guy! 


| Sleep and Sleep Training | 4 months

This topic deserves a whole other post of its own. There’s so much to it, but not many parents talk about it or know about the science behind it. Most choose to go with trial and error and have a grave misunderstanding in what infant sleep actually means. But I’ll delve into that separately. 

My son hasn’t always been a good sleeper, and part of it is my fault (for waking him up at 10:30pm for bath time). The purpose of sleep training is to help your baby to become independent when it comes to sleep, not just “hope he knocks out for the entire night”. Everyone will wake up in sleep, adults for the most part fall back asleep quickly or don’t even realize that they’ve woken up. For babies it’s a different story. With some help from a friend, I was able to get my son on a good sleeping routing and schedule, train him to self-sooth to sleep, and have less night wakings. 

At 4 months, he was able to self-sooth, which means that if he wakes up at night, he won’t cry until I go in. Sometimes I catch him on the camera just playing with his seahorse (sleep aid toy), or just kicking his legs but no crying at all. We were also able to eliminate feed to sleep and constant night feed. 

So, to sum up, this is the progress we’ve made:

4 months: self-sooth, set schedule (12hour night sleep with 3 day naps), down to 1 dream feed at 10:30pm, and 1 night wake feed (irregular timing) 
 5-6 months: eliminate feeding during overnight wakeups (either by me soothing him or self-soothing)

 7 months: full 12-hour uninterrupted sleep from 6:30pm – 6:30am, dropped 3rd day time nap, dropped 10:30pm dream feed. 

It’s been a painful few months of sleep deprivation. But I’m so glad that now at 7 months, by 6:30pm in the evening we are off the hook as parents until the next morning. My son is fully self-sufficient when it comes to sleeping. 

 

| Eating Solids | 4 months

You may have read that babies start solids around 4-6 months, or even just 6 months. This honestly depends on how quickly your baby is developing. You have to look for signs and cues, whether your baby is mentally and physically ready for solids. On our routine paediatrician visit, she gave the ok to start solids at 4 months, and I have to say this is one of the most fun parts of parenting in this period. 

All of my son’s meals are prepared from fresh produce, we never buy processed or pouched food. Even when we travel, we try to get a banana or grab a yoghurt which are always easy to find. While at home though, I cook and blend all kinds of fun meals with the Béaba babycook. 

What he’s tried so far:
⌲ 4 months – Avocado, Banana
⌲ 5 months – sweet potato, spinach, pears, carrots, broccoli, squash, egg white
⌲ 6 months – Apples, peas, potato, corn, cheddar cheese, kiwi, watermelon, peach, honeydew, salmon, chicken, taro
⌲ 7 months – zucchini, toast, yoghurt, cream cheese, raspberry, blueberry, orange, dragon fruit, mango, cilantro, peanut butter, turnip, rice 


What is his eating schedule like at 7 months?

8am (Breakfast after formula at 7am): one slice of toast and a yogurt, usually mixed with some kind of fresh fruit. Or sometimes apple sauce or pear sauce instead. Sauce meaning just cooked and then blended into a puree. 

12:30pm (Lunch after formula at 11:30am): one whole banana 

5:30pm (Dinner, followed by formula at 6:30pm): one small sweet potato cooked and blended with 30ml of formula. Sometimes this is swapped out with regular potatoes, or taro. 

Breakfast is the meal where he gets to try something new, I tend to blend fruits with yoghurt for him to try first. I also let him see and touch the actual fruit before chopping it up so he can get familiar with what he is eating. 

 

 

 


| Milestones | 4-6 months

Roll over: He first pushed up on his elbows with his head around 45 degrees up at 3 months old. We kept practicing rolling over each day on the bed. I’d use a pack of tissues to get his attention for him to roll over. I also assist rolling him over so he can get the hang of the feeling. Soon enough he was rolling around like a champ and decided that sleeping on his left side of stomach was the way to go. 

First roll over: 4M1D

Mastering roll over: 4M30D

 

 

Sit up: Since he started solids early, he’s been sitting in a highchair since he was 4 months old. However, at that time he wasn’t able to sit up unassisted yet, so he was very securely strapped into his padded highchair. Funnily enough, he just started sitting unassisted himself one day during bed-time story. We usually prop him up against us on the master bed and read to him, I slowly backed away and there he was, sitting with the book in front of him. The next day he was able to move and flip pages without falling over. 

Sit Up: 5M30D

 


Standing: At 5M11D, he upgraded from the play mat on the ground to roll around on, into a jumping station thing. Basically he sits in one place, but he can rotate is body in the chair to play with toys on all 4 sides while bouncing up and down with his feet. He’s always had strong feet, so could stand up assisted pretty well. I’d say that form 6 months is when he started really become interested in grabbing the coffee table or other low ledges to try to stand up on his own. He can also take a few steps forward with some assistance from us at 7 months.

 

Talking: Ok, our kid has a LOT to say. He started babbling really early at 3 months, and once he discovered he can “talk” he couldn’t stop saying baba, mama, or nene (which means milk in my language). One day he also had a really long speech that included sounds like ye, yeh, be, b-yeh, shi, do, ah, woah, daddy, meh, yah. He of course has no idea what in the world he’s saying. He says mamama and nene regularly now, but they don’t actually reference to me or milk just yet. 

Saying Baba Mama: 4M14D


First Tooth: On this one he is right on track, most babies get their first tooth at 6 months. The second one came out shortly after. Tip on getting a baby to hold still while you try to take a photo of a tooth without blurring it – play banana phone on YouTube. 

First tooth: 6M16D

 

Other updates: He’s starting to get super clingy with me, separation anxiety has kicked in. He also understands and knows how to use the gestures of a “hug”. If I reach out my arms to him, he will fling his arms into the sky. If I’m close to him, and he flings his arms to the sky, then he will get a hug. I guess this can be a form of sign language, though I haven’t figured out how to get him to tell me that he’s hungry. He typically pushes the bottle away, or turns his head to the feeding spoon if he is full. Other than the bouncy toy, he also has a box full of textured balls for him to feel and chew on, some rattles that make different sound or spin. He also loves to watch the washing machine go round-and-round, or look at the sunlight going through trees, and just traffic below. I’m most proud about the fact that he doesn’t use pacifiers, in fact he hates them. He doesn’t nurse forever on his bottle after the milk is long gone, and he doesn’t chew his thumb. He also behaves incredibly well in public, almost never loses his sh*t. He’ll save that for when we’re back at home. 


 

| Vaccination & Hospitals in Shanghai | 

First off, there are loads of insurance options that are accepted here. Some big brands including aetna, AIA, Allianz (Which is what we use), ANA, Bupa, and Cigna. 

There are also many good international private hospitals under coverage, the most high-end being United Family Healthcare with 6 digit figures for a stay at their maternity ward. Parkway Hospitals is also a great option. We decided to go with Jiahui International Hospital because they have a lot of pediatricians that speak English and are relatively closer to us. The hospital is amazing, very clean and quiet. The service is excellent. We didn’t have to pay anything for the vaccines, but we do have to pay a small amount for the checkup. Each time a vaccine is administered, they document it on our baby’s Singapore booklet *where he was born*, but also the Shanghai one, which is for if he were to enroll in a school here. They also only use vaccines imported from overseas, so no concerns there. 


 

| Outings with the baby | 

If you have an infant under 1 year old, you have to get the Doona carseat-stroller two-in-one
We’ve always lived in big cities, so taking taxis is a regular thing for us. Having to lug around a car seat and fold up a stroller to put into the trunk just takes way too long. We’ve used the Doona since we brought our son home from the hospital, and it has served him good till now at 7 months. The Donna is a stroller which folds into a carseat within a push of one button. I could use it alone just a month after my c-section. It’s super sturdy and also fits into a plan overhead cabin, and is approved to occupy a seat on the plane. 

We’ve also tried the Bugaboo Ant and the Yoyo Zen. Hands down the Yoyo is way better. The bugaboo folds up to be smaller, and the child faces you, however folding it up is a 7 step, 5 minute tedious process, and also parts get jammed if you don’t do it properly. The Yoyo on the other hand folds up in 2 steps and unfolds in 1, is very sturdy, and runs smooth like butter. You can also attach various car seats on to the Yoyo, which is why we will be switching to the Yoyo soon after our kid outgrows the Doona. 

Right now we have an “Ayi”, which is a lady who cleans and also takes care of your kid(s) here in China. She usually takes our son out for a walk after his 2nd nap so he can check out what’s going on and just absorb everything like a sponge. We also try to bring him out-out at least once each weekend. It could be a walk to the park, taking him to brunch, bringing him to a play date, or swimming. There have been times where there’s no changing station in the toilet, so having a stroller that can pretty much lay flat is so helpful. 

 

Generally in the diaper bag, I’ll bring:

⌲ Feeding: Béaba formula tower container, a hot water bottle, 2 bottles, and a spoon + banana if he’s having lunch out, extra bibs and a washcloth 
⌲ Wear: extra onesie, extra pants
Toilet needs: 4 diapers, wet-wipes, diaper rash cream
Other: pack of tissues with easy access, an extra small blanket (not just for temperature, but to also cover up to help him sleep), maybe a toy

So far we’ve also done the trip from Singapore to Shanghai, back to Singapore for vaccination, and 2 trips to Taiwan. Soon we will be doing a trip to Tokyo, and one to Europe after he turns one. He’s been nothing but amazing on planes, seldom cried, feeds and goes to sleep and wakes up all happy. He’s usually fast asleep during take-off and landing, but even awake he never fusses. I guess he takes after me, a natural-born-frequent-flyer!

 


| Taking Care of the Mother | Pilates 

Last but not least, self-care is so so important for a mother. Pregnancy is both beautiful, at the same time a traumatizing experience to the body due to the huge changes physically and hormonally. Even after 7 months, I still feel tightening at my c-section scar, my hair isn’t fully back to its previously lush condition, and I still have some extra belly pouch left. 

Pilates has helped me so much. I never considered going to Pilates. I walked into this small private studio with the intent of doing some yoga sessions but got introduced to Pilates. It not only helps me shrink my belly and thighs, it also tightens the rest of my body, strengthens me, and also helps me gain flexibility and relax more. 10 sessions in, and I’ve lost 2kgs and shrunk a size, I can now touch the floor again when bending over with my legs straight. 

 



Most of the time, my son is incredibly well-behaved. He is a very happy baby, always smiling and cooing or babbling. But it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been extremely difficult times. What I’ve learned time-and-time-again though, is that babies don’t try to piss you off, or get pissed off for no reason. They are crying or fussing because they need something, they’re saying “hey mom, I need some help here.” Or “Something needs to change here”. It takes time and patience to figure out what that is exactly, especially when it is a new development (not regression, people need to stop using that word). 

My son fussed when we woke him up at 10:30pm for a bath. Why? Babies at 4 months switch between stages of their natural sleep cycle around 10:30pm, so even though they might seem awake, you should be feeding them quietly and putting them back down to bed to continue their sleep. So I was disrupting his sleep cycle. 

My son started fussing out of the blue one day (Recently around 7 months), absolutely refusing to take his 3rd cat nap. His eating habits also changed a bit. We blamed that all on teething, being hungry at different times, but that wasn’t the problem. This was because he is going through a developmental leap, he is now mature enough and ready to drop his 3rd nap, adjust his awake times longer and nap times shorter, and drop his dream feed. 


2 apps I would highly recommend to first time mothers are 

1) Glow Baby: this app helps you to track your baby’s every day needs (eat/sleep/poo), but also helps you keep track of the milestones so you can gauge how slowly or quickly they are developing, and when they will be ready for the next one. 

 






2) The Wonder Weeks: this talks solely about large developmental leaps, and when you might observe routine changes 


If you are a newbie parent or a soon-to-be parent, congratulations, and I hope this post has helped you somehow. 

Please know that I never mean to compare, judge, or show-off in any way. Each baby is different, and we can’t all follow a cookie-cutter/textbook theory. Trust your gut instinct, you are closest to him or her and will be able to understand and figure out what they need best. We all make mistakes, but it’s amazing that we live in an age where we can get information for free so quickly at the touch of our fingertips. 

And to my son, I’m sorry for all the times I’ve misunderstood you. I will always be here for you when you need me. Even when the day comes where you are ready to be independent, I will always be here for a big hug.







 

 




No comments:

Post a Comment