Sunday, December 30, 2012

Baby Naomi on BabyTalk Malaysia Magazine

I'm a one proud Mom. Baby Naomi's photo is featured on BabyTalk Malaysia magazine and I can't stop smiling to learn that she is crowned as one of the winners of the magazine's January 2013 issue's Cute Snaps - Little Stars section.

Can you spot Baby Naomi in the above picture? 
It was taken when she's one month old.

P/S: I purposely bought two exemplars of this magazine just now. One for me and another one is for my parents in Indonesia. They couldn't be more proud for their first grandchild too when I broke this news to them!

Happy New Year, peeps!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Choosing the Right Disposable Diaper: Tips and Some Brands Comparison

One product that every parent could not escape from buying regularly once they have a baby is disposable baby diaper. I keep bags of diaper stocks in my house as running out of disposable diapers in one day is unimaginable to me. My husband and I started buying few brands of diaper on sale since I was about seven months pregnant.

Back then, one thing that we didn't really take into consideration before when purchasing diapers was the fact that not every diaper brand works for all babies. Some babies are fine with wearing any diaper brands and some can easily experience skin redness/red marks on their diaper area due to some particular diaper brands. My baby happens to fall in the second category. Needless to say, the husband and I had to 'dump' or 'sit' almost full bags of diaper that we've just opened simply because we noticed our baby's diaper area gets red too often after using specific diaper brands - even after we apply some nappy cream to protect it.

The following are some popular diaper brands (available in Malaysia) that we've used and short reviews on each diaper brand. Please note that the below is based on our personal experience; thus, the brand that may works wonder on our baby may not do the same favour on yours and the brand that may not do so well on our baby's diaper area might just treat your baby's okay.

1. Pet Pet


The first time we decided to use Pet Pet diapers was actually quite accidental. My Mother-in-Law happened to bring home two bags of Pet Pet newborn diapers when my husband roped her assistance in buying disposable diapers for newborn. In the end, my husband and I exclusively used Pet Pet newborn diapers for more than a month on baby Naomi and we didn't encountered much problem with the brand. Pet Pet diaper is kind of thin so we need to change it regularly as it gets wet pretty fast. When Naomi was still a newborn, I didn't mind using this brand even for night use because Naomi woke up almost every 2-3 hours for feeding anyway. Every time she woke up, I used that opportunity to check and change her diaper too. Another good thing about this brand is that it's very affordable.

Recently, we bought a bag of M size Pet Pet diaper again, intended for Naomi's day use, and so far I love this diaper brand.

2. Mamy Poko


No question, Mamy Poko is one of the superior baby diaper brands in the market and after using it, I must agree with what the market says. The price of this brand is more on the high side but I think it is a good investment. Every time I see redness on my baby's diaper area after using other diaper brand, I quickly let my baby wear Mamy Poko diaper to avoid further red marks. This diaper's material is soft, comfortable and has excellent absorbency ability. For the past couple of months, I always use Mamy Poko diapers on my baby at night so she can sleep longer as Mamy Poko diaper absorbs lots of urine and doesn't leak easily. One drawback of this brand is that Mamy Poko diaper is kind of bulky on baby's between-the-legs.

3. Drypers


My husband and I started using this local diaper brand after seeing our Sisters-in-Law using this brand on their babies for quite some time. One of them recommended me to try this brand because it is relatively cheap and good in quality. The diaper itself is quite thin in design and gets wet pretty fast so it's best used on baby during the day - not so good for baby's night sleep. I tried this brand on baby Naomi for few weeks when she was younger but Naomi's diaper area often got red after using this brand, so I stopped using this brand for a while. Recently, I began purchasing this brand again after receiving some sample from a supermarket. I put Drypers on Naomi for two days and she had no problem at all with redness on her skin. Guess her skin is less sensitive as she grows older? Anyway, Drypers is always a good option for day use and of course, the price or freebies promotion that it often offers in the market is so tempting!

4. Whoopee


When my husband and I checked out the Parenthood Expo in Kuala Lumpur few months ago, we saw lots of people buying this diaper brand. It was on promotion so my husband immediately bought 2 bags of this diaper brand at the Expo. I tried using the S size Whoopee diaper on Naomi when she was around one-month old but I was really disappointed to find red marks on her diaper area. I let Naomi to wear Whoopee diaper again for few more times but I always discovered the same red marks on her diaper area and she got a little bit fussy too. Not long, I decided to stop using Whoopee diapers on her again and now we have almost one full bag of Whoopee diaper sitting quietly at our room. I think this diaper's material is not stretchy enough and a little bit 'stiff' as well. This said, I guess I won't be making any further Whoopee diaper purchase in the near future.

5. Pampers


On one weekend, my husband and I took a stroll at a local supermarket. When we were browsing baby disposable diaper at the baby stuff department, suddenly my husband came to me carrying a bag of Pampers diaper and said "Hey, should we try this classic brand? It's on sale. Super cheap." I replied, "Why not?". The packaging says "Up to 12 hours dryness" so I thought Pampers should do the justice alright when used at night and might be a good alternative for Mamy Poko. In the beginning, unlike Mamy Poko, I was quite surprised to see that Pampers diaper is rather thin for type of diaper that guarantees baby's good night sleep. However, it seems that its thinness doesn't mean it doesn't absorb lots of urine. Apparently, it does and I am quite pleased with its soft material that doesn't cause red marks on Naomi's diaper area. Other good things about Pampers diapers are its smaller size of soft re-attachable tape that makes the tape readjustments on baby's body a whole lot easier and the diaper design is not as bulky as Mamy Poko on baby's between-the-legs.

6. BabyLove


Based on my blog readers' recommendations (see their comments below this post), I finally tried using BabyLove diapers on baby Naomi last week. This diaper brand didn't cause any red marks on my baby's diaper area. It's soft, not very thick in design, not bulky on baby's between-the-legs and absolutely good to be used at night.

7. Diapex Easy



I heard of Diapex brand for a long time already but in the beginning, I always underestimated this brand. Whenever I heard the name of this diaper brand, I always associated it with some familiar women sanitary brand like Kotex and Softex... Got it? Thus, I never actually bought this diaper brand before. Anyway, my prejudice about this brand was all wrong. I had the chance to try Diapex Easy on Baby Naomi and I loved it. I think Diapex is one of very good diaper brands available in the market. Diapex Easy is suitable to be put on babies for their day use, like Pet Pet or Drypers. It's not too thick so it gets wets rather fast. I love this brand's diaper because it's affordable, has stretchy and soft material and doesn't leave red marks on Baby Naomi's diaper area especially her thighs.

8. Diapex Premium


I've tested Diapex Premium diaper on my baby and I fell in love with it. This diaper brand like the affordable version of Mami Poko and BabyLove. It's great to be used for babies at night. It's thick, not bulky on baby's between-the-legs, soft and stretchy plus I find that the animal face cartoons that decorate every piece of Diapex Premium diaper are not boring (for Mommy to see!). I am totally going to switch to this brand for Baby Naomi's diaper use at night.

9. Huggies Dry


In the past few months, I have been buying Huggies Dry for Baby Naomi. What I like about Huggies Dry is the fact that it doesn't cause any red marks on my baby's diaper area and this diaper is not as bulky as compared to Mamy Poko. However, I find that it's absorption level is just average, hence I would suggest using Huggies Dry for day time. Also, Huggies Dry is sold at really affordable price, despite its long-established brand in the diaper market, and often gives away lots of cool stuff as part of its promotion activities. So far, I've gotten fold-able plastic pool and float for Baby Naomi from Huggies Dry!

Further, here are some simple regimes that I always do on my baby to prevent red marks and rashes on her diaper area:

  1. I slather Bepanthen nappy care ointment on my baby's diaper area almost after each diaper change. I also apply the ointment on the red marks too whenever I see one.
  2. I use baby powder on my baby's bottom every time I change her diaper to ensure that her bottom is always dry and fresh before putting on a new diaper. 
  3. I check my baby's diaper frequently and change the disposable diaper almost once every 4 hours or every time it feels rather 'heavy' or 'full' to avoid skin redness on her buttocks, thighs and genital area. Also, I immediately change my baby's diaper whenever it becomes soiled.
  4. I do consider changing the diaper brand whenever I notice that some particular diaper brands don't work so well on my baby. Seemingly, some parents have better luck with one brand of disposable diaper over another anyway.
  5. I use fragrance-free and alcohol-free baby wipes to clean my baby's bottom area.

Last but not least, let me know if you know any diaper brand worth trying! I'd love to know and hear your experience too on this topic.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Baby Naomi and I wish everyone in this planet a very "Merry Christmas!"

Naomi's first Christmas! 

 Naomi and Mommy wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

My baby santa.

God Bless!

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Update: Life as a Full Stay-at-Home-Mother Thus Far

In July, I wrote that there were some major adjustments I had to encounter in becoming a full-time Staying-at-Home Mother (SAHM). One blog reader asks me, since it is December already, how is my life as a full-time SAHM now?

14 December 2012: My baby and I.

The following describes my life now.

Routine

Every morning, day and night, I pretty much do the exact same things. It is just that the hours, the minutes and the seconds that I do those repeat activities everyday are not exactly the same. I wake up in the morning when my baby wakes up. Whenever she makes noises in early morning; I hastily jump out of my bed, lift her up from her baby cot and put her near to my chest. With my eyes half opened, I breastfeed her to mark her brand new day. Then my daily routines would be followed with changing her diaper, rocking my baby to sleep again, taking a shower, feeding her, cleaning her bottles, bathing her, eating my breakfast, playing with her, trying to make her take her nap, doing my laundry, cleaning the house, feeding her again, eating lunch, carrying my baby and so on until about 12 midnight when my baby turns to bed. When the next morning breaks, I do the above again. Boring?

How about the husband? On weekdays, he has to help himself for breakfast, or sometimes even prepares one for his wife too before leaving for work. I seldom cook lunch and dinner because my kind Mother-in-Law (MIL), fortunately, is willing to cook extra food for my husband and me.

Busy

The SAHM job is just never ending. I barely sleep or rest until midnight. Since my baby is a light sleeper, she sleeps very little during the day so I have to quickly complete my house chores or do my own things like blogging when she takes her nap. By the time I am done with the house chores or probably finished with one blog post and plan to take nap when baby is still napping – usually she wakes up!

Really, I can’t accept the “Oh that woman stays at home and probably doesn’t do anything all day long” line that people punch on SAHMs. It is rude and baseless.

Tired

Being a SAHM is tiring too. Don’t you think so? I hardly get a short decent break that I need.

In the beginning, there were times when I felt like stopping random people I met in the street, mall or restaurants and asked them if they could work in my house, even for a couple of hours. “Please somebody help me so I can catch up with my sleep!” It was evident that sleep deprivation had its effects on my brain. However, after two months’ time, life as a Mom with a newborn gets better because the baby’s schedules are more predictable so it is easier for the two of us to get along.

Another instance, when I am so down with cruel flu bugs like this very moment, I cannot rest well. Nobody can take the turn with me in taking care of my baby so I can rest my body – MIL happens to be not available, husband is in the office, my own parents are in Indonesia, no domestic helper around. In short, I have to survive on my own. Can you get the picture on how hard it is to function like normal after swallowing those flu meds containing sedatives?

In times like this, I do envy my husband. When he’s sick, he can take MC from his work and rest at home for the whole day. How about me? Can I take MC too and sleep the whole day so my body could recuperate? What will happen to our house and baby if I rest on my bed for the whole day? Mommy just can’t fall sick.

On weekends, luckily the husband is more involved with looking after the baby and doing some household works too so at least I can have few hours for myself. Can’t complain.

Happy

The decision in raising my own baby right since her birthday was right for me. I have no regret on this. Some relatives might look down on me because I am jobless and choose to stay at home just to be with my baby. Amazingly, I don’t bother about their two-cents anymore and my chest is so full of pride because I am always there to ensure my baby’s well-being. I don’t mother my baby on weekend basis and I don’t miss her milestones. Whenever my baby hits her fantastic development milestones, I get to know first and see it with my own eyes. I don’t need somebody else reports to me saying that “Hey, guess what – Your baby now can hold stuff on her tiny little fingers”. Instead, I am the one who reports this kind of news to the interested parties.

Seriously, I could not be more proud and happier looking at my healthy and happy baby. Being a full-time Mom is indeed challenging, busy, stressful and etcetera but everything is worth the pain. The feeling looking at my baby’s smile, especially when her beautiful eyes meet mine, is surreal.

Confused

The husband tempts me to get back to work when I am ready. MIL asked me few times on when I will be back to work. I tell them I don’t know because the truth is I have no slightest idea about it just yet. I can’t entertain the thoughts of leaving my baby on someone else’s hands at the moment. Being separated from my baby for a half-day, the whole day or worse, the whole week is unthinkable. I think I’d get crazy missing her hair’s smell, longing to carry her tiny body near to my body or kiss her chubby cheeks. Although, I must say that the thoughts of having my fixed income and financial independence back are really lucrative but for the time being, I’d rather be a little poorer as long as I can make sure that my baby is okay every day.

On another note, being SAHM sometimes means that we’ve got to be ready to be cooped up in the house for the whole day doing many things that seem to be endless. Days seems to get by faster. Life can get a bit boring on certain aspects and I get lonely too. I miss the adult interactions on most days so if time permits, my baby and I’d spend our whole afternoon in my MIL’s house. To conclude, I have no concrete plan for future now. I am just living every moment of my new life as a Mom and I never stop venturing the opportunities to be able to earn money while mothering my child full time, hopefully when my baby gets a bit older. One thing for sure, I have no regret on always being there for my baby.

Yet again, the above are my personal takes and I am doing what I think I need to do. Everyone has different situation, values and opinion. Just do what you think is right for you. Family versus career is always a tricky choice for most women on the whole planet Earth.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Making M&M's Butter Cookies

Christmas is around the corner and this means baking time!

I love baking cookies during Christmas. Why? Because it reminds my of my childhood Christmas memories back in Indonesia when my Mom, sister and I got busy in the kitchen making tons of butter cookies and sugar cookies. My Mom's kitchen was full of wonderful cookies aroma baking in the oven and it was really one of the oh-so-happy moments in welcoming Christmas!

Last Sunday, I thought of kicking off my Christmas 2012's baking frenzy by baking M&M's butter cookies. I used the basic recipe of Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies that I've used for a couple of times before. I replaced the chocolate chips with a handful of rainbow M&M's chocolate candies and some chopped white chocolate.

My freshly baked M&M's Butter Cookies.

In my opinion, the cookies taste better with M&M's than the usual chocolate chips. You should give this recipe a try!

Finally, I have some Christmas baking ideas that keep flying around in my head for quite some time now but I am waiting for the right time to actually materialize them. Can't wait to be busy baking again!

Baby Milestones at 2 Months and 3 Weeks Old

Another 6 more days and Naomi is going to turn 3 months old!

Naomi is now aware of her hands and vigorously inspects her hands like a mini Sherlock Holmes, but minus the detective's magnifying glass of course.

13 December 2012: Examining her hand.

Her hands are now strong enough to grasp a baby toy or teether when I put it onto one of her hands.

12 December 2012: Grasping her brand new colourful teether.

She loves pulling her shirt, bibs, blanket and other clothes too.

14 December 2012: Mom, look at me.. I can pull my bibs like this!

And she constantly puts everything she can grasp or pull into her mouth.

12 December 2012: This teether tastes so darn good. 
Too bad y'all are too old to do this.

Lastly, here's my favourite photo taken this week.

13 December 2012: Baby and Daddy's bonding time.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Christmas is coming soon!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

She's Gone

12.12.12 was the day I lost my much beloved Grandma, one very important figure in my life. She was 97. She passed away in her sleep after battling with her weakened old body for much too long. She died of natural causes, they say.

I thought I could be with her forever for she's been relatively healthy for almost one century. Truth is, nobody lives forever.

I regret I was not by her side on her last days with us. I regret Naomi didn't have the chance to meet her great-grandmother.

29 April 2012: The very last photo of my Grandma I took during my last visit to Indonesia.

No perfect words could describe how I miss her now. I miss hearing her voice. I miss her sweet smile. I miss her smell. I miss holding her frail arms to help her walk or climb the steps. I miss sharing my freshly baked home-made cakes or cookies with her. I miss having small talks or just simple conversations with her like "Have you eaten? What did you eat just now?". I even miss just looking at her, for no reason.

Realizing that I won't be able to see her again whenever I come home to Indonesia is really painful.

However, I guess it's time to let go as she is surely in a better place now - together with her son, my late uncle whom she'd missed so very much.

Now, I wish nothing but the best for her, wherever she is.

Losing two close family members in less than two months time is indeed not easy to cope with.

P/S: Emak, why did you have to go so soon? Don't you know I still want to buy you a big jar of Regal Marie Biscuits, a pack of Vanilla Gold Roast Cereal Mix, a box of Genji Strawberry Pie, some mochi and dried fruits. All of them are your favourites... 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Many Faces of Baby Naomi

It's Monday again and I can really feel the Monday blues that comes with Monday every week even though I don't check into the office anymore. Bummer.

With this, I thought of sharing some cute snaps of baby Naomi that my husband and I managed to capture last week and over the weekend.

Let's begin with Naomi's sleepy face. I remember taking the below sleepy picture of her and then, right after I took her picture, her eyes were wide open. In the end, she didn't take her afternoon nap as I wished.

7 December 2012: Acting sleepy.

Moving on, this is the photo of Naomi sucking her fingers again. Sometimes she uses this tactic to briefly calm herself.

7 December 2012: An unbreakable habit.

Finally, I mentioned that Naomi now smiles back at us when we talk to her, didn't I? The following are the samples of her ear-to-ear smiles that we'd usually get when we call her name, talk to her or sing to her - provided if she's in a good mood. She'd even throw her killer smiles at strangers when random people start talking to her at public places. Such a little magnet.

 9 December 2012: My best friend says that
 the way Naomi smiles mimics my Dad's.
.
 9 December 2012: Naomi says, 
"Daddy called my names many times and I smiled back at him."

9 December 2012: Baa!


I guess the above photos define the term of "baby equals to little bundle of joy" pretty well, eh?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bump in Style

I was browsing some local baby magazines in a book store last night and how surprised I was to learn that the pregnant photo of mine that I sent to Parenthood Magazine Malaysia when I was about 8.5 months pregnant appears in the magazine's Bump in Style section.

I won this month's pregnant photo contest and now the picture of me and my very pregnant belly is in the magazine's December 2012 issue!

Yep, the left picture is mine.

I am so happy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Christmas Tree is Up!

It's 20 days into this year's Christmas Day and finally, our very first Christmas tree at home is up!

To me, Christmas is probably my favourite time of the year!

Our Christmas tree is actually a small artificial Christmas tree that I bought at 70% discount earlier this year at a local supermarket. Back then, our new house was not even ready yet but I already made plan in putting up a Christmas tree in our new home once Christmas arrives.

Last night, my husband and I shopped a little bit of Christmas tree's decorations and lights. It's been a really long time since I had a Christmas tree at home. When I was a kid, my parents' house in Indonesia had a decorated artificial Christmas tree too and I remember my Mom put the tree up on few Christmases. Unfortunately, rats ate our Christmas tree when she kept it in the store room. Since then, my Mom stopped buying Christmas tree and I never saw any Christmas tree at home again, until this year.

Seriously, I long for those cosy and happy atmospheres of the festive season that Christmas brings so I guess I should start listening to some popular Christmas carols on my iTunes now!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Naomi: 2 Months Old

My baby is now a little over two months old already!

She has grown really chubby and I actually like it! I always find chubby babies very cute and adorable.

Pretty baby on Sunday!

Anyway, at about 10 weeks old, my baby now holds her head a little steadier, recognizes my face and voice (and possibly my motherly smell too!), sucks her fingers a lot, smiles back at us when we talk or sing to her (but not yet giggling), sleeps longer at night (if we're lucky, my husband and I would get 6-7 hours uninterrupted night sleep), blows bubbles, drools (now I know why they invented those cute bibs!), coos, enjoys her morning and evening warm baths very much, loves looking at colourful baby toys in front of her (preferably with chime or soft music) and occasionally, is able to briefly hold a baby toy that I place the toy on one of her hands. Her schedules now are quite predictable to me and I hope they continue this way.

Let's vote!
Between 1-10, what is my cuteness rating? Mama says I'm at 11.

By this time, I have found out that my baby is one really strong-willed baby and has bad temper too. She has to have what she wants at that very moment, or she'd burst those loud angry cries, anytime and anywhere.

Until now, I still feed my baby with both breast milk and formula milk. I think I can produce more breast milk than the first month of my baby's arrival and nowadays, I try to breastfeed my baby directly as often as possible instead of expressing my breast milk. However, I don't know why, in the past few days my baby has started to refuse my breasts during nursing time and I find this experience rather distressing and am actually scared if one day, she totally refuses breastfeeding at all since I don't plan to stop breastfeeding just yet. I pray that this problem is only temporary!

** Health record:
Current weight: 6 kg.
Current height: 62 cm.

Let's Vingle!

Looks like Christmas came early for me. Yesterday, I received the present that I won from Vingle giveaway held recently and I was totally ecstatic to open the package. There were very cute organic baby rattle, baby milk bath powder, face serum and belly butter inside the box. The contents of the box were aimed for my baby (except for the face serum and belly butter) and now I would like to represent my baby in expressing the ultimate joy in receiving the gifts from Vingle. Thank you, Vingle! Both baby and I love the present that you carefully chose for us!

The cool organic baby stuff I won from the recent Vingle's giveaway!

Thank you again, Vingle! 
Baby Naomi loves the adorable baby rattle from you!

But wait, before I continue - do you know what Vingle is in the first place?


Vingle is an online community where everyone around the globe shares their thoughts and passions, in any language! Not only you can enjoy looking at the photos and videos of various topics that other Vinglers post in the website, but you can also comment at what other people post in the website and remake the posts that people create in your own language! Best of all, you can directly contribute to the community by sharing stuff that of your interest. If the topic/category (we vinglers prefer to call this party) that you desire is not listed in Vingle yet, you could buzz Vingle's team to request a specific party and they'd promptly make that particular topic available for you. Isn't this fabulous?

I myself have been a regular contributor and fan of Vingle since its first inception. What I contribute in Vingle's website are mostly cards under baby, baking, food and parenting parties. As a reader, I am mostly entertained reading the photographyflowersfunny and webtoon/webcomic cards that other Vinglers post in the website on daily basis. Find me in Vingle here.

After reading this post, please don't forget to hop over to Vingle website, join the Vingle's playground and meet me there as a new Vingler! It's easy and free!

Moving on, do stay connected with Vingle through Facebook and Twitter too.

Finally, speaking of giveaways - you might want to constantly watch Vingle's space to see if they are holding more cool world-wide giveaways soon and stand yourself a chance to win fantastic prize from Vingle, if any!

Meanwhile, let's keep vingling!