Paying it forward

2 06 2013

I received a thank you card from a friend’s friend recently. My breast pump has been making its rounds and “fed” many babies with the goodness of their mother’s milk since I stopped feeding mine.

For mothers who are not able to latch, the breast pump is the best tool that can help a mother. With support and persistence, the baby would be able to have breastmilk for as long as the mother continues.

Working mothers benefit from this wonderful tool as well, being able to express when they are at work, and continue to feed their babies when they get home.

I can’t imagine how it was like for mothers many years back, when there wasn’t such a tool. Most mothers stop after awhile, especially if they had to work. My mom used to tell me how difficult it was for her.

Because of that, I’m very thankful that my mom got me the breast pump. A dual electric, heavy duty breast pump that helped me feed my kids for more than 6 months with breast milk. I got a hands-free funnel holder, which allowed me to do other things when I’m hooked up to the machine. Reading, going online etc.

I’m also thankful for the experience, because I can relate to those who aren’t able to latch on, and are continuing with expressing despite the effort that goes into it: Washing, sterilising, expressing x Many times in a day.

With the pump making its rounds, I’m happy that it has helped more new mothers persist with breastfeeding. I’m getting blessings and lots of thanks in return –> A great way to pay it forward if you ask me.

Thanks to those who helped me in my journey of breastfeeding.

Related links:

Things that they never tell you about being first time parents/mums

The parenthood stretch

14 02 2011

Recent conversations with new mothers reminded me of my journey as a mom/parent.

Rubber bandsRubber Band by Michael Meilen

Parenting/motherhood is a lifelong journey, and nothing really, in my opinion, stretches us quite as much as this experience.

A friend who is a new mom said, “Now I know why they say motherhood is tough! It’s tiring!”

The lack of sleep in the beginning years, when the child is sick. Coping with body changes, new tasks (changing, washing, breastfeeding…etc), learning new things, guiding a child, managing between work and family responsibilities.

How do people cope? Extra pairs of hands would help, having the “right” pair of hands go way further. And sometimes we just deal with the circumstances, and make things work. Be resourceful, find creative ways, learn from others.

Sometimes, we draw from this undiscovered source of energy, just by making sure we get through each day, each challenge (Try feeding in the middle of the night, every other hour and burping, and changing). Other days, coffee is the trick. Or speak to other folks that could share experiences.

Being a parent also made me reflect my values and at times challenge my own beliefs. Kids question everything, and they are often very intuitive and ask the very question that sets us back to think: is this really who I am, what I’m guiding them?

With parenting, I find myself having to learn effective time management. There are many things that need to be done in this 24 hour day, some are more important and essential than others.

The balance between all the stuff that needs to be completed is really up to individuals and it could be through trial and error that we find the right time to complete things that we aim to complete in a day. I’ve given up on straight 8 hours sleep routine, and deep sleep seems to escape from me especially when the kids are not well.

Balancing work commitments and family is sometimes a challenge, and I feel that building that trust and good work reputation helps when situations occur at home. That trust bank at work can help in many many ways, be it getting flexi-work arrangements or drawing on others to help during certain periods.

The things that keep me going are: smiles, hugs, and kisses from the kids, a loving husband and friends around me. The passion to be the best I can, so that I can be the best to my loved ones.

It’s not the easiest journey, but it has been, to date, the one that has allowed me to grow beyond my imagination (and yes, it means physically as well).

And the adventure continues…

First time parents and purchases

29 04 2010

———— This was a post that I forgot to publish last year! 😛  ——————

Went to an exhibition for mothers recently.

Being an experienced mother, I get less excited over all the exhibits and booths. I just zoom into what I need, and head on. Even then, I would be distracted by some products but more aware of what are good deals, and those that are just nice to look at, but not very practical.

Pregnancy, motherhood, and a new baby can be daunting. What to buy, which to buy — decisions that are often not easy to make when you have zero experience. Most of the time, we would rely on magazines/internet/books or recommendations from friends and family.

Guides in magazines are good, but they are sometimes obligated to advertise or do a good advertorial for the client so as to meet their targets. Even with recommendations from friends or relatives, it can get all too confusing for the parent-to-be. Cost is a major factor, and as first timers,  it’s all too easy to go overboard (especially when one is expecting a baby girl).

Here’s a list of purchases that one should consider:


Parents need to decide: cloth or disposables?

Cost is an issue with disposables, but they are readily available and there’s no washing required. Cloth nappies would be technically more cost-effective and also more environmentally friendly, but take into consideration of the washing required. Parents with multiples? Disposables may be a better option.

The hospitals would generally provide 1 pack of disposable diapers (newborn sizes, up to 5 kg), and newborns can go up to 8 diaper changes in a day. Though some brands may have better absorbancy, parents may want to weigh the costs, because with the frequent diaper changes, sometimes the diapers doesn’t become full before you have to change it again. I have tried a lot of brands and supermarket house brands may not be a bad idea. Try not to buy in bulk yet. Try and test first.


100% cotton. Front button tops worked better for me than wraps. The strings are too much to handle 😛

At least 6sets of clothes for a start for a singleton, double that for twins. More are welcome. With the baby outgrowing clothing really quickly, it would be best to get hand me downs where possible.

Nappy rash cream

There are a few options in the market: Drapolene, Desitin, Mustela etc. Drapolene is good for daily use, Desitin has the most raves for getting rid of nappy rash. Mustela Vitamin barrier cream is good as well.


I have wrote about this in a previous entry

Baby carriers/Slings

I swear by the sarong slings. If you plan to have more than 1 child, it just gives so much leverage.

There are places that aren’t exactly pram/stroller friendly, so the baby carrier/sling do help to offset some of the pressure with carrying the child, and it just makes one more mobile without worrying about another piece of equipment.

Especially true when you don’t drive or you rely on public transport.

Breastfeeding equipment/related accessories

I was a “100% breastpump mom”. For all my kids, I express my breastmilk 100% for various reasons. Therefore it was very important that I got a good breastpump that is heavy duty, and is able to allow me to achieve letdown quickly. It should also be a dual electric pump, just for efficiency and less stress on the fingers (Try using the manual pump for 30mins, and you will understand what I mean).

I started using the dual electric pump in the hospital once I delivered, to stimulate the milk flow. Obviously, this is going to be contradicting to what lactation consultants would advise if you plan to latch on. Totally understand, but some milk is better than no milk when you are trying the best to learn latching with the baby, and sometimes, it’s just impossible to latch.

There are many good pumps in the market, but for heavy duty usage, I like the Medela Pump in Style Advance. It was a life-saver, and the good piece of equipment has lasted me 2 pregnancies, fed my 3 kids, and it’s been loaned to a few friends. ROI definitely has been achieved.

Another accessory I would recommend is a hands-free bottle/funnel holder that you wear around the neck during expressing. I only got it in my 2nd pregnancy, and it was like the 2nd best thing I had. Hands free during expression, it allowed me to read, surf the web and more. I hear some mums even catch a nap, or drive when expressing in car.

Bottles and milk bags

Once you start breastfeeding, and plan to continue doing it when it’s time to return to work, it’s impossible to not have a breastpump. Next up would be bottles/milk bags for storage, and if the supply is abundant, be prepared to spend on bottles/milk bags. For milk bags, I think the zip lock type of sterilised milk bags are the best. Easy to store, easy to pour the defrost milk out with little mess. It’s slightly more expensive than milk bags that do not have the zip lock feature, but imagine trying to use a rubber band or some other device to seal the milk bag. That’s another cost.

Preferred generic bottles vs using a specific brand with a customised size like Avent because those bottles can fit to any regular size teats, and can be used for feeding. Of course, if one is using the entire series from a certain brand, than sticking to that brand may make sense. I used Pigeon bottles and milk bags for storage, on top of collecting glass bottles (and then buying separate bottle covers as sometimes they throw away the bottle cap) at the hospital where possible.

Always stack milk bags flat in the freezer. Sort by date, first in last out (so that you always give the baby the freshest milk). I used plastic boxes to hold the milk bags in the freezer, just for easy sorting.

Nursing balm/nipple cream

Very important to have these on hand because during the early stages, and sometimes, the nipple may crack and it’s not going to be comfortable expressing/breastfeeding the baby. Some people like Lanolin, I prefer the texture of nipple creams (e.g. Mustela) for regular use, and Lanolin for the very serious condition 😛 The other best cream: Your own breastmilk. Just spread all over after you are done with feeding/expressing. Worked for many people.

Breast pads

Leaky breasts that show through your clothes is no fun. Either choose disposable breast pads or buy washable ones. One may not leak all the time, but if you are out of the house, it’s not fun to see wet spots on your top.

This is not the most exhaustive list of items to purchase, but I think it covers the basics.

Hope this helps some of you out there!

Healthy kids

19 05 2009

Everyone wants a healthy kid, and parents do what they can to ensure that the children are in the pink of health.

From conception to pregnancy, some mummies would up their vitamin intake/folic acid, change their diet, avoid seafood etc, to make sure that they are in good shape for the baby, and all the good nutrients would go to the one in the womb.

Post-delivery, mummies will try to breastfeed, with the belief that breastmilk is the best. There has been a change of tide, from the push to feed formula milk, to now pro-breastfeeding.

I bottle feed with breast milk for 8 months, and I like to believe that it has helped to make the twins strong.

But nothing prepared us for the time when they first start childcare. The frequency of the girls visiting the doctor was scary. Every other week or 2, we went to the GP to get medication. They had coughs, fever, runny nose. Thank god they were nothing major, yet, when the frequency was so high, I got really worried.

Questions and guilt came: Did I do my part to watch my diet when I was breastfeeding? Maybe I was too lax with giving them vitamins and minerals that they need? How about their intake of food and milk?

There is no direct answer. In an attempt to improve their health, we decided to try Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The physician advised that their bodies are “weak and cooling”. When I heard this, my heart sank and the guilt factor rose. I could feel that subconsciously, there were comments and thoughts that blamed me for it.

A friend said to me, “Exposing them to the outside environment is also a way of building up their health by maturing their immunity system.”

“You have done what you can, and it is up to the child’s body to adapt to the environment.”

That last statement eased my guilt. I am sure many parents, especially mummies, face such situations once a while.

Take the advice and comments from others with a pinch of salt, observing and paying attention to the child plus doing what is possible to treat each symptom or illness as they come, while improving their diet and health through food and keeping them happy goes a long way into ensuring the optimal health of a child.

I’m still on the learning curve, I’ve come to accept that there’s only so much we can do for prevention.

So don’t feel guilty. Do your best, and God will take care of the rest.

The working mom and stay home mom

15 04 2009

I chance upon an article this morning, about an expert who declared that all moms should stay at home. (Read the article if you are keen)

I read further and saw the comments on this, and not surprisingly, there were many who felt that this statement is simply too general, and it’s very debatable to say the least.

Emotions were strong in some, some related to the statement, some felt that they don’t have a choice and have to be working mothers.

Stay Home moms — the pros

I’ve seen and heard some experiences of a stay home mom. The obvious benefits of staying home is that one is always there when the child has his firsts: first time walking, first time calling mommy, first time crawling etc. It’s also the joy that kids bring and the laughter. One friend told me she would give up her career anytime, and does not regret making the choice of being a full time stay home mom. She loves being with her kids, bringing them to classes, being totally involved.

Financially, she rather spends on the family, and the children. They lived simply and most of the budget would rather be channeled to the kids’ learning and expenses rather than on herself.

Stay home moms — the not-so-great points

Some common points that I have heard from friends who stay at home:

– Not being themselves anymore. They are just known as someone’s mommy when they bring the kids to school.

– No personal time

– Husband do not always appreciate that staying at home is hard work too.

– Not as much freedom in spending on themselves

– Losing touch with friends and the world

It really depends on the character and personality of the individual, some of these points may not affect them at all, or have very minimal effect. Another common point though, some have indicated to me that they do hope to go back to work, but on a flexi-time basis.

Working moms – the pros

Despite some complaints that I have heard about some people not having a family friendly environment, I do think that there’s pros to being a working mom.

– Being connected to adults. (Try asking a stay home mom to relish the time that you don’t have a kid screaming “mommy!” all the time)

– Financially independent (in dual income families)

– Having some personal time (especially important when you are the type who wants the personal space)

– Self identity intact. You are still you at work, not known as someone’s mommy only.

Working moms – the not-so-great points

– Not enough time in the day to be with the kids
– Missing out on the “firsts”
– Not having enough rest because after work, when you go back home, you still have the mommy duties to handle
– Could potentially be more stressful because there’s stress coming from work, home and kids.
– If the working environment is not family friendly, there’s potential of imbalance in work/family time.

My own take

I’m a working mother. I know myself very well that being a full time stay home mom is not something I want to do. It’s not because I don’t love my kids. I do, but I love my own personal time and being able to earn my own keep as well.

I’m lucky that the nature of my job allows me to work from home, though this is not an arrangement that works well for me with 2 toddlers running about. I also have the flexibility of time, and a very understanding boss who focuses on the results, not whether I’m in the office or how many hours I spend in office. In many ways, I have probably unconsciously chosen companies that are more flexi with working hours, and am grateful that I’ve met my fair share of good bosses as well. I have also done my part in ensuring that the work gets done, so that I’m in a position to ask for some arrangements that suits both my family and work responsibilities.

Ultimately, there’s really no 1 set of arrangement that would work for everyone. Be it a working mom or a stay home mom, it’s really a choice of what the priorities are. Rightly said, there’s no right or wrong on how to be a mom. As long as we do our best, we are happy with our choices, then that would make us a good mom.

It is impossible to please everyone, and one thing I’ve learned is that I can only please myself. When I’m happy with what I have done for the family and myself, I can be a better person, and then I can be a better mom. A family unit is all about cooperation and team work, so it is also equally important that the spouse is mutually agreeable and comfortable with whatever arrangements that work for the family.

Defining your priorities is the first step, work out the finances and speak to the husband. There is always a way to work out something, and don’t feel guilty if there are comments about the type of choices you make as a mom, and as an individual.

Mommy is just one of the many hats we put on, not the only one that matters.

2nd birth experience

22 03 2009

This birth experience is different from the first in many ways.

C-section with epidural wasn’t new to me, I knew what to expect, what’s the process and all.

Some of the interesting incidents:

– The nurse had to extract a sample of my blood for matching, in case I bleed during the operation. 1st attempt by the staff nurse, she tried to extract blood from the back of my right hand. OUCH! It was painful, the flow of blood was slow, and in the end it wasn’t sufficient! I still have a bruise now. The nurse manager came to extract my blood again, this time taking it from my left elbow. This time it was much smoother, and no pain at all!

– At the operating theatre, I had to ask the nurse to apply more pressure on my legs as they were injecting the spinal block from the back. The nurse said, “Huh, but I got no strength”. The doctor quickly said that “aiyo, you didn’t eat breakfast ar? This mummy so calm, can advise you” 😛

The nurse also turned me on my back again too slowly, resulting in my left side feeling numb first before the right. I felt sensation back on my right side first post-operation.

– The effects of epidural was felt very immediately when the operation started. I felt nauseous but the doctor can’t give me anything to ease the effects prior to the delivery of the baby. This didn’t happen in the delivery of the twins.

– My cheeks were flushed with blood, the chest area felt a lot of pressure when they were trying to push the baby out. It was almost as though I was pushing the baby out together with everyone. In no time, the baby was out! Had more time with her as well, they put her on my chest so that we could look at her and take some pics.

– Hubby was in the theatre with me this time, when he came in, the incision was already done, I felt that this time we could participate in the birth more. But it was really a non-event, because everyone blocked his view during the pushing process

– I had more rest after changing to a single room this time. Paid more for sure but the amount of rest and privacy I got this time was much better. The girls came on Day 3, and there was also more space for them to move about, had a short nap too.

– First time off the bed wasn’t as painful as the previous time. Perhaps it’s due to experience, I already know what to expect.

– Milk supply kicked in much earlier than the last time. I decided on full time expressing and quietly ignored the friendly advise of the Parent Craft counselor to start latching on the minute I was transferred to the ward. I decided to let the nurse feed the baby formula milk, until I felt better on Day 2, after the drip is removed and when I was more mobile. The milk supply came in on Day 3 afternoon, after my efforts to use the pump in the hospital from Day 2 onwards.

My own pump worked better as compared to the hospital pump, and I could finish expressing in 30mins instead of 1 hour in the hospital.

– Less visitors this time round meant I had more time on my own to rest, to watch tv and rest.

Overall, I think experience does count. After surviving twins, a single baby seems much easier, although everyone at home has to recall how to care for a newborn again. We felt blessed that this little one was a good drinker, (she is drinking up to 90ml now!), her good birth weight made it easier to care for her as she’s more sturdy to hold and carry.

The adventure of the first year begins again!

Parenting – a team effort

27 02 2009

Lately I have been speaking to various people. Some ask me about possible childcare arrangements, others relate to me the problems that they are facing as a parent.

Ifeel that parenting is a team effort. The team can be the couple, the first-time mother with her mum, maid+mother, part-time cleaners + couple, childcare centres, grandparents, external support group, friends etc. There can be various combination, schedules, arrangements set up in different families just to provide the adequate care for a newborn.

I am lucky. I stay with my in-laws, and my hubby is very hands-on with the kids. Again, having twins also meant that we needed extra pairs of hands where possible, especially during the initial period when I was coping with healing from the delivery, getting the hang of breastfeeding, learning how to be a mummy.

Some other first time mummies may not have that luxury of having trusted caregivers or that they find that the “volunteer” caregivers have very different ideas of parenting and experience to take care of a newborn.

I remembered having arguments with MIL during the first few weeks when I first came back home with the twins. Difference in opinions regarding confinement practices, what the cries of the babies meant, ideas about breast milk, hormonal changes — all these contributed to the stress and tears in that initial period. And then, we learned. Both me and her, and everyone else. We give and take, we discover new ways of adapting to the babies, deciphering their cries, anticipating their needs. Our bodies adjusted to naps and frequent waking at night. We also implemented some routines, in hope that the babies learned the difference between day and night, therefore allowing us to sleep a little more every night. It was really tough in the beginning. The initial months were never easy, and it was hard to enjoy the babies when the daily aspects of taking care of them were tiring everyone out.

I was adamant about having my own personal space, and expressing breast milk became one of the best times for me to take a break from carrying/feeding/washing/changing the babies. I could read books, magazines, watch tv while I express. This was only possible only because I had help. And really, having those extra pairs of hands helped a lot. The milk supply was established, I was not so stressed out, I gave up insisting that things are done my way, or having the idea that it’s either my way or the high-way.

You may wonder where this entry is going. I just want to encourage all the first time mummies out there to hang in there during the initial periods, to know that there are help around, and sometimes when some arrangements are not working out, it may be better to solve the root problem and find solutions that do work for the benefit of making you, the mummy, happy and giving you the rest you need so that you can do all the mummy stuff.

Motherhood/parenting is an on-going learning process, our limits get stretched, our bodies changed, mentality changes. All for the little life(s) we brought into this world. We continue to grow as a person, a mummy, a wife, a co-worker, an employee. It’s never healthy to just define who we are by what we do as a mummy and forgetting our personal self.

To be a better mum, we need to be happy. We need breaks sometimes. All these can only be made possible when we have a good team. So treat the “team” well, treat yourselves well. Then one would find that the little ones become much better too.

Things that they never tell you about being first time parents/mums

12 02 2009

Recently I have been hearing friends who are first time mums trying to cope with the following: breastfeeding (engorgement, establishing supply, latching), baby crying, lack of sleep, introducing solids, feeding schedules, post-natal recovery, angst of traditions in the confinement period.

There are a lot of information out there on pregnancy and what to expect. But there seems to be a gap in the advise or tips on what to expect after delivery.

My feel is that, what happens right after delivery is usually not as “pretty”. There is a lot of hardwork, lack of sleep, logistics, learning involved, plus coping with emotions and hormonal changes during this period.

I’ll attempt to describe my own experience, in hope that this information can help someone out there.


This is a topic that I feel very strongly about, only because I feel that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions around this.

Breastfeeding is not something that one will just pick up at a whim.

It needs to be practiced, support from family and loved ones is very important during the initial stages, persistence and determination of the mummy is critical for success.

Breast milk supply needs time to build up and established to meet the demands of a baby. Some of us are blessed with plenty of milk, others take time to meet the demands of the baby, some just have to supplement with formula milk.

Whichever the case, it is important to focus on the following in order for breastfeeding to succeed:

– Correct latching technique for mummies who choose to feed directly

– Having sufficient rest so that the milk production can take place

– Drinking enough fluids to replenish the body and aid milk production

– Dietary intake: Calcium is highly important.

– Have a positive mindset (something which is hard to do when one is tired, and not having enough sleep)

– Support from family and friends in terms of taking turns to cook/change diapers/clean the house/babysit

– Having a good breast pump should you choose to express. For efficiency and effectiveness, I highly recommend a dual electric breast pump.

– Access to breastfeeding support helplines/groups, lactation consultants in times of need.

Breast milk is great. But not everyone has the stamina to do breastfeeding for extended periods of time, and certainly not everyone can latch on the baby successfuly.

For various reasons, I was a 100% breast pump mummy, for 8 months. Having multiples meant that 1. latching is going to be tough to master (not that it’s impossible), 2. no one else can help to feed if I had to latch so bottle feeding works for me.

What matters is the output, not the process of getting the milk to the baby.
Myth: Formula milk lasts longer than breastmilk, so baby can sleep through the night

I personally tested this with my kids. When they need to drink, they drink. Formula milk (FM) lasts as long as breastmilk (BM), the twins did not sleep through the night just because I gave them FM.

Myth: Breast milk is watery, thus Formula milk is more filling.

Again, this is not true. Breast milk has higher fat content, and because the nutrition level is naturally adjusted according to the baby’s needs, BM gives what the baby requires at each stage, and is more easily absorbed by the body.

Debatable: You need to latch on the baby directly in order to establish good milk supply.

In most cases, I would agree if the baby is a good sucker. Some babies just fall asleep if the milk flow is slow, or they are just slow suckers, and sleepy babies. In such a case, then breastfeeding would potentially cause more anxiety –> thus affecting milk supply –> thus leading to higher chances of the mummy giving up.

A good breast pump may be able to stimulate the supply. Try the industrial breast pumps that can be loaned either during the hospital stay or from the manufacturers. They work wonders.

Maternal Instinct

Not all mummies would instantaneously feel the love for the baby after delivery. It may take time to build that love, especially when one could have a “traumatic” long drawn labour process, and also to cope with the crying and learning how to care for the baby.

Be gentle on yourself. Rest when possible, and in time, the love for the baby will grow.

No one knows instantly what the baby is crying for, it’s a matter of trial and error, through observations and eliminations of causes of cries. There are a wealth of information out there about how certain sounds of the cry could mean a certain thing, but again, it may not apply to every baby.

Some common causes for cries (at least during the first month)

– Hunger (watch for rooting behaviour, moving of the mouths sideways, trying to find the breast/bottle)

– Discomfort (wind in tummy, needing to be cuddled)

– Dirty diaper (wet or soiled)

Confinement Practices

I didn’t practice every single rule in the “confinement traditions” . There are some that I believe has some grounds.

Taking a bath and washing the hair is ok during confinement, it is important that we keep ourselves clean and if there are wounds, it’s even more important to keep up with the hygiene. However, because our pores are open during this period, it is important to dry ourselves completely, immediately after the shower to prevent “wind”  from getting into the body, and causing headaches or aches. The hair dryer was a good friend during the confinement month.

I also drank water, besides the red date tea prescribed. Having to express so often, it was very very important that I replenish the fluids, but I had warm water instead of cold or cool.

Food wise, there was not much choices for me, I just had to bear with what was available and eat them. Soups were great though, it replenishes the fluids, and with the fish and papaya soup, it seems to help with increasing the breastmilk supply.

Having a positive mindset, reading up more to learn about the entire parenting experience, and having faith that the tough times will pass are key factors to help one pass through the initial phase.

No one said it was easy, but it can only make you stronger. Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people just makes the ride much smoother.

Children’s medication

12 12 2008

I’m never one who can remember the names of medicine that I take.

After being a parent, things have changed slightly. I found that in most cases, for very young kids under the age of 5, taking medication from the General Practioners (GP) doctors don’t seem to work well for my kids. Most of the GPs do not have much experience with very young children, and the dosage of medication doesn’t seem appropriate from my experiences so far.

Finding the right doctor helps. For us, the Paediatrician that has been seeing the girls seem to work best for them. Every time the girls are down with some common illnesses like the cold, just a visit to the PD would seem to help them recover very quickly.

So much so that I’m taking note of the medication that the PD gives, and sometimes for convenience’s sake, I would request the same medication from the GP or just get it from the pharmacy. So far, the following seems to be common:

Adezio Oral Solution: For clearing of phlegm
Chlorpheniramine: For nasal blockage, running nose
Rhinathiol: To soften the phlegm
Paximol: Paracentamol (for fever)
Brufen: High fever (for more than 38 degree Celcius)
Dimetapp: In the same family as Chlorpheniramine, for nasal blockage, running nose. Meant for kids over 2 years.

Note: All medication should be prescribed by the doctors, depending on the professional diagnosis of the doctors. The above are just some general medication of common child illnesses that my kids have taken before for common cold, running nose and fever.

It pays to know what medication to take, especially with young children. Their immunity system takes awhile to build up, but the good thing is most times, they recover very quickly as well.

Parenthood debate

26 08 2008

It was announced just a few weeks back that the parenthood and babybonus scheme would have more incentives. Amongst the changes:

  • Paid maternity leave of up to 16 weeks;
  • !st child will be entitled to a one time $4K bonus (payable over 4 instalments), and the Child Development Account (CDA) where every dollar of savings is matched by the Government, up to $6K for the 1st and 2nd child.
  • 5th child and beyond will get up to $18K CDA of matching savings.
  • Enhanced Parenthood tax rebates
  • Increased in subsidies for infant care and childcare centres.
  • Improvement in the quality and service of centre-based childcare
  • Subsidies for couples who are going for IVF treatments

The initial start date was 1st Jan 2009, which caused a huge response from many. Online petitions, interviews with the media, feedback to the govt portals –> Resulted in a 48 hours response that the start date for IVF subsidies and babybonus will start on the day of the announcement: 17 August 2008. Amazing feat considering how difficult it has been to get feedback heard by the relevant agencies.

All the announcements, news, articles and comments from everyone lead me to ponder, whether these incentives would encourage those that aren’t ready for parenthood to embark on this adventure? I doubt it will convert them, probably to help those who have or are going for more children.

Even more comments came from SME employers who are concerned with the 4 months paid maternity leave. How do you get resources, trained them up and to cover those going on maternity leave in a short time? Effectively one could have gotten a staff, train them and confirm that person in that 4 months. What would happen to those that go for that 4 months of paid maternity leave? The Government paying for the last 2 months of paid maternity leave isn’t going to resolve the issue of resources.

My aunt said, “Maybe this would be an encouragement for employers to hire mature workers who have completed their family. No more maternity leave.”

Having kids is not about doing national service. No one is going to just have more children because of all the monetary incentives that you would get doing it. Most people recognise the time, effort and responsibility of having kids, but I wonder if some worry too much. There is no better time to have children when you are married and have a stable income.

Again, it’s a personal choice. I may no longer have too much extra to spend on my whimsical purchases, nor frequent holidays during the initial years of having kids, but the joy of seeing the kids running to me everyday when I return to work, giving me a hug, and hearing them call me “Mummy” is worth so much.

The contentment and appreciation of the minor things in life, the amusement of seeing the kids learn everything we do is something money cannot buy. Whatever help I can get, I appreciate it, but it’s not like there will be someone else who will help me with this responsibility. Many people seem to be taking it for granted, asking for backdates of the scheme and more money to be dished out. Wanna backdate till my grandparents’ time? 😛

The money has to come from somewhere admittedly. There are singles who feel that their tax money is going into schemes that do not benefit them. There are those who feel that COEs should be subsidised. Do we all really need to get a car once the kid arrives? Really. I survived on cabs with a pair of twins in the initial years. Still much cheaper versus getting a car.

The announcement also brought back the topic of the “2’s enough” campaign. People were disincentived if they decided to have more than 2 kids. Pay more during delivery, low priority if the 3rd child goes to school, pushing women to go for sterilisation after the 2nd kid.

The same aunt sums the feelings back then. When she had her 2nd kid, the nurses were asking if she wants to ligate. “No” was the answer. By the time her first child went to school, the policy has changed to “Have 3 if you can afford it”. How to have #3 if you have ligated before? I think that was a real sore point, taking away the personal choice, pushing the many thousands and thousands of women to go for sterilisation. It did seem to be deeming to the female species. Like how pet owners need to sterilise the animals.

This over-successful (instead of saying that it’s a mistake by the father) campaign probably left a dent, but with moving trends, it would seem inevitable that people today would choose to have fewer children. Family structure would have evolved and people will have a different feeling about what parenthood entails.

Is having kids scary? Yes.

Do children bring joy? Most of the times before they turn into teenagers. hahahaa

Do children help us adults to learn and grow? A definite Yes!

Which is why I’m on this journey, with or without incentives (but lucky the incentives came just in time!). Every bit helps.

Would you start your parenthood journey?