Best time to Travel with baby?

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Personally, I wanted to get Baby R on a plane as soon as possible.

But hubby felt it might be better after she had at least a few rounds of vaccinations. I’ve known some friends who are already flying with their little ones at 2 or 3 months old (Respect!!!). But on hindsight, babies do sleep a lot during those ages, so… it is much easier to fly then.

We finally agreed on a 6th month mark. At least she will then be able to sit steadily by herself and also got most of her important injections.

In order to better prepare ourselves, we planned a road trip with her first.

We learn one thing; she could only sit in her car seat for a maximum of 20-25mins before squirming and wailing. At most, we manage to push to 30-35mins if we continue to play peeka-boo with her. With this in mind, we planned our return trip with 30mins stop interval. It really helped her to stay calm and she even took an hour nap (bliss).

We notice that she drops off to nap as long as her 30 mins car seat ride crosses around her nap time. So, it will be like 15-20 mins into the car ride, doze off for 45-50 mins morning nap, wakes up drowsy and sit for another 15-20 mins.  This gives us about 75-90 mins of good solid driving, before we have to make a 30 mins interval stop.

However, when we try to time it with her afternoon nap (around 3:30 pm) it doesn’t work so well. Sometimes she doze off, sometimes she don’t. This come as a big surprise for me since she normally only take about an hour nap in the morning and a deep 90-120 mins nap in the afternoon. We thought she would travel better during the afternoon nap. So, don’t let their normal routine fool you into thinking that it will be the same when travelling.

After the road trips, we decided that she’s ready for the plane. She is about 8 months old when we took her to the immigration to get her passport done. Process was surprisingly efficient and quick. I think we only spend about 2 hours in the immigration. They even offer to give her a free photo update once she passes 2 year old. Awesome!

Even with her passport ready, we decided to do a domestic flight as test run. The first destination was Langkawi. The flight journey was about an hour. We timed it to be around her morning nap, just like how we do our road trip.

Her first flight was with Malaysia Airlines. Good thing was they have a special check-in counter for those travelling with young children. We manage to get our boarding pass and check in our luggage within 25-30 mins. It was really amazing considering that it was school holiday & public holiday that day. So the normal queue was crazy long.

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Sorry the picture is blur.

She was asleep as soon as we board the plane. After about 45mins nap, she woke up just as we are landing. I was a bit worried but thankfully she was still in her drowsy mode. Having a pacifier in her mouth helped as well, I guess. So, it was a fuss free first flight.

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For our return flight, we try to test time it with her afternoon nap time (hoping that flight might be different from car ride). FAILED!

She refuses to sleep and was on full alert mode. When the plane got ready to take off, she was happily trying to climb mount mummy. It was really a struggle to try and get her to sit still. I gave up and just let her climb me while trying my best to hold on to her with the seat belt strapping me and her together (No – we didn’t fly with a car seat). The Landing was a bit rough and loud. So, imagine our surprise when the little one lifted up both her hand in the air and let out a loud “Wee….” just when the plane touch the ground. It was so funny we burst out laughing which prompt her to copy us and started fake-laughing also.

The subsequent flights, we planned it around her time. So, only morning flights for us for now… I really hate morning flights. sigh… Some of my friends actually find it easier to fly night time with their wee ones.

From the little experience we have travelling with her, I was really happy that we pace our travel bit by bit. It really helped us to understand her travelling behaviour, the best time for her to travel (different babies have difference preference) and also handling her during travel. NOT to mention, what to PACK?! LOL…

Don’t be afraid to travel with your little one.

Try to pace your travel plans and find out their temperament before attempting the long haul journey. But, if things don’t work out as hoped / prayed… just take a deep breath and try to enjoy.

 

 

 

5 Big ticket items which I think is the most important before the arrival of your first baby

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This post was specifically wrote for my cousin PS who is now carrying her first child.🙂 A BIG BIG congratulations and also big hug to you and Mr. E.

So these are the 5 Big ticket items which I think is the most important before the arrival of your first baby.

  • Cot, Mattress & Linens

When selecting a cot, the first thing you have to consider is the space you have. Are you planning to a separate nursery for your little one? Or will the baby be sleeping in the same room as you?

I wanted a cot that our little one could use till she’s at least 3. So, it will need to be big enough to do the job. At the same time since I plan to breastfeed, it’s easier that the little one sleep with us at that time. We finally decided on a cot which is big enough with wheels and still able to fit thru our bedroom door into the nursery.

Mattress should be of sufficient firmness and not too soft. If you think it’s too hard, you can always add a soft topper. Remember to get a mattress protector!

 

  • Car seat (SUPER important)

Not all country has a law which forbid transporting newborn without a car seat. But, even if your country doesn’t have it, it is advisable to USE it. (Please don’t think you are strong enough, or you slow careful enough, or that your place is very nearby. It’s call an accident for a reason)

I really love using the baby carrier between newborn till about 8 months old (when baby R hit 9kg). Babies tend to sleep a lot during the first few months. So, it was really easy to transfer between the car to restaurant or the stroller. We got her the Concord Air Safe (it was on sale!).

But, if you are looking to invest in one for newborn right up to 3-4 years old, then, you have to really research into it. Most car seat that has wide age coverage usually has several shortfalls.

It’s either they don’t recline enough, or the weight limit is very small (Please take note of weight limit, even if your child can fit into the sit doesn’t means it is still safe).

Some models out there have add-ons to allow the seat to fit newborn providing sufficient support. Remember, your child neck is still very flimsy until at least 3 months when they can lift up their head on their own (plenty tummy time can help that).

Normally, the seat (in rear-facing) is meant for less than 9kg, and when rotate to front facing it can go up to 13kg. That’s where is become an issue for us. Baby R hit 9kg by the time she’s 8 months old. I would prefer to keep her in a rear-facing seat until she’s at least 24 months old (hopefully – one can hope). But, it’s not safe now since she hit the weight limit. Another problem was she’s taller and there was just not enough room for her legs sitting rear-facing. So, she gets very frustrated and cries after 15mins in her seat. This is the Concord Ultimax.

After some debate with myself, I made the wallet-painful decision to get her another car seat which allows her to be in rear-facing for longer period. This time, I spend hours doing research because I don’t want to regret again. We finally got her a new seat which fulfils the new European i-Size standard. The car-seat is suitable for rear-facing until the age of 4 or 105cm height limit or 23kg weight limit. AWESOME ! I love the Concord Reverso.

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Picture from the Concord website.

Remember to always choose the Rear-facing car seat for newborns right up to 2 years old. I know many parents find it really hard to force your toddler to sit rear-facing. So, parents will have to make many hard decisions and sometimes convert to front facing earlier than the standard recommendation. Please know that Not all children are the same… so please don’t judge!

Thankfully, baby R is still oblivious to the world of front facing and is still strapped on rear facing till date (18 months ++). There were one period (around the 10months mark where she refuse to sit in her car seat). So, mummy cheated and plays the cartoons on her handphone while baby sits in her car seat.  Luckily, it was just a phase and she outgrew it. After 2 weeks, she revert back to sitting in her car seat with no fuss.

 

  • Confinement consumables : Chinese Herbs, Ginger/Rice Wine & Sesame Oil

This is mainly applied for Chinese / Asian heritage mums. I am not a big fan of Chinese herbs, myself. There are so many varieties and grade out there, its so mind boggling. There are so many horror stories out there of Medical hall  selling low grade and bad quality stuff.

My Dad knows one of the Chinese Medical hall doctor quite well so I felt slightly better getting my confinement herbs. Aside from the daily herbal soup you have to drink, there’s the red date water which you are only allow to drink during the whole period. Yes – NO WATER at all. I wasn’t a big fan of the red date drink so I got my mum to make it really light and diluted.

And then, there’s the herbs which you need to boil in water to take bath in, for both the mother and the baby. Thankfully, I manage to “convince” my mum to allow me to bath everyday (even though it was herbal bath – I was happy). AND, I really tried my best to not wash hair. BUT, after 8 days I went on strike and was allow the luxury of washing my hair!

All these herbs are NOT cheap!

During confinement, the mother is expected to consume a large amount of ginger, sesame oil and rice wine (supposedly it helps to balance back the heat in the body). Hubby is shock by the amount of alcohol a mother has to drink. He thinks confinement mothers are alcoholic.

Since I was breast feeding, I kept the alcohol to really minimal level and I only take it once every alternate day (normally lunch), after I have feed the baby / pump.

 

  • Breast Pump & Milk storage bottles / bag

There are many breast pumps out there. Some are cheaper than others. Since I’ve only used ONE breast pump, I can’t really say if it is justifiable to splurge on one.

Being a working mum, I need to think efficient pumping. So, I was really biased towards the Medela freestyle double pump. Overall, it was really easy to use except using double pump made me feel more like a cow. LOL… especially since the pump makes a sort of “moo moo” sound. Some have complained that it makes a really loud noise but I found it quite soothing especially when I’m pumping in the room at 3am!

I also love it because I can pump hands-free. Strapping on 2 pumps was really hard when I started working. So, I resort to pumping one at a time using the hands-free. It was awesome. I could continue working on my computer while pumping my milk.

During the beginning of the breast milk journey, there was just not enough milk to go around for storage. So, keeping it directly in the bottle was easier. Most breastmilk can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. You do see separation over time but it’s usually just the fat content which you can easily stir and mix well again. As for me, my milk supply was only enough for about 1 day supply (oh well…). I think I only manage to store 3-4 bags of milk in the whole 6 months plus journey of breastfeeding.

The rest of the storage freezer bags I bough were later use to keep her baby food puree.

 

  • Changing Table

Ok – This is not really a big ticket item depending on your creativity. Personally, I didn’t really spend much. I used my existing Ikea table. The only thing I splurged on was the changing mat / cushion which come with a safety belt.

This was really useful especially when the baby starts to turn (which is usually between 4~5 months). It’s just an extra safety precaution for me even thought I never walk away while changing the baby.

It also helped to distract the baby while being strapped down. For some reason, mine was especially focus on the “tails” of the strap.

So, these 5 items which in my opinion are in the big-ticket items you should get before the baby arrives. Please note that it will be different for everyone as we all have different needs and also different culture.

Hugz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini weekend Getaway – Ascott Kuala Lumpur

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I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. And, I can’t believe little one is growing up so fast. Time flies (sob…sob). It was just like yesterday the Dr plopped her onto my chest after going thru 15 mins of pushing (I’m so thankful it was a short and pain free labor – Epidural is AWESOME ! ** please Don’t judge me ! ;p).

We took a little mini weekend getaway to KL recently. It was my cousin’s wedding and the thought of fighting the KL traffic on Saturday night with a toddler is no fun. So, I convinced hubby that it would make more sense to stay over in KL for a night.

After checking around for a suitable location – it has to be near the wedding dinner location at a reasonable price. I was pleasantly surprise that Ascott was having some sort of hot deal and the price for a Premier 2 bedroom (with breakfast for 4 person) come up to about MYR 865nett. Since it was a little getaway for us, we decided to splurge a bit.

Hubby hate traveling (with me) since he claim it always feel like he’s bringing the whole house with us when we travel with LO. Yes – I’m an OCD mummy. So, I can be quite extreme when packing.

The apartment was beautifully decorated and clean!!! Cleanliness is very important for me when I book a hotel. Having a kitchen is really useful especially for preparing LO’s porridge. I love green decor!

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Awesome big apartment with fully functioning kitchen.

We checked in around 12pm and I was famished. Hubby proposes we order room service. Tada – here’s what we order for 4. Interestingly, the food arrived in containers! It’s weird, but I actually love it. It gives me the impression the food is well covered and clean. I washed up the containers and recycle it.

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Yumm.. Lunch. Simple and nice

I also love the bed! It was so nice and soft but still has good support. Our master bedroom has a little balcony which you can walk out and enjoy the view of (ONE side) Twin tower. LO loves standing at the window looking out. Probably because this is the first time she’s been on a high rise building.

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Little one enjoying the outside view

The only gripe I have is the toilet doesn’t seem to flush well as it sort of gives the toilet a bad smell. I was so looking forward to enjoying the beautiful bathtub. But, soaking inside a stinking toilet …? Luckily, the other toilet was ok.

Their swimming pool is on the roof top at Level 22. The view up there is beautiful. You can see the KLCC garden and water fountain. The children’s pool is located at a hidden corner. We brought her to go swimming around 5pm and it was good that that area was shaded from the sun. It was definitely a nice size baby pool, with 2 steps level. Unfortunately, I don’t have any nice photo of the baby pool. I manage to grab 2 pictures of the adult pool from their online website… So nice, right?!

Breakfast selection in the morning was a wee bit slim. I’m not surprise since they charge about RM18++ / person? We decided to have a quick bite and then head back to the apartment to rest and pack.

It was a great mini getaway. Can’t wait to do another one.

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