Saturday, 12 January 2013

Second Pregnancy: Week 16

The Grandparents thought we had introduced the concept of a younger sibling to The Little Girl a bit too soon, as 40 weeks is a long time for a nearly 3 year old to wait. However, we took a chance and shared this pregnancy with her since we found out so that she can be involved as much as possible in this beautiful journey.
Whenever we buy new clothing for The Little Bean, we explain to The Little Girl that the particular outfit is for her younger sibling and that she had worn something similar when she was a wee baby. When she sees her old photo album, she can recognise and call out onesie, with further comment that she has outgrown them.
Furthermore, The Little Girl was proud to come along and choose nursery furniture with us too. We went to pick up the IKEA Gulliver cot with mattress a week ago, changing tables and MacLaren Quest 2012 stroller. Whilst she was happy to let the furniture go to storage until assembly time in a few more weeks, she was quite insistent on riding the stroller first! We happily let her, so as to avoid any resentment/jealousy to fester.
A noteworthy development would be her not crying at the doctor's office. I had explained to her that it was to be a particular Dr Paul Tay at PCMC, and that the nurse would call me away for a few minutes to record my weight and blood pressure, and that I would be at the ladies for a few minutes for an urine test before we wait together at the reception area to see the doctor in his office. She nodded her understanding, and added commentary of how similar it is to what she has observed on Disney's DocMcStuffins. Good girl!
So the day of the litmus test arrived on 11 January 2013. We took The Little Girl with us to our ob-gyn appointment for the first time. The process as explained to her came to pass, so she was quite content in knowing what to expect. Coupled with new apps downloaded from Marketplace into her Lumia 800, the waiting seemed short.
Finally my name was called and into the doctor's office we went. I asked her to say hello, and she gave a small hello wave with wee smile before settling down on a patient's chair with Daddy. While I updated the kind doctor about my itchy skin and feverish body, The Little Girl snacked on a packet of Bellamy's Apple and Banana Snack! She certainly felt right at home there.

After the consultation/prescription discussion was done with, we brought her for the "highlight" of her accompaniment.
The ultrasound scan!
Meeting her sibling!
Oh, boy!
What a treat!
She was thrilled to "meet" her sibling via the ultrasound scan, had an ongoing cheerful conversation with The Other Half while Dr. Paul Tay conducted the scan/inspection/measurements. The Little Girl saw The Little Bean's head, limbs, spine and buttocks! She now looks forward to the next check-up at Week 20. With a detailed scan coming up, The Other Half and I are equally excited too.
As of 11 January 2013, The Little Bean clocked in an estimate of 160 grams with head circumference of 10.6 cm.

Syukur alhamdulillah, we have so much to be thankful for and look forward to.
Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Confinement Recipe: Porridge

Let's face the truth about confinement food: 44 days of eating rice with mixed vegetables and soup on the side, twice a day, can be really boring.

On hot days, I prefer porridge. Here is another simple, easy to cook, breastmilk replenishing recipe to share.

To cook on high setting in the slow cooker for 2 hours, then low setting for another 2 hours (or set it to auto mode):
1 cup of washed jasmine rice
200g of diced celery
200g of diced pumpkin without seeds and skin
200g of diced carrots without skin
200g of diced potatoes without skin
1 inch of smashed ginger without skin (omit if baby has jaundice)
about 8 cups of water, or more to cover all ingredients

200g of minced chicken; or
200g of minced beef; or
200g of cubed salmon; or
200g of dried oysters; or
200g of dried scallops

To garnish:
Chopped spring onions
Sprinkle of browned shallots and garlic
Dash of pepper
Drizzle of sesame oil
Sprinkle of sesame seed

Serve hot.

This portion serves 2 adults and 1 toddler.

Note: I still cook and eat this now for this simple fact: The Little Girl is still nursing at 33 months, and I am nursing when pregnant with The Little Bean. Needless to say, I feel like a booster every now and then is just what I need.

Bon appetit!

Confinement Recipe: Young Papaya with Free-range/organic Chicken Soup

The ingredients are quite simple in this famous "increase breastmilk supply" recipe. Sure works for me, and I hope it does for you too!
For boiling, then simmer for about 40 minutes:
400g chicken on the bones, cut to serving size
200g young papaya, cubed without skin and seeds, blanche with hot water if sappy
1 inch smashed ginger without skin (omit if baby has jaundice)
About 1 litre of water, sufficient to cover ingredients
For garnishing:
1 tablespoon sesame oil to stir into soup before serving
dash of pepper
20g soaked, drained and softened goji berries to be added into soup before serving
Serve hot with meal.
This is one soup I do not mind drinking with chicken, papaya and goji berries through it.
Young papaya is commonly used in one of my favourite Thai salads but during confinement, I get to enjoy it as part of soup! Organically grown young papaya can be obtained from your good organic green grocer.
Free-range organic chicken is preferred for making soup as boiling "farm-raised-antibiotics laden-commercial-force-fed-to mature-within-x-number of days" chicken is a no-no within the Chinese community. Confinement period is a period of resting, healing and nourishing both mother and child. Lesser "contaminants", the better!
Dried goji berries/wolfberries are available from chinese medical halls. I buy large ones without sulphur dioxide to store in the freezer. Soaking them in cool boiled water after rinsing brings them to a nice soft texture and when added to soup just before serving prevents the berries from turning the soup brown/red hue whilst preserving its sweet taste.
Bon appetit!

Sleepy bye bye!

This is our account of our IKEA Gulliver cot in white with mattress, fitted sheets (and cot bumper) - The Little Girl's sleepy bye bye destination.
For the first 6 month, she was placed at the high setting and it was fairly easy to lift her up and return to bed at night during feeding sessions. We had this cot placed next to our king size bed so it was fairly convenient.
We then added cot bumpers when she was about 2 weeks old as she started getting her limbs stucked between the rails. She was placed with her feet at the bottom of the cot, but she started to "breaststroke crawl" to the top of the cot as she slept on her tummy most of the time. The cot bumpers saved her head from painful bumps!
At about 4 months when she had started to roll from side to side, we could occasionally hear her limbs hitting the cot bumpers at night. The Little Girl is an active girl, we could tell from the time she was her tiny limbs would sometimes "lift" the cot bumper up so that we could peep at The Other Half and I! This became a peekaboo game by the time she was about 5 months.
By the time she could cruise at about 6 months going on 7 months, we had the cot lowered to the low setting. That posed one major problem for my night feeding and I suffered from cold muscle cramps of going from sleeping mode to lifting a heavy baby mode in the middle of the night, a few times every night. The Little Girl did not sleep through the night so after a week or so of suffering from cold muscle cramps, I got lazy and started placing her in between The Other Half and I in between night feeds. The risk of SIDS is much lower at her age and there are benefits to co-sleeping but it never got the approval of The Grandparents, so please do not copy me.
The cot then progressed on as a playpen, or holding area while I showered or used the toilet. By then, it had to be moved closer to the bathroom door so that there is a clear line of vision from where I am to where she is. As distraction/attraction, I would put a few of her favourite books/toys in there with her to buy me a few precious minutes. Her favourite activity was to jump up and down whilst holding the rails, singing and yabbering loudly when waiting for me. We had to decommission this as a playpen when she was about 11 months as she got too heavy and leaning on the rail was no longer very safe.
Finally, we thought about opening up one side and keep the low setting for use as a toddler bed but The Little Girl had developed a strong preference of co-sleeping with us to appreciate her own bed by then.
In conclusion, we still think that this cot is good value for money. When a friend was expecting a newborn, we donated this complete set of cot, mattress, fitted sheets, cot bumper in good and clean condition to them, knowing and explaining to the expectant parents that the lifespan is relatively short.
Now that we are expecting The Little Bean, we got ourselves a brand new, exact same cot , mattress and fitted sheets with the same expectation! Maybe we will wait for new cot bumper design to be released...
How's that for concept of "hand-me-down"? *smirk*

Confinement Recipe: Fenugreek with Ikan Haruan Soup

The Other Half is 50% Malay, and the Malay folks believe in consuming ikan haruan for "fast action surgical wound repair".

We also learnt during ante-natal classes that fenugreek, a herb widely used in Indian cooking, promotes breastmilk production.

This is a confinement soup recipe which serves to heal (protein from ikan haruan "magically" heals episiotomy stitches in my case) and increase breastmilk supply.

I am happy to share this recipe as it had worked wonders for me during my first confinement and I hope to enjoy this again after The Little Bean is delivered, insya Allah!

To bring to boil, then simmer for about 40 minutes/or if using a slow cooker to cook on high to boiling point then simmer on low for 2 hours: 
600g ikan haruan
2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds
1 inch old ginger, crushed without skin on (omit if baby has jaundice)
about 1 litre of water, sufficient to cover ingredients

To flavour the soup before serving:
1 tablespoon sesame oil into the pot, stir well
dash of pepper, to taste

Serve hot as part of a meal.

So simple! My MIL who is Irish finds this easy to prepare, especially when using the slow cooker as the low setting allows her to multitask without burning the pot.

I prefer mine strained and skimmed, with just the soup to drink. Fenugreek does stink up the body and urine. Oh, the things we do for breastmilk supply to increase!

Tip: No salt added, as salt promotes water retention (fact, I followed) and rumoured to reduce breastmilk production (not sure if fact or myth, but I followed just in case it does reduce breastmilk production!).

Bon appetit!

Blessed 2013!

Fireworks at the KLCC Park at midnight to usher in 2013. We are so blessed to live where we do as twice a year on New Year's Eve and Independence Day Eve, we get to enjoy this "pop-our-ears-and- lights-in-our-faces" fireworks extravaganza.

Hope your 2012 had been memorable and may 2013 be an even more blessed, fulfilling and meaningful year!