Monday, February 24, 2014

Baby product review: Yu Yee Oil

I grew up using yu yee oil when I was younger. It helped if you were having tummy ache.


Wikipedia says yu yee oil contains the following:

Now, as a mother, grandmother insist that yu yee oil also be applied to my son after every bath. Somehow it works. He will let go gas and his stomach will no longer be bloated.

Don't know what exactly is inside the bottle but since we have been using for ages for babies.. this tradition will follow on. (hopefully no ingredients changed during this duration). It doesn't really smell that strong to me and the smell will go off after some time.

So, when baby has a tummy upset or a bloated tummy, fear not. Just dab and rub a little yu yee oil around his tummy (avoid belly button), and you will have a happy baby sleeping again... 

Antenatal Classes review: Parentcraft by Jenlia Maternal Services

This is a long overdue review but after going through my delivery, I think it's worth reflecting if I should have or shouldn't attend the antenatal class.

I surveyed during my pregnancy and narrowed down to Jenlia Services Sdn. Bhd. I found out that they are the one conducting antenatal classes "Parentcraft" for 4 days over the weekend in Sime Darby Medical Centre (SDMC) and also Sunway Medical Centre. I also looked in KMPJ antenatal classes but was told by my friend who attended that it was conducted in bi-language and not very focused.

Based on logistics, I narrowed down to SDMC or in Jenlia itself which was in TTDI. After that, I chose TTDI because it was over 2 days in a smaller group versus 4 days in SJMC in a larger group. Felt it was tiring to attend so many sessions during my pregnancy. Plus, I was delivering in Pantai Hospital. So I felt the added topics were not applicable to me.
Comparison of Parentcraft classes

TTDI – in the shoplot
SDMC, Subang Jaya – Medical centre (beneficial if you are planning to deliver there)
2 sessions (2 Saturdays morning)
4 sessions (4 Saturdays afternoons or 4 Friday nights )
Max 5 couples a class
Maximum 18 couples a class
Brief classes but more interactive.
More detailed class inclusive of visit to the medical center labour room and admission procedure
More time for discussion and Q&A
Not sure as didn’t attend
Topics covered
Topics the same excluding topics like Admission Procedure, no ante-natal exercise but have the relaxation exercise and breathing technique, do not “visit to labour room”
1.1 Recognizing Derivations from Normal Progression in Pregnancy
1.2 Preparation for Parenthood
1.3 Relaxation Technique
1.4 Ante-Natal Exercise
2.1 Importance of Early Breastfeeding
2.2 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
2.3 Care of Self Post Caesarean Section and Breastfeeding
2.4 Signs of Labour
2.5 Admission Procedures
3.1 Tour of Labour Suite
3.2 Husband's Role during Labour and Delivery
3.3 Preparation for Normal Labour and Delivery
3.4 Normal Labour and Delivery Process
3.5 Pain Management
3.6 Breathing Technique of Stage 1 & 2
4.1 Care and Support for Mother during Puerperium
4.2 The Newborn - What to Expect in The First

As I attended this sessions in early 2013, I might have forgotten all the details but I remember her tips on breathing and the exercises the most. I remember the transparency and projector (a bit old school) with vivid diagrams showing the delivery process and her explanation on the pain management. I remember the demonstration of how to breastfeed using a doll. How is this any difference from reading a book? 

Well, I asked her about "Asian practices" during confinement i.e. what herbs can be consumed during breastfeeding. Jennifer does do home visits limited to certain radius for RM100 a trip, the last I asked. Unfortunately she doesn't cover my area but thank God, all I needed was another friend who gave me confidence about my breastfeeding during the 4th day post delivery. :) 

It is also good to attend to hear and see other couples in the same boat with equal concerns and anxiety. It's comforting to know every parents go through this. 

Would I recommend attending the classes?
Yes - very much to first time parents. It is not only for mothers but I find it very helpful to get the daddies involve. Jennifer goes round asking questions to the daddies too and giving some tips of their role during labour. I didn't ask my hubby how it felt but I think it is a good lesson for him as he doesn't read any of the books I pass to him. ;)

Jennifer is also very realistic in saying that sometimes we do not really have to force breastfeeding by saying it is not wrong to mix with a little formula milk when she gave the scenario in the hospital. However, I did attend another breastfeeding class by another person who is more pro-fully breastfeed. Will share my breastfeeding experience in another post.  Am happy to share that I am still breastfeeding my baby and hopefully till my son's wean off himself. :)

Tips to consider:
Only attend antenatal from 28 weeks onwards. IF too early, you might not remember too.
Why Jenlia? It's because I have read reviews about the instructor (Jennifer Hor) who co-wrote the book Asian Parenting Today, which was recommended because of consideration to our local asian context in terms of "confinement", traditional believes, etc. However, since it is my first child, I didn't read finish the book from cover to cover but use it as a guide for reference only. Will try to do a book review of it later.

Sample of the content of the book:

  • 0-3 months: First Impressions, Jaundice, Breastfeeding, Bottle-feeding, Sleep, Clothing, Keeping Baby Clean, Outing, Sterilization of equipment, Prevent of Infection, Immunization, Screening of Tests, Rashes, Baby's Temperature, Crying, Colic, early Concerns, Bonding & Stimulating Baby, Playtime, 0-3months checklist
  • 4-6 months: Establishing a Routine, Sleep, Feeding Habits, Guidelines and Menu, Semi-solids, Home Safety, Milestones and Ideal Activities, Checklist
  • 7-9 months: Sleep Issues, Feeding Baby, Recipes & Schedules, Baby's Health, Milestones, How Baby Learn, Play Schedules, Checklist
  • 10-12 months: Baby's Health, Feeding Suggestions, Meals & Mealtimes, Milestones, Watching TV, Building Self-Esteem and Independence, Playtime, Checklist
  • Ways to Keep Baby Safe, Nursery Rhymes, Recipes 
  • Thursday, February 13, 2014

    Dealing with Eczema

    *Disclaimer: I do not intend to advertise any products stated here but sharing my experiences of using them on my child's eczema. From all the reading I have done, I noticed that what works for one child does not necessarily works for the next child.

    Eczema is a form of  chronic skin inflammation which is believed to be caused by hereditary and environmental factors. The dermatologist mainly mentioned that it was hereditary maybe suppressed; when I highlighted that the parents do not get eczema.

    My son has eczema since 2 months old and it flares on and off; depending on environmental or perhaps coincidentally after immunisation or some events. In the process of searching for the "miracle" cream to help soother and manage his eczema, I have bought whatever lotion/cream/supplements/medication which a slight possibility of soothing his rashes and flare. We have brought him to 2 pediatricians and 1 dermatologist in this process too.

    Infant eczema prone areas.

    Initially, I wanted to blog out stage by stage of the process of healing and discovery but then realised time is a luxury these days. Hence, here is the conclusion for 10-11 months dealing with infant eczema.

    Step-by-step of Dealing with Infant Eczema
    1. Understand what eczema is and what type your baby has.
    This will help you to understand how to manage it.

    2. Look for triggers
    - Environment: Dust? Allergy to dog? Mites? Etc... In my case, we tried to remove dust by cleaning more often and also controlling temperature by always making sure my son is never too hot and sweaty. When he sweats, it will trigger his rash and eczema; making the condition worse. The dermatologist said that eczema makes it seem like the baby is even allergic to his own sweat. In fact, with the haze, we even invested in a good air purifier and humidifier to be used in the air-condition bedroom. Yes, we also ensure wherever we go, there is always air-con. Sharp has a good range of air purifier/humidifier.

    - Food: My baby is fully breastfeed. So I had to cut down all the "highly allergic" food and control my diet. Keeping a food diary is a must to eliminate the triggers. I started by cutting down on all seafood especially prawns. Once, I tried a piece of lamb and his eczema flared. So do keep a diary to find out the effect. I also cut down on all fried stuff as once, I ate the delicious spicy sambal of ayam penyet and my son had flares. Sigh...

    - Emotional: Yes, it does worsen the symptoms. When my son gets annoy and cries, he will continue with scratching his inner elbows, necks... and IF you didn't always keep his nails short, you will get scratch marks and worse, bleeding wounds.

     3.  Maintain a disciplined skincare regime
    - Atopic eczema means the skin is unable to retain its own moisture. So it will start with dryness which will trigger itching, then flare-ups. Hence, looking for the right moisturiser is essential.

    a) Bath time: 
    - Do not use harsh products with synthetic ingredients and preservative. I've tried Baby Organics, Sebamed, Cetaphil Restoraderm, etc. At the moment, Baby Sebamed Body Wash and Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash  seems to work. But we use sparingly.
    - Water has to be luke warm - not too hot which will aggravate eczema.
    - Bath time has to be limited to 10-15 minutes to prevent drying of skin.
    - After bath, do not rub skin with towel; instead pat dry as rubbing will aggravate the skin.

    - Some recommend adding epsom salt, dead sea salt and even Aveeno Oatmeal bath to help soothe the flare. I have only tried epsom salt bath and adding my extra unused but expired frozen breastmilk to his bath. It was not consistently done so I cannot vouch for the effect.

    b) Moisturising:

     The creams and lotion we have tried on our son from Baby Sebamed, Cetaphil, E45 cream, Four cow skin calendula remedy, Aveeno, Lucas Paw Paw Cream, Lanoline, Ezzera, Ceradan, Salcura, Dermalex, Malaleuca Renew Intensive Skin Therapy, Buds Super Soothing Rescue Lotion, Atopiclair, Moogoo Irritable Balm, Sudocream, Egyptian's Magic.... etc..

    - Apply moisturisers within 3 minutes after bath to ensure effectiveness of absorption.
    - Use creams, ointments and thicker cream. Lotion is too diluted for eczema skin. Again, look at the ingredients and find out which are the triggers.
    - My son's regime is:  Face - Baby Sebamed Protective Facial Cream, body - Baby Sebamed Lotion which will be layered with cetapil restoraderm skin restoring lotion at the flare areas (inner arms, necks, back of knees, legs). Layering the creams will help retain the moisture. Some sites do recommend letting the skin breathe and work on its own but I have yet to let that happen except for short duration.
    - Rash and itchiness: Use selected creams for itchiness i.e. Ezzera, Bud's Super Soothing Rescue Lotion, etc. These two works for my son at the moment. My son's nanny even applies chilled fresh aloe vera to his problematic part and it does calm down the itchiness.
    - Redness: This one is hard for me to find the "miracle" product... I try using Lucas paw paw cream.. it slowly helps reduce the redness but it was only recently, I found out the reason for his redness.
    - Dry thicken skin: So far only Cetapil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Lotion works to remove the thicken skin.

    c) Clothing:
    - Try to use 100% cotton loose fitting clothing. I think this is important because it might cause the skin irritants. In fact, there are some specially designed clothing for eczema prone condition which I have yet to look into and hope I don't need to.
    - Prevent scratching: Try getting something like the scratch-me-not mittens to prevent further scratching. Or alternatively, I bought from Scratch No More who is based in Malaysia.  I let my son wear scratch no more mittens only to sleep when he unconsciously scratch himself during sleep. It seems to work at the moment.

    4. Try supplements to boost immune system
    - Probiotics: Some research says that eczema could be caused by leaky gut and taking probiotics like LactoGG and BioGaia probiotics drops will help with eczema. I add in probiotics to his breakfast cereal.
    - Supplements like Olivenol (olive oil) to boost immune system. I add in the liquid form to his dinner daily.

    5. Wet wrapping: This is something I have read briefly about and hope I don't have to use it. It is for severe itching and discomfort when the eczema gets really bad.


    In a nut shell,
    We learned about the importance of bathing in the right temperature and duration.
    We learn to impose a bathing routine which incorporates slathering a bunch of lotion and ointment quickly on my son.
    We learn about his trigger foods.
    We learned that even toothpaste can contain dairy and eggs! Gosh, I only noticed that recently and eliminate the toothpaste. Then the redness subsided from my son's cheeks. (Suspecting egg at the moment - I need to do an egg allergy test next)
    We learn that a little antihistamine helps to soothe itchiness and help my son to sleep. (Even though I didn't really want to give any oral medication to my son... sigh)

     This is what my family had to go through to help my son deal with eczema.

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    Applying the values from Martha and Mary

    I know is not really that suitable to use this analogy but it serves best now to tell how I feel.

    The bible tells the story of Martha and Mary who teaches us the importance of priorities in serving God. Martha was busy preparing food for Jesus while Mary sat by Jesus's feet to listen to His teachings instead of helping her. Martha rebuked Mary for not helping her but Jesus said this:

    "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
    (Luke 10:41-42, NIV)

    My role as a mother to my son is like Martha. I have somehow succumbed myself into preparing food, bath, clothes, future education, toys, books, etc for my son instead of spending time with him. Yes, he will love me still and look for me. But for the past year, as I reflect myself, I noticed I have become Martha.

    What I have missed out with my son?

    1. Waking him up in the morning to see his beautiful smiles. He has the loveliest smile in the morning after a fully rested night of sleep. (At that moment, I was busy preparing and cooking his porridge). Daddy gets this privilege and never realised it.

    2. Bathing him luxuriously without rushing him off to the nanny... (Morning is a horse-race against time to get my son ready to the nanny while getting ready to work without being even later to work than usual).

    3. Feeding him the food I made to see his reaction and new chewing skills he has towards food. (Usually during breakfast, I have to get ready to work while dinner time- I am still at work).

    4. Teaching him by reading him books, flashcards, etc. (I no longer have the time or privilege to do that as always rushing for time and if there is any spare time, I would try to get some nap due to insufficient sleep from dream feeds throughout the night).

    Yes, I thank God I still am there beside my son and running circles like a maniac near him. But I do know from his lack of smile towards to me (except cries for milk to sleep), that I am no longer close to my son.
    Can I change? I guess if daddy is willing to help me out then maybe mummy will not be like a crazy-always-looking-at-the-watch lady trying to chase against time to prepare baby's schedule like a smooth baby's bottom.....

    If only..  you know, I do look and feel like the image above. I call myself the pack-mule carrying all the stuff when that happens. Guess what daddy does?

    I haven't started talking about my role as a wife yet...Where is that book I bought that has a title like "How can your marriage survive a baby?" .... I wish I could manage to keep my earlier resolution of hubby first like how this blogger did...