Friday, June 29, 2018

New Breastfeeding Counselor At Your Service

I've just completed a 4-days-weekend course conducted by the sifus (read: admins) of The Breastfeeding Advocates Network (TBAN) about breastfeeding counselling. Even though I've been breastfeeding my kids for 3 years plus now, there're actually a lot of things that I didn't know about breastfeeding.

I have friends and family who've came to me asking for advise or help when they wanna kick start their breastfeeding journey but there's only so much I know from my own experience. After attending this course, I was empowered with more knowledge and passion to help mothers out there to breastfeed successfully.

To start off, let me tell you 5 things you might not know about breastfeeding :)


1. Mothers will start to lactate at week 16.
Yupe. You're already producing milk when you're pregnant at week 16. But why do some mothers claim that they have no milk (cannot pump anything out, baby is always crying at the breast but calms down after topping up using a bottle)? Well, my dear, there are SOOOOOOOOO many possible reasons to it. But what you must know is, whatever you pump out doesn't indicate the amount of milk you have. You can produce as much as the baby needs. Your baby is the best breast pump in the whole wide world.



2. Most medicines are breastfeeding friendly.
I see a lot of people asking if the medicine the doctor prescribed is safe for a breastfeeding mom to consume. Even if you ask the doctor or pharmacist, they might not be sure and will have to refer to that little paper inside the box of medicine. But let me ensure you this - research shows that very little level of medication enters breastmilk. So it's OK to breastfeed even if you're under medication. It's even better to breastfeed especially when you're sick cause your body will have higher level of antibody and your baby will be benefited from it by drinking your milk :)

If you're still worry and unsure about medication, you can always check with these 2 reliable sources

LactMed
Google Play : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.nih.nlm.sis.lactmed&hl=en
App Store : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lactmed/id441969514?mt=8

or http://www.e-lactancia.org/


3. Direct Latching is IMPORTANT
Now this point is not to put down mummies who are exclusively pumping. I'm sure you have your reasons. My target audience will be new mummies who want to nurse their babies directly. The reason why direct latching is important is because baby's saliva actually sends message to mommy's immune system to produce "medicated" milk to meet baby's unique needs.

Remember Emmett was sick awhile ago? My milk (as shown on the left side) was extra yellowish and thick. When he got better, my milk was back to it's usual milky white colour. Amazing isn't it? How our body can produce milk that suits our little one's needs. How did our body get the information to alter the milk? Baby's saliva.

And if you can establish your breastfeeding journey through direct latching, that's a good good start. It's also definitely beneficial in the long run cause you're a walking food machine. You don't have to prepare a lot of things when going out. You don't have to find a place to pump when it's time to do so and you also don't have to rush home to store the milk etc etc etc. All you need to do is just lift up your shirt and feed!


4. Breastfeeding  can be very painful. 
Breastfeeding can be very painful for some mothers, but if the pain lasts more than a minute, it is most likely caused by a bad latch. The latch is the way that the baby's mouth is positioned on the nipple. The baby should draw the entire nipple into the mouth and the tongue should be down. A correct latch should involve the entire jaw. If a woman experiences extreme pain, she should seek help from breastfeeding counselor or lactation consultant immediately to make sure that the baby is latching on correctly. I learned it the hard way as I was not equipped with the right knowledge about the correct latch and suffered sore nipples for 60 days. 60. Freaking. Days. I counted. Though I've now developed Nipple of Steel, I wish I didn't have to go through that at all. It was my stubborn will to breastfeed my child that got me through it.

During cluster feedings, the seemingly non-stop nursing sessions that happen over and over again during a growth spurt, a mom's nipples can get sore and the skin can get raw, but a special cream can help without harming the baby.

Also, a woman should talk to her doctor if she suspects she has mastitis, which is an infection that can come with a blocked milk duct and cause pain and flu-like symptoms. One of the best ways to cure a blocked duct is to breast feed, so she should continue to nurse through it.

Women also experience sore breasts when their milk comes in a few days after the baby's birth. Engorged breasts are painful, but breastfeeding can actually help.


5. Adoptive moms can breastfeed, too!
It is possible for women to breastfeed even if they weren't recently pregnant. The body can be tricked into producing milk, especially if a woman has been pregnant before. There are supplemental systems that can help with the process, but the stimulation can sometimes be enough to induce lactation. Some women believe it will help form a connection to the baby, while bringing the nutrition and positive attributes of breastfeeding, but it is a large commitment for a new mother.

If you want to know more information about breastfeeding, you can always refer to some FAQs here.

Ultimately, you can also contact me *ahem ahem* if you need help to kick start your breastfeeding journey.

Terms and Conditions apply (read: a small fee of RM60* will be charged 😊).
Click HERE to know more.

Feel free to reach out to me via
FB Messenger: https://www.messenger.com/t/michellelulu
WhatsApp: http://watsap.my/0123772494

Sekian, terima kasih 💕


 Disclaimer : The TBAN-BFC cannot guarantee to be able to help you breastfeed successfully 100%. That would depend on so many different factors. The TBAN-BFC’s advice and recommendations are case to case basis.

Monday, April 30, 2018

A Letter to My Dearest Charlotte

My dearest daughter,


I've been trying to write this letter for the longest time but every time I sit in front of the laptop trying to put my thoughts down in words, I will be overcome by emotions, follow by teary eyes.

But you turn 3 years old today. I see you growing up before my very eyes and I have decided that I need to just do my best to let you know how full of love and respect for you I am.

So let me tell you a little bit about you. You love play and adventure like any other young kid. You would swirl around with that big smile on your face when I bring you to a playground. You would also repeat tirelessly, everyday, throughout the week, that you want to wear your Minnie Mouse swimsuit and go for a swim.


You love reading. I gave you a new set of books last week cause you've memorised all the other books that we've read together everyday for a couple of months. You're so happy that now we're reading the same 4 books daily before bedtime. You even want me to repeat them at least a few more times before we turn off the lights and hit the sack. Even though you can't read on your own yet, you could memorize and read along with me.

You have a really good memory. Besides memorizing the story books, you could also remember things that were taught in school. You would come home everyday singing to the songs the teacher taught you. You could also name the colours and numbers in English, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia. Oh, and you could even count to 40 now. Sometimes, you could even remember things that happened once at a certain place a few weeks ago. When we happen to drive pass that same place, you could point out what we did and who we saw there. And it frightens your dad a lot, simply because he can't even remember what I said just 5 minutes ago.


You love your little brother a lot. When he cries, you would go up to him and pat his head, chanting "It's ok. It's ok". When you're going to take a shower, you would tell him, "Wait for jie jie ok? Jie jie shower first." before taking your shirt off and dash into the bathroom. If I'm taking my shower and he's crying for me, you would read to him your favourite book, cause you know that he'll be ok just to have you around.

You love to sing. You could even come up with your own song with your own lyrics. It's funny to listen most of the time. The other day, you sang "One, little two, little three, little baby Emmett..." and I just couldn't stop laughing looking at you singing with accompanied actions. It's just too cute!

You have your own happy dance, too! When you get to drink your favourite packet milk or go to the playground, you would hold your fists up to your chest, twist your body and do a little hop. It makes me feel happy for you, too.


You also drive me up the wall sometimes but there is never a day that you don’t make me smile. You are clever, so so clever. You just want to know everything and that is so much more important to me right now. I love your thirst for knowledge.

You see, in many ways, you reminded me of myself. You look like me when I was little, you have good memory just like me (thank God!), you love singing just like me. Basically, you're like my mini me!

But also, in many ways, you're better than me. You love generously, you forgive easily and you're just a genuinely kind and wonderful soul. And I can't express enough just how proud I am of you.


So on this day, as we celebrate your 3rd birthday, I might not have the perfect gift for you, but I want you to have whatever you want. I want you to be happy. I want you to find someone that you love and love them completely. I want you to find a passion and follow it completely. I want you to work hard at whatever educational and career path you choose, although whatever you choose is fine with me. I want you to do what you love, and live a fulfilling life. Never let anyone tell you what to do, listen to advice but always make your own choices. If you can learn one thing from me I hope it’s that, do whatever you choose to do and don’t let anyone hold you back, whoever they are. Even if that person is me. Most of all I want you to be content. Find the simplest joy in the smallest thing. If you are kind, loyal, ambitious, determined, honest, faithful, loving, accepting and humble, then good things will come to you. Lastly, be brave and take risks. Take chances and be daring, life’s too short not to.

Happie Birthday my sweet sweet darling.


Love,
Mummy

Friday, April 27, 2018

Pros and Cons - Day Care vs. Nanny

Charlotte started attending day care when she was 19 months old. She had positive progress throughout her one year attendance and I thought that day care was for me (and my kids).

But when I didn't enroll Emmett into a day care centre when I was about to start work simply because the day care centers in Puchong are much more expensive compared to the one I sent Charlotte to in Cyberjaya. I was extremely reluctant to send him to a nanny simply because I had many bad experience while visiting and interviewing a few nannies before. 

Thank God I managed to find one that charges within my budget and Emmett had been in good hands so far.

So I would like to share my personal view on this matter.


Nanny Pros:
  1. More Parental Control: With a nanny, I get to have a say on what to let my child eats or what his schedule should be like. Emmett's nanny also records his daily activity on a daily log that I provided so I get to know what's going on throughout his stay at the nanny. Sometimes the nanny would also send me pictures of him.
  2. Individual Attention: Emmett's nanny is currently only taking care of him. She has 3 school-going-grandchildren but that doesn't affect her at all. In fact, the kids are very helpful and love to play with Emmett. She would also update me on Emmett's development which I'm really grateful for. 
  3. Attachment: The nanny is now Emmett's primary attachment figure. He can rely on her for secure and comfort.
  4. Flexibility: I can send Emmett to the nanny anytime of the day because I know that she will be home. She is also fine with me if I need to send him early or pick him up slightly later. She sometimes even asks me to send him during school holidays or public holiday without extra charge. 
  5. Consistent Care: Unlike turnover at a day care center, the nanny is always there to care for Emmett, which is important for Emmett's emotional development.
Day Care Pros:
  1. Helps Build Social Skills: Baby gets to develop critical skills by interacting with others, both adults and children.
  2. Variety of Resources: Most day care centers offer a wide variety of toys, books, games and play equipment. They might also provide opportunities for creative play with art supplies, educational games, dress-up outfits and building blocks. These are usually included in your monthly fee so you don't have to pay extras.
  3. Multiple Teachers: Children will be supervised by a group of teachers and form relationships with more than one individual.
  4. Cost: The price of daycare tends to be more affordable than a nanny since you are sharing the cost with other families. The price varies based on location and type of facility. Charlotte's day care in Cyberjaya cost RM700 per month while the day care centers I've surveyed in Puchong cost at least RM1200 per month.
Nanny Cons:
  1. Parenting Style Conflict: I interviewed many nannies before I found the right one. The reason I turned down most of them was because of parenting style conflict. I have some specific and reasonable requirements which I wish the nanny would follow such as not using the walker and less screen time but sadly not all are on the same page as me. Some even questioned me back, "Huh!? No walker!? Cannot one! Later start walking slower than the others, how?". I explained my reasons and concerns but not all are open minded. This current nanny's who's taking care of Emmett is not the case, thank God! She respect my parenting style and tries to follow as much as she could. 
  2. No Sick Time Coverage: Unless you can get others to help or find a back up plan, if the nanny is sick or needs to leave town, you will need to take leave from work as well.
  3. Cost: Nanny costs vary depending on location, the number of kids, and other factors. And generally, Chinese nannies charge more! I am not being racist here but I really think that some Chinese nannies are just too calculative. Some even told me that they will charge me extra if I pick up 10 minutes later. I understand that work is work and extra time should be paid for. But being too calculative just sets me off. Again, I am very very very lucky to have found one who is not calculative and charges me at an affordable price.
Day Care Cons:
  1. More Germs and Illness: Charlotte had Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD), Influenza A and Influenza B within a year of attending day care. Well, she basically falls sick every 3 weeks. I guess it's something hard to avoid with kids sharing so many toys, wiping their noses and touching the toys again. 
  2. Sick Policies: Some day care centers have strick sick policies. You have to take off from work or find other childcare arrangements when your child has an illness. Further, if your kid gets sick at daycare, you will have to come pick them up and keep them home until they are free of the illness. I had to take unpaid leave for almost 3 weeks when Charlotte was down with Influenza B as I've used up all my Annual Leave back then.
  3. Inflexibility: Daycare centers run on specific hours so if you are late picking up your child, it is probable that you will be subject to an extra charge. I was charged RM10 once for being just 3 minutes late, even though I was usually one of the few parents to pick up the child early.
It's not easy finding the right child care for your kid. I thought I'm the pro day care mom but I have a different view now because I am so so so so lucky to have found the right nanny for my son. To know what suits you and your family, my advise would be to sit down and list down the things that is important to you (eg. supports breastfeeding) and be honest with the things you need and want. Also think about things that may upset or frustrate you (eg. talking in baby language, the use of baby walker, etc.). Make visits to potential child care provider and don't rush into making a decision. I've interviewed more than 10 nannies and visited more than 7 day cares before choosing the ones for my children. Remember that no decision is permanent and you can always change your situation based on your needs or your child's needs.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Emmett Has Bronchiolitis

As some of you have known, Emmett was admitted to hospital on Tuesday night because he has bronchiolitis.

I'm not sure when it all started but I'll give you an honest account of what happened here.

He's been having runny nose and cough with phlegm for quite some time already. I thought it's common as his sister, Charlotte, who's a school-goer, could sometimes be heard coughing with phlegm. She loves her brother and would sometimes play with him and kiss him on the cheeks. I've been trying my very best to tell her not to kiss Emmett on the lips since day 1 and so far she's been obedient. So Emmett's flu and coughing was not bothering at all as he's been cheerful all the while.

It started to be a lil unusual last Saturday mid night. It usually takes me around 5 to 10 minutes to put him back to sleep when he's up for mid night feed. But that Friday night, he woke up crying and screaming. I couldn't pacify him by breastfeeding him or shushing. It took me around 50 minutes to make him go back to sleep. I felt he had a lil temperature but I dust it off and went back to sleep cause I had to wake up at 4am to catch a plane. I brought him with me.

He was awake most of the time when I thought he would be catching up on his sleep in the carrier. When we arrived at our destination, his runny nose and coughing became more severe. Soon in the afternoon, his temperature was higher. I kept trying to breastfeed him but to avail. Even if I successfully had him latch on, it was only a good 5 minutes or lesser. My boobs were sore and hard, and that's how I know he's not drinking well.

Took him to see a doctor in the evening and true enough, he was having a fever and his temperature was 38°C. Gave him some paracetamol to bring his temperature down and he slept almost throughout the night. He did woke up a few times crying in discomfort yet refused to be nursed.

We went back on Sunday in the evening. The next day, I took the day off to bring him to the paediatrician. He was still having high fever. Doctor suggested him to be on the nebulizer twice, 4 hourly. He felt better but the fever still comes and goes. So the doctor told me to take another day off to bring him back for another round of treatment the next day.


And I did. We came back the next day and he was on the nebulizer twice again. He did felt better but his symptoms were still there -  shortness of breath, fever, cough with phlegm, flu and lethargic.

Pic: He was lethargic and sleeping most of the time since we came back from our trip.

The doctor ran a blood test and nose swap. The result showed that he has respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, also known as human pneumovirus). In other words, he has bronchiolitis.

So doctor suggested to get him admitted immediately so that he can be on the nebulizer 4 hourly and get a physio therapist to perform percussion to help clear the phlegm.

Reluctant but I know it's for his own good. And for the first time ever, I am so so so SO glad to have bought him a medical card.


We got ourselves admitted at 10.30pm cause there was no available ward earlier. It's a single bedded ward as the doctor said he needs to be away from other patients as his condition is not so good.

Right after we've settled down, the nurse came to give him some paracetamol for his fever. And then there was the 4 hourly neb throughout the night and day.


The physio therapist performs percussion on him once a day. Basically, he wraps Emmett up in a burrito, then uses his 3 fingers to tap on his chest and back. Emmett needs to fast for at least 2 hours before every physio session.

It's our second day in the hospital and Emmett is responding very well to  the treatment. And it's obvious cause he's now more awake and energetic, almost back to his own self. I say almost because Charlotte is not around so he's not squeaking like usual lol. The doctor advised to stay one more day as there's still shortness of breath. It's better to have him carefully taken care of  so as to not have secondary infection. Ok lo, you say like that, ok lo lol.


One more night and we'll be out of the hospital tomorrow. Get well soon ok cheeky boy!

******************************************

I gathered some FAQ about Bronchiolitis as follow:

What causes bronchitis in babies?
RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis. RSV usually strikes children by the age of 2, but is most common in babies less than 1 year of age. This contagious and dangerous viral infection produces inflammation, mucus, and swelling in the airways.

Can you catch bronchitis from someone?
It's usually not contagious, so you typically can't get it from another person or pass it onto someone else. People with this condition often have a phlegmy cough, but even if you are in close contact with them when they are coughing, if the illness is not caused by infection, you won't catch it.

Signs and symptoms of RSV bronchiolitis.
For children with bronchiolitis, after developing a runny nose and cough, over the next few days, the cough will worsen and may become tight sounding and your child may develop other RSV symptoms, including fever, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

(ps/ From this table, Emmett was already in a severe condition when we came back from our trip.)

What is the bronchiolitis treatment in babies?
There is no cure for bronchiolitis, so treatment is aimed at the symptoms (eg, difficulty breathing, fever). Treatment at home usually includes making sure the child drinks enough and saline nose drops (with bulb suctioning for infants).To avoid the infection spreading to other children, take your child out of nursery or day care and keep them at home until their symptoms have improved.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Family Photo Shoot at Apic Studio

Last Saturday, my little family and I had a photo shoot at Apic Studio. I bought the package at a promotional price last year. The studio is located at Kota Damansara.

This is the reception area.

The shooting area.

The other shooting area.

The displays.

And of course, the fitting room.

The husband and the children had changed into their outfits before we left the house. So I only had to change myself as I was wearing my aunty-ish nursing wear haha. I didn't even put on any make-up cause erm I don't know how fml.

After we're all set, the photo shooting commences.

The photographer, Alex Yoong, is a very patient photographer. Shooting with Emmett was somehow easy but shooting with Charlotte, sigh! Let me show you why later. Yet, Alex and his assistant would try their best to get her attention and make her smile.

He would let her roam around and play with the props. Once she's more settle, he would start shooting and capture her natural state.

It was honestly quite difficult to shoot with kids. But I love the outcome! Let me show you some.

Gonna have this printed in 12R to hang on our wall 


My handsome boy ❤

My big baby ❤

After the shoot, we got to review some of the photos.

Now let me show you some NG shots lol.


Dunno what is this girl thinking lol.

Yupe, natural state alright lolol.

Why do I have these shots? Because right after the shoot, all the pictures (around 400+) were given back to me unedited 😀 But unedited also so pretty already la ❤

I can then go home and choose 20 pictures of my choice to be edited and printed in a 5R album, and 1 picture to be printed and framed in 12R size.

The current packages are as follow:



This is not a sponsored post. Just that, good things must share 😊 ok Imma start a label for that.

For more info on Apic Studio 
Address: 53-2, Jalan PJU 5/20e, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya ​ 
Mobile: +6010-360 1160 
Email: apicstudio.my@gmail.com 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/apicstudio.my 
Instagram: apicstudio.my ​ 
Working Hours: Weekdays 11am - 5pm 
Weekend by appointment / shooting

Friday, March 16, 2018

How To Treat Cradle Cap



Emmett developed flaky, dry skin that looks like dandruff when he was about 2 months old. It is better known as cradle cap. Doctors call it infantile seborrheic dermatitis, and it's very common.

Cradle cap isn't cute, but it's harmless and not contagious. It shows up most often in the first few months of life and usually clears up on its own in about six to 12 months – although some children have it for longer.

Charlotte didn't have it so it's very new to me when I first see it on his scalp. It probably didn't bother him but it certainly bothered me as it's so tempting to pick at the scaly patches on his head. And I did hahaha sorry Emmett.

After a(short)while I figure it's really not so good to do so and I went to look for remedies online. It worked really well and went off after 2 rounds of application so I'm gonna share it here, too.

You only need 2 things:


Baby oil and a small comb.

Some said you can use coconut oil. But since I already have a bottle of baby oil, I might as well use it.

Instruction:


1 ❤ Rub a small amount of oil on your baby's scalp and leave it on for about 15 minutes. I did it when he was asleep in the carrier so he wasn't moving around a lot and it made the whole process smooth and easy.


2 ❤ Gently comb out the flakes with a fine-tooth comb or brush them out with a soft brush.

3 ❤ Wash your baby's scalp with a gentle baby shampoo. You do not want to leave oil on your baby's head, which could clog the pores and cause the flakes to stick.


The end result- nice and clean scalp.

The flakes came back after a week and I redid the steps again to clear them off. It's gone for good after 2 weeks.

So there you have it. If your baby has cradle cap, hope this remedy helps you, too :)

p/s - Talk with your baby's doctor if the cradle cap is severe as it could be caused by other factor such as yeast infection.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Priorities

I have a strong urge to pen this down so here it goes.

I have the privilege of taking up a part-time job in a company that has my best interest at heart. So even though I am a part-timer, they also signed me up and included me in a coaching program they are having for everyone in the company. Which I am deeply grateful for.

I had a second session with the coach just a few days ago and the main subject that we talked about were my career goal and how to achieve it.

Throughout the session, it was clear to me that I have the passion and the desire to move to another level or at least try to do something that is out of my comfort zone.

What's stopping you? She asked.
What's your obstacle now?

I paused, and thought really hard about it.

I'm afraid that the new job might not allow me to finish work early so that I can pick up Charlotte when she finishes school at 4pm.
I'm afraid that I cannot find another loving and reliable nanny for Emmett.
I'm afraid that the new job might take up a lot of my time that I will not get to spend enough time with them.
I'm afraid of missing out every little milestone they achieve.

So, your kids are holding you back? She asked again.

I thought about it again and I said, they are not holding me back.
They are my motivation to thrive harder.
They are not my obstacles.
They are my priorities.

As the words came out of my mouth, it's like an epiphany to me as well.

I am slowing myself down and holding myself back because I now have different priorities- my kids!
Traveling can wait.
Career can wait.
But time with them are so limited as they're only young for such a short while.
Watching them grow and hitting every little milestone give me a sense of joy no words can ever explain. And they need me now, more than ever. If I can't be there for them now, then when?

Soon, they won't run over to plant big kisses on my lips.
They won't spend time having dinner with me.
They won't be calling "Mummy, mummy!" tirelessly.
Soon, they won't be mine, but someone's else's husband or wife.
And then, I won't be their priority anymore.

Let me tell you a little story that has me feeling guilty since it happened.

Charlotte has a habit of sleep-talking.
Few days ago, she hit me in the middle of the night. She hit me 4 times. And every time as she hit, she was crying out "No carry Emmett!". 4 times.

I turned to hug her tight. And she went back to sleep. The room was dark. But as I brush her cheeks, it felt wet. So was mine.

I am doing my very best to be there for both of them and to battle this mom-guilt constantly. But somehow I'm always at the losing end.

Realizing that now my priorities are them gives me a new perspective in life. That sometimes, some things can wait.

Cooking can wait.
House-cleaning can wait.
Laundry can wait.
Washing the dishes can wait.
Scrolling on social medias can wait.

A crying baby and a toddler that stands patiently outside of the kitchen waiting for a hug?
Don't wait. Attend to them first.

I love you both. Very very much.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

10 things to consider when choosing a preschool

When Charlotte was 2 years old, I've sorta decided to send her to a preschool when she turns 3. That's because I would rather pay more or less the same amount for a preschool program (with after school childcare service) than just a full-day childcare service.

I've semi-decided to send her to a kindie located just 5 minutes driving distance away from my house. But being a careful mom, I didn't wanna just send her there without doing any research and explore other opportunity, and then regret my decision later (cause registration fee and all are not cheap. It's usually not refundable, too). So I started asking around and visiting kindies since September of 2017.

Here are the 10 things I'd take into consideration when choosing a preschool for Charlotte-

1. Location

 Ideally, a preschool that is located in your own neighbourhood for easy drop off and pick-up. As a working mother, I need all the time I could have to get more things done eg. reaching the office early. Especially as a teacher myself, I would rather use the time I have to prepare for my lessons than to stuck in a traffic jam.

2. Communication

Before every school visit, I scheduled a 1-to-1 meeting with the principal to clarify all my doubts such as
◘ The breakdown on registration, miscellaneous and school fees
◘ Lesson/ program provided in school
◘ Daily schedule
◘ Provision for snack time and lunch time
◘ Class size for each age group
◘ Teacher-student ratio for each age group
◘ The rate of teacher's turn over
◘ How does the school react to certain scenarios (eg. when the child is sick or misconducts)

I appreciate schools that are as transparent as possible to ensure that what I want for my child (eg. healthy meals, assigned homework at a later age, etc.) is provided.

Now that Charlotte is attending school already, I make it a point to talk to the class teacher at least once a week to get an update on her progress. It really puts my heart at ease knowing that she's doing well in school.

3. Teacher-Student ratios

I found this on the MOE website. Putting it here for your reference :)

4. Teacher Turnover Rate

Preschools with high staff turnover rates mean the staff are unhappy and there is something not necessarily apparent that is wrong, whether it is because the staff are under paid, the center is managed poorly or the center is understaffed.

5. Discipline Policy

What type of system do they use when there is a problem? Positive reinforcement? Time out ? I'd check if the preschool uses discipline methods that I approve of. I definitely disapprove of physical punishment and shaming. And I appreciate communication from the teacher if my child(ren) would ever misconduct as I want to talk about it with my child(ren). I might also carry out some punishment at home to reinforce the seriousness of a misbehavior.

6. Food

I AM selective about what my children eat. Hence, I look into what kinds of foods are served to make sure the menu is consistent with my children's health and nutritional needs. I also make known to the principal and teacher not to give my children junk food. If there's any party pack that contains tidbits, I would like my children to bring them home (so that I can hide them away and buat dunno lol).

7. Environment

Check out the classrooms. I'd like to see children’s art pieces adorn the walls. Are there educational posters mounted at your child’s eye level?

Watch how the teachers interact with the kids ― do they talk at them? Do they bark orders at them? Or do they come down to the child’s level, make eye contact and talk to the child?

What kinds of playthings are available around the school? Are there outdoor play facilities? These give an indication as to how much emphasis the preschool places on play

8. Infrastructure

Cleanliness, safety and spaciousness are really important to me. I would find out what child safety measures and precautions the preschool has put in place. For instance, does the school do daily temperature checks? What happens if a child has a suspected contagious illness like HFMD? Where are the first-aid kits in the preschool located, and are there preschool staff who are trained in basic first aid and CPR? Hence, making school visits is a must for me to give me an insight into the school’s level of hygiene, whether the premises are child safe, and how daily meals are prepared. If your child has allergies, it is a good idea to find out how the school practises food safety.

9. Teaching methods

The two common ones that some Malaysia preschools may subscribe to:

* The Montessori method - Besides kids getting a hands-on approach to learning, the method believes that each child learns at his or her own pace (no comparing to the other kids).

* Waldorf approach - A structured approach to play-based learning. Your child spends certain days of the week doing things like baking, role-playing and gardening. It emphasises no screen-time and opts for natural wooden toys instead of battery-operated ones to inspire creative thinking.

I do not have a preferred method or approach because the most important thing to me is that my kids enjoy learning. The kindy Charlotte is attending adopts the Montessori method for kids age 3 to 5 and introduces the primary classroom method at age 6 to prepare them for primary school. I am totally fine with that, as long as the teachers know what they are doing and it's for the benefit of the children.

10. Budget

The cost of preschool in Malaysia can vary anywhere between RM300 a month to over RM1000 a month, so pick something that is within your price range. Charlotte's signed up for Extended Day Program where she gets to eat her lunch, have her nap and stays till 4pm. It cost rm600+ monthly, which is within my budget range.

My happie little school-goer :)

So far, Charlotte looks forward to go to school everyday! Even on weekends! She'd wake up and ask me "You want (to wear) school uniform? You want to see Teacher Pauline?" hahahahaha cause that's what I would ask her every school-day. So if I don't ask, she'd ask me back lol. And I must say, I am really really glad that she enjoys school.



Sunday, January 28, 2018

My 2017 in review

It's the end of Jan 2018 and now only I'm reviewing my 2017 #winliao

I'm not sure how to start but my 2017 is definitely the most challenging year I've ever encountered. Yet it was also fruitful in its beautiful way. Let me just pen down a few major ones.

1. I got pregnant.

Blogged about it HERE.

It had been my desire to get a sibling for Charlotte and we got lucky by hitting the jackpot only after one try (sorry but not sorry for tmi lol). And then it was an emotional roller coaster ride throughout the pregnancy, constantly fearing if I could ever love another human being again, and often regretting when I thought I couldn't spend enough quality time with Charlotte anymore. I was in denial for a long period of time though I had announced it to family members and a few close friends. I didn't talk to the little fetus like how I did when I was pregnant with Charlotte, not until much later when the bump was more obvious. I think I spent most of my time worrying than feeling joyful and for that, I'm sorry, Emmett. I blame it on myself. And those stupid hormones. 

2. We went to Japan as a family of 3 + 1.

Blogged about it HERE.

We went back to Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. I anticipated the trip since the day we bought our air tickets but honestly, I didn't enjoy it as much as we did when we went in June 2015 cause it was FREAKING BLARDY COLD. I thought I might be the one who can endure the winter the most as I've been to countries in winter before but boy I was so so wrong. I was down on the 3rd day due to the coldness. And since we brought Charlotte along, we missed out on a few things. My biggest regret was not eating Ichiran Ramen 😭😭😭 Also, since I was already pregnant, I was forbidden to eat sashimi. CAN YOU FEEL THE PAIN IN MY SOUL wtf. It also doesn't help when one day after we came back from Japan, Charlotte reset my phone and all our photos taken in Japan were gone. GONE!

Nevertheless, I will forever want to go back to Japan cause it's just a really really beautiful country and if I do, I WILL EAT ICHIRAN RAMEN, SASHIMISSS AND WAGYU BEEF WITH A VENGEANCE wtf 😁😁😁😂😂😂

3. We went to Adelaide for my baby brother's convocation.



It's my first trip with my dad after so many years of not joining him on his yearly family tour. To cut the story short, I was rebellious. To me, it was a time well spent with them, albeit a little argument during the trip.

So the last Loo in the family has finally graduated and my dad is now officially a full-time traveler.  Good for him, he deserves it. I love you, daddy.

4. I was conned and betrayed by my own relative.

This is somewhat the major highlight of the year. And this relative has opened my eyes to how selfish a person can be. And because of her, I fought a tough battle against my reporting manager for my rights. I didn't "win" the battle entirely but I've got what I deserved, walked away and moved on. I've also decided to cut her off as I don't wanna have anything to do with her ever again. 

Just in case some of you who know her and wants to pass her the message, please tell her that this is not a one-time-event. It's because of all the disappointments that piled up as we grew up together. No point elaborating cause she won't remember a single thing as she's ignorant like that. 

Bye, Felicia.

5. I gained a few close friends at work.

My lunch buddies are some really fun people I got to know from my previous work place and I'm really really glad to get to know them cause they helped me A LOT when battling for my rights. And it's because of them, I got the strength and knowledge to stand up tall and fight back, knowing that I have them and justice on my side. 

6. I gave birth to Emmett.


This birth experience made me salute mummies who gave birth naturally. I would even bow 90° if  you tell me you've given birth naturally without epidural. I thought I've prepared myself and would be tough enough to endure labour pain but I was so wrong. I SCREAMED for c-sect, even though I was already 4cm dilated.

And my heart grew bigger. I think it's just a natural thing to love another human being of your own even though you thought you've given all your love and couldn't do it all over again.

Now as a mom of 2, time just jets by. Writing this post now is a testimony itself.

7. I went back to teaching.

I had one year experience in the corporate world and I guess I've had enough of it. I'm lucky to have found a teaching job before the year ended and I'm feeling quite comfortable doing what I'm good at. I'm not sure if I will have the urge to challenge myself again and do something other than teaching, cause I always do even though I say I don't. Does it make any sense? But right now I'm really happy with this job cause of the working hours that allows me to spend more time with my kids.

Ya. Kids. I have kids now. 

2018 is looking so good so far. Exciting things, that I cannot speak about yet, are happening this year and I can't wait for it to unfold. I'm feeling positive.

Bring it on!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

10 Reasons Why I Choose To Do My Confinement In A Confinement Centre

After I knew I was pregnant with Emmett, it was a no brain decision for me to do my confinement in a confinement centre.

I had a very pleasant experience staying in a confinement centre after I gave birth to Charlotte and this time, too, was nothing short of that. I had the rest and peace I needed, and also the time to bond with a new tiny human being in a relaxing way. 

A lot of people think that paying to stay at a confinement centre is too costly, which I some how agree. But I also think that it's quite worthy.

Here are my top 10 reasons why I choose to do my confinement in a confinement centre.

1. Mummy Gets to Rest Well
After giving birth, whether it's via normal delivery or cesarean, mummy needs to rest well for the wound to recover. And when the milk starts to kick in, it's another kind of pain a mummy has to handle. Staying in a confinement allows you to do that with the help of trained nurses. The nurse will bring the baby to you when it's time to feed and helps you to take care of him when you're done feeding the baby so you don't have to walk around too much and could get some uninterrupted rest. Oh, there's also a post-natal massage session for mummy during the stay

2. Round The Clock Care for  Baby (and mummy!)
The ratio of nurse to baby is 1:2 and there're 3 rotational shifts. So I can be sure that my baby will be well taken care of 24 hours a day and when help is needed, I can just ring the bell and a nurse will be at my room door ready to help me. I don't have to worry if the nurse is too tired working during the day and could't rest well cause she cannot sleep through the night as she has to care for my baby. My heart is always at ease knowing that my baby will be in good hands when I need to rest.

3. Delicious Wholesome Meal All Day Long
The centre serves 5 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dessert, dinner, supper). There's also 2 serving of organic milk booster rice milk everyday and free flow of red dates water/ rice tea and drinking water. There're also instant coffee and milo powder. Breastfeeding makes me feel hungry easily. Hence, I LOOOOOVVVEEE having food served to me  without me cooking it lolol. And the portion of food is so generous that my pre-pregnant self would have to finish it in 2 servings. 

Let me show you some of the meals I had.

Breakfast


Roti Jala  


Homemade burger and potato soup. All made from scratch by the dedicated chef.

Fried Rice

Fried Lou Shu Fun

Porridge

Lunch/ Dinner

Spaghetti with homemade pesto sauce and chicken chop.

Bak Kut Teh

Pork Belly with Black Fungus.

Braised chicken 

For lunch and dinner, it's more or less the same with a portion of rice, vegie, meat (pork, chicken or fish), soup and fruit. You can ask for a bigger potion if you need more. I usually ask for more soup cause it really helps in boosting my milk supply. 

Dessert
Green bean soup.

They also serve pumpkin soup, tong yun soup, red bean soup and black glutinous rice soup.

4. Daily Herbal Bath and Tonic Soup
At the confinement centre, I shower in the morning daily with herbal warm water. It is common practice for Chinese mothers not to bathe or wash hair during confinement. Contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly fine to continue with bathing during confinement as it is important to maintain hygiene. Just bathe in warm water and dry the body and hair immediately.

I was also given tonic soup twice daily after the 7th day I deliver. The tonic soup was believed to promote healing, increase milk production, and prevent problems that typically occur after childbirth.

5. Chores Free!
How good it is to have your room cleaned daily in the morning. How good it is to not have to wash the dishes after each meal. How good it is to have your laundry done daily. I wish I could stay in that confinement centre. FOREVER!

6. Mummies Fellowship
Mummies at the confinement centre get together at least twice daily (during lunch and dinner time). And we would talk about our little ones and form friendships.

You know, the first time I was in the confinement centre, all the mummies I met were first time mom, including myself. And this time, 5 out of 7 mummies, including myself, are second-time mom. So we have so much in common to talk about. We even have a group chat now that we're all out of the confinement centre. Sometimes in the middle of the night when we're up for night feeding, we would even cheer on each other lol. 

7. The Husband Can Go To Work Worry-Free
He doesn't need to do any grocery shopping (or bring the CL to do grocery shopping). He doesn't have to fetch food to me, knowing that I will be well fed. He doesn't have to be there all day to accompany me. All he has to do is to bring Charlotte to the nursery and care for her after they're home. 

It was also the best 2 weeks for them to bond cause Charlotte has been sticking to me like a leech all this while.

8. Lifetime Breastfeeding and Parenting Support
Daphne and Gina are the founders of the centre. They are certified breastfeeding counselors as well. They're always there to help to make sure you get a good start in your breastfeeding journey. And even if they're not around, you can always reach them via WhatsApp. They're also reachable and ready to help even if you have checked out of the confinement centre. 

9. Free Training/ Workshop
If you're ready and want to be hands-on to learn how to bath your baby or change his soiled diaper, the nurses are always ready to guide you. There're also baby-wearing and female hygiene care workshops.  

10. Go Home Energized and Happy
Even though I've only stayed for 2 weeks at the confinement centre, I went home all energized and happy. And I didn't feel like I was confined at all! It felt like a much needed staycation instead. I really wish I could stay there FOREVER lolol.

By the way, this is not a sponsored post. But good things must share ho :)

I stayed at Gina's Place : The Breastfeeding Postnatal Centre.
FB Page : https://www.facebook.com/Ginas.Postnatal/