Sunday, April 21, 2013

Funniest Things Kids Have Said Lately

"Where did you learn the word 'foolish' ?" I asked.
"Well, big sister taught me the word 'fool' from the silly boys in her class. And I added 'ish.' "

On another day, I was speaking to an adult.
"I tend to find parents of an only child to be a bit more protective since they...." I paused a bit to tend to baby and my kindergarten child finished the statement for me.

"Because they don't have a BACK-UP kid?"

This was followed by tears of laughter....for a long time.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What to Expect During the First Three Months of Baby

1. Sleep swaddled
2. Nurse one side
3. Sometimes poo, change diaper
4. Nurse other side
5. Sleep swaddled
6. Goto 1.

Other activities:
Step 3) may happen at anytime.
Random moments of wakefulness during the 24 hour cycle.
Random moments of crying anytime.
Lot of hugging and holding.
Lots of looking at baby in amazement...a miracle she is.

For the Mom:
1. Adjusting to breastfeeding takes a month or more.
2. Critical is a cellphone with texting ability to reach out to friends, baby caretakers, husband when you are immobile while you nurse.
3. Your hair will start falling out after 3 months, some more than others. This may be a good time to enjoy a fresh, new haircut.
4. You will no longer need mat clothes at 3 months, but won't be able to fit into your previous skinny jeans. You may need to purchase some "interim" pants and button down shirts, if nursing.
5. Purchase a breastpump - critical for emergencies.
6. A nursing pillow that has a velcro belt works best, not the U shapes ones. They tend to slip out.
7. Take time everyday to shower, take care of your hair and makeup so you feel good about yourself. A disheveled mom is not a happy mom.

Enjoy this early baby time - it goes by quickly!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Biomedical Career Development Workshop 2013

Here are the sessions for the Career Development Workshop coming in June, 2013. Open to 200 graduate students, PDFs and professionals, it will address the transitions of the life science career path while integrating the rest of life. Proposal was sent to American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and was awarded! Other sponsors include CSMB, Depts of Biochemistry, Immunology, U of Toronto. Thank you to the sponsors and the students who are helping me organize the logistics.

9-10 How to Succeed in Academia
10-11 How to Optimize your Scientific Career
11-12 Successful Careers outside of Academia

Networking Lunch
1:30 - 3 Concurrent sessionals
    Intellectual Property and Ethics
    Global Trends / Innovation
    Choosing the Best PostDoc and Preparing for the Job After

3:15 - 4:30 Afternoon Plenary
Career Transitions Throughout Life

4:30 - 5 Keynote Speaker Matt Buist, Director of Life Science Ontario

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Swaddling Baby

Infants are used to the cozy, naturally swaddled place she called home for 9 months. Then after birth, she cries "What is all this space?! I have these long dangling limbs! What are they? Why do they keep hitting my face? Ahh!"

Hence, they are at peace and sleep better when they are all wrapped up.

A recent Globe and Mail article addressed this very question, and here is my take on the whole swaddling.

All three of my babies slept better when swaddled.
They might initially fight the swaddle, but when held right after, they calmed down and stayed asleep longer. Here are the swaddling blankets we used at each step of their infancy.

Newborn: Receiving blankets
1-2 weeks: Swaddle blankets with the velcro
2 months: Woombies as my baby likes to have her arms near her face
4 months: Sleep sacs with the arms sewn up

By 5 months, my second child was out of them.
My first child had a sleep sac with some fabric sewn on the arms as she liked to feel blankets on her mouth.
My third one seems to like blankets on her mouth too, so I imagine the next step in her sleep development will be a sleep sac with open arms, but with longer fabric so she can easily access her "blankie."

Just make sure they do not overheat or are not too cold.
Enjoy the sleeps!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Realities of Nursing

I have nursed two children for 1 year, 18 months and the third is 4 months old. Here are the highlights of my experience.

1. When your milk first comes in, it is PAINFUL. Cabbage leaves or baby washcloths soaked and drained in warm water can be effective compresses while you nurse and after.

2. With each subsequent baby, the pain associated with the first milk coming in decreases. The let-down pain of my third baby has just diminished to the point it just feels funny, but the first 2.5 - 3 months were pretty painful.

3. My two older children did not have latching issues. Third baby did. Some speculated she had a smaller mouth. Her smaller mouth led to breast preference.

4. During the infant stage, my babies nursed for 1 hr at a time. At 3 months, they were efficient and so it only took them 10-15 minutes.

5. Invest in a nursing apron or some good nursing tops so you can nurse in the living room with friends around. Don't feel you need to be isolated in the nursery. Feeding a baby should be just part of your own life.

6. Pumping does not produce as much milk. Some told me to watch a funny show or think of baby while pumping, but I never really got it to work as well. I pumped after some feedings for my first child, in case I would need it. However, with the other ones, I rarely pumped or pump now. I think I have about 20 ounces in the freezer. C'est tout.

7. Baby #1 and I experienced thrush, which is a painful yeast infection in the breasts and babies' mouth. We eventually won the battle, after weeks of treatment. However, I took preventative measures the second time and this time, but taking supplemental acidopholus pills.

8. Don't be afraid to talk to lactation consultants. Most will come to your home, watch you and give you the advice you need.

9. It is a wonderful bond between mother and child. Enjoy it while it lasts. I know I cried a little when both of my older children self-weaned. Even after all the pain, I know I will miss it too when baby 3 finishes in the future.

How to Get Things Done with Baby

By the time babies are around 3-4 months, their window of wakefulness is about two hours, the latter hour being one of when baby wants to be held.

Hence, if you want to get things done, that first hour is when you have the most flexibility. This is the hour when after nursing, you are able to get yourself ready, cook, eat, vacuum, clean, fold laundry, work, or write emails while baby plays on a play mat or in the swing or bouncy chair.

At about the second hour, she likes to to be held. This is when I hold her to practice standing and/or hold her with in my lap and play piano and sing. We also walk around the house and pick up/tidy, load laundry or switch to dryer, put dishes away or read to my other children. I have even vacuumed while holding her too. She enjoys the noise and the movement. Women have great hips where baby can sit on while you multitask. :)

My motto is: try not to always do things FOR the baby but do things WITH the baby. Incorporate baby into your life as much as possible, around her sleep and nursing schedule.

Having said that, most of my cooking is done while she is sleeping. I may hold her while washing fruits or vegetables, as she likes the sound of water and watching the process. However, with all of the chopping and heat work, baby needs to be safely away.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sleep Issues for Babies and Children

Listed by age, here are the top reasons your babies will interrupt your night sleep.

1. The "fourth trimester" or the first 3 months of baby's life, feedings are every 2-3 hours, poo diapers at all hours of the night, and infants have day-night confusion until 6 weeks when sleep hormones kick in.

2. By the end of the third month, they have a reasonable schedule (wake up 2-3 times to feed at night) but then at 4-7 months, the teeth come in! Another round of sleepless nights.

3. So excited to crawl (6 months) and walk (12 months), they even want to practice during their sleep.

4. At 2-3 yrs, they are potty training, including the nights.

5. At 4-7 yrs, they have bad dreams.

6. By the time they are 8, you may get a full night's sleep for more than a few days.

These do not include issues when they are sick, ear infections, nosebleeds, tummy aches, effects of immunizations. Make sure you have tylenol and advil (for ear infections) in your medicine cabinet.

I am not at the teenage years yet, but I am sure issues will arise then with late nights...

Parenting is a job 24/7...for life. :)

Top 27 Items Required for Baby

Here is the list. Try to obtain these second-hand as baby will not use these items for very long.The big thing for me is, baby does not need all the matching baby furniture such as crib and changing station. I used a Pack-n-Play for all my kids until they were one, and then they were in a twin bed. The PnP is great because it is soft; and when you are traveling, the baby does not have "strange" bed anxiety as you cannot take a crib along everywhere.

1. Carseat
2. Accompanying Snap-n-Go Stroller
3. Shades for car
4. Backpack baby bag (pick a light one)

5. Pack N Play for sleep and travel sleep
6. Swaddler Blankets - Woombies
7. White noise machine or a loud fan
8. Rocking chair (saves your back)

9. Baby Seat or Swing
10. Playmat
11. Baby sling

Bath and Grooming
12. Diaper Change Pad with 2-3 covers
13. Penaten or Zincofax
14. Ecobaby Wash
15. Bathtub
16. Washcloths
17. Nailclippers
18. Baby brush and comb
19. Wipes and Diapers (Costco)
20. GatorBalm for any patches of dry skin

21. Nursing Pillow
22. Cotton BreastPads (NOT disposable)
23. Waterbottles for Mama at night time
24. For Mama: acidopholus
25. Pumping supplies

26. Blankets for stroller on cold days
27. Camera to take LOTS of pictures

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