Happiness is... enjoying my last confinement

Posted by ~Summer~ on May 08, 2021
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Truth be told, I've never felt really 'confined' in my last three confinements. After all, this is a Mama who took her 1-month-old newborn to travel to Stockholm in icy cold winter, wore shorts to sleep in an air conditioned room after giving birth, showered nearly every day, brought a 10-day-old to the cinema and then a 12-day-old to the River Safari, was constantly on the move and basically one who is more liberal and doesn't conform to rules.

However, knowing that this would be my last confinement and heeding friends' advice to take extra effort to nourish and care for my body, I did. This time round, I only went out when I had to bring the baby for his checkups or to see my gynae, and made one visit to the park when the kids were really bored and I wanted some fresh air too. Other than that, I was home almost all the time and I ate confinement food, took tonics, showered less, wore pants and bedroom slippers, and rested more than I did before.

Okay, about rest, I guess it was still scarce as we don't have a confinement lady or helper and the baby was under my care 24/7, not to mention having to look after the older ones too. Also, I still wanted to do the things I always do, like crafting and video making, because these kept me busy and brought me joy. And so I did. I think it's really important to find a way to relieve stress so you can stay positive, strong and motivated during this tough period of handling a new addition to the family. 乐观的心态很重要,对吗?

In this "Happiness is..." post, it's about enjoying my confinement month and all the things I did to keep myself happy, even though there were surely the challenging days too.


One of the first things I did upon discharge from the hospital was to have a belly painting session with the three older kids! Right, you might ask why since the baby was already out and it didn't really make sense to paint on a tummy with no baby inside (even though I still looked like I was in my third trimester)? 

I suppose you can say I am stubborn like that, it was something I had promised the kids and we even bought all the materials already so I didn't want to let the paint go to waste. More importantly, I wanted it to a reminder to them that I still care about the three of them deeply and that my life did not revolve solely around the newborn brother. So yup, we had a blast and while the baby was sleeping, they took turns to paint before coming together to do a final combined 'artwork' - which was very sweet because it said 'Welcome Baby Ansel'. Awww. Take a look at our video here.

Having my confinement meals settled for the entire month was one of the big factors that made my life easier and gave me a peace of mind. I didn't have to trouble anyone to cook for me and could instead focus on recuperating and taking care of the baby, which was something I deeply appreciated. Read my full review of Tian Wei Signature here. For those preggie mums who are like me and don't have a helper, don't plan to get a confinement nanny and don't like to trouble parents, I would definitely recommend that you take this up.

For the first time ever, I also did postnatal massage! Having a massage is always a luxury treat for me and yup, it felt so good even though I had to do it in the company of my baby and the kids. Haha. I was still able to complete all seven postnatal sessions and they definitely helped me to relax and feel better about myself. I also recovered and lost the extra weight fast which was a morale booster too. Read my review of Postnatal Massage Singapore here.

Some things just don't change, right? For all my four confinements, I'll always be finding time to edit and print photos, do picture collages, do videos and will be cutting and sticking away. Yes, crafting makes me sane and gives me joy, not to mention it gives me a sense of accomplishment too. If you have any way of relieving stress and winding down, be it writing a diary, snacking or watching Netflix, don't be afraid to do it too. Being, and staying, happy is very important during this period because guess what, your emotions can get transferred to your kids too! Read about our DIY full month thank you card, a project done by the kids and I, here.

When Ansel was 11 days old, we also did a newborn and family photoshoot. I was looking forward to it so much because it gave me a chance to get out of the house with legit reasons and the priceless photos I received from that session will be cherished for a lifetime. I am always thankful for every photoshoot that we do and this will be the last newborn one, which is why I treasure these moments of my tiny baby more than I can say. Kids, they grow up too fast, don't they? Read our review of Ashley Low Photography here.

We had to make trips for my checkups with my gynae and also brought Ansel to the clinic frequently to follow up on his jaundice condition too. The hubby took time off so he could fetch us there and it was something I appreciated as we could go for breakfast after that and enjoy a bit of time with our newborn before he went to work. 

Thank you Dr Tan for delivering three of my kids safely into this world! It might be a while before I see you again and nope, I don't think it will be for pregnancy related matters already. Haha. 

Talking about jaundice, it was one of the things that gave me a headache in this month. While all my other kids had it too, it was never as severe as this. We had to extend our stay in the hospital because Ansel had to go for phototherapy and even after doing that, his levels continued to spike and a few days later, we did a blood test and his PD said we had to be admitted again. Alas, it was so called an auspicious date on 3 March and the hospital was full and had no beds for me. I was advised to admit him only which meant that I would be unable to breastfeed him around the clock.

After making a few calls to different hospitals and talking to the PD which left me feeling helpless, I actually cried after putting down the phone as I looked at my baby. The hubby didn't understand it and asked "Why need to cry ley?" which of course didn't helped to relieve the overwhelming emotions I was feeling. Yup, I didn't want him to take formula and I wanted to continue breastfeeding him, even though he had a poor latch and my nipples were cracked and bleeding. I also couldn't bear the thought of leaving him in the hospital for who knows how many days and I knew I would be so worried that I wouldn't sleep a wink. I also felt guilty that I couldn't do more for him and had to see him suffer. Yup, all the emotions rushed through my head and it wasn't a good morning for me.

But you know what? I wiped the tears away after a few minutes and decided to think harder and figure out a way. I remembered a couple of readers telling me that I could rent the phototherapy machine home and do it on our own, so I called the PD again and asked about it.

She was against the idea because she said I might be soft-hearted and not be able to put him under the light for sufficient hours, plus she knew I had three other kids to handle and she was afraid that the baby might suffer if he didn't get the proper care he needed. I insisted that we try and so she linked us up with the baby specialist company which delivered the machine to us within the next hour. 

We paid $459 for two nights of usage and while it wasn't cheap, it would have costed us even more if we had gone to stay in the hospital, so that was a bit of consolation for ourselves. The thing was I had to stay with him around the clock, making sure his eye mask stayed on, that he wasn't dehydrated, that he was fed every two hours, that he was feeling okay and doing well. We were only supposed to take him out when we had to change him, when he needed to drink milk or when he was feeling fussy and cranky.

Was it exhausting? Absolutely yes, but it was also worth it as it meant we could stay together every minute and every second. We managed to put him under the light for 20 hours out of the 36 hours that we had the machine and I think it was a pretty commendable effort. So yes, we survived and the good news was his jaundice level started to drop after that so we could just monitor him at home and didn't need to go to the hospital again. Phew!

Oh, and on the part about formula, I eventually realised that it wasn't the end of the world and if it helped to make my baby feel better, I should just do it. So we did buy a can of formula and for those three days, I supplemented my breastfeeding with formula feeds too. Let's see, maybe he drank formula milk 5 to 6 times? Once the phototherapy ordeal was over, I was determined to revert to total breastfeeding again and I DID. Yay!

It took a lot of perseverance on my part and I had to resist to temptation because giving formula was so much easier. This boy couldn't latch on properly and I had to pump every three hours which was draining and exhausting, but every time I saw how well he drank my milk from the bottle, it was enough motivation to keep me going.

Another strong motivation for me to keep pumping around the clock was seeing how the other kids were enthusiastic about feeding the baby! Yup, he drank well from the bottle and didn't mind who was holding or feeding him, so the kids could take turns to do it and they were all very happy to be able to do it. Awww, I love seeing such loving sibling moments, don't you too?

Having a newborn in the house is something I treasure a lot because well, how many times can that happen in our lifetime, right? He might be my fourth baby but every day of his first few months is just so, so precious to me. I love that I am there for all his milestones and that I am the one who can soothe him when he needs some love. I love that I am there for all his tummy time, that I am the one who bathes him every day, and even the fact that he wakes me up every couple of hours in the night because it means I have someone to love and to care for.

One sad thing that happened this month was that we lost our dearest pet hamster, Lyra, It happened right on the day when I was feeling emotional and we were trying to get the phototherapy machine after Ansel's blood test failed. However, I was so tied up with the baby and I realised I didn't grieve as much for the hamster as I should have, which made me feel guilty and remorseful deep within. The kids were devastated and cried over the loss, so I had to console them or at least be beside them to remind them how Lyra would always live in our hearts.

Now that the five-year-old is no longer the littlest in the house, I keep reminding myself to shower him with more tender loving care and let him know that my love for him will never be any less. The good thing is he has been an amazing big brother and dotes on his baby brother every day. He is so gentle when he carries or pats him and would sing to him lullaby after lullaby, even if the baby is crying loudly, he wouldn't lose his cool and would continue to talk to him to calm him down and sing to him. Dear Asher, you are so absolutely wonderful korkor and I hope you know that.

When the hubby went back to work, it was time for me to head into the kitchen once more because, well, my kids need to eat, right? It was already a blessing that he could help me out in the first two weeks which greatly helped to ease my burden. Anyway, I kept our meals simple on most days and on the days that I didn't have the energy to cook, I ordered takeaways for them too. Yup, and I didn't feel guilty about it because it allowed me to be less stressed, less overwhelmed and instead more relaxed and more positive.

We are also lucky to have media drop after media drop every since Ansel joined our family and it's something I don't take for granted. Holding giveaways is one way I try to give back and to share the love with you guys so I hope you see all the work we put in behind the scene too. Nothing is for free in this world, yeah?

I still brought the kids to our neighbourhood playground because we were just feeling so cooped up at home and it was the March holidays after all. Well, at least I made sure I wore long pants and socks, haha. I do think it is important for mums to walk about and stay active after childbirth (provided there are no complications) because it aids in the recovery process too. I, for one, do not like lying down on the bed more than I need to.

In any case, I still needed to bring the boy to school every day and fetch him home when class ended but we made sure we didn't wander or stay out more than we had to. See how cute he is pushing his little brother in the mini stroller? He even said he would give up scooting, one of his favourite activities, just so he can push his Didi.

It's so funny that so many passers-by would always take a peek just to see if there really was a baby inside and when they saw him, they would say "So cute!", "So much hair!", "Boy or girl?", "How many months?" etc and it would always start a conversation.

Just before March holidays ended, we went on a trip to Hay Dairies Farm because the kids wanted to feed goats and after that, we made a spontaneous decision to head to Jurong Frog Farm. We initially thought we would only stay for half an hour or so because there didn't seem like much to do but guess what, we ended up staying over two hours because the kids spent the bulk of the time catching frogs! 

Yup, I do mean catching frogs with their bare hands. All three of them wanted to try so we paid $10 for each of them and off they went in their first ever frog catching experience. They didn't find it yucky or disgusting but more of challenging because the frogs would leap away. However, with some practice and determination, all three of them managed to do it time and again! Woohoo! Yay kiddos, well done, 你们肯定比妈妈勇敢!Check out more in our video here.

Last but not least, we had a full month celebration for baby Ansel which also marked the end of my confinement, woohoo! We had our parents, my aunt and grandma to join us for a popiah party and we also played back the growing up videos of the kids to reminisce the good old times too. It was such a simple celebration but perfect in every way because what mattered was that our family was together and all of us were happy, safe and healthy. Good health is the most important thing, especially when it comes to the people we love, don't you think so?

So yup, it was definitely an eventful month of March even though we didn't go out much. Having a baby in the house changes everything for me and I am still trying to get accustomed to being a mama of 4. It's my blessing and good fortune to be where I am and I will never take things for granted. Thankful for a smooth confinement month and I am so glad that I made it through and am still the happy-go-lucky, optimistic me who always see the glass half full. 

Till more happenings next month!


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