Can’t believe the first quarter of the year is nearly over! Just last month we were basking in London’s sunshine and enjoying the cool breeze which caressed our faces. That sheer thought makes us squirm with holiday withdrawal! Anyhoots, during our trip, we had the wonderful pleasure of an exclusive interview with our new guest writer, Andrea Kang Gruszka, who has so kindly agreed to contribute articles to The Hooting Post!
Our articles have been reaching folks all over the globe, particularly in Asia, The States and Europe. With Andrea, who has now relocated to London and expecting her first baby (woohoo!), she will take us through living in a new land and journeying her pregnancy with tips and tricks. We hope you enjoy reading us, just as much as we enjoyed putting these contents together, just for you! So first up, here’s her inaugural piece, take it away, Andrea! :)
So Spring is upon us with pretty flowers blooming and happy birds singing! As the days start to get longer, I’m once again thankful for the fact that I’ll be having a summer baby so that I won’t have to struggle with the challenge of dressing and caring for a newborn in harsh winter conditions. But if you ever find yourself having the honours of being pregnant during the winter (like yours truly) while living on a shoe-string budget (again, like yours truly), this list is for you.
You will notice that as your belly grows, so does your boobs! And it’s not only during your last trimester when your milk is coming in, but your boobs actually start preparing itself for nursing right from the onset of that “positive sign” on your pregnancy test stick. Some women even move up 2 or 3 sizes by the time they deliver. So if you’re gasping for breath but are on a tight budget and would prefer to only get yourself measured once you’re closer to “D-day”, padded camisoles are what you need! My favourite is Uniqlo’s AIRism Sleeveless Bra Top because they neither suffocate you like a “bak zhang” nor do they go out of shape after numerous washes.
And did I mention they come in really fun colours? I just bought my 6th pair in salmon orange! These padded camisoles not only save you money on maternity bras, they keep you warm too when that swollen belly decides to play peek-a-boo from under those pre-pregnancy sweaters. They make it easy to layer your clothes during those cold temperatures too.
And add to that, these double-up as nursing wear when baby arrives too. So ditch the nursing bra, and simply don these padded camisoles on their own, or under a crop top and whip out that boob for the hungry one. I’ve heard they score with breastfeeding mothers in Singapore too – no surprises there!
Thick, Long Shawl
Speaking of keeping that precious belly warm, thick long shawls were another wardrobe staple of mine during those blistering winter months. You won’t notice a huge change in size throughout your first trimester but chances are, most of your winter coats would be left gaping wide open by the time you hit your 16th week of pregnancy. And if you’re anything like me, refusing to invest in winter maternity wear since they will only be short-lived, these shawls not only work as a fashion statement, but they will definitely leave that little bun feeling toasty too (pun unintended).
What you need is one that drapes comfortably down past your belly button, without it feeling like an albatross around your neck. This can be any warm material from cashmere to wool or even good quality Pashmina. Just don’t get knitted shawls, as the holes in between will be useless against the relentless winter winds.
Now, this must-have certainly did not come as a surprise to you because we all know how effective ginger is in relieving nausea and headaches. But what you might not know is that it also keeps you warm for a much longer duration compared to the regular cup of tea.
My favourite instant sachet is Intra Ginger Drink because it’s brewed from young ginger and is therefore less “qiang” (read: overempowering/choking) than the usual concoction by Gold Kili or Super.
But if you’re not a fan of ginger and have difficulty downing the instant drinks, you can buy candied ginger from health foods stores and soak them in hot water before drinking it or you can even make your own with slices of young ginger, preserved in a glass jam jar with honey.
If you’re concerned about your sugar intake during pregnancy, get your hands on those that come in the form of a tea bag like Planet’s Organic Ginger Tea. These ones have all the natural goodness sans the sugar rush. There are many other food items that are recommended to relief nausea but this little cuppa was what kept me warm and sane during my first trimester and I hope it does the same for you.
So if I’ve got a miracle drink for my first trimester, you bet I’ve got one for my second trimester too – the all-famous breakfast drink, Milo!
In the UK, I’ve only found them in Sainsbury’s and Asda so yes, I was hogging bags and bags of refill in my kitchen cupboard throughout my second trimester as you can imagine the meltdown my poor hubby will have to deal with if I’m mad-craving for that cuppa and lo and behold, we’re out of Milo!!!
So why did this glorious chocolatey drink make it to my list of must-haves?
Because if your second trimester is anything like mine, you’re probably wide-eyed and zombified but badly starving at 5am too! And seriously, with a swollen belly in sub-zero temperatures, how many of us would really bother to prepare ourselves the decent, healthy snacks that all those mother and baby magazines so often recommend? Bleah! I say just snuggle under the covers with a big steaming cup of Milo and two bananas, and you’ll be set to snooze right back into dreamland after 30 minutes.
Now I’m not talking about the once fashionable Dr Martens or Timberland here but good ol’ trekking boots with waterproof, breathable membranes and flexible soles for everyday wear.
By the time you enter your second trimester, you’ve probably heard umpteen times about the depressing news of your feet moving a size up and never being the same again. So you will want proper footwear that is not only ergonomic for your aching back and calves, but also one that keeps your feet snug and warm in those harsh winter conditions.
Technically any pair of hiking boots with Gore-Tex ® uppers and rubber outsoles should do the trick but personally I’d go for brands such as Brasher, Mammut, Salomon and Asolo as opposed to the usual suspects of Jack Wolfskin, Keen, North Face and Karrimor only because they are more durable and less mass-produced, if you know what I mean.
100% Pure Coconut Oil
Stretch marks, stretch marks, stretch marks – the badge of honour that most mothers wear (though not very proudly for some, if I may add). There are, however, tons of stretch mark oils / creams in the market these days, each claiming to have the one miracle concoction to rub our fears and depression away; in fact sooo many that you probably won’t feel spoilt for choice but instead overwhelmed rather.
I have many friends who swear by Bio-Oil, Cussons Mum & Me Bump Stretch Mark Cream and Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream. I, however, have gone over to the dark side and sworn allegiance to Ultra Pure Laboratories Coconut Oil. Almost a quarter of preggers suffer from itchy skin around the belly and breasts but yours truly for some reason was constantly itching ALL OVER (and I mean arms, thighs, belly, back, breasts, neck, you name it), from 8 weeks up until 20 weeks, and then it miraculously stopped. But during those 12 weeks of torture, this tiny tub of 100% pure edible coconut oil was what saved me from clawing away in public like an orang-utan during the crackling dry winter months.
So coupled with the changing hormones, stretching skin and uber dry weather conditions, I was technically using this miracle oil, not for the purpose of preventing stretch marks, but rather to moisturise my poor red, irritated skin. And unlike other stretch mark oils, this pure coconut oil doesn’t leave a trace regardless how generous you may be.
And, there you have it! 6 of my new BFFs whom I hold dearly to now with the baby. What are some of the items in your winter survival kit to beat the pregnancy blues?