Picking Up Expert Tips as a Second-Time Mum

Becoming a second-time mum sure felt like the restart button was pushed.

Caring for both a newborn and a toddler presents new challenges, and as we navigate our way through the new chapters, we count our blessings by sharing our tears and joys here.

Big sister, Vera, helping to apply body lotion on her baby brother. Something she’s oh-so-familiar with since we’ve been buttering her up with body lotion since she was a baby too!

It may seem easy to care for a newborn – I mean, all they do is sleep, feed, poop and want cuddles right? :P

If you’re already a parent, you might have discovered that there’s more to that for your new baby! And, if you’re about to welcome your bundle of joy, fret not, this journey will allow you to find out more about your baby and yourself!

New concerns, all over again

With an elder child, I thought it would be smoother this time round since we’ve already had first-hand experience with Vera.

Well, every pregnancy and each baby is quite different although the framework of what to expect is pretty much the same. So, with Leroy, it was akin to re-learning about myself as well as understanding my new child.

Leroy fresh out of a bath and smelling divine!

Recently, we had the opportunity to be at the Cetaphil Baby Experience event where experts shared medical advice and tackled concerns from new parents and would-be-parents.

We may be second-time parents, but we discovered new tips from them too!

Tips and advice from experts

As easy as it is to count on Dr. Google, some information should be taken with a pinch of salt. Obtaining facts from experts is surely more assuring as these professionals are experienced and equipped with the necessary knowledge.

Breastfeeding concerns

Besides being diagnosed with pubic symphysis after delivering Leroy, I was soon plagued by engorgement. With Vera, I experienced those rock hard breasts too, so I pretty much anticipated it.

What I didn’t know, was that cold compress should be used instead of hot compress!

Let the cold cabbage work its magic on engorgement, and skip the hot compress! But looks like Vera had other plans with the cold cabbage. HA!

It was certainly helpful that Nutritionist and Breastfeeding Consultant, Ms. Sylvia Kang, who runs Mother’s Love Nutrition Consultancy addressed this during the Cetaphil Baby Experience event.

Most massage ladies would use a hot stone and massage to get the breastmilk going. In fact, that was exactly what happened during my confinement when the massage lady came by to help! However this may not be the best option as the breasts are already engorged. Yikes!

Sylvia advised that breastfeeding mums should seek help from a Lactation Consultant (LC) to receive professional advice.

Unlike my first breastfeeding experience, Leroy would gag during feeds and that puzzled me initially. It caught me unaware, and I’m glad that Sylvia spoke about the different “What If’s” a new breastfeeding mum would go through.

As it is, fast letdown is one of the reasons why babies gag during nursing. But that could be easily sorted by unlatching the baby once the letdown is triggered, as baby’s gag reflux is triggered when he’s unable to cope with the sudden flow.

Baby Leroy on a milk high :)

As a mum of 3 breastfed babies, Sylvia went on to explain that the time taken to successfully breastfeed varies from one mother-and-child to another. Drawing from her own experience with her first child, she took 10 days to embark on a successful breastfeeding journey; where “successful” referred to fully breastfeeding. So, mummies, patience and a positive mindset is key!

Oh, new baby!

To which, paediatrician Dr Ong Eng Keow who practices at ICAC Specialist Pte Ltd, attests that newborns have reserves in their bodies to last them through the initial few days of life. And, it’s REALLY okay to choose not to breastfeed, or to offer formula during the first few days, before breastmilk kicks in.

Babies with jaundice would need to eliminate the meconium in their bodies, and it’s through their poop and pee, so milk intake would help to get that going.

Our few days young newborn getting his morning tan to fight jaundice!

I also learned that it is normal for babies on total breastmilk to go for a week without poo-ing! Vera had been on mixed feeds, and now that Leroy is fully breastfed, his poop frequency changed after his first month. Initially, he would poop several times a day, and then he started to poop 2-3 times a week. Now that he is 7.5 months old, his poop pattern has changed again.

Dr Ong explained that breastmilk is highly digestible, and hence resulting in lesser output in the diapers especially during the initial months. It was good to receive added assurance, especially since I’ve friends whose babies had infrequent poo which got them very worried.

Baby Leroy also seemed to have wind but not to the extent of suspecting he had colic. Having wind is common for babies, and Dr. Ong explained that a newborn baby’s tummy is really small (size of a cherry), and during/in between feeds or when crying, it’s normal and offering RidWind helps alleviate the discomfort. New parents, do take note! :)

Bathing a newborn

When it comes to bathing for a fragile newborn, it can be very daunting for first time parents.

I remember my experience when bathing baby Vera – gosh… Was I grabbing too hard? I was so afraid of hurting her. Despite having had practice for over 2 years, bathing newborn Leroy brought a wave of excitement and nervousness – afterall, I felt like I got “rusty”! Bathing a newborn takes practice for sure, and every session is an intimate mummy-and-baby bonding time, and little by little, confidence and trust are built.

New parents and soon-to-be parents watched a demonstration and learned how to bathe a new baby, picking up the Do’s and Dont’s during the event.

Sister Kang Phaik Gaik, Senior Lactation Consultant at Mount Alvernia Hospital, shared the right way to support the baby, how to wash baby’s hair while incorporating the daily hygiene routine of changing diapers and putting on his clothes.

Sister Kang demonstrates how to safely hold and bathe a newborn.

She proceeded with a baby massage, and I could relate to Sister Kang’s comments about being over enthusiastic with Ru Yi oil! Our confinement nannies loved them loads! Now that we hear from an expert that it’s merely a “comfort item” that most traditional folks are used to applying on baby after his bath, we would definitely share this bit with fellow mums-to-be too!

Point to note: Go easy on the oil because it’s supposed to help relieve discomfort NOT prevent it before even occurring. Some babies have very sensitive skin and frequent usage of the oil may trigger allergy reactions too.

Baby care – a continuous learning journey

We could see many attentive parents taking notes or taking photos of the presentation. Baby care is definitely a continuous journey!

The Cetaphil Baby Experience was certainly a helpful initiative to support parents through parenthood, and having the opportunity to raise questions and get expert advice directly was definitely valuable.

Are you welcoming your new baby soon? Or would like to learn more about caring for your baby? Register for the Cetaphil Baby newsletter to receive expert baby care tips and be in the loop for upcoming Cetaphil Baby workshops too!

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