My China Story {Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series}

 

 

 

 

 

Asian-Pacific 2015

This year several bloggers from Multicultural Kid Blogs Community have again gathered to commemorate Asia-Pacific American Heritage Month. While some of us don’t live in the US or not from there, we either have an Asian-Pacific background or reside in the region. 

Last year I shared with you a bit of my family’s background. And you do know I have been living in China for the past 14 years. Today I would like to honour Asian-Pacific heritage by sharing you a story – my China story.

Some time in 2001 I had a dear friend moving to China and telling me what an exciting place it was. She kept calling me and convincing that I should try and come here for at least a year. So I applied to various schools and long story short – I received an invitation to work for an educational company that published books (Little Dragon American English –  the program that unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore), and sent teachers to kindergartens to teach. 

I remember how I felt going to the Chinese Embassy, getting my visa, getting my flight ticket and getting help from a bunch of supportive friends.

I remember landing in Chengdu, the first city I lived in. It was a little cold (end of November), but not the cold I was used to: it was humid and the cold would reach down to the depth of my bones and joints. Friends used to take us sometimes to local restaurants where I couldn’t eat the food: it was so full of chilli pepper that my mouth burnt for days if I ate at least something. Just as generous they were and treated us, they also soon understood my misery and would always order extra dishes for me that had no spices in them. They also took great interest in how everything was for me and one family used to invite me often to dinners at their house. They treated me with love and respect and made sure I was as comfortable as possible. This is how I first learned about big hearts Chinese have. 

I spent 3 months in Chengdu and then I moved onto Shenzhen – a big city in the South of China. It was the first time I tried sweet & sour sauce they made lots of food with. I really enjoyed living in Shenzhen- I made lovely friends and I worked in 2 beautiful kindergartens.

Harbin – a city in Heilongjiang. I lived there for a year teaching in kindergartens and learning the basics of Chinese language. Harbin belonged to Russia for a short period of time and since it is very close to Russian border in Far East, there are lots of Russians there working and studying and you can find Russian food and many older people still speak Russian pretty well!!!

My next city for a year and a half was Qingdao. I will always hold dear the time I spent in this coastal city. It is by far my most favorite city in China! The climate is not too humid, not too dry. The winter is also not too cold. But there is some mild snow. The city used to belong to Germany for a very short time and there is an older part of the city where you can find buildings built in Gothic style and the streets paved with stones. Beautiful!

After Qingdao I moved to Beijing. It was a city with a special character (which is not there much anymore – the city is still beautiful but the older structures have been replaced with new, modern and shiny ones). Beijing will always be special to me as that’s where my husband and I got married!

So, once I was done with my contract, I moved to Zhuhai, where I am residing now and where we are bringing up our 3 children. I have written about Zhuhai when participated in Neighbourhoods around the World Series.

So that’s just a summary. 

What have I learned so far about Chinese people? I believe Chinese people have very open hearts. They will treat you with love and respect as long as you are true and honest with them. I can’t say I have never encountered anyone here who is completely the opposite of what I said above. But overall and vast majority of people I met were kind and helpful. Even our best friends, people whom we can trust with all our lives, are Chinese.

This doesn’t really change when Chinese move abroad: they still follow their cultural trends, they try their best to bring children up with dignity and patience. Most of Chinese I know are hard-working people and very persistent in achieving their goals. 

I am grateful for China has brought me lots of experience, both professional and personal, and since this is where my family was born, it will always hold dear in my heart.

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Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Multicultural Kid Blogs is excited to announce our second annual Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series and Giveaway! See our main page for a full schedule, and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway below!

The giveaway starts Monday, May 4 and goes through Monday, June 1. Enter for a chance to win one of these amazing prizes!

Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.

Grand Prize Package

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series & Giveaway 2015 | Multicultural Kid BlogsThe Grand Prize Package includes:

Personal Tea Ceremony Gift Set from Gift a Feast
Includes everything you need to prepare and enjoy matcha, the tea served in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Enjoy being part of the journey of matcha tea from the temples of 12th century Buddhist monks to today! US shipping only

Calin Yang Doll from Pattycake Doll Company
For the parents of Multicultural, Biracial, Black or Asian children, finding that perfect doll used to be a challenge. But today all that has changed. Pattycake Doll Company is the recognized source for Black, Asian, Hispanic, Biracial, and Multicultural Dolls as well as Dolls for Boys, and donate 10% of profits to children’s charities. This month’s contest winner will receive the most popular Asian Baby Doll in the world – Calin Yang by Corolle.

Asian Kites from Tuttle Publishing
Kids will learn how to make colorful kites while exploring Asian culture and history with this easy-to-follow crafts for kids book.

All About Japan from Tuttle Publishing
2012 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award Winner! A cultural adventure for kids, All About Japan offers a journey to a new place—and ways to bring it to life! Dive into stories, play some games from Japan, learn some Japanese songs.

Hello, Bali from Kids Yoga Stories
Say good day to the magical island of Bali through these energizing yoga poses for kids. Join one of the Yoga Kids, Anamika, as you surf like a surfer, dance like a Balinese dancer, and sit like a monkey. Included is a list of Kids Yoga Poses, Basic Indonesian phrases, and a Parent-Teacher Guide with tips on creating a successful yoga experience.

1st Prize Package

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series & Giveaway 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

The 1st Prize Package includes:

Udon Noodle Bowls from Uncommon Goods
Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or lounging on the couch, this creation is ideal for udon, soup or stir-fry. A blend of a mug and a bowl, the handmade piece is contoured to fit snugly in the palm of your hand. Black lacquer bamboo chopsticks included. US Shipping only

Japanese House Architectural Blocks Set from HABA
One of the oldest cultures in the world also has one of the most beautiful forms of architecture. Complicated multi-tier roofs and ornate pagodas allow the builder to create temples, palaces or calming formal gardens. With this set your child can take their imagination on a trip to Japan in the safety of their own living room. US/Canada Shipping Only

All About Indonesia from Tuttle Publishing
A book for children that takes them on an adventure through one of the world’s largest and most culturally diverse countries. Along the way, kids are introduced to Indonesian culture and history, the food, the language, and the natural beauty of this fascinating country!

Fun with Asian Food from Tuttle Publishing
This Asian cookbook for kids contains fun and easy recipes that children will love to cook and dishes that even the pickiest eaters will savor!

Indian Children’s Favorite Stories from Tuttle Publishing
This colorfully illustrated multicultural children’s book presents Indian fairy tales and other folk stories—providing insight into a rich literary culture.

2nd Prize Package

second prize Collage

The 2nd Prize Package includes:

Sushi Slicing Play Set from Melissa & Doug
This elegant 24-piece wooden sushi play-food set is packed in a beautiful storage box and includes sliceable sushi rolls, shrimp, tuna, easy-use chopsticks, a cleaver and more. Sushi rolls make realistic chopping sounds when sliced! US/Canada Shipping Only

Countryside from Kevin So
An album filled with “heartfelt great songs, great singing and great playing…simply something you’ll love if you’re a fan of originality, melody, surprising lyrics and beautiful instrumentation, beautifully played.” Learn more about this artist and listen to samples of his work here.

Book from the Maui New Zealand series from Global Kids Oz
Enjoy a book of from this collection of New Zealand Maori Myths and Legends that every New Zealand child is brought up with in school!

Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella from Lee & Low
In the first English retelling of this ancient Cambodian tale, our heroine goes further, survives more, and has to conquer her own mortality to regain her rightful place. Angkat—child of ashes—endures great wrongs as she seeks to rise above the distresses caused by her own family. US Shipping only

Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments from Lee & Low
Including both flights of fancy and practical considerations, lively poems capture each child’s musical experience with a different Chinese instrument, while sidebars provide more information about each one. US Shipping only

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story from Lee & Low
The incredible true story of the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal. Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award. US Shipping only

Juna’s Jar from Lee & Low
When her best friend moves away, Juna sets out to search for him with the help of a special jar. What Juna finds is that adventure—and new friends—can be found in the most unexpected places. US Shipping only

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow from Lee & Low
A powerful story of hope, recounting the little known tale of the art schools that offered moments of solace and self-expression to Japanese Americans in the US internment camps of World War II. US Shipping only

Enter for a Chance to Win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Baby Cereal Snow Dough {12 Months of Sensory Dough}

CYMERA_20150112_200846Last year I watched fellow KBN bloggers post recipes of various play dough. This year I am happy to join in the fun!

We start off with Snow Dough to celebrate Winter!

Snow dough is basically any kind of dough that resembles snow. Here in the South of China we don’t have snow at all so my children never experienced it.

I looked through many recipes online and suddenly it dawned me: I recently bought baby rice cereal for our 6 months old and realized it had milk and sugar in it. So the open pack has been sitting on the shelf for a month as I feltit was too early to introduce such cereal to mini man.
The consistency of baby cereal is quite similar to snow, just much dryer.
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So, the ingredients of our Baby Cereal Snow Dough are simple:
– Baby Rice cereal (I used 250 -300 gr pack)
– Enough oil to make the cereal moist (1 used almost full paper cup of sunflower oil ).

Miss A had great time playing with it – she used some of her play dough cutters and play cutlery. I must note that it was quite a messy play, so since it was raining and we couldn’t use balcony, we played in the bathroom.


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Mini Man loved watching his sister play and kept trying to reach for the bowl! Since this snow dough is completely baby and toddler safe and if the child ingests it, it is quite safe. The texture is a bit rough and it can turn into an oily mess, but nevertheless it is a fun activity! You can store the dough in a ziplock bag or in airtight container for some days or even weeks. 

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Check more Snow Dough Recipes below:
Experimenting with Snow Dough | Lemon Lime Adventures
How to Make Snow Dough (Taste Safe) | Powerful Mothering
Book-Inspired Snow Dough Sensory Play | Stir the Wonder
Snow Dough Science | Raising Lifelong Learners
A Snowy Day Snow Dough Play | Natural Beach Living
Frozen Snow Dough | Sugar Aunts
Edible Snow Dough | Wildflower Ramblings
Vitamin E Snow Dough Recipe | FSPDT
Rubbery Marshmallow Play Dough | Therapy Fun Zone
Snow Dough & Outdoor Play | Peakle Pie
Music Inspired Snow Dough | Witty Hoots
Glittery Snow Dough | In The Playroom
Arctic Small World Snow Dough | Best Toys 4 Toddlers
Snow Dough Frozen Inspired Small World | Preschool Inspirations
Sparkly Taste Safe Snow Dough for Toddler & Preschool Sensory Play | Bare Feet on the Dashboard
Fizzy, Frozen Snow Dough | It’s A Long Story
Frozen Inspired Snow Dough | The Pleasantest Thing
Snow Fairy Small World with Snow Sensory Dough | Still Playing School
| The Life of Jennifer Dawn
Baby Cereal Snow Dough | Creative World of Varya
Arctic play snow dough & fizzing science | Glittering Muffins
Snow Dough Slime Recipe | Little Bins for Little Hands
Please join use in 2015 for 12 Months of Sensory Dough Play! 
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Follow Dayna | Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Sensory | Dough Recipes on Pinterest.

Baby Care Series: Baby Reflexology

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To commemorate the passing year I would like my last post of 2014 to be dedicated to helping your baby unwind and relax.
So here are few tips from reflexology area you can try on your baby, toddler, prwaxhooler, older child and on yourselves: mini- foot massage.

The following tips won’t affect yours or baby’s health negatively if you apply proper amount of pressure. That is for for an infant up to 6 years old the pressure should be as hard as you would press your eye ball before it starts hurting. For older children and adults you can adjust the pressure by asking them what they are confortavle with.

Stroke 1:
Foot rubs. Just as in picture above, place your baby’s foot in your hand and place the thumb in the middle of the sole. Start stroking from big toe down to the heel. For infants 5-6 strokes are stimulating enough. However with all my 3 children (6 y.o, 2.5 y.o and 6 months old) before bed time I continue stroking until they pull the foot away or fall asleep. This particular technique is very helpful for sore feet and in the times when your child is restless or unwell – the stroke helps unwinding and relaxing.

Stroke 2:
Toe “pinches”. Place the foot in the hand the same way as you would for Stroke 1. With another hand start gently but firmly pressing on the toes as you would when telling “This little piggy went to market” rhyme.
Variation: you can sit your child on your lap, back resting against you and reserve the foot hold. Some children unwind better this way.

Stroke 3:
Joint “squeeze”. Let the child lie down or sit as described above and then gently grab and squeeze his feet, ankles and all the way up to his knees. At the knee point cover the knee with your palm and squeeze several times gently but firmly and then move back down to the foot. Repeat 3-4 times or until the child gives you a sign or tells that it is enough.

What do these 3 strokes do? By stimulating the skin and pressure points you help the child to unwind and relax. These strokes, especially the first one, are very effective when helping the the child settle for a nap or the night. You can also do these strokes while nursing your child – they usually don’t bother them so much.

On this note I’m wishing you a very happy year ahead! May 2015 bring you and your families joy and health!

Baby Care Series: Mommy and Baby Blues – Coping Technique

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As Mini-man is moving from growth spurt to wonder week and growth spirt again,  he is changing his sleeping schedule which makes him unsettled.

I have mentioned in the previous post on surviving sleepless nights with a newborn that his sleeping pattern were not at all mommy-sleep-friendly. So I have been tired and sleepy, and have these sudden waves of exhaustion overwhelming me.

Naturally, I get frustrated when I have just rocked him to sleep just to put him down and him popping his eyes open and starting to whale. Sounds familiar?  Or my toddler running into the room screaming something at me or him: miss A -1; mommy – 0!

If you must know,  the pregnancy and postpartum hormones mess us up quite a bit. We feel like there is just no room to breath, there are no clothes that haven’t been stained with a spit up,  there isn’t a corner where a child can’t find you. I’m really not complaining,  I’m merely admitting: yes, I get overwhelmed and tired.

At the same time I realise how hard it is for a newborn baby to cope. And so after having 3 babies I suddenly understood something: postpartum blues are not only something that happens to moms – it happens to babies too.

Here is a technique I came up with  that is helping me to chase frustration away, help you and the crying baby to calm down and I would like to share them with you.

1. As you lean to pick up your baby,  exhale with your whole body through your mouth slowly, saying long “who”. As you grab the baby and pull towards yourself,  inhale with “is it?” Hug the baby tight in the middle of your chest, with one hand on the back of his head and one arm under his bottom. Baby’s legs should be bent in knee area and pulled up a bit – almost like sitting. Rock him in a slightly bouncy motion up and down,  gently patting his back.

2. After few pats add a continuous “sh” sounds. Do it the following way: one long “sh” on exhale, followed by several shorter “sh-sh-sh” on the next exhale.
Please check the file below to listen how it should sound.

Note: you don’t need to stand for it. You can assume most comfortable position, however try to keep the baby as upright as possible.

Usually the baby starts settling down within a few minutes. Sometimes it takes a while. However,  you will start settling too. There is something in the sound “sh” that calms you down and settles you. One of the reasons why (and you will notice it right away) – you need to make sure it is on exhales. So when you start controlling your breathing,  you get a boost of oxygen and your mind clears from other thoughts and concentrates on one thing.

I hope this technique is useful for you. I have used “shushing” in the past but never so purposely. It is not a big science that using “sh” sound calms the babies (white noise). But now as I discovered it calms me too, I use it when I have to deal with my older children.

If that didn’t help, you can always scream into the pillow!

What are your relaxation techniques?

Baby Care Series: Surviving Nights With A Newborn

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It’s been 3 months post-partum and while my son started pulling longer stretches, I don’t see sleeping through the night (further referred to as STTN) in the near future. Not that I am expecting him to: I am one of those moms who made peace with the baby not to STTN for as long as I breastfeed.
Here’s a bit of a sleep story from the past: my first one woke up every 1-2 hours to nurse. It got progressively “worse” around growth spurts, “wonder weeks”, teething, colds and whatever else you can think of. When she had her major vocabulary burst at 23 months, she literally stopped sleeping. I mean, normally once they “break through” they are supposed to sleep better, right? Wasn’t the case with miss T: she woke up every 15-30 minutes just to latch and unlatch and repeat several times, getting angry and depriving herself of sleep and me too. We both had dark circles under our eyes. I thought it was the time to wean and I did it as gently as possible in the course of about 5-6 weeks. I will be honest: first 3 months of my daughter’s life because she was waking up so often, I felt like a failure and reading all happy STTN stories and my mom telling me that she should STTN by 3 months were not helpful! I cried every single day – I was sleep deprived, I was grumpy, I was stressed and probably a little depressed. However, I had a great support team member with me – my husband – and thanks to him I pulled myself out of self pity, did more real research and understood once and for all that this is what most of the babies do. And the percentage of those who STTN or pull long stretches is very low compared to the above!
With my 2nd daughter, first three months were a bit of a disaster as well. But my mom was here in the first months and literally held her for 3 hours at a time swaddled and close to her body so I could sleep. Once she left, baby wearing was a saviour during the day – she had a bad reflux and while we didn’t resort to medicine, I wore her for all her naps and she was comfy in the carriers. By the time she was 3 months, she started pulling what is called STTN (5 hours stretch when she was down for the night, then 3 hours and then another 2-3 hours). During the day she napped for 3-4 hours at a time and I had plenty of time to do whatever I pleased. She was also breastfed and self-weaned at 18 months when I was pregnant with our baby #3. She started sleeping full night from 8pm to 6am before she weaned.
With this baby #3, the first month was tough: he is tongue-tied so he couldn’t latch nor nurse properly. He was getting tired, losing the breast and he was also jaundice until he was 10 weeks old. He woke up every hour. My mother was here and she did the same with him as with baby #2: she would swaddle him and hold him so I could rest or take care of other 2 children. Still he wouldn’t sleep long stretches. As he crossed over 1 month, he started sleeping a little longer but not until he found his 2 fingers. So while during the day he can go onto cluster feedings, he does pull 3-4 hour stretches for the night and he goes to bed earlier for the night than my girls, so it gives me time to prepare them for their night time and also spend some time with my husband or, like today, work on something (my blog, my translation gigs, doing household chores and more).
So… my own advice to all first time moms: you are having a baby. A being is coming into this world which is foreign to him/her. He/she is feeling insecure, every change make the baby disturbed. Please, prepare yourself mentally that you won’t sleep for at least a year or 2 (or 3?). What we think is abnormal – sleeping in 1-4 hours stretches – it is absolutely normal for the baby. Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, the baby has the same patterns: they wake up when hungry, when the diaper is dirty, when they didn’t finish burping, when the sudden noise scares them, when they feel insecure being away from you. There are many more reasons I can add.
So, what can you do when your baby’s sleeping patterns are not to your liking or go against your own? I won’t tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps – it NEVER worked for me. I could just as successfully count sheep and elephants all 1-2 hours and have no sleep in my body. But here are a few tips that will help you cope:
1. Plan your activities around your baby’s… sleeping place. If you have ironing to do – keep the laundry basket in the area, along with the ironing board and iron. Need to cook? I don’t know how your house is, but I would not do all the cutting and peeling in the kitchen – I would bring it into the dining/living room so I could still hear the baby and the distance between me and the baby would be shorter.
2. If you have other children: use those moments to do something with them – read a book, cuddle, check their homework. If it is a younger child, be prepared for noise which will possibly wake the baby up. It is ok to get frustrated: God knows, I still do get frustrated when my toddler runs into the bedroom when I JUST put Mini-man down, and yells out his name! Having some toy, book, stickers in your reach will distract your toddler from the baby. I still find stickers in my bed and in my clothes – I just let miss A go wild with those as they keep her occupied and quiet, and while she is busy with them I can stretch my body (oh, and my body and clothes get decorated too!).
3. Cook for a couple of days in advance or try freezing food for later. Only recently I started cooking almost every day. But it worked very well cooking for 2-3 days in advance and warming up small amounts.
4. Hydrate. Breastfeeding or not, we often forget to drink enough and being dehydrated makes us more tired.
5. Stock up on favorite shows, movies and books. When I have to hold my children for a long time on me so they get enough sleep while getting over whatever that is bothering them, I watch my favorite shows/movies or read something.
6. STOP Googling “Why my baby doesn’t sleep?”. Ok, perhaps if your baby REALLY doesn’t sleep you could Google. Or better – consult a pediatrician. But remember that a breastfed baby sleeps stretches anywhere from 40 minutes to few hours. So, unless your newborn is up for several hours, don’t be in a hurry to label him with some sleeping disorder. And if you are still concerned about sleeping patterns – consult pediatrician. We, moms, tend to exaggerate and brag about how well our children sleep. What you may not read is the methods that are at times used to make babies sleep longer (e.g. introducing “crying out” method before 6 months – basically making poor newborns whale themselves to sleep). Of course, there are plenty of no-cry sleep solutions, but read those carefully and check what age group is recommended for them before starting that sleep training.
I could go on and on, but I would also like to share some tips from fellow blogger moms of KBN and MKB on how they coped with sleepless nights! Feel free to click on the links next to the names and check out these awesome blogs!
Here’s what they replied when I asked how they coped with sleepless nights during newborn stage:
  • Katie of Playing With Words 365:  Co-sleeping and coffee. 
  • Jodi of Meaningful Mama: My husband encouraged me to sleep when I could. I had to let some things go and be more laid back with my expectations of myself. If the baby was sleeping, I was sleeping or resting too.
  • Kim of Life Over C’s After three straight years of sleep deprivation, I should have this down to a science…LOL! My best tip is to automate as many functions as you possibly can: If you have a child who regularly doesn’t sleep well, make sure you schedule all your bills for auto-pay, double up recipes and freeze them or do once a month cooking so that you have something to pull out of the freezer on the really bad days. If you homeschool pick an automated curriculum, something that you don’t need to do lots of prep with. Have someone clean your house once a week (even if it’s a friend that you barter with). These simple things will take a lot of stress off when you are sleep deprived. 
  • Jen of Mama.Papa.BubbaOn really hard, sleepless nights I’d sit and rock my baby and remind myself that one day {too soon} the nursing / rocking / shushing filled nights would be over with and I’d never get to go back to that stage of life with my little girl. Seems sort of silly, but it got me through.
  • Brittany of Love Play and LearnAdjust your expectations for yourself and family. When you are sleep deprived, just do the bare minimum for you to survive and thrive. Being in a survival mode while you have a new baby is perfectly okay so be forgiving to yourself! 
  • Nicola of Multicrafting MummyMake sure to have a good book on your kindle so you can nurse your baby in one arm and read in the other without turning on the lights. This helped pass the time for me until my littlest on eventually slept the night!
  • Cindy of Two Muses HomeschoolDon’t feel guilty if the only place you can get the baby to sleep is the swing. The baby won’t fit in it forever. Embrace it, and get the rest you need while baby swings away. 
  • Ute of Expat Since Birth: Co-sleeping helped us a lot, especially with twins who woke up at different times up to 8 times per night when in their own bed. And relaxing exercise for the mum: keep your eyes closed as much as possible, no lights on and practice mindfulness! Don’t think ‘but I must sleep’ or get irritated or upset (consumes way too much energy!), do focus on what you can do to have some rest (even if you don’t get a proper sleep). And keep everything you may need for the babies within reach so that you don’t need to get up all the time… This topic brings back memories and the feeling that once you survive this period, you feel like you’ve reached the top of Mt Everest.
  •  Rachel of Adventures in Wunderland:  Haha, COFFEE! And knowing that they won’t be newborns forever and eventually you will sleep again 
  • Anna of Russian Step By Step ChildrenWith my second we had a system: I pumped at some point during the day,and when the baby first went for the night I breastfed and then went to bed (BTW, 7 to 8 pm depending on the night), so my husband would take care of the other kid and the next feeding was my husband bottle feeding the baby ( it was around 10 – 11) and then he went to bed so even when the baby woke up around 1-2 pm again I got a decent stretch of sleep. By 11 month she finally started sleeping 10 hours in a row ( 8 pm to 6 am) Also,with the second I already knew that it is temporary, after 6 months it got easier. 
  • Ayesha of Words and NeedlesMy top tip is to feed the baby every two hours starting at 6am everyday from the first week onwards. It isn’t possible with some very sleepy babies but try as much you can. After two weeks they get into a pattern and quickly set their schedule to feeding often during the day. They will get up 2am for a few weeks more but once a night is tolerable! Through the day, drink as much water and eat protein rich foods because the lack of energy is what gets us down. Sleep when the baby sleeps. The chores can wait. I have a post that I wrote when I was feeling like a supermom… 
    Culturally, we are from India. We have a tradition, in our part of the country, that all new moms are given a protein and fat rich traditional mix made up of dried fruits of various kinds, some herbs and coconut that is fried in butter and mixed together. It is made in large quantities and the mum has to finish this within 40 days. Also, an iron piece (something like a horse shoe) is placed in the drinking water vessel that she drinks from. Everyday, the pitcher is filled with boiled water and when it cools she drinks from that. They say it gives iron in the water for the mother. It is ancient… not many people do it now but it is so striking and I remembered it. That dry fruit mix is called ‘panjeeri’ by the way. Pakistani people, North Indians and some south Indians make it.
  •  Angela of CreatifulkidsTry to feed as much as you can during the day, so that he takes most of his calories intake then…but with a new baby the nights are tough so just take it as it goes. Some babies are better sleepers than others. Remember that you do nothing wrong and that’s just a phase. Just sit it out and it will phase and you’ll get your rest again..slowly. Don’t stress- if you can .
  • Becky of Kid World CitizenThis is not what I recommend, but all of my in-laws in Mexico say to put rice cereal in the baby’s bottle right before bed so they won’t be hungry. I always nursed, so I didn’t follow the advice, but they swear by it! My advice (US) is to walk with the baby outside everyday- bundled up if necessary, but in the sunlight. I think the vitamin D and the light helps to set their circadian rhythms. I also would never pull the shades in the day when they were napping, and not be super quiet. They get used to the noise, but I think they start to realize that daytime is daytime, and nighttime is nighttime. Also I would wake my daughters in the day (by picking them up from their crib and carrying them around) if they were sleeping too long. There was a time that my oldest had her days and nights confused and it was soooooo difficult for us:).
  • Elisabeth of Spanish MamaWe co-slept and I think that was the reason I didn’t experience awful exhaustion. When baby stirred, we would cuddle up and nurse and neither of us fully woke up, so getting back to sleep was super-easy.

    I had to work part-time with my first baby and
    was gone from 7am-1pm every day from the time he was six weeks. I always thought I would be the strict scheduling type, but it simply didn’t work for us.  Co-sleeping helped make up for the hours we were apart and those were some of my favorite moments as a mother so far! It goes against the grain in the US, but like so many things here, families do what works best for them. My Peruvian husband was totally fine with it too and we loved bonding with baby so much those first months. Later we did train him to sleep on his own on a schedule.

    Also, it was really useful when we traveled to Peru for 6 weeks with a 5-month-old. Most of the houses we stayed in didn’t have a crib and it was no problem!

  • Ilze of Let The Journey Begin:  A wrote a post on this topic a few months ago. Speaking of my own sleep, I have never been able to follow the “sleep when the baby sleeps” mantra. Daytime naps make me feel like crap. And during the night there’s two things that bother me – having to get up to nurse and sleeping next to the baby (I feel like I get less deep sleep). Co-sleeping is a solution to the first, baby having her own bed is a solution to the second. Thus my method is a mix of both: baby sleeps the first stretch in her bed, and continues sleeping next to me after the first night meal. If me or my husband are awake enough at some point in the night we move her back to her bed.
    Here are few more links on the subject:
Canberra Mummy  – How I took on Sleep Deprivation and Won
Mama Smiles20 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation
Trilingual MamaHelping Babies Sleep Through the Night
Toddler ApprovedSleep Tips for Serious Sleep
The European Mama4 Tips for Surviving Sleep Deprivation
How do you/did you cope with sleep deprivation and what are your tips for helping your baby to sleep?
 

Baby Care Series: Baby Massage

Tessa Alyssa Varya Sarmad July 20122

Whenever the words “baby massage” come up, a lot of parents think of something very sophisticated that treats some ailments or can be harmful if done by non-professionals. This is one of the wrong understanding of the words ” baby massage”.

Massage in itself is a way of applying stimulating touch, in some cases stimulating nerve endings or pressure points. When it comes to baby massage I can assure you anyone can do it. Baby massage is aimed more at how to respectfully touch your baby which stimulates the baby’s skin, promotes bonding between the caretaker and the baby, and in some cases, helps with small problems (such as, indigestion, gas that a young baby can have).

When touching the baby, applying strokes on the baby’s body, the parent/caretaker doesn’t only give the stimuli to the baby – he/she listens and observes how the baby responds to these strokes. And soon enough both learn to communicate through this process.

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Baby Care Series: Cradle Cap Remedy

Tessa Alyssa Varya Sarmad July 20121

Having all the skills I have is very handy for me as a parent and as a teacher.
I introduce to you Baby Care Series – a number of posts I dedicate to caring for the baby at home and using handy, easy and relatively cheap materials to make your life and the life of your child easier.

I am not one of those cool Natural Moms – I don’t use cloth diapers and I don’t cook organic. However, I try making my own baby food and even own toys for my children. I also study Aromatherapy, make oil blends and made my own soap before miss A was born.

Today I want to tell you how I helped my infant to get rid of the cradle cap.

My younger daughter had a horrible cradle cap – the crust was so thick and if I tried doing the usual (oiling and combing) she would get upset and her skin would become very red and irritated.

Someone reminded me about the wonders of Coconut Oil, though alone it didn’t work. I did some research on what else I could add to the Coconut Oil and after a lot of consideration I created the following mix for her:

2 tablespoons of Coconut Oil and 1 drop (JUST ONE!) of Tea Tree oil.

I started applying it every day and washed her head every other day for nearly 2 weeks. When I gave her bath I shampooed/soaped her head and gently massaged with the soft brush. After her hair dried, I would apply the oil mix again and brush again with the brush. Already on the 4th day I noticed great difference and in less than 2 weeks it was all gone.

You are welcome to try this mix on your baby. Just remember that Tea Tree Oil is quite toxic, so you should use a very small amount of the mix and make sure it doesn’t get in baby’s eyes or mouth.

This mix also works if you have an adult cradle cap. In that case you can increase the number of Tea Tree Oil drop to 5 per table spoon of carrier oil (I still think Coconut Oil is the best in this case!).

Stay healthy and share your Cradle Cap recipes with me!