Monday, November 17, 2014

Printing Our Memories

The basis of being a good blogger is taking pretty photos; and I love taking photos (no matter whether I'm in front of or behind the camera)!

I especially love taking pictures of our travels as we explore different cities all around the world.

Although this blog is a great place to showcase my favourite pictures taken during our trips, I was still thinking about printing some of them in hardcopy just in case (choy touch wood!) anything happens to my computer/hard disk (though I do back up on more than 4 devices! *laughs*).

Hence, it was opportune that we were provided with personalised printing services from Photojaanic, which include personalised cups, stickers, posters, books and even a deck of cards!

DUSTJACKET PHOTO BOOK

We were given the opportunity to review the Dustjacket Hardcover Travel Photo Book where I could print all the photos that I took on all our travels since we were married.

It was pretty easy to order my book:

1) Register on Photojaanic Singapore

2) Select the Desired Product & Size


I chose the biggest size, which was 12 x 12 inches. The prices start at S$84.90 and may go up depending on the number of pages of your photo book (I had to top up another S$35 because I added another 20 pages *laughs*).

3) Select the Theme


You may choose from their range of templates available or create your own design. I did a lot of my own designs as I'm very particular with how the end product looks like (the creative artist in me can't help it!).

4) Upload the Photos


If you're particular about the brightness and contrast of your photos, you may want to edit them first before uploading them. However, you do not need to crop them as you can crop them on the website itself. If the resolution of your photo is small, the website also automatically controls how big you can enlarge the image so that you will not end up with a pixilated photo.

5) Design your Book


You may use the available clipart, backgrounds and borders or you may even upload your own! You can even choose to use your own photos as the background like I have done (see photo above), which can look really cool.

6) Save your Work
You can save your work and continue working on it another time. Photojaanic also automatically saves your work periodically so that in the event of any technical difficulties, your work will not be completely gone. Because I was so OCD and particular about every alignment, it took me a few weeks to complete my 40 page book! Thank God for the "save" function!

7) Preview your Book
You will be given one last chance to check your work before checking out. Check for spelling mistakes, alignment, etc.

8) Checkout
Enter your address and any coupon code at checkout (there's a whole list of coupon codes on Photojaanic right now as they are having their Christmas sale!). Finally, go ahead and place your order!

I waited for a few days before my photo book finally arrived at my doorstep via registered mail =)

My Dustjacket Photo Book came in a brown cardboard box that protected the book
Comes with an outer cover
Hard cover dustjacket
A relatively thin book with about 40 pages

I love how the end product looked exactly like what I designed on the website! The colours turned out to be exactly the same as on the screen and the photos were very clear and of high resolution.

Pages on our honeymoon to Switzerland from the actual book
Pages on our 3rd honeymoon to Hokkaido
(Love how every detail in the photo can be seen clearly)

Keep the book out of reach of children though. Although the pages are relatively thick and made of good material, they are not baby-proof! *laughs*

Pretending to pose with the book
When actually all this cheeky baby wants is to turn/tear the pages while maintaining a sneaky smile!!

I was honestly very pleased with the end product (and my design skills! Hehe).

Photojaanic also kindly provided us with a Collage Poster and personalised Stickers to be displayed and stuck on goodie bags respectively at my boy's first birthday party in December!

As usual, I designed them on the website and followed the templates provided.

COLLAGE POSTER

Before
After!

STICKERS

Designing the sticker

How the final product is likely to look like

You can choose from the same database of cliparts, backgrounds and borders as the photo books. I have already placed my order and can't wait for it to arrive! Will be posting pictures of the final product after my boy's birthday party (for those of you coming to our party, you'll probably get to see it firsthand!) =)

If you're interested in the collage posters and stickers, there's actually a promotion going on so do check it out. I'm sure these will make great Christmas gifts for family and friends =)

Collage Poster
Photo credit: Photojaanic
Stickers
Photo credit: Photojaanic


GIVEAWAY!
To kickstart our series of Christmas giveaways on the blog, we are giving away 1 Collage Poster (12x16 inches) & 1 Notebook to ONE lucky winner!

Prizes sponsored by Photojaanic

Simply follow these steps to qualify:

(1) Leave a comment on this blog post on what photos you will print on the collage poster
(2) Enter the above entry into the Rafflecopter widget below (don't forget to do this as we'll be using the widget to pick the winner!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The other entries are optional but you may enter them for more chances of winning! Good luck! =)

Terms and Conditions of this giveaway:
a) This giveaway ends on 23rd November 2014 (Sunday) and is only open to readers living in Singapore.
b) Participants must leave a comment with the required answer and enter their entry into Rafflecopter in order to qualify. Other entries entered into Rafflecopter must also be completed (I do check!). Incomplete entries will be disqualified without notice.
c) Limited to one prize per household
d) The winner will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter and must respond within 3 days after being contacted by me otherwise another winner will be drawn.


Disclosure: Complimentary products were received from Photojaanic Singapore for the purposes of this review and giveaway. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Travel Tips 6: Saving Money

Even with two kids in tow, I was still able to travel to 6 countries this year! People ask me if I'm very rich, well, of course not! We make it happen by prioritising our travels above other things. With a little planning and a lot of research, you too can save a significant amount of money on your travels!

As usual, I've invited fellow mummy and daddy bloggers who love travelling to share their secrets to bringing their whole family (some as big as 6 people, with only one income) on vacations overseas (I've managed to include the daddy bloggers this time as dads are usually the ones paying for the trip!).


How to Save Money on:

1) FLIGHT TICKETS


"For flights longer than 3 hours, the hubby and I prefer to fly on full service flights rather than budget airlines. This is because:
  1. Food and drinks are provided (we do not have to starve for 3 hours)
  2. Larger baggage allowance
  3. If we're bringing a baby, there's priority boarding, a bassinet for me to put my baby in and the luxury of bigger leg space (for free!)
The hubby patrols the internet regularly waiting for Singapore Airlines (our favourite carrier) to release their promotions and when they do, that's when we snap them up!"
~~ Madeline (that's me!)

"Fly on weekdays so that you can secure the best price for the tickets, especially if you are travelling on a budget carrier."
~~ Dominique of Dominique's Desk, Mum of three (ages 10, 7 and 4 years)

"For flights:
  • Try to book flights mid-week instead of on Fridays to Sundays for cheaper rates. We have also been told prices deviate depending if you are using a Mac or PC to book.
  • Clear your cache regularly as some websites capture your search results and adjust pricing upwards.
  • It is best to book your flights at least 6 months in advance for greater savings.
  • For flights shorter than 6 hours (e.g. to Taiwan, Phuket or Bali), we have flown with reputable budget airlines such as Jetstar and Scoot with much satisfaction.
  • For longer flights (e.g. to Melbourne and New York City), we have flown with Middle-Eastern airlines such as Emirates and Qatar, which edge out our national carrier (Singapore Airlines) in terms of pricing, comfort and service."
~~ Angeline of Life's Tiny MiraclesMum of two (ages 6 years and 3 months)

"Because our family is big, we always take budget airlines, especially when there are special promotions like 50% off or 1-for-1 sale which happens quite often. But that also means that you have to plan months ahead. Do note though, that any rescheduling is going to cost a lot more! If you have a few kids, buying the base 15kg or 20kg check-in luggage for everyone (including the kids) from the start might be cheaper than adding on 20kg or 30kg for just one individual."
~~ Steven of The 'Perfect' Father, Dad of four (ages 6, 5, 3 years and 7 months)


2) ACCOMMODATION


"Book your hotels through one website so that you can accumulate points. We usually book our hotels via Agoda using my credit card so that we can accumulate points for both and redeem our next hotel stay and  vouchers respectively. We had gotten a number of hotel stays for free from all the points we had accumulated from all our hotel bookings."
~~ Madeline (that's me!)

"Never forget to check out the hotel's main website for room booking promotions. Sometimes the price is even better than those on 3rd party sites such as Agoda and Hotels.com."
~~ Collin of Daddy Chow & the Spunky Kids, Dad of one (age 8 months)

"For hotels:
  • Always compare the prices listed on the hotels’ own websites versus third party sites like 'Hotels.com' and 'Hotelclub.com' as you may chance upon seasonal promotions resulting in sizeable savings.
  • ‘Hotels.com’ has a loyalty scheme where you'll get 1 free nights’ stay for every 10 nights’ booking. We are only 3 nights short of our 1st redemption.
  • ‘Hotelclub.com’ occasionally has Visa promotions where they’ll take S$50 off your total bill if you book over the phone and tell them you are paying by Visa. ‘Hotelclub.com’ also gives members up to 7% back on our bookings, which we can use to offset the next stay.
  • If possible, we try to book from sites which have a flexible cancellation policy to avoid incurring penalties should the travel plans change later.
  • If you are celebrating a special occasion (e.g. birthday or wedding anniversary), request for a complimentary upgrade upon check-in. If the hotel is not running at full occupancy, the team will usually be happy to make your day.
  • For longer stays (i.e. more than 3 nights) or in more expensive cities (e.g. New York and Australia), we will always book serviced apartments and homestays (try AirBnB) instead of hotels and channel the savings on accommodation to sight-seeing instead."
~~ Angeline of Life's Tiny MiraclesMum of two (ages 6 years and 3 months)

"For us, our accommodation are usually sourced from AirBnB and we are happy with our choices to date. We had booked apartments in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Japan. The pricing is usually great and you get a taste of how the locals live!"
~~ Steven of The 'Perfect' Father, Dad of four (ages 6, 5, 3 years and 7 months)

"Families with more than 4 members normally need to book two rooms. We try to negotiate for extra beds and squeeze into one room. We also like to skip the breakfast package, preferring to research and eat like a local (cheaper meals, richer experiences)."
~~ Andy of Sengkang Babies, Dad of four (ages 11, 9, 7 and 5 years)

"My hotel tips:
  1. While many hotels are offering better rates these days directly rather than through travel agents, sometimes agents have better package deals which might include meals and airport transfers. Once I've decided on a destination, I will usually do more research just to check what the agents are offering.
  2. Get yourself on the mailing lists or Facebook pages of airlines and hotel groups so that you know of the latest deals.
  3. Knowing the peak and off-peak seasons will help you predict when air fares and room rates will be at the lowest. Also, the weather used to be more predictable but these days with El Nino, you could end up having great weather in a low season and vice versa."
~~ Edlyn of Mummy Ed, Mum of three (ages 6, 4 and 2 years)


3) INSURANCE

"Buy your travel insurance a few weeks before or during the NATAS fair as various credit card and insurance companies often have special promotions and offer very good discounts. We almost always pay only 50% of the full price for insurance."
~~ Madeline (that's me!)


4) ATTRACTIONS

Everland in Seoul, South Korea

"Purchase tickets for major attractions online to save money. Remember to bring the passport of your children to prove that they are below the minimum age so that they can get free entry."
~~ Madeline (that's me!)

"For themepark and attractions, book your tickets online to enjoy savings, and avoid long queues."
~~ Andy of Sengkang Babies, Dad of four (ages 11, 9, 7 and 5 years)

"Do your research and look up blogs and/or review sites to check out potential savings before heading to that place."
~~ Dominique of Dominique's Desk, Mum of three (ages 10, 7 and 4 years)

"For Sydney, one high cost is car parking - and especially if you travel around the city area, the car park prices can be astronomical. If you do intend to travel to the city area, try weekends - where you can find a flat $10/day parking, or if you must drive, use "Book A Bay" under Wilson Parking to reserve a lot and get a better rate. For theme parks etc, buying tickets online is generally cheaper (as opposed to on the spot). You can try Living Social for some deals. I bought their Vivid Sydney cruise tickets from there before, and it was pretty enjoyable."
~~ Sandra of Sanses, Mum of three (ages 6, 3 and 1 years) currently living in Sydney


5) GENERAL

"My kids love spaghetti, and can eat an adult portion of spaghetti per child. We use this trick in Singapore and places like Australia and other western countries. Most restaurants would allow you to order a spaghetti, and an extra portion of plain spaghetti noodles at just an extra $1 or $2. So we would pay full price for one plate of spaghetti, which usually comes with ample spaghetti sauce and we would just take approximately half of it to mix into the plain extra noodles. This way, we don't have to pay full price for 2 adult portions of spaghetti."
~~ Pamela of Tan Family Chronicles, Mum of three (ages 7 and 4 year old twins)

"If you're travelling to a destination which is popular with Mainland China tourists, do check when the China Golden Week is, because they DO have 1 billion people. I learnt this the hard way!"
~~ Edlyn of Mummy Ed, Mum of three (ages 6, 4 and 2 years)

"The best time to go travelling is when your kids have not started primary school education, because this means that you are able to holiday during non-peak periods where airfares and hotels will be at its cheapest! Please refer to my financial tips on planning family vacations for other tips."
~~ Kelvin of Cheekiemonkies, Dad of three (ages 9, 8 and 4 years)


What are your money-saving secrets?


This post is part of my series on Travel Tips for the Wanderlust Parent.
Follow me as I share my tips for planning your next family vacation


Head on over to My Travel Page for a whole list of our travel itineraries!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Chubby Milestone

I don't know about your kids but for mine, they are usually the chubbiest at 6 months old and remain that way till about 1 year old. This is why I call the developmental milestones achieved during this period (ie. 6-12 months) the Chubby Milestones =)

Baby Boy is growing up so fast that I had almost forgotten how it felt like to hold a small baby in my arms (this is why I still love to carry newborns despite having my own baby). The "I don't know and don't really give a damn as long as I have my milk" newborn is now replaced by the "there you are mama, give me what I want nowww!!! MAMA!!! MAMAAAAA!!!" baby. True story.

Why do they grow up so fast? *sigh*

Getting his first haircut and screaming his eyeballs out
(If you must know, this was not my choice! The hubby brought him in secret without me!! *grrr*)
First time on a swing
(Was scared and cried, poor boy)
No longer the "if I'm placed here I won't move" baby but now the "blink and I'm at the end of the bed!" (-_-")
He loves climbing so much that we can't even look away for even one second.. 
I loved laughing at him when he got stuck between our bed and his playpen!

As he grows older I anticipate having to baby-proof the house as we definitely have an explorer on our hands. Although I'm not sure how effective the baby-proofing would be since this is one sneaky baby..

Finally, my baby has spouted his first two front teeth! And guess who found that out first?

Yup, me.

Because I got scratched by them on youknowwhere (ouch).

I'm trying hard to hold on to his babyness but he's totally not helping! How fast you have grown!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Travel Tips 5: Entertainment for Kids

All of us know that the greatest challenge with bringing the kids with us on a trip overseas, be it by plane, car or bus, is finding ways to entertain our kids during the journey where they are confined in a small space and have nowhere to go. After a while, they start complaining, whining, crying and asking, "are we there yet?!?" and it can drive us insane. True story.

With the help of fellow mums from Singapore Mom Bloggers (SMB), we bring to you our top tips for entertaining your child on long flights and bus/car rides (the tips are organised by type of travel and age of the child).

Tips on Entertainment for Kids:



BABIES (0-2 years old):

"Usually I only need to bring a pacifier to help with the air pressure and teething toys for my baby to bite on. Most of the time they are sleeping anyway; lucky for me, my kids love to sleep on the plane."
~~ Madeline (that's me!)

"For young babies, we bring snacks (such as chewy biscuits), juices or milk to reduce any discomfort caused by changes in air pressure and keep them distracted from the travelling time."
~~ Angeline of Life's Tiny Miracles, Mum to a 6-year-old girl & a 3-month-old boy

"People always say babies should have something to suckle when the plane takes off. If you bottle feed, don't pop the bottle into baby's mouth as soon as plane is on the runway. Sometimes it takes ages for the plane to take off and you wouldn't want to be stuck with an empty bottle then."
~~ Adora of Gingerbreadmum, Mum to 6- and 2.5-year-old girls

"Snacks for the 14 months old to ease ear pressure when flight takes off and long road trips up the mountains."
~~ Serene of Xavvy-licious, Mum to a 6-year-old boy & a 14-month-old girl


TODDLER (2-4 years old):

"It is not easy to entertain my attention-deficit girl but we try our best to bring a diverse number of things such as colouring books, stickers and even some toys to entertain her. However, despite all our preparation, sometimes all it takes is as simple as an empty cup and a small spoon. Kids.. (-_-)"
~~ Madeline (that's me!)

"If your child loves stickers but always has problems with peeling it off, peel off the entire background, leaving only the stickers so that it's easier for them to handle on their own (and you won't need to assist them all.the.time). We also love Crayola Color Wonder products because if the markers get on other objects it doesn't leave a mark. Or Aquadoodle kind of products."
~~ Edlyn of Mummy Ed, Mum to 6- and 4-year-old boys & a 2-year-old girl

"When travelling with toddlers, bring lots of distractions but don't give them all at once. Space the toys/activities out and only take them out one by one so your kids won't tire of them all at the same time."
~~ Adora of Gingerbreadmum, Mum to 6- and 2.5-year-old girls


KINDERGARTEN KIDS (4-7 years old):

"For my 4 year old, we bring along coloring books, puzzle books and storybooks."
~~ Dominique of Dominique's Desk, Mum to 10- and 7-year-old boys & a 4-year-old girl

"For toddlers and pre-schoolers, prepare busy bags with sticker books, simple puzzle books, light weight storybooks, and a small pack of colour pencils so that she can self-entertain. If you're travelling on budget flights without any entertainment system, pre-load educational apps and multimedia storybook apps on the iPad. Here are some audio books that we like!
On our recent trip to NYC, we brought along a child headphone set (on loan from our neighbour) which proved to be sooooo useful (as the regular ones given out by airlines are usually too big for kids and keep sliding off). She was able to enjoy the cartoons and kid-friendly movies throughout the flight."
~~ Angeline of Life's Tiny Miracles, Mum to a 6-year-old girl & a 3-month-old boy

"Never be the first to board. Usually they announce for mothers with infants and kids to board first. However, after you board, 300 odd other people board. The kids will be super bored in confined spaces. Then they throw tantrums. Bad start to a trip."
~~ Irene of Singapore Mom Blogs, Mum to 9- and 2-year-old boys & a 7-year-old girl

"For the 6 years old, we bring along a notebook, writing materials, portable IQ logic game set, washi tapes. Details found in my post on our trip to Taiwan."
~~ Serene of Xavvy-licious, Mum to a 6-year-old boy & a 14-month-old girl


SCHOOL-GOING KIDS (6-12 years old):

"For the older boys, bring along journals for writing their diary entries, composition, test papers or holiday homework, board games and story books."
~~ Dominique of Dominique's Desk, Mum to 10- and 7-year-old boys & a 4-year-old girl

"You mean we need to prepare entertainment for the kids? Not for us. We make full use of the in-flight entertainment system. The kids got themselves busy throughout the flight. If on budget airline, we bring along an iPad."
~~ Mrs Kam of The Kam Family, Mum to a 6-year-old boy & a 5-year-old girl

"When they were younger, we bring along photocopies of their favourite characters and twisted crayons for colouring. When they got older, i.e. above 7 years old, the in-flight entertainment will suffice. But I also encourage them to pack their own entertainment, such as a favourite book to read, travel games, or puzzles like Sudoku book."
~~ Meiling of Universal Scribbles, Mum to a 10-year-old boy & a 8-year-old girl

"My son has motion sickness, hence because of his condition, I did not dare to try long haul flights. Australia was the furthest we went. I have learnt that sniffing Lime/Lemon Essential Oil helps him. We forbid him to read or do any kind of writing during the flight so he listens to music or audio books, which can be downloaded for free at these websites: Loyal Books, Storynory and Audio Book Treasury. Sometimes, when the flight is more stable, he watches a movie or two."
~~ Jenn of My Lil Bookworm, Mum to a 8-year-old boy




BABIES (0-2 years old):

"My babies sleep almost the whole journey on the road (the movement almost always cause them to sleep immediately). When they are awake, we try to sing songs or play with them and distract them with the scenery outside."
~~ Madeline (that's me!)

"For my 1 year old, my main long road trip tip would be: get them accustomed to the car seat, bring a familiar toy or blanket for them (make sure that it can be attached to their seat belt or else you will be contorting to pick up thrown stuff all the time) and well, my kid at least, will sleeeeeeep in bliss!
~~ Sandra of Sanses, Mum to 6- and 3-year-old boys & a 1-year-old girl


TODDLER (2-4 years old):

"The mum-in-law also ensures that we bring her favourite biscuit and water bottle just in case she gets hungry in the car/bus. We also always have a CD with her favourite songs playing in the CD player so that we can sing her favourite songs together. If all else fails, there is always our handphones. Eventually she will be tired and will fall asleep like she always does."
~~ Madeline (that's me!)

"1) Prepare snacks including fruits such as grapes, apples or dragon fruit. Biscuits get a little dry after a while so fruits are a healthier option and keep them hydrated.
2) Nap! Get them to sleep and you can sleep too.
3) Busy bags. I pack A4 size busy bags that contains books that the kids like, stickers, magnets and magnetic whiteboards. Erm, somehow my kids love to stick the magnets on the board and pull them out. Or stack them on top of each other. My magnets are the round kinds that you can get from Daiso. I paste stickers on them to beautify them."
~~ Jacqueline of The Little Mom, Mum to a 4-year-old boy & a 3-year-old girl

"Always plan to travel during nap times, play audio books when they are awake, bring plenty of snacks that have been split into small portions so that you don't have to keep handing out stuff (raisins, biscuits, drinks). They also like drawing on their boogie boards when bored, and it beats having to lug lots of paper. For those kids with food allergies, always bring anti-histamines just in case of flare-ups, and have plastic bags in the car for pee/puke emergencies or to contain trash."
~~ Justina of Mum in the Making, Mum to 5.5-year-old, 3-year-old and 10-month-old boys

"For long road trips, plan a couple of stops in between just to get everyone recharged. It can be stopping for a toilet break or for a quick snack or two. If you are overseas where Milo is not available and yet your kid digs Milo like mine, remember to bring along a few sachets and hot water just in case. Back on the road, when the kid is not in the sleeping mood, play CDs with his/her favourite songs, shake to the beat with some maracas and have an in-car KTV session!
~~ Summer of A Happy Mum, Mum to 5- and 2-year-old girls


KINDERGARTEN KIDS (4-7 years old):

"Raisins and nuts as snacks (a must have!) with a container for them to slooowly chew and Ribena/juice packs to relief hunger pangs. Play the "I Spy" game and get them to spot how many cars with a particular colour or brand, e.g. Proton in M'sia (my eldest goes cuckoo over counting them in his head) or describe the scenery or place to be. Provide lots of jotter/sketch books, pencils/markers for doodling and discussion and lots of mini picture books and card games. During the younger days, we used busy board and magnetic whiteboards to play with animal magnets and doodle."
~~ Angelia of Growing Hearts, Mum to 6- and 5-year-old boys & a 3-year-old girl

"We always start our journey before dawn like 3-4am, so the kids would sleep all the way till we reach Ipoh! We start at 3-4am but not before that.
First, no jam at the customs (especially if you go during peak periods like over a long weekend).
Second, won't get a speeding ticket as the police are still sleeping.
Third, no kids asking, "are we there yet?" for the 405 time (they are also sleeping!).
My hub drives as he has no problems with staying awake while he is on the wheel. I get to sleep too haha. We take about 5-6 hours to reach Ipoh; Penang is another hour north of Ipoh."
~~ Mrs Kam of The Kam Family, Mum to a 6-year-old boy & a 5-year-old girl


SCHOOL-GOING KIDS (6-12 years old):

"Things to bring: 1) iPad with kid-friendly headphones, 2) A5-sized notebook and crayons, 3) individual lunch bags filled with snack packs (raisins, fruit, crackers)."
~~ Sandra of Sanses, Mum to 6- and 3-year-old boys & a 1-year-old girl

"Have a CD/DVD that EVERYONE can sing along with. Our top most favourite was Sound of the Music. When truly desperate, feed them all Zyrtec and get them knocked out! (Don't worry, I checked with my pharmacist friend, who did the same with his kids! hahaha)! =)
~~ Jiahui of Mumseword, Mum to 9- and 6-year-old girls & a 7-year-old boy


We hope these tips have been useful for you!

Do you travel by air or road with your kids? What are your travel tips?


This post is part of my series on Travel Tips for the Wanderlust Parent.
Follow me as I share my tips for planning your next family vacation


Head on over to My Travel Page for a whole list of our travel itineraries!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Breastfeeding Diary: 10 Months

I was hoping that my breastfeeding journey would be smooth-sailing from 6 months onwards. The boy was getting the hang of things and I was producing enough milk.

Right after he turned 8 months old, things got a lot challenging. Even for a so-called long timer like me, it was tough. There was laughter but there were also a lot of tears.

In the beginning I was rejoicing. I found a secret formula that ensured that I had a good supply of milk: red date longan tea or barley water and fenugreek. There were days when I had an abundant supply of milk (cue the rejoicing!) and thought to myself, "yes!! I did it!"

Overflowing to a 2nd container

Then Baby Boy was diagnosed with bronchitis some time after he passed 8 months old and that was the start of a whole set of issues, including my milk supply.

Bronchitis

He had been coughing for quite a while but I thought he was ok because he was still drinking my milk and behaving normally. We decided not to give him any medication because I truly believed my milk would be enough and disliked giving medicine to my kids unless absolutely necessary.

Two weeks later, Baby Boy suddenly developed a fever. When we took his temperature, it was 39 degree Celsius, the highest temperature he has had since he was born. We knew immediately that something wasn't right and quickly fed him the paracetamol that we had in our medicinal cupboard. We also wiped him down with a wet cloth constantly throughout the night and managed to bring down his temperature to 38.5 degree Celsius.

The next morning, we were the first at the clinic and his pediatrician listened to his lungs and discovered that there was fluid in it. Dr Wong immediately stuck a tube down his nose (poor boy screamed for dear life) to suck the fluid out and inserted a pill into his anus to deal with the fever. Dr Wong said we should have brought Baby Boy to him earlier as it was likely that he was already suffering with it for days. We honestly didn't know it was that bad because he had always recovered quite quickly previously.

We left the clinic with a whole lot of medicine as well as a machine and breathing mask that I've never seen before in my life. Apparently they are used to administer ventolin, the medicine commonly used to treat asthma. Neither the hubby nor I have a history of asthma so this was all new to us.

Rental of machine cost us $10 per day while the medicine and consultation amounted to more than $200!

Everyone told us if bronchitis went untreated it would become asthma so I was very careful to ensure he took his medicine and drank my milk (Dr Wong said my breast milk was still his best form of defence).

After 2 days, Dr Wong declared that his lungs have cleared (thank God!) and he didn't need to continue with inhaling ventolin. We continued fo monitor and didn't bring him to crowded places unnecessarily.

Fever Without Known Cause

A few days later, he had fever again albeit less severe. Dr Wong checked him and declared that it was not due to bronchitis but another source (could be virus) and called it Fever Without Known Cause (FWKC). Never heard of it in my life! So once again I had to take leave from work to care for my baby.

Mild Asthma

He was wheezing a lot for the whole month of October, which I attributed to the horrible haze that we experienced this month. As we were travelling to Malacca for a short vacation, the doctor decided to give us a breathing chamber to administer the ventolin instead of the bulky machine we had rented before.

Administering the ventolin to Baby Boy in our hotel in Malacca

This portable chamber proved to be useful as it was light and relatively compact. We diligently administered the medicine for a week and was glad that the doctor declared that he was well.

This unfortunately did not last as Baby Boy developed a nagging cough again and despite using ventolin for a week, did not go away. Dr Wong told us that he has mild asthma and needed a supplementary inhaler to control his condition. He is no longer but needs to be on regular medication. I'm just glad it's mild and curable.

What does all this have to do with breastfeeding? 

Throughout his ordeal, to be honest, I felt like my milk had failed him.

As a result of his illness and medication, Baby Boy didn't drink as much milk as he used to and my supply started to dip. He cries whenever my milk was not enough and I did not know why.

One of the mornings I developed the usual pain in my right breasts and then I realised that I had a blocked duct, which was why he was not getting the amount of milk that he needed. I was devastated but went to work anyway because I had an important meeting with my boss. I was going to go home immediately after because I wasn't feeling well. The throbbing pain was terrible and it took days of massaging and enduring the pain before it got better.

At one point I had so little milk that the hubby suggested giving him formula, at least for the one feed at night before he sleeps. I know there's nothing wrong with formula but since I work full time and feel like my milk is the only thing I can give him when I'm not there, I'm super relunctant to give him formula (it feels like I have failed, no offense to formula-feeding mums).

We ordered some formula samples anyway to standby just in case but by the grace of God, my supply was built up again with regular eating of fenugreek and red date longan tea.

I'm happy to say that he did not have to drink any of the formula samples! Though I have had to wake up every 2-3 hours at night to feed him, I thank God because I'm still able to breastfeed my boy!

All the sleepless nights are well worth it when you see this cheerful chap! =)

I'm thankful for my bosses who have been very supportive of me working from home once a week to take care of my boy and ensure a constant supply of my breast milk for him. I don't think I'll be able to make it if not for the understanding of all my colleagues!

Fully breastfed, 10 months and counting.. *grin*

As a mum, you'll just have to take the good and the bad. Hopefully I'm able to make it to the 12 month mark without a hitch! Wish me luck! =)


Continue to >> My Breastfeeding Diary: 12 Months
<< Back to My Breastfeeding Diary: 8 Months


This post is part of my series on My Breastfeeding Journey with Baby #2.
Follow me as I battle the perils of milk production and boob-related pain all over again.


My Breastfeeding Diary
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