Sorry I was MIA!

So, its been a little while since my last post. I warned y'all early on - there are gonna be times when I can't update because the kids are sick - and that's exactly what happened. Both lads had the flu, and it was Afraz' first time getting sick (7.5mos is a pretty impressive amount of time for a baby to be perfectly healthy and I couldn't be happier about that!), so it was a pretty hard week. Fortunately, I had no class the first Saturday of their flu due to Diwali holidays, so hubby and I could look after them ourselves...although we were a little disappointed that our entire weekend was gone to giving the kids warm sponge-baths and administering medicine in a torture-like manner (if you were to go by the pitch and volume of their screams). Thankfully, both kids are much better now and are back to fighting over toys and crying if I leave a room (who knew separation anxiety could hit a 2.5yr old and 7.5mo old at the same time?).

Aside from nursing the kids back to health (in the literal sense in the littlest one's case), I did manage to get in some knitting time. Its much easier to drop my knitting when the kids need me compared to lifting my laptop off my lap, onto the coffee table, and crawling down to get them. Most of my time, however, was spent cuddling the little guys and making them laugh.

I notice that making them laugh just gets their mind off the pain, whether it is because they are sick, or bumped into something, or just having a plain ole temper tantrum (having a toddler means plenty of the latter). After all, they say laughter is the best medicine. Plus it helps me not get too stressed out myself. Sometimes while one or both of them are crying, I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise and my patience running thin. But then I take a deep breath and think: what would yelling do to the situation? More often than not, getting angry, yelling, etc, will only serve to release your frustration slightly and make the situation all the more dramatic and prolonged.

What I try to do is take everything with a dollop of humor and a huge dose of a reality check. The fact of the matter is, kids get frustrated just like we do sometimes - they are smaller, weaker and don't have much say in what goes on in their lives - the only difference is, we can control our reactions, and they can't. I try to keep that mind when the kids are whining or crying or doing both at once.

The truth is, "ideal" is not always "real". It would be much easier, much more convenient, if our kids listened to and obeyed everything we say, but the reality is that it would be pretty weird if a kid did that. Children need to assert their independence and fight for what they want...after all, as they get older, we can't be there all the time telling them what to do. They're gonna have to figure life out for themselves eventually, and the only way they can do that is by having a mind of their own.

That being said, I know it isn't that easy to stay centered and patient when your kids are pushing all your buttons. I think it helps to practice breathing, mantras, etc when all is calm, and not wait to do so when your child is in mid-tantrum. I also subscribe to the Daily Groove newsletter so that I get excellent, thought-provoking, and to-the-point ideas about how to handle my kids.

Anyway, I better end this entry since my toddler is singing this new song while banging on the piano. It involves screaming "MAH-MEE, MAH-MEEEEEEEEEE!!!" at the top of his lungs, so I'm guessing that its for me? That thought alone makes the screaming bearable :D

"Dude, are you trying to break my neck??"

Yesterday I finally went to a chiropractor. After years of neck and shoulder pain, I was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2005. I went for physiotherapy at the hospital, but it really didn't do much for the pain. When I was in the US, I became interested in chiropractic, but since it was not covered under insurance (and anyone can tell you that US health-care costs a BOMB), I never went. Two pregnancies and countless nights up with babies later, my back has gotten worse and worse. The curvature of my spine is not that obvious when I'm clothed, so I am not worried about my appearance. It is the pain that really gets to me. I live in constant pain.
On bad days, it is hard for me to even fall asleep. Other than risky spinal surgery or a body brace when you're an adolescent, there is no way to reverse the effect of scoliosis. So the only thing I can do is try to keep it from getting worse, and find ways of dealing with the pain.

Last week at The Curve (why am I always there?), I noticed there was a chiropractic centre there called Back In Motion. I went in and took a card, and couldn't find it when I got home *LOL* Thankfully I remembered the name of the place, so I Googled it, got their number and made an appointment.

I arrived pretty early, so after filling in the forms, I had to wait quite a bit. They had this slide show going on in the waiting area about how chiropractic care is great for babies and kids...and after my treatment, I think I am going to take the kids there as well :D

Anyhoo, after a bit of waiting, Dr. Wong called me into the room. There was this chair that kinda reminded me of a dentist chair, except it had a hole in its headrest. The doctor spent some time interviewing me about my medical history, etc. He then told me to lie face-down on the chair while he checked my spine. He spotted

the abnormal curve immediately, of course, and said that the three spinal discs (or whatever they are called) involved seemed to be locked into place, which caused the pain.

He told me to take a deep breath and let it allllll out. So I did just that - deep breath in, breath ouuuuu-


What the eff?!?! He had pushed down on my spine as hard as he could, and I could hear the loudest cracking sound ever. I also felt...A LOT BETTER. What a revelation! Shock at the technique aside, I truly felt much better. Much lighter.

He went on adjusting the other two discs (is that what they're called??) and went on working on my neck. It was like he was trying to break my neck, except I felt better instead of dead after.

When he was done with the adjustment, he took me to get electrocuted. Hahahaha! Just kidding. He patched some wires on my back which allowed electrical current through to my muscles. It was a ticklish, tingly sensation that also made my muscles stretch and contract involuntarily. Again, strange sensation, but it made me feel so much better at the end. Ten minutes later, he came and took the wires off me, and we talked about coping strategies. He told me that I should do yoga and swimming, and get frequent chiropractic adjustments (of course). I've made an appointment for next week ;D

All in all, it was a great experience. You've just got to relax and be open. I, personally, feel much better now, even after having to wear Afraz for a couple of hours afterward. I totally recommend it for anyone looking for a 100% natural solution to their issues (even if it has nothing to do with their spine). I know I'm going back for more!

Nursing in Public (NIP)

A lot of people tell me that they find breastfeeding impractical and inconvenient. This normally registers a WTF expression on my face. I have never found breastfeeding impractical! Ok well, that's a lie. There is one instance when it is impractical - in the car while baby is in the carseat, crying. I used to have enough space to hunch over his face and breastfeed him like that (yes, for real), but now that there are two carseats at the back of our 5-seater saloon car, I hardly have any space to do anything, so it gets mighty uncomfortable when the baby is hungry for his nenen.

Anywayyyyy back to the topic at hand. Breastfeeding is so NOT inconvenient! Not to diss formula-feeding mamas, but I think that washing, drying and sterilizing of bottles, and having to lug around (or God forbid - try to find) sterile water while out and about is a huge inconvenience. However, a lot of mamas point out that nursing in public is a huge pain in the butt, so they end up spending most of their time at home for as long as they're breastfeeding. Now that is just depressing.

I go out all.the.time. And, as I've said before, I always bring my kids with me. Just because you're breastfeeding, doesn't mean you have to be a recluse. There is nothing shameful or impractical about breastfeeding. If anything, you should be showing off that you're doing the best for your baby! Of course, that doesn't mean you need to show off how you're doing the best for your baby. The key here is to be discreet.

How can I be discreet when I'm breastfeeding, you ask? Well, there are several ways, and here is how I do it:
  • Use nursing wear or improvise on your own wardrobe to make them breastfeeding-friendly. One way to do this (short of actually cutting open your clothes), is to layer a tank top underneath another top. Pull the outer layer up, and the inner layer down, and you've got a make-shift nursing outfit. You can also do this vice versa if the outer layer is more low-cut than the inner layer. Wearing a nursing tank under a cardigan is also discreet - just pull the cardigan to hide any boobage you don't want seen. There are all sorts of garments made for discreet nursing and easy access - I've been wanting to get Skinies because they seem pretty awesome, but I can't afford it right now :p My cousin (who is my nursing hero, still tandem nursing her 3.5-year-old and 2-year-old) swears by control panties that cover up her entire belly. She just pulls up her shirt, and her panties provide coverage.
  • Invest in a good, supportive, easy-to-unclasp nursing bra or just wear a strapless bra. Now, I've had it pretty lucky in this department - my boobs did not gain much weight in the past 2+ years I've been breastfeeding, so I can use my old strapless bras. Unfortunately, its very hard to find nursing bras in my size so I only use the ones from La Leche League, but you can find all kinds of brands here in Malaysia. If possible, try them out first so that you can decide if its suitable for you or not. Apparently, you can also convert your normal bras into nursing bras, as demonstrated here. I'm planning to try that soon.
  • If you're using a sling, you can breastfeed your child in the sling, or use it as a cover-up even if you're not actually wearing your child. Speaking of cover-up, a lot of people use nursing covers. I have

    nothing against them (I even have one myself), but the truth is that although it covers you up physically, its not exactly "discreet". Its like wearing a sign above your head saying "I AM NURSING MY CHILD HERE".
  • Be confident. If you are overly conscious about whether people can see your boobs, you might start adjusting too much and inadvertently reveal that which you did not want to reveal. I should also mention, your baby can tell when you're nervous or uncomfortable, which will likely annoy or confuse them. If you're too stressed out, it can even inhibit your letdown. So, just act like you would in the privacy of your own home. The key, I suppose, is to practice a lot at home first.
Honestly, if I had to show some skin while nursing my babies, I'd rather show my pretty boobies than my stretch-marked, stretchy belly, but here in Malaysia boobies are taboo, so I do what I can to keep em hidden. I did once accidentally flash some people walking past a sushi restaurant, but that was while I was putting my baby in a sling ( I didn't realize my nursing bra's drop cup was still...err...dropped, and my nursing top decided to open up at just that moment). They just turned away, I just blushed, and the moment was over and done with. No biggie.

If you're doing it right, people won't even notice you're nursing. And if they do, its up to them if they want to turn their head away. You are feeding your child - if they find it obscene, they are the ones with the problem, not you. And please, don't ever resort to a toilet to nurse your child! If someone asks that you to do that, you can invite them to also have their meal in the bathroom. Your baby is a person, and people have the right to eat where they want, when they want. 

There is so much more I can say about NIP (nursing in public), but that's all I've got for now. Here are a couple of other links with tips for NIP:
Rules of the Road: Tips for Nursing Discreetly and Publicly 
NIP tips by HoboMama

Also, the pics here are the only NIP pics I can find right now...Gotta get hubby to take some more! Anyway, here's to all you glam nursing mamas out there - keep it up, and keep it in style!
Infamous image of Jerry Hall nursing her baby - now that's glam!

International Babywearing Week contests

As I've mentioned before, International Babywearing Week 2009 (IBW) ended a few weeks ago. Unfortunately it was the same week as Hari Raya, which meant that most Malaysian Babywearers were too busy with the Raya festivities to really celebrate IBW. That's not to say we're not celebrating though ;) Just that our celebrations are a little bit delayed.

In conjunction with IBW, Malaysian Babywearers have launched a few online contests for all Malaysians to enter. There are so many prizes to be won, and all you have to do is send a picture (or two, or ten!) or a caption or a slogan, and you can get these awesome prizes that include slings, gift vouchers and DVDs.

So go on ahead to for more info. Good luck, glam mamas!

Super awesome knitting day!

I dub today...Super Awesome Knitting Day! And its not because I got a lot of knitting done either! Honestly, I only managed like 10 rows of knitting today. So why did I dub this day *in a booming voice* Super Awesome Knitting Day?!

Firstly, I went to Amcorp to get my textbooks from Book Xcess. They didn't have my textbooks...but they did have a bunch of knitting books. Hardcover. For RM19.90!!! I have never bought a knitting book for under RM70, so this was a huge deal for me. Of course, I then proceeded to buy every single knitting book available :D Six books in all. The total price is what I would usually pay for one or two. The bargain hunter AND the knitter in were having a giant yarn party in my head.

And then after that, we went to The Curve to look for my textbooks. Again, none were found. But then I went to Daiso because I had heard from fellow knitters that they sometimes stock yarn there. Now, for those who are not familiar with Daiso, it is a RM5 store - literally everything they sell is only RM5. I was pretty excited when I entered. Grabbed a basket and began my search. Went on a quick round around at the aisles (fussy baby), but couldn't find any. So I asked a staff member whether they had any yarn in stock. They then seemed confused so I had to explain exactly what yarn was. After the confused stares turned into smiles of comprehension, "Takde la, kak," ("There are none, ma'am") was all they had to say.

Disappointed, I skulked around the store for other stuff (I always find stuff to buy at Daiso *LOL*) and whaddya know?? I found some yarn! I bought every ball of yarn in the colors that I like (that were available) - red, purple, light blue, pink. For only RM5 per ball (compared to an average of RM30 at yarn stores), this was a huge bargain! Of course, they are all acrylic yarn - not fancy wool or cotton - but I have nothing against acrylic yarn. They're washable, wear well and come in pretty classy colors these days. Perfect for babies and kids, especially those with sensitive skin that can't stand animal fibers.

So there you go: Knitting Books + Knitting Yarn = Super Awesome Knitting Day!

Breastfeeding - how it all began and how some of it ended...

I gave birth to my first son, Aqil, on August 10, 2007. There are few days in my life that I remember as vividly as that day. I'll definitely share his birth story with you all soon, but for now I'd like to share a little bit about how we began our breastfeeding journey, the difficulties we've had along the way and how part of my breastfeeding has ended.

He was born normally at dusk after around 8 hours of labor. Seeing him for the first time was the single most profound moment of my life up to that point. Nursing him for the first wasn't as beautiful an image as I expected it to be. I was dizzy and shaky from the intensity of labor, and he was pretty groggy too. I held him for a few minutes before the nurses took him away for inspection and a bath (a standard procedure at that hospital that I later found out did not help with establishing breastfeeding at all). After we both took a short nap, I was ready to try breastfeeding.

Now, here I realize I had made mistake #1 way before he was even born - I had always assumed that breastfeeding would "come naturally" so I didn't read a single book or article about breastfeeding *banging my head on the wall*! Once I had my baby and attempted to breastfeed, I found out really fast that breastfeeding is a tricky talent to master. Between a groggy baby with a small mouth, a stressed out, clueless mom and an inability to get him latched on properly, our breastfeeding experience started out in a much-less-than-ideal way. Not only did the uterine contractions hurt, but my nipples suffered too. Each feed was excruciatingly painful and I dreaded the thought of having to nurse him. But, being the stubborn determined person that I am, I went on with it. Tried everything - nipple shield, expressing milk and rubbing it on my nipple, letting my boobies air, using Soothies and lanolin. And that was just in the first two days!

On his 2nd day on this planet, Aqil had to be placed in the NICU for what I now know was a completely small issue. Obviously, being apart from my child did nothing to help our already-suffering breastfeeding relationship. Thankfully I did not have to go home yet - that hospital did discharge me but they provided a room for me to say in, gratis. It was in the same building and same wing as the NICU, only a few floors down. So I stayed in that dark room in the hospital, traveling up and down the elevator to breastfeed my child. Except that now, not only was I in pain, Aqil was not gaining weight as much as he should. And so one of the worst phone calls came in from the doctors. They told me that they needed to give him formula so he'll gain weight fast and get better. In between sobs, I agreed. I did not know much about breastfeeding a newborn then, and I realize now that being complacent and unenlightened about the sensitive nature of the relationship between breastfeeding a newborn and my long-term milk supply was mistake #2 in my breastfeeding experience. They started "topping off" his feeding with formula - I'd feed him at my breast or with expressed breastmilk (EBM) in a bottle, and if he still seemed hungry, we'd give him formula. Supplementing with formula did no favors for my supply - how was I going to make more milk if I had less opportunity to feed him directly AND there was another food source taking my breastmilk's place??

Sure enough, a few days later I started having fever and chills. Since Aqil was in NICU,  a place where the sickest babies go to get better, I was not allowed in until I figured out what was causing my fever and get better. Tears came over me again. How can I be apart from my sick baby??! At this point I had started pumping at night and gave those bottles of milk to my hubby or mom to send to Aqil at night so that I can get more sleep. So I pumped and gave hubby the milk to feed my baby, and urgently made an appointment to see my OB-GYN. I had quickly bought and read the book The Complete Guide to Breastfeeding during our stay at the hospital and found that my symptoms seemed to indicate mastitis, a type of breast infection often caused by milk not being sufficiently expelled from the breast. So off I went to see my OB-GYN who confirmed that I had mastitis and put me on a course of antibiotics.

I got better, went to see my baby after a day apart, and tried to nurse him. Coincidentally the head NICU nurse was in the room with me - a sweet older lady who had a really maternal vibe about her. She took one look at my nipples and was like "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat??!". She went on to tell me that she has never seen nipples so injured before. "It must be torture to breastfeed your lil guy with your nipples in that condition", she exclaimed. Yeah, no kidding! She called the resident lactation consultant and told her to come up ASAP. They told me to pump instead of feeding him "straight from the tap" while my nipples heal. They also advised that I start on fenugreek and blessed thistle supplements to increase my milk supply to wean my son off formula.

Upset as I was that I couldn't nurse him anymore, I pumped for him and took those supplements. A week later - that's 10 days after he was born - we took our Aqil home. Within three days of being home, my supply was high enough to get him off formula (YAY!). I think that being free of the stress that comes with having a child in NICU and having to stay at the hospital instead of recovering in the comfort of my own home, played a huge part in the increase of my milk supply.

However, I was still pumping and not nursing my baby from the breast. In the month following his birth, I went to the lactation consultant countless times - why does it hurt so bad to nurse him? They tried all sorts of tricks, every kind of position available...and it still hurt. In the end, they pretty much just gave up and told me that I would just have to hang in there and let my nipples get tougher. What the eff, I thought, If nursing is this painful for much longer, how the hell do they expect me to keep on breastfeeding. So then I turned to the place that never fails to give me answers: the Internet. I posted this entry on the Breastfeeding community at Livejournal. Within hours, comments started pouring in. And finally, finally, breastfeeding stopped hurting! In the end, these breastfeeding mothers who've been through what I was going through, were the people who ultimately saved my breastfeeding relationship. I always give that link to new mothers going through a rough time breastfeeding their little ones, and you should feel free to do so too.

I continued to nurse Aqil despite some minor problems including an overactive letdown and one incidence of biting (I set him down and made it clear that biting means a stop to  the nursing session, and he got the message and it never happened again). We went on happily nursing for another 10 which point we found out that - TA-DA- I was pregnant again! Despite being overjoyed at the thought of holding another baby in my arms, one of my first thoughts was "What will happen to Aqil and our breastfeeding?". I found out the answers...but that's a story for another day ;)

As my belly got bigger and my level of energy got lower, I decided to gently nightwean Aqil once he became a year old. After two months of giving him water in a cup when he woke up at night, and patting/rubbing his back to get him back to sleep, he finally decided that waking up at night was not worth it, and miraculously slept through the night. He nursed frequently during the day, though. And even after his brother was born in March 2009, he continued to nurse...for another 6 months :)

About a month ago, my eldest baby boy weaned himself after 24 months of breastfeeding. He now proudly informs everyone that "baby nenen" when Afraz is at my breast, as if he is passing a torch to his little brother: "Hey bro, it's your turn now".

His weaning has been a bittersweet affair for me. While I am sad that he is no longer nursing, I am relieved now that I am back to nursing only one baby again. He seems happy and, dare I say, like such a big boy now. I am glad that the decision to wean was mostly his, and that he did not do so grudgingly. I miss my little baby, but I am proud of my little man.

Now, about that third rule...

Yeah, you know, the third thing that makes you a glam mama: Love yourself. Now, let me make it clear: loving yourself is not the same thing as being selfish. What I'm talking about here is actions that nurture your psyche, appearance and well-being that ultimately makes you happy which subsequently makes you a better mother. Got that? Well, let me give you an example.

Today, despite my apprehension about leaving my children for pretty much the whole day, I went for the first class of my graduate studies (actually its the second class but the first class was cancelled because the lecturer had food poisoning which meant that...well, it's irrelevant to my point so let's go back to my original point before I go further off tangent as I tend to do). While it may seem selfish, which it did even to me at first, to put my babies through the trauma that they must go through when their usually fully present mother abandons them one day a week to pursue her studies, the truth is that in the end, its all for them. And I'm not saying that just to make myself feel better either!

We all go through days where we just feel like running away from our life as a SAHM or WAHM or even a WOHM (just admit it already!), and mostly its because we feel like we've neglected ourselves. Think about it. We spend all day and night with our children, attend their every need, spend every drop of energy, every dime that we have just to keep them fed, clean, happy and have a roof above their heads. But who is doing that for us? Mama needs some lovin' too!

I always say, motherhood is a thankless but incredibly rewarding experience. No one is going to write you a thank you note for all that you do because its "what all moms have to do". Society states "Just do your job and don't complain about it". Husbands, sweet as they are, are clueless to the fact that sometimes we just need some time and attention too. So, if no one is there to give us that, what happens to us? Well, we gotta love ourselves!

It can be something as small as taking a long hot shower while your hubby watches the kids, or going for a monthly pedi mani (or a facial, or a massage, or even a Brazilian if that's your thing - an added bonus is that it'll likely make the hubby happy too *LOL*), or in my case, finally taking the long-postponed leap of pursing my graduate studies. Having a hobby or two also does wonders for your psychological well-being, as does having a social life.

I'll admit, I wish I can practice all that I preach, but the truth is that I don't do all that. However, I do have a few things that I do to remind myself that I am loved, at least by me. I love to knit - I took it up just recently after years of procrastinating. I do it as much as I can - while nursing, in the passenger seat of the car while hubby drives or at night for about half an hour after the kids are asleep. An added bonus is that I get to enjoy the things that I make, or give them away as presents. I'll definitely be talking more about that later :)

And as for my social life...well, the truth is I don't get to see a lot of my single friends that often. I much prefer spending time with my kids than anyone else, so if I do want to see friends, I like to bring my kids, which most of my single friends find annoying (except for M and SR...they come to the house to see me, see my kids and sometimes even watch the kids while I take a long-overdue shower - now that's friendship!). I always rationalize that a social life can wait till the kids are older and aren't as dependent on me as they are now (if ever that day arrives, hahaha!).

I guess my point is, keep doing what makes you happy. As long as it isn't detrimental to the long-term well-being of your family, in the long run your happiness will ensure that your whole family remains happy. And if you really can't bear the thought of leaving your kids just so you can do something for yourself, bring them! I bring my kids out shopping all the time! I've even brought them to the salon while I got my hair done (with one other person there for chasing after the toddler, of course). Just because you're loving yourself, doesn't mean you gotta do it all alone.

So you see, it's simple: happy mama ---> happy family. Happy family ---> glam mama!

Babywearing - one of my many passions

I'm pretty sure babywearing is what keeps me sane. How else can I nurse my 6-month-old while playing catch with my 2-year-old? How else can I play with my toddler at our playground, knowing all the while my baby is right there against me? How else can I enjoy my hobbies - knitting, blogging, Facebooking - while fulfilling both my kids' needs simultaneously?

I was introduced to babywearing rather serendipitously. I had attended a Pregnancy and Baby Expo while I was pregnant with Aqil in the States and entered my name into a lucky draw. Now, I never win at anything - lucky draws, talent shows and especially athletic events - so it was a huge surprise when I actually won something this time! I had won a Maya Wrap Ring Sling from a vendor there. I remember how I thought the lady was a "strange hippy woman" while she nursed her toddler in a sling. Little did I know that it was a foretelling of my own future.

When we got home, I placed the sling onto a shelf and promptly forgot about it. I'll never need it, I told myself, after all, that's what strollers are for. Hah! If I only knew!

A few months later I gave birth to Aqil. We stayed in the NICU for a while, where my firstborn would sleep so contentedly in his incubator that we would hesitate to pick him lest we disturb his deep slumber. What an angel, I thought. Then, on his 10th day on this planet, he was given a clean bill of health and we were allowed to bring him home. He was so quiet on the way back, not flinching once throughout the bumpy journey. But then we brought him into the house....and something happened. Our calm little baby started screaming at the top of his lungs, startling his parents, grandma and pet cat. What's going on?! I wondered, What happened to my mellow little angel???

So we picked him up. He calmed down. We set him down in his bassinet. He starts crying again. So we picked him up again. He calmed down again. We set him down in his bouncer. He starts crying again. Then his mama, a lot less glamorous then and suffering from post-partum blues, starts crying too. Everyone starts pulling their hair out. So we (being my hubby, mother and I), take turns carrying him throughout the day and night. Two weeks and three pairs of painfully aching arms later, I said "There must be a better way!".

It took a few hours to find that darned sling that I had foolishly hidden away. When we found it, I was grinning with glee - this contraption will make our lives so much easier! And it can't be that hard to use, right? Right? Err...Wrong. While I laugh now at how difficult it was for me to figure it out then, at the time I was frustrated to the point of tears. That is, till I remembered this little thing called the Internet. After a brief amount of rolling eyes at myself and sighing, I went about searching for instructions. I found a few websites, but still didn't get it.

For a week or so, I put him in the sling in what obviously was the wrong way. I still had to put one hand on him, and it was so uncomfortable. I knew that it was absolutely vital that I learn how to use this sling properly if I wanted to keep my high-needs baby happy and relieve my achy shoulders. So I went on an Internet search again and found TheBabywearer and voila...all my questions were answered!

From then on, I became an avid babywearer. I've tried almost every type of carrier out there and I wear my kids all the time.

Why do I need a carrier if I have a stroller, you ask? Well, there are quite a few reasons, but here are four:
  • My kids hate strollers. Apparently I never liked them as a baby either.
  • I couldn't bring a stroller into my cramped kitchen when I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • I couldn't push my stroller up and down two flights of stairs when I do laundry in the basement level of our apartment
  • Babywearing has become a form of exercise for me - resistance training! Think about it - they are constantly gaining weight and your body always needs to keep up. This & breastfeeding are my post-partum slimming secrets ;)

So, you see, babywearing has done a lot for me. Other than affording me a lot of convenience and freedom to multi-task, here are a few other benefits of babywearing:
  • You are able to bond with your child, even when you're doing other things. Those instances where you coo at them or kiss their forehead are priceless bonding moments that you wouldn't get if you leave your baby in a bouncer, stroller or playpen while you go about your business.
  • Your child gets a better view of the world. Imagine, they are seeing the world at the same eye level as you, compared to seeing the ceiling and peoples' knees if they were put in a stroller, etc.
  • Infants learn the intricacies of social interactions more quickly when they are worn as they are able to observe facial expressions, understand & learn languages faster as well as become familiar with body language.
  • For younger babies, it has been reported that wearing your baby tummy-to-tummy is akin to tummy time on the floor, which strengthens their back & neck muscles.
  • Generally, infants who are carried are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met by their caregiver, who is very much in tune with the child's cues. When wearing a child, you are able to meet their needs a lot faster too.
  • In my opinion, one of the best perks of babywearing is that you can breastfeed on the go!

There are so many other benefits of babywearing, but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. My passion for babywearing has led me to learn about so many other alternative parenting practices and meet other like-minded people. Before I came back to Malaysia, I scoured the Internet for Malaysians who are into babywearing. I befriended Jess, and a couple of months after my return, she formed Malaysian Babywearers, a non-profit organization that promotes babywearing. I'll be talking a lot more about Malaysian Babywearers (MBW) later on, for sure!

If you're wondering why I wrote this out of the blue, it's because the 2009 International Babywearing Week just ended, and it prompted me to think about how I started out babywearing and how far I've come since then. So here's to babywearing and making my life extra-glamorous!

A little introduction

Hi and welcome to my brand-spankin' new blog! For now, think of this blog as a newborn - born, but not quite in its full form. So do forgive me while I nurture this blog into the best blog it can be.

A brief history of my adventure in motherhood so far: I found out I was pregnant with my first child while I was still pursuing my degree in the United States in December 2006. Completing my final year while pregnant was quite a challenge, compounded by the fact that I had to battle the harsh winter and scorching heat of summer, all par of the course in a four-season country. I safely delivered my son, Aqil, in August 2007. After a brief stay in the NICU, we brought him home and I effectively became a stay-at-home mom.

We returned to our home country of Malaysia in May 2008, and I found out I was with child again not long after our return. If I thought summers in the States were scorching, I was completely unprepared for the punishing heat in Malaysia! I gave birth to my second son, Afraz, in March 2009. We brought him home the day after his birth and I effectively became a frazzled, sweaty, stay-at-home mom of two.

Throughout my time as a mother, I have learned so much about myself and my children. Child-rearing has been an endlessly tiring, but unbelievably rewarding, experience. I have been exposed to so many different lifestyles and parenting choices through my forays in online parenting forums and real-life play-dates, and that is why I created this blog - to share with others what I have found; to open their eyes to other, possibly better, ways of doing what they do.

Through my experiences in the past three years - from when I first found out I was pregnant till today - I have learned that there are three things that make a Glam Mama:
  • Love your kids
  • Love your environment
  • Love yourself
Do all that and you'll just be glam automatically!

I really look forward to sharing more in this blog. I will try to update frequently, although there may be times (i.e; sick baby(ies), sick mama, sick hubby ;p, vacations) when my posts may be sporadic at best, so I apologize in advance for those instances. This blog has been three years in the making, so I plan to devote a lot of attention and time into it and can only hope that my readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Till my next post, take care of yourselves and don't forget to love, love, love as much as you can!