Eva & Parents First Experience With Infant Fever

Eva came down with a fever this week. It was a first time she has fallen sick. Wife has 2 hypothesis: (1) She caught a cold from the neighbour’s husband who was sneezing at the corridor continously while our home door was opened, (2) Due to the weather and her eating Eva had become too “heaty”. Either of which we have yet to prove.

Woke up in the middle of the night at around 3 am, and realized that Eva was hot-to-the-touch. Took her temperature and it was 38.8 C. Was it hot? Was it normal? I went to screen the health booklet to see the temperature that was recorded on her regular health check. 37.5, 37.1, 40, 38. Hmm … was curious why when her temperature was 40C the nurses had not alerted us. Was it normal?

So, I started to Google … baby fever when to see a doctor, and the 2nd resulted made me laugh.google-fever-search

Conclusion was anything above 38C was a fever and above 38.5C was a high fever. We helped Eva to cool her body down a little with a damp cool cloth, and she fell asleep later. We hoped that her fever would go away. At 5 am, she woke again and her temp, was 38.4C, still high but had gone down.

We decided to go to the hospital to have a check. Our usual ASOG was not opened till 9 am, so we decided to try the Shanghai Childrens’ Hospital (Beijing West Road) which was just round the corner of our house. The normal VIP clinic was not open till 8 am, so we had to see the Emergency, and there were loads of people waiting.

shanghai-children-hospital

Here’s my impression of the place:

– It was filthy. There was rubbish all over the sides of the road, spit all over the place, because parents were simply throwing rubbish around the bin (not into the bin) and spitting right outside the door step of the clinic.

– It was overcrowded. Kids came with 2 parents and grandparents. Ridiculous amount of attention for 1 kid, and they talk too loudly in the clinic where it should be a place for rest and recuperation.

– It was hot & stuffy. The clinic was crowded and the air-con was set at 26C. Hospitals usually set their temperature lower to also cool the patient’s temperature, but not here … hence everyone seems to be edgy and irritable.

– The process was messy. You wait for over an hour to see the doctor. Queue numbers had no apparent sequence. Random patients continue to walk into the doctor’s room to ask questions and get follow up answers even when other patients were already in there.

– Doctor overdoes it with the treatment. You have a fever and they ask you to take a blood test immediately and/or go on a drip. Internationally, this only happens when there are certain indications doctors like to confirm. Here it has become a norm so much so that when we asked the doctor why Eva had to take a blood test, she just said because she had a fever.

Wife and I eventually decided that we will not want Eva to take a blood test unnecessarily when she was so young, hence, we told the doctor that we did not want to consult anymore and took our booklet and left.

We decided to go to ASOG when they opened at 9 am. Went to the familiar environment and thankfully the appointment schedule for Dr Song was not full and we saw her relatively quickly. Her check up was more thorough, including asking more questions about the symptoms and explaining clearly what the possibilities are and only in the event that it was a viral infection will they have to do a blood test to confirm. (Sounds more reassuring!)

Anyway, Eva is recovering at home. Her fever still comes on and off with the effects of the medication, but we shall monitor and see what to do next.

 

Separation Anxiety

Apparently, there is a professional & scientific explanation for the crying whenever mummy leaves the room. It’s called Separation Anxiety!

Baby feels like they miss you immediately when you leave the room, and gets upset and starts crying. This usually happens during the 6 – 7 months when they are beginning to be aware of the people and surrounding about them. They also start to develop emotional attachments to the people around them.

Another thing I noticed Eva doing more recently is calling out both mummy and daddy but not really looking at anyone in particular. Not too sure if she is really referring to someone, or she is just trying to articulate a sound.

Don’t get angry at a 7-month old

I admit that I recently got angry at little Eva for reasons that was really not controlled by her at all.

The situation was that recently Eva did not drink her milk well at her meal just before bedtime. She would make a fuss to be fed, but would only drink a meagre portion, before falling off into slumber and then refuse to drink anymore. As such, Eva goes to bed full, but only for a short period of time, and would have to wake up again very quickly during the night, usually at 1 or 2 am.

Previously, there was a period of time when Eva was able to go to bed at 8 pm and slept till morning at 4 or 5 am before she woke up to drink again. That coupled with other parents letting me in on their kids behaviour of sleeping from 6 pm to 6 am, or sleeping from 9 pm to 7 am … etc … and I get really upset that Eva was unable to get into a habit of sleeping well at night.

It simply had to be because of not having a full and complete meal before sleeping that was disrupting her rest at night. Hence, wife and I tried various ways to feed her more, even feeding her an additional time before we went to bed so she would get fuller. We also tried just feeding water to her when she woke at 2 am, but that did not satisfy her and she still had to drink some milk before she would fall asleep.

Was really upset and tired one night when Eva woke up again at 2+ am and was just thinking … can’t she just go to sleep!!!

Later on, I realized that Eva really does not know what is going on and getting upset with her would not mean anything and can change anything. Thankfully for a understanding wife that I can lean on and count on to help whenever it gets to trying. Buddy-buddy, friend-friend to get through some of the “downs” of having a kid.

Anyway, if anyone has any brilliant ideas on how to help a baby sleep through the night, please do share …

Mummy, Don’t Walk Away

It appears that Eva is now very attached to the mum.

Every time the mum turs her back to walk away, be it to wash her hands, to the next room, or to go out, Eva will start to cry.

When mummy is at home, Eva will always monitor where the mum is, unless of course Eva is occupied with toys for her to play.

Seems being at home, even with an Ayi to help take care, Eva has developed a strong bond with mummy. Thankfully, and luckily for mummy, that Eva is not sticky to the extent that she does not allow other people to carry her. Eva merely wants to know her mum is around.

So, mummy, don’t walk away from me …

Sleep Time

Sleep time for little Eva has changed over the few months.

Now, she continually sleeps from 8 pm to 4 am. Which is a good thing. Though any thoughts from other parents on how to lengthen the sleep time to 6 am or 7 am would be greatly appreciated.

Getting to sleep, however, continues to be the challenge.

1. She used to want to be carried to sleep. Those were the say days, predictably, you had to carry her and rock her to sleep and she will fall asleep.

2. Recently, she does not like to be carried to sleep. In fact, she occasionally does not even like drinking her milk before her sleep. So, it becomes a guessing game now on how best to get her to sleep, yet get her to sleep on a full tummy. (We hope that a full tummy helps her sleep longer)

What we do now is lay her on the bed and let her play till she is really tired, then when she calls out “for help”, we intervene and feed her as much as she likes to have (typically 50 – 100 ml) and then on the first sign of displeasure (yes, babies show that very obviously), we quickly put her down to bed. Done.

Infant Sleeping Routine

Eva was sleeping very well at night at 3 months, feeding her last meal at night at 10 pm, she would then sleep till 5 – 6 am in the morning, before she woke up for the next meal.

During CNY, when we brought her back to Singapore, her habit suddenly changed. She started to feed less (120 ml only) and fed more frequently. She would wake up every 3 hours in the night to feed.

When we brought her back to Shanghai, we had to try our best to feed her a complete 150 ml meal and attempt to get her back to her 4 hr feeding cycle. We succeeded.

Then we had to get her to sleep longer at night …

Wife suggested that we feed her water if she woke up in the middle of the night. So, she does not get used to having to drink milk at night. We tried that for a couple of days, and so far we are having good results. Eva is now feeding her last meal at 8 pm, and sleeping till 3 – 4 am before waking up.

While 3 – 4 am is still not an ideal time for us to wake up and feed her, we feel that it is better this way as she gets to sleep early and at the 11 pm period where the most brain development happens for an infant.

Anyhow, your child will go through many phases and will have much changes. So, just go with the flow and hang in there!!!

Startle Reflex in Infants

Noticed that Eva began to be startled very easily when I recently went back to Singapore for the CNY holiday. It started at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, while waiting for the flight and carrying Eva, she was sleeping in my arms, but every little sound or movement caused her to startle and slightly wake from her sleep, making it a very restless sleep that she had.

When we went back to Singapore, Fionna’s mum also commented that Eva was being shocked too often, 5 – 6 times each minute and is causing her to not get good sleep and may be bad for her heart. MIL told us to get a Chinese medication 惊风散 for Eva to eat which is traditionally used to cure startling in babies. We tried that for a bit, but never completed the full dosage.

jingfengsan

On another day, while shopping for some stuff for Eva, the sales attendant, commented to us that the Eva, who was sleeping in the stroller, kept getting startled and it was too frequent for normal babies. She suggested we go see a doctor to find out if there is anything wrong.

Finally decided to go see a doctor. Went to SBCC, Tiong Bahru, and the Dr did a full reflex check on Eva, and also checked with his colleague an infant neurologist for an opinion. The conclusion was that it was a case of Sleep Myoclonus, or exaggerated startle reflex. Startle reflex is common in babies and usually go away during the 4 – 6 month period.

We stopped taking the Chinese medication immediately, and have been monitoring Eva’s performance. Happy to say that she is much better now, and is slowly becoming less easily startled.

Sleeping babies

For a period of time, Eva was not sleeping too well, waking up easily and not getting into sleep mode quickly.

Now, she is so much better and for the past few nights, she had slept continuously for 4 to 6 hours and 1 night she even slept for 9 hours, which was as good as an adult. Hoping that the good sleep continues …

Prior to that, I was actually contemplating a couple of strategies to let the baby fall asleep.

Cry-it-out strategy where you slowly let the baby cry out for short period of time and then let the baby drift to sleep. After having read it, and after having experienced the baby crying, I realized that it was more difficult to go through with it than thought, as parents usually feel really bad and sad that their baby is crying.

So, thankfully, Eva is now sleeping well … to a certain extent. 🙂

Ayi Updates

So, the new nanny did not work out.

After 3 days living with us and having handover from the confinement nanny, we figured that the new nanny was very NATO (No action, talk only!). She says she has 7 years of experience, but she holds the baby just like Fionna and I like a 3 month new parent. She says she has experienced baby vomit milk, but when Eva did puke her milk all over her, she just stood there and not react at all. She says she has certification to teach early education to babies, but she did not do any. She says she has certification to help babies do exercise  but she did not do that either. She says she had open a restaurant before, but the food she cooked was terrible, and even the confinement ayi felt that all the cooking techniques were wrong. Who boils the chicken and throws away the water, before using it to cook soup? Over and above all that inexperience, her personality and antics were quite shocking. Loud at the dining table, clucking away to my baby, getting all angry and furious at her govt when the cab driver said something, and too eager to brag to everyone on the streets that she was taking care of a Singaporean baby. !!!

3 days of her and we asked her to leave immediately after our confinement ayi left. Big sigh of relieve when she finally left the house.

That afternoon, the agency sent another ayi for interview. This time, this ayi was a totally different personality. She seemed older that she actually was, gave a slow and steady feel. Even asked Fionna to stop talking to her while she fed the baby so she could concentrate. We agreed to let her try out working with us, however, that night she called to say that she really wanted to find a place that she could work through the Chinese New Year break, as she did not need to go home. Hence, that did not work out for us too, because we were going back to SG during CNY.

We then decided to only find a day-time nanny instead, since it was really too difficult to find a full-time one. Perhaps, it was God’s way of asking us to spend more time with Eva and take care of her ourselves. Agreed.

The agency managed to find another ayi for us very quickly, who came by on Sunday for an interview. This time we insisted that the nanny must have worked for expat families before. She did. She seemed like a really nice lady, though she was much younger than both of us. She agreed to even do a trial work day next Sunday before we officially start work with us. Fingers crossed, hope she works out well next Sunday, and we can at least have a day-time nanny, so Fionna can concentrate on her work.