Monthly Archives: July 2012

Adventures in Baby Wearing: a mini review of the Boba and JPMBB carriers

I’ve been trying out baby wearing ever since little E was born and I have to say I love it. Not only does it make a good quieting routine for when he gets fussy, its also great for when we i go out on my own and don’t want to lug around a pram. We don’t have a car, so no place to store stuff when going from one place to another.

The first one I tried was the ring sling but the one I got didn’t have great material in a sense that I couldn’t get it snug around little E. Also, although the sling took the weight off your arms, it was all on one shoulder and when I tried it around the house, I could feel I wouldn’t be able to last an hour with it. And that was back when he was still newborn, he has since doubled in weight. I never tried going out with it. Too bad though, the material did feel like it would have been great for Singapore weather. There are a bunch of different brands but I think what turned me off was the pressure it put on one shoulder, so I didn’t even try another brand anymore.

We had the baby bjorn but my husband would use it too so it was a bit cumbersome to keep adjusting and readjusting. That plus the version with back support didn’t really fit my body. They should probably make an Asian petite version.

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I started researching more and found the Boba wrap. It was being sold in one store at Square 2 ( though they do have an online store at http://www.babyslingsandcarriers.com/baby_wrap_carriers ). I went down and got one and immediately tried it out at home. Yes my little man was wailing when I was first trying to put him in but once he was settled, he was quiet and seconds later, asleep. Already I was sold. Walking around the house I actually didn’t feel any pressure on my back or shoulders at all. The only problem was I couldn’t stay in a non air-conditioned room for long, It would get too warm because of the material. It’s like I could feel little E’s face melting on my chest. (a quick fix I found later on was to let him wear a bib and have his face against that whenever he was in the wrap) The absence of pressure on my back was definitely worth it, though. Besides, most of singapore’s malls are all air conditioned full blast anyway. I’ve tried going out with just the wrap and it’s great for the solo flight shopping runs. If I did come home with a back ache, it would be form the diaper bag. I guess with a stroller you wouldn’t have to worry about that. Although with a stroller I’d have to pick him up every time he wakes. With the wrap, he actually hasn’t woken up unless we wake him. It is so comfy that he slept through a diaper blowout (sorry tmi). I wouldn’t use this for long walks outdoors here in SG though, unless maybe it was a “chilly” rainy afternoon/evening. But if the day is going to be filled exploring singapore’s exotic malls then this would be the baby mode of transport for me. It’s quite the challenge to maneuver a pram in a crowded mall. But if I were going out to actually buy stuff, I might bring the pram and still wear the wrap so I can use the pram as a shopping bag carrier and a way to bulldoze my way through a crowd.

Overall I loved the boba wrap, they have a YouTube channel that shows you how to get your baby into the wrap. It’s very simple and straightforward, even as someone who has never tried this type of wrap, I was able to get my baby into it on the first try.

I loved this type of carrier so much that I started to explore other brands too. Baby Slings and Carriers had two other brands the JPMBB (Je Porte Mon Bebe) and Ellaroo, both twice as expensive as the Boba wrap. The lady said Ellaroo wasn’t a stretchy type wrap so I opted for the JPMBB, though it sounds like the Ellaroo wrap would be more climate appropriate. This whole exploration of wraps is actually because of an upcoming trip we have so I don’t mind the denser fabric for now.

More advantages I got from this carrier type in general, ( apart from the obvious having your hands free to do other stuff) Little E always was able to burp when he needed to so he was ok to be put in the wrap just after feeding. He’s been having a bit of reflux lately so putting him in the wrap applies just the right amount of pressure on his belly to help him burp. Whenever he starts fussing in the afternoon, I find that putting him in the wrap (and turning on the air conditioning of course) really calms him down enough for him to sleep.

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Looking at the JPMBB website they had a lot of tutorials that showed different ways you could wear your baby with the wrap. This was because the fabric was especially made for baby wearing purposes and it supposedly allows for stretching horizontally, vertically and even diagonally. It’s amazing how many positions you can out your baby in. Its both an advantage and disadvantage. Having different options is great for baby as he likes the Sideways Vertical Seated as he can see what’s going on around (though he always ends up falling asleep anyway). The down side is that the learning curve is quite steep. If you’re impatient like me, I wanted to try out all the different positions and now I’m all confused which step belongs to which type. It doesn’t help that their tutorial videos seem to be done in slow motion, and there are a lot of annotations, mostly in French. Poor baby has been put in and out so mommy can experiment. It took a while and a lot of viewing of videos over and over to kinda get the hang of it. So far I’ve always ended up with something slightly different.

I find it’s also quite difficult to get the main knot down. The dude in the video makes it look so easy but I still can’t quite get it, mine always ends up either too loose or too tight and I’ve always had to readjust after putting little E in.

One other down side is the weight of the material. The wrap is heavier that most of the sheets we own so maybe that’s also why I have a hard time getting the main knot right. That and the way the material stretches is a factor I think. I actually haven’t gone out with the JPMBB just yet. I’m not confident enough to get baby in and out of it, or tying and relying the wrap just yet. The wrap is much longer too but you’re meant to trim it to your size so it fits more people. I am still unsure of what my size is supposed to be so I haven’t trimmed it yet.

All in all, prefer the Boba wrap at the moment as it feels a lot easier to use but i will be bringing the JPMBB one on the trip as well, maybe I will eventually get the hang of it. Despite all the downsides, having the flexibility of different holds seems worth it.

I will keep on the look out for similar wraps with a more appropriate fabric for this type of climate.

Harry Jan 18, 2011 – July 1, 2012

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Harry was a one and a half year old British Shorthair. On april 18, the doctors told us he had Feline Infectious Peritonitis or FIP. Either that or some bacterial infection based on the fact that they had extracted 300 ml of yellow fluid from his chest.

We had just moved to a new place, and we were also expecting a little one joining our family. It was also time for their annual vaccination shots somewhere around late march and I guess all of this happening at the same time caused a lot of stress for our cats, William and Harry.

First it was William who got some sort of flu and he was sneezing a lot after the trip to the vets. He was eating and drinking normally so we didn’t think much about it though the vet did prescribe some meds along with some ear drops to help clean his ears.

A few days later, we heard Harry sneezing a bit too. With him though, it was different. He lost his appetite, didn’t drink, and we noticed he was having trouble breathing. His whole body would sway when he stood still from his own breathing. We decided to bring him to the vet for check up.

On the way, again he was so stressed that he peed himself in his carrying bag. He used to pee himself only on the way home.

The doctors did an X-ray and ultrasound and what I saw broke my heart. It looked like Harry’s chest was filled with fluid. So much that both his lungs were only half the normal size. The doctor recommended to do an immediate chest tap, basically draining his chest of the fluid. The procedure would take 1-2 hours so he told me to come back for Harry.

Two hours later, they called and I went back to pick Harry up. That’s when they explained their suspicions about what was ailing Harry. They had extracted 300ml of yellow fluid but until they sent in the fluid for testing, they can’t make a diagnosis but they had their suspicions. They went on to explain what they were but all of it was jargon to me, plus I was a quite worried about what that would mean for little Harry.

”Okay, so you’re saying there’s two possibilities with his condition. But bottom line, are both treatable?” I asked.

”Yes, but depending on the condition, it may take an extended period of time to treat,” the doctor replied.
I felt relieved. As long as it was treatable, we would do whatever it takes to get Harry better. They sent us home with antibiotics for Harry as his kidneys had also been inflamed from the infection.

On the way home, I started researching what yellow fluid and “FIP” were as those were the only things I remembered the doctor saying. I could feel my heart drop as I read articles online saying that cats with FIP pretty much had 100% mortality rate.

”But the doctor said it was treatable,” I thought to myself. ”Maybe these articles are just out of date.”
When I got home, I read all the articles I could find on FIP, and couldn’t find a single case where the result was positive. I got more and more depressed.
On the other hand, Harry started eating and drinking again so that was at least good news.

William was being unusually aggressive towards Harry though. I read somewhere that as part of primal instincts, the alpha male of the pack would try and drive away the weak and sick for fear that they would make the pack vulnerable to predators. I wasn’t sure whether that was what was happening here.

The doctor called my husband to pretty much confirm that it was FIP. They didn’t even send the yellow fluid for testing as they were 90% sure that was the case.

I was furious, maybe because I explicitly asked the doctor whether it was treatable the last time I was there because I wanted to avoid this exact situation, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. When he asked what that meant for Harry, he confirmed what i had read online, that cats with FIP had from a few days to a few months. Obviously, I cried again that night.

Pregnant with our first born, I was scheduled to be induced on the eve of May 7th. Since we’d definitely be busy from then onwards, we wanted to have Harry checked out for any relapses of the fluid etc. He had been back to his normal self, eating and drinking. Apart from William still being aggressive to him, and his rapid breathing, nothing else seemed amiss. The vet’s X-ray was busted so he only did an ultrasound. He could se that there still was fluid in his chest though it wasn’t as much as before. We told him about how he’s been back at eating and drinking normally and he was pleasantly surprised. He recommended seeing him again a month from then just to check on the fluid build up.

We took him for a checkup on 9th of June because he looked like his breathing was heavier than usual. Sadly, the fluid had returned. We had a chest tap done again and this time 140ml was taken out. Again, the doctor couldn’t take out the fluid near his heart.

He was back to his normal self again for a few days but then he started to lose his energy again. I was slowly accepting that it may be close to Harry’s time to go.

On June 21, and we made an appointment for Harry at the vet’s at 7pm. He hadn’t been eating, not even when we tried to give him salmon. Again we couldn’t bear making a decision yet, we got them to do another chest tap. That tap yielded 170 ml of fluid. When we got home, he started eating, however the next day, he was being weak again, not eating as much. When I petted him, I could feel his pulse on his chest beating hard. He was back to being social though so we didn’t think of bringing him to the vet just yet.

We had another appointment made for July 1, by then he hadn’t been eating for 2 days,but that was what he was like before we took him for the previous appointment. We put him in the carrier but then he went berserk. That stress was probably too much for him, he didn’t make it to the vets, even though it was only 5 minutes away.

We knew he would pass but it was painful to see him in his last moments in the carrier. Harry was a fighter, he lasted a bit beyond the life expectancy for wet FIP diagnosed cats.