Monday, December 8, 2008

A few pics...

I just wanted to show you all a few pictures of Leily...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Organic Food

I still remember the first time I went to the supermarket (PicNPay) here in Cape Town.  There were a lot of things I wasn't use to. For example you pay for your plastic bag. They say it's to help the environment by encouraging people to use plastic bags less and use material made bags instead.  What stuck me the most was that at the time of choosing products you could get "normal" or, "free range" (meat & chicken etc) and organic (for fruits and vegetables (and all its derivates)). What was new to me from these concepts was that back home everything is free range and organic, so you don't "choose" to go "green" you are green :)

It's amazing the amount of hormones and pesticides that are introduced at the time of growing those products in more developed countries, which are not very healthy especially for a baby that is just starting to develop its little body.

So when it comes to your baby's food, and you don't live in Bolivia :), its highly recommended that for the first 2 years you try as hard as you can to use only organic and free range products when it comes to feeding your baby.

I would also like to make a comment on processed baby food - read the ingredients. Anything that sounds like sugar or salt, is not good for the first year of your babies development, especially preservatives. I was surprised to see the amount of "fake" stuff that is added to baby food. 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Baby signing

I don’t know if you remember that scene from the movie “meet the parents” where Robert de Niro is showing some cards to the baby and later the baby does the signs.

Well it turns out that some time ago (around the 80s) this guy “noticed that hearing babies of deaf parents could communicate their needs and desires  at a much earlier age than children of hearing parents.” The guy, Joseph Garcia, started what now is known as Baby Signing.

I’m not going to rephrase all the information on the website, you can read it directly. What impressed me the most is that, for example, a 10 month old baby would probably only know how to wave bye-bye and maybe blow a kiss, yet Baby Signing they know up to 40 signs by that age. Just the fact that they can ask for more food, say stop, ask for a drink, or tell you when they want to sleep is enough, now imagine them asking for help or telling you they want to go home.

A few weeks ago I went to a workshop and I think Leily is starting to make the sign for milk :)

A few things to remember:

  • Use a standard signing language, this is always better than inventing your own signs.
  • You have to make it fun, not only for your baby but also for you. It doesn’t delay nor stops your baby’s talking, it actually speeds the process.

For South Africa you can go to .

The workshop includes materials with South African Signing Language DVDs and a lot of information about Baby Signing. The most important part, for me, was that they show you a video where you can see the technique actually working. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Leily started solids yesterday and it was an amazing experience.

It’s interesting to see how she “finds” her way to have something different in her mouth (rather than milk, or her fingers, or my fingers) and realize at each “bite” that she can’t just suck, she needs to actually move the food to the back of her mouth so it can be swallowed.

The first bite she had, she tried to suck and I could see her lip being sucked in. It was the cutest thing.

After almost 30min, and a lot of food on the floor, hands, face, my hands, my face :) we achieved our goal, 2 spoons of baby rice.

At 6 months your baby should be introduced solids. The latest studies have shown that introducing solids before 6 months (at 4 to be more specific as it used to be) can lead to problems regarding the immature gut and kidney and also allergies.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baby Bottles

There are so many brands, and even though we are happy with what we are using, I wished someone would have told us the pros and cons.  I can't speak for all of them, but I will give my opinion about the ones we have tried.

NUK, their strong point is the teat. It is more flat than round (like all the others). When Leily was in her premature stage she wasn't able to put the normal teats into her little mouth. NUKs teats were perfect and we used them for the first two months. If Dr Browns didn't exist, I would probably go for NUK.

AVENT, they are the "simplest" bottles you can get. I call them the "standard" bottles. If you don't want anything fancy but still use a known and recognized brand, I recommend AVENT.

Dr. Browns, their strong point is their air flow system, which in my personal opinion makes a huge difference when it comes to winding your baby. Basically the bottle comes with this tube which lets the air (all those bubble that usually gather on the teat while your baby is drinking, which at the end of the feed make the burp be so hard it sounds like it hurts) to go the back. The only setback on these bottles is that they don't close tight enough for you to mix (shake) formula in them. If you put boiling water on them, for example, they are not tight enough so the pressure in the bottle in combination with the tube brings the boiled water out and you can burn :). Cleaning them is also a bit of a mission, with the little scrub for the tube. But, again in my opinion, all that makes up for the difference it makes at the time of winding your baby.

We have and will use Dr. Browns.

BPA Free

It was not long ago when someone passed this video onto me.  It was the first time I heard about Bishphenol A and how harmful it can be.

I remember getting rid of all our Tupperware and starting to buy glass containers with lids.

When Leily was born I just assumed baby bottles are safe, but they're not (well at least from BPA).

Yesterday, while we were buying "weaning equipment" for Leily, I realized that NUK had one large drinking bottle that specifically stated that it was BPA Free.

Recently I read an article that other major brand like Pigeon for example are introducing BPA Free bottles. Dr. Browns and Avent, the article says, will do it by the end of this year.

So, if you are about to buy bottles or looking for new ones, make sure it states that is BPA Free.

You can read some about BPA here

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sleeping Sack and Wraps

When Leily was in the hospital, the nurses used to wrap the babies. They said it helps them to sleep because it is comforting for them. We found this to be very helpful. Not only did it help Leily to sleep, it also helped when she was overtired.

The recommended use of wraps is:

0 to 3 months = full wrap

3 to 5-6 months = half wrap

After the 5 months it’s recommended to use a sleeping bag. This helps to keep the baby warm inside her cot or even car-seat (see how it has a hole for the belt at the bottom). It’s after this age they start to kick a lot and when they are sleeping they move too, which results in them moving the blanket off and getting cold. Also having a blanket on the car-seat for example doesn’t always work with the wind and moving it from here and there, having the baby in a sack helps a lot.

Still now when Leily gets too overtired, we wrap her to calm her down...

Some authors, recommend using the sack at 5 months, so the baby gets use to it, because introducing it later might be harder. It can be used up to 1.5 years.

The wrap doesn’t need to be anything especial, a thin cotton blanket folded from top left corner to bottom right corner, can be easily used as a wrap.

The sack though is harder to get away with.

Remember that every product should be 100% cotton (see post about cotton here)

We bought ours from babysense 

Sleeping Sack and Wraps

Bum Creams

I remember when I was younger, powder was the way to keep babies clean and dry. Now creams are a better option. Not only does it keep the skin soft and moisturised, but cleaning also becomes easier.

We started using a cream that was pretty good. But eventually Leily started having a bad rash. We had to use some zink castor oil to clear the rash and after it was all cleared our paediatrician recommended us to use this cream.

I have to say, the results from using that cream are very good. Try it!!!

Using 100% cotton products

When I was in school, I was a Boy Scout (I know... I know...). One of the years, we got trained by a “special operations” group from the military.

Part of the training was surviving in the jungle, with nothing but a knife (actually a machete) some matches and a very light homemade sleeping bag.

They explained how to “make” this sleeping bag. We needed two pieces of thick nylon (like those heavy-duty plastic bags) and using some glue, and a little piece of cloth, we basically needed to create a bag in which we would fit.

I didn’t understand how that was going to keep us warm during the cold night, in the middle of the jungle.

Anyway, the first night came, and we were asked to go into our bags.

I can’t explain how HOT it got in there, when outside it was probably around 15°. All of us ended up taking off our jackets and just sleeping in a t-shirt.

When Leily was born, we were told that because she is premature, she won’t know how to keep her body temperature constant, and depending on how small she is using the light on top of the incubator might not be a good idea, so they might have to wrap her using plastic.

This is why baby products like clothes, blankets, wraps, and even bed-sheets have to be 100% cotton. Babies can’t control their body temperature like we do, and the risk of overheating is higher if the product has plastic on it, like polyester and others.

So my recommendation is when possible, especially with sleeping clothes, try to use 100% cotton. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sleeping patterns

A few weeks ago Anisa, Leily and I attended a once in lifetime conference in Johanebsurg.

It was the first time we travelled with Leily and the experience wasn’t bad at all.

At the conference at the back of the conference hall, all the parents with infants created an “infant ground” no one without infants was allowed :)

On the morning of the second (and last) day of the conference the first question everyone asked was “did you get any sleep”.

It was at that moment that I realized how important and how much of a challenge it is to make your baby sleep through the night.

Leily has been sleeping through the night since she was 3 months old. How? Gina Ford and The Little Contented Baby Book.

I want to make clear that I’m not getting any money for promoting this book and the author (which im sure doesn’t even know I exist).

I recommend you go to the nearest book store (CNA or Exclusives for SA) and flip through the pages.

Is a little “hard” and “strict” but we took it as a guideline and it worked like a charm.

I won’t give a short version of the book in this post, but the main point, which in theory results in your baby sleeping through the night, is that you need to have your baby on a routine.

This would also considerably decrease the chance of your baby getting colic.

I recommend it... 


After two weeks of having Leily at home Anisa and I realized that her skin was getting dry. Our paediatrician recommended not using the “typical” creams for during and after her bath.

She recommended a cream named Epimax, (if you Google “epimax” you will find everything from concrete industries to wound creams) the packaging of the cream is not very convincing and its pretty cheap too.

She also recommended Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion, but only if we just wanted to pay more.

So, we bought and have tried them both, and there couldn’t be anything more perfect for her than this.

We actually use them both too, we found that Cetaphil washes easier from her hair, so we use Cetaphil as a “shampoo” and Epimax as soap and after bath cream.

If you live in SA and have the chance to go to any store (clicks should do it) try Epimax, remember the packaging doesn’t do justice to the outcome you would get from the product.

It works so well, soon I’ll start trying it for myself.

Leily Kamila

Leily was born at 8.35 on the 2nd of June 2008.

She was 2 months premature, so she had to stay 5 weeks in the hospital.

Now she is almost 6 months, (birth age) and almost 4 months (corrected age). The reason why I make the difference is because some of her milestones are counted from her birth age (weaning for example) and some others from her corrected age (holding head, or sitting).

She (so far) has most of her Gemini characteristics, a morning person, she loves going out (who doesn’t) and for now her “passion” are the malls.

If you want to see some pictures of her you can check out our flickr

How this works...

Since Leily was born, and during the 2 months that I have been taking care of her, Anisa and I have had some experiences related to parenting that as time passes I’m going to share.

It’s very interesting to see people’s reactions when they see the father taking the baby to the women's bathroom because the men's bathroom doesn’t have a changing table. This and many other stories will be posted here too.

This will also be a place where I give my personal (and non-baby-professional) opinion of places that are baby friendly (or not) in Cape Town, South Africa (mostly). 


As some of you may know, God blessed our marriage with its first fruit. Leily Kamila was born at 8.35 of the 2nd of June 2008.

Anisa is currently undergoing her Articles (in South Africa all attorneys have to finish 2 years of work as a candidate attorney before they can practice law) Leily was born in the middle of Anisa’s second year of articles.

After the 4 months of maternity leave she had to go back to work, and make up those 4 months in 2009.

We felt strongly about not having anyone else raise Leily.

We didn’t want to put Anisa’s articles on hold, if so, she would have had to do them again.

And we needed my income.

So I asked my boss (David Campey, CEO, Information Logistics) if I could have the option to work during the nights. And by the grace of God he accepted.

From the last 2 months until April 2009 I will be taking care of Leily during the day and working during the night.

This is a blog of my experiences (or confessions) of trying to do what society usually expects a woman to do...