This decision has left her feeling “so emo and guilty”, says the 35-year-old musician, who’s married to singer Alfred Sim, 37.
Comparing her birthing experience to the act of skydiving, Kewei explains, “You hear so much about it but you just got to try it yourself to know what it’s like.”
“I thought I would be bored to bits during my confinement, so I got my Netflix subscription ready. But it turned out to be a rather busy period!”
The down-to-earth mum says that she had actually been scheduled to be induced as her baby was already 40 weeks and four days overdue. Kewei says, “My contractions came the night before but in the morning they became irregular again.”
So, instead of waiting for her labour to begin, the couple packed their bags and headed to the hospital.
Alfred states, “It was like a time bomb, our gynae told us [the delivery] could happen anytime in the evening. We were quite relaxed on the outside, but we were both super nervous as this was our first time!”
The certified sports masseur and track-and-field coach not only stayed by his wife’s side throughout her delivery, he even strapped a GoPro camera to his chest to film her entire birth.
The end of 2017 saw big changes happening for the pair. Besides welcoming their now 7-month-old son, nicknamed “Momo”, they also moved into their new apartment, located in central part of Singapore.
The new parents fill SmartParents in on the joys and challenges of parenthood…
Hey Alfred and Kewei! What’s the most memorable moment of Momo’s delivery?
Kewei: After my epidural shot, I was delirious from the laughing gas, so when Alfred finally came back into the room and asked me what happened, apparently I rambled on and on and kept crying for about 10 minutes.
Alfred: When the contractions started, she felt excruciating pain and couldn’t endure it. That’s when I became her personal masseur, I came in every five minutes to help ease the pain by massaging a trigger point, near the glutes area.
What was the first thing you did after giving birth?
Kewei: I kept wanting to hold my baby but I remember it took quite a while before I finally did! I wasn’t aware of what was happening “down south” anymore — neither the placenta removal nor the stitching. I was just looking at my baby the whole time as they took his measurements and cleaned him up.
“With so much information at our fingertips these days, we are all trying to be the perfect parent. But, bring up your kid just the way that suits you, it’ll work out!”
How was your confinement?
Kewei: I stuck quite closely to the rules of no “wind”, and generally not too much “cold”. But I showered using the herbal bath mix every day and washed my hair every four or five days. I thought I would be bored to bits during my confinement, so I got my Netflix subscription ready. But it turned out to be a rather busy period! I had to follow a feeding and pumping schedule to boost breastmilk supply, eat A LOT of food, and also drink lots of herbal soup and tonic wine.
How was it like the first few weeks when you brought Momo home from the hospital?
Kewei: It was challenging getting used to so many people in our house! The confinement nanny, our parents were constantly around and it could be overwhelming as everyone was learning how to handle a newborn.
Any tips on coping with sleep deprivation?
Kewei: Sleep while the baby sleeps! Sometimes, I would play with Momo and end up sleeping before him. My advice is this, too, shall pass.
Did you face any breastfeeding challenges?
Kewei: I’m really lucky to have had breastmilk since day one, so Momo has never tried formula milk. For the first three months, I was plagued by engorgement issues and saw a lactation consultant three times because of really serious blockages. The first time I had engorgement, I tried everything I Googled and it was a mess.
I spent the entire day at home having hot showers, massaging, squeezing, and Alfred even helped. The next time it happened, I went straight to a lactation consultant and realised whatever Alfred tried was WRONG! My first experience with the lactation consultant was incredibly hilarious, as two older women were massaging and shaking my boobs in all seriousness.
Have you started weaning Momo?
What are Momo’s favourite foods? Is he a picky eater?
What is Momo’s personality like?
What are your childcare arrangements like these days?
Kewei: I have a helper but she only cooks and cleans, she doesn’t touch the baby — we handle that all by ourselves. Since I feed Momo through the night, Alfred bathes him in the morning and lets him play, so I sleep in about an hour or so more. Momo naps twice a day, and we try to put him to sleep by about 8pm but it’s really flexible since we always bring him out, or have guests at our place. When I’m at work, my mum or mum-in-law will come over to take care of Momo.
Alfred: I’m a track and field coach and own a coaching services business. Coaching sessions usually starts at around 3pm and ends at about 8 to 9pm. Sometimes, when I have meetings in the day, I will be out the whole day. And whenever we have events or shows, our mothers will take turns to take care of the baby.
“He is such a happy and smiley baby! He loves it when people talk to him or smile at him, and is so generous with his smiles.”
We saw on Instagram that you all recently travelled to Club Med Bali. What was that experience like?
Kewei: It was a very chill and relaxing holiday, we just spent time together as a family and didn’t worry about anything. It was Club Med, so it was full board and all the meals were taken care of. We didn’t even step out of the Club Med estate to explore Bali!
We saw that Momo had a splashing good time.
Kewei: He has never tried the baby spa, nor any indoor heated non-chlorinated pool! We brought him swimming purely because we were at Club Med Bali and there was not much we could do with him except to let him swim. The first two days, we had an aqua warmer suit, and tried the neck float, but he didn’t really like it. By the third day, we had ditched the warmer suit and he had a lot of fun splashing the water. I was paranoid about the water being too cold — I even Googled it — although on hindsight that was rather silly because the weather was really hot.
Alfred: It was Momo’s first time in the pool. We bought pool thermal wear for him to keep him warm in the water, we bought the neck float, sun block, sunglasses and a straw hat! We only let him swim for about 15 minutes and the rest of the time we were taking pics!
It sounds like you had to pack along a lot of stuff?
Kewei: Just his outfits for his #ootd shots, hat, sunglasses, portable fan and swim gear!
What was the trip’s most unforgettable moment?
Kewei: We woke at 6am to catch the sunrise, but Momo was asleep. We were the first at breakfast with Momo and we had a leisurely breakfast together, which was so rare!
Alfred: Oh, and there was this passenger on board sitting beside me who started having a conversation with her friends. Then, she started talking and playing with Momo, together with her friends who were sitting in the same area. It turns out she has been following Momo on our Instagram and even remembered what he wore during CNY!
How do you spend one-on-one time with Momo?
Kewei: We bring him shopping, meals out, we bring him along to most places we go to.
Alfred: I love to put him in a baby carrier and our bonding time is when I bathe him!
How do you divvy up your parenting duties?
Kewei: Alfred bathes the baby every morning, and has his fair share of diaper changing. I do most of the feeding by direct latching, and if I’m away from the baby, either my mum or mum-in-law will feed him with the bottle.
Alfred: Momo has always been exclusively breastfed, so the midnight feeding continued for the initial months, but we’ve decided to wean him off the night feeds. Therefore, it’s my duty to coax him to sleep if he wakes up at night.
How do you juggle the pressures of working with parenting duties?
Kewei: I’m currently enjoying the time I spend with Momo, and other than performances which I still turn up for, I’ve not been writing songs! Something’s got to give, I guess. I could buck up and try to do everything, but I enjoy my time with him too much!
Alfred: Momo is my stress reliever… He never fails to put a smile on my face!
Any advice for other first time mums and dads?
Kewei: With so much information at our fingertips these days, we are all trying to be the perfect parent. But, bring up your kid just the way that suits you, it’ll work out!
Alfred: Work closely with your wife and listen to her needs. Be the best supporting role in the family and always remember to care and love your wife as well, not just the baby!
What do you enjoy the most about being a parent?
Kewei: Laughing at this cute little human and watching him grow.
Whom do you think Momo takes after in terms of his looks — mummy or daddy?
Kewei: I think he’s a good mix of both!
Alfred: It’s still too early to tell, but I think he has Kewei’s smile!
What’s your biggest wish as a parent?
Alfred: I hope he can be someone with a great talent or skill.
Any plans to add to the household soon?
Alfred: Kewei says she wants to have three kids.
Photos: Instagram/Tay Kewei and Alfred Sim.
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