In conjunction with Smartparents’ Baby Steps Seminar, we speak with Joanne Peh on her journey as a new mum and what baby Qi is really like

Joanne Peh is smitten with baby Qi!

Q: What are you like as a new mum?
A: I am a very hands-on mum. Even though I’m in confinement now and have a nanny to help me out, I do a lot of the babycare duties – such as changing her diapers, bathing her, burping her because I didn’t want to be completely lost when the nanny leaves after confinement.

Q: What is Qi Yuwu like as a new dad?
A: He is very calm, even when baby Qi is screaming away (chuckles)! He knows that there is no point panicking or being frustrated and angry with baby Qi when she is screaming because it will make things worse - the baby will be able to sense the parent’s helplessness.

Q: What kind of baby care duties does Qi help out with?
A: [Yuwu] bathes her and when I am too tired after feeding her during the night, he will burp her and put her to sleep. Now that we have introduced bottle feeding, he is also able to feed baby Qi at night.

Q: Is there any favourite baby-bonding activity Qi has with baby Qi?
A: He loves talking to her, in fact he loves talking to baby Qi like an adult!

Q: What’s the best part about being a mum?
A: I look forward to the day when baby Qi will call me mum but now watching her grow each day is the best thing. There is a great sense of satisfaction and surprise when she hits her milestones as well. Recently, baby Qi has been able to lift her head while on her tummy and she is starting to babble and laugh a lot. She is such a happy baby and sometimes it’s so hard to leave her. In that sense, baby Qi probably takes after me.

Q: Is there anything about being a mum that has surprised you so far?
A: Babies need a lot of attention! Some days I have to tend to baby Qi all the time so I don’t really have much “me” time anymore.

Q: What do you wish someone had told you about this motherhood “gig” before you became to prepare you for it?
A: I think it’s important not to be too well-prepared for motherhood because it is a personal journey after all. It’s more fun to learn by experience when you actually become a mum – there are so many things that will surprise you and it also allows you to rely on your instincts as a mum to best respond to your child.

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"If you don’t exercise the right way post-pregnancy, it can cause more damage than good."

Q: Could you share with us any tips for getting back in shape post-pregnancy?
A: New mums should not be under pressure to lose weight. We all have different body types. For example, I didn’t put on a lot of weight (about 10kg). It’s better not to compare. It’s better to be strong than to focus on losing weight because mums actually become very weak after giving birth.

Carrying your baby is the best way to build strength! When your baby is still small, you can carry her and do squats and stretches at home. I find it really important to build arm strength especially, because you will need it a lot when you are carrying and caring for your baby in the early years. I also did pilates and a little bit of running after the gynaecologist gave me the go ahead.

New mums should however, be careful when exercising after giving birth. If you don’t exercise the right way post-pregnancy, it can cause more damage than good.

Q: Previously you mentioned that you plan to be selective with filming assignments when you are a mum, has that changed?
A: I love doing Ch 8’s Baby Steps and I thought the programme was too short! I hope to do another season because I think a lot of parents couldn’t get enough information, considering the programme was only half an hour long. I hope to involve more real mums in the next season. I would love to do more hosting. I am not going to give up acting though.

Q: Any plans to add to the brood?
A: I think it’s important to have siblings for baby Qi! Having siblings teaches children that life doesn’t revolve around them. Practically, I think having two kids is “safe”.

Q: You went through a 16 hour delivery without pain relief – how did that feel?
A: I battled a big part of the labour myself because I wanted Yuwu to catch some sleep so that he would have energy to take care of baby Qi after.

I mainly tried to get through the contractions by counting, singing and meditating. I was very tired and I tried to sleep but it was difficult because the contractions kept coming. There were a lot of thoughts going through my mind because I didn’t know which stage of contractions I was at and I also didn’t know if the pain was going to get more intense at any point of time but I think I managed the pain quite well.

I went in [into the delivery suite] around 10am but by about 5 or 6pm, I did think about getting an epidural. But I wanted to know when baby Qi was arriving so I decided against it in the end. If I have another child in the future, I would want to do it again without epidural.

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