It’s been a while since I’ve written! But motherhood is going great so far. It just feels hard not being able to have people over and not being able to go out much because of Covid-19.
Thankfully, I’m in South Korea, where the virus is being handled pretty well. We’ve had a few outbreaks, but since March, most people have been wearing masks and using hand sanitizer, etc. and the numbers are very low compared to many other countries. Schools were closed for a long time, but we are still able to go to restaurants and stores.
The government sends alerts to our phones when someone in our area tests positive, and there are city-wide updates on new cases and where the people who test positive have gone so that we know to get tested if we’ve come into contact with them. I’m impressed by the efforts everyone here goes to.
Since October, we’ve been in our new apartment and we love it so much! The apartment complex we live in has great facilities, lots of young families and people with babies, and it’s so nice taking walks when the weather is nice. There is a book cafe, a workout center, lots of playgrounds, a gymnasium, a sauna, and more. All of those have been closed to mitigate the virus, and our elevator buttons have a protective “anti-viral” film on them. And now there are signs saying “no mask, no elevator”. I really have come to love the collectivist spirit Koreans have – they don’t hesitate to wear masks, take precautions, etc. for the good of everyone.
Unfortunately, we had to cancel Sejun’s 100th day party. We were planning on having my husband’s family who live down south come visit and celebrate with us. They still have yet to meet him. But one of his uncles has cancer and his party was going to be in February, when the major outbreak happened here, so we canceled it to be safe. We still rented decorations and took pictures in our home. 100 days of life is a milestone for Korean babies because before Korea was fully developed, many babies didn’t make it past 100 days.
We made a reservation for his first birthday party at a buffet, which is what Korean parents normally do these days. The first birthday is called the Doljanchi and is the most special birthday. We’ve been to many doljanchi so I got so excited for Sejun’s party. As for now, we are still planning on doing it, but we might have to limit the number of people or record it and put it online. Anyway, the buffet we made reservations at has a special promotion. When you reserve a date before your baby turns 100 days old, they will let you borrow decorations for free to use for pictures. The hanbok (traditional Korean attire) we rented cost extra, but it was so cute!
My friend who is also a mom kept telling me that the first three months were hard but that after that, it gets easier. I totally agree with her. Sejun is now 7 months old and until he was about 5 months old, I was really struggling a lot of the time. I didn’t know when to eat or what I would be able to cook for myself, let alone when I’d have time to clean or do dishes. Even sometimes ordering food didn’t guarantee me time to eat in peace. Sejun is a great baby – he hardly cries and is very calm and loves to play with whatever I give him – but it was still challenging those first few months.
I was completely sleep deprived until he turned 5 months old – it was no joke. Thankfully, we moved him into his own room around then and it helped a lot. The cats kept waking him up in the middle of the night, so moving him helped make a quieter environment for him to sleep in. Now he wakes up maybe once during the night to eat, but sometimes he goes without waking up at all! Although, now most of my free time is after he goes to bed, meaning I go to bed late anyway!
He has three naps a day now – usually a nap will last for an hour or two. I held him for all of his naps until he was about 3 or 4 months old because he didn’t want to sleep alone in his bassinet. And I loved holding him – he’d sleep great and I could play video games or read a book or watch tv with headphones in. But eventually I realized I needed to get him to nap alone so I could clean or eat or nap myself.
I found Taking Cara Babies on Instagram and Kelly Mom on her website and they helped so much with knowing what to expect at what month. Before that, I was flying blind. Now I know all about wake times and sleep associations, etc. and Sejun goes down for naps instantly without needing to be rocked or fed to sleep or anything, and it sometimes amazes my friends who also have babies!
I am still breastfeeding and thankfully I’ve had no issues at all. The first week was awful, but I was able to see a lactation consultant and after that it was smooth sailing for the most part. It’s so convenient and I love that I don’t have to measure formula or wash bottles. I feel really lucky that I haven’t had to deal with supply issues or mastitis or anything serious like that.
We also started giving him solids, but I’m still figuring that out. It’s hard to know what to give him, how to prepare it, how much to offer, etc. and sometimes it feels overwhelming. But thankfully, Sejun loves to try new foods and gets excited whenever we are eating and offer him something. I think most Korean parents make juk (rice porridge) and mix in other things little by little, but we’ve given him tastes of what we are eating and it’s easier that way.
I also use cloth diapers and am so pleased with the ones I have. All the diapers I got are from Grovia and I bought a few different varieties but the hybrid shells and snap-in inserts are my favorites. All that’s required is a load of laundry and it’s so simple. I’d much rather do cloth than have to constantly be throwing away disposables, since throwing the trash out in Korea means buying the correct (and slightly expensive) trash bags and taking it to the correct bin. And sometimes I don’t leave the house, so it’s nice not having to smell dirty diapers too long!
I’ll probably make a separate post about this, but I’m also learning a lot about the Montessori method and have been getting Sejun a lot of Montessori toys and activities and I love it so far. We finally organized our house and got rid of most of the clutter, and it’s so nice waking up every morning to a clean and organized house. I don’t have a ton of baby containers everywhere, and I have most of the house baby proofed, so I can usually do dishes or eat while Sejun is playing without too much worry.
Sejun’s room wasn’t really done until recently – I never got it ready as a nursery since I knew he’d be in our room with us for the first few months. But now I have a sign on his door of his name that I custom ordered and I have all of his clothes and toys and books organized, and it feels nice to have his room together.
I hope everyone is staying safe and I’ll try to update more often now that I have things more under control!