My Newborn Mako and How to Easily Keep Health Records Over a Lifetime

In recent news, Ha and I welcomed our son Mako in July. Ha and Mako are doing well now, but over the last year as doctors were asking me about my health history, I realized that I really didn’t know mine. From moving to different cities across various continents, whenever there was an offer to get a shot or vaccine, I would just do it because I could never remember. I’m not even sure how I can export old records or ask for them from the different healthcare systems I’ve been in. Legally, I am entitled to these records, but it’s a big gap to getting them.

Doctors have asked me about certain conditions and issues from my past, and I’ll usually just shrug and say, “I don’t…know really.”

Now that I have Mako, I don’t want the same thing to happen to him. It’s a bit scary to realize how little I know about my own history. Thus, I’ve been working with Bitmark on their mobile app Bitmark Health – it’s an aggregator of health data. Right now, it works with importing Apple Health Kit and scans of Physical Documents, and we want to expand the feature and data support so that anyone around the world can have complete historical records for themselves, children, and family members for recordkeeping, research, and sharing with medical professionals.

Basically, no one should feel as helpless as me.

What was important to me, coming from my background as a social networking (see: Facebook / Cambridge Analytics) entrepreneur, was that Bitmark didn’t have access to your data. In Bitmark Health, the data is all stored on the user’s phone, and Bitmark digitally fingerprints this data and records your ownership as a property title on its public blockchain. None of your personal information (health records, identification information) is recorded in the blockchain.

(In case you’re not familiar with blockchain or have just heard of it from Bitcoin, Bitmark’s blockchain isn’t managed or controlled by any single entity, like a government or company. Anyone can contribute to maintaining it, and a good blockchain is incredibly resilient to hacks and changes. Unlike Wikipedia, in which anyone can make changes to records, only you can make changes or legal transfers to your health records. You also don’t need to sign up for Bitmark – your account is stored on your phone via private keys)

Right now, we’re in Beta on Apple iOS (iPhone). If this seems interesting to you, I’d love to get you in on the Beta (or on the list for the Android version) – we appreciate any feedback (what works well, what doesn’t, what features you personally need to make it useful). If you know anyone who would be interested, I’d love to talk to them about our work too – please share!

Just click on our sign up link here, and we’ll get everything ready.

I’ll leave you with a photo of teaching Mako to love broccoli (as I do) below.

I appreciate it,

Michael

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The Bay Area Parent’s Shopping Guide for Your Baby’s First Six Weeks

In July, I happily became a first-time parent. I quickly had to learn what to buy (and why) to keep myself, mommy, and baby in good spirits. Thus, I’d like to share my insights with other first time parents, coming from the perspective of someone who lives in the Bay Area (think: more moderate weather, mainly using a car, more fortunate in terms of financial means).

Everything below is something our family has actually purchased and used, referred from family friends, Amazon.com reviews, or Wirecutter. I’m focusing just on the stuff we used for our baby’s first six weeks.

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Mom’s Recovery

Yunga Tart Seatz Bath

Sitz Bath Soak 32oz (2-Lbs) Epsom Salt With Niaouli, Geranium, Lavender, Frankincense, Juniper Essential Oils & Vitamin C Crystals – Natural Hemorrhoid Relief, Fissures, Postpartum

If you wife has a natural birth, you absolutely need to get the two items above to help with physical recovery. One of the things I learned is that the delivery uses the same muscles as going #2 (poopie). So think of the mother having the biggest poopie of her life (6-8 pounds!), and pushing for hours at a time. That’s not normal – think of the muscle soreness she will face. My wife cried from the pain post-birth until we bought these.

Feeding

Spectra Baby S1 Breast Pump

This was definitely one of the high ticket items we wondered about spending on because the hospital gave us an electric pump. Once we got the Spectra, we realized rechargeable battery = portable = going places with infant for more than a few hours will actually be pleasant.

Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Breastpump Bra, Black, XS-Large

Lets the mother breast pump with her hands free – she can now use a phone, eat, etc. My wife didn’t think she needed it at first, but I doubt I could take this away from her now without causing big problems.

Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump Milk Pump 100% Food Grade Silicone BPA PVC and Phthalate Free

As the mother breastfeeds on one side, use this manual pump to collect milk from the other side – often, the other side may start leaking milk on its own. Don’t waste liquid gold!

Medela Breast Milk Cooler Set

Medela Breast Milk Storage Solution Set

Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Blue Gift Set, SCD206/12

There are lots of brands like Philips, Medela, Dr. Browns, etc., for baby bottles They all want you in their ecosystem, thus pick one brand and assume you’ll stay with it across all your bottle-related items. These brands are mostly incompatible with each other, a huge pain in the butt, and something I understood too late. If you buy the items I list here, you’ll be fine but I’d buy from one brand if I did it over.

Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner, Notebook Black/Gold

Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack Green

Really useful and aesthetically pleasing drying rack that we use exclusively for baby stuff.

General Health Around the Baby

Mountain Falls Advanced Hand Sanitizer with Vitamin E and Aloe, Pump Bottle, Compare to Purell, 67.59 Fluid Ounce (Pack of 2)

Clean your hands, without sacrificing softness!

Angelcare Baby Bath Support, Aqua

Small babies are not exactly easy to handle normally, let alone when wet. This helps when it’s bath time.

Johnson’s Head-To-Toe Extra Moisturizing Baby Wash

Johnson’s Baby Powder

Desitin Baby Diaper Rash Maximum Strength Original Paste

Use this on your baby’s butt during diaper changes to prevent diaper rash. Also useful for the neck folds area.

Almond Oil

Use as an occasional lotion for your baby and to prevent stretch marks for the mother.

Babyganics Wipes

We currently use these and like them over the Huggies ones as they are less wet. \

Baby Nasal Aspirator NoseFrida the Snotsucker by Fridababy

Babies get boogers and someone (me) has to clean them.

Safety 1st Steady Grip Infant Clipper, Colors May Vary

Babies are well known for their razor-like claws (fingernails)

Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad

We don’t have a dedicated changing table (we are in a small apartment and space is a premium), so we place this on the floor or sofa (I prefer floor). We also bought a cover for the pad, but our son kept peeing all over it and we quickly realized the cover didn’t add any benefits other than aesthetics. The cover is hard to wash, but you can easily rinse or wipe down this changing pad.

Transportation

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

You can’t leave the hospital without a car seat, these aren’t the days of beige Opals, optional seat-belts, and holding a baby in your arms in the car. This seat is well regarded and scored fantastically on crash tests.

Baby Jogger 2016 City Mini 3W Single Stroller

When I put this together, I realized, “this is what quality and attention to detail look like”.

Baby Jogger Car Seat Adapter Single for Chicco and Peg-Perego – 1967207

BEST STROLLER ORGANIZER for Smart Moms

Helps you carry more stuff on the stroller. YOU WILL HAVE MORE STUFF.

Ethan & Emma Stroller Hook, Carabiner Shape

This came free with the stroller organizer – check for an offer on the Amazon page for a code to get the hook.

Summer Infant Snuzzler Infant Support for Car Seats and Strollers, Ivory

Necessary for your infant’s first couple of months when he’s inside the Baby Jogger stroller. The Chicco KeyFit has its own infant support included.

Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier Original – Dark Blue, Cotton

See all the parents who walk with their babies with a kangroo pouch-like thing on them? This is it.

i play. Baby Brim Sun Protection Hat, Gray, 0-6 months

Sleep

Fisher-Price Deluxe Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, Moonlight Meadow

When we mentioned we bought the Rock ‘n Play to our doctor, she said “Babies LOVE the Rock ‘n Play.” So true. More sleep for the baby means more sleep for you.

LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Machine with 20 Unique Non-Looping Fan and White Noise Sounds and Sleep Timer, Global Power Edition

I use this white noise machine for myself right now but I hear it can be helpful for babies too, in terms of drowning out random noise to help him sleep. Oddly, our baby sleeps through anything right now – I can vacuum a few feet away from him. When he becomes more sensitive, we’ll have to put this next to him.

SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper

If you want your infant to sleep in bed with you, this keeps him protected.

Covidien 2022A Curity Maternity Pad, 4-3/10″ x 12-1/4″ Size (Pack of 14)

GORILLA GRIP Original Slip-Resistant Mattress Pad Protector (52″ x 34″), Bed Wetting & Incontinence Cover Absorbs up to 8 Cups, Waterproof, Leak Proof Edge, Pads Machine Washable, Toddler

These two items are for the mother – after pregnancy, she may leak fluids for some time, and these prevent problems from leaks.

HALO SleepSack Micro-Fleece Swaddle, Baby Blue, Newborn

Swaddling is highly recommended by well, everyone, for the early months. Our son will wildly swing his arms while lying down, so I think swaddling helps calm him down.

Thinking about the SleepSack makes me want to sleep myself.

Other Notes

We haven’t purchased a baby humidifier, baby monitor, or bottle warmer. I still don’t feel the monitor is necessary because we live in a small one bedroom (typical Bay Area!). Bottle warmer reviews said warmers are not much (if at all) better than just warming up bottles in a pot. We use a tea kettle to quickly heat up water and then put the bottle with that hot water in a mug for warm milk in 5 minutes. As for a humidifier, maybe that’s in our child’s future. The Bay Area is definitely drier compared to the East Coast or many parts of Asia.

Other things not covered here but you will want to buy:

  • Formula – even if you want to focus on breastfeeding, have formula as a backup. You can make it very quickly and it will start at room temperature in times where there may not be enough milk. I suggest Costco’s Kirkland brand.
  • Diapers – Wirecutter likes the Target and Walmart house brand diapers. We have not tried them, but I am not averse to doing so. Either way, buy diapers from Costco. You can also buy from Target or Amazon, depending on different promotions that you prefer. Make sure the diaper you get has a visual indicator on the front of wetness – very useful. We use Huggies and Pampers and have also tried Babyganics.
  • Diaper bag we were lucky enough to have loving relatives who got us a great diaper bag. Inside the diaper bag, place travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer and baby powder along with the typical diapers, small changing pad, etc.
  • Clothes – buy generic stuff at Walmart / Target. You’ll probably be gifted them too.

For the Grandparents

Nixplay W10B Seed 10.1″ Widescreen Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame

I’d long wanted to get my parents a photo frame that could automatically update with new photos from Google Photos. This frame had been well reviewed in the past, but only literally in the last month did Nixplay get connected with Google Photos via API.

This means that after setup (very easy), the photo frame automatically checks a designated shared folder for new photos to show in the frame. You simply add new photos to that folder from your phone – this convenience to keeping baby and grandparents connected is great and my dad loves it.

That’s all for now!