Monday, February 29, 2016

February highlights.

Once again, February just came and went !

I wanted to blog many, many times in the past week
to document my current motherhood experiences and memories
but the past 2 weeks have been challenging.

Alot of adjustments had to be made as the confinement lady had left.
Brought over my mother's domestic helper to my house to help me out.

Before this, I thought I could be a hero and take care of the baby alone in the house . . .
but I was SO wrong.

I just didn't know how much laundry had to be done in a day.
The number of napkins, hankies, towels, mittens and baby clothes used in a day . . .
is just crazy (especially when you have a baby that spits up alot).

With my hands tied down with the baby,
I literally cannot do ANYTHING else at all unless the baby is napping. . .
but given the unpredictable nature of her naps,
I am unable to get anything done without rushing through it.

These days, my prayers revolve around "Pleaseeeee don't wake up!"
whenever I'm in the shower,
or having breakfast downstairs
or attempting to cook a meal for myself
or whenever I'm trying to get some sleep the moment she sleeps as well.

There are days when I get so extremely frustrated to a point that I just have the urge to send her to a nanny or daycare and just head back to work so that I do not have to deal with the mental stress at home.

I used to think that she had colic because of her cries.
Would read up furiously on the dreaded colic but although she does have some colicky symptoms, her crying doesn't last for hours although it does seem like it when she cries.
Her loud piercing cries will usually last for about 10 minutes - and that already seems like eternity.

Also, I used to get extremely frustrated whenever she would wake up every HALF AN HOUR
to feed or CRY every time her eyes would open once she woke up.

However, it was not until recently that it came to my mind that she was not actually hungry every
time I gave her the boob. Sometimes, she would just want to soothe herself by sucking but unfortunately, with sucking from the breast, she has no choice but to gulp down milk as well.

And because of this, it led to another problem - a WHOLE LOAD of spit up every other day.
I used to also think that she had a bad case of reflex but it turns out that she was just too full of milk
hence she would spit up a lot of milk curds all over the clothes and on the bed and sometimes, on me . . .  throughout the day.

It was an extremely messy affair and it was driving me nuts.
It was also taxing to see her in so much discomfort and I would wonder whether I was doing something wrong as she would keep getting up every half an hour crying in distress.

I would spend a lot of time just burping her the ENTIRE day.

Imagine an average of 8 feedings a day with each feed lasting half an hour each.
I spend 4 hours a day feeding her.

And after that, I would spend half an hour burping her after each feed or holding her up to avoid her being uncomfortable with her bad reflux.

I was dead tired taking care of her and thought of her as a "difficult baby".
However, my biggest problem was actually in the way I misread her cries that made her "difficult."

Because I used to inadvertently feed her whenever she wanted to just soothe herself by sucking, she would drink a lot and become gassy and uncomfortable. Doesn't help that my milk flow is really fast and she would choke every time she drank.

Also, whenever she cried, I would just give her the boob AGAIN to keep her quiet but actually, what she really needed was for me to burp her.

I was battling with myself on whether to give her the pacifier or not once I figured out the problem.
In the end, I gave in and gave her the pacifier and since then, life has gotten a whole lot better for me!

Also, I found out that almost all of our friends gave their baby the pacifier too so I didn't feel like a "failure". No idea where I even got this mentality from.

Funnily enough, I bumped into a friend who told me that he regretted not giving his baby the pacifier because now that his son is around 1 year +, nothing else will soothe his son, but the mother's boob. He doesn't have any other alternatives.

Since I gave her the pacifier, her spit up has gotten much lesser now. She would just suck on the pacifier for a couple of minutes before dozing off or calming herself down and she would release it out of her mouth shortly. 

However, to note, before passing her the pacifier, I will still try other methods to soothe her (rocking her, patting her, talking to her, etc) but if it doesn't work - the pacifier will be given.

Sometimes, I find myself stressing myself out with so many DOs and DONTs in parenting that it drives me nuts. Having in laws and family members with their own parenting school of thoughts and asking me to do this do that - don't do this don't do that. Drives me nuts.

Don't use the sarong vs Let her sleep in the sarong
Don't carry her vs Carry her
Don't let her sleep on the bed . . .
.... etc....

At the end of the day, I have decided that as long as I have my sanity and that I have consciously decided knowing the cons, I will live with no regrets (hopefully).

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Confinement is over!

30 days of being "confined" - it was so long yet so short at the same time.

Was getting kind of sick of confinement food
and tired of my confinement lady ("CL").

Am too tired to rant about the several occasions where she made my blood boil. . .
however, what takes the cake was that she came into my room one day before her last day of work and asked to go home because she was not feeling well.

She probably just didn't feel like working at her whim and fancy and decided to inform me out of the blue.

Earlier, she was the one who asked me whether I wanted her to work for one more day to help take care of the baby during the full moon so we agreed that she would work for one more extra day.

Just to share some background on what happened a few days earlier, she fell down in my house a couple of days ago. She dropped some hot water on the floor and while trying to avoid the water from spilling on her, she fell down.

All I can say and what most people have remarked when they heard my story is - Thank goodness she was not carrying the baby.

After her fall (where she fell down sideways), I asked her then whether she could still work and if not, I would send her home then. Asked her whether she wanted to see a doctor and she declined.

She said that she still is fine and could still work.
I asked her whether she was capable of carrying the baby and she said that she still could.

The thing is, after the fall, she was walking around the house pretty fine. She told me that only her face and shoulder were hurting because she landed on her side.

However, when she wanted to excuse herself from work, she walked out of my room dragging one foot on the floor as she walked each step to make it look like she was in pain. WTH. Sudden leg pain.

What made me so mad is that she said this to me when she wanted to end work earlier:

"Yesterday, I woke up at 4 a.m. and all of a sudden, the side of my face was really painful. Is it okay if I go back now? You can ask your mother's maid to help out with the baby's full moon tomorrow. If I were to continue working, I am afraid that I may drop the baby. Are you ok if I leave now?"

What exactly does she expect me to say?! Am I ok if she leaves? She was already providing a "disclaimer" that if I were to make her stay to work, she will possibly drop my baby?!

Also, Mike was pissed off at her.
Found out about it only after he sent her off.

He found out that she had opened the back door of the house when there isn't a need to go behind.

And he was pissed because she did not lock the door properly and compromised the safety of our family.

When he questioned her about opening the back door, she said that one of the baby's mittens fell behind (which btw is a SUPER LAME excuse because the only way anything can go over the door is if someone throws it over - because the gaps on the grilled door is at the top).

My guess is that she has been going at the back of the house (which leads to the back lane) to chat with the neighbour's maid. She told me that she has been talking to her but I have always assumed that they talked over the wall at the front of the house.

There was also another instance when she opened the gate for a stranger whom she "thought" was my mother-in-law, when it was a lady from the resident's association reminding to pay the security fees.

The lady even walked into the compound of my house to ask whether the owner was in and the CL told her "She's breastfeeding upstairs."

The CL thought it was funny that she thought that the lady was my mother-in-law and told me what happened because I heard the main gate open from my room and asked her who was that.

I lectured her on this because I was furious on the inside. Told her not to simply tell people what I'm doing and who is inside the house and whatmore opening the gate for strangers. She was pretty defensive about it by saying that "SHE KNOWS" that already - she won't simply open the gate (when she already JUST did). Clearly, she has no regard for safety.

Anyway, I am partially glad that she's no longer with us although I am thankful that she took care of the baby well.

If I were to rant on every personal conflict I had with her, I would never be able to post this post.

You have NO idea how much time I spent to press "Publish" on this post. . . because halfway while writing every night, the baby will CRY for feeding time ! -_-"

And unfortunately, she has the most deafening of cries.

It is as though I have starved her for days when she probably just got fed half an hour ago.

Been taking pics of my confinement food but have not been posting it on Instagram because . . . baby pics now look more appealing than food pics. Different phase in life. LOL! Kidding - it's just because, somehow the food pics look boring.

My usual dinner - a soup, a meat and vege fish.

Sometimes she cooks porridge too.

Lunch and breakfast is usually noodles and once in awhile, fried rice.

So many people have told me to ENJOY confinement food because a lot of people seem to love confinement food. Even Mike was on semi-confinement - eating almost the same food as me.

But trust me, after eating the same repetitive meals every other week . . . .
it gets SO boring!

I gave Mike a list of places that I want to dine at now that confinement is OVER !

But now there's a new set of challenges that I have to deal with zzzz. Another post coming right up (subject to the baby's consent). LOL.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Milk, everywhere.

Mike mentioned to me that his customer told him that his wife absolutely LOVES breastfeeding.

I wish that I could say the same for myself but as for now, breastfeeding is literally sucking the life out of me.

Perhaps, it could be because I have not mastered the 'lying down' latch so I get dead tired and exhausted breastfeeding while sitting up while the baby is propped on my bolster in front of me.

On average, assuming that the baby feeds every 3 hours, with a total of 7-8 feeds a day, I really cannot imagine what mothers who direct latch all the way go through. I personally am unable to do that - or perhaps, I just don't want to because I might go crazy with the sleepless nights.

My milk kicked in about 5 days after delivery but milk production was slow (it was also still very, very diluted) and was not enough for the baby during each feed. So whenever the milk is emptied out, the baby would start crying and I'd pass her to the confinement lady for a formula feed top up.

I still tried my best to let the baby latch every 4 hours or so but because the latching sessions were relatively short, it was still manageable for me in the earlier weeks.

When my supply was insufficient, I was reading up on "milk boosters" on TBAN and was also feeling a little down at the same time - I was wondering how is it that so many mothers seem to be able to produce SO MUCH milk and how their freezers could be filled to the brim with milk!

I remember telling Mike that I was being ambitious buying storage bottles and bags when I didn't have the opportunity to use it...but then I spoke too soon.

Sorry, just had to take a picture of the first few storage bags that I managed to fill. TEE HEE.

One fine day, I woke up and my boobs were hard and that was the beginning of another issue - from desperately collecting drops of milk in a cup from leaking boobs, my milk supply turned into an 'oasis' (comparing it to my initial yield).

I tried power pumping and that was probably how my supply went up (...but it's not as much as what I've seen on TBAN).

From half an ounce of milk from both breasts (which would take me almost an hour to pump), it increased to about 2-3 ounces from both and slowly, it just started increasing steadily - but of course, the "yield" varies throughout the different time of the day and also depending on what I ate that day (it will increase even more when the confinement lady boils "milk booster" soups).

That week, I had alot of adjustments to do. One of it was having to wear a bra to sleep and bra to nurse. I tried not wearing it and trust me, it wasn't a good idea - to wake up soaking wet and smelling like milk or  while feeding the baby, the poor baby and also myself would be getting drenched from the other leaking boob.

My mattress, pillow and bolster would have milk all over it. The floor would have milk too. ARGH. Everything would smell like milk.

However, now that I have gotten the hang of managing things, it has gotten a whole lot better. I think that if my milk supply maintains as it is now, what I have would be just nice when the baby turns one month old.

Anyhow, even though I currently have more than enough milk for the baby, the reason why I don't direct latch the baby all the time is because the baby's feeding time is so sporadic and no longer on a 3 hour interval, as it was in the first week.

Sometimes, she can feed on and off for a total of 2 HOURS ! And that is just ONE feeding! And after the feeding, she will wake up in about one and a half hours for more milk -_-"

Imagine having to feed 7-8 feedings or even MORE . . . . . I'd be a slave to the baby !!! And I'd probably go cuckoo, seriously.

Right now, the feeding arrangement is most ideal for me where I feed her directly 3-4 times while the other times, she is bottle fed expressed breast milk.

Maybe when the confinement lady leaves and when the baby sleeps in the same room as me, I will attempt to direct latch once again so that I don't have to keep washing and sterilising milk bottles on top of my breast pump. LOL.

Another one and a half more weeks til my confinement lady leaves. NOOOOoooooo. A whole new set of challenges will begin for me. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Baby baby baby O.

I knew that I just HAD to take some nice pictures of Baby O when she is still a newborn because I know that I would regret it if I didn't. 

I asked my sister (as usual) to take pictures for us. I searched Pinterest for newborn photography pictures as my guide to pose. 

It took me a lot of effort to get ready that morning itself because I am too used to looking like a zombie daily.

Taking pictures was no easy feat - especially with a crying baby.
I could not figure out why she was crying every time I held her.
It was frustrating.

Was she hungry? Was she cold? Did she poop or pee?

However, whenever Mike carried her she would calm down.

Later on, we figured out that she was upset because of my dress!

She didn't like her skin touching my dress - she probably felt itchy/uncomfortable whenever her skin came in contact with the dress -_-"

Awwww. You poor poor thing.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Me time. . .

I know I've had plenty of ME TIME when I was pregnant
and I knew what to expect once the baby arrived -
my "ME TIME" is now scarce
just like "liquid gold" or that few drops of colostrum.

Clearly, I am losing my sanity.
Analogies are now all milk/boob/baby related.

I made a mental note to myself while I was pregnant
that I will not let my baby take over my life
and that I do not want to be a slave to my child. . .
however, with a newborn, I suppose that at this juncture,
I do not have much of a choice
but to be on standby for the baby 24/7.

Right now, my short bouts of sanity is when the confinement lady ("CL")
takes care of the baby in the nursery.

While she cooks or cleans the house, the baby is left with me in my room
and so much of my energy is exhausted in JUST feeding her.

I know that some mothers make breastfeeding look effortless,
but I personally find it really challenging (physically)
and also, stressful occasionally -
I get stressed when the baby starts choking or coughing because of the fast milk flow
and also, when I can't burp the baby properly -_-"

One of the reasons that makes it hard for me to burp the baby is because of the pain in my left wrist. It's so hard to hold or carry the baby because I really cannot lift her up properly.

I don't even change her diapers and I dread the day the CL leaves
because right now, I am managing to get more rest throughout the night
as she looks after the baby at night.

I really have to give it to mothers who exclusively breastfeed their baby.

I wanted to write a post on my "breastfeeding experience" but maybe I'll save it for later -
every time I feel like writing, something just pops up unexpectedly -like, the CL will knock on my door and say "Nen nen time" -_-"

On another note, it's already February! And as usual, the first quarter of this year is just going to whizz by with all the festivities in between.