LIVE . LOVE . HURT . HOPE

Breezing through life and loving every moment…

Two Months Old!

Maddy is two months and one day old today. She is growing in leaps and bounds in terms of personality! When we look at her or smile at her, she smiles back and starts babbling going “ah goo” or “ah boo” or “e-wer” all the time. Occasionally it becomes a gleeful shriek or the cutest soft mumble ever.

I am also starting to hold her upright while supporting her neck. While she hasn’t yet gotten the hang of lying on her tummy and trying to lift her head (rather she ends up squishing her face partly on wherever it is she’s lying on and drool all over), she can sort of hold her head up if held upright. Oh yes, she has also discovered free self entertainment using her saliva.

We have also been bringing her out – grocery shopping, buying food and yesterday took her out to the mall. She was quietly observing her surroundings from her stroller without a fuss until when it was time to go home started to cry for milk. So it was quite a successful trip! This Saturday we will be meeting some friends for a dim sum brunch, hopefully she will be okay and won’t get too annoyed.

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Me Me Me!

Our daughter is 8 weeks old now. I have been a mommy for almost two months. Some days are good, while some can get stressful at times. Motherhood somehow wipes away all personal desires temporarily as everything tends to be about baby. Oh how I want to take some time to daydream about some ME things …

• I think I need a haircut. Also perhaps get a hair treatment, some color perhaps? But all I can manage is perhaps a quick trim before Maddy starts to look for my boob (hence need to intro bottle!!)

• I so so so want four or five hours of uninterrupted sleep.

• A facial perhaps?

• To be able to watch TV or a movie at home with hubby without having to hold baby, worry about waking her or trying to soothe her

• To look and feel good about myself again. I have not been making any effort in that department since the last trimester of pregnancy

Ah….my wishlist for now.

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Introducing the Bottle

Madelyn was introduced to the bottle for the first time when she was 3 weeks old. She took it readily, gulping down the 2oz of expressed breastmilk within minutes. I did not make it a routine thing then as I barely had any time to pump during those initial weeks so seeing that she drank from the bottle so readily that day I thought she would readily do it again later. I was wrong.

I tried again about two weeks after that and she absolutely hated it! I have to use the word ‘hate’ because the moment the bottle teat reached her mouth she would scream and scream.

It is still the same now. I now spend part of every morning trying to get her to drink from the bottle. And so far with no success. And I mean NO success at all. She would start crying now with tears and it really breaks my heart to have to subject her to that. But I have to … I need to return to work eventually. I have tried various teats but still she refused.

Sigh… I do hope to see some progress soon…if not, what am I going to do?

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I Survived!

…being alone with Maddy, that is. It has been a week since my parents gone home and I was initially very very nervous at the thought of having to take care of my baby all by myself while hubby is at work. But it turned out okay for the first week. Maddy has settled into a routine. She wakes up in the morning, then sits by the window while I eat my breakfast. Then I give her a bath, and after that my turn to shower while I keep her entertained long enough with her musical mobile. After that she has her feed, takes a long nap and wakes up at about lunchtime. By then daddy will be home with lunch and we take turns to eat.
After that, daddy returns to the office and I start to put Maddy down for a nap. Usually she sleeps only for a short while before waking up again for some playtime with mommy.
She can be fussy in the evenings but so far nothing too difficult. As long as she gets her 2 naps a day, her mood remains relatively good.
Bathtime and evening sponge bath time are no more accompanied by crying and wailing. In fact she has started to coo and smile through it. Perhaps my ‘bath’ songs are entertaining enough.

So I survived week 1! Another week begins tomorrow.

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Breastmilk: It’s Almost FREE!

Every breastfeeding mom’s head occasionally rings with the question of “How Do I Make Enough Milk For My Baby?” – and I am of no exception.
Hence I guzzle down gallons of water each day and include all sorts of food into my daily diet to encourage lactation. So, in reality it does take some effort, time and perhaps a little bit of investment to maintain/increase breastmilk supply, although the amount probably is negligible in comparison to the time/effort/money spent to formula feed a baby.

There are plenty of tips and methods available online, in books and from other nursing moms on how best to increase and maintain a good milk supply for baby. But not every method will work for every mother. Here are a few that most mothers swear by and my experience with each of it.

Latch baby on as often as possible:
This method is perhaps the most effective one of the lot. Breastmilk production is based on demand-supply so the more baby sucks, it sends the signal to the body to produce more milk. Madelyn was literally constantly stuck to my breasts during the first 4-6 weeks, specially the first 2 weeks. I might as well had plastered her to my chest during those weeks, might save me the effort of dressing and undressing myself every 30-40 minutes. Yes, Maddy was nursing that often! But I believe that helped initiate and establish my milk flow, so it was worth the aching back and slightly sore nipples initially. Thankfully, Maddy is a champ at latching on and my nipples returned to normal after the first week.

Pump after and in between feeds:
The more demand there is for milk, the more the body will produce. Hence pumping after and in between feedings tells the body that more milk is required, or rather tricking the body to think that. Some mothers find this works for them but I could not find the time and resources to do this. For a start, Maddy hardly gave me any time in between feeds to do anything at all. After a feed, she required constant attention or I had to start to try put her down for a nap. By the time I was done with those, it was time for the next feed.
Things are slightly better now where I do get some free time in between feeds now that they can stretch till about 2 hours or so but I don’t bother. I do pump once or twice a day but those are for storage rather than to increase supply. I am still sticking to direct latch on as my main supply booster.

Drinking plenty of fluids:
So what is breastmilk made of? All the good stuff and water, of course! Hence with baby draining off that liquid goodness from mommy’s boobs, she is actually also taking out water. It is important to replenish the fluids lost from mommy’s body both for hydrating the body as well as that for the efficient production of milk and breastfeeding moms must drink at least 2-3 liters of fluids each day. I am now taking in 3L of plain water daily. It sounds like a lot but I do feel extra thirsty with tje breastfeeding and 3L just disappear quite quickly. In addition, I am also taking in liquids in other forms- soups and hot beverages. I did read somewhere that liquids are preferably drunk warmed or hot to aid in milk flow. Not too sure if it does work that way, but after a bowl of hot soup my breasts will start to leak milk within the hour.

Eat plenty of carbs and top up on the calories:
Apart from water, breastmilk also consists of other good stuff obtained from mommy’s body. Eating a well balaced diet of extra carbohydrates and calories will ensure good supply of milk. A breastfeeding mom generally requires 300-500 calories extra above if what she would normally need.
I am eating more rice now at each meal and have stopped worrying about the bits of fat hanging off meat or eating too much meat. I gladly eat it alk, for the sake of my daughter. In addition, I try to always include a good source of protein in each main meal – fish, red/white meat, soy etc. I am not seeing a weight gain as a result of my new diet (although the extra inches from pregnancy are still there but that is a separate issue!)

Rest Rest Rest and Relax!:
Easier said than done, specially for first time moms. But even a 30minute catnap can do wonders. A new mom is blessed with new super powers where she is able to function with less rest and yet do twice as much!

Eat Certain Food:
Some food are said to help boost breastmilk supply, but not all of them will work for everyone. These are some which some of my friends have tested and swear by their effectiveness in increasing/maintaining milk supply..

Oatmeal: oatmeal as breakfast, in biscuits or drinks. I am taking a bowl of oatmeal each morning for breakfast.

Soups: certain soups are said to help in breastmilk supply-the most common one being green papaya and fish soup. But I think a nutritious soup during each meal will also help. Drink it warm a few times a day.

Malted drinks: malt is said to thicken breastmilk so drinking beverages such as horlicks or milo may help.

Soy Milk: similar effect as malt-thickens breastmilk. I am trying this; drinking a mug of warm soy milk twice a day every 2 days. I don’t want to overdose myself with too much soy products.

Fennel and fenugreek: these two spices are the main ingredients added in breastmilk boosting teas. One can also just get the spices on its own, boil it and drink the water.

Red dates and longan tea: drinking lots of this everyday is said to boost milk supply too. Perhaps it is the nutrient content in the dates.

I’ve all of the above except fennel. I don’t pump so cannot really tell if they remarkably increase my supply. All I can say is that Maddy is well fed and contented :). And I beg to differ when people say that it is free. To me, it still costs something, although not really in monetary terms. It still requires effort, patience, grocery to feed mommy and most of all perseverance.

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Her Smiles

Perhaps the most rewarding moment is when she looks at me and softly coo and suddenly flashes a wide smile. Nothing can describe what I feel then, but all I know is that when she does that, nothing else matters. Oh how I love her so much! Oh have I said that too often? Never mind, I just want to say it again…

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Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to my dearest Papa and of course to Madelyn’s papa too! Muah!!

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Saturday Night Out and Sunday Breakfast

We decided to be brave and bring Maddy out for dinner last night. After all, she has shown tremendous improvement in temperament and I now know more or less the things that aggravate her and am able to act on them before she gets too upset. Besides, we had taken her on car rides and she seemed quite happy in her car seat from the beginning.

So we brought her to this cozy little al fresco cafe so that mummy could satisfy her craving for fish and chips. The place is quiet and not too crowded so if Maddy cries for milk I would be able to feed her easily.

Of course I was nervous… But Maddy surprised us yet again. She slept through the first part of dinner, fed through the second half and overall was relatively quiet! In fact, she only started crying when we were about to reach home, probably got bored in her seat or feeling a little uncomfortable.

Following last night’s ‘successful’ trial, we brought Maddy out to breakfast this morning and she was a perfect angel right through! She just sat in her carrier and stared at me eating my mee kolok.

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First Outing

After almost 7 weeks at home, Maddy and I finally went out yesterday-like out of the house and farther than the street outside.
It was her 6 weeks checkup at the clinic and my post-partum review as well. I was a nervous wreck! Why? Because I was afraid Maddy might scream or fuss or decided she wanted to feed all the time. So I packed her diaper bag with my nursing cover, and gee I must say that breastfeeding does make packing easy! Her diaper bag was relatively empty with the absence of milk bottles and stuff like that. Awesome, no?
Turns out it wasn’t so bad after all. Maddy slept through almost the entire time, except for the few brief minutes when she wailed when the doctor stripped her and I had to nurse her once while waiting for my checkup. It was a breeze.

I came home feeling fully recharged and with a new sense of confidence that it IS possible to start bringing Maddy out. And nursing in public was no big deal at all. I am looking forward to a nice dinner out soon – just the three of us.

🙂

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Things That The Books Never Tell You

Prior to delivery, I read and read about childcare and talked to experienced parents..and thought I would have everything under control when the baby arrived. Little did I know that there were a whole lot more unmentionable things that only first hand experience can teach you…

Nobody ever told me…

That it could take time to fall in love with your baby. Of course I was so emotional when Madelyn was born and thought she was our precious bundle of joy. But when all the excitement had worn off and all the uncertainties, anxiety and exhaustion started to kick in, I wondered if I was feeling anything at all. At one point I was even asking myself … why was’t I filled with overwhelming motherly love??? Was I a bad mother then? But really, the love was there, just that beneath all the urge to TAKE CARE of my baby and the worry of not doing the right thing for my child, that loving feeling took some time to surface. But once it did, there is no turning back 🙂

Breastfeeding can be such a lonely experience at times. Madelyn latched on for hours initially, making me somewhat immobile and constantly just perched on the bed with her in my arms. People came and went, and still I was stuck. And then there were night feeds. Hubby does get up but on weekdays I just let him sleep.

And then, nobody told me I would occasionally smell like a nursing mother dog. Yes you read that correctly. If you have had a female dog with pups before, that is how I think I smell like sometimes, all milky-like.

And oh, nobody ever wrote about how messy breastfeeding can get! Literature and articles tell nursing mothers to go bra-less as often as possible. But how am I to do that when I leak milk randomly? I need the bra to hold my breastpads in place. And when Maddy unlatches herself in the middle of a feed I spray her in the face with milk, milk dribbles down, gets on my clothes, the floor…no wonder I smell milky..

So there you go folks…nobody ever told me…..

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