So im about 10 days into Motherhood. How has it been?
The first 4 days was a struggle to adjust to this new phase in my life. Basically being strapped up to the IV and having a catheter inserted and recovering from the pain from the c sec operation didnt allow me to have time to cuddle with my baby. Not to mention the lactation consultant came by everyday to encourage you to breastfeed. The stress of breastfeeding was crazy. Yes they were very encouraging and tried to teach the way to latch on baby and to continue to do so even though it may hurt at the start. But personally i felt that i wasnt ready and that the pain and immobility put alot of stress on me. Moreover, there wasnt any milk in the first few days. It was all colostrum which i know is good. By day 2, the hardest decision was to start her on formula milk. Because she is a biggish baby, her appetite also was big. I wouldnt say we had no choice. I know i could have persisted to latch and wait for milk supply to kick in. But that was really causing alot of stress and i know milk will not come in if i am stressed. The pain of expressing milk is also indescribable. With the encouragement of the nurses and lactation consultant, we managed to syringe out the colostrum to feed to baby.
Day 5, the milk supply was coming in. I could feel it in the boobs. The throbbing and hardening. I felt like i could bash my head.. it was also our first day back home, and the stress of settling baby in, and us getting adjusted to this new little human in our household was the priotity. I couldnt find the energy and time to figure out breastfeeding! But the pain was so annoying. Tried to pump out everything but because it was engorged, the milk was not coming out. I was starting to get irritated and i really wanted to give up. My friends (aka mama support group) encouraged me not to give up and it was always like this in the beginning but once i figure it out, it would get much better. I discussed with Hubs on the possibility of feeding baby Formula and me giving up breastfeeding. Moreover, i had difficult latching on so it was exclusive pumping for me. Firstly i couldnt get the milk out, it was so painful. Secondly, i didnt know if i wanted to be stuck to the silly machine every 2 hrs for 30 mins. I could have spent this time cuddling with my baby, no?
Hubs told me to try and to hang in there, and to give it a week or two. (sigh! if only he knew how painful it was). But okay, for baby’s sake, i will hang in there.
Things started to get better in the following days, i started to try various methods to relieve the engorgement. The best method was to use a hot towel to hot compress and squeeze all the milk out. Soon, with hubs help to massage, we managed to clear the engorgement. Next was to establish a schedule to pump out the milk. I wouldnt lie and say it was easy, but i guess its all about discipline. I now pump every 2.5-3hrs unless i overslept. and i manage to get about 90ml averagely per pump. It is not the best but at least at the moment i am keeping up with baby’s demand.
Yes things got better, we are adjusting nicely, we manage to get a pumping schedule going on, we are getting more sleep with the help of my mom who does the night duty. Im not sure how it would be like when the Hubs return to work next week, but i guess mummy instincts will kick in.
Alot of first’s for us, changing diapers 4 times a night, crawling out of bed to prepare milk for her, ensuring everything is clean, washing and sterilising bottles and pump parts – this is almost our daily life right now. But you know what? seeing her smile at us, that makes it all worthwhile.
I am also not being very strict on confinement. Mom cooks confinement food for me everyday – which includes alot of ginger, sesame oil, vinegar, tonic, herbs and lots of fish. I drink longan red date everyday, and abit of cheat drink is milo. I had my first shower on Day 3 when the IV was removed on my hand. Suddenly i felt like a human again. That shower was really needed to help me regain my sanity. I had my first hair wash on Day 5 and second hair wash on Day 10. I have a quick shower everyday with warm water straight from the shower, i use the lemongrass confinement shower gel though. I believe that hygiene is very important especially with the breastfeeding and bleeding going on. For the first few days, i also try not to have direct wind blowing at me, and i also wore bed room slippers. But with a crying baby and the busy day of making milk, the bed room slippers are now forgotten.
Day 10 thoughts : I think family support is very important, and more importantly, it is very good to talk to your husband and let him know how you are feeling all the time. It is good to have communication and discuss on issues. I broke down twice from all the trying to make milk and thinking i am an inadequate parent. I am also very lucky that Hubs have been very hands on and when i cannot carry babygirl because of the pain from the wound (yes its still hurting today!!), he takes over the cuddling and burping. Im sure he will be more tired than me when he returns to work, but thank you Hubs for being the best daddy to our babygirl.