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It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night

..and this week has been one of my hardest to get through so far. I have a headache that refuses to go away since tuesday and last night was probably one of the toughest nights for me since I’ve given birth.

Somewhere in Feb I started to notice my milk supply dropping. Of course I panicked. Started on fenugreek seeds twice a day (which works wonders BTW) and saw the supply slowly pick up. I reached a stage where I could actually start freezing my milk. And until yesterday I had built up a nice solid stash to help me out in case my supply ran low again or for emergencies. I worked hard to get that milk. Lots of pain and sleepless nights, lots of sacrifices in time spent at the pump after feeding baby, lots and lots of washing, sterilising parts, labelling jars…it was not easy. And then last evening we found the freezer door open. More than half of my frozen milk had defrosted. It was no longer viable. I took one look, walked into the living room, sank down on my sofa and sobbed. I have not cried that much or that hard for years. Maybe it was a bit hormonal too (but I was never hormonal during my pregnancy so it was new for me) and maybe it was a lot of pent up exhaustion and frustration but I really really cried. I cried for all my wasted efforts, and all my stress, all my loss of sleep and my hours and hours spent pumping instead of sleeping/reading/bathing/going out/relaxing/painting my nails or whatever.

I don’t ever ever want this to happen again and I was heartbroken.

But today is Jamshedji Navroze. A new year – the advent of spring. And with it I hope to have new beginnings and a new fresh outlook to life. The best is yet to come. Navroze Mubarak!

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Sukiyaki

Yesterday I experienced two of the toughest hours of my life. I was trying to feed Z and he kept refusing. Arching his back and wailing. He doesn’t wail. In fact he rarely cries if at all. To watch him screw up his face and scream out in agony was heartbreaking. I’m sure it was the reflux or whatever but thats not why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because yesterday was the first time in my life that I felt completely helpless and unable to help someone who I loved more than anything. It was the worst feeling in the world. I know people will probably criticise me for this but I am a dog lover. The only other time I came close to this was when my lil Snoopy was in pain and I could do nothing. I am not comparing my child to my pet, but the emotions are similar. Helpless little beings dependant on me. The difference (for me) was that Z was so vocal about his discomfort. Every single cry broke my heart. Every single tear tore me apart. I held him in my hands as he buckled and twisted and I began to question everything. Was the milk too much? should I really give up dairy? what about all the frozen milk in the freezer? I don’t want to throw that away after I’ve struggled so much to build it up, will he never take the bottle again? should I try putting him back on the breast? what if this affects his growth? will he become a fussy eater because of this? Oh My God! the thoughts that crossed my kind were fast and furious. And I had no one to share them with. As I sat there on that chair, near the window, cradling my kicking baby and trying to calm his screams – I felt frustrated and so darn helpless. And for the first time I realised I can’t protect my baby from everything. I am not invincible and he will feel pain and I will be able to do nothing. That hurt. But strangely it made me strong too. Stronger because while my child lay there crying I also realised that he’s strong. He can get through this. He will learn and work things out for himself to feel better. I just need to be there for him. Let him know he’s not alone and he can do it. That damn reflux too shall pass. For him and for me. And we will get past it together.

Of course this thought may have calmed me down a bit but in the heat of the moment, it was still hard, still frustrating and still painful. But I pray and I hope that by reminding myself of this post, I will be able to get through it a bit easier the next time something like this happens.

Oh Baby Z, life is hard and I only realise now that I cannot protect you from everything. But thank you for showing me just how strong and brave you are. Smiling through your tears when I sing you Sukiyaki and drinking up all your milk even though you were obviously in discomfort. You teach me so much. Gosh, I love you baby boy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Importance of Being Burped

When did this noisy and slightly embarrassing (for us adults) bodily function creep up and start to occupy my mind in such large quantities I do not know, but it has and it does. ‘Burping the Boy’ is now my No. 1 priority whenever we feed, before, during and after…for ages!

I remember when he was little (OK, he’s still little I guess, 11 weeks and all that – but he’s changed so much since birth that I can’t help but call him little then) we barely registered the burps. We fed him, positioned him, he burped rather noisily and it was all good. Somewhere around the 8th week, he started to throw up a wee bit. One day that ‘wee bit’ turned into a gush of milk all down the front of his clothes, my pants and the chair we were sitting on. It scared the hell out of me. He, fortunately seemed calm. When it happened again a week or two later I was super stressed. What was causing this? And then the crying started. Z is a happy kid. Smiles a lot, plays and runs A LOT and is generally happy to be on his own or with others. But come feeding time and he resists. He arches his back, kicks his legs and wails. After A LOT of coaxing, eh takes the nipple only tp push it right out again and starts the whole wailing cycle again. This can take over an hour. I tried holding him upright, tried giving him smaller portions of milk, tried burping him every 30ml but honestly, it still happens and I worry that my good natured lil boy is turning into a cranky lil chap.

All I know now is that the burp has never been so important to me. As I gently thump his back and wait anxiously for that release of air from his tight little tiny body, I pray that he doesn’t bring up any milk, nor scare himself with the action or feel so much discomfort. It’s frustrating to feel so helpless towards your child’s misery. A new feeling for me..:-(

Maybe its reflux and maybe its colic – whatever it is, I want it gone.

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“Time to Change”

Ah! the joys of changing a dirty diaper in public. Well, not really in public but in a public changing room. Ever since we’ve take the Z-boy out (since he was 2 weeks old actually) we’ve been exposed to what was previously unchartered territory for us; changing rooms.

Now, I must give credit to Singapore for having some of the best public toilets/loos I’ve ever seen. We travel A LOT and I have yet to find a country where the public loos are as widely available and as clean as the ones in Singapore. The same goes for baby changing rooms. Over the past two odd months we’ve visited quite a few – but the one that stood out or me the most so far was the one at 313@Somerset. It was a chance change. We had just finished spending an obscene amount of money at the Mothercare sale at Centerpoint and decided to enjoy a quick meal at my favourite restaurant – Din Tai Fung. The husband thought it would make more sense to change him first so off we went to find the room. I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only was the room huge, but it also had little cordoned off cubicles for nursing. Very very nice! Comfy chairs, lots of space, hot and cold water, a microwave, a loo inside the changing room and what I thought was damn cute – some hanging baby mobiles above the changing mats to help keep baby occupied whilst you go about cleaning him up. It was a pity some jerk had ripped off one of the mobiles but nevertheless, the idea was so simple yet so wonderful!

My only wish was that there was some way to maybe have a plug point in the nursing room, for mothers who needed to express milk and didn’t have any charge left in their pump. but other than that – very nice indeed!

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Three Hour Days

A day has 24 hours. I vaguely remember experiencing that. My day is quite different. I have a three hour day.

It consists of ‘wake up, feed, burp, change diaper, sing songs, sleep, express milk, store milk, wash and sterilise bottles and pump, repeat.’

All my ‘other’ stuff that needs to be done is now on a ‘unless I am dying to do it, it can wait’ basis. Going to the toilet, eating, bathing, these are all squeezed in 5-10 min intervals during my three hour days. As for taking care of myself? I can’t remember the last time I used a moisturiser or visited the salon. I desperately want to read but its almost impossible.

I don’t want my boy to grow up. He is so beautiful and wondrous right now. But I do want a longer day. :-/ *sigh*

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I get by with a little help from my friends….

The past nine? ten? weeks have been full of ups and downs. It has not been easy. But it has also had some of the  the most amazing times I’ve even experienced. Of course there’s always the people I could not have done it without. The Husband, mum, dadu, my bro and SIL, my part time helper and the numbers friends who cheered me along.  This is not a post to thank them. It’s a post rather, to raise a glass to all the material stuff that made my weeks easier 😉 and I’d strongly recommend any new mother to get her hands on these!

(In no particular order)

  • Medela Pump in Style double breast pump (lifesaver! since I exclusively pump and feed Z, I think besides my baby this is what I spend the most time with)
  • Medela Breast Shields (good for sore nipples but don’t use them if you are leaking – they tend to spill)
  • Medela PureLan cream
  • Mustela Vitamin Barrier cream (touchwood Baby Z’s bottom is just as soft and smooth as the day he was born and I attribute it to using this)
  • Cetaphil – we use the moisturising cream and the wash and it’s perfect! doesn’t burn, sting or even need to be rinsed off.
  • Nuna Leaf (perfect lil rocker – I love that its not battery operated – no hassle of that needing to be changed)
  • Nuna Sena (So much better than a cot bed! Z sweats a lot and all that padding would just prevent the air from circulating around him while he sleeps – the Sena is perfect!)
  • Breast pads – Im not fussy, I use whatever is there and so far Pigeon is doing the job well for me
  • The Belly Bandit (It’s a must have for a post Csec. The hospital gave me some abdominal binder but it was so itchy and rough – the bamboo bandit is fantastic and helped me shrink my tummy within a week!)
  • Tommee Tippee bottles – We used these on Z since he came home from the hospital and he has never had nipple confusion. Not sure if thats because of the bottles or he’s just smart but either way, I love these!
  • Allerhand Diaper bag – Holds in everything we need, looks fantastic and the Husband loves carrying it around
  • Baby K’tan wrap – If you need a carrier that is zero fuss and super easy to put on, this is it! It goes on like a tee shirt and hugs your baby just like a regular wrap would.
  • Lucas Papaw cream – For my Csec scar, for Z’s tiny facial scratches for practically everything under the sun – this lil red tube of magic is simply terrific!
  • My Brest Friend – As nursing pillows goes, love this for the back support it offers and the easy in which I can place it around my body. Wish he wasn’t outgrowing it so fast)
  • Fenugreek seeds – boosted my milk supply and I’m freezing milk again! 🙂

I’ll probably add to this list as time goes by but for now I know this is what has made my life that much more easier and I hope by sharing it can help others too.

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What goes in, must come out!

Before we had our baby I was absolutely positive I would have nothing to do with changing diapers. Horrible icky stuff, I mean wasn’t I already doing enough dealing with the input end, I did not want to have anything to do when that eventually came out! Never changed a single diaper in my entire life (although I have two nieces and two nephews, never bothered or volunteered to) and I was desperately clinging to the hope that I could get away with it with my old child too.

But of course thats ridiculous. Which mother can get away without changing a diaper – *sigh* so here I am doing it like a pro, not ever concerned about any icky stuff. The icky stuff found its way to my clothes, my lap, my hands etc a long time ago and now I may never look at samosa chutney in the same way ever again.

But the reason I write this post is because I’m in love with my diapers. We chose, long before Z was born to cloth diaper. We did not want to use something that is not environmentally friendly and contributes to waste that is not easy to breakdown. Although we don’t think we do enough, we try and live green lives – recycling, up cycling, segregating garbage and using products that are eco friendly as far as possible. So it was only obvious that we’d give cloth diapering a decent shot.

Around 70 days in and we have absolutely no regrets! Cloth diapers are wonderful! Now, to be completely honest, we use a combination. Cloth diapers during the day and disposables at night. And I am seriously considering stopping the disposables at night because almost every single night during the feed, Z will pass a motion and he diaper will leak all over us. This has never happened with the cloth diapers (except once when I put the insert in wrong)

We use two brands, Rafraf and Charlie Banana One Sized Pocket diapers. Both are pretty fantastic though if you’d ask me to chose I’d probably go with the Charlie banana’s for just one reason, My lil Z sweats a bit and with the heat in Singapore, I feel like the outer shells of the CB’s is a bit more breathable than the RR. Having said that, the charcoal bamboo insert that comes with the Rafraf does a great job in keeping the surface completely dry. So often I need to double check and feel it again to ensure he really has peed because it’s still so dry. The CB’s soak right through and you know immediately that it’s wet (only once opened though, you can’t feel anything from the outside) Thankfully Z has never cried because of this wetness and is very comfortable in both types.

It’s easy to put on, looks adorable and cute and is not difficult to wash off and maintain. All we do is keep two small buckets filled with soapy water. Once a diaper is dirty we rinse it off with  a hand held spray in the toilet, and then soak the insert and the shell in a bucket each. Next morning we throw it all in the washing machine for a daily wash and line dry it in the sun. Not a single stain on any diaper till date. They wash well and still look as good as the day we bought them. Rafraf had a bit of a problem with one of the buttons but they replaced it for us promptly and we are happy with their service. We have a total of 12 diapers with about 40 inserts.They work just fine for us till now because we do a daily wash but for someone wanting to wash less frequently you may need more.

For those considering cloth diapering, I’d say – go for it! its easier than you think, less stress of diaper rash, cuter bottoms for the babies and so much more kinder to the environment – whats not to love?