Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Growing Pains

My latest Muse -- nope it's not my new Marc Jacobs or my latest Mulberry..it's my little pumpkin

Going from being a hard worker bee to mostly-Mummy can be a tricky affair.

The initial wks were tough. Given that I went under the knife, I couldn't quite do the cradle hold when breastfeeding. Football hold wasn't something I anticipated. Each time I needed someone to carry baby to me as I'm not suppose to exert myself during this crucial recovery period. The uterus contractions and the stitches kept me awake at times, but mostly it's the cracked nipples. Once the 30 days were up, the MIL packed all her ingredients, pots and pans (super clear-cut might i add) and off she went to distribute the full mth cakes and subsequently taking a holiday at Macau! My fridge was totally emptied. At one pt i could not even find my pepper! All my things were in disarray including lil pumpkin's wardrobe thus I had to spend time repacking. That aside, It was quite impossible for me to go out with the lil one at this pt in time, and having no fresh ingredients at hm didn't help. No doubt there's an NTUC just below my blk and a coffee shop but these did not help as it's said I'm able to continue with this confinement business for another 10 days. The Chinese believe that during this period, if one does not nourish oneself, the nutrients will never be back. I choose to believe as anything to do with health, I'm quite a freak.

So yeah, the first wk after confinement was certainly a challenge. With the cloth nappies to be washed (not forgetting that some were soiled) and the lunch, dinners and double boiled soup to be prepared by myself (ingredients gotten by Empress Dowager), amidst all these, I needed to be a moo moo cow + bathe the lil pumpkin. This is really the role of an ultimate multi-tasking, multi-talented wife and mom; whether at home or in the market place. By God's grace, I am a proud mom of a lil girl. I am thankful for that each time i see her smiles, for that matter at times her skirmish gestures and screams as well. Motherhood is a life changing experience and the pregnancy journey is just the tip of the iceberg of this amazing enriching experience. Nursing has created a bond between myself and my lil pumpkin but it's not an easy journey. Initially, there was the cracked nipple and no amount of Lanolin seemed to help ease and heal. Not until the purchase of the nipple shield! that was really God send! It didn't come cheap though...the Medela Nipple Shield cost about $29 from the pharmacy. But i was desperate then to find alternatives. Then just when the nipple heal, other problems arose. I did not anticipate such a thing called colic or growth spurt. Naturally, I know the lil one would grow but the feeding was so intense it drove me nuts! Initially it was a 2-hour interval (mind u, the clock starts ticking from the moment she suckles), then it became 1-hour interval when she decided to take on the 7-11pm routine. As if this was not enough to drain me, the latest few nights ago was a 1/2hour interval! A typical timetable could be at 7pm i feed, 730pm i'd be done...i'll pat her to sleep and the moment i place her on the cot, she wails...by the time i calm her down, it's her feed again.

I'm sure it's as frustrating for her as it is for me. Afterall, we are both very new to this business. NO amount of education has equipped us for this role. Admittedly, at one point in time, I felt like giving up on this whole babysitting and nursing business and simply get someone to look after and succumb to giving her the bottle. However, upon seeing her twinkling eyes and rosebud lips, I couldn't bare. It was an absolute luxury now to spend all my time with my daughter, watching her grow into the little girl that she is becoming, so if I don't take this opportunity to bond and do my best, in future when i resume work, I may not have such a chance.

Her incessant feeding and my extremely flaccid boobies led me to think of the following question:

Is your milk supply really low?

(Below info credits to kellymom.com)

First of all, is your milk supply really low? Often, mothers think that their milk supply is low when it really isn't. If your baby is gaining weight well on breastmilk alone, then you do not have a problem with milk supply.

It's important to note that the feel of the breast, the behavior of your baby, the frequency of nursing, the sensation of let-down, or the amount you pump are not valid ways to determine if you have enough milk for your baby.

What if you're not quite sure about baby's current weight gain (perhaps baby hasn't had a weight check lately)? If baby is having an adequate number of wet and dirty diapers then the following things do NOT mean that you have a low milk supply:

  • Your baby nurses frequently. Breastmilk is digested quickly (usually in 1.5-2 hours), so breastfed babies need to eat more often than formula-fed babies. Many babies have a strong need to suck. Also, babies often need continuous contact with mom in order to feel secure. All these things are normal, and you cannot spoil your baby by meeting these needs.
  • Your baby suddenly increases the frequency and/or length of nursings. This is often a growth spurt. The baby nurses more (this usually lasts a few days to a week), which increases your milk supply. Don't offer baby supplements when this happens: supplementing will inform your body that the baby doesn't need the extra milk, and your supply will drop.
  • Your baby nurses more often and is fussy in the evening.
  • Your baby doesn't nurse as long as she did previously. As babies get older and better at nursing, they become more efficient at extracting milk.
  • Your baby is fussy. Many babies have a fussy time of day - often in the evening. Some babies are fussy much of the time. This can have many reasons, and sometimes the fussiness goes away before you find the reason.
  • Your baby guzzles down a bottle of formula or expressed milk after nursing. Many babies will willingly take a bottle even after they have a full feeding at the breast. Read more here from board-certified lactation consultant Kathy Kuhn about why baby may do this and how this can affect milk supply. Of course, if you regularly supplement baby after nursing, your milk supply will drop (see below).
  • Your breasts don't leak milk, or only leak a little, or stop leaking. Leaking has nothing to do with your milk supply. It often stops after your milk supply has adjusted to your baby's needs.
  • Your breasts suddenly seem softer. Again, this normally happens after your milk supply has adjusted to your baby's needs.
  • You never feel a let-down sensation, or it doesn't seem as strong as before. Some women never feel a let-down. This has nothing to do with milk supply.
  • You get very little or no milk when you pump. The amount of milk that you can pump is not an accurate measure of your milk supply. A baby with a healthy suck milks your breast much more efficiently than any pump. Also, pumping is an acquired skill (different than nursing), and can be very dependent on the type of pump. Some women who have abundant milk supplies are unable to get any milk when they pump. In addition, it is very common and normal for pumping output to decrease over time.

After reading all the above info, I began to feel much more at ease. At the very least, mental preparation was taken care. Physically, sigh...perhaps more chicken essence or the yucky DOM might do the trick?


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