Life is the art of drawing without an eraser ~ John W. Gardner

Parenting

My Baby Teaches Me To Be Patient

I have a short temper. My temper comes very fast, but it goes very fast too. That also means I am impatient.

I can take your crap, but not for long before I start saying something that will really piss you off. When I say piss you off means it “burns”. LOL!

Before becoming a parent, my biggest fear was I couldn’t give my child the best, financially.

After becoming a parent, my now biggest fear is my temper will have a negative impact on my child.

When Lucy was a few weeks old, one night, I shouted at her when she refused to sleep. She startled and looked at me wide-eyed, not able to comprehend my loud voice and emotion. Immediately I felt the guilt and I said sorry to her.

There was another time I hugged her tightly in an attempt to calm her down (after 45 minutes of rocking and walking and singing), then I realised I was feeling angry and I let go of my grip. She did calm down, and gave me the brightest smile. Again, I felt guilty and told her I will not do that again.

One night, I was crying with Lucy in my arms when she refused to sleep. I was so tired and this little human refused to sleep. I was stunned by what happened next. She reached up and touched my face with her hand. When I looked at her, she was all calm and cool, her eyes were like asking me “what happened mommy”. That moment, I finally realised, that she can sense my mood.

From that day onwards, I always tell myself, be calm because if I wasn’t calm, Lucy wouldn’t be calm too.

Guess what, she can now fall asleep faster and better.

Occasionally when she does not want to sleep (due to over-stimulated, over-excited or after a long nap in the evening), I don’t stress about it anymore. I’ll just play with her until she’s tired. Of course there are still times I would raise my voice, but just to show her that I am not happy with her not sleeping.

It’s very tiring. Especially lately she’s been waking up in the middle of the night asking for milk. She used to sleep through the night, but now she’s waking up twice, once in the middle of the night, once in the very early morning. I just keep telling myself that it is just a stage and things will get better when she starts solid food later. True enough, lately she’s slowly adjusting herself to sleep through the night. I guess it was just her growth spurt back then.

She’s generally a happy baby.

Lucy is teaching mommy how to be patient. No one can be a better teacher than her.

P.S.: You have no idea what a child can do to test your patience.


Just Because He HELPS

…… doesn’t mean he’s not taking the responsibility of our child.

Yes, the child belongs to both parties. When one party does more than the other, we often say “he doesn’t help much”, or “she helps a lot”. It’s just a common thing for us to say, sometimes it means no harm. Of course, I will get upset too if Andrew were to say “hey look, I did HELP you to change Lucy’s diaper”. Look, I know you did, but do you have to mention it on purpose? What do you want? So that I could THANK you? Or praise that you’re a good father?

In reality, Andrew does take care of our baby. However, he’s doing less of that recently because he knows I will want to do everything. To some extent, that’s true. I love taking care of my baby girl because I love to talk to her and bond with her. However, it wouldn’t hurt if he could take the initiative to wash the bottles, do the laundry and fetch the bottle when it’s time to feed. I kind of miss the first month, where he took good care of the baby especially during the night, he would get up when baby got up, changed her diaper, soothed her when she cried, fed her while I was pumping, washed my pump and the bottles……

Every now and then, I will say “thank you” to him. He would dismiss it by saying “silly, I’m just doing what I should be doing”. Yes, he is, but I just want him to know I appreciate what he did.

Recently I just told him, “you’re not very involved in taking care of Lucy anymore, you don’t even change her diaper now. You just like to sit there talk to her, or sometimes sit there with her staring at you and you watching TV”. I even told him that he doesn’t offer to wash the bottles like he used to. And I told him I would like him to at least HELP me wash the bottle during night feed. These days, he doesn’t even have to get up during the night because he knows very well I will be doing everything. Sometimes it does piss me off a little to see him sleeping soundly and I’m all awake feeding the baby. I am willing to do all this, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to do!

What prompted me to write this is this –> Just Because I Get Up in the Night Doesn’t Mean I Deserve Praise

No, I will not PRAISE Andrew too. I will not praise and say that he is a good father just because he gets up in the night. I too will not praise him for changing the diaper. BUT, I will say “thank you”.

I know a lot of people will tell me that I have a good husband and I should be grateful. Yes, who said that I’m not grateful. I am. I’m happy that he HELPS. He knows he has his limits in taking care of baby, he knows I am better at it. So, it’s only natural that I do more. When he does less, it’s natural for us to say that he “helps”. We all know that he doesn’t just help, he takes care of our baby.

I always say, “I go shower, you HELP me look after her for a while”.

“PLEASE watch over her, I’m going to do the laundry.”

“Can you HELP me wash the bottle?”

Whenever I asked, he would say OK. So, I learned the trick. I have to open my mouth and ask him to do it.

There’s nothing wrong in saying that he HELPS and to thank him.

Yes, it’s a partnership. You do say thank you’s in partnership though.


I’m Sorry I Gave Up Breastfeeding

I planned to breastfeed my baby even before I got pregnant. It is only natural wanting to breastfeed your own child and the benefits of breastfeeding outweighs everything else. I told Andrew you better pray hard that I can breastfeed successfully because it is going to save us a lot of money from buying formula milk. I guess he did not pray hard enough.

I know breastfeeding is not going to be easy. However, neither did I think it would be so tough. I guess I overestimated myself. Being confident is one thing, being over-confident is another. I also blame it on the non-breastfeeding friendly hospital. They did not offer me good breastfeeding advice, I will say they didn’t even teach me.

The first night after I gave birth, the nurse just came and shove baby’s mouth to my breast. She did not teach me the correct position, the correct latch, how it looks like, how it should feel. When baby took my breast, I felt the suckle and milk did flow and that’s it. I thought that was it.

Second night after I went home, I continued to breastfeed. However, later that night, baby kept crying. Andrew and his mom said that baby did not have enough milk and they wanted to top up formula. Andrew went out to buy formula milk. I was so sad because I know I had milk and baby was crying not because of milk, they just didn’t trust my mother instinct.

Baby liked to sleep, partly because she had jaundice. No matter what we did (seriously we tried everything) to wake her up, she would stay asleep. I’ve never seen such a sleepy baby! Without baby suckling, I started to have engorgement. I resorted to breast pump to help empty the milk. I did not know that the flange of the breast pump was too small for me and it caused me to have sore nipples.

The following days, I always felt pain whenever baby suckle. On the 6th day, baby got admitted to hospital because of her jaundice and needed photo-therapy. That day, she wanted to be fed every 1 to 2 hour! That night, it was so painful that I cried when she suckled and Andrew told me to stop. I went back to pumping again.

I felt the pain constantly. I have friends came to visit me to see if I got the right latch, we even went to see a lactation consultant and they all said it’s the right latch. But I still felt the pain! Some said the pain was normal, some said it was not. I was so confused and frustrated and sad. There were nights the pain was constant and I couldn’t sleep. It was like someone who scrape your nipples with broken glasses!

The breast pump couldn’t empty my breasts efficiently, I ended up in hand-expressing. I managed to feed my baby breast milk through bottle. But I wasn’t contented. I wanted the bonding of direct latching. Some days I would try latching her again and she refused, some days she would take it but the pain was still unbearable. My sore nipples never healed. It is a mystery to this day why they did not heal even after I stopped direct latching.

Finally, I developed early signs of mastitis. Fever, shiver, cold, aches…… A kind friend who is also a lactation consultant offered help. She said I had blocked ducts and she could help me cleared them and I could breastfeed again. I went. I was happy and confident that I could breastfeed again. However, the pain never went away. My friend told me I just had to bear with it. Later that night, it was so painful that I was crying out loud while baby suckled. I went through it only to find out the nipple cracked and the pain was so intense. That night, Andrew told me it’s time to give up and he didn’t want to see me suffer anymore. He said I wasn’t happy for the past one month, and if I fell sick, how am I supposed to take care of the baby? I’ve been struggling with the whole breastfeeding experience for more than a month.

I listened to him and I stopped.

I regret my decision. But I can’t blame him because I know he hates to see his wife suffers.

All I could blame is I did not get as much help as I could. And the timing. If I wasn’t going back to Johor that week, I would have stayed with my friend for a few days and probably, just probably, that I would be able to breastfeed till today.

Until today, I still can’t help but feel guilty. I will comfort myself that at least she has gotten 1 and a half months of breast milk, better than nothing. But I know I could have given her more.

All the articles on the internet promoting breastfeeding aren’t helping with my guilt. Sometimes I got so pissed at these people, have they not thought of people who really can’t breastfeed? There are people who really can’t breastfeed due to medical reason and physical constraint. What are they going to do if not offering formula milk? Oh yes, you will say almond milk and so many other alternatives. But they’re not easily available.

Anyway, I am happy to see Lucy is thriving.

Now I just have to focus on taking good care of her, make sure she’s happy. Happy baby, happy mommy.

P.S.: I lost that breastfeeding bond, I make sure I bond with her more in other ways. I cradle her to sleep, I sing to her whenever possible, I talk to her, I carry her whenever I like, I massage her…… I don’t care if people are telling me that I’m spoiling her. I am spoiling her, with my love. If you have an issue with that, talk to my palm, go raise your own children.


When I Become A Parent

I used to get annoyed with baby’s crying.
When I become a parent,
My baby’s cries don’t sound as annoying anymore.

I used to feel disgusting when I see baby’s poo.
When I become a parent,
I examine the poo just to make sure she’s healthy.

I used to jump and stay as far as possible when baby poops.
When I become a parent,
I used my hand to catch the poo (as there was nothing nearby I could use to prevent it from spraying across the room!).

I used to think getting angry with the baby was stupid.
When I become a parent,
I understand even the newborn could drive you up the walls and it’s not stupid to feel angry.

I used to think “poor mommy” when the baby cries hysterically in the shopping mall.
When I become a parent,
I don’t give a f*** what you think, my baby needs to EAT/SLEEP/CHANGE DIAPER!

I used to say “I will never feed my child in an open shaded area under the hot sun”.
When I become a parent,
I realised it is inevitable that you have to feed anywhere, any time, rain or shine.

I used to snort at parents when they used a long harness to prevent their children from running too far away.
When I become a parent,
I know I have to do everything I could to protect my child.

I used to feel agitated when children banging the dishes/cutlery/table in a restaurant.
When I become a parent,
I figure anything that can keep my baby calm and occupied, I will do it.

I used to say I will not bring my child to certain places just so that I can enjoy peaceful moments.
When I become a parent,
I want to bring my baby anywhere I go because I want to be with her.

I used to wonder why my friends are always late.
When I become a parent,
I have to get ready 2 hours before I leave the house and I will still be late.

When I become a parent, I learned one thing.
You will do all the things that every parent will do. Hahahahaha.

There is no bad parent in the world, we are all the same somehow. :)


I Gave Up Breastfeeding

…… And I feel guilty all the time.

The mass articles/news/studies/blogs about how great breast-milk is, the so-called “liquid gold”, only make me feel even more guilty. Friends who keep telling me that they will support me and it is my decision to continue or not, again make me feel that I am a bad mom. Not a day goes by without me feeling guilty since the day I stopped breastfeeding…… Not a day I feel guilt-free……

I have a loving husband that loves and adores me more than anything else. When I was exhausted from all the pumping and feeding, he had helped me with cleaning the bottles and fetching the pump. When I was too tired from the midnight pumping, he had helped with the nappy change. When I was too sleepy to wake up, he had helped with warming the breast-milk and feeding the baby. When I was having difficulty breastfeeding and cried every time I breastfeed, he had told me to stop. Again and again, he told me to stop breastfeeding since I suffered from the day I gave birth. He is a very supportive husband and he does support breastfeeding, but he just can’t bear to see his wife suffer and unhappy anymore. “What’s the point of breastfeeding when you are not even happy feeding? You have not been happy since the day you gave birth…… If you fall sick, how to take care of Lucy……” And people always say, happy mommy, happy baby……

I can only blame myself for not getting proper help from a lactation consultant. When I finally did, it was too late.

I was having sore and cracked nipples all the time. When I stopped direct latching to let them heal, I kept having engorgement. The pump never really helped in emptying the breasts.

To this day, I still can’t figure out if it’s bad latch problem or my nipples problem. No one can tell me exactly what is the cause, not even the lactation consultant. All they told me is baby has got perfect latch, but I still felt constant pain whenever baby latched on. They even told me I would get used to it after some time, but I never got used to it. The pain only got more and more intense and worse. The pain would persist hours after the feed. No one could really understand what pain I was going through and I couldn’t exactly describe it. They even told me they have seen cases worse than mine, and I should be able to get through this. But I didn’t.

The day I stopped breastfeeding was the day I got mastitis. I was already having fever for 2 days, on the third night, I woke up to the pain of engorgement. Went to see Dr. Suhaimi and he put me on strong antibiotics. I too went for a breasts ultrasound to make sure there was no abscess. That day, I cried so much and loud. I cried because I can’t breastfeed anymore, I cried because Lucy is not getting breast-milk anymore, and I cried because I’m not going to have that special breastfeeding bonding moment with Lucy anymore. I cried, feeling I’m a bad mother.

The day I had mastitis was also the day Lucy going to her first month check-up. When I told the paediatrician that Lucy was having some mild rashes, she advised us to change her formula to hypo allergic as she suspect Lucy was allergic to cow’s milk. While in the hospital waiting for my turn to do the ultrasound, Lucy already had two feedings with the new formula. When we got home, it was her feeding time again. I was surprised that Lucy did not finish the bottle but at the end, slowly, she finished it. When I was changing her wet diaper, she had projectile vomiting. It was so scary and the milk literally gushed out from her mouth and sprayed across the room, a lot of them! I was alone at home and I got so scared. But amazingly, Lucy was all smile and calm and she didn’t seem bothered with her vomiting. Again, I cried. If I could still breastfeed her, this wouldn’t have happened. I was blaming myself and I felt so bad.

Luckily, the projectile vomiting was just an one-off case. She’s back on the normal formula milk and her rashes are cleared. But my guilt has never gone away.

After I recovered from the mastitis, I noticed that I can still produce milk. I know if I want, I can start breastfeeding again, not direct latching, but I can pump and give Lucy breast-milk again. However, I don’t get support from Andrew.

I know, it’s my body, if I insist, he can’t do a thing. But I know I would not feel good if I don’t get his support and I understand why he does not want me to breastfeed again. He has seen it all, he knows and understands how difficult is and will be.

I asked him many times, if I am selfish for not breastfeeding because I will be very tired. He said, “if you’re tired and can’t take care of baby, that is even worse. And you’re not happy. You still can bond with Lucy in so many ways.”

So, here I am. Everyday fighting with my own devil, until the day I can finally let it go.

I can only comfort myself, at least Lucy did get breast-milk for one and a half months.