I know most mums rejoice when the confinement month is officially over. But for me, I actually wish it goes on for another few weeks so I can continue to be 'mothered', while I concentrate on nursing my baby and recuperating to regain my strength.
Thanks to my mum who looked after my confinement needs and my dear hubby who did everything else under the sun that my mum couldn't do, I did get a fair bit of rest in these crucial 4 weeks.
The first week after birth was really tiring. The combination of recovering from the C-section and total breast feeding wore me out completely. Surprisingly, the primary engorgement I experienced this time wasn't as bad as my previous.
It was a blessing that baby latched really well (almost) right from the beginning too. This time round, I insisted on latching baby myself instead of allowing the nurses to shove my nipple into my baby's mouth. Because of my lack of trust (I have learnt the hard way from my previous experiences when I delivered my boys that not all nurses are trained enough in breastfeeding and/or care enough about mothers' nipples), I saved myself from experiencing any severely cracked nipples and awful engorgement this time. I also requested (insisted and begged) to see the lactation consultant every day, so I could be assured that I was doing the right thing.
But most of the time, I felt as if my body had gone through war. After the pain killers wore off, there was pain from the C-section wound and my ultra sensitive nipples and just a lot of general discomfort all over. Unfortunately, I also started coughing the day after delivery which added to my misery.
On hindsight, I am glad we insisted on a no-visitor policy during my hospital stay and confinement, to ensure I got as much rest as possible when I wasn't needed by baby. Again, this was something I learnt the hard way. We had so many visitors when I delivered Marcus that added to my stress and fatigue. When we had Nicholas, we politely declined as many visitors as possible, but there were still some (friends/relatives of my mum-in-law) who came to the house during my confinement and I had to wake up from naps and be sure I looked decent etc. Now, it was still hard to say no to well-meaning friends/relatives but I decided this was a time when I had to consider my well-being above all else. Thanks everyone for your understanding!
Week two was slightly better. My body and mind got used to the lack of sleep and broken sleep I had every night. I tried to nap whenever I could and slowly, I felt stronger. I began to enjoy my bundle of joy a lot more. My days revolved around feeding, burping, nappy changing, carrying baby, eating and sleeping. When I wasn't doing any of these, I spent a lot of time standing by her cot admiring her and counting my blessings. :>
16 days old bundle of joy after a tummy full of warm milk!
I tried to spend time with the boys, but I really didn't manage much. I probably read only twice to them in the whole month and spoke to them briefly everyday. They didn't complain. In fact, I think they were really happy to be left alone to play all the time.
For once, I didn't even miss the Internet or touch my Macbook, which was also why I only blogged about baby more than two weeks after her birth. (All the other blog posts in Sept/Oct were drafted before baby's arrival and scheduled to post.)
I suppose it was great that mum was around during confinement and she kept reminding me to think of my own health above all else, to nap and not feel guilty about neglecting the boys. I took it one day at a time, focusing on just recovering, resting and breastfeeding on demand. Before I realized, we were almost done with the third week of my confinement. But instead of recovering, I had an infection on part of my C-section wound. Luckily, it turned out to be mild and no antibiotics required.
By week four, I was beginning to feel more confident and assured that the breastfeeding was (finally) going well, though I also had my worries and doubts at times. There were lots of wet and soiled nappies and it was apparent that she gained weight, but because she would only feed for 10 min max. each time, always reject the second breast and was starting to sleep for 3 to 4 hrs between feeds, I was concerned. I didn't know if it was possible for such young babies to eat so efficiently and had enough calories to last so long or there were some underlying issues that I wasn't aware of.
A visit to the lactation consultant set my mind at ease. She latched well for her usual 10 min feed and drank 80 ml (baby was weighed before and after a feed). No wonder she could sleep for that stretch between feeds. I was all smiles to know she put on over 800g in 3 weeks.
But the next day, there was a new problem - rapid milk flow. Sigh. After battling the issue for a few days, I was so discouraged, especially seeing how upset she was during feeds. Thanks to very encouraging friends whom I depended on for moral support, I battled on. It helped to remind myself that this may just be a difficult phase, but it will surely pass.
At her recent pediatrician's visit for her 1st month examination, she weighed 4.17kg; a neat gain of 1.2kg from her birth weight! :) It sure felt like a reward for the hard work I put in to breastfeed her.
Mum left a few days ago. So now I am on my own with the kids.
The rapid milk flow problem is still unresolved, though I have learnt to manage it better now. Baby seems to have learnt to cope with it during some feeds too, though there are still times when she gets really upset.
Her night wakings are getting very predictable now, with one feed between 2 - 4am and the next between 5 - 7am, depending if she cluster feeds the night before. For most part of the day, she feeds every 3 - 4 hrs. It looks like she will be ready for a routine soon. Maybe I will introduce the E.A.S.Y. by week 6.
I shall remain optimistic.