Sunday, October 16, 2011

The First Month

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. :>

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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.)

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@18 days old looking absolutely adorable in a dress from Aunt Heidi 

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. 

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@ 21 days old; straight after bath. Look at the tum-tum! :>


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.


9 comments:

Handydog said...

Baby O is so cute! Well done Shirley, your hard work definitely pays off, I'm sure you will manage great. Do rest well and slow down since you have no helper from now. Even after confinement, you still have to watch out especially for c-section mums. My girls have been asking me when they can see the baby!

Sunflower said...

Hey once again congratz.

For those excess milk, if you didn't pump them out, just squeeze them out. This is what I did too. This is to avoid engorgement. I also did pump them out to donate to those mother can't produce enough breastmilk for their child!

haha.. if you find them wasteful... hmmm.. use them to wash your hand and even wash your face. It a nature moisturizer!

Anyway, don't find them wasteful. You really produce more than enough for your baby O!

k said...

Glad to see your update. I had rapid milk flow problems too. I had so much supply they sprayed out and choked my babies at every feed. And I wet a few tees a day. I ended up stuffing a lot of towels at my chest. Haha. Plus engorgement fever 4 times during Mandy's time. It's a blessing to have such good supply though. Beats not enough milk.
Glad you are coping well. Baby girl looks sooooooo adorable and her tummy is indeed impressive.
Oh and we too declined visitors for the 1st month. Except for out mums. Think we pissed off quite a few relatives, and my mum. Oh well.

Dominique@Dominique's Desk said...

I'm sure you be able to cope.. great that you are positive.

Domesticgoddess said...

Handydog, thanks for being so supportive and always so prompt with SMS SOS! :P I am keeping fingers crossed that the milk supply will stabilize by next week, so I only produce what is needed by baby. And tell your girls, they will see baby very soon! Text you soon!

Domesticgoddess said...

Sunflower, thanks for the suggestions. I do express to relieve discomfort when I have to, but I try (hard) not to stimulate the breasts to produce more.Already, my freezer is filling up with so many bags of ebm. I used to have engorgement so easily when I was bfg the boys and needed to express so much that I got so tired and fed up with bfg.

I have never tried washing my hands/face with the ebm. Um.. Just can't get used to the idea. I thought of donating excess EBM in the past when I had the boys because I had to express and freeze 300 - 400ml every 3-4 hrs and freezer ran out of space, but never gotten round to doing it. In the end, we just fed the boys the frozen EBM and froze more for future until I eventually stopped expressing.

I hate expressing though, so now to keep my sanity, sometimes when the flow is too fast for baby, I just let the excess drips onto a cloth. It's wasteful but I have learnt to let go, so I no longer feel guilty about it. After all, my body will keep on producing and my sanity is important if I want to continue bf.

Domesticgoddess said...

K, I use towels too. There is so much laundry to do as a result! Sigh. I used to have rapid flow problems when bfg the boys, but I think by the time the problem showed up, I was already expressing more than latching them, so it was less upsetting for them and me. But I find that just expressing some before each feed is not always enough to slow down the flow. I unlatch baby when she struggles with the flow, and let the excess drips onto cloth but still it doesn't solve the problem. Did you change positions during feeding? How long did it take for this problem to go away or did your kids just learn to cope with the flow when they got older?

Domesticgoddess said...

Thanks Rachel for being supportive. I do have to remind myself to remain positive. :>

k said...

To be fair, there was great dd and ss imbalance for Mandy since she was prematured and had to stay in hospital for 2 weeks. I pumped for then. I was pumping out a few times more milk than she needed. Latching was very difficult because flow was too fast and I really dreaded unlatching her cos milk will spray all over her face and well, everywhere. I can just stand there and shoot out 2 long continuous sprays of milk! Haha. Like you, I refused to pump or express out so that the ss can go down though that meant a lot of discomfort and fevers. But it did go down and the girl sort of got used to it. So it all worked out. I cannot remember how long it took though. About 2+ to 3 months perhaps?

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