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Photos From Before Til Now…

I know right, what an unimaginative title for a blogpost! Nothing new to update regarding bringing up B – and rereading some of my earlier updates are kinda scary. I was way too intense and going crazy. Blame no one but myself for not preparing enough beforehand. Winging it is NOT the way to go for bringing up a newborn. Then again, one can be armed to their teeth with information, and still be rendered helpless in the face of a screaming newborn.

Thank God for the Internet – I really don’t know how people from yore could deal with all the lack of information. You can’t just depend on your mother / mother-in-law for some of the information. You might get kinda crack-y advise. Like someone telling me that I should TWIST my daughter’s nipples so that when she grows up she will be busty. This is the most insane, f*cked up shit that I have ever heard in my life. Of course I BANNED that person from doing that. Don’t know what drugged-up, f*cked up person came up with this kinda idea. Must be some paedophilic sadist!

Anyway, I digressed! Here are the photos and some light commentary on what’s going on…

BEFORE, DURING MY HOSPITAL STAY FOR THE LABOR…

lastfewHusband and I went to the gynae on the 19th of September to see what we had to do regarding B. B was due on the 18th, but by the 19th she was still not out. We couldn’t wait for B to naturally come out because the water levels in the bag were not optimum. Hence, the next day, we were advised to go to the hospital. This was our lunch on when we went to the gynae’s clinic – it is some place in Jaya One called Coconut Shack or something like that. We had this weird pizza which contained yam and other root vegetables, amongst bacon and other normal pizza toppings. It was a strange combo that worked! I really liked the wood-oven baked flavor, and the coconut ice-blended is pretty good too (it’s about RM10 per glass). The bad part is the service though. They only have one waitress during lunch hour, and she had quite a bad attitude. When she seated us, she threw the menu to our table in such a flippant manner that almost had us walking right out. -___-“

lastfew2Dinner on the 19th – in anticipation of going to the hospital and getting our daughter the next day, hubby “celebrated” by calling Room Service and ordering Chillis. This is how delivered country fried chicken looks like.:) A funny thing occured : hubs ordered the chicken chipotle and asked for extra sauce, but they wound up givingย me the extra white sauce. Hubs was not amused!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMe in the labour room of Pantai Hospital. This is what 40 weeks + looks like. I’m nervous and excited and just can’t wait to meet my baby!

lastfew3Fascinated by this machine that measures baby’s heart rate and my contractions.

lastfew4Nurse only managed to stick in the IV to begin inducing on the 2nd try. I don’t like how they stressed me further by saying, “If you can’t relax, there’s nothing I can do to help you.” FYI, induction by breaking the water bag is one of the most traumatic thing I ever experienced…๐Ÿ˜ฆ

lastfew6One of the first pics of me and B bonding.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAB and I entertaining visitors… honestly, though its sweet to visit, I highly do not recommend visiting friends that have just delivered. That’s just me personally coz I feel really bad not being able to entertain my visitors properly as I wish to bond with baby and also rest!

lastfew7Taken during the very first few minutes of B’s young life. Edited by my husband… -__-“

CONFINEMENT FOOD

lastfew12One of the first meals I had when confinement “officially” started. My MIL made mee sua and pig kidney with spring onions and aย  wee bit of ginger. I was actually not supposed to eat ginger because B had jaundice and it would affect her since I was breastfeeding. I was barred from ginger and other chinese herbs for a minimum of one week. On top of that, I couldn’t eat chicken or fish due to getting a c-section, and they believe those items make the scar more itchy. My MIL was a bit disappointed coz she had planned all kinds of meals with exactly those ingredients (in fact she had boiled a herbal soup for me which I couldn’t drink at all), but she rallied and came up with a lot of alternative meals! But for the first week, all I ate was pork and pig spare parts, haha.

lastfew8I only ate brown rice during my confinement – the meat dish is pork slices fried with ginger and chinese black fungus. The black fungus is supposedly good for “removing blood” from the uterus… helping the women to get rid of the placenta lining faster. The drink is just plain hot water with loads of goji berries. Loads of goji berries have a slight laxative effect, which is good for me coz I felt a bit constipated after giving birth. Not sure if this happens to everyone though!

lastfew9Occassionally, my MIL will serve the pork + ginger + black fungus dish with mee sua instead of brown rice. Super yummy, with the soup which has a bit of rice wine in it as well. I don’t know why rice wine doesn’t have such a “sedative” effect on my baby as DOM does…

lastfew11Again, same dish as above, but with a mixture of pork slices and pig kidney.

lastfew10Pork ribs, stewed with red dates, goji berries and serai (lemongrass). The serai is planted by my MIL’s sister, my Ah Yee. Ah Yee really plants a lot of vegetables, and I was privy to a lot of fresh veg during my confinement! My MIL thought that I didn’t like this dish because I didn’t drink down all the soup.๐Ÿ˜› Actually, I didn’t realise I was supposed to! So I only ate this once.

lastfew24Broccoli with garlic, brown rice, herbal soup and chicken slices fried with 3 types of ginger. The ginger mainly used in confinement is Bentong ginger, but apparently there’s also a mini type of ginger called “sand ginger” that cannot be bought in the marketplace. It is small but packs a powerful punch. And yes, only planted by my Ah Yee… This dish really heats up the body. Oh ya, in case you want to know, ginger is not only for “heatiness” in confinement, but also helps to expel wind. Yes, you fart yourself back into shape. -__- Some people, like my mom, don’t believe in eating veggies during confinement as veggies are “cooling” and you need to “heat” yourself up. According to my MIL, it’s ok to eat veggies, as long as you fry it in sesame seed oil and with lots and lots of ginger. FYI, I supposedly went thru 1.5 bottles of sesame seed oil during confinement.. -__-“

lastfew15Chicken chop, brown rice and papaya soup to help increase breast milk. Honestly, I don’t think papaya soup helps — I think drinking LOADS of hot water / soup in general helps! Anyway, go to the marketplace and buy a green papaya (a ripe one will just completely break down in the slow cooker). The shopkeeper will 101% ask you if you are making green papaya soup for confinement!

lastfew16I forgot what the meat dish is in that small plate, but this is a closer shot of the green papaya soup – boiled with pig tail. Quite “geli” to eat the pig tail, it’s all fatty skin and bone anyway…

lastfew17Pea sprouts fried with ginger and garlic, chicken pieces fried with ginger & black fungus and a bowl of herbal soup with one big drumstick inside! Heavy or not, the lunch?! By the way, all herbal soups are boiled from pre-packaged herbs from Eu Yan Sang… depending on what type of soup you are buying, one packet costs between RM15 – RM25. I’ve been boiling some for myself back in the condo, it’s really easy! Take half a chicken (chop that into half so you have 2 quarters), pour in the herbs and enough hot water to cover the chicken + herbs, and boil in the slow cooker for 3 hours at least. Enough for two meals.:)

lastfew21Steam chicken with black fungus and coriander… can you imagine eating one whole plate of chicken by yourself? I think there’s half a chicken right there. O_O”

lastfew18Chicken pieces fried with asparagus and ginger, and a serai soup / drink.

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My MIL makes a great “mui choy zhu yuk” (stewed pork with preserved veg)! Add in some long beans for veggies and another bowl of herbal soup.:)

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Big bowl of chicken rice wine – chicken cooked with sweet rice wine, black fungus and ginger!

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Steam fish with goji berries and green chillis (also planted from my MIL’s own garden), more papaya soup. The crunchy looking topping on top of the brown rice is actually fried strips of ginger. Halfway through my confinement my MIL included this with every meal! She likes it so much that she started adding it to her own food as well.

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FOUR fillets of fried mackerel, spinach and an entire plate of crunchy ginger strips! This was probably during my last week of confinement when my MIL deemed that seafood was now OK, and I started having fish for every meal.:)

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Chicken fried with different types of mushrooms and a big bowl of “10 herbs soup”.

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Occasionally, my mom would cook for me as well to help my MIL out and also to show her love to me *ahem*. This was a massive meal of herbal chicken soup, fried celery and my mom’s version of pig kidneys with ginger.

lastfew44Pork ribs (secret sauce made by my MIL’s neighbour) marinated in rosemary and baked… with some scrambled eggs and rice. The ribs were awesome… better than Tony Roma’s!

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Superb chicken chop made by my MIL, with a large serving of broccoli and carrots. The chicken chop was so juicy and flavorful! Hmm… I’m starting to miss confinement, if only for the food!๐Ÿ˜›

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Scrambled egg with some leaves that I cannot identify. They have a very unique flavor and I feel like I’ve eaten it before, but I just cannot remember what it’s called! I have to show this pic to my MIL and ask for the name… it’s driving me nuts!

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Loads of meat – chicken slices with ginger, turmeric chicken and a bowl of fried organic purple spinach leaves.

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Pork chop with loads of caramelised onions! Yummy!

lastfew36Another one of my mom’s cooking – a superbly insane creation of a pig stomach stuffed with minced pork and chestnuts and other wondrous ingredients, cooked in a rich, peppery broth! This is the SECOND time she made it for me … the first time, it was stuffed with chicken drumsticks! I so regret not taking photos of that dish! My dad delivers my confinement food from my mom, and when I came downstairs to talk to him, I forgot to take my phone along. And since my in-laws ban me from climbing up and down the stairs so much, I couldn’t run up and get my phone. I snapped a pic of it with my dad’s phone, but he doesn’t know how to send the photo back to me….. *so much facepalm*

lastfew34Simple steamed pomfret with ginger, mushrooms and tomatoes. I’ve eaten steamed pomfret for lunch two days in a row recently, so I appreciate this fish very much. Easy and fast to cook, yet nutritious and delicious.:)

lastfew38Chicken meat and potatoes cooked in a dark soy sauce. I really like this! Must ask for the recipe from my MIL! Hubby says the type of potatoes used is very important – only russet potatoes for him. -__-“

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Special mee sua soup with home-made pork balls, carrot strips, tomatoes and kailan.

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Chinese herbal chicken soup made by my mom. She added in loads of dried longan – I love!

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My MIL’s one-pot rice dish – chicken pieces, scallops, chinese mushrooms and scallops all cooked together in the rice pot. She taught me how to make this dish, but with pork slices instead.

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Sample of what I would get for breakfast / tea time – bread with butter & jam spread on it, some biscuits (I think you can recognise the famous Kjeldsens butter cookies here) and a cup of hot Milo.

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Another sample of breakfast / tea time.๐Ÿ˜‰

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I don’t usually get fruits because they are cooling, but my MIL made an exception when a neighbour gave her this fruit, which is supposedly a hybrid of strawberries and cherry tomatoes! It actually tastes just like cherry tomatoes la… ^^

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A cake that my FIL purposely bought when he found out it was my 30th birthday. Yes, that’s how old I am. Yes, I spent my 30th birthday being in confinement. My family came over to celebrate, but my BIL hasn’t passed me those photos yet. Anyway, it was sweet of everybody… can’t believe that I’m 30! And a mom! Very surreal, I still feel like I’m in my 20s.

OTHER CONFINEMENT LIFE PICS…

lastfew5This giant wooden cot is more than 30 years old … my MIL got it specially refurbished for B. She only sleeps on this wooden cot when she is downstairs – usually before she takes her bath and for a short while after that. B always sleeps well after eating & bathing.. heck, I’m sure you would like a nap in the afternoon after eating and bathing, hehe.

lastfew19B’s remainder of the umbillical cord fell out when she was 11 days old. We were really happy coz it made bathing her so much easier. Plus, what was sticking out was already very dried looking. My sis used to say that my nephew’s one took a while to “dry out”, which made her afraid to bathe him very often. 11 days is pretty fast! Anyway, my MIL asked me to keep this for memorie’s sake… haha, hence it is in such a cute little plastic baggie.

lastfew39 Giant hamper gift from sis Abigail… looks like I don’t have to buy a special blender to make B’s meals when she turns 6 months! Very useful gift, this.

lastfew14At first, I thought I would never get used to cutting B’s fingernails. She is so delicate, and the nails are paper thin! However, it pains me MORE to see scratches on her face, so I’m quite adept at snipping her nails now. Or as my MIL says, “B is getting a manicure from mommy!”

lastfew22 The blue pajamas sets are from my MIL’s friend, and the summer green outfit is from my dad’s employee. We are getting gifts from a lot of people who don’t even know us personally! It is overwhelmingly sweet. =)

lastfew23 This clothes giftset was given by the church, along with a pack of newborn diapers! I guess this is what B will be wearing to church this Sunday. Yep, my hubby is finally letting mother and child out of the house for a non-doctor related outing!

lastfew25And THIS giftset is given to us from… my MIL’s Indonesian cleaner!! This really made me and my hubby go “wtf!” because it was SO unexpected. My MIL hires her once a week to clean the entire house and for 2-3 hours work, it costs like RM50?? And she even bought us a gift??! My hubby told my MIL that it is time to give the cleaner a raise, but my MIL said, “Don’t look down on people just coz she’s a cleaner ok! Her husband is a contractor, and we also hire him to do a lot of other house DIY / fixing / renovation stuff! She brings her son to see the same pediatrician as you do ok!”

After that, my husband met the cleaner’s contractor husband, and somehow got around to talking about kids and he said the pediatrician is really good. The contractor agreed and then (conversationally) my husband said, “… but the doctor’s consulting fees quite expensive huh? One time see is already RM70.” Then the contractor’s face look a bit sad and said, “Is it? Each time I see, never lower than RM120.” WTF x2… lol.. we must have made him feel so discriminated against. Anyway, RM70 was really just for consulting. When you add in all the other medicine, jabs, etc, the fees are higher la! I don’t think there’s really any discrimination going on.:)

There’s more gifts that we got, but haven’t gotten around to snapping photos of them yet. Don’t terasa if it isn’t here ok?:) These are just what I happen to have taken during my confinement.

LIFE BACK IN THE CONDO…ย 

lastfew45This is an awesome baked pasta dish that my sister made for me. She came over the weekend and passed it to me so I would have something to eat during lunchtime. She is so sweet… she wanted to cook even more than just this, but I really feel bad for troubling her, considering we don’t stay near each other… and she is pregnant! Yes, she has #2 on the way, feel so happy for her. Too bad #2 is not born same year as B, then really can be like “sisters”, hahaha.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy cruel husband thinks I don’t have enough to do during the afternoons when taking care of the baby, so he requested that I start cooking dinner for him. But.. he doesn’t even allow me to go out to get groceries! He told me that HE would do the groceries, so based on what he bought, I whipped this up. I asked him to get me chicken curry paste, and he got me this red Thai curry paste instead from Dancing Chef. It tasted ok, but not the creamy type of chicken curry I like. Threw in taufu goreng, potatoes and chicken pieces for this… well, if it’s simple dishes like this, I still have time to cook, I guess.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband only knows kailan and choy sum (I think I labelled this wrongly – this should be kailan), and that’s the veg that we have been eating ever since he started doing the groceries. Following my MIL’s advice, I just fry it with ginger and sesame seed oil.

lastfew46A simple Western-style meal of grilled eggplant (I posted the recipe before here), a side of rocket salad with Kewpie sesame dressing and garlic butter mussels.

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Running out of raw meat, so this is what I cooked, hahaha. And yet my husband is happy / satisfied, as long as he has his green veg. He said that when I was in confinement, he ate out almost every day. Then he found this weird brown sauce in the grocers, and he started making fried beef with this brown sauce + rice. Occasionally (when he remembered) he would throw in some red / green pepper. Soon, he found that he was constipated… ahahhaha. So, this is why (he explains) he needs me to cook dinner again… Coz he apparently just can’t take care of himself!

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One of the most chock-full of ingredients fried rice I ever made! There’s chinese sausage, baby shrimps and chicken cubes inside here… and I used Rasa Malaysia’s recipe as the “base”. This is the first time I made fried rice that is so “light” in color… usually I add in dark soy sauce! Also the first time I use fish sauce in my fried rice… this condiment just doesn’t exist in my mom’s house. Anyway, my husband said that it’s very yummy and ate two servings (1 whole cup of rice!). Yes, I doubled the original recipe as well.. which is not very advisable. I think it’s better to fry fried rice in smaller batches!

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On days that I don’t cook, husband orders in. I was impressed with the packaging for Nando’s home delivery, so I just have to post this up!

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It’s rambutan season, and my dad delivered this to me! He is a strange man… came all the way to the condo to deliver rambutan, then he sat down and didn’t talk, so I had to talk and talk and talk instead to overcome the awkwardness. Why is my dad like this, lol! Who has a plan to go over to someone else’s house and have no conversation topic, but you intend to stay there for some time, lol. If you say it’s coz he wants to look at his granddaughter, you would be wrong… coz he actually took along the Sun newspaper. If I didn’t talk, I think he would just open up the papers and read. Hence, the conclusion that he actually stayed over for the air conditioning, wtf.

lastfew48 Since I can’t go out shopping and my husband is lazy, I bought this perfume online for my SIL. I hope she likes it! I didn’t have time to write a nice card & wrap it up though… or maybe I’m lazy too? O_O”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAย ย ย ย ย ย  My version of steam pomfret… it looks way darker than the one my MIL made, right? I got the recipe from Recipe’s From A Cook Wannabe, but with some modifications. I poured out the “fish juices” after steaming before pouring in the seasonings, which in retrospect, I don’t have to. It’s just that another site stated that the juices from the fish after steaming is not tasty. However, the 2nd time I made steam pomfret, I tasted the juice, and I find it quite flavorful with all the ginger and spring onions and wolfberries… so what the heck! With just the seasonings alone and without the “fish steamed juices”, this is a bit salty, but still very yummy. Oh, and one additional step I did was putting pepper over the fish before steaming!

Ok, that’s all the pictures I have for now, and I am predicting that my daughter will wake up Any Moment Now, so enjoy! If you complain on picture overload, think of it as all the pictures I owe over those long walls of text post before this.๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy!

Six Weeks & You’re Golden

Another milestone – reaching six weeks! I find that six weeks is quite a magical number. Babies smile for real by six weeks – it’s not just gas anymore.:) Colic in babies peak at six weeks, so you can tell yourself “this is the worst that it can get”. If you’re purely breastfeeding, if you can do it for six consecutive weeks, apparently it’s going to be a breeze the rest of the way. Personally, I find six weeks just nice to get into the rhythm of things with my baby. I always tell her – B, this is your transitioning period, but its also my transitioning period. We help each other out, ya? Of course, the whole “routine” thing will go wacky again when I start work, but I’m in a good place right now. Let me enjoy this short golden period.:)

Last weekend, we had B’s fullmoon party. It was held at Ben’s (Publika) and it was my first time hosting such a large party! Honestly, I’ve never thrown big parties before coz I’m introverted like that, and in the end, most of the people who went were my husband’s friends! Most of the people I wanted to invite were not able to make it. I also felt bad that those who could make it were lonely. Like my friend Pau who came.. I told her to bring her bf along, if he was in town. He wasn’t, and since she would know absolutely no one else, she asked if she could bring her dad! I okay-ed it coz her dad is a nice guy who I’ve worked for before (he owns a factory). And he always sends me life in Candy Crush. :p

Anyway, it was such a production going out with B for the first time ever (gynae and paediatrician office doesn’t count). I packed something like 14oz of milk and 7 diapers for a 3-4 hour event, lol. Fuzz and Dull gave me a wonderful baby bag as a present and it was just heaven sent! Had portable changing mat and all that jazz included! Everyone was shocked that it was my first time in a mall with B… And asked me wtf do I do during the weekends. Same thing I do on the weekdays – take care of B!

Anyway, it was a pretty nice event, and there were a few people that I enjoyed catching up with. I hope the guests enjoyed themselves! B was surprisingly well behaved, but I chalk it up to her being shell shocked. The party was at night, usually her fussy time, but once she was dolled up and put into the car, she was silent all the way!! She was alert 70% of the time during the party, which made friends coo that it was awesome coz all their nephews / nieces slept thru it all. B was also very docile and allowed everyone to carry her, lol. The only time she flared up was whenever Pau wanted a photo with her… I think B was just trolling her, haha!

I don’t feel right (yet) about posting pics of my child everywhere, or my relatives & hubby’s relatives + friends. So here’s some random photos of the place where we had the dinner party. Looks pretty nice, huh?

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I felt bad that I couldn’t entertain everyone… Especially my other friend that came – Ching. He randomly wound up seated next to some aunties (friends of my MIL), and seated deep in one corner (not easily accessed). Whenever I wanted to go talk to him, saw him in deep conversation with the aunties. At first I thought they were evangelising him, hahahaha, but he looked very animated as well. Later, found out they were all talking about trading shares, and my MIL even took his handphone number wtf…

Once B reached home, she slept pretty soundly and was really tired and slept a LOT the next day as well. So much peace and quiet. The only other time she slept so much was when I drank DOM. Before you think I’m a shitty mom, I totally waited 3 hours after drinking that small capful before expressing milk. She slept so much thru out the day (but still waking up every two hours to drink milk), and then became a raging fusspot in the evening. Totally not worth the peace in the earlier part of the day. The older generation keep insisting I continue drinking (I have 3 bottles gifted to me at time of writing), but this is not my imagination. Twice I drank and twice this “drunken effect” occurred. No thanks. Will only drink when my milk supply dries up. Which probably won’t be anytime soon coz my oz per hour average seems to keep increasing. Not a humble brag, coz I really hate dealing with all the leakage. Eh, breast pads not cheap wei!

Anyway, staying at home so much has brought out the raging online-shopaholic in me. To be honest, the first few days after giving birth, I was super negative about costs and such. So many things to buy that I did not think about. Like aforementioned breast pads, sterilising equipment (initially just wanted to use hot water & soap), all those paediatric consultancy… And I was still reeling from the cost of giving birth to her! Now, I’m kind of numbed to it all. Though we do still save for B’s future, life is too short to stinge away. At first I was very logical – bought a set of 4 Method cleaning products for RM33.40, thanks to discount code from Yee Ling. My husband has already tried out all 4 of the items and he said that this is a SUPER GOOD BUY. Hehehehe! Well, I didn’t mean to buy them and make him clean the house, thought it would motivate ME to clean the house, but thankfully he is an understanding man! At least he tries to lighten my burden!

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Before that, I got a beauty box from The Lilac Box, so-called to make myself feel better during confinement. Haven’t even used one item, and I bought more skincare stuff from HiShop. You can check out my mini shopping posts on my beauty blog here and here respectively.:)

Next came the insane clothes shopping. I haven’t even worn any of the ASOS clothes I bought – and in fact, I have a batch of clothes I bought right before I found out I was preggers that I still can’t fit into. I have tonnes of unworn clothes and I’m actually wondering if I can ever fit back into a UK8.๐Ÿ˜ฆ So why the insane clothes shopping? Now I’m desperately looking for clothes to wear to work in case I don’t shrink back in time. I bought clothes from Fox-Out and Delia’s. Most of the stuff I bought are long sleeve and baggy. FML, I feel so fat now you have no idea. I look back at pictures a mere 3 years back and I feel so sad that I’m no longer that thin. I didn’t feel thin then, but boy I do think I was pretty fit! I also cleared out my closet recently and felt so sad that a hugeeeeee bulk of my clothes can’t be worn. Also, why did I ever buy so many sluttish looking tops. -_-” I feel like having a garage sale and getting rid of everything!!

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Stuff I bought from Fox-Out, which I was introduced to by Shiberty! From L-R, top to bottom : Navy blue cable knit sweater is work-appropriate ; Spellbinder knit top that Shiberty says is oh-so-comfy. So glad that I managed to snag the last piece because this is the MAIN item that I wanted after reading her blogpost! ; Ombre knit top – so obsessed with knit tops now.

Mint sleeveless top is something I bought just so I could get free international shipping. If I didn’t get it, the cost of shipping is almost the same as the price of the top, so I might as well get it! ; Wallflower knit top is sweet and I’m still debating whether I could wear this to work – probably not, unless casual Fridays ; Bohemian drop-waist top – think this one looks really adorable too.

Waaaaahhh.. just realised that I bought all tops. I super BAN button-down tops after getting pregnant…. I don’t think even an “L” size button-down top would look good on me.

And now for the Delia’s haul :

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From L-R : Lace Pointelle Sweater – an all-over pastel knit sweater with lace detailing. Super sweet! ; Ninja shirt (graphic tee got buy 1 free 1 discounts!) ; Minnie Macaron long-sleeve top ; koala graphic tee that is going to be someone’s Xmas present. ^^

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From L-R : Super impulse buy of a crop knit top, just coz I like the way they styled it here. Sigh! ; Hogwarts long-sleeve tee that I have been hankering for for a longgggg time ; Lace sleeve baseball tee which is a dupe of the Victoria’s Secret one… cheaper too! ; Open Bow Back knit top in mint… hmmm, kind of an impulse buy too because I love the color. Probably gonna only wear this for casual outings… can’t imagine being so “sweet” in the office!

Ok, that’s all the frivolousness for today. As promised, I will blog more about confinement with PICTURES! Finally got around to uploading everything to my laptop! Let’s see if B has a long nap today or otherwise. I haven’t even cooked my own lunch yet!

All In Good Timing

Confinement ended a few days back and it’s felt like forever! I’m now back in the condo with hubby and Baby B. Came back on a Sunday afternoon and its been busy all the way. Today B has been sleeping more (more on that later), so I’m able to jot down my thoughts once more.:)

If you read my previous entries, you would know I’ve been struggling with my breastfeeding journey all this while. Heck, as I’m typing, I’m expressing milk with my Medela Freestyle. I didn’t research enough on breastfeeding, and you know what? If I did, I probably wouldn’t even start. I really take my hat off at ladies who can take the pain and have the patience to breastfeed. For me, I tried again once I came back, as I didn’t have my in-laws keep asking me to eat (I ate 5 meals a day during my confinement!). I was successful for a couple of days, but quality of life was not increasing. At first I was like “Awesome! There are so few bottles to wash! And can comfort her just by lifting my shirt! Less screaming!” But overall, still didn’t feel extra close to B, nor did she drink faster. It was almost like I was feeding her around the clock and when I got a huge milk bleb, I went back to exclusive pumping.๐Ÿ˜ฆ I think the nipple confusion lies with the mother, not the baby!

Personally, it felt like the benefits of breastfeeding was more like to make me feel good about me performing my duties as a mom and had nothing to do with the baby.

With exclusive pumping, I can stock up to 10oz of milk in the fridge waiting for B. That’s about 3.5 feeds standby, and i don’t bother freezing because i can never tell when she keeps me tied up til I’m unable to pump. The bad part is … She has no patience to wait for me to warm up the milk, especially at night! So her night feeds are all formula feeds. It took me a long time to accept that I am not a Wonder Woman who can give her everything like other mothers. The one thing I really feel bad about is each time I gung-ho-ly wanted to restart breastfeeding, I would ask my sister for tips. Ends up I am just wasting her time since I keep failing! Sigh! I admit, I do terasa when people say things like, “why did you even standby formula? That’s anticipating to fail” and I do feel my husband going around telling people his baby has cow milk allergy is tantamount to announcing my failures worldwide. It’s because of all that that I end up more miserable and feeling rubbish, keep attempting at breastfeeding and keep failing at dealing with the pain, insane time consumption, even how my nipple looks! And my sister said that breastfeeding changes it FOREVER. I was panicking and going, “Forever? How bad? Gnarled? Knobbly?” And she just replied, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing my nipples with you.” You can’t just tell me half the story!

Even my paediatrician makes me feel bad by telling me that if I don’t go back to breastfeeding, my supply will dwindle. During the gung ho period of breastfeeding B, I think it did bring up my milk supply! I used to be a 1oz an hour average. Now it’s 1.5oz, and that’s a big deal to no one but me, haha. I don’t know if its due to the power amount of breastfeeding (until gave me the painful milk blebs), or because I’ve been drinking Anmum Materna or because I’m just more stress-free in my own space!:)

You know when I said I lost 10kg after giving birth? Well, based on the digital scale back home, I must’ve gained back 4kg by the end of my confinement! I’m so aghasted, but not really in disbelief as I told you I had 5 meals a day in my in-laws house! A sample menu selection:

Breakfast @ 9am : one cup Milo, a toasted sandwich with jam and butter
Lunch @ 12pm : confinement food like yellow wine chicken / ginger pig kidney / steam herbal fish (one plate), one plate brown rice, a bowl of veg fried with sesame oil and ginger, a bowl of nourishing herbal chicken soup OR green papaya pork soup
Tea time @ 3pm : Loads of biscuits (Kjeldsens butter cookies / Munchies / Chipsmore) or cake or brownie + one cup Milo + 1 bottle chicken essence
Dinner @ 6pm : refer to lunch menu
Supper @ 9pm : refer to tea time menu
Drinks throughout the day are either Milo or red dates tea boiled by MIL. How not to get fat, you tell me. My in-laws shocked me by telling me I drank 1.5 cans of Milo during my 30 day stay! Regardless, I was a bit disappointed though — thought people said breastfeeding helps you lose weight? Pumping doesn’t count meh?

Once back here, I managed to lose 1kg in a few days, haha. Here’s an overall idea of what I do each day. I do start to feel the “housewife dilemma” though – feel like I do a lot, but when my husband asks me, unable to iterate! The timings below are based on each time B feeds.:)

2am : Feeding, diaper change, cuddle, pump milk, wash bottles – go back to bed
5am : As above, but additional defrosting of chicken for daily soup
7-8am : As above, but with starting the slow cooker to boil soup. Will grab chance to eat breakfast of Milo and one bottle chicken essence. Brush teeth. Make the bed. Sterilise all items. Usually baby is awake and alert at this point, so I cuddle, play and talk with her while catching snippets of time to do all the above.
10am : Timing here gets a bit tricky. I have to bathe B, and only after I bathe her can I bathe as well. Only after we bathe do I start the laundry. I can’t bathe her unless she has already poo-ed (or risk getting poo on me, or in the tub!), or if she’s sleeping. Oh, and I can’t bathe unless I’ve already pumped my milk coz I hate milk dripping out when I’m bathing! I feel so grossed out and wasteful at the same time. The good thing is that B likes bathing so she’s quite well behaved during this process. However, after that she will need loads of attention / cuddling to go to sleep.
12-1pm : If all went well above, mom and daughter are clean and fresh, washing machine is done and I will start the dryer. After this feed, B is usually tired and will sleep for a stretch. UNLESS something shitty happens, like the past few days there was drilling so near to our unit that B was just fussing the entire day. If I put her down, she will start wailing after a minute! If all goes well, I can eat my lunch (the herbal soup!) and get some housework done, like ironing, sewing labels on B’s clothes for the nursery, folding clothes, sorting through B’s stuff (still a lot of her things are unpacked and we just put away, but not arranged properly), washing up cooking utensils…
3-4pm : By this time, I’m pretty exhausted and after pumping milk, I will sleep together with B. I love co-sleeping with B. Sometimes I feel that an afternoon nap is so wasteful – I could do other things! Oh, and I might have some tea time of milk / Milo and another bottle of essence.
6pm : After feeding her, I will bathe (again! After not bathing during confinement. I bathe twice a day now) and IF POSSIBLE, try to cook for husband. Otherwise I just reheat the soup from lunch (its a big pot of soup after all) for my own dinner and husband goes and gets his own food.
8pm-12am : B’s unpredictable fussy period. Although eaten, she won’t be sleepy. Wants to be held, yet wails when carried. Looks like she wants comfort nursing, but chokes on the nipple and later spits up all the milk, etc etcetc. White noise, swaddling and cuddling helps – for 2 minute stretches! All in all, a really trying time. Often, I find I fell asleep with B in my arms…

I am now writing this very paragraph a week after I started this entry – that’s how busy I’ve been since I’ve been back here! A lot of things have happened since. I always thought my husband a traditional Chinese man (read : hopeless at helping out with the kids), but recent events made me feel so grateful for him. He keeps a calm demeanour when I’m getting bitchy and stressed up and he really does try to help, which was more than what my dad did with us. He also spends quality playing time with B after work. Sure, he’s not superman capable with the baby, but he really does try, which is way more than where we started off. My routine, though tiring, has fallen into a cycle that I can handle better. The best thing to do is just to not expect things to go your way! Just be ready for any curve ball the baby will throw your way. If you keep thinking baby MUST sleep now, etc, you will get more stressed. Just take long stretches of sleep as a bonus. These days I’m lucky enough to get stretches of sleep to watch Law & Order! The bad part is that B wants to be cuddled / held while I’m streaming shows so now I’m dealing with a sore shoulder. Oh well, at least better than holding her and doing nothing. I even got started on Breaking Bad… Maybe you think I should be napping instead of watching TV shows. Well, problem is that the baby is not really in deep sleep, so she keeps waking up. I have to just hold her for her to sleep. If I leave her alone, she will first whine… Then work herself up to a good my-mom-is-neglecting-me scream!

I’ve also managed to catch up on chores – doing the laundry every 2 days (if B soils her clothes, I hand wash and dry them, but will still throw to the washer during next load), doing the ironing whenever there are clothes to be ironed (never allow them to pile up!), and I pack up B and my stuff whenever I have the chance. Still a lot of labels to sew on her clothes, but kinda meh about this coz turns out my sewing skills suck — a few of the labels threatening to drop out, so I have to re-sew some things. -_-” I’ve also cooked for my husband twice in the two weeks. Nutritious soups for myself doesn’t count – these are actual meals for two. It’s darn hard to find time to cook coz I don’t do the groceries, so I have to see what’s available and make do. I told my husband I will do a proper weekly meal plan but I’m blogging instead, hehe. Anyway, it’s hard to cook when dinner is so close to B’s fussy time.

All in all, I think B is progressing well despite the evening fuss. The good news for me is that apparently this peaks at 6 weeks — which is now? I really hope it doesn’t get worse. It’s not just the carrying, cuddling, crying… I am physically in pain while doing all this because I will be engorged (no time to pump) or experiencing painful letdown while also dealing with my sore shoulder and knees. My husband helps occasionally but only in ten minute stretches! He can’t take the crying more than I can and he unable to carry and sway / rock / bounce her as well. Don’t know if physically unable to do so or he doesn’t think it will help. -_-” Anyway, B is now 4.5kg (based on the digital weighing scale!), so she really is gaining well. Good for her, bad news for my shoulder! :p Oh, and though we have set up a cot for her in our bedroom, we found that she sleeps more soundly through the night if she co-sleeps with us on the bed. So many people have told us we are now screwed coz the baby will never willingly go back to the cot. Honestly, I don’t mind coz I prefer her right next to me! Can comfort her immediately instead of walking to the cot. I imagine she feels so much more secure smelling mom and dad up close! The cot is now left as just her changing station…:)

As for me, I did lose even more weight than the start of my post. I dropped a total of 3kg or so once I stopped the 5 meals a day marathon. I suppose drinking soups and eating salads for lunch helps too. The most fattening things I eat are probably the Milo kosong … I stopped the Anmum Materna coz it gives me tummy aches! I need to lose even more weight else I have no clothes for work come December. My greatest progress was being able to zip up my Victoria Secret pants… Which I was unable to wear in the middle of my first trimester! Sure there’s a muffin top, but small steps yo. My post-pregnancy bleeding also seems to have stopped, so I feel super better about this. It was already pretty light the past 2 weeks – no need pad, just liners.

In the past two weeks, we organised a few things for B. Last week was the distribution of her fullmoon treats, a really expensive tradition to announce to friends and family that there’s a new addition to the clan. I bought my stuff from New & Trendy. They are really good and reliable, if you are on the lookout, can consider them. No need deposit, just COD and the food is DELICIOUS. I never liked angku kueh, but I love the ones they packaged into the box. And the butter cake was also surprisingly good. The fullmoon box was my lunch over a couple of days la

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This weekend will be B’s “debut” – full moon party. Initially wanted a small do with just core family members, but my socialite husband wanted something grand-er. It will be the first time we are bringing B outside for extended period of time. Before this, the longest was just to the pediatrician! Anyway, fingers crossed that it all goes well…

Alright, getting late (early in the morning, to be accurate), so signing off this update now. Still no pictures as I haven’t uploaded any to my PC and I’m still blogging from my phone. I sense a huge pictorial update in the future…

Shielded, And A Trip

Hooray for me! I’m counting down the days til confinement ends! At first, thought of doing a 1.5 month confinement, but I decided to make it exactly 30 days instead. Why? Mainly because I cannot get too comfortable at my in-laws place. I have to start my “independent” routine ASAP and rearrange things back in the condo as well. Secondly, my husband has proven himself not so adept at taking care of a newborn so I will have to just buck the f*** up to pick up the slack. He also keeps saying how suffering it is for him to keep house alone… So I guess I have to go back and somehow take care of the baby and also do a bit of housekeeping.

Recently my husband came down with food poisoning and it was horrible… For me! I felt like I was looking after two babies, each one also demanding for attention. And both also make a lot of groans and moans and wails when in discomfort. :p He also had high fever, and my MIL kept urging him to get out of the house, in case he spreads the virus to B or myself. Kinda pity him that he was being treated like a pariah by all of us, but hey… B comes first!:)

An update on B, who is almost a month old! Everyday we are amazed at how much she had grown, and we always say she is full of tricks. One thing about her is that she loves to hear people talking, even if not to her. She will eavesdrop like mad, and even if she is sleepy, she will fight fatigue to continue listening (which is bad news for me coz that means she will be extra fussy later on). As mentioned in my last entry, I got my husband to buy me nipple shields and I got them on Saturday. I was quite hesitant to use them, not sure how I would feel if she rejected me. Plus, my silly husband bought two nipple shields. Why?! Not like I can use both at once lol.

Again, B surprised me by cleverly knowing how to nurse with the nipple shield on! Excellent! My MIL says B is clever but I’m inclined to think she is GREEDY and knows how to illicit milk whatever the method! Now I have so many options – can direct latch (but I won’t anymore because I really believe I physically can’t without it being extremely painful for me), can direct latch with nipple shield, can drink expressed breast milk from bottle and also drink formula from bottle!

However, since I’m not big on breastfeeding, I don’t plan on BF full time. Currently the baby is about 80% breastfed and its already really tiring. I don’t know how full time BF moms do it. They say its more time consuming to express or make formula, but I don’t think so! When I BF it’s like 40 mins and B will want to nurse again 20 mins later. And during the 20 mins of NOT nursing, she will want her cuddles and such. It has been more than once that I BF for 90 minutes and then wind up just giving her another 2oz from the bottle to quiet her! Job well done, why didn’t I just give her 3oz and save a ton of time!

I also hate leaking breasts and at one point I thought breast shields were my savior. I slipped them on and would feed B from the bottle (this usually at the wee hours of the morning when I have no patience to nurse her for 90 mins), change her diaper… And then look down to see the whole front of my shirt wet with milk! Either the shield slipped out of place with all the activity or the milk runneth over. Don’t ask me to pause what I’m doing to empty the shields.. When you have a baby screaming for attention you know how stressful it gets! If I don’t use the shields, I feel its an awful waste because sometimes I’m able to collect 2oz of milk just from the shields! If I just let breast pads soak up the milk, it will be a waste of pads and milk. Conclusion is I hate the leakage!! Ugh! Yet another reason I hate breastfeeding.. How do you stop the other side from leaking when you are nursing? If you use a breast shield it is SO INCONVENIENT… But if you don’t – again – such a waste!

You know what? I really should stop talking about breastfeeding. The advocates will just be annoyed with me while the freedom formula feeders will wonder why I still persist. My husband doesn’t help by guilt tripping me about when B starts her nursery. “B will be drinking formula from 8am til 6pm. So pitiful.” Me: “it’s not continuous drinking… That’s maybe 4-5 feeds, judging from B’s insatiable hunger.” Husband: “still.. Don’t you want to give EBM to the nursery?” Honestly, I don’t think my supply will be that good that I can use EBM. Secondly, I don’t trust the nursery to treasure my EBM like gold and ensure not a single drop is wasted. So I rather keep all my EBM to feed B in the evenings / wee hours of morning.

So far everything I read online can’t be taken 100% which is a pain. I don’t know if what I’m doing is right or not. At this stage, B should only feed 6-8 times a day, especially for a bottle fed baby. Instead, she feeds almost 10x! And they say she should be taking about 2oz each feeding — I had to up it to 3oz every 2 hours, else she will drink 2oz every hour (with some wastage)! Even with precise measurements, I get so wound up. Cannot imagine how the “I will not know exactly how much” BF moms do it.

Even diaper changing is a stressful event for me because B has tendency to wait til I put a fresh diaper on to do a number 2. Or when I’m in the middle of changing, pees or shits on me. Usually after I had wiped everything off nicely. If I don’t rush to change her once I smell something funky, I feel like a shit mom for letting her sit around in her poop. I’m just surviving by telling myself to take it one day at a time.

Meanwhile, it seems that my current line manager has been promoted to head another team. So when I go back after my maternity leave, the project lead is long gone and I have a new line manager. Great! Semi collapsed team waiting to greet me, what could be better? Did I mention that for a project I was doing with another application team… That other team’s project manager also resigned? He didn’t even have the courtesy to inform earlier and loop in his replacement. Wtf! I hate everyone today!

Today we had an electricity cut and it was a horrible 45 minutes. It was at night, and near B’s “fussing hour”. Suddenly the whole house went dark and stuffy… I nearly cried! I stripped B of her swaddle and carried her to the hall, hoping it would be airier. It wasn’t, so I spent my dreary time fanning her. My iPhone battery was low as well, and I used up the juice complaining to my husband. He was reluctant to fetch us back to the condo (now I appreciate condo living a little more)… Asked me to update him if the cut lasts more than an hour. Surprisingly, B didn’t fuss that much.. Maybe coz I was fanning her while I imagined changing diapers in the dark, leaking milk in the dark and milk mixing with sweat OH GOD, all the milk that had been expressed out turning bad…

Thankfully when B woke up and I was in the middle of bottle feeding her, the lights came back on. Thank you Jesus!!!!! Cannot imagine how I could bring up a baby in a kampong. Oh, and earlier in my confinement, there was a water cut as well. Wtf.. Well, only 3.5 more days to go.

Another drama recently was when I slid down the staircase. In the first place, my in laws are very against me walking up and down the stairs as they feel it is not good for my uterus. However, I felt bad that they end up having to do a lot of things for me… Heck, I’m not an invalid, I thought. So, after 2 weeks or so, I would walk downstairs to throw the rubbish, wash my plates, etc. I don’t know why 2 days ago I just slid down the staircase and wound up breaking a cup! My in-laws and my husband rushed out of their rooms at the commotion (it was around 10pm) and saw me crawling around picking up shards of the cup. I suppose they misunderstood that scene that I had fallen and cannot stand up! After that, I cried coz I felt do humiliated, but I think they reckon I was in great pain. Oh dear. I have a large blue black bruise on my back now, and treated with even greater care. Seriously, my pride is more wounded…!

I’m a most impatient mother, I know.. But I think I have been bringing B up well thus far. She is gaining weight and looks good. B, mommy loves you very much…

All The Reasons In The World

I guess I’m not that strong after all… Falling sick, sneezing, running nose and really scared I’m coming down with a fever. If I do, really don’t know who will take care of B.๐Ÿ˜ฆ I guess I’m catching a cold from sitting shirtless expressing milk. I can’t go to a separate room to express because I need to keep an eye on her. Though I appreciate my in-laws hospitality (I plan to write a full post about it), its just not the same as being home, y’know? And I mean home as where I stay with my husband, not running home to my mother.

So B is now almost 3 weeks old and the cruel mother has started her on formula. Feel like a failure (again! How many times ady after this journey started…) and at time of writing she has rejected Enfalac A+ and Anmum (actually vomits it out, chokes and cough while eating it). After she choked on Enfalac, I was doubtful she would take Anmum (call it the mothers instinct! Ok, I read online about cow milk protein allergy and I thought B might have it) but my MIL was not happy that I didn’t even want to try. Ok, the way I brushed it off was bitchy and sharp, so no wonder. I was in a bad mood coz feeling low self worth and at wits end – still, no excuse for being a bitch! Anyway, when she threw up Annum as well, we paid a visit to the paediatrician!

At that point, B was 2 weeks old and I consider her breastfed since she rejected the Enfalac and Anmum… Hehe. Even so, her weight was 3.5kg, a whopping 600g gain from birth! She gained about 25% of her own weight! Truly this baby is trying to rush growing up. 3.5kg is not big – some babies are this weight when born, but to think she gained this much in 2 weeks is amazing to me. So don’t ask me why I say my supply can’t keep up with the demand… Apparently the average baby gains maybe 5-10% from birth weight in 2 weeks. Her jaundice also is GONE and the good doctor proclaimed her VERY HEALTHY. All great, but doctor, what do I actually feed her when she wallops all the milk?

Turns out I was right and B did have cow milk protein allergy – or more like the poor thing just plain can’t digest it. What to do, most people don’t feed their kids cow milk right off the bat right? Actually, they do… So I’m wondering why does my kid have to be the special case. -_-” Anyway, the doctor recommended Isomil, a soy based formula so that is what I bought.

Here’s a word of advise to other mommies who might be in the same predicament as me – do not instantly start giving her Isomil foreverly forever. You should gradually introduce this new product to her diet. Maybe just ONE feed a day for 1-2 days, then slowly increase to feeding her twice a day, then thrice. This is the “slow” method that a nutritionist friend recommended to us and it works well. B does not reject Isomil, and when she takes it she sleeps for longer periods of time.

I actually wanted to assimilate her even slower and still be giving her as much breast milk as possible but whenever I manage to stockpile the milk, it’s like she knows and proceeds to attack my supply with cluster feeding. She made me so angry this evening by eating 2oz milk every hour! At the final hour (and my final bottle of expressed breast milk), I saw she wasn’t even drinking properly but letting the milk pool in her mouth and dribble down her chin. Angry!! If she’s not a newborn she’s gonna get smacked for being so wasteful… Truly, no one understands how precious each drop of breast milk is except the mother. I have nightmares of people spilling my milk, people not feeding B properly and wasting my milk… Wtf!!

Since my failure at breast feeding, I’ve been wondering what I could’ve done differently to actually succeed. Breast feeding was a failure for me because :

  • I had cracked / bleeding nipples and will NOT continue feeding thru the pain. Forget that shit.
  • my baby doesn’t empty the breast properly, if I let her she could probably feed for an hour or more and still not be full. I have to keep prodding her to wake up and continue sucking. Who are these women with babies who can get the job done in 10 minutes?!
  • I did further research recently whether my latching was correct. In early days in the hospital, my sister said it looks right, but based on Internet descriptions, it’s a shallow latch caused by short nipples. Wtf! Baby can still eat, but its ineffective feeding.

In short, it was painful and time wasting for me. I can’t have B by my side 24/7 because with my in-laws, they expect me to eat at certain times and for the baby to bathe at a certain time, etc. They’ll think it strange if the baby is stuck with a breast to the mouth at all times.. Plus since I’m staying with them I don’t exactly go shirtless at all times. I don’t wear just my nursing bra and can quickly put B in position ASAP. How do other women do it? If they have a fussy baby, do they just NOT have a life?

Anyway, the paed told me I should try to breast feed again when I’ve healed, so I gamely tried. I didn’t know what to expect – many said she would reject as the bottle is SO much easier and all that nipple confusion crap. Guess what? B took to the breast like she never forgot! Which makes me feel doubly bad for stopping again when she made me bleed again!!! I just don’t understand why I can’t get that glowing happy feeding experience.. It’s always about bracing myself for the inevitable pain and then annoyance that its taking soooooo long. Anyway, for the sake of B, I asked my husband to get me nipple shields this weekend and will see if this actually helps.

I also don’t know why exclusive pumping moms do it so much easier than me. Where do they find the time to pump! Even stretching out to a 3 hr session is getting hard for me coz you can’t control when the little one will demand your attention with a well timed poop or feeding frenzy. How about when she’s cuddling and snuggling with you and looking so comfy and you say, “that was nice dear, gotta go pump milk now. Don’t fuss, it’s all for YOUR sake anyway.” To me it seems counter productive to ditch her to be a better mom by giving her breast milk. Usually I will cuddle her even more and keep kissing her forehead.:) By the time I *do* pump, surely I’ve already leaked milk and I don’t get to express much out. I don’t think I even get my 1oz per hour output any more… **tragic sob** If only God can give me mega milk producing factories, who wants to keep thinking about where my child’s next meal will come from? Also, will my supply really dry up if I don’t breastfeed directly? Why some mommies are able to be exclusive pumpers for few months with excellent milk storage hoarding as well? Is their output high or their usage low? Sighhh…

Forgive the dramatics!

Anyway, you may be free to think whatever you wish about what I did. Maybe you think I didn’t try hard enough or that I was too negative. Indeed you can do so, only I know what I went thru and AM going thru. Well… I can’t say that this is the last time I’m going to talk about breastfeeding and expressing milk coz I’m still trying to overcome whatever it is I’m going through.

Oh, turned the big 3-0 a couple of days back. I’ve been so busy that I didn’t really think about it. I don’t feel like I need a big celebration or a big bauble to commemorate this. Maybe it’s the exhaustion talking. Hubby has spent so much since the birth of B that I also don’t want him to spend more on unnecessary gifts. Can’t really think of anything I want because I probably won’t have time to use it LOL.

I don’t feel unaccomplished or whatever mid-life crisis thingy, but after B is born I feel like I need to earn even more money. Quitting my job is really not an option unless it’s to quit to find an even higher paying job. But what other side business can I do? This is something I’ve always been pondering even before B. Husband will ask me why I’m always thinking of money or chasing after money. Well, I just want the best for our family…

Looking Up

Kicked off the new post at 430am, waiting to pump milk but still sterilising some equipment. Really lacking of sleep but boobs kinda hurt so I have to do this even though at point of writing I sorta caught up to B’s feeding frenzy. Maybe coz she only fed 8x yesterday instead of 10!

TMI : she has rather runny and explosive poop which seems like diarrhoea but no fever, vomiting and other worrying signs. Sometimes I really wonder at the things I’m doing. Is my breast milk bad? I taste every feed before giving to her to make sure the milk hasn’t gone sour. Am I not sterilising properly? Is my milk just not nutritious enough for her?

Plus, she started getting baby acne and rashes as well… Looks like one dirty feller, hahaha!! Ok, will not laugh at my own baby.

I had been trying to do a few “me” things to keep sane coz babytalking to a newborn 24/7 will make you go crazy. When she involuntarily smiles, it melts your heart but the other times she’s listening to me go on about random things, I have a horror-film moment that she might actually answer me coherently, which would really make me freak the f out. (And imagining her answering me in a deep, manly voice.. Lol!)

So what “me” things have I been doing? Other than writing a few paragraphs here now and then? Firstly, I finished watching Dexter. It was the season finale and it sucks. People are saying that there’s a spin-off from this series… Wonder if I should even bother watching it! I also watched the new episodes of Law & Order : SVU. They left the last season on such a cliffhanger that I had been anxiously waiting for a chance to watch it. During those moments when Baby B was taking a bath or my MIL insisted to play with her, I would stream the show while expressing breast milk haha! Anyway I love the new season of SVU!

I also “rewarded” myself with a random beauty box because I felt so dirty and grimy during confinement. Ok, yesterday I planned an elaborate deception to bathe when my MIL was out to buy a few more baby supplies. I felt like I was trying to break out of jail! I had been getting gradually frustrated at my itchy scalp… And once I was in the shower, I shampoo-ed MULTIPLE times. Oh the bliss! Oh the freshness! Non-Asian people who don’t know about Chinese confinement “rules” might be grossed out at this “not bathing” rule. Seriously, so am I. I got into trouble with my MIL regarding this. When I came back from the hospital, I washed my feet and face with cold water in the toilet. I think I must’ve spent some time there, coz when I came out, my MIL and FIL were standing outside the toilet, horrified. They told me I shouldn’t be washing up, especially with cold water. Then, they showed me how to switch on the hot water.

So, the next day I bathed with hot water la. My MIL was even more enraged. Seems that just coz they show me how to switch on the heater doesn’t mean I can use it, lol. Then a few days later, she allowed me to bathe, but I have to use this special water concoction made with boiling 3 different types of leaves. Can you imagine if I want to bathe everyday, I have to ask her to boil this concoction daily? Such a hassle right? I think I make a better daughter in law by saving her time and bathing with the heater on… quietly. Hehe.

So yeah, basically I bought the beauty box coz I’m super deprived of my beauty products. Please, I don’t even have time to pee/poo sometimes, I’m only writing this because I’m simultaneously eating my dinner. Not really the best time to also have a face mask on.

I’m going to be turning thirty really soon and I still haven’t accepted the fact that I’m a mother. I do everything for B, but somehow a motherliness feeling doesn’t overwhelm me. I wonder why!! My turning 30 also makes me feel like I cannot give B that many siblings after all. Sigh…

Someone from office called me today for work related stuff. Why bother with handovers, seriously. I wonder if I quit and not just on ML, will they still call? I was given a big runaround by B this morning so couldn’t answer the call anyway… But I’m still annoyed and I still replied the text that (inevitably) followed.

Ok, it’s a couple of days passed since I first started this post, my baby’s appetite has surpassed my milk producing capabilities… I really don’t know how other women do it. Meanwhile I have an invention idea to share… Why not invent a milk catheter attached to the nipples to quietly extract all that milk out. It can flow out to a little baggie that alerts (inconspicuously) when it reaches X ounces. This way the mom never has to set aside time to pump coz its always ongoing, and its very discreet (no one will know you have it on!!) and allows you to do other things while expressing milk! I think it’s a genius idea… Maybe you’re thinking breast shells, but those are super uncomfy.. I cannot imagine sleeping with them on!

Ok, I think I’m just talking nonsense now… Blame it on B who decided she’s an owl and only sleeps when it’s NOT nighttime… **fatigued** I can’t sleep in the daytime coz my MIL insists I eat every 3 hours. That with the usual milk expressing, cleaning, sterilizing doesn’t leave me with much.

Hate to wish B grows up faster, so I won’t. Just pray that she sleeps at appropriate times..

Perfectionism & What They Don’t Tell You

Ok, stealing some time to write about some stuff bouncing around at the back of my head. First off before I descent into my insane rants, I just want to say that IN NO WAY am I blaming my in-laws, husband, parents, sister, doctor, whoever… for my current mental state. My doctor said its only depression if I cry for no reason, but each time I cry there is definitely a reason. I don’t like to toss out the term “depression” so easily so when I’m sobbing silently or whatever, I just tell people I’m emo.

So what am I emo about? Let me count the ways… Firstly, still emo about having to get a c-sect though I prayed for a smooth and natural delivery. Today, I had an appt with my gynae and asked again if she’s sure the next one would have to be a c-sect or not. Why can’t Baby B descend further. She said Baby B’s head is ever so slightly TOO BIG to fit thru the pelvic, hence if the next baby is smaller, we can try for natural again. But Baby B is only 2.91kg at birth!!!!! How can my next one be even smaller, I kinda regret Baby B even being this small because I feel so negative when she started losing weight after birth and she became 2.8kg!! To me, she doesn’t have that much weight to spare.

My gynae also said that I can have as many c-sections as I want, but the risk goes up with each operation. I read an online article about a woman who had 9 and all children are alive and well! She asked me realistically how many do I want. Last time my answer would be 5, but that was also my dream when I thought I would be married by 25. I honestly told her “what if I want to keep trying til I get a boy?” Not to say I don’t want my baby now… But I am typical and I want “one of each”, ok? Maybe this is God’s way of telling me to just let Him do what He feels is right. So many things in life we cannot determine and to keep hoping for only one outcome is very stressful and makes me very, very disappointed when my hope doesn’t materialize. Anyway, a more pressing question would be why the eff am I thinking about my 2nd, 3rd, etc child when my baby is only 10 days old!!

Ok, second emotional thing I went through was having soooo many people tell me my child is “problematic”. I want to ยฃ&@^ up their face so bad now. After 10 days, I have to say she’s a LEEEEEDDDDLLEEE bit fussy, but she no longer cries “for no reason” for up to 30 minutes. Why? It’s linked to emo reason #3. Currently my daughter has fallen into a cycle of shitting, sleeping and eating. Cries will be due to not enough of item 3 or because she is trying to do item 1 and you are carrying and cradling her. My MIL says I’m good with kids coz I handle item 1&3 easily, but its no biggie. Big thanks to my sister for making me change my nephew’s diaper last time. Lol. One thing about my daughter is that she loves to be carried to sleep, especially by lying on me. This means that whenever she starts the poo-eat-sleep cycle, it could take up to an hour to settle her. About 40 minutes of cuddling!! Last night, it took 2.5 hours! You can imagine how much time that leaves me with to do my own things… Honestly, I don’t know what I expected. Maybe thought my husband would be more capable at comforting her, but whenever baby cries, she is hastily handed back to me. No attempt at trying to comfort her!! And the #1 reason would be because she is hungry (they say) and only I can supply the feed….

Which brings me to emotional reason #3, which is about feeding, or in this case, BREASTfeeding which everyone says is best. Again, honestly, I didn’t do much research on this. Everyone says its the best so I must do it too. My big boss at the office kept telling me how I must do it coz she sees such a difference between her eldest formula-fed son (poor immune system) and her youngest breastfed-for-a-year son (healthy as an ox). I just decided to do the same because:

  • sounds cost effective, natural, all the breast is best propaganda… Someone else has done the research and its the best option, yo
  • since I’m doing my confinement at my MIL’s place, and not allowed to walk DOWN THE STAIRS, it seems cruel and unusual to ask her to wash and sterilize all bottles, especially for feeds in the wee hours of the morning
  • my sister did it and she made it look like a breeze, what with having so much breast milk that she had to borrow my parent’s freezer

No one ever tells you how mofo DIFFICULT it is. Everyone might just hint at oh, the little one MAY have trouble latching on. That’s it. B had no trouble latching, but on her 1 week old “birthday”, this cruel mother decided to bottle feed her. I can’t even said I “tried my best” because I read what other people did when they encountered the same thing as me… And they were just cray cray. What happened was the damage done to the nipple due to bad latch (or my short nipples? Wtf?) in the hospital. What followed was me continuing to nurse her like that without rest and baby B is a good direct latcher, but a horrible drinker, lol. She drinks on whim and doesn’t empty out the breast properly. Sometimes she refuses to switch boobs, and can cling to a single boob for 40minutes! This drives me insane with jealousy reading forumers who said that their child finishes both breasts in 20 mins. At first, I decided to let her eat only from the left side coz the right side was too damaged — I could see blood coming out with each suck. I would cringe so hard and then realise that I’m holding B so tightly — that can’t be good for her.

The final straw came on her week anniversary – I was sleepy and tired and only feeding from the left breast. The right was madly engorged and leaked milk over me and made me feel gross and dirtier than ever. B prefers the right side, so it was already a war getting her to only feed from the left. And she continued her “bad feeding” habits … Waking up and wailing and then drinking for 5 minutes and falling asleep. Try to wake her up and she might suckle for a few minutes more, and half heartedly, like more for comfort than food. Put her down, and she awakens 10 minutes later screaming the house down. She is rooting, so I feed her again… After 3 minutes she’s done. AND THIS MADNESS CONTINUED FROM 11PM to 2AM. I really don’t know how I survived, especially with the in-laws coming in to offer sterling advice like “look like she’s hungry”. I felt like a useless mother, unfit mother, hopeless, sleepy, worthless. I cried coz I wanted to breast feed her for at least a month to avoid “nipple confusion”, but having a hungry girl hanging on to only one boob (and her undesired, under producing boob as well) and having to nurse her round the clock is truly madness. The older generation doesn’t understand as they formula-fed and they don’t know much about this breast feeding craze now. To them it’s no big deal to stuff the little bugger with cow milk if they scream so much. They rather they don’t scream coz “voice box might break”. -___-” of course I’m not going to be a bitch and say “you need to read up on breast feeding and support me on this”. Mainly, coz I don’t know why I’m doing this either. I cried so much over this and what I perceived as accusation / demeaning words from my MIL that I’m not a good mother until my husband forced a “confrontation” between two of us that wound up with TWO women crying instead. Alls well, if you must know and I’m actually glad that he did it, else I would be silently resenting her, when I’m just in an over-sensitive mode. How could I resent her when she’s done so much for me and B ever since her birth? It’s misunderstandings like this that will cause one to focus on only one thing and forget about all the other good things…

Anyway, the day after the non-stop nursing episode, I decided to take a stand. Even though only one week of breast feeding, I said screw nipple confusion and I will feed her expressed breast milk from a bottle. I can’t deal with the engorgement, leaking breasts, not knowing whether B gets enough food, cracked and damaged nipples (I read online that some pple said their nipple still doesn’t heal after a month… So I was not optimistic that I could heal mine in a few days and continue sustaining B with one breast). Also, I found a box of sterilising tablets amongst the stuff I had shifted to my in-laws house (I was actually searching for the baby nail clipper I bought) and it was like God sent! I didn’t pump before because of the nipple confusion crap, and also the difficulty in washing and sterilising when I’m “confined” to the upper level of the house. Sterilising tablets make it so easy, I would just need my MIL to change the water once a day.. Better than asking her to dismantle and boil my stuff every X hours.

So, I started being an “exclusive pumper” from that day onwards and the guilt haunts me. Especially the first few times B had to drink from the bottle… She looked so hurt that she is rubbing and rooting at my chest but I am shoving a plastic thing into her mouth instead. EVERYTIME I REJECT HER, I IMAGINE SHE IS THINKING THAT I DON’T LOVE HER ANYMORE. And I end up crying like mad. My parents and sister came to visit and when I told them this, I ended up crying uncontrollably and I feel so bad coz they might think my in laws are mistreating me when that is the furthest from the truth!!!

However, this change to bottle feeding really was the best thing I did. I could see now the problem lies with the way B feeds, not that I had low milk production. With bottle feeding, I could ensure that B gets what she needs and in a quarter of the time. She slept for longer periods of time as well, which is good! Because newborns should be sleeping more! It can’t be healthy for her to keep dozing off and waking up for 5 minute sips. I still feel mad guilty though, and my new worries become whether I have expressed enough milk for the next feed, B drinking too much and cutting into my supply storage (I am only one feed ahead of her.. Once I feed her, I have to express immediately). I was also insane and thinking about storing up breast milk for when I start work again, so I started pumping every 1.5 hours so that I could express enough milk to cover B and have enough to freeze. However, I’m not as much a cow as other women are, hehe, and if I pumped at 1.5 hours, the supply didn’t increase because the amount expressed was lower. Duh! It’s only when my gynae told me TODAY that what I’m doing is madness that I stopped and am happy with just being one feed ahead of B. it’s seriously stressful, especially when after she eats, I clean her poo, I cuddle her endlessly to sleep… Then this clock starts ticking in me that I have a limited amount of time to express milk, clean all the bottles and sterilise them before I can sleep too. I’m running on maybe 4-5 hours of sleep per day, I don’t know how I do it. Oh, and my husband hated the “chlorine” smell of sterilising tablets and makes me use a steriliser which takes about 10 minutes and has to be closely monitored as if you forget to switch it off, it can overheat and probably burn your house down. All this takes time.. Almost an hour cycle for my pumping, etc. Sometimes I don’t even have time to pee or poo – another thing they don’t tell you about – post pregnancy constipation. -_-”

Anyway, when the little one fusses, I have to carry her and walk around the perimeter of the room to keep her quiet. This, despite people telling me to sit down / lie down more for “healing”. I don’t really feel like I’m resting though I do enjoy all the food my MIL makes for me (excellent!!) and how she so kindly does all the laundry for me and B as well. I have to do my own part as a mom and take care of B in all other areas. Otherwise it’ll just be a rude awakening when confinement is over!

Some “tips” I gleaned from various sources in order for me to stock up milk supply thus far (though husband worries for me and bought a can of formula already) :

  1. before expressing milk, lay a warm compress on your boobs to help get the milk flow going. It also makes one feel fresh and clean – great way to start the process!
  2. while expressing milk, massage all areas of your breast, especially the HARD bits and bobs. Just laying the pump on your boobs and expecting it to do everything is not gonna happen. It’s not going to empty the boob and likely your breasts will still feel hard and uncomfy when you are done
  3. personally, I express for 20 minutes. 2 mins on level 3, 8 mins on letdown and 10 minutes on level 5 letdown (Medela freestyle)
  4. with the above, I get about 1oz an hour. I used to pump every 90 mins, but switched to every 3 hours to give myself more of a break. Plus, having 3oz sitting by is better than 1.5oz, especially when baby drinks 2oz. I think my milk production is pretty average, but since its still early days I’m really hoping it increases
  5. use storage bottles to store and measure out the 2oz for feeds… I used to stupidly express everything and directly put to the feeding bottle. Sometimes B gets 2oz, sometimes 2.5… and I would feel pressured if she doesn’t finish EVERYTHING, coz I feel she’s wasting precious resources, lol. With storage bottles, I measure out only 2oz and if she’s still whining, I give her another .5 til she’s satisfied..

Not a lot of brilliant advice, but I’m still learning!

Last emo thing – how dirty and unkempt I am now. My MIL is quite strict on “no bathing/ washing hair” as much as possible. There was a misunderstanding in the early days when I took a hot shower and she kept saying I don’t take care of myself. Now my scalp is flaky, I smell like milk, my eyes are bleary and I don’t know why my baby would love being held by such a smelly mother. Although a lot of the “wind” and water retention is gone, I still look like 3 months pregnant (or more), but hey at least better than 7 months (like after I had just given birth). I wear my spectacles all the time, I haven’t brushed my hair since I gave birth and I don’t have time to brush my teeth at regular hours of the day! This all makes me disgusted with myself coz I am quite freakish about personal hygiene. I can’t believe I let myself go so much during my confinement. And yes, I do feel like I have to “bounce back” quickly after giving birth! I can’t go back to the office looking like a fat aunty with bad hair!!

I finally got the guts to weigh myself and saw I’ve lost 10kg since giving birth. I still have another 6kg to go to get back to “pre-pregnancy weight”, and then I wanna lose another 5kg more coz I was letting myself go after marriage, lol. No la, more like too busy with stupid office stuff to gym and such.

Talking about stupid office stuff, one thing that gets my goat is how back in 2012 (take note how its a farking year ago), me and W were secondary and primary support for this system coz it was a two man team. We basically did not have a farking choice. After the team expanded, this roles were assigned to another team and a new roster and call tree was given to the relevant parties. Support phones were also bought so that a general number is called instead of a specific individuals’ personal number. And to date, we still get the mofo calls to our personal hp numbers!!! From early this year I already tell them CHANGE ALREADY and this even escalated to the bosses of each team. Why are you fellers not referring to the right documents? I got a call the other night and not a single f was given as it was at 2am and I was feeding B. Thank God my phone is now permanently on silent mode coz if the farker on the other end had startled B I would’ve fark him up just like how I fark them up from early this year til now. They never farking learn!!!

It’s not about letting the system die.. The person who actually holds the support phone gets paid to do this shit. I’m not getting paid, stop calling my phone. And FYI, the call tree is 3x to primary, 3x to secondary and then escalates to the line manager. Turns out the guy calling closed the “issue” saying change could not be implemented as support couldn’t be contacted. But hello, you only called me once. My call logs show it clearly not to mention I was awake though distracted when the call came in. So you not only reference wrong document (to call wrong support numbers), you didn’t even follow correct procedure. Pls go and fark yourself. You are lucky I didn’t decide to pick up the call just to release my anger and frustrations at you.

Ok I’m done with this.. Just had to let it all out. Forgive spelling and grammatical errors, I’m typing from the WordPress app and my phone loves to autocorrect me unnecessarily…:)

Finally, Confinement

I’m out of the hospital! And I’m with Baby B, resting in a sleeper next to me. Couldn’t be happier with the confinement arrangements. As previously mentioned, I am doing my confinement at my MIL&FIL’s house. Any apprehension I had at the start had been wiped away long ago seeing the preparations they made for Belinda and myself. And now that I’m already here, I feel like I’m in a hotel!

[First paragraph written on Monday, continuing this on Wednesday.]

I’m in an exceptionally good mood now because I just came back from the paediatrician clinic and what this doctor says is so much more comforting and good to hear (without being totally dismissive / lying) compared to the hospital paediatrician. I’m sure the hospital paed is highly qualified, I just think he has a not-so-correct way of giving information to people. Lets compare Dr A (paed from hospital) to Dr Z (clinic paed)…

Dr A says : after day 1 of photo therapy, your baby jaundice level has gone up. Do you want to let her stay on another day for second round, and this time we will use two lamps instead?
Dr Z says : your daughter has physiological jaundice that is very mild. Only on face, not even reach tummy. It’s going to get worse before it gets better but regardless will go away by itself.

Dr A says : you want to take your daughter back instead? Hmm ok, sure. Ya, you can put your daughter in the morning sun.. Or how about this, I can give you the contact of a place where you can rent the photo therapy machine?
Dr Z says : don’t need to bother with sunning your daughter even. This things go away by themselves. If you sun, you have to undress and then you would worry about her catching a cold. If you have her wearing clothes, then scared the treatment isn’t effective.. So just don’t bother. Forget about photo therapy even. Now your baby has dry skin from all the suntan so you should put lotion instead.:)

Dr A says : she has a lot of wind inside her… She is really problematic, always crying in the nursery
Dr Z says : sounds like a fussy baby but there’s nothing you can do about uncontrollable crying. Some people say that white noise helps, just try to remain positive especially since you are breastfeeding. Babies can sense the emotion from mother so the two of you affect each other. Alternatively, some babies find a car ride two rounds round the block helps calm them down. This is just a “transitional period” from womb to here, and it can last til baby is 3-4 months. I know!! Just stay positive.

Dr A says : your baby has colic… Here are some anti-colic drops.
Dr Z says : those stuff don’t work

Dr A says : we nearly put Baby B to the ICU because of breathing difficulties. But luckily she escaped it as we managed to flush the mucus from her lungs
Dr Z says : baby B breathing hard now coz a lot of boogers in the nose. Here’s a saline solution spray… ##sprayed once and B looked shocked… Then sneezed and then was breathing so smoothly that tonight husband and I didn’t have to deal with her dreaded 30 min tantrum…##

In conclusion, I feel that Dr A likes to instill fear in the parents especially when he knows its our first child. Especially angry now over paying so much extra for photo therapy and making B suffer thru multiple blood tests. Dr Z said UNNECESSARY. Dr A seems to keep recommending the most money sucking solutions as well.. So we are sticking with Dr Z thank you very much! Dr Z actually carried Baby B and talks to her while Dr A looks at her disdainfully in the cot. When Dr A does check up for her, never even says a nice word – just point out all the multiple problems. No wonder B also becomes negative…. Sigh I feel terrible now for not protecting B better from that horrible man.

Update on breastfeeding : it’s still painful, especially the first 1-2 minutes but I think that I can bear this out for the first month. Mainly because I don’t want to give my MIL extra work of washing and sterilizing bottles and breast pumps. And also breastfeeding means I don’t have to burp B!! I actually did something stupid — on my 4th day, I felt engorged and unsure whether Baby B was feeding well, so I decided to use my Medela for the first time. Two things: double pumping really needs those hands free kit after all. And — damn little milk came out coz I pumped after a feed. Also could be coz its only my 4th day, I don’t know. After that I became damn insecure that I won’t have any milk for B’s next feed. Oh God!! So the breast pump will only come out during the next month. (There was enough milk for the next feed, apparently the breasts are always producing milk. Always.)

How I (temporarily) overcame engorgement and sore nipples — I found out I could express by hand! So what I did would be to express a bit of milk and let it dribble into B’s mouth. Kinda to tell her, look, there is milk.. Don’t have to chew on me so aggressively. And yes, she’s latching on ok NOW just that perhaps she didn’t earlier so the damage is already done.

Second thing I did was to continuously massage and press my breast to express faster and get the whole thing over with faster. The lactation consultant actually said there’s no need to do that, but it really brings me relief, especially when she was biting… Somehow just a squeeze or massage at the engorged area timed with B’s sucking action brings relief. You may ask — why not just massage when not breastfeeding? Coz then the milk just leaks out everywhere!! At least let it leak into the baby’s mouth, haha. I don’t know how good my supply is, according to my MIL can’t be much since my baby wants to eat all the time…

Which brings to the next topic – feeding on demand. That’s what I’m doing now, and as long as Baby B is wetting her diapers and pooing well, I have no worries having to feed her often. However, the older people feel that B is not getting enough food, so they start talking about feeding formula already. I don’t know why they are so insistent because breast milk is easier to digest so no wonder if B wants to feed more. Ok, B is also a lazy eater.. She eats from one boob and doesn’t continue to the next one, leaving one side engorged for a further 20 minutes. No point to force a nipple to her mouth, I’ve tried that and it would just bring about a bout of fussing. Ain’t got time got that!!

I’m sticking to this style for this month. Once I’m back home I will start pumping and once she goes to nursery, if my supply ain’t good, I will put her on formula. Else will TRY to pump enough for nursery. Anyway, not pressuring myself with one year or two year goals. I would be damn proud if I even manage 6 months.

Honestly, I’m also wondering how leaking breasts will affect my sex life. How all of this does, really.๐Ÿ˜› When will my c-section scar heal (it hurts but I refuse to let it affect the way I handle B or make it an excuse to not carry B). When will the lochia finish? The flow is not heavy at all at time of writing and it scares me coz its not even been a week! Its like its gonna end soon, when the normal timespan is 2-3 weeks!

Wondering how will I juggle Baby B, my husband, my work (just got news the project lead resigned and might not even be serving the 2 months notice!), my LIFE… I have my own interests and hobbies too of coz. I cannot let having B make me less of “me” if you get what I mean.

Looking back, I think that even simple things like going shopping, watching movies, dating, etc… Is such a luxury I didn’t appreciate enough of when it was still me and my husband. Now even going out to the paediatrician’s just 5 minutes away is such a huge production of feeding, making sure B won’t throw a fuss outside, packing a huge bag for her, dressing her for the outside world, etc… Madness!

Always, always, cherish the moment!

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