When B began sleeping longer overnight, I still got up at regular intervals to express milk. However, when I mentioned this to a group of other moms at a friend’s party one night, they told me to just sleep and wake with B instead. What a fantastic “get out of jail” card this sounded to a sleep-deprived newborn mom like me! So last week, despite my internal alarm clock and tingling boobs, if B was asleep, I’d snuggle back down. Then last Thursday, I woke at ~1:30a with a sudden headache and burning boob! My left side was inflamed and I spent the next few hours restlessly alternating between a low grade fever and chills after downing two Panadol pills and painfully emptying all the milk I could (a measly ~3 oz/90 ml after 6 hours–eek! vs my usual ~1-1.5 oz/30-45 ml per hour). The next morning, my obgyn and a lactation consultant confirmed that I was showing early signs of mastitis and prescribed antibiotics, painkillers, warm showers, cold compresses, manual pumping and massages for my left boob. It’ll take longer to express milk because of the added TLC but this will enable me to recover and keep breastfeeding. Else, I could apply cold cabbages to dry up the clogged milk ducts but this would eventually reduce my milk supply.
I didn’t want to wean yet, so I spent all weekend diligently treating my boobs, drinking fluids and resting in between. Thankfully the pain and swelling have subsided and my milk output is slowly recovering. Sadly, the biggest takeaway for me after this incident is simply — breast is best but you get no rest! Last night, when B amazingly slept a whole 8 hours (from 9p to 5a!), I dutifully woke up midway to express. Nothing beats a mother’s love and sacrifice 🙂
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We were eagerly awaiting his two month check up to find out how he’s doing and get all our random questions answered like “Does he dream?” He’s now 5 kg, 57 cm long with a 39.5 cm head circumference – all growing well 8 weeks from birth. While there’s various average newborn growth estimates and developmental milestones, the important thing is he’s on track on the key areas so mama, dada and doc are pleased!
- Momzilla appears when your kid’s in pain: B caught a mild fever after his first 6-in-1 immunisation jab, and I had this overwhelming urge to provide him with security, comfort and as much milk as he needed. He was down when our helper had the day off, hubby was at work and grandparents were out but thankfully the fever subsided within 24 hours and both mom and babe are back to normal. Note to self: Make sure someone else is around to help after the next month four jab!
- Six states of baby consciousness: Newborns sleep up to 16 hours a day though it hardly feels like it. Also, identifying which state B is in really helps us know what to do with him and when: Fussiness, crying (argh – try the 5S!), deep sleep, which alternates every 30 mins with light/REM sleep, drowsiness, active alert (perfect for activities involving objects and his surroundings, usually before he eats or gets fussy) and quiet alert (perfect for 1-1 interaction)
- Babywearing: We took him out ourselves with both the Boba wrap (mama) and Manduca carrier (dada) and he was so cosy inside that he fell asleep for almost 4 hours. As he grows, we’ll hopefully be more confident using them given their greater mobility and intimacy vs the stroller. I still find that they cause him (and the wearer) to sweat A LOT though so it’s not for all occasions.
- Water is fun: After the first month, B suddenly loves a warm bath, face wash and body massage. At first I thought it was a fluke, but no– he smiles and coos at me when I do it and misses it if we have to skip or forget. He’s still a bit cranky when dada takes over on weekends, but I think that’s just a matter of familiarity. We’ll make a swimmer out of him yet. Up next: Baby SPA?
- Bottle feeding: I switched from exclusive breastfeeding to expressing breastmilk with the occasional formula supplement after six weeks. It was a practical yet bittersweet decision as I was almost nursing non-stop by then and wanted to get him ready for when I returned to work. B’s taken really well to the bottle and has graduated to the “big bottle” as he drinks more than 150+ ml (~5 oz) now. I take heart that he’s getting what he needs to grow, other caregivers get to bond with him more and mama can give her aching boobs a break (and gradually transition back to work too). With the bottle, B inadvertently swallows more air so we’ve all become burp masters – apply pressure to his tummy and rub his back while sitting him upright, tummy down on your lap, leaning against your shoulder/chest, setc.
- Social butterfly: He’s quite a talker now when you catch him at the right time and is fantastic with crowds, much to our surprise – be it family dinners, church services and of course, his first month celebration. The only place where he’s consistently fussy is unfortunately at the pediatrician’s — so I’m sure we’re gaining quite a reputation as horrible parents there 😉
At work, we just launched our last campaign of the year “The Amazing Everyday.” While I’ve missed the team and our hive of activity, everyday has also been amazing in my new job at home aka motherhood. The past few weeks have been quite a blur but my live-in helper and (virtually live-in) parents have helped transform many potentially difficult and dreary days into simple yet amazing ones.
- Happy mom = happy baby. Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Nap whenever he does. Leave him with other helpful hands in between those marathon feeding sessions or let him cry just a tad longer so you can take a quick snack, shower or face scrub
- The 5 S system. Forget the 6Ms and 4Ps from biz school, learn how to calm a crying baby by simulating the womb environment via Swaddling, lying on his Side (left) or Stomach, Shushing sounds, Swinging and Sucking
- Breast is best BUT it comes with lots of blood, sweat and tears (plus round the clock nursing and pumping sessions)! Don’t let the “breastfeeding nazis” guilt you into thinking you’re a bad mom if things go awry or you need the occasional relief bottle from being a lean mean milk machine
- Just when we thought we cracked his cries, he added baby talk sounds like the pre-poop “aaaah” whimper. And speaking of poop, the oil-on-cottonbud-up-the-ass trick works to help get all that “curried yogurt” flowing ;P
- Who’s your mommy? He distinguishes sounds and scents, tracks with his eyes, and (mostly!) calms down now when we bathe him or change diapers
- Tummy time progress! He lifts his wee head and turns side to side on his own. It tires him out though esp. as his head seems to have grown faster than the body (newborns develop top down). Over time, as he gains strength and practice, this should get easier … and fun!
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