It has been a long time since I last blogged. Decided to start blogging again to pen down my journey as a wife, mom and of course my latest addition to the family, baby Jan.
It has been 3 weeks since the birth of Jan, and I am definitely happy to have her existence. However, the pregnancy journey was by far the easiest part, after birth, going through post natal (or hormonal changes as my friends termed it) emotional ride, was one that I definitely didnt expect.
It all started with me wanting to breastfeed and didnt buy formula as a backup. The PD warned that confinement ladies are pro formula. I have a mentor (at work), nurses at the hospital and even the PD who kept telling me to keep feeding the baby breastmilk because it is a demand and supply method. If I were to give in to formula, the milk supply would come later or wouldnt come at all.
When I went home, and the the confinement lady came, true enough by the 3rd day, as the baby was very difficult to settle back into sleep after every feed. Additionally, the feed was hourly, ie, baby was fed for an hour, and after 10 or 20mins, she needs to be fed again on the breasts. Her crying was non stop and the confinement lady literally told me that baby doesnt have enough, and she told me to pump my milk to see how much supply i have, and that was 45mins after i fed baby for an hour, noting that it was only the 3rd day i was back home.
I pumped, and there was literally may be at best 5ml, and when i poured that pathetic 5ml or less milk into the baby bottle, and the confinement lady did a firm “there, i told you not enough milk for sure”, she fed the baby that 5ml or less milk. I broke down after she said that in front of my husband. I didnt want the confinement lady to see me crying. My husband said “we should have bought formula as a backup but we may not necessary need to use it. Babies are very sturdy, and dont worry, dont get too stressed”. I cried even more thinking why did i not buy a formula as a backup, yet fearing i have no breastmilk supply if i chose formula. It was a state of confusion and depression of feeling that I was a LOUSY Mother.
Did I rush to buy formula in the end? No. I called my PD to check if I should buy formula and which brand is recommended? There were so many brands out there and so many different “formula” like high in calcium, low in lactose, etc that I couldnt in the right mind decide. The nurses told me that the clinic is pro breastfeeding, so they would not even recommend formula or even the brand unless it was my own choice. The nurse explained, just making sure baby is peeing and pooping at least 4-5times that would mean that baby is being fed, and it did make sense.
Miraculously, by the 5th day, i decided to pump again but this time it was like 2hrs after feeding, and I was so happy, because there was 30ml of milk this time. Not alot but definitely something that gave me confidence that I was indeed producing milk. By now, which is 3 weeks, i can confidently say i have sufficient milk for baby and that i am glad that I didnt succumb to formula. But one thing I have learnt, and that is, confinement ladies can be the cause of the depression more than anybody else. I was fortunate that I am aware that i was going through post-natal and i had the support of good friends (who are also pregnant of have given birth to keep telling me that this was normal), and a supportive husband who is working from home and could always be reached by me.
At end day, the first week back home after birth, was definitely an overwhelming one, not from the cries of the baby but the feeling of not being able to provide for my baby. What I have gone through, I realised, that a good support group of friends and hubby is most important to be by your side within the first week after giving birth. Acknowledging that I was suffering from post natal was also an important lesson as I didnt fall deeper into the depression.
(ps: pls note that i am sharing my own personal experience, and it doesnt mean that it is definitely representative of what everyone has gone through)