6 months

Still on Leave…

Someone is still on leave today and it is me.

My eye is still red and produces discharge, and there’s no way I could go to the office and ruin everyone’s end-year holiday by possibly infecting them. I still have headache, and Isa still coughs badly. My husband is mildly infected as well this morning so he called in sick too.

I still need to finish drafting the blueprint I am supposed to present next week. I don’t know when actually I can start doing that (though I have all the necessary documents laid on the dining table). Isa wants to stick with me all the time. I have exhausted all toys to distract him from me. It seems that all those we have already lack novelty so I made a new toy for him.

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Tadaaa!! A recycled water bottle with beads! How girly is that?

I took an empty water bottle (didn’t even bother to dry them out of my desperation), filled it with variety of beads from my beading box (I add embellishment to my dresses myself so I have quite a number of various size, shape and colour), and now Isa gets a new toy.

But still, since he can’t move forward I still need to be beside him most of the time.

Mission almost failed!

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That’s him, about to scream for the bottle he could not reach.

Little That I Won’t Do

;

Isa is having a bit of cough and cold again. He can’t sleep well these few nights, that bloody thing tickled his throat he had to throw up all the milk he was fed with and even blocked his little button nose.

And for those nights, I could not let myself sleep well even I was myself down with cold which comes with severe headache and body ache. I fear that he would accidentally swallow his vomit, which could cause infection if enters into his lung like what happened before.

I got myself two days of sick leave. My husband is on his study leave, and yesterday he let me rest, by taking care of Isa and playing with him whenever I needed to sleep.

And earlier today, when both of us were supposed to be heading to work I told him I could not yet leave Isa at the creche. I asked him he could take another leave and stay at home with us. I could use some more rest in the mean time.

He said yes.

And I missed a day of work when there’s a meeting I have to attend and work assignments I need to catch up too after days of absence.

People might say I seem to be like a workaholic, but there is little that I won’t do for him.

Even letting go these many opportunities for recognition and promotion.

Nursery?

I am saving one room for Isa. We have three bedrooms, where one is converted into study room cum guest room, while the other one I just put a single bed along with Isa’s clothes drawers. Well, it was actually boxes from IKEA’s Antonius storage system which I am yet to get its frame. And a towel rack perhaps. The idea is to make sure that when Isa has come to an age where he’s comfortable with sleeping separately from us, the room will need minimal changes before he moves in.

At first I was tempted into making it more like a nursery or baby room, but it is actually a very foreign idea in our culture I suppose. There’s no kids’ room until they are sleeping on their own, which is normally pretty late by western standard since we Asians mostly c0-sleep. I mean, my nephew still sleeps on his parents’ bed and he’s five this year.

From what I get, a baby room is where the kid will be spending time doing whatever activities he likes, especially when he’s come of age where he can play on his own. I did ponder about this for a while you know, decorating the walls with cute photos and all, but then, when will Isa actually spend his time in that room apart from weekends? We arrive home mostly around 6.30 p.m, and by 8 he’s normally sleepy already.

I have no heart to leave him alone playing (if he ever will anyway) in a small room, let alone in a crib. Though I recognise that this will save me time in childproofing the house (by only focusing on this room only), the idea still seems impractical to me.

Sure, Isa needs a play/activity area.

That is why I am sparing an area in our living hall for him to play around. Well, since he can only now roll over, it is not much of a problem when it comes to childproofing, but knowing what future will bring, I have minimised the number of furniture in the living hall (which is adjacent to the dining area). I’ll try to childproof it as much as I can, get a huge playmat, get a storage basket for his toys, add some pillows and a bit of soft comforter/playmat/blanket for him lie on – voila, we have a play area.

For the time being, here’s how it looks like:

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Bare wall and all.

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This would last only a few minutes.

 

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And now I want mommy!

On a separate note, separation anxiety does strike early with this child. *Sigh*

The Many Faces of Isa

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Isn’t the new curtain attractive enough to play with? Isa on a weekend morning, playing next to a lazy mommy.

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Isa’s waiting for daddy to come and pick us from office. He’s mobile now, though his ‘creeping’ movement is limited to turning to the left, right and funnily moving backward. He’s a bit frustrated with being unable to move forward that he ended up crying and screaming. That’s him after nursing – tired but contented!

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Another morning in the bed. He’s pretty proficient with making bubbles and ‘spraying; around sincehe’s 5 months old – and he can keep doing that for some times.

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They say at 6 months old the personality and individuality of your baby start to surface. I guess Isa is the kind who isn’t shy to make it obvious what he’s thinking and feeling

Is not it amazing how much progress a baby could make within a span of half a year? From a little creature with jerky movement to a guy with full determination, it is indeed a humbling experience to witness this.

All praise be to the Creator.

Six Months of Breastfeeding: 16 Lessons Learned

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Of course I am awesome!

;

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Ah. The Balanced Leadership. Isn’t it ironic.

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Pumping with the sight of Petronas Twin Tower. If only I could see my other half from here.

Isa is 6 months old today which means, I have been breastfeeding him for six month. Except for a minor glitch during the first few days where he had to be fed with a few ounces of formula milk, I have been feeding him fully with breast milk.

6 months of breastfeeding might not sound fantastic, but for me it is a huge personal feat – a triumph which exceeds most of my other personal achievement thus far.

For me it is a journey of me teaching myself to be selfless. Yes, I was this selfish creature all my life but the past six months has brought me into a situation where I have put others before myself. Only when I became a mother that I’ve actually embraced this – even marriage somehow fails to do so.

So in commemoration of this first milestone, I am jotting down some useful lessons I’ve learned, some of them the hard way:

  1. Nobody really masters breastfeeding straight away – which is true for both the mommy and the baby. Both of you are learning, and learning takes time. The painful part will be over, I promise you.
  2. You need a nipple cream. Full stop.
  3. The first few weeks might be so maddening that you might be pushed to think that your life is really about feeding the child. Isa nursed every hour in my case.¬† It doesn’t help that the newborn barely recognises you, or actively responds to you. It won’t feel much like bonding time until Isa actually starts looking into my eyes and smiles.
  4. In reference to the point above, the advice normally given to mommies that feeding time should be seen as a special bonding and relaxing moments is true, especially once maternity break is over..You can now say ‘Sorry, I can’t do the dishes because I’m nursing my child.’
  5. A nursing pillow might be a VERY helpful item. Like seriously. At least for me.
  6. Buying expensive breast pumps is useless if the mother is lazy to pump. Common sense, but need to be reaffirmed.
  7. Breastfeeding ( and able to do so exclusively) does not entitle to you to be smug. It doesn’t give you the license to belittle others who don’t or couldn’t. Even if you think breastfeeding is best, (if you are a Muslim) in Islam it is highly encouraged, it is not a sin not to.
  8. The right positions to breastfeed are only useful to follow when the baby is small. It won’t apply anymore once he is a bit more mobile, when he himself chooses how he wants to breastfeed. More often than not it is freestyle. Isa can nurse while he’s lying on his tummy nowadays.
  9. If you suspect some oppositions from your close family, equip yourself with knowledge on breastfeeding beforehand, especially the ‘how’ and ‘why’. E.g. Why shouldn’t we give the baby plain water? How do we know he’s full when he’s still crying?
  10. In my case, during the first week, I had a can of formula milk on standby. It gave me some peace of mind. My nipples were sore and bleeding at certain points, and it gave me the assurance that if I were unable to feed Isa due to the pain, he won’t be left hungry in the middle of the night. In the end, we only used it for one (failed) feeding using syringe because he cried non-stop one night and I was in pain. The can is still in my kitchen, unused. Some said having no formula milk (even as a Plan B) will motivate you to not succumb to the temptation of supplementing breastfeeding with formula, but it worked differently for me.
  11. Family support is of utmost importance. Educate your husband. Invest in pre-natal classes. Get him to read babycenter.com or whatever resources you trust. Read to him if he’s too busy or lazy to read himself.
  12. Breastfeed won’t guarantee a sick-free child. But it helps, later if not now.
  13. Being an expressing mom when you get back to work is challenging. It is not a primrose path. It makes you hungry, it makes you dizzy – at certain times. Be mentally-prepared. Be efficient.
  14. To fully breastfeed might not be cheap, especially if you have to go back to work and pump. Some equipments are needed. You might save by not buying formula, but you still need to spend some. It is not FREE.
  15. I did not start working with a thousand ounces of breastmilk stock in a deep freezer or something like that. My son nursed every hour during the first two months, and I somehow believe that getting enough rest is more important to quicken my recovery. I only managed to stock up once I returned to work. While there were moments I wish I could have pumped more and stocked-up more, I managed to breastfeed this far.without¬† problems like engorgement. I suspect that was partly because I did not pump frequent enough which often causes oversupply of milk. I produced just enough. Don’t push yourself too hard on stocking up. Find a balance. I have seen many cases where these eager moms have to resort to throwing away their expired frozen milk.
  16. Eat a lot and worry not about your weight.

That’s it. We’ll see if I could get to 1-year milestone formula-free!