I couldn’t blog properly in Oliver’s first month.
Everyday was like today and today was no different from yesterday. My sense of timing and dates were all jumbled, all energy spent on one delicate creature called “my son”.
Oliver instantly broke all the rules I laid for him:
I was very very adamant on total breastfeeding. But from the very first day, Baby O proved himself a tough challenger. He is FEROCIOUS. I sought the help of the hospital’s lactation consultant. Guess what? She couldn’t make him latch-on properly either and left me with: “Keep trying, this guy needs some time to learn, but can one lah…”
To me, it sounds like: “Good luck, have fun. You are on your own.”
Day after day, night after night, hour after hour, we struggled with feeding time as the little guy thrashes around with flailing arms and legs he has yet to acknowledge as his own, crying as he wrestled us (with me crying along with him). I ended every session perspiring like a pig, with bleeding nipples that hurts at a slight graze. I couldn’t wear anything. Well-intentioned visitors stressed me out. I remembered one meltdown was when my mother-in-law and brother-in-law visited, but my nipples were hurting so much I had to be topless and stayed in the room, I cried: ” Why couldn’t I get out of my room even though it’s my own house???”
Yet, everytime I saw his slanted smile and satisfaction after a feeding, almost like he was “on high”, I felt happy.
Then, something happened on the very first week. On one late night feeding, the pain was so acute, I pulled him off and…I was bleeding. Not sore nipples kind of bleeding. My left nipple was oozing bright red blood. I was shocked at the amount of blood and even more petrified that Oliver was sucking my blood for that past 2 minutes or so. After a while, cough…splatter, he puked bright red blood. And before the next feed, puked again. I had another breakdown. K quickly convinced me to stop latching and turn to formula instead.
After 3 days, Oliver wouldn’t take the nipple anymore. Sigh.
Then again, it made me realised something.
Baby O had slight jaundice. The pediatrician was concerned if he was feeding too little, his jaundice level might go up. My stubbornness to completely latch-on led to Baby O feeding less than he should. Once we supplemented with formula, Baby O cleared the jaundice level. God’s will? I guess so.
I read about the pros & cons of pacifier and decided from the start not to give it. However, Baby O seems relentlessly unsatisfied after his meal from week 5 onwards… as I’m not latching, and rocking/singing/other soothing methods doesn’t really work, I took the pacifier my friend’s sister passed to us and stuck it in his mouth.
It worked. For a while.
After a few weeks, we realised he was using the wrong size all this time. That pacifier was for babies 6 months and older. So I got him the correct size and guess what? He became dependent on the pacifier 1 week onwards. I was banging myself on the head for making a stupid decision and now facing the cry-consequences of weaning him off.
Ok, he probably only broke half the rule, cos I didn’t get a Yaolan. The Chinese loves using a swing bed called “Yaolan” to swing baby to sleep. Due to the “shaken head syndrome (what is?)”, I thought baby will just have to learn to sleep in his cot.
No! He turns out to be a difficult daytime napper and loves bounces/swings/rocks (anything that motions) and the bouncer our friends graciously bought turned out to be a saver, as well as the carrier we got (read reviews on babyidesign.com about one).
Loss of sleep, bloodshot eyes, irritability (I’m guilty of shouting at my baby to shut up at least a few times), FATigue… and then comes that darned smile.
Moral of the story?
The only thing you can count on with a newborn is unpredictability.
Quoted from “focus on the family” website.
And my fav part: It seems like the crying, rocking, feeding, walking-the-floor insanity is going to last forever, but it doesn’t. Eventually babies sleep, sore nipples heal and your energy returns. The love you have for your little one, however, is permanent!