Food & Drink Magazine

Three Months of Motherhood

By Divinechik

When I gave birth to Nathan, I received a lot of advice and words of experience from people who had gone through parenthood. As a new mom, although they mean well, I felt that it was a bit too much to receive advice on what to do and what not to do to my new born baby. Different thoughts and opinions were given here and there. And it was exhausting and overwhelming. It became irritating and annoying that I didn't want to be disturbed for the next few weeks. One of the lessons I've learned is not to accept visitors on the first day. I think they will understand.

The first month was a tough one as expected. Long before I got married, I want to breastfeed my baby. I even attended a breastfeeding talk twice. (I'm very thankful John's cousin invited me to go). But when the baby came out, I didn't know what to do. I was clueless about breastfeeding. I was worried and frantic about it. It came to a point that I shrugged off Nate's pediatrician's prescription to feed him every two hours. I did but I didn't feed him enough with my breast milk. Nate was admitted to the hospital 4 days after I gave birth when his blood tests showed that his bilirubin was high. My sisters who surprised me for a visit that day told me that Nate's color is yellow. I didn't notice because I was in our bedroom all the time. We're using yellow lighting and the sun is not enough to brighten up the atmosphere.

Nate went through a lot of blood tests, which means, he experienced a lot of needle pain. If I could count it correctly, they took around 8 blood tests of Nate just to be certain. Whenever the doctors requested me to sit down for awhile because I may not stand looking at Nate crying because of the needles, I said no, I'll stay. Aside from the needles, Nate has to go through photo-therapy. John and I thought that we're only staying for a day or two. We stayed at the hospital for 6 days. And the most stressful news that we've heard is that Nate might go through blood transfusion and John signed the papers already. But God answered our prayers. Nate didn't have to go through blood transfusion anymore.

We decided to give Nate formula as per doctor's advice after we ran out of expressed breast milk. I was still breastfeeding Nate all the way through in addition to the formula. But with all the stress and also the "advice" I've mentioned earlier, I felt really exhausted that I wanted to go home.

Nate got better and we took care of him at home. But for some reason, we stopped giving him formula and breastfed Nate for 1 week before our doctor's visit. I know there was something wrong with Nate but I didn't tell John until the day of our visit. Doctor scolded us for not feeding him well. Nate didn't gain weight on his third week and asked why we are so resistant in giving him formula. I didn't answer but right at that moment, I wanted to blame my husband and most especially myself.

As the weeks went by, I was still struggling with my breast milk supply. I would nurse Nate and give formula afterwards 24/7. I was exhausted. Nate would nurse for an hour and still crying hungry. Until I told John that I will just nurse Nate during the day and give formula at night. I started pumping and reduced my time breastfeeding Nate. Today, I gave Nate my pumped milk and formula.

The usual question that people ask me is if I'm breastfeeding Nate. I said, Nate is mixed fed. One day, my husband and I decided to eat out for dinner at the Japanese restaurant with Nate. The woman beside us asked us that question. When she learned that Nate is not purely breastfed, she explained the benefits of the colostrum and started lecturing me that I should be drinking a lot of soup, etc, etc, etc. Right there and then, I wanted to tell her "Hey lady, my family and I went through a lot just to breastfeed our baby. Don't you think we didn't even try?" I would always remember what John told me whenever I get lectures from other people: "They don't know what you know." But then, I would still sulk because he doesn't understand how I feel. It happens all the time that people would start giving you unsolicited advice and lectures as if I know nothing at all. And it humbles me that I don't know everything and it teaches me how to respond and react. And I'm still learning.

With too much information, a mother could get confused. But today, I am happy with my decision. Whether Nate is breastfed or formula fed, I surrendered that God is the one who is in control of his health and life. Nate gained weight and he is happy and content. Aside from that, I have more time to take care of my husband and the house. Of course, breastfeeding is superior but it's not for everyone. Breastfeeding worked for others but it didn't work for me. I may not have persevered as much as other people or I didn't even sacrifice everything just for the health of Nate. But it doesn't connote that I didn't develop any relationship with him just because I didn't continue breastfeeding. And it also doesn't indicate that I love Nate any less because I didn't give him the best nourishment. I commend you if you're a mom and you're still breastfeeding. And thank you if you respect my decision. Whatever feeding you choose, whether breast feeding or formula feeding is up to you. I just did what is right for Nate and just sharing what I've experienced. My case is closed.

The challenge doesn't end there. This is just the beginning. There were moments that I was really tired of putting Nate to sleep at night and I questioned God, why did I ever have a baby. Let's be honest here. Not all moments are "it's all worth it moments". I have down moments too. But I'll always remember that it is not by my own strength, but only through God's power and grace.

Feeding Nate on time and training him how to sleep on his own is also a decision John and I talked about. At first, I want to make all the sacrifices for Nate. Feed on demand and rock him every time he goes to sleep. I was tired all the time. I have to wake up John so he could help me put Nate to sleep when I couldn't control his crying anymore. But then, I thought, I have to make wise sacrifices also. And I'm not a martyr. I can't sacrifice everything like my time and effort without taking care of myself. I have to sleep well too so I can take care of my family. And that's why we're sleep training Nate as early as possible. So far, for the past week, he slept through the night. Because he's sleeping through the night, Nate wakes up happy while John and I are more rested.

I decided not to work for while because I want to be there for Nate. I want to be intentional. One of our godfather from our wedding made a bold statement that I carried that baby for nine months; will you just leave him to a nanny the whole day while you work? Of course, it's a personal decision. Not everyone can afford to stay at home. But not working at all is also a huge risk for us. But that's also the reason why we're praying for a home-based business for extra income. Whatever it is, I know that God will always be faithful.

I'm learning a lot of things every day. I didn't enjoy motherhood at first. But as the days go by, it's a bittersweet journey that brings you joy and contentment. We've only just begun and I know there are more challenges to come. But God gave us Nate to be his stewards and with God as our anchor, I know that everything's going to be okay.

Three Months of Motherhood

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