First Month after Discharge
As a first time mother, I only had the basic necessities ready when we brought junior home.
Clothes, toys, a cot.
That was it.
Her adjustable cot could doubled up as her play-pen. It was mobile, so we could push it from our room to the living room, depending on the time of the day.
The plan was to breast-feed her. So we had no milk bottles or breast-pump either. I was on maternity leave and we thought it best to slowly settle down and discover what we really needed.
Having no help meant we were completely on our own. Just the 3 of us. That was good.
My partner would bring home confinement food that his mother cooked and I would dutifully eat those for my lunch and dinner.
The first few days of settling down were toughest. The main thing I got use to was breast-feeding and the lack of sleep.
Day 1 – I tried various breast-feeding positions to see which I was most comfortable with.
Day 2 – I tried various burping positions to get a burp out of her soonest. So the milk would stay inside and we could both sleep.
Day 3 – My nipples were now sore and I did not seem to have enough milk because she was constantly suckling and crying, keeping me up through the night and day.
Day 4 – Instead of red dates (nourishing confinement drink), I began to drink a lot more water to increase my milk flow.
Day 5 – By now, I could not differentiate day from night or night from day. No one ever told me feeding a child could be so exhausting.
Day 6 – Baby began to sleep with us. That minimised her waking up because there was no need to transfer her to the cot. It also meant I did not have to get up and could continue my sleep. I decided on a nursing position that was comfortable for us both. One that we could both fall asleep in while nursing.
Day 7 – My milk supply began to increase as I continued to suckle her. Nipples were still sore. But at least she would sleep for longer periods of time now.
The second week was better because I began to get a sense of her timings and would do simple laundry and house-cleaning while she slept in the afternoons. A massage lady coming every afternoon was a joy for me to relax and get advice from her. I learnt how to massage my baby’s feet too.
The third week saw me venturing out with my infant more. Not anywhere far. For breakfast, groceries or a walk to the beach. I love the outdoors and that was therapeutic for my emotions. I actually felt happy when we were outside, and she seemed to sleep better.
The 4th week was more outings for longer durations. I begin to enjoy the nursing rooms of shopping malls and got use to nursing junior in public. I roller-bladed while pushing the pram by the beach and was really enjoying junior. I would talk to her, sing to her, read to her.
By the end of the first month, we were both happily well-adjusted. I loved my breakfast mornings by the beach. She loved her afternoon naps at home. We loved it when daddy came home.
Key lessons :
I listened to my body. While elders said I should not bathe, I took warm showers and dried my hair and felt great!
I listened to my mind. It made sense that more fluid would allow more milk to be produced, so I drank a lot more than what I normally needed.
I listened to my emotions. I knew what made me happy and included that in my routine even though I was in confinement. The outdoors really made me smile. I am sure my positive emotions helped a lot in my physical healing.
As a mother, trust yourself. You know best. We will make mistakes, but take charge of your motherhood and do whatever you think is right. Be brave enough to go against advice if you disagree and humble to try out what you think works. You are the one living with your child. Not your elders, or mother, or friends or neighbours. Your child will enjoy as you enjoy. You lead, they’ll follow.
General Manager of SG Baby Club
Mother of 5 amazing kids (14yrs, 10yrs, 8yrs, 6yrs & 3yrs)
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