22 November 2011, by Tan Yi Lin
I had a great start to the week. A reader of the Maybebaby blogs saw me and Dan at a wedding dinner last Sunday and approached us to say hello! She had left nice comments on our posts before and it was just great to meet her in person. Plus, I’m chuffed that people recognise us and that we’re (semi) famous! *preens feathers* Thanks Rebecca! *wave*
In my last entry, I practically mentally vomited all over cyberspace. Sorry if all that cathartic rambling made it a little less comprehensive and difficult to follow.
Part 2 takes on a calmer tone as I detail the rest of my thoughts about parenting.
TOP 5 MOST CHALLENGING PARENTING MOMENTS
1) Surviving the first week of breastfeeding
In particular, emerging from behind the nursing curtain at the KKH nursery with a miserable 9ml of expressed breast milk after 20 minutes of pumping from both sides… and seeing the woman in the next cubicle with a bottle of 100ml of milk in her hand *Self-esteem deflates. Boobs wilt even further*
On a related note, trying to protect my modesty when nursing in public was also pretty challenging at the start. I hadn’t expected to have to feed the baby outside of home so soon so I was caught unprepared when we had to bring her back to KKH for her jaundice check just a day after we were discharged. I didn’t have a nursing cover and had to use a normal shawl, which flopped all over the baby (that was before I realised that KKH had nursing rooms. Duh.) Even the nursing cover took some getting used to. The first time I used it, I accidentally had a nipslip in front of my dining companions at Brotzeit. Oooops.
2) Surviving car rides
Firstly, learning how to secure the infant car seat in the back seat of our car was a huge challenge in itself. We fumbled with the seat belt and on the first few occasions, wrongly placed the seat right next to the door instead of in the middle of the back seat (this is to reduce the chances of the baby being seriously injured should another vehicle slam into the side of our car.)
Then, we found out – the painful (on our ears) way – that the baby hated being restrained in the seat. Car rides became a dreaded affair, especially when we got caught in the peak hour snarl. We slowly learned how to make the baby feel more comfortable in the car, such as by holding her hand and resting my arm on her body (not unlike treating her like my arm rest) so as to lessen the shock of going over a bump. These days, it’s easier to distract her with the use of jingly-jangly and light-up toys that we hang from the handle of the car seat.
3) Learning how to be patient in getting that elusive burp out of a newborn that will help her sleep better
Even when it takes longer than the actual feeding. Even when she’s screaming down the house. Even when she’s arched rigid and refuses to bend forward so that you can apply pressure to her gassy tummy. Even when your patience is wearing thin and you’d really rather skip the burping altogether. But.You.Can’t.
Thankfully, her digestive system has matured since and she burps readily at the end of each feed. I repeat, THANKFULLY. THANKFULLY (just can’t stop saying it….) THANKFULLY.
4) Learning how to make bath time a relaxing and enjoyable morning activity for a screaming newborn
Antenatal classes may teach you the basics of bathing a baby, but not how to prevent – or comfort – a screaming baby in the bath. I am thankful that my mum was there to show, teach and guide me on adding the little gentle touches to help Coco adapt to her morning baths. For example, patting a small amount of water on her head with my hand before wetting her hair entirely with the washcloth, so as to lessen the shock of having a wet cloth suddenly dumped onto her head.
5) Learning to share my baby
It has been said that when you marry a man, you don’t just gain a husband – you gain an entire new family altogether as well. Life as newlyweds entails learning how to adjust and get along with your in-laws. I am grateful that Dan’s parents are very easy to get along with and we spent a pleasant five years sharing our flat with them before we sold it a couple of years ago and moved back in with my family.
When the baby came along, I faced many challenges as a new mother and one of which was learning how to accept alternative parenting advice from the folks who brought up my husband. I think most girls would be more used to – and would much rather – listen to the advice of their own mothers. But I constantly reminded myself that my husband turned out well (well brought up, well-mannered, well-groomed, well-rounded (snigger), well-built… nevermind) so all that advice, could only be good advice.
Slowly, week by week, I learnt to let go and leave my baby in other – if not, more experienced – hands. Especially since both my parents-in-law were trained nurses in paediatrics. How more blessed could I be? Then, Dan suggested that we take a vacation as a couple and leave the baby behind with his parents for a few days. To be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled at the idea at first. Leave MY BABY with them?! But after I took some time to mull over it (especially over a few trying nights when I was up and alone feeding the baby in the dark), it sounded like a really good idea to a tired and sleep-deprived parent! Seeing how happy and excited Dan’s parents were in preparing for her stay with them, and seeing new photos and videos of her posted on Facebook for every day that we were away, reassured me that she was in good hands. Nowadays, we are more than happy to let her stay over with the in-laws once in awhile and it feels SO good to be able to sleep in till late and go out for a movie and meal as a couple.
The list of challenges for new parents is neverending but I’m glad that with the support of family and friends, we seem to be coping okay and taking everything in our stride. Until parenthood throws us new challenges. But I think that despite much initial fumbling, we’ll be fine. In any case, that will be for another entry, say, three months down the road.
Next Up: Part 3 (To Be Continued)