“It’s not supposed to be a race to reach a record, it’s supposed to be a journey”
After I ceremoniously broke down here, my husband asked me out for a lunch date.
And lunch date was spent in silence. He did ask me why I was so quiet, and then, of course, drama air mata pun bermula. I pity my husband because my tear glands really have no mercy on him. I can cry in a lift full of people after sending Luqman off to the babysitter’s, I can cry while having lunch at a food court.
Point in hand is that I can cry even with people around, no issue.
And as always, people will always think it’s something that he did or said.
I told him that I was hoping to be able to miraculously make that 6 bottles of milk by the time the day ended, but if I didn’t, I didn’t want to be the one to buy the milk from a shop. So, he had to do it.
To which of course, I cried again, looking at boxes and boxes of milk, as I have never been met with so many options. There was always just… me.
But well, when Luqman was 100 days old, I was only able to give him 3 bottles of milk as I usually made every day, even with extended pumping schedule. As much as I wished I had made more, there’s only so much a mother can give her child.
So, with a heavy heart, I supplemented.
Nak dijadikan cerita, we were given half day that day because we had an event that night. So, the moment I knew (which was very early in the morning), I called Luqman’s babysitter to tell her not to give the formula, as I was planning to give her the milk I pumped that morning for Luqman to drink and that I would later pick Luqman up earlier so that he didn’t have to drink the formula.
Nak dijadikan cerita lagi, I couldn’t get through her phone. Told my husband to call and he couldn’t get through either. We both kept trying to no avail.
So, the moment lunch hour came, I dashed off to her house along with cooler bag and all. Running out of the elevator and practically jumping through the front door. He had just drank bottle number 2, I saw. “Phew, still exclusive”, I thought.
But I was wrong.
Nak dijadikan kisah, she tested the formula on him before bottle number 2 so that she could decide whether or not to call me for me to send my milk to him. As expected, Luqman being the wonderful baby that he is, hesitated at first, but finished the bottle anyhow.
And so, exclusive ended at 100.
And as expected, I cried a bucket.
But yesterday (at 101 days) Luqman’s babysitter told me a story about someone calling her in the morning. Her phone seemed to work fine yesterday, when just the day before, as I was frantically trying to stop her from giving my son formula, it was broken.
Now that, ladies and gents, is what we call tak ada rezeki. It was just not meant to be.
Yesterday, when I picked my son up and saw how full and happy he was, I knew that it was okay. You people are right. It doesn’t make him any less of a person, it doesn’t make me any less of a mother.
In fact, yesterday, for the first time in 101 days since Luqman was born, I felt relaxed. Maybe because I am fully redha with what has been charted for me.
Bottom line is that I have tried many, many things. From the things I do to the things I eat to the things I drink; power pumping every single night, frequent pumping, early morning pumping, tandem pumping, direct feeding, drinking longan, red dates, kurma, milk, soya, Horlicks, honey… you name it. Short of pills and supplements, I have done it all.
And right now, I’m drinking fenugreek and have yet to see the results.
And like I said, it’s not that I have given up on breastfeeding and breastmilk totally. I’ve just got to be thankful that despite being given the bottle and part formula during the day, my little boy still wants me when I get back from work. And that's all that's available for him.
Maybe, it’s time for me to concentrate on nurturing him from other aspects as well, other than the milk he drinks.
It’s been a while since I last Googled on anything other than breastmilk. I have forgotten that breastfeeding should be a journey rather than a race to achieve a certain record and I have become borderline obsessed with making more milk that I forgot how important it is for me to not leave him hungry if I wanted him to grow well and learn well.
This is a tough phase in my motherhood, and it didn’t turn out as well as I thought it would. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it will pass. Now I’m just going to make sure my son grows up to be a good boy. And I'll do everything in my power to achieve that.
Allah murahkanlah rezekinya. Amin.
//written at when Luqman was 102 days young. took me a while to post this. as sad and traumatised as I am, I am okay with it now. breastaurant open 24/7 at night. and breastmilk still in making during the day. it will be fine, insyaAllah.
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"... Kerana sesungguhnya sesudah kesulitan itu ada kemudahan, sesungguhnya sesudah kesulitan itu ada kemudahan, Maka apabila kamu telah selesai (dari sesuatu urusan), kerjakanlah dengan sungguh-sungguh (urusan) yang lain, dan hanya kepada Tuhanmulah hendaknya kamu berharap..."
- Surah Insyirah
I am dazed and disoriented. It’s my second week back at work and though things have gotten considerably better, that doesn’t stop me from feeling a little… off.
I’ve been meaning to write so many things but as with most new parents, time is indeed a luxury. My daily shift begins at 5 a.m. and ends at 1.00 a.m. And from 1.00 a.m. to 5 a.m., my Little Boss asks for milky at least twice, so yeah, by the time it’s tomorrow morning, I’m pretty much a walking zombie. Sort of.
I actually have a “B(oob) issue which I’ve been meaning to get off my chest. For a long time now, I’ve been bugging Lynn and practically anyone who would listen to my issues and so far, I’ve gotten this far without breaking down.
As many of those who are breastfeeding know, the decision to breastfeed is a huge thing to commit to. HUGE. It’s not just a matter of “selak dan suap” as many think it is though I’ve got to admit that that is one of the perks of breastfeeding. But of course, with perks come some downsides as well.
From the moment I knew I was pregnant, I made the decision to breastfeed. There was no 2 ways about it. I bought myself a hospital grade breastpump, attended antenatal classes and read up on breastfeeding. My breastfeeding journey began on the right foot.
Breastfed within the first hour after birth – checked. Rooming in – checked Breastfed every 2 hours – checked Tried out my pump – checked No formula to be found anywhere as “back up” – checked
When Luqman turned one month young, I began stocking. I had no particular aim and no particular schedule, but man, I was pumping and pumping and pumping. Pam, sejukkan, kumpul, simpan. Sometimes I got a bottle a day to stock, some days I managed to get 2. Which I think is a huge achievement considering how often Luqman drinks. I didn’t care how much milk I got at one session so long as I had some stock for work.
And then, when I moved back to stay on my own, my pumping slowed down because I was on my own and Luqman slept lesser, but still, I tried my best to pump and pump and pump. So, I did get a bit more milk. So, yeah, I had some stock. And I felt good because I knew I was working hard for my little one.
I started sending Luqman to the babysitter’s house quite early because I wanted to make sure everyone became accustomed to each other. I didn’t want to bother having to look for another babysitter when I got back to work. Also I wanted to practice pumping as I would as if when I got back to work and that’s when my worries became more and more serious. I wasn’t making much if I followed the schedule I made for myself.
After some calculations, it was determined that my son drinks 6 bottles of 3 oz while away from me. Easy feat for some but a totally big deal for me. Because after all that practice, I am only able to produce 3 bottles daily with 5 pumping sessions. And that includes a session of power pumping every single night.
But I persevered.
I have managed to breastfeed my son this far along and I am not about to give up.
But it’s hard not to panic. Especially when you see no more bags of stocked up milk in your freezer.
Untuk menjayakan penyusuan susu ibu, bukan ibu sahaja yang perlu mainkan peranan. I send Luqman off to this lady who adores him with a capital A. He’s not the only one she’s taking care of but he’s well taken care of I am sure.
But sesetengah pengasuh memang tak berapa pasti cara pengendalian susu ibu. Dan sebagai seorang ibu bekerja, saya hanya boleh bertawakkal.
Saya bekalkan Luqman 6 botol sehari sebab risau dia tak cukup makan. Tapi sebenarnya, rasa saya cukup sangat jumlah tu untuk tempoh tak sampai 12 jam dia berada di rumah pengasuh. Saya tak pasti bagaimana dia handle susu tersebut di rumahnya tapi saya selalu pesan kepada dia cara-caranya dan saya nomborkan botol mengikut turutan. Frozen first, fresh last. Supaya kalau tak habis saya boleh simpan last fresh bottle sebagai stock.
Tetapi setiap hari, I am met with some kind of pembaziran. Sometimes it’s 3 oz, sometimes 2 oz. But yesterday, it was 4.5 oz. I almost cried. Yang pastinya saya tak bekalkan 4.5 oz sebotol. So maknanya bottle ke 5 and 6 dicampurkan. Yang diminum hanya separuh.
I looked at the milk lovingly and wished I could keep it for the next day. But who am I kidding. Kita semua tahu susu yang dipanaskan, kalau fresh sekalipun tak boleh disimpan jadikan stock. What a waste. All that hard work and love I put into that one bottle of liquid gold.
Tapi. Apa boleh buat? Nak cakap banyak-banyak, dia dah tolong kita jagakan anak. Memang kita yang bayar dia, tapi bila bab anak, dah tak boleh fikir customer is always right. Melainkan dia dera tu lain ceritalah. Dek kenangkan dia sayang Luqman, saya redha dengan ketentuan Allah. Redha dengan lebih kurang 5 botol susu yang dah dibazirkan dalam masa 7 hari saya dah hantar Luqman ni. That could have fed my son with my milk for at least one more day. But what can I do.
Of course, I’m not giving up on breastfeeding just yet. Though I’ve got to admit that today, I panicked looking at the non-existent stock in my freezer. Not that there’s anything wrong with formula-fed babies (heck I was half formula fed during the day at the babysitter’s too), but once you begin exclusively breastfeeding, you’d know how heart breaking it is to just think about buying a box of milk off the isle.
I feel like a failure.
Especially considering the fact that my baby is such a wonderfully happy boy who despite his appetite is just wonderful. So far, Alhamdulillah, tak pernah lagi meragam tak tentu pasal atau sakit atau nangis berpanjangan. He just loves to play and loves attention. But which kid doesn’t? He deserves nothing but the best from me and I am determined to give him the best. I’m going to try to pump out as much love as I possibly could today, hoping that at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have to face the Isle of Milk to top up whatever it is that comes out of me today.
But if it does come to that, please know that I have tried my best.My very, very, very best. And as I am writing this, I am tearing up. Just thinking about the fact that I might fail you. At the mere age of 100 days. Though not without a fight.
I’m so sorry Luqman. Mama is really sorry.
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