I’m into my third week of confinement and have been doing a lot of these in descending order of time taken:
1) Breastfeeding. On average, J2 has a feed once every 2 hours between 15 minutes and 90 minutes (it really depends how ravenous he is). When he was in his second week of existence, he had his first growth spurt and was feeding almost once every hour!
2) Drinking and eating. With a confinement lady to assist me, she does the basic household chores of cleaning the floors, cooking meals for self and family as well as caring for J2. She cooks large portions of food with 2 soups daily for me and I’ve got to take them in order to ‘produce’ more milk. In addition, I had to drink a caldron of red date tea to boost milk supply and stay hydrated.
3) Spending time with J1. I consciously make this a priority, now that there is an addition to the family. I wanted to include J1 into this new routine, and he being my ‘Little Helper’. He has been really sweet to his brother and offering him toys, food, pats and kisses… How more sweet can it possibly get! 😍
4) Sleep. Especially in the first few days post partum, I was still adapting to my night feeds and needed quite a bit of rest in the day to catch up on sanity.
Still, though I’m doing these a second time (in addition to taking care of J1), there are some takeaways that can be drawn from this phase of life:
1) sleep when the Baby sleeps. It’s an age old advice that I hear from 3 years back when I had J1. What I wonderful idea, I thought, but so impractical! That was my thinking then, because I was almost unable to sleep inbetween feeds when J1 was asleep. I would be sterilizing his bottles, trying to pump out milk, and do lots of things. Not long after, J1 would be crying for his next feed. This time, I caught up on lost sleep when J2 has his first nap of the day. That leaves me with more energy to cope with the rest of the day, doing chores, tuition preparation as well as decide if I needed another nap if one wasn’t enough.
2) draw on past experiences to make a repeat of history a better one. Second time on, things will get easier because of prior experience. Things are always toughest to cope with when they are new. I recall missing meals, calls, baths and losing myself when taking care of J1. Back then, everything about him seemed a priority. While it is important, I had constant worries on my mind on whether I was doing it right. There was much uncertainty and zero experience. This time, I took care to draw experience from J1, and apply it to J2. Breastfeeding was the greatest ease and I made sure I was drinking reservoirs of water and red date tea every day. I also learnt how unhygienic and inhumane it was to deprive myself from bathing for a full month then. This time, I indulge in daily herbal baths as well as having my hair washed. Cleanliness plays a crucial aspect when taking care of the young and frail, isn’t it? All the more with heaty foods and with breastfeeding.
3) spend money on what matters. Way back in my first trimester where I had frequent spotting and some bleeding, a part time domestic helper was engaged to manage heavy chores such as vacuuming, mopping and toilet cleaning on a weekly basis. With a threatened miscarriage, I had to do whatever it takes to keep the foetus safe.
Secondly, In learning to prepare healthy food for my family every now and then, I come to recognize the importance of TCM in repairing the body. I bought a $300+ 28-day herbal soup package from the confinement agency so that I could have an extra boost of bodily repair in the confinement month. Internal repair is something that will bring one through the long haul. I did away with jamu massage (Saving about a month’s childcare fee). Reason being that the herbs are able to cleanse the impurities in my body and if I really needed to lose water and weight, breastfeeding and regular exercise (6months on) will do the trick, the natural way. Thirdly, during my delivery, I had in mind to stubbornly opt for the most natural way of birth as I didn’t want another epidural. It gave me backaches during my first delivery, shakes and shivers as well as a hefty $700+ in addition to the bill. Ouch, that’s another one month’s childcare fees! Thank God I hung on this time round and a big bill was avoided. All in all, it was a total of $3200 for my hospital stay and delivery.
With each birth comes lessons learnt and lessons applied. Perhaps the biggest lesson and application (if it ever applies) from my second delivery would be not to hire a confinement lady in the first place. I’ll leave that to my next post to expound. 😊