Breastfeeding

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Scrap Credits
Kit “True Love” from
Sueli Colbert
Boxed words from Chantal
Delight Series Red Inked Alphas from Foxy Designs

I knew weaning Ethan would not be an easy thing to do. In fact, I started trying out various weaning tactics when he was about 15 months’ old, but I was not firm with it and he certainly did not seem ready to be weaned yet at that time. No amount of distractions, meal substitutions and coaxing could wean him from the breast, not even when I started him on formula when he was about 15.5 months’ old, and I was afraid the weaning battle would become a stressful, terrible one. One of my fervent prayers to God was to have a smooth weaning process for Ethan, where neither he nor I would suffer, for I really cannot bear to see him wail and cry as if someone were abusing him or something.

Anyway, on our way to Singapore last year, one of the senior flight attendants (who obviously used to be a breastfeeding mother herself too) told me her secret method of weaning her boy when he was 17 months’ old. At that time, Ethan was roughly the same age. She told me she used Bonjela. Applied it to her nipples and after a few rejections from her son, he was off the breast. It was as simple as that.

I didn’t use this method immediately after we returned from our trip though. And I can’t remember when I actually purchased a tube of Bonjela. But when I tried it the first time on Ethan, he made a face when he tasted the minty Bonjela, quietly and (dare I say) obediently walked away. That was during one of the evenings after work. I didn’t try it again after that, because I was pretty confident Bonjela works.

When Ethan was a little older, it became apparent that he was ready to be weaned. He could go without breast milk the whole day long while I was at work but somehow he still “needed” breast milk during the day on weekends. I realized then that I was the one who was not ready to wean him off. I realized that all I needed to do was to be firm with him and hopefully he would comply. Although I used the Bonjela method off and on, I was wishy washy about it and so it didn’t really work as I hoped it would. Sometimes when I used Bonjela during the weekends, and Ethan (the smart fella) would patiently wait till the effects wore off before cuddling up for a feed.

But when Ethan was one month shy of his 2nd birthday, I told myself that if I wanted him to be weaned, nobody could help me but myself. Only I alone can do it. And so I crafted a plan. I religiously used Bonjela, slowly eliminating one feed at a time in the weekends. Weaning him off the morning feeds was easy, but it was an uphill task when I began weaning him from the afternoon feeds. A bottle of Pediasure would usually be ready at hand whenever I used the Bonjela method, so I hoped he would get the idea soon enough.

Well, he was soon able to take his afternoon naps without breastfeeding…which was good, except it took him longer to fall asleep, resulting in a more tired Daddy and Mommy. I so took the ease of breastfeeding baby to sleep for granted, I tell ya. And it was a struggle to get him to sleep without the comfort of breastfeeding.

After he turned two, about a week before Chinese New Year, the Bonjela method had already successfully gotten Ethan off the breast from morning till after his nightly shower. He still needed to be breastfed to sleep at that time, though. He would wait till I had had my shower before he asked for a feed. So I told myself that I would continue with the plan after Chinese New Year, since it was not a good idea to make changes to the routine while travelling. I knew it was gonna be a hurdle to wean him from the breast for his nightly feeds.

But God is good, and He answers prayers. A few days before Chinese New Year, Ethan started to go to sleep without the need to be breastfed. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but it just happened. Sometimes he would just cuddle up to me, just to be close to me and he would fall asleep on his own. He would still wake up once or twice in the night for comfort suckling though, but that did not bother me, because I knew it would be another obstacle I had to overcome soon. I figured I would cross the bridge when the time came.

However, one of the nights during the Chinese New Year break, he started to sleep through without needing his comfort suckling. He still wakes up sometimes, but he will just snuggle close to me and will fall back to sleep. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t even see it coming.

His last breastfed meal was on the night we returned from our hometowns in Ipoh and Taiping. After his shower, he came up to me with this loving look in his eyes, propped himself on my lap for a feed and after a few minutes, he was done. He gave me a “Thank you Mommy, I love you” look and went about his usual business. It was done in such an endearing manner, that I could not help the tears trickling down my cheeks. It was as if he knew our “contract” had ended and he was saying his final goodbye.

Oh sorry…well actually that was supposed to be his last feed, but I breastfed him again a few days later when he was down with fever… out of pity :P

Anyway, it has now been a little over a week that Ethan has been completely off the breast. What started out as my labor of love became a loving wondrous journey that lasted approximately two years and a week. I thought I would feel a sense of relief because the weaning was now over and done with. But what I felt was a tinge of emptiness…as if something I had grown to love dearly is now missing from my life. It is a sign that my Ethan boy, my darling Mr Bulat, has grown up somewhat, and I am just grateful that I was able to give him the best nourishment a mother can offer.


Scrap Credits
Kit “Memory” from
Sueli Colbert
Netter’s Alphas from Scarlet Heels

Last Monday, the first day of work after the long Chinese New Year break, when Ethan woke up in the morning, my maternal instincts told me something was wrong.  His body felt slightly warmer than usual and when I took his temperature, it registered a slight fever.  However, it went down about half an hour later after I gave him the PCM suppository.  But when we arrived at Mrs Tan’s in the evening to pick him up, we were told that he was still nursing a fever.  That day, Pete and I had not had our dinner prior to picking him up, so we decided to go to Old Town for Ethan’s favorite chicken koay-teow.  Unfortunately they had ran out of koay teow that day, so poor Ethan boy had to watch us eat.  He didn’t want anything else except the koay teow, the poor dear.  After dinner, we decided to just swing by a chicken koay teow stall and buy him a packet, but he wouldn’t eat it at all when we got home too.

His temperature had gone up to 38.2°C then, so I sponged him down with some warm Eucalyptus water, gave him another dose of PCM and changed him into his pajamas.  After a few moments of watching Baby Einstein, Ethan, who was way much quieter than usual, fell asleep in my arms.

The next afternoon, we decided to take him to see Dr Jessica, just to be on the safe side.  No doubt his fever had diminished, his appetite was back to normal, and he was grinning away that day, we still felt better if we got some reassurance from the doc.  Ethan was very cooperative throughout the entire checkup, staying very still when the doc took his temperature and checked his ears.  He only complained a little when the doc wanted to check the back of his throat.  In fact, he even obediently sat still on the weighing scale while he was being weighed.  When his name was called in to see the doc, he didn’t want to go in, but when we were ready to leave, he didn’t want to go.  In the end, we carried him out with him giving Dr Jessica a loud flying kiss.

Dr Jessica said he was all right, and the temperature could very well be a viral infection, which our boy had fought off on his own.  When we heard that, we were so proud of our little fighter there… :) It really means a lot to me that he can fend off illnesses on his own now that he is no longer breastfed.  The two years of breastfeeding prove very worth the while.

Well, I guess I am gonna hit the 2-year mark for breastfeeding Ethan now, since it will only be a matter of days before Ethan hits 2. It seems like just yesterday that I was struggling with milk supply and here I am, proud to say that I have far exceeded my expectations :) Weaning is still a battle we both have to overcome though, but I know this is a phase we must go through together, whether we like it or not.

One of Ethan’s unique habits while breastfeeding is to put his index finger into my belly button. I have no idea why he does this, neither do I know when this started. It’s almost like a belly button fetish, really. Most of the time, he will just let his finger rest in my belly button but sometimes, he will move his finger a little. Well, that tickles…definitely! So I will tell him to stop and gently take his hand away. But still he will keep doing it. Lately, I have started to sometimes give him a dose of tit for tat. He puts his finger in my belly button, I put my finger in his. Good plan, eh? Surprisingly though, he is not as ticklish as me. So we’re back to square one. Well, there goes my plan :P

 

Last Thursday was my last day expressing milk at work.  I started with four (sometimes five) sessions a day when I first returned to work from maternity leave. Then I was on three sessions a day, and soon I was down to expressing twice daily at work.  Eventually I only expressed once a day and for the past couple of months, once a day every other day.  All the hard work I put in produced EBM for Ethan’s consumption while I was at work.  Since Ethan is now okay with no EBM supply during the time I am at work, I decided to stop my alternate day sessions altogether.  It follows that today, when Ethan is officially 1 year, 21 months and 5 days old, he would have taken the last bottle of frozen EBM from the freezer. It is time I packed up both my Medela dual pump, Avent breast pump and all my breast milk storage bottles and put them away until they are needed again in future.

I already feel a part of me is missing now that this chapter is being shelved.  And now, the next step would be to wean him from my breasts.

With 4 days well spent in Singapore, there was only one thing left to do on the fifth day of our vacation.  Yup, you guessed right… S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G!!!

We didn’t have much time to shop to our hearts’ content in VivoCity the day before (or rather, Mommy didn’t have enough time), so we decided to spend our day there again.  We were very much the experts at boarding the MRT now, and VivoCity was an excellent choice because the subway from Little India would take us directly to Harbourfront, where VivoCity is.  By this time, Ethan was really getting the hang of riding in the MRT :)

We reached VivoCity before lunch but unfortunately after a little bit of shopping, I started feeling a little uneasy and unwell.  I thought it was because I was feeling hungry, so we decided to have lunch, ending up in Marché again.  Yes, yes, it was THAT good that we simply could not get enough of it  :P  Too bad, my nausea got worse during lunch and I couldn’t eat much, although I know Pete ordered so many many yummy items.  SIGH.  In the end, Daddy had to finish most of it, and Mommy has to be content with well….just these photos…..on the bright side, the blogger in me was satisfied because I managed to take a picture of the glorious Swiss cross buns!

Ethan was getting hungry and fidgety too, so after lunch we took him to the nursing room and I breastfed him till he slept.  Pete and I then decided to call it a day, seeing that I was feeling queasy already.  I carried the sleeping Ethan and we headed towards the MRT station.  However, before we could even walk out of the mall, my stomach decided to do a major churn and I threw up all over the nicely polished VivoCity floor.  Of course, before the throwing up incident, I managed to call out frantically to Pete and pass Ethan to him!  Thankfully there was a cleaner just nearby and he proceeded to quickly clean up the mess I made.  I hurried to the washroom as fast as I could.

After cleaning up, we made our way back to our hotel, where we all fell asleep the whole afternoon.  I could only pray that Pete and Ethan were not affected by whatever virus or bacteria that had chose to attack me.  I awoke with a fever of 38.1°C, and took two Panadol tablets, slept for a little while longer and then mustered up whatever strength I had to go for dinner.  Our plan was to go to Tony Roma’s in Suntec City for dinner again, but we had to kiss that plan goodbye because I was just too weak.  In the end, we walked to the nearby Foodmore foodcourt, a stone’s throw away from our hotel and had pan mee for dinner.  There was no baby chair available, so Ethan had to sit on two stacked chairs. 


Scrap Elements from Anita’s Designs

It must have been the excellent company I had for dinner, because I definitely felt better after that.  Isn’t it apparent from the picture above?  After dinner, all I could do was to breastfeed Ethan so that he would get all the antibodies to prevent him from succumbing to the illness I had.

… but only in the case of this breastfeeding mommy, I guess.

If you hadn’t already known, I am in the process of weaning Ethan from my breast.  However, although we have succeeded at a certain level (he is down to only one feed of EBM while I am at work), the fact that I have procrastinated and dilly-dallied on the weaning resulted in Ethan still being breastfed when I am with him.

And you know, as I watch him recovering from his recent illness, I am so grateful that I am still breastfeeding him.

After he regained his appetite after his spell of vomiting, he only wanted breastmilk and that is really the best kind of food he should take.  Now that he is recovering from his diarrhoea, breastmilk is the best because even if he doesn’t take too keenly to water, breastmilk contains about 90% water.  Even Dr Jessica says it is the perfect solution to help him get well sooner.  Besides providing him with all the antibodies to help him get better, it helps to soothes and calms him down too.

Yesterday evening, Pete was out for his weekly futsal match, and I was left to attend to Ethan by myself.  Boy was he a handful!  He definitely looks better now and he was back to his mischievous ways and was up till almost 11p.m.!  I’m still praying he’ll be 100% well as soon as possible.


Scrap Elements by Lindsay Jane Designs

Today we took him to GMC for his checkup with Dr Jessica, after the 3-day antibiotic (Rocephin) course jabs he took.  Unfortunately, I was not aware that Dr Jessica was on half day leave today, so we had to see Dr Rama instead.  Upon inspecting both Ethan’s ears, Dr Rama reassured us that the infection has definitely gone down in both ears.   :)  However, he prescribed another 5-day course of antibiotics (Cedax) just to be on the safe side, ensuring that the bacterial infection would be totally eliminated.  Dr Rama reassured us that Cedax tasted slightly sweet and we only needed to administer 2.2ml once a day for 5 days.  We were to see Dr Jessica again after the 5 days for a final checkup.

SIGH… guess we’ll have to see if Ethan will be okay with taking this final round of medicine then…

All I can say is that we made the right decision to postpone our trip to KL last weekend.  SIGH.

Last Thursday night, Ethan developed a fever, so we gave him a dose of the Paracetamol suppository.  He was also coughing with traces of phlegm.  The next morning, he still had a fever, so I gave him another dose.  His body was slightly warm when we left him at the baby sitter’s though.  We told Mrs Tan that we would come by to see how he was doing during lunch.

When we got there, I took his temperature and it read 37.8°C!  So we told Mrs Tan to give him the suppository and that we would come and take him home at around 4:00-ish.  When we arrived at 4:30p.m., Ethan’s body felt really hot, and although I was already panicking on the inside, I tried not to let it show.

5:30p.m. I took his temperature and it was a horrifying 39.4°C!  Since we had already run out of the PCM suppository, we had to force a dose of the oral PCM down his throat.  I breastfed him and could only pray that the fever would subside soon.  Dr Jessica’s night clinic would only be open at 7:00p.m. so we had to wait till then.

At GMC, Ethan’s temperature had subsided somewhat, although when the nurse took his temperature, it still read a relatively high 38.9°C.  Despite nursing a fever however, Ethan was still very interested in the escalators at the hospital.

The diagnosis?  Ethan has an infection in his throat and left ear, Dr Jessica said.  When she inspected, his left ear and throat were red, but thank goodness there were no white spots in the throat yet (white spots meant trouble, I had read somewhere).  The initial throat infection probably had spread to the ear.  Besides the infection, he was also suffering from a runny nose and of course, was coughing too.  He was prescribed Paracetamol (for fever), Rhinathiol (for cough), Polaramine (for flu), Azithromycin (antibiotics) and Iliadin (nasal drops).  All familiar names to me by now, because Ethan had been on the same range before.

We went to Old Town for dinner where I was very thankful that Ethan took a bit of the koay-teow.  We took him back home, and practically had to force the medicine down.  His fever was also monitored closely.  That night proved to be a highly trying night for us.  I had to give him the PCM suppository every 4 hours because throughout the night, his body temperature hovered around the 39.2°C mark.  It was a sleepless night for all three of us.  Ethan decided he wanted to wake up in the middle of the night to watch Baby Einstein and walk around the house, I had to wake up with him, and Pete, being a light sleeper, could not get any sleep as well.  Ethan finally went to sleep but was still rather feverish in the morning.

Saturday morning, I reported to Dr Jessica that his fever was still on the high side, and she assured me that it would take about a day or two for the antibiotics to react.  Thankfully, Ethan’s fever subsided throughout the day.  Pete and I also decided that we should see our doctor to get some medicine ourselves since we were both also sick, with somewhat similar symptoms.  We then had Japanese food for lunch.  Japanese food is always our *comfort* food whenever any one of us is sick.  And since all three of us were feeling under the weather, the choice was obvious.

Sakae Sushi provided us with a booster chair instead of a high chair, and that was really good because then, the chair would not block the pathway.  Ethan enjoyed his chawan mushi and rice, as usual.  And we were glad that he was eating, at least.

After lunch, Ethan fell asleep and when he woke up, he seemed very listless and rather pale.  He rejected my breast and would not even drink any water, instead preferring to walk around aimlessly.  When we offered him his favorite Yakult yogurt drink and his Calci-yum yogurt, he angrily rejected them too!  I even tried mixing a feed of formula for him, but this was met with just plain disgust.  I offered my breast again and again, but again and again he made a face and pushed me away.  This was very unlike him and very odd indeed, as he has NEVER EVER rejected my breast before.  “Could this be the start of him being weaned from my breast?” I thought to myself.

Come dinner time, he didn’t even want a single strand of the spinach noodles I had prepared for him.  We managed to get him to drink a few sips of water and he did nibble on a few grains of Rice Crispies and raisins, but that was all. 

Then it was time for his medicine.  Pete would usually give him the antibiotics first, followed by Rhinathiol and then Polaramine.  This time, after his force-feeding of the Rhinathiol, as I was carrying him away, he suddenly threw up on the floor!  There was very little vomit only though, because our boy had hardly eaten anything since 3p.m.  And that was the first time he threw up ever :(   We finally managed to feed him the medicine and gave him a shower after that, although he was very upset.  Our boy was very sleepy by then, and he also looked very tired and weak, because he had not eaten or drunk anything much.  After his shower, he fell asleep immediately.  No comfort suckling at the breast, I just put him in his cot and he was out like a light.

Then at about 3:30a.m. Ethan woke me up.  I took him to the kitchen to get some water because I could tell he was thirsty, and he vomited again!  I cleaned up the kitchen floor, and gave him a few sips of water (he was still not interested in breast-milk at that time).  He fell asleep after that, but woke up about half an hour later and threw up again on our bed and on me…..   :(  It was extremely worrying as I knew he was probably dehydrated, but there was nothing we could do… we could only let him sleep.

The next morning (Sunday), when he woke up before 8:00a.m., I tried to breastfeed him again, and I was so overjoyed that he FINALLY drank the milk.  I could tell that he was VERY hungry then and was craving for it so badly.  My heart ached to see him suffering the night before when he rejected the breast.  It was as if he knew he had to refrain from drinking breast milk because  *knew* that if he did, he was going to throw up. 

He fell asleep again after his feed and only woke up after 10a.m.  His appetite seemed to have returned somewhat, although he would only take breast-milk for breakfast and lunch, and throughout the day.  But at dinnertime, he took some koay-teow too!

After dinner, and after his medicine was administered, he again rejected the breast.  And he again fell asleep without being breastfed.  Even more worrying, his temperature shot up again to 38.5ºC!  I gave him the PCM suppository and monitored his temperature through the night, as usual.

Pete and I took the day off today to take Ethan to see Dr Jessica again.  His temperature was going up and down like a yoyo and that was not something we were comfortable with.  Dr Jessica checked his throat and said the infection had cleared up.  However, both his ears were infected now.  So she prescribed another round of antibiotics (a different one, this time: Zinnat), which we were to administer 5ml twice a day for 5 days! I almost fainted… We decided to have Ethan take the antibiotics jab first in GMC, so we could start the *torture session* only tomorrow.  His fever had returned too, so we had to give him a PCM suppository in the hospital as well.  We were instructed to bring Ethan in for a follow-up check after the 5-day-antibiotics-dosage had been completed.

After the Zinnat jab and PCM suppository, we were told to wait for an hour to see if there were any adverse reactions before we were allowed to leave the hospital.  Good thing there was a playroom at the pediatric ward with a Little Tikes house to keep Ethan busy… of course, to add to the drama, our boy chose to poop then and there too, so we had to clean him up.

So….we’re back home now, and Ethan is finally asleep.  This whole experience has reinforced in us that it’s really tough being a parent.  It comes with its ups and downs, I guess.  I pray that God will bless Ethan and grant him the strength to fight against his illness and that he will recover soon.  Get well my darling boy.  I can’t wait to see you back to your cheerful, cheeky self again!

I want to remember this special and historical day for as long as I live. I want to have every single detail of today etched in my mind for ever. Read till the end and you’ll know why.

Our Saturday started before 8:00a.m. when Ethan woke both Pete and me up. Ethan had somehow *found* his way to our bed again the night before, and although for most part of the night we slept in the shape of an “I” or “H” or at times a “Z”, we all had a good night’s rest. Maybe it was because we all *knew* it was already the weekend :) In typical Ethan fashion, he crawled over to me, put both his hands on my cheeks and tried to wake me up. My mind was awake but my eyelids were still closed, so he rolled over to Daddy’s side and started playing with Daddy instead. We lazed around in bed and soon got up for breakfast. Ethan shared a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosties with full cream milk with me. I didn’t want to give him too much because of the high sugar content. After that I made 2oz of Isomil + Pediasure for Ethan in a bottle and Pete tried bottle-feeding him. As expected, he rejected the bottle. So I tried giving him the bottle myself instead. Pete gave him the bottle cover to play with and Ethan had a field time putting the cover on the bottle and then removing it. He then grabbed hold of the bottle and opened his mouth wide while putting the bottle nipple into his mouth. We thought he would be happily drinking the milk then but alas! It was only for a while; he had hardly drank 2 sips and he was repeating the entire process over again: close bottle cover, remove bottle cover, play with bottle, pretend to drink from bottle. In the end I decided to mix the milk with some organic arrowroot cookies which I had bought for him a few weeks ago. Guess what? Cookies, he liked. Cookies + Milk mixture, he pushed away. So much for the semblance of a plan. As a last resort, I just poured the remainder of the milk into his mug and gave it to him to drink….and you know, I was surprised he actually drank a few gulps that way. Finally to make it a wholesome breakfast, Ethan had a cup of his favorite grape-flavored yogurt, which he finished joyfully. I then gave Ethan his shower, and after that I breastfed him.

Today, I introduced the shape sorter toy his Ipoh Ah Ma bought for him some months back. Ethan was very excited when he saw the new toy and began playing with it immediately, although he can’t really play it the right way yet. He can turn the hands of the clock on the toy though :P

We then went out to have dim sum for brunch where Ethan demonstrated once again that he was really becoming a big boy, on the way to independence and self-feeding. He now eats his siew mai using a chopstick ala satay style. Yup, he eats with only one chopstick which is pushed into a piece of siew mai. He will eagerly hold the chopstick and feed himself the piece of siew mai, chomping away happily after that.


Oh, and following Uncle LB’s suggestion, Ethan tried lormaikai for the first time today. It is of course a form of rice and we are not at all surprised that Ethan loves it!

Next, off we went to Queensbay Mall. I did some clothes shopping and then we went to Toys R Us. The toy car which Ethan took a fancy to had been shifted to the back of the store. So now all the toy cars were grouped together. Of course, Ethan had to take his weekly rides in them. Hmmm….I’m still wondering if I should get one for him…. the problem is where to put the car? He discovered the police car this week…. just look at him having the time of his life!

After that we were at Borders, where we allowed Ethan to wander around in the children’s section, much to his delight. Ummm…actually he also wandered OUT of the children’s section, much to HIS delight too…. and so it wasn’t too long before our boy got knocked out while I was carrying him. He fell asleep in my arms and after a while we placed him in the stroller, while he was still sleeping. We did our grocery shopping in Jusco and then proceeded to the elevator, ready to leave Queensbay Mall. However, as soon as the lift music played, Ethan woke up alert and happy. When we reached home it was already 5:00p.m. and after we unpacked, it was half past five.

And only THEN did I breastfeed Ethan. He was such a good boy, and didn’t even demand loudly for his milk. All I did was sit on the sofa, and he came up to me with this adorable puppy-dog look that said it all, “Mommy, can I have some milk, please?” How could I say no to that?

This was also the first time we had gone out shopping for more than 5 hours that I did NOT have to breastfeed Ethan in the Baby Room in Jusco. Very very good weaning progress indeed.

Ethan played with his toys for a while, watching some TV too. Then we headed out to Old Town for dinner. Nasi lemak and roti bakar were the order of the day. Since Ethan did not take a lot (most of it was just the nasi lemak), I made him another 2oz of Isomil + Pediasure when we got home. I mixed some oats with the milk so it became oatmeal! And was I glad I did! Ethan loved it and ate a lot of it :) It was already about 9:00p.m. then.

Suddenly I had the idea of trying to put him to bed without breastfeeding him. After all, he had had a lot of the oatmeal and he was already very full by then. We gave him his warm shower and got him dressed in his peejays. I then immediately took him straight into the room, and tried to make him go to sleep. To distract him from breastfeeding, I hugged a pillow to my chest and just laid down with him on the bed. After some giggling and smiling, he tossed and turned and finally fell asleep amid my singing and humming the lullaby song his Ipoh Ah Ma sang to him when he was a little baby. It was about 10:15p.m. then. Yes, he fell asleep WITHOUT me breastfeeding him. This was the first time ever and I hope this will mark the first successful step towards a successful weaning ahead.

It was really an odd feeling when it dawned on me that my little boy did not need me to breastfeed him to make him go to sleep. On the one hand, I am happy that we are making progress in this arena, but on the other, there was a part of me that missed that special bond we shared. My labor of love would eventually come to and end soon. We knew this would happen sooner or later. Of course, Ethan has to grow up someday. But it still left me in a poignant state. Motherhood does strange things to people, and although I know I will feel a sense of emptiness inside of me when Ethan is fully weaned off, I am thankful that I had the privilege to enjoy the breastfeeding journey while it lasted.

For now, good night my darling Ethan Boy. Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite….! …..as clichéd as it may seem.

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed that Ethan seemed to be breathless at certain times.  It happened quite frequently, sometimes when he was playing and sometimes when he was just walking around.  More often than not, he would giggle and laugh and then he would follow up with a really deep inhalation, as if he was out of breath.  Because I had childhood asthma, I was afraid that Ethan might have inherited it too.  Although breastfeeding does substantially reduce the risk of contracting asthma, it is not 100% full-proof.  So I called Dr Jessica, his PD, and described his symptoms to her.  She said that since Ethan did not seem out of breath, and did not look pale when he was doing so, she reassured me that the symptoms that were presented were not those that indicate the onset of asthma, rather she suspects that it might be habitual as Ethan could have picked up this behaviour from someone he had observed.  She advised us to not make it a big issue though, and not even to tell him “No” when he does it, because that would sometimes encourage the child to do it more and more often.  So we were to monitor the situation and to let her know if it persisted.

Then I remembered that I had not diffused my aromatherapy lamp for a few weeks already.  Me, being careless and all, I dropped the lamp and the diffusing palette at the top cracked to pieces, so it was no longer usable.  Pete suggested that I get the diffuser replaced so that I could diffuse it again.  A few days after that, I managed to obtain the accessory concerned and started diffusing Eucalyptus.  Eucalyptus is well-known for its Asthma-curing properties, and I diffused it diligently every night when we sleep.  Both Pete and I simply love the aroma, and I’ve used it since Ethan was born.  After a couple of days, we were thrilled to noticethat Ethan was not exhibiting the breathless symptom anymore.  Up till today.  So, does aromatherapy do wonders?  Possibly.  We don’t know if what he had was the start of asthma or not (contrary to what the PD said), but we are certainly glad the breathlessness is no longer there.  Yay to Eucalyptus!

Two new records have been set.  Here’s the scoop… 

Yesterday I tar-powed Belacan Fried Rice for Pete and myself for dinner because Pete was on leave.  I then picked Ethan up from the baby sitter’s and arrived home around 6:45p.m.  When Pete and I were having dinner, we put Ethan in his high chair and gave him his grape-flavored yogurt, which he absolutely adores.  After a few spoonfuls, he showed interest in the Belacan Fried Rice instead, demanding loudly for it and gesturing that I gave some to him.  So okay la, I gave him a couple of spoonfuls, not before warning him that it was slightly spicy though.  Our boy enjoyed the rice and the yogurt tremendously, had some water to go with it and after dinner, he played around with his toys and watched TV.  I sliced a mango for dessert, so we all enjoyed it as well.  I went about my usual errands: washing the milk bottles, preparing my working clothes for the following day, doing a round of laundry….the works.  After I had taken my shower, it was already 8:30p.m. and I prepared Ethan for his shower instead.  By the time he was done and all dressed in his peejays, it was about 8:50p.m.

Do you notice something different?  Do you see where I am getting at? No?

Ethan did not ask for milk AT ALL since we arrived back home!  Usually as soon as we reached home and unpacked, he would come over to me, hug my legs and request for milk, and it usually happens around 7p.m.  But nuh-uh, that did not happen at all today.  And I only breastfed him after his shower.  That’s a significant achievement in terms of not asking for milk!

After the breastfeeding session he slept for about an hour….. and we discovered that it was really only a nap because he woke up in alarm when Pete tried to trim his nails!  SIGH…we really need to educate Ethan on the importance of trimming nails.  Because he squirms and evades us when we try to trim his nails when he is awake, Pete has to do the deed only when Ethan is in slumberland.

So after he woke up, he was his playful self again, running around the house (yes, at 10p.m. +).  And he only fell asleep when it was past 11p.m.  *This* time he slept till way past 5a.m. in his cot.  And that’s another record and MAJOR achievement worth noting down. *grins*

We’d like to see more of these records, please… :)

Yesterday evening when we picked Ethan up from Mrs Tan’s place, she proudly announced that Ethan willingly gobbled up every last bit of the rusk cereal mixed with Isomil!  However, when she tried feeding him the Isomil from the bottle, he only took a mouthful and then rejected it.  But she noticed that there was slight improvement, and he appeared to begin accepting the Isomil little by little.

I am now providing 1.5 feeds of EBM to Ethan while I am away at work (previously it was 2 feeds), in the hope that the remainder of the 0.5 feed can be covered by the Isomil in due course.  I am also slowly training myself to express milk at work just once.  It is an arduous process, but one which I knew I would have to undertake sooner or later.

This morning, Mrs Tan asked if she could give him 2 pieces of rusks for his breakfast instead of one.  Of course, I said!  Our boy is a healthy eater :)  Why not?

Huh, what? That’s a scary term to deal with.  And it is the scientific name for what is commonly known as hives.  That’s what Ethan has been diagnosed with…here’s the story:

When we picked Ethan up from Mrs Tan’s place yesterday evening, there were some small red rashes on his left cheek.  I applied some Sebamed Baby Cream as soon as we got back and breastfed him.  He fell asleep soon after and was still asleep even when Pete came back from his futsal game.  Ethan woke up at about 8:30p.m. and played for a while before we bathed him.  During his bath, we noticed that there were also small tiny rashes of a similar kind on his legs and a couple on his back.  I applied some baby cream and Egozite on those rashes and some calamine cream on his legs too.  Then early this morning, we felt his body was slightly warmer than usual and I promptly took his temperature.  We had bought a digital ear thermometer a couple of months back, so it was significantly easier to register a temperature compared to our conventional armpit thermometer.  The reading was 36.3 degrees, i.e. no fever.  Phew!

But still, I was paranoid and decided to take him to see Dr Jessica, for fear of it being HFMD.  After about an hour’s wait at GMC, we were ushered in and Dr Jessica examined Ethan.  She remarked that it could be due to the Enfapro formula which Ethan had been taking for the previous 2 days, albeit mixed with his oats.  Thankfully he had no ulcers and his fever had subsided.  Dr Jessica just asked us to apply the Egocort cream on Ethan’s rashes and monitor his condition, in case there is a fever.  We were to stop giving him Enfapro and instead, if we wanted, we could introduce the hypo-allergenic Nestle NAN H.A. formula. (I told Dr Jessica that I had a taste of NAN H.A. last night and it was HORRIBLE!  So much more bitter than Enfapro and made me almost throw up!)  In addition, Dr Jessica also gave us some sachets of Isomil, which was lactose-free, and she added that adults could also take it since it tastes like soya bean milk :)

We had lunch at Fatty Loh’s Chicken Rice at Tanjung Tokong where Ethan really enjoyed his chicken rice (and even demanded for more when we were done), and then we went home to pack up for half-day work.  I packed one feed of EBM for Ethan to bring to Mrs Tan’s place and brought along that tin of NAN H.A..  I gave her specific instructions to STOP Enfapro for the time being and try NAN H.A. instead.  Let’s pray that Ethan will be cured of his Papular Urticaria soon.  I’m ever so thankful that I have been breastfeeding him for so long :)

So… it has been 15.5 months…*gives myself several pats on my back for a job well done*

Yes, all of 15.5 months that Ethan has been fed exclusively on Mommy’s breast milk.  Well, other than the introduction of solids when he was 6.5 months old, whatever milk he has taken is solely breast milk. 

And now it’s finally time to introduce formula milk.  My frozen EBM stock in the freezer has dramatically dwindled from an impressive 30-40 feeds to a mere 5-6 feeds now.  I am producing just enough for Ethan these days, sometimes less, and that’s when I rely on my freezer stock.   My friends were teasing me that I would not be able to go through with the introduction last weekend, because I had postponed it indefinitely for a couple of weeks now.  But I braced myself for it, and kept to my word.  So late last Saturday afternoon, I decided to take that gigantic leap and opened that tin of Enfapro A+, one of the samples I had obtained from the pediatrician. 

The pediatrician recommended that we try introducing formula to Ethan in a cup.  And since Ethan is now very used to drinking from a cup, be it a cup with a spout or a regular adult cup, I made just 2oz of the formula and put it into his Nuby sippy cup.  Before pouring it into the cup, I tasted a little of the formula milk out of curiosity to see what it tastes like… I had heard horror stories from some moms that it tasted horrible!  Surprisingly though, it tasted like any normal powdered milk would taste like, so I was reassured.   Ethan would be fine with it, or so I thought…

So back to the cup…the spout on Ethan’s Nuby cup is really soft and so I thought the transition from nipple to spout would not be so drastic.  Ethan was all excited when he saw the cup, but just as the spout touched his lips he pushed the cup away immediately.  He had not even drank the milk, let alone sip it!  So wokay….I poured the milk into my ceramic mug.  He loves to drink water from my mug and I reckoned he would not be bothered by it.  Oh, I was SO WRONG!  He held the mug eagerly at first and attempted to drink the milk that was in it.  But just one sniff from that cute little nose of his and he pushed the mug away in disgust.  So much for my first attempt. :P

The next day, I tried using the Nuby cup again but AGAIN, Ethan pushed the cup away angrily!  This happened several times, and I ended up pouring the formula away… no love lost there! :P On my 3rd attempt of the weekend, I put the milk into a regular Avent milk bottle and tried feeding him with it.  Amid angry wails and protests, he totally rejected the bottle.  TOTALLY.  Hmmm…ok time for Plan B….I had also bought some boxes of UHT Full Cream milk, so I decided to give that to Ethan instead.  As usual, he was excited when he saw the box and grabbed it eagerly.  But he grabbed it way too hard and the milk splurted all over the couch and floor.  I guess I’ll try next time then.  SIGH….

So the next day, Monday, I brought the whole tin of Enfapro to the baby sitter’s place and gave her instructions on how to feed him.  I told her to try giving him some formula when the EBM had all been fed.  So after work on Monday when we went to pick Ethan up, I was anxious to find out how Mrs Tan had fared in her attempt.  She told me that she did not have a chance to give him the formula yet, because he had just had his meal of porridge when we arrived.  So she would try the next day instead.  Tuesday evening: Mrs Tan said that Ethan really REALLY didn’t want the formula AT ALL.  He pushed the bottle away as if it were a plague, and allow the formula milk to dribble from his mouth!  But she said that he was okay with oats mixed with formula milk, so that’s a consolation.

So what to do now?  My plan is to persist with trying to feed him one feed of formula every day, and if he is still rejecting it then we would probably try another brand.  Yesterday night, I gave him some Milo from the box and he drank a little using the straw.  But after that he again exhibited his enormous strength and spilled Milo all over himself and me…ah well…the sharing of chocolatey goodness huh?

Is it going to be cheese and yogurt for Ethan boy soon?  Is it going to be full cream milk?  Formula?  Which brand?  Milo?  The saga continues….stay tuned.

Ethan is so much better now.  I knew he was already back to his old self when he woke me up giggling in his sleep last Saturday morning.  Can you imagine?  He slept till 9a.m.?!!

We still fed him his medication through the weekend, because we wanted to be certain there would be no recurrence of the illness.  Guess what?  We only found out yesterday that the syringe that we used to administer the medicine needed to be positioned at an angle so that the medicine will be shot right down his throat, giving him no chance to gargle or cough it up.  So last night, we promised Ethan that it would be the absolute last time he would be taking the medicine.

This horrible coughing illness has been a force to be reckoned with, and I am SO GLAD that we will soon be rid of it forever. 

Recovery time:

Pete - 8 weeks
Joyce - 4 weeks
Ethan - 1 week

Another amazing fact from Ethan boy, courtesy of being an exclusively breastfed baby!

Ethan woke up this morning coughing and sneezing even more than he did yesterday; I even detected some phlegm when he coughed.  We fed him his Rhinathiol and Polaramine, despite his fierce protests… it always tugs my heartstrings to see him cry and scream like that when we try to feed him medicine :(

After dropping him off at the sitter’s (with instructions to give him more milk and water, and to wipe his nose), I called Dr Jessica to inquire what could be wrong.  She reassured me that the symptoms for his illness would tend to take a turn for the worse on the 3rd or 4th day, before becoming better.  As long as he wasn’t wheezing (which was a sign of bronchitis), there should be nothing to worry about.  She also said I could bring him in for a quick checkup in the evening if I wanted to be further reassured and for her to check Ethan too.

I then called Mrs Tan, our babysitter, and she proudly proclaimed that Ethan had finished his entire morning feed of 5oz of EBM at one go and was feeling better already.  In fact, he was taking a nap when I called.  I was glad. :D

After work, Pete and I took Ethan to see Dr Jessica, who again confirmed and reassured us that his lungs were clear.  She cautioned us, however, that if his breathing was rapid (more than 40 breaths per minute), we should inform her.  She instructed us to continue with the medication and hopefully with the breastfeeding, he would be all well tomorrow.

Dearest darling Ethan boy, Mommy and Daddy are praying that you will get well soon!

NO to Pacifiers

The use of pacifiers for babies have long been touted as an *easy-way-out* method to calm babies (read: shut them up). I guess that’s why they call it the *dummy*. The usage of pacifiers causes nipple confusion especially in the early stages of breastfeeding, is easily soiled and just yesterday, I was saddened to read the news that it caused a 14-month old baby to choke to death:

Toddler chokes to death on pacifier
JOHOR BARU: A 14-month-old baby boy suffered for almost 90 minutes before dying, after he accidentally swallowed his pacifier at his babysitter’s house.
The victim, whose parents work as factory operators in Singapore, was sent to his babysitter’s house in Taman Johor Jaya here yesterday.
It is learnt that the parents have been sending the baby to the babysitter for more than a year.
Yesterday, the babysitter put the pacifier into the baby’s mouth when she went to prepare his milk at about 10am. When she came back to check on him, she was horrified to see that he had swallowed the pacifier.
She tried to pull it out but it was stuck in the baby’s throat. She rushed him to a nearby clinic but the people there could not extricate it. By the time he was taken to Sultan Ismail Hospital at 11.30am, he was pronounced dead on arrival.

I am glad that we have NEVER once used a pacifier with Ethan. Mom had also never used a pacifier for my brother and I when we were babies. Of course initially it was difficult because when Ethan needed to be calmed down, we had to talk, sing, soothe, rock and nurse by offering “the human pacifier” to him. It has all been worth every bit of the effort as there is no need to break him from the pacifier habit now.

Exercise!

I desperately need to exercise.Before I got pregnant, I was really high on exercise. The endorphines exercise provided me kept me going and going and going, much like the Energizer bunny. I frequented the gym about 3-4 times a week, doing cardio and weights, and attending group exercise classes like Body Pump, Body Jam and Body Step. When I got pregnant, I continued with my gym routine, albeit on a toned-down scale. I attended Body Balance classes more, as it focused on Yoga, Pilates and Taichi, which was advantageous for my pregnancy, but I also did Body Pump (weight training) till I was 7 months preggers. After 7 months, I only did swimming. In fact, I was swimming up till 2 days before my first signs of labor came.

Well, after I had Ethan, my only form of “exercise” was breastfeeding. On Desperate Housewives just the other day, someone mentioned that a session of breastfeeding is equivalent to a 30-minute cardio workout in the gym.

WOW.

And that’s how breastfeeding mommies like me keep the weight off. Heh… eksyen oni…

Unfortunately, I still have 1-2 stubborn kilos to go. Arrghhhh!! And most of it is concentrated on the “love handles” zone. No surprise there.

Now that Ethan is mobile and crawling (and very soon walking and running!!), I assume I would be losing more weight in weeks to come.

The thing is, I still need to tone my muscles and right now, the only form of weight training I do is lifting Ethan up and down. Hehe… my very own adorable home weights.

My “weights” and I - don’t we make a great team?

In the still of the night, there was nary a sound around when suddenly… Ethan: Waaaahhhhhhhh….!!!!
Pete: (happily) I’ll get it! (proceeds to go to Ethan’s cot to cuddle and soothe him)
Ethan: Wawaahhhhhhh….!!! (starts sniffling and sobbing)
Pete: (picks Ethan up) Don’t cry boy, don’t cry….Good boy…
Ethan: (kicks and screams even harder) WaaaaaHhhh!!! Mamamaamamama…….!!!

Pete: Daddy is here, Daddy is here…
Ethan: Mamamamamaaaaa….!!!!! (kicking, screaming, stretching, the works…)
Pete: (frustrated liao) Nah, nah..Mommy is here ….
Me: (taking Ethan in my arms)
Ethan: (immediately making himself cosy in my arms and begins to fall asleep again)

Pete: (sighs) Magic.

Yes, Ethan still CANNOT sleep through the night. SIGH… We have tried countless methods, but still no results. The latest method we tried was the controlled crying method, which was really too heartwrenching for us as parents. This involved letting him cry for longer periods of time as opposed to going to him immediately when he calls. We succeeded for like 5 days or so and then gave up, more so cos we read that Ethan could very well be a baby of very strong and persistent personality and this method does not work well in these cases, according to
Dr Sears.

Back when Ethan was but a month old, a good girlfriend of mine told me that soon I would see that Ethan would be sticking to me like a stamp to a letter. Even more so in my case, she continued… because I exclusively breastfeed Ethan.
Well that is becoming an apparent reality now as Ethan is now VERY attached to me. He sometimes lets out an urgent cry when he sees me leave the room. And he sometimes also hugs my hand to sleep. Yes… our bond as mother and baby has been strengthened many folds by the beautiful act of breastfeeding. And of course, it is an unwritten fact that babies tend to equate their daddies to playtime and their mommies to nurturing.

But when does this dependence end? I for one, choose to cherish it while it lasts…

Since we’d already travelled for Christmas, we spent New Year’s in Penang, in the comfort of our apartment. One of my New Year resolutions is to cook more frequently, since I have “ready” customers at home who relish my cooking. Heh… does wonders for the ego too, I might add. So to start the New Year off with a bang (pun intended), I decided to cook today. Pete was such a dear and he looked after Ethan while I dished out the goodies.I’ll have to admit I actually went kind of bonkers and dished out 5 dishes today, instead of the customary 3. The 5 dishes were:

  • Stir-fry beef with celery and carrots (This was the first time I cooked this dish, let alone cook beef. I introduced beef to Ethan today, so since he only took a small portion of the beef, I used the greater part of the meat for this dish)
  • Ginger & spring onion chicken
  • Baked beans with eggs & bombay onions
  • Stir-fry Baby bok choy
  • Watercress soup

Of course, the dishes were served with a healthy concoction of red rice + Herbal Ponney rice + Energy Grain Mix (millet + quinoa + buckwheat).

Delicious or not, you’ll have to ask Pete la…

So as we bid buh-bye to the year 2006, I fondly recall the many blessings God has bestowed upon us and the priceless episodes that have indelibly changed my life:

  • I gave birth to our darling Ethan boy, sans epidural
  • I changed diapers for the first time in my life. Now Pete refers to me as the expert…
  • I experienced the beautiful bond of breastfeeding and am still cherishing the experience to this day
  • Ethan’s first giggle which was filled with such pure innocence and joy.
  • I felt the wonderment of being a mother, and more importantly, of being a parent. Motherhood and parenthood really makes us appreciate our own parents more.
  • …And I witnessed how awesome a daddy Peter is. The way his face lights up when he looks at our little angel - that’s definitely worth a million bucks.

Being a Moomie

In essence, the majority of people in our community are still ill-informed when it comes to breastfeeding. Despite efforts to promote breastfeeding amongst new mothers (especially), many are still in the dark about this beautiful bonding practice, which ought to come as second nature to all mothers.A common problem we hear people have is whether or not the mother “has enough milk” for the baby. In fact, several days ago, this very same topic came up among my breastfeeding group at work about why some mothers claim that they do not have enough milk to breastfeed their babies.

With all due respect, I DO NOT believe the authenticity of this claim. I believe that all mammals will certainly have the ability to produce milk and breastfeed their babies. In the same vein, humans, being mammals, WILL have enough milk to provide for their babies. For those who claim they do not, there will surely be a good enough reason why they eventually can’t.

Some of the reasons why the “not enough milk” mentality came about:

  • Failure to nurse baby on demand: a newborn demanding milk every hour or so is wrongly “believed” to be “still hungry” and hence, formula is introduced. Breastfeeding works on a supply-and-demand concept. When there is demand (from baby), there will be supply.
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Lack of confidence. Off and on, I meet pregnant women with whom I would ask “Are you going to breastfeed?” An answer along the lines of “See la, if I have enough milk…” shows that they are ill-informed and do not have the confidence to breastfeed fully. From the onstart, one must already have the confidence and think and KNOW that they can breastfeed exclusively.
  • Being told that one does not have enough milk

A common misconception is that all mothers will NATURALLY (read:automatically) produce sufficient milk for their babies, when this in fact, is not true at all. All breastfeeding mothers, including myself, can confidently attest that breastfeeding takes a LOT of effort, countless sleep-deprived nights and persistence. Oh, and how could I forget the support of the people close to me?

Ethan is now 10 months old and I am extremely proud of myself for being so persistent and perseverant in exclusively breastfeeding him. My 6-month target for breastfeeding was altered to a respectable 1-year target when he was about 3 months’ old. And now that I have about 1.5 more months to go to reach the 1-year breastfeeding contract with Ethan, I can’t help but consider a contract extension. After all, if I have the ability to give him the best, why should I settle for less?

A shopping mall is never complete without the inclusion of a breastfeeding/nursing room. Going shopping with Ethan tagging along is a breeze because for a breastfeeding mommy, we didn’t need to tote along milk bottles, milk powder, bottle warmers and whatnot. So when the all-new Queensbay Mall opened in Penang just about a week ago, checking out the breastfeeding room was top on my list of priorities.I was pleasantly amazed at the thought that was put in into creating a very conducive environment for nursing mothers. There were 3 rooms available, all privately enclosed by draw-curtains (having a door would be better, but this would do anyway), 3 diaper-changing stations, a sink and a hot and cold water dispenser. There were also 2 sofas provided in the lounge area, presumably for daddies to rest their weary legs or just to read the newspapers. I also thought it was a nice touch that they also hung posters promoting breastfeeding on the walls.

Alas, my excitement was short-lived as during my 3rd visit to the mall, we encountered someone who was quite unclear on the concept of the breastfeeding room. One of the 3 breastfeeding rooms was occupied by a guy and his kid, who was taking a snooze! Talk about insensitivity!

Ethan vs Flu Bug

Last night my maternal instincts told me that Ethan was about to catch the flu. We gave him a quick bath anyways, and prepared him for bed. After dressing him up in his pjs, I breastfed him for his night cap. Normally he would take only 15 minutes tops and then he would be out like a light, but yesterday night, it took him 30 minutes to feed. He was drinking a LOT of milk! That was a sign that he was catching a virus.

He then awoke at sometime past midnight and I nursed him, as usual. His body felt slightly warm, so I prayed that it would return to normal after a while. However, after feeding, he refused to go back to bed in his cot, so I had to cuddle him as I sat slightly upright in bed, propped up by pillows. During the many times when he awoke during the night, I breastfed him and let him sleep, either in my arms or beside me on the bed. His body was still warmer than normal in the morning at 7:00a.m. when he woke up but when we took his temperature, it was only 36.1 degrees Celsius – probably cos he was wriggling all the while, and it was hard to keep the thermometer in his underarms. We then decided to take him to see the doc, just as a precaution.

Upon reaching the hospital, I felt that his body temperature had gone back to normal somewhat. To be completely honest, Ethan was looking very much like his normal self and not at all sick (the wonders of being a breastfed baby never cease to amaze me). The nurse at the registration desk asked if baby had fever, and I told her only this morning, not sure about now (for the record, all this while, Ethan was flashing the nurse a big wide grin). To be on the safe side, the nurse directed us to the Accident and Emergency department to have his temperature taken. Reading: 37.3 degrees.

Up we went to the doc’s clinic – after like an hour of waiting, we were finally ushered in. The doc said it was the beginning of a flu virus, but since he seemed happy, there was nothing to worry about. We were given Paracetamol but it was only to be administered if his temperature was 38 degrees and above.

We took him home, gave him a quick bath, fed him and he slept for most of the afternoon. I then prepared his dinner for him, which is what I like to call comfort food. When I was a little girl, I remember my Mom cooking comforting soupy stuff for me when I was not well. My version of comfort food for Ethan? Mee Suah with ground oats topped with lettuce and corn with that extra bit of yummy chicken. It was gobbled down with glee!

So who do you think won the battle between Ethan and the Flu Bug? You be the judge…

Photo taken at 7:19 p.m.

Photo taken at 7:21 p.m.

Shopping malls in Penang are in dire need of proper nursing and breastfeeding facilities for the general public. Ever since I took on the role of a breastfeeding mommy, I have been visiting breastfeeding/nursing rooms whenever I have the chance to do so. Some are so icky that I have even spotted cockroaches lurking around the room. Simply disgusting!

That said, I would conclude that the award for best nursing room in Penang would probably go to the one in Parkson Grand, Gurney Plaza. It is brightly lit, with 2 stations for diaper change and 2 private curtain-enclosed breastfeeding cubicles. The color scheme is bright and cheerful with nature motives everywhere. There is also a sink with warm water for the convenience of everyone.

I find it extremely comfortable nursing Ethan in the nursing room here. The curtains provide the privacy a breastfeeding mommy needs, and Pete and I have been frequenting this nursing room ever since we started taking Ethan out shopping with us. It was really easy to breastfeed him undisturbed each time we were there, but NOW….aiyo, it’s a totally different story.

I think the change was apparent sometime when Ethan was 4 or 5 months’ old. Each of the nursing cubicles has 3 big wooden wall hooks, in the shape of a snail, a butterfly and a flower. Every time I nursed him there, he would be really fascinated with these hooks and be totally distracted, up to the extent that he would NOT drink his milk! We have tried covering the hooks with plastic bags, covering Ethan’s eyes with cloth and we have even tried using my nursing coverall….but all to no avail. He will only take his milk if he is extremely HUNGRY.

You know what? My breastfeeding friend at work tells me that apparently her daughter is also distracted by the same things. Hehe…. I suppose that’s the reason why nursing rooms in KL are mostly non-bright with no additional cartoons or motifs.

Down with Flu

Me, that is…
I was out sick from work yesterday because I had one of my worst bouts of flu ever. I went to see the doc, who prescribed some medicine for me. I was reluctant to take the medicine though, because I was breastfeeding and didn’t want to pass any foreign drug-like substance to Ethan. So I called my pediatrician and told her the names of the medicine I was prescribed. She advised me against taking them because they cause drowsiness and this will be passed on to Ethan through my breast milk.
So to cut the long story short, I didn’t take the medicine at all and instead let nature take its course in healing me by drinking gallons of water and sleeping as much as I could. I could still breastfeed though, albeit I had to wear a mask. Ethan was very kepo and started to touch the face mask I was wearing. Haha…. In fact, by breastfeeding him especially now, I am passing on the antibodies for this strain of flu virus which I had caught. That’s one strain down, and a few hundred more to go….

I’ve heard that breastfeeding supposedly becomes easier when baby attains the age of 6 months. Well, when I first started breastfeeding Ethan, it was certainly no walk in the park and at that time, I could not wait till he was 6 months old. I was under the impression that once he reaches 6 months, he would not be so dependent on milk as he would already start on solids.6 months has come and gone, and I must say that I am quite wrong about him being NOT so dependent on my milk. Yes, Ethan has been taking rice cereal for about 3 weeks now and yes, he appears to be enjoying it, but I am happy to note that he STILL prefers what he knows is BEST: Mommy’s Milk.

To date, he is taking a few spoonfuls of cereal mixed with fruit or vegetable (he loves pears, carrots and apples) at lunch time every day and completes his meal with milk. Sometimes I will give him some fruit for dinner when I get back from work. I’ve read that up till the age of 1, a baby’s diet is to comprise mostly of milk in order to provide adequate nourishment. I’m glad our Ethan is doing a great job in fulfilling this fact.

I’ve watched our boy grow from a small fragile infant into an active and bulat baby. I’ve watched him mature from crying for every single thing to babbling incoherently to giggling uncontrollably when he plays. It is so very rewarding to witness this miracle of growth, to have my spirits uplifted each time I am greeted with that toothless grin, that gentle touch and those big loving eyes…and to know I have provided him the best by breastfeeding.

What a blessing Ethan is to us! I know I will miss being his sole food provider in future as he grows up, but for now, I will enjoy this magical bond we share. And I know I will never forget this experience for the rest of my life.

 

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