I can't believe I haven't posted anything here since I gave birth. And I can't believe it's been almost 9 months since Raya arrived. Seems only yesterday that I posted her 4d scans and wrote about my delivery preparations.
It's been quite a ride. I've learned a lot of things and discovered a lot about myself since becoming a mom. Can't say all the lessons were easy but I can say all were worth it. And I'm still learning! I guess there's no stopping since this IS a lifetime job. Hehe.
It's such a cliche to talk about the wonders of motherhood that I hesitate to dedicate this entire post for it because I'm sure wiser, more experienced moms would have more to say about that than me (Sidenote: I just saw my daughter munching on another piece of paper she picked up by the bed so can you tell I haven't entirely baby-proofed our bedroom?! 'Told you, I still have a lot to learn.). Don't get me wrong -- motherhood really is WONDERFUL. Just watching all the new tricks Raya can do now and the amazing little person she's turning out to be gives me all the warm, fuzzy feelings every parent has probably talked about at least once. But I'd like this long overdue post to be more of a source of support or information for first-time moms who are less-than-certain that they're on the right track as I was and still, sometimes am. I've been lucky because I have an amazing support system starting from my husband, to both our families but taking care and raising a baby really is more of a journey that every mom has to make by herself since it is her primary responsibility to care for her little one, right? And you will encounter some form of criticism along the way and there will be times when all you have is your gut to go by. So if you find something to relate to in some of the things I'll be jotting down here, then I'd have done my good deed for today. :)
My parenting style AND the decisions I make for Raya may be different from some people but I'd like to say that this is MY style and you're welcome to comment or suggest but you're also welcome to go to another page if some of them offend you or your values. Hehe. After all, this is my diary.
So anyway, if I were to compile a list of some of the things that I've lived by (or I'd wish I had done) during my entire pregnancy and the first few months of Raya's life, it would include some of these things:
1. Don't eat for two when you're pregnant.
By the time your baby is born, her tummy will only be the size of a marble so there's really no need for her to eat a lot, especially not while she's inside you (She won't be eating through her mouth even.). So all that food and weight gain not only puts you and your pregnancy at greater risk, it also makes getting back in shape doubly hard.
I was almost 200 lbs. at full-term that means I gained more than 50 lbs. the entire pregnancy. I was bloated. I felt ugly and the last trimester felt like hell. I have lost most of the weight since then but if I hadn't gone past the 30 lb. recommended weight gain for preggo women, I would've been back to my pre-pregnancy size now.
2. Read and research.
If you can go and learn a lot about other things, wouldn't you do the same for your most important job? Information is the only thing a first-time mom can bring to the table as far as having a baby is concerned so read up. Also, babies naturally attract well-meaning, unsolicited caregiving advice from other people so sifting through what works, what's scientifically sound and what's not is basically made easier if you're well informed.
A lot of things that were generally accepted practices in the past have been proven to be dangerous now and if you're well-informed you'll be able to make the right choices. Read up on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Nutrition, Medication, Vitamins, Well Baby Indicators, Infant Gear, etc. Buy books, go on legit baby care sites like KellyMom, La Leche League, etc.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that women breast feed their babies at least for the first two years and then for as long as it is mutually desired. We all know the WHO isn't made up of a bunch of yahoos who just make random recommendations so therefore, they must be coming from an informed standpoint when they say this.
And if you do your research, you will find NO medical findings that say that formula is superior or even equal to the benefits that breast feeding gives your child. Breast milk has 400 nutrients present in it that have yet to be copied by formula. It also changes its composition according to YOUR child's needs, plus it's clean, safe, always available and FREE!
Only 1% of women in the whole world can not breast feed for physical reasons but everyone can and will produce enough milk for their child. How else would your ancestors have fed all the generations before you if women did not produce enough milk for their children? Think about it. As long as your baby sucks and feeds, you WILL have milk.
I'm very passionate about this because I really believe it gives your kids the best start in life. In fact, I think I'll be dedicating a post just for this. And with the advent of effective breast pumps and all, working women have so much options now that breast feeding and having a career is possible!
Lastly, I'd just like to add that as of writing this: My 8 and a half month-old baby has never had any serious upper respiratory problems, never had a fever, never had diaper rash and is almost always two weeks early in her developmental milestones. She's also very lean and siksik -- not overweight. We've also never had to worry about allergies, running out of milk in the middle of the night, sterilizing numerous bottles (unless I pump and leave her) and milk going bad. I've also lost almost 50 lbs in 7 months just by breast feeding alone (no diet or regular exercise). Need I say more? :)
This is more "controversial" than breast feeding because some people agree with it, and some don't. They don't think it's safe and I understand there are risks but in my experience, Raya slept more soundly beside me than she ever did in the crib, and I never got too exhausted too because I never had to fully wake up in the middle of the night for a feeding since I just had to turn to my side and breast feed her. It was just a matter of emotional attachment and convenience for the two of us. :)
5. Talk to your baby.
Talk, talk, talk. It'll make her more responsive and maybe let her talk earlier. Hehe.
6. Don't buy too much stuff. Buy according to her needs, as they come.
I didn't buy too much clothes for Raya and I was lucky that a lot of people gave her gifts or hand-me-downs that she still uses 'till now so I didn't exactly have to shop a lot for her layette. Though I did buy a lot of feeding bottles which I now regret. I bought them as insurance thinking that in case breast feeding didn't go too well, I'd have them ready. Now, I realize I should've bought only 3-5 bottles and used the money for something else like a breast pump which I eventually had to buy or a high chair (which Mom and Dad gifted us with). But hey, not all is lost, I could hand them down to family members who'd have their kids though I'd hope they'd try and breast feed too. :)
7. Take time off, if you can, when the baby arrives.
I know, I'm lucky I've been able to put off working until now and I know not all CAN do the same thing and that's understandable but if you can, do it. Because this time of your life and that of your baby's is absolutely precious. :)
8. Take care of your partner too.
Taking care of a baby can be overwhelming and it's easy to feel pressured and overworked, especially if you don't have a yaya and the easiest target for your exhaustion-induced temper would be your partner. So take care of your relationship too. :)
I'm sure there are a lot of other things I can say about this but I'll have to write a novel by then. I've already been so presumptuous as to write something like this but like I said, if it helps others, then it's good enough for me. :)
Till the next post!