A breastfeeding thanksgiving :)

Thinking back on the past {almost 4} months, gratitude and amazement just swell up in my heart, for I know that only God’s grace could have seen me through the ups and downs of this breastfeeding journey. 

It was one filled with several challenges and obstacles, none of which I could have predicted nor overcome, if not for the sheer strength provided by God. Supply was slow in coming in, I received unexpected pressure from people around me, soon after I  experienced blocked ducts, engorgement, mastitis, and in January, I went for breast abscess surgery. It was also difficult to find time to express out, since I was home alone most of the time and Ellie cried a lot in the first 2 months. 

But God is ever faithful, and He has truly turned things around. πŸ™‚ Ellie is now more adjusted to a routine, so I have more time to express. And instead of a low supply, miraculously I now have a ton of excess. 

One morning, the output was so much that I kept praying it will not spill. For it’ll be such a waste if any of it leaked out! 

When I finished the pumping session, I carefully twisted open the bottle, and was so relieved to see this:

  
It was just perfect! 

I was so happy, decided to take a picture as a testament of God’s faithfulness, even in the smallest aspects of our lives. It truly is a reminder for me to surrender this breastfeeding journey to Him. 

Very thankful for Bren who has been quietly cleaning up my pump parts every night and sterilizing it after my last pump session too. It is teamwork, and I couldn’t ask for a better team-player. πŸ™‚

Have no idea how long I’ll continue to breastfeed Ellie, but each time I encounter difficulties, all I need to do is to look at her sweet face, smile and surrender it to our faithful God. For He will provide, He will lead, He will show His miracles, in the most ordinary yet amazing ways. 

Advertisements

Everyday routine

Now that Ellie is 3 months old, we’ve settled rather nicely into a regular routine. Some days are a bit different, especially when we bring her out, but for the most part, we try to stick to it as much as possible. 

It has been one of the most helpful things to have as a stay-home mum. Juggling a few things, yet at your own pace, honestly requires a lot of discipline!

  
Here’s her routine at 3 months:

7am wake time, Bren feeds and plays with her while I prepare her bath items.

8am bath time, and nap right after

I usually take this time to get a bath myself, and if I can squeeze in a bit of exercise before that, I already consider the morning a win. ✌🏻️

10am next feed, a few minutes of tummy time, and nap at 11am

This is the time I prepare my lunch, and once a week, I order a bento set to be delivered, so I don’t have to think of what to cook, haha. 

1pm next feed, change her diapers, play with her and nap at 2pm

I try to complete as much housework as I can during this nap time. 

4pm next feed, and I bring her to the nearby park for a stroll if the weather permits. I notice that she’s usually quite knocked out after that and so she naps pretty easily at 5pm.

Between 5-630pm, I prepare dinner and freshen myself up before Bren comes home. I freshen Ellie up at 630pm, she takes her next feed at 7pm, and goes for bedtime right after. 

If Bren happens to be home early, he gets to see her before she sleeps. πŸ™‚ She then sleeps from 730pm to 12midmight, we wake her for a dream feed, then she wakes for another feed around 5+am, sleeps and wakes at 7am, where another day starts again. 

Of course the timing is not specific to the dot, but it does give me a useful guideline to regulate her day and give her a secure sense of what to expect. Thankful that she sleeps long enough at night too, so Bren and I can have our time together and watch a bit of tv. πŸ˜› 

It’ll be interesting to see how it develops in the months to come! 

Guilt-free snuggling

  
It had been a while since the last time she fell asleep on me. 

There was a period of fussiness that Ellie went through in the first and second month, which led us to rock her to sleep in order that she got the rest she needed. It was tiring, but she was still so young and we did it in order to survive the days, haha. 

When she started cooing and babbling in the middle of her second month though, I could sense that she had the ability to understand us a little better and she was now more secure too, so we decided to try transitioning her slowly back to sleeping in her cot, on her own. It went seamlessly! πŸ™‚ 

I was definitely thankful and happy because it meant I could have more time to settle household chores, cook, read, and have my pumping sessions more frequently. However, there was also a tinge of sadness that the days of the past were over – just like that. Gratitude and wistfulness co-existed in that moment. 

One evening, she was crying for more milk – possibly because of her growth spurt period – so I fed her. She ended up sleeping on me right after. My first thought was to hold her upright for a few minutes before laying her back to sleep on the cot. 

But while holding her, I stumbled onto a few mummies’ comments through a forum on how we should just treasure the times that our babies fall asleep in our arms, because they really grow up so quickly. My heart resonated so much with that. 

Suddenly, all those guilty feelings of “should I be doing this? should I be holding her to sleep? will she get used to this and fuss when she doesn’t get it next time, and others will point it to my fault?“……just left me, especially when I realised how much I need to remain in each present moment to receive the gifts that God desires to give me. 

And that includes the heartwarming gift of having my sweet baby fall asleep on me.

So…

I placed my phone down. 

I held her snug-tight.

I propped my pillows into a nice, comfy position.

And I just held her…guilt-free, with no fear of spoiling her…no fear of what others may say. 

I held her knowing that this too will pass, and when it’s all gone, I’ll be very sorry I missed it. 

I closed my eyes, and we just slept together. 

Till Bren came home after work. 

It is now one of the sweetest moments locked in my memories of motherhood. 

Absolutely no regrets. πŸ˜‰

//just out of curiosity, how was it like for all you mummies reading this? Did you have the same struggle? Were your babies easy to put to sleep from the start? Would love to hear from you!

Adjusting to Motherhood

This is a post that has been whirling around my mind for the past weeks, so I guess it’s going to be a bit lengthy. πŸ™‚

Now that we are in Ellie’s third month, I have been reflecting on what we have gone through and what has helped me in adjusting to this new season of motherhood. A lot of times, I felt very overwhelmed by this responsibility that God entrusted to me. At the same time, I am so grateful for what He has faithfully provided so that my transition from pregnancy to motherhood was as smooth and fruitful as possible.

So here are some thoughts. πŸ™‚ Probably not representative of every new Mum, but I hope it helps a Mummy-to-be in some way.

++ I realised pretty early into this motherhood game that I cannot do everything at one go, nor be everything to everyone. When you’re a new Mum, the words ‘priorities’ and ‘boundaries’ Β seriously take on a new level of meaning. I literally had to shut out every other request that came to me and obligations honestly had no place in my schedule for the first month. Bren and I simply needed space to try to survive as new parents and our baby needed constant attention and care. When there were pockets of lull periods (which was very rare especially in the first 2 weeks), we grabbed the chance to rest. There were moments where I felt bad – like I was such a lousy friend, a lousy sister, a lousy wife…but God would gently remind me of His calling for me in this season, and I would feel better. I could only choose to focus on loving well – in everything that I did, as long as I did it with the love that God graciously pours into my heart, God says it is enough.

I was wary of over-committing, and only desired to say yes to things that would matter in the long run. I also needed to be conscious of what voices I was allowing inside my head, as their impact on my days were very real. Wallowing on something negative would spoil my mood very easily, and the last thing a baby needs is a grumpy Mummy. Limiting what I viewed on social media, and limiting my intake of other opinions was also helpful. Everyone just seems to have an opinion on everything, and I realised soon enough that if I listened to everyone’s well-meaning advice, I would quickly go bonkers. So instead, I started observing Ellie’s cues more and trusted my gut instinct more often. This approach worked so much better. πŸ™‚ Ultimately, it was the daily quiet moments with God that made the biggest difference. Seeking His wisdom and direction daily helped guard my mind against stress and anxiety, and there is such sweet rest when God takes our burdens.

++Routines are important – for baby, and for us as new parents too. When I didn’t have a routine, I felt very lost. It was difficult to get the hang of things when I couldn’t plan or predict what would come next. So while learning on the job took place, I sought to bring a semblance of order into our days with simple and consistently implemented routines so as to create a reliable rhythm. Progressively, Ellie felt more secure and we were better at managing the unexpected too.

++Tap on whatever help you can get. Readily ask! My sister-in-law helps me out twice a week in the afternoons, and my Mum frequently drops by with dinner and when she’s here, she helps me prepare lunch for the next day too. Bren and I could have some couple-time on weekends only because our parents offered their help. So thankful!

(We finally went to watch Star Wars last weekend! Loved it.)

IMG_1917

++Podcasts are a beautiful platform. πŸ™‚ When I’m pumping out milk, these are a great companion. Perfect to listen and learn while I do my Mummy duties. Two of my favourites are: Mom Heart Ministries & Inspired to Action.

++Self-care is worth your time. When I invested time (even if just 15 minutes a day!) in cultivating my inner being and acknowledging my needs, it helped my overall mood because I cared to make space for things that brought smiles to my face. It could be as simple as afternoon naps, buying myself a new top (when I finally went out after my ‘confinement period’ was over, whoohoo!), taking a hot bath that’s more than just a quick shower, haha. I try to wake up earlier every morning too, so I get to have uninterrupted time with the Lord…and some time to just be still, and do my first pumping session for the day. πŸ™‚

++Lastly, having a growth mindset helps to set things in perspective. New Mums are, well, new. Everything is a learning curve for me, and motherhood is a whole different world from just being a wife. I keep reminding myself to keep growing as a Mum through reading something nourishing every single day, if only for just 15-30 minutes. It helps my mind to be engaged, and tinkling with ideas that I read, being refreshed by God’s Word..these little bits help. I focus on what is realistically possible (now with a baby to care for), and pray that God will use the little that I have to make it grow. And of course, an attitude of thanksgiving never hurts.

Concluding my post, I’m reminded of this scene I just witnessed last week, where a Mum was shopping with her two young girls at the supermarket, the girls probably not more than 3 or 4 years old. I was wanting to buy cabbage (engorgement issues, sigh. only Mummies understand my pain…) when I heard her yelling at her younger toddler. Shocked, immediately my mommy-mode came on, and I felt so much for the little one who was being scolded and smacked in public.

Shortly after, I found myself thinking, “I must not be like that to Ellie.

Then I caught myself – why? Why am I judging someone I don’t even know? I don’t know her story, I don’t know her children, I don’t know what caused such a foul mood in her, I don’t know the complete picture…but one thing I do know – that Mum is made in God’s image too.

And my heart just sank. I’m sorry Lord.

How many times do we judge or assess, thinking that we’ll never behave this way, or our children will never do that? I’m sorry to say that I’ve been there too.

We really need more grace. For ourselves, for others, for our children. Motherhood is hard enough. Let’s encourage and spur one another on towards bringing up children that glorify Him. πŸ™‚ No competition, no condemnation, but all moving together towards the same goal.

Yes, Mummies, we can do this!

All by His grace alone.

 

 

 

The sacred in the mundane

Like her zonked out semi-awake face after a feed πŸ™‚

  
β˜”οΈ The rain poured heavily this evening, and the thunder was roaring. I was swaying her in my arms, in an attempt to help her get to sleep. Whenever the thunder bellowed, her arms would grab me tighter, and as I whispered repeatedly, “It’s okay, Mummy’s here.” and she nestled deeper onto me…I couldn’t help but want to savour that moment over and over again. 

For I know the day will come when she will not need nor want to be carried by us anymore. 

That day will surely come sooner than we realize. 

So for today, I’ll choose to illuminate this ordinary Thursday evening moment, because I so desperately want to savour it a little bit longer… πŸ’ž

Motherhood is hard workΒ 

But the smiles make it all worth it. 😍

  
At the end of each long day (and night), the Lord refreshes and refills me anew. He gives me strength to get up in the middle of the night, and takes me further on this journey, bit by bit…day by day. He takes my (very) little, breaks it and multiplies it into something beautiful for His glory. πŸ’—

Coping with the impending season of changeΒ 

  
In this in between season of not-yet-officially-a-mum and being-a-mum-very-soon, I’ve come to realize that I need to be very intentional about certain things in order to transit well to the new season of motherhood. 

I’ve read the books, I’ve gained advice from experienced mums, and we’ve bought pretty much all the necessary. 

But when it boils down to the heart of the matter, what I also needed was quiet space to fulfill a few adjustments of my heart that were more internal and less external. 

In sharing my thoughts, I hope it encourages you in your journey through changes in your life too, whether it is to do with motherhood or not

❀️ As the realization hit these past weeks about how big a change we were going to face, I gave myself permission to mourn. Yup. To have a little grieving period on how my past season – life, as we currently know it – will be over. It will never be the same. Something like a closure. A goodbye of sorts.

As excited as I am about welcoming our precious one, in order to fully embrace this change in role, I needed to recognize my feelings towards the end of the current season too. I’m taking it as a form of gentleness and care for myself, so that I will not have residual or subconscious feelings of negativity when stress comes our way this new season. 

πŸ’œ Keep an attitude of thanksgiving, especially when expectations are not met. I still have activities that I long to do, and people that I long to meet up with. I had hopes and prayers about certain issues that I desired to be resolved by this year. But I’m recognizing how they need to be on pause for a while, as we hold back and focus on our little baby instead. There is a time and season for everything, and we’ll simply look into it again once we get a hang of this parenting thing. πŸ˜‰

πŸ’› Recall God’s faithfulness in the past, and be assured that He is with me. Oh, how I really need this. It’s a constant reminder to my soul to not get hurried or frantic, but to keep recalling His goodness and know that His presence will carry me through every challenge and every surprising turn in this new adventure. 

Isaiah 41:10 is now my “labour verse” πŸ˜†. I intend to store it deep in my heart so that His Word strengthens me when the going gets tough. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

πŸ’š Do what is within my portion and release the rest to God. These days, I try to double up the portion whenever I have the energy to cook, so that on weekdays when I don’t feel up to it, there are still healthy food options in my fridge instead of resorting to getting takeaway food all the time. 

I’m also accepting the fact that I’ll never get to finishing ALL the books that I was hoping to read. God knows how much I need to know, and that helps me to surrender and entrust this whole season to Him too. For I know it’s not by any of my effort, but by His grace alone. 

πŸ’™ Be gracious towards Bren & myself in this transition to parenthood. I need to guard myself against having unrealistic expectations about us, knowing that we’ll mess up many times, be blur about the things we shouldn’t be blur about, and that we may snap at each other over the silliest, smallest things. After all, we’re human. πŸ™‚ 

Lavishing grace towards ourselves eases us into this exciting change, knowing how fallible we are. I’ve also learnt to keep short(er) records, and to stick to issues at hand instead of enlarging it in my mind…thinking that his action/lack of action represents a bigger issue in our marriage. Many times, it honestly doesn’t. We were just made differently, and I’m learning to honor that. 

❀️ Enjoy the change. πŸ™‚ A daily reminder to enjoy this adventure of parenthood together. Because, we’re really better together. I’m reminded that this season is to help us slow down…..to live with more humility and presence in each moment, and to prepare us for whatever God has in store for our journeys ahead. There’s always a bigger picture, and I must not get lost in the nitty-gritty of the mundane.

So, there you go. πŸ™‚ We’re all ready and counting down the days to our little princess’s arrival! πŸ‘§πŸ»