It's been a tough week with most days spent at home alone... well, obviously not alone, alone, but alone with our new baby Naly.
Ryan had to work in Europe, and my mum had to go back to work, suddenly I was left all by myself with my precious little bundle of joy. It felt particular hard because I was used to the help I'd had for the first two weeks.
It's quite exhausting having to do everything myself. Naly is more active between feeds now, so I have to entertain her as well.
When she is asleep, sometimes I have to decide whether I really want a nap, have something to eat or have a shower? I can't have it all.
Now I know what they mean when they say being a stay-at-home mum is a full time job. It really, really is by far the hardest job I’ve ever had!
Because there is no break time and you can’t switch off mentally or emotionally, and there are no weekends. But no matter how tough it felt at the time, somehow I managed to push through it. Just to see Naly’s smile was all worth it... Good news too, as I don't get maternity leave pay from my old job. Damn the crunch!
Whenever I've felt tired or if everything got too much, I always reminded myself that my parents had no luxuries when I was a baby in the late 70's back in China. It was just a couple of years after the cultural revolution when I was born. EVERYBODY was poor, food supplies were low.
There were no central heating in the winter, just a coal burner in the middle of the room, and no air-con in the summer which was always hot and humid.
They also had to hand wash all the nappies, and cooked in a communal kitchen.
Yes, my life is a lot easier now in comparison!
I used to stamp my feet on the ground every time she latched on because it was so painful. I'd literally have to hold my breast with one hand to relief the pain.
Now I can actually read a book or eat a little something - I keep my hands free and balance little Naly on a feeding cushion while she suckles. It's like a half-moon shaped thing which I put round my waist. I've got two. I use the other for my back so I'm like a one-ringed Michelin man.
I think you have to learn to multi-task very fast, otherwise nothing gets done. My how things have changed within 4 weeks.
I’ve also used a Baby Bjorn (a kind of front or back rucksack that you use to carry your baby) a couple of times so I can have my hands free, but I don’t always feel comfortable in it at the moment.
You are supposed to have newborns facing you, and Naly is still quite small, she almost disappears into it. Her neck is not strong enough to stay upright all the time, so her head flops onto my chest and I worry about her nose pressing too much against me... can she breathe properly in there?
Eating for two
When I was pregnant, I never felt the urge to ‘eat for two’, but now I have to produce breast milk for Naly, I've noticed my appetite has increased enormously, I'm always hungry. Ravenous, infact.
I highly recommend eating lots of small to medium meals, frequently throughout the day, it helps to keep your energy level up and your milk supply regular.
I had a couple of days not eating enough food, purely because I chose to nap when I got the chance rather than to eat and I noticed my milk flow was a lot less. Naly was not happy! And I ended up feeling even more stressed and frazzaled than if I'd just stayed awake.
Here are a couple of my mum’s delicious Broth Recipes to help produce breast milk:
- chicken stock, quantity depending how much broth you would like, I say fill up whatever size pan you are using.
- add a couple chunks of ginger (about thumb size)
- 2 - 3 sprigs of spring onions, cut in half.
- Pork ribs (my favourite)
- Or Chicken (with bones for flavour. A Chinese favourite is to use old hens as they have better flavours and more nutritious, available in Chinese supermarkets as whole)
- Or Fish (Sea bream or salmon are good, with bones if you can to keep the flabour)
- Or Vegetarian option: Tofu or mixed mushrooms, use vegetable stock.
Cut the vegetables and the meat of your choice into bite size chunks, add to the broth base, put in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours.
Best to do it over night so you’ll have the delicious broth ready in the morning, and your house will be filled with comforting smells.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, bring everything to the boil, then turn down the heat to low and slowly cook for 3-4 hours, add a bit of salt to taste if needed.
You want plenty of liquid if there are lots of contents.
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