Unleashing Drama

Dealing with Leia

Posted on: January 3, 2018

I’m taking some time to write this because if I don’t, I’ll probably forget it.

Dealing with Leia is one of the toughest things I’ve had to do. Leia is a tough baby. Now, I know you’re thinking ALL babies are tough..but Leia seems a tad bit more difficult to deal with.

For starters, she kicked like crazy when she was in the womb. She kicked so much that they couldn’t even record my contractions properly. When she came out, she cried a bit and then opened her eyes and started looking around. From that moment, I knew she was trouble.

On her first day home, my milk didn’t kick in yet so we had to formula feed her using a cup. She just stared at Selvan and I as we struggled to get her to drink using a tiny cup. She hardly slept that night, not because she was crying but because she was just looking at us..as if to judge us for being incompetent. Selvan and I wondered if we could return her to to hospital. LOL. Kidding, kidding okay!!

The days to follow were seemingly tough. Selvan and I were alone with Leia as my mum was preparing food for me. I was still recovering from the pain of giving birth but I had to gather all the strength in me to take care of her. She was tiny – 2.3kgs but wriggled and kicked so much as we tried to swaddle her or when we carried her. Selvan and I had NO IDEA how to deal with a tiny baby but we just learned it along the way. My brother in law taught us how to bathe a baby, my sister and Dayana taught me how to breastfeed and the rest..uncle Google helped us through.

When she finally learned to latch, she would want to breastfeed for hours. HOURS. There was no letting go. I was all sore and worn out, both from giving birth and breastfeeding. It never seemed enough for her and I didn’t read up much on how to breastfeed. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a lactation consultant. Looking back, this is the one thing I regret and will always regret.

So, I committed the biggest modern day crime. I formula fed my baby. I couldn’t keep up with her demands and Selvan and I had to succumb to the evils of powdered milk. We fed her formula and then I would breastfeed her so as to get back my sanity. At nights, she would cry and we would both feel like crying as well. She suffered from colic for weeks..and I thought it was because she was formula fed. I tried various milk boosters and ended up engorged with a high fever. I tried pumping to feed her, only to have her REFUSE any express milk and me throwing it all down the sink. I felt like such a failure. I couldn’t do the ONE thing that was expected of a mother — to nourish my child with milk. And as if by sheer coincidence, all these articles on the perils of formula milk would appear on my timeline.

Selvan, who by now was frustrated with his crying baby and crying wife, finally told me to stop it. Stop reading articles. Stop trying so hard. Just stop. He reminded me over and over again that the only thing that mattered is that she is FED. So we established a routine. Breastfeed and then formula feed. On weekends, we tried to give her as little formula as we can. And you know what, the moment I stopped beating myself silly over this, she became better as well. Her crying lessened, she gave us her first smile at 6 weeks and it was almost as if she was trying to be better as well.

Today, at 16 weeks, Leia is still a formula & breastfed baby. She’s still clingy and wants us to carry her all the time. She cries when she’s with a stranger and although very cute when she smiles..she’s a little monster when she starts crying. Selvan and I have learned to adjust our schedules to suit her. She’s no longer 2.3kgs..she’s almost 5kgs and I try not to feel so bad about not being able to fully breastfeed her. I know so many people look at their newborns and say they’re in love..but for us..it felt as if we were learning to love each other. She was learning to accept us as her parents and we were learning to love this tiny human. And once we learned how to love each other, we all became better.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have learned more about feeding and taking care of a baby. I don’t know why I was so confident I could do it all! We didn’t even buy bottles because I thought she wouldn’t need it. Like everything else in life, a baby is hard work. It’s a steep learning curve..one day you’re happily pregnant and the next your hair is dropping like crazy, you’ve lost the pregnancy glow and your jeans don’t fit anymore. On top of it all, you have a crying baby who sticks to you like a koala bear.

But Leia..she taught us one of our greatest life lessons. She taught us to love unconditionally and most importantly, she taught us to be better parents. I know it’s only going to get tougher but I also know, we’re now better equipped to deal with it.

Happy 16 weeks cheeky monkey! We love you.

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-03 at 08.41.39


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