formuLIE

it’s been almost a year of breastfeeding for us, and in this time i have come to realise how incredibly simple breastfeeding can be and how out of touch with our own nature we have become. 

sure, women and most other mammals have been breastfeeding since the beginning of our existence. it should be instinct. but breastfeeding as a human at a time where everyone wants convenience poses and entirely different challenge.

a generation ago, our mothers were made to believe that formula was better than breast milk. a generation sold on the convenience and comfort that modern day life had to offer. bombarded by advertisements paid for by the very corporations who had everything to gain with no other reliable or available source of information, how could we blame them?

fortunately things have changed since then and for those of us who want to be educated now, there is an entire world wide web of information for us to tap into at our fingertips. but in large part, the damage has been done.

i’ve been told a whole ton of different stories where it comes to unsuccessful breastfeeding. low supply, fussing baby, painful latching, rejection of direct latching and the list goes on. but all i hear is the same issue of inadequate education on the true journey that is breastfeeding and a preference for convenience with formula as an opt out. the easy albeit expensive alternative.

i understand. when ella was admitted for jaundice and had to undergo phototheraphy, after latching for half an hour and falling asleep, i put her back down for light where she woke up and started crying. wanting to calm her down (or shut her up), the nurse asked if i minded her giving ella some formula. worried about my child and not wanting her to be crying in the nicu, i said okay.

at this point, my milk had not kicked in yet. it sometimes takes a few days. especially for first time mothers. but no one had informed me. all babies do at that stage is latch latch latch. nonstop – to bring in the milk. but no one was informing me.

no information from the nurses and doctors. the people we look to for advice when we find ourselves in those situations. only formula. and then we turn to the people around us for help. if we’re lucky, someone has the necessary information on what to do. if not, we find ourselves surrounded by people telling us to supplement. confinement ladies, mothers or friends that believe formula is alright. 

for any mother who has just gone through the process of childbirth after a long pregnancy, who is emotionally and physically drained and in need of care, who is willing and needing to trust her caregivers – such misinformation at this critical time is dangerous. it causes a lot of mistakes with feeding and supplementing with formula because why not, right? formula is accessible, reliable, measurable, less stressful and healthy.

except that it is not. healthy, that is.

formula is inferior to breast milk. contains all sorts of additives, preservatives and sugars. destroys the natural gut flora and should only be used as an absolute last resort when needed – as opposed to starvation. after direct latching, expressed breast milk and donor breast milk. 

formula is sold as a necessity. but it is not. formula is promoted as a healthy option. but it is not.

breast is best. always.

but you can’t go up to a mother or friend and start giving them directions on what to do. you can’t tell them what’s better or healthier or natural. you just have to stand back and watch silently, because no one wants to be told. because no one is asking. we know plenty of situations where women receive a ton of unsolicited advice from a know-it-all relative. no one wants to be that jackass.

so we keep our mouths shut. i keep my mouth shut. and let everyone journey their own journey. 

but what if someone would rather know if there’s something more they could do. if they’re making the healthy choice. if what they’re going through is normal. 

what if i just put it out here, in case someone stumbles upon this and could use the help.  

breastfeeding is not just an act of feeding one’s youngling. breastfeeding is communication between mother and child. after delivery (especially for first time mothers), milk may take a couple of days to kick in. this is normal. don’t supplement. a baby is expected to lose a percentage of their weight in the first week before they begin to gain weight and can go without milk for those few days without issue. as milk kicks in, baby is given a good dose of colostrum – which provides all the essential antibodies for a newborn.

how much milk a mother produces is a matter of demand. more demand = more supply. in the early days, baby may want to latch all throughout the day. you may wonder why baby is constantly hungry or cranky. if you are making enough milk. the solution is to offer boob when baby stirs. even if it seems like all your time is spent with a baby on your breast. this is normal. don’t supplement. the frequency of feeding will reduce as as baby’s tummy grows.

then just as you think you’ve gotten into a routine and know what baby needs, baby will go through a growth spurt which causes baby to need much more milk and seem unsettled. for a day or two, it may feel like you have a newborn again. this too, is normal. don’t supplement. just offer baby the breast as much as needed once again. repeat until no longer breastfeeding. 

babies should be breastfed for at least 6 months where they do not need water or anything else other than breastmilk, but continue to benefit from breastmilk and the bonding associated to breastfeeding for years. in times of sickness, a mother’s body makes antibodies to be delivered to the child through breastmilk. after 1 year shall you decide to stop breastfeeding, your child no longer needs milk – not formula, not cow’s milk – and can adequately receive all needed nutrients from a good diet. 

you don’t ever have to buy into the formulie. save yourself the money. nature has already given us all we need for the best chance of survival. 

when in doubt – always trust nature. 

ishvara pranidhana

i’ve gotten back into the swing of yoga. after 3 years of waiting. wanting. trying. i gave myself a break and looked for a class. the truth is, i just wasn’t able to get into the flow of it on my own. 

the first time around, the both of us had no commitments in life. we were renting a room, making ends meet with part time work and hadn’t quite figured out what we wanted to do with life yet. we were wanderers. free. it was easy. we made time for yoga every morning. sometimes a few hours. 

and then life took over. and the past 3 years have been different from what life was back then. so, i guess counting on myself to be able to practice yoga the same way just caused more strain. 

after renting the room, we moved to an empty house with a much bigger rent and no furniture. yoong went to work full time as we tried to build a home. i struggled to practice yoga. 

then opportunity came calling and we moved to another empty house in taiping. we had no jobs as we tried to set up a land and our house at the same time. i struggled to practice yoga. 

after a few months we got pregnant (by choice). we pushed to start our own little business while maintaining our old side business while setting the home up for baby. i struggled to practice yoga. 

3 years passed. i had planned to be the perfect mum in waiting. eating all the good stuff while pregnant. practicing yoga. stretching. meditating. breathing. but the truth is our schedule was so packed that i continued to struggle to practice yoga. 

then baby came. and i still had all these crazy ideas on being a perfect baby-wearing yoga mum. but before i could get there, my body gave way. 

the years of hard hard hard work had taken it’s toll. all the long hours + heavy lifting + bending over + incorrect posture + caring for a baby = one painfully herniated disc. 

the truth is my back has been in pain for years. a pain i pretended to not see and somehow thought i could ignore away. 

i tried qi gong & tai chi massages. acupuncture and physiotherapy. and somewhere along that process i realized it’s completely fine for me to seek and accept help. if i could with these things, why not for yoga. 

and so i did. and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. i can schedule the classes into our daily life and make time. for yoga, with support. 

the truth is that my back and legs are still in a lot of pain. some days are good. some days i struggle to walk.

the truth is that my physiotherapist tells me to drop yoga but i’m not listening.

because the truth is that i love that i have yoga again. i just restarted. i don’t think i can deal with a reality in which I don’t have yoga anymore. 

this time, i blindly believe that if i practice right and push in the right ways, yoga will heal and not hurt. 

sometimes i look back at the past and ask myself what i was thinking, doing what i did. but the problem is that in the present, all of life is really a gamble. a future unknown. 

i can’t say where this will lead me. but i believe in always following my gut instinct above all else. and right now it’s chanting softly but strongly… 

yoga 

yoga

YOGA

and if yoga doesn’t lead me out of pain. or worse, leads me to more pain, then i shall accept that pain as part of the rest of my journey back to self. 

because all of life is just that – a journey – to which i surrender myself wholely.  

in this now, this ever fleeting present, i am just thankful to be one with yoga again.

namaste. 

break through

sometimes it makes me angry.
sometimes it makes me sad.
sometimes i am scared.

sometimes i get so frustrated that no matter what i say, i can’t seem to get through.

i’m a fixer. and whenever i pick up on something within myself – emotionally or physically – that needs fixing, i try to fix it. i try very hard. i try so hard i end up breaking my back trying to heal it. and then i try some more. i never give up.

EVER.

but i can’t fix everything. i struggle to just fix myself. so when other people need fixing, i try to do my part to enable them to fix themselves and hope they get to it. sometimes they don’t.

sometimes my other half doesn’t.

i don’t understand why.

could it be that he doesn’t care? or that he’s not worried? or that it actually scares him too much to allow himself to think of the what ifs. because the what ifs are pretty darn scary to me. maybe he just doesn’t give it much thought. maybe it matters less to him than it does to me.

this does after all, affect the outcome of my life more than it does his. however selfish that sounds.

he is my partner. my better half. my soulmate. there’s no version of the future in my mind in which we aren’t holding hands, growing old together. whether or not he is here – to me – is everything.

of course it scares me.
of course that makes me sad.
of course i get angry.

why would he not do all he can for the best possible chance at that future?

what am i not getting? and why am i not getting through?
i want to fix things so badly my mind was yelling so loud i’ve gone deaf.

it’s silent now.
it’s better when it’s silent.

i wish it would stay silent forever.

let go

it never ceases to amaze me, how much we can be blind to our own actions and thought patterns. very often to the detriment of ourselves and the people around us. i spend a lot of time trying to understand things. mainly myself.

you see, i have an issue with things feeling out of control. with not being able to find or believe in a solution to what i perceive to be a problem. and when i worry about what my mind believes to be an inevitable negative outcome, i panic. i get frustrated. i get angry at the things or people who i believe to be causing these situations i can not avoid. because i believe that i am capable and willing to make the necessary changes where the other party is not. and then i push. i demand for change because i believe that only change will alter the outcome that i am so afraid of. and more often than not, that is not what the situation needs – because things spin out of control even more and everything repeats – just more intensely. that is my loop.

kindness is what any situation needs.

i have learnt that the only way to overcome myself, is to take a step back and breathe. to let go. to detach from the situation and the justification i feel towards being right or wronged. to observe myself and those around me. to understand their side. their imperfections, and mine. to accept that by letting go, the inevitable outcome i fear will indeed take place. to not fear it anymore. to know that i will get through even the roughest of patches. to know that i will be stronger for it. to remember that every experience brings with it a space for me to learn and grow. to accept that this is my journey.

to stop there and not expect the same understanding or treatment in return.

to not expect anything.

breathe.

love. surrender. give.

let go.

flow with the currents of life.

be free.

mom

being a mom means having very little no time to myself.

being a mom means trying to work out when to put tiny human down after she falls asleep after feeding for a nap to get some little task done and being worried that some random sound will signal the end of that personal time. usually something does wake her up. usually too soon to soon for me to complete anything!

being a mom means having the patience to work on a project – 20 minutes at a time, over the span of many days – sometimes losing interest before its able to be completed – sending it to the ever growing list of things to get to that will never get done.

being a mom means sacrificing self. prioritizing tiny human’s needs and wants. self interest. self image. self identity. everything changes to accommodate tiny human that relies on me 24/7.

being a mom means being on watch and on call every waking moment of tiny human’s days. to greet her in the morning. to pick her up. to change her diapers and clothes. to shower her. to play with her. to help her stand up. to keep her from falling down. to feed her. all throughout the night.

being a mom means forgetting what real sleep feels like. 2 hours is my new bar. 2 hours is good. 3 hours is rare and amazing. 4 hours is panic because “what’s wrong?! why has tiny human not woken me up yet”.

being a mom is getting out of bed every morning despite the intense lack of sleep, the tiredness or the body aches. being made aware of the strength i truly posses. pushing myself beyond limits i’ve never experienced before.

being a mom means having this innate desire to continuously do better. to provide all i can and more. to never feel good enough, no matter the effort or outcome.

being a mom means being fiercely protective – hyper-alert and hypersensitive to the environment and how it affects tiny human – having senses so on point, it’s almost a superpower.

being a mom means being a superhero. taking on the responsibilities and obligations. receiving the adoration and love.

being a mom means being the UNIVERSE to tiny human. EVERYTHING. ALL. TOTAL. WHOLE. SEMUA. KA LIAO. QUAN BU.

being a mom means being in love like never before. overwhelming love. and falling in love all over again at every new thing tiny human does. and tiny human does a lot of new things. all the time.

being a mom means living life with a purpose. because raising tiny human right – really matters. and will take a lifetime. what an honour and gift, to be given tiny human to guide through life and learn from.

being a mom means re-experiencing life all over again. seeing things through tiny human’s not so tiny eyes. rediscovering the beauty in simplicity. and the importance of things i have come to overlook or take for granted.

being a mom means spending what little free time i have while tiny human sleeps – watching her sleep. watching her sleep happily. feeling content. feeling accomplished. feeling oneness. feeling complete.

being a mom means wanting no time to myself and accepting the daily chaos that is my new life because i no longer desire to be in control because i am just so mindlessly lost in love. lost in tiny human.

hello tiny human. i’ve been waiting for you.

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