Every time I meet up with my closest girlfriends, I learn something new about parenting. To date, we have three mummies and five babies (one more on the way). Quite a bit of experience among our group of eight I would say.
The latest meet up was for Jo’s bachelorette party. Two of the mummies in our group brought along their breast pumps. The last time we met, I learnt that even if baby does not feed, milk needs to be released to relieve the mother of pain from her “rock hard” breasts. What I did not realise then was the interval between each feed/pump.
So the scenario went something like this:
One of the mummies pumps milk before sleeping (which was quite late in the night already). We go off to sleep at around 2am. At about 6am (I think so), mummy wakes up to find that her shirt is a little wet (milk has leaked). She rushes to pump the milk. What?! Only four hours of sleep and she has to wake up to do this?! Out of curiosity, I asked her how often does she have to do this. She replied that baby usually feeds on a 3-4 hourly basis so the body sorts of gets used to this routine and produces enough milk to satisfy the demand.
I have heard more than enough stories of mothers having a lack of sleep because they need to care for their babies. I often thought that it was because baby would wake up and cry at night due to hunger or something else. As baby gets older, he/she would sleep through the night and that would relieve mummy from her lack of sleep. The sudden realisation that that was not going to be the case made me feel a little uneasy. I know I would want to breastfeed my baby as much as I can in the future. After all, cow’s milk is not easily digested by humans…or so I heard. But, having to battle for sleep even after my kid learns to sleep through the night? Ok…I think I need a lot of mental preparation for this.
It’s not like I’m not ready to be a mother. The hubby and I have talked about having kids and I know it is going to be tough. I know there will be lots of pain (physically and mentally) and challenges to face, and I’m ready to take on all of them. It’s just that the more I learn about being a parent, the more I wonder will I have enough strength to cope with it all. I have to anyway. I suppose that’s why having a strong support team made up of family and friends is important. For me, I know I’m going to have a strong support team so that lets me breathe a big sigh of relief. I know that as much as I gather all the knowledge now, I will still face problems later on for there’s no ideal situation for always. But I know my support team will always be there for me and that makes a huge difference.
Through this episode, I’ve also learnt that it is important for couples to understand what they will be facing before they decide to have kids. It’s definitely not going to be a walk in the park so be mentally prepared and be willing to make the necessary sacrifices.