Flying without my daughter

I had to attend the ASEAN Tourism Forum and it meant flying to Manila. I decided to just leave the children because I would be gone for just 3 nights. The biggest challenge for me was leaving my 1 year old baby who is still exclusively breastfed. This will be our very first time to separate from each other in a year.

 I bought my little Anna the sippy cup, a cup with straw because she opposed the bottle. We tried introducing her to formula and she just refused the formula milk. I thought, she won’t take it because I am still around. She would however sip duchmill yogurt drink (which she learned from her older brother). I bought 2 kinds of formula so she can choose which one she prefers while I am away. I also left several of my clothing that I have not laundered so she could have a sense of comfort when she smells me.

  
The night before I left, my little girl may have sensed it because she just fed almost every hour. I could not sleep! I did not have any spare breastmilk stored because once babies start to eat, supply usually deplete. 

I called a friend who left their daughter for a trip and she said that her daughter took the formula because she had no choice. They were gone for a week or even longer and their baby adjusted. So I trusted her advise and I also got this confirmation from another close friend who had the same experience. 

I left for Manila and focused on the sales mission for the next couple of days. I called to check on my Anna. I found out on the first day she was on full protest and did not drink from any of the sippy cups, nor from the bottle. She went on the whole day without milk and just munched away on food. I honestly started to worry.

  
Day 2- I learned that at 6 am she was supposed to take milk in between her sleep. However,  she did not. She woke up,  ate food and went back to bed. She was still protesting taking the formula milk. I had to start researching and learned that as long as she is eating a lot, she should be fine. So I relaxed. 

Meanwhile in Manila I had to express milk because my breasts were feeling painful. I was able to store some milk and many I had to throw away. 

Day 3 – I learned my strong-willed Anna just continued to refuse the milk that was given to her. I could not believe that she has reached this far without milk. She is well behaved but would cry before sleeping because usually we are cuddling so she could sleep. At night she won’t sleep early. She would stay up till 11pm and ask to go outside. There she would call “Mama… Mama…”. When I heard that, I felt that maybe she was waiting and hoping I would be home that night. I felt so bad to hear that report. 😢

Day 4- I could not sleep. I kept thinking of my children and how excited I am to see them. I wondered if Anna would still breastfeed when she sees me… I took the 6:35 am flight so I could be home the soonest that I could. I am missing my family.

As soon as arrived home, my son rushed shouting “Mommy!” … On the sideline with smiles and giggles was my baby girl who stood her ground to not drink any milk. She was so happy to see me that she positioned herself ready for breastfeeding. And that’s pretty much what she wanted to do all day was stick by me and latch!  

  This trip made me learn a few things about my daughter… When she sets her mind on something, she will stick to it no matter what. So for now we are going to continue breastfeeding until she is more ready to wean.

A Hard Month!

And just like that 30 days had passed and my little princess turned a month old! I spoke too early when I described my little girl as an angel that just loves to sleep and is super easy. Well she was until 2 weeks old and then our nights became sleepless nights as Anna turned colic.

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I now have a better appreciation for my mom and those who cared for me as a baby. I learned from my mom that I was colicky as a baby too. Let me describe what a colicky baby is — she gets fussy and then cries uncontrollably with a red flushed face, fists clenched tight, and legs kicking in protest. This scene happens not for a few minutes but a few hours! It is not her diapers because they have been changed. It’s not hunger because she has been breastfed and has burped. But, she continues to cry and cry. It was not long that we noticed something not right with her tummy. Her abdomen gets warm, bloated, and hard. It gets relieved when the gas is passed or when she poops.

Our pediatrician advised us to not stress or get angry as she throws these fits because the baby can feel it. If she keeps crying the gas will build up and so will the pain and discomfort. These colic episodes usually happens late afternoons and most often in the early mornings (like 2-3 am). Caring for a colic baby is sooo tiring!

Initially my husband was upset because baby Anna was just inconsolable. But as the days went on, God sent him people who verified about the Colic syndrome. My husband became more sympathetic and understanding towards our situation.

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I have to thank God too, because I can really see that He is teaching me to stretch my patience. I recall how I had my bouts of impatience with my first-born when he would not sleep! I caught myself being frustrated with spells of anger spilling out because I was tired. This time, God has given me grace and self-control. When I see my baby girl in her colicky moments I stay calm. I know she is uncomfortable and likely in pain. Another blessing in this situation is talking to God more. Everytime Anna goes into her colicky mode, I begin to pray and sing songs of praise.

They say that most babies get over this state when they reach 3 months. I pray that God will relieve her of this earlier than that. Whether in blues or in bliss, in hardship or in ease, all of these are part of the joys of motherhood.

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