There are a vast number of challenges within parenting. They can feel like one of those tightly wound balls of rubber bands that refuse to get any smaller no matter how many you remove. The challenges keep coming. One challenge I was yet to face until recently was how to cope with looking after a baby when I was sick.
A week ago we moved to Malaysia for my Husband's work. The transition went smoothly but my gut didn't have the same luck. I got a stomach bug and it was unpleasant. With my husband Anu unable to take the day off to help with our daughter Bowie, it was up to me to straighten up my mama hat and keep going.
Unfortunately when your child is 9 months old, they can not understand the phrase “mama needs to rest, can we play quietly please”. However, Bowie did seem to sense that all was not well in mama-land and spent a good portion of her time sitting on the bed with me playing with toys. Thank you my angel, some time to recharge.
My biggest concerns, however, were not about myself (as they would have been pre-motherhood) but about Bowie. I was extremely worried I would pass this dreadful bug on to her and that my lack of food would heavily reduce my milk supply. Paired with Bowie eating fewer solids due to hotel living I was concerned she would go hungry. Roll on new living quarters with a full kitchen!
So what did I do?
- I was extra vigilant with hand washing and keeping Bowie out of the bathroom, no simple task!
- I rested as much as I could and for the first time ever I napped when Bowie napped.
- I broke some of my rules and had the cartoon channel on while Bowie was playing. She doesn’t actively watch the television but the voices keep her occupied.
- I drank lots of water with a little bit of organic grape juice, chamomile tea to help soothe my gut and I ate a little bit of simple food; banana, baked sweet potato with sea salt, raw almonds and plain crackers.
I had no appetite but I knew keeping my milk supply up was vital. That night I shed a few tears when Bowie wanted to continue nursing before bed but my milk supply had stopped. Thankfully she went to sleep without a fuss and made up for it by feeding more through the night.
What did I learn?
- There are times when life takes over and your do's and don'ts of parenting take a back seat. For me being sick and away from home with a 9 month old is one of them.
- Nothing makes me more anxious than a risk to my baby's health. It's hard to stay calm but remember over reacting and stressing will only make things harder.
- Exhausted and at the end of my tether somehow I kept my momentum going. Take solace that as a mum you have great depths of reserves to keep your family afloat.
It is impossible to be a super-parent all of the time. Sometimes you have to recharge before you can get back to super-status. As long as YOU do the best you possibly can with the time, energy and resources you have, your family will be strong and connected.
How do you cope when you are sick and you have children to look after? Any super strategies that get you through?
Keep on moving on and up,