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Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness



Behind the scenes: First 4 weeks of motherhood

Photo source 

To be honest, the first four weeks of motherhood was super tough. Baby blues hit me hard and thank God I didn't fall into postpartum depression. This transition as a first-time mother was quite stressful for me. No textbook, no manual, everything is forever changing.

What happened during those trying four weeks?

Hubby and I didn't hire a confinement lady. My in-laws were my biggest support during those weeks. My hubby, being a first-time daddy, was trying his best to cope too.

 Healing from second degree perineal tearing 

I couldn't sit on hard surfaces at all; I needed to sit on a cushioned float but I had to adjust sitting positions many times whenever I felt pressure down there. I didn't want to burst the stitches.

Standing and walking a lot 

That's because I couldn't sit down for long without feeling painful down there. My feet became swollen because I was standing for long periods of time including when I was breastfeeding the baby.

Breastfeeding with wrong latch-on techniques 

Since I couldn't sit properly, my upper back hurt badly when I fed baby with hunched back and on tip-toe.

Cracked / sore nipples 

Due to wrong latch-on techniques resulted from uncomfortable sitting position and tiredness from standing long hours, my nipples were cracked and sore.


Mastitis was breast inflammation developed from cracked nipples. I was feverish; my right breast with its badly cracked nipple was engorged and a red warm area appeared on one side of the breast. Panicked, I contacted and asked for a home visit from lactation consultant. Pn. Kamariah came and the first thing she helped was to resolve my mastitis issue. My mother-in-law managed to coax a GP to come up to our house to prescribe a course of antibiotics for me and gave me an injection to reduce my fever (39.1 degrees Celsius). Pn. Kamariah also told us that baby might have tongue-tie.


Baby had posterior tongue-tie. We finally did frenotomy at Dr. Koe's clinic when he was about 2 weeks old. Tongue-tie caused poor milk intake and thus jaundice was prolonged and poor weight gain.

Prolonged jaundice / breastmilk jaundice 

On the 5th day, baby had jaundice; he refused to stay under phototherapy lights in the hospital. So we did home phototherapy. His jaundice reading rose from 295 to 314 then dropped to 265.9.

On the 15th day, rebound jaundice and baby was hospitalized for second round of phototherapy in Kuala Terengganu Specialist Hospital with a reading of 395.2!!! Dropped to 194.9 upon discharge. 

I cried and cried every time I saw his little body trashing around in the phototherapy box and every single time his tiny hand or heel was pricked to draw blood. Heart broken to the max. 

I was so lethargic because I needed to juggle between not exerting pain down there and taking care of baby and going to hospital. I didn't have enough rest during confinement. In fact, I did not have a proper confinement month.

On the 20th and 22nd day, baby's jaundice reading was 234 and 249. After a series of blood test was done on baby (yes, blood had been drawn from him so many times) plus urine test, liver and thyroid malfunction were ruled out. Urine test passed, so bacterial infection was ruled out.

Finally it was accepted that baby's prolonged jaundice was breastmilk jaundice which will take weeks (6-8) or up to 2-3 months (in some babies) to disappear. The best solution is to direct latch (breastfeed) him round the clock to make him poop and pee out the bilirubin faster.


Everything came in one full "package" and I was really pushed to my limits. I was also obsessed about my milk supply and baby's pee and poop counts, even his poop's color. I Googled everything and tried to analyze and "diagnose" whenever I noticed some changes in baby's usual behavior.

Also, being sleep-deprived, having to cope with baby's forever changing pattern, and worrying about his jaundice, I was on the verge of mental breakdown.

But I'm super lucky to have very supportive in-laws and hubby. They help out a lot and never question about my breastmilk quality or quantity. All they want is baby and mother to be happy and taken care of.

My latest mantra: Be a warrior, not a worrier.


More: Surviving the Fourth Trimester


  1. You're doing a helluva job, Joyce! Hang in there! I've been there and all I can say is, it definitely gets better! And better and better and better!

    1. Thanks Min! I'm waiting for the better days to come! :D

  2. Wow you are one tough mum! Glad you made it through!