The first three months of being a mother was fun. Because Ezra is super easy to take care of, I really enjoyed our little chats, eye and limb exercises, and feedings every morning. I also particularly loved the afternoons I spent talking sweet non-sense and making faces just to see him curl the end of his lips to resemble a smile.
Yes, there were moments that kinda worried me. Like that day when I noticed cradle cap or the acnes that decided to just break out of my poor baby’s face. The menacing thrush at the back mouth, and the moment I realized that I have to clean his mouth with my fingers everyday to keep him from getting the infection again really scared the shit out of me, too. But after solving those typical newborn challenges (Breastmilk cures everything!), I thought: “Man, I totally rock being a mom.”
I was on a high. It eventually encouraged me to go from mixed feeding with formula milk to exclusively breastfeeding beginning Ezra’s second month. And having him learn how to start sleeping longer hours was like cherry on top.
Those were the days. And that’s not the case now.
Sometime on his third month, Ezra just suddenly refused feeding from the bottle. He would make this disgusted look every time I offered him one. We even tried different brands of milk bottles and teats just to get him back into it, but to no avail. We were wasting in 2 to 3 ounces of breastmilk per each attempt at bottle training. It was frustrating. And eventually, his continued aversion to milk bottles completely tired me out. I gave up.
Since I’m the only one taking care of my baby, I found it wise not to let this feeding challenge get me worked up. I distracted myself by getting Ezra to roll over his tummy and back, which has been working well so far. Thankfully. I went on to stick to direct latching and feeding on demand since then.
Ezra turned 6 months old last week, which means he can now eat solid foods. We have tired carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. And so far, he’s only been getting a couple of spoons of them every feeding.
Of course, I do not expect him to finish a serving yet. But this morning, I noticed that even though he does not cry, he refuses to give me a mouth that’s fully open. He closes it every time he sees a spoon. But if I place my finger in his lips, he would open it up wide almost instinctively. And just so he can get started with different tastes, I admit to giving him food with my fingers in the last few days.
I know it’s a wrong way in the long run and that’s why I’ve been feeling guilty. I do not have any idea how to do it another way. I’ve been asking a lot of friends how to approach bottle and spoon feeding, but like most things, it’s easier said than done.
And to be honest, I’ve been feeling helpless and alone in this aspect. And I start to feel sorry for my son, who depends solely on me for feeding. I want him to thrive at the care of trusted friends and relatives whenever I would need to run an errand. But I cannot even leave him alone with his father simply because he does not want to drink milk from the bottle. And now, I’m mostly scared that I may be straining him to develop poor eating habits or worse, food aversion.
It’s just tough to be a mother abroad. And I admire those women who were able to do child rearing — for it means they were able to overcome all of these seemingly small but crucial things to be able to raise good kids in a foreign land. I don’t know if I have it in me.
I can’t help but feel like if I have someone else here like my mom or dad or our trusted Tita Hedi to teach me how to do it, I can do a better job. That maybe, I can be a better mother.