The first few weeks of new mommy- and daddyhood are quite intense. You’re riding a roller coaster of emotions (yes, daddies too), getting to know your new little one, and paid visits by many family and friends who bring assistance in many forms; from meals to snacks left on the doorstep or company on a Friday night. Days run into nights into days again. It’s a diaper change then a nursing session then another diaper change and lots of snuggling and taking it easy.
In between it all you fit in the housework, a nap if you can, (another) trip to Walgreen’s to buy more medicine for your scrappy post-partum body, and googling things like “are babies supposed to blink less than adults” or “when do baby’s teeth come in.” Very important questions. Instead of my daily google searches of “blank blank blank when pregnant” it’s now “blank blank blank with newborn/baby/infant.”
Moo Goes the Cow
Learning how to breastfeed is no easy feat. It’s a challenge that brings many rewards for both mom and baby. It’s constantly changing, so once you think you have it figured out and things are going smoothly, it changes again and there are new or more challenges to understand. Before I had Lo, I always thought, why is there SO MUCH attention focused on breastfeeding? I didn’t really get it until I had to do it myself. Like most new moms, I was nervous about how it would go, what would it feel like, would I make enough milk, how much should I be pumping. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to it. Then, when things got consistently smooth (week 4ish), my confidence slowly built and I enjoyed it. Challenges ranged from her always falling asleep to a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance due to overproduction (which made for one very fussy and unhappy baby). Not to mention the physical pain from latching that gradually fades as your body adjusts.
Thinking back to week 2, I was so completely sad even thinking about Sean traveling again mostly because I was an emotional wreck and wanted him to be with us at all times. But as time went on and my sanity grew, I was okay with him traveling. Sure, I would miss the extra hands when she was especially needy or when I was trying to cook dinner. And I would miss him and the special family bonding time we shared the whole month of July. But I knew that day would come when I would “be alone” for four days in a row.
On the Road Again
Since week 5 he’s been traveling, and Lo and I have had a good chunk of time to find our routine. There are good days and there are bad days. Days when I google or text my sisters and friends random questions like “were your babies clammy?” and days when I just can’t stare at her enough. I even miss her when she’s napping and find myself looking at her cute little face on my phone when I’m not with her sometimes.
The Day She Finally Slept 6 Hours
It was week 6, day 1, a Sunday night, when she finally slept six consecutive hours. I couldn’t believe it when I woke up and the clock said 6:45 and she was fast asleep. While the time she wakes is not consistent, she has repeated those 5-6 hour stretches the majority of the time this past week. I actually miss waking up at 2am to nurse her. I can’t believe I just wrote that, but it’s true. It’s special mom and Lo time. I thank her every morning for sleeping so late and whisper in her ear before bed to please let mommy sleep so she has a happy mommy the next day.
The 6-Week Stride
What all this is building up to is what I’m calling the 6-week stride. She is finally nursing longer stretches without interruption, which for us means less “Wake up, Lo, Wake up!”. Then getting out of the chair to change her diaper or do something else to wake her up. Less crying during nursing because of gas (although we still have plenty of gas at other times). Less pleading with her to burp so I can go back to bed. Less dirty diaper changes overall.
We have more real smiles, more awake time, more games to play and bath time songs. We have longer walks and talks about the birds in the sky. We have more books to read and songs to sing. We have Facetime dates with Daddy every night and mommy and Lo workouts on the floor in the morning.
There’s not really a schedule per say, but I guess you can call these patterns. My main nursing goals are in the evening so I can ensure she gets a lot of milk and learns nighttime bedtime. For now, that’s a late afternoon feeding around 4-5 and then again at 7 or 7:30 and 9-10 so she’s in bed no later than 10:30.
We still have our almost daily moments of “I can’t deal with her right now” when her cries won’t stop and we don’t know why. And I’m sure more changes and challenges are right around the corner. But for now I’m going to soak up this little routine we’ve found together, relax and enjoy life.