Thank you for all of the helpful and genuine comments on my last blog post. You’ve no idea how much they have helped to keep me going through some bleak days. I am pleased to report that I have seen some improvement in my milk supply since Friday so I am feeling a tiny bit more optimistic now about breast feeding. I still have a long way to go to bring it up to scratch, but at least I’m now heading in the right direction.
That being said, I am so, so, exhausted from all of the pumping and the feeding and the worrying. The paediatrician had me pumping 6-8 times a day over the past few days in addition to feeding at the breast at each meal… honestly it was impossible to do anything, even sleep with this regime and I was losing my mind so badly yesterday that I asked my husband to shoot me. I meant it too. My mental health has certainly come in for a beating the past few days with sleep deprivation taking its toll. I have more than once pondered whether I am cut out for this whole motherhood malarkey.
I don’t know why but I never imagined that breast feeding or motherhood would be so hard. Maybe this is what happens when you try for something for so long that when you get it there is a degree of an anticlimax. My baby is lovely and gorgeous and very huggable, and goodness he was longed for, but I will confess that sometimes I wish I could check out of motherhood and go back to my old life, even for a short while. I wonder if I would feel more optimistic and happy if I had my family around me and/or a better support network. I have really missed my mum this past week and I think she’s also felt pretty bad that she couldn’t be there to help me (not that I want her to feel bad). Hubby was cuddling and stroking baby N today and I actually felt jealous and I wished someone would give me a cuddle and stroke my back to make me feel better.
My only way of coping is to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and so far I’m still here and the baby is doing well. This is of course the most important thing, although it would be good to feel well enough in myself that I can actually start enjoying being a mum sometime soon.
Age: 2 weeks and one day (forgive me for my lateness, I was very busy losing my mind yesterday)
Weight: 3.54kg – birth weight 3.4kg. Thank goodness he finally put some weight on as I was stressing out so hugely about this. He’s also grown from being 53cm at birth to be 54cm now. Yay!
Feeding: Well I was meant to be exclusively breastfeeding but see my previous post for the details on how well that has gone (spoiler: not well). So now it is mainly breastfeeding, with some pumping and some formula as a supplement. The formula usually comes into play in the evenings when I have lost the will to live and would feed him a sandwich if that would work. Hubby has stepped up big time in the past week (losing your mind has benefits) and generally handles feeds that occur between 11.30 pm and 1.00am which usually allows me around 4 straight hours of sleep WHICH IS AMAZING! I think I love him (both hubby and son) more during those 4 hours than at any other time during the day.
Sleeping routine: The routine is there is no routine. The only thing that resembles a pattern is that I am trying to set a schedule whereby he has a bath around 7pm as part of his wind down to sleep, but I’ve not really noticed any other discernible pattern than that. He usually wakes up about 5 minutes into my dinner so clearly he has skills that they don’t write about in the baby books. Generally he sleeps for about 2-3 hours, but sometimes it’s shorter and sometimes it’s longer. He’s a newborn so he does whatever he wants to!
Firsts: Today was the first time he weighed in at or above his birth weight and that was pretty tremendous! He also seems to be more alert and aware this week with periods of a couple of hours each day where he is neither hungry or tired and so we hang out on our play mat and I make faces at him or make funny sounds with his toys. This is the play mat that I use and it’s made by my very good friend in Australia with all organic cotton. Yes, I am promoting her because a) she’s my friend and b) her products are great. She also sent me this play mat as a gift so it’s the least I can do. She ships internationally too!
Achievements: Baby N did a MASSIVE poo in my hand the other night when I was taking him to the bath. That was quite memorable. I had poo all over the place and it was only sometime later that I wondered why my toes felt a bit sticky and I looked down to see I had poo in between them. I had seriously been walking about the house for at least 30 minutes with poo in between my toes. The old me would be horrified by this.
Hair: His light-medium brown hair seems to have grown a bit this week as it’s now a little spikey in places. I can also see a hint of auburn in there. We might have semi-ginger on our hands! There is no red hair in my immediate family, but there is some in uncles and cousins.
Eye colour: They are still dark blue for now but definitely going to be brown.
Things to do: Hubby has still not managed to register his birth because every time he goes the queues are more than 2 hours long and he has a job to go to. I’m not sure when you have to register births by but I think he better hurry up.
My mother-in-law’s birthday is this Friday and she’s booked a family dinner at a fancy restaurant and is INSISTING that I come and leave the baby with her cleaner. While her cleaner is more than capable of looking after him, I really, really don’t feel ready to go. If it was something more casual I might have attempted it, but actually I don’t have enough time in the day to even get myself ready for a fancy dinner, much less actually go to it. And even if I did make some kind of supreme effort to go, I will hate every second of it. Seriously, he’ll be 2.5 weeks old at this point. Don’t I get a leave pass for at least the first three months of his life?
Things we have learned:
- Sleep deprivation makes you crazy and depressed.
- Baby no longer really likes being swaddled so that was a brief phase. Maybe it’s because it’s so hot here but he seems to like to kick his legs and wave his arms about freely now.
- Everyone has an opinion about how to feed your baby and in order to keep a tiny bit of sanity I have had to block out those who are not 100% supportive of my efforts to continue breast feeding. I cannot thank those bloggers who reached out to me enough for their kindness over the past few days. I read everything that everyone said and it gave me some strength to keep going.
- Formula is not the evil alternative to breast feeding that everyone makes it out to be. When we finally relented and gave baby N some formula he looked happy and settled for the first time in days. For someone so pro-breast feeding I have had to shift my mindset quite a lot to accommodate formula in our feeding schedule, but they are right that if the baby is happy then everyone is happy. As one of you lovely folks said, “Fed is best” and I couldn’t agree more.
Mummy update: I’ve not lost any more weight this week which is not a surprise because I’ve been eating everything in order to try and get my milk supply up. That said, I think my belly has come down a fair bit which is good. I have a long way to go but I can see there is progress. I can’t even contemplate the start of Operation MILF (i.e. the project to get my body back) until we can get the feeding all sorted and I get some actual sleep on a regular basis.
The pain from my c-section is much less now and I am not restricted a lot by it anymore. Some twists and movements to get up are still difficult but I have adapted accordingly. The skin around the external scar is still a little sensitive so I continue to favour dresses over trousers or shorts for the simple reason that the lack of a waistband is more comfortable.