Today is baby N’s 3 week birthday. In some ways the past three weeks have seemed to flash by but in other ways it has been the longest three weeks of my entire life. All of the stress and anxiety about the feeding has absolutely dogged these newborn days. The more people I speak to about this period, the more people tell me that it is a super-hard phase and everyone struggles so I am starting to feel a tiny bit better about how hard I have found it.
Chatting to my mum I also realised I have had absolutely no exposure to newborns before, beyond a 5 minute cuddle here and there. So basically I have walked blindly into this massive life change without having half a clue of what it actually will mean to me. I guess this happens to everyone to a certain extent, but I have really, really struggled.
I don’t know why I’m finding it so hard, but I think I have a decent case of the baby blues, if not something more. I have found on several occasions that when I had the chance to nap or sleep that I couldn’t because of general anxiety. This also manifests itself in lack of appetite which negatively impacts my milk supply, which makes me anxious and generates feelings of failure, and the cycle continues.
Some days I am better than others – like today – and I feel like I can almost face the day. My milk supply seems ok today with less formula top-ups required. However, yesterday I spent the entire day sobbing and had feelings of despair and had practically no milk supply. I have also had a few episodes of sleep walking which I have not done since I was a teen so I think my head is in a funny place.
Despite all of this baby N seems perfectly fine. He looks a bit more chubby than he was a few days ago. He makes plenty of dirty and wet nappies and has a healthy appetite. From what little I know this seems to mean he’s okay. Sometimes I think he might even like me.
Age: 3 weeks
Weight: No update on this since last week but I think he’s gained as his cheeks are a big more chubby.
Feeding: We are now doing a combination of breast feeding and formula feeding. Today I even quit the pumping because ENOUGH. I do have some breast milk which he can take and anything he doesn’t get from that he can be topped up with formula. I’m seeing the paediatrician on Wednesday and maybe she’ll have something to say about our feeding regime.
The past couple of days has also seen a bit of reflux which is a pain. This is pretty common in babies and is usually because of their under-developed digestive system. I have been trying to feed him less but more often (which is wonderful as you can imagine) in order to make sure it stays in. There have been lots of outfit changes in the meantime.
Sleeping routine: Sleep has gone a bit whack the past few days. So it turns out of the first couple of weeks that newborns are just really tired and sleep a lot without any real challenges. And then they start getting fussy which is where we are at now. He takes many naps during the day – maybe around 4 naps of 1-2 hours duration – and then I bathe him at around 7pm and put him down around 8pm of the evening. Then there will be a feed at around 11pm and another about 1am-2am. Then sometimes he goes through to about 4am or 5am. But the past few days he has not been settling at all well after his 1am/2am feed. Which basically means that one or both of us is awake from then until when he crashes out at maybe 6am or 7am. It is painful. Last night at about 5am I had no idea what he wanted so I just held him and he liked that. I was desperate for some sleep so I took him back to our bed and he slept in a cuddle with me until 8am. Unfortunately my husband had vacated the bedroom long before that and slept on the floor of his study so it was overall not a good night!
Firsts: I took baby N to the pet shop and the pharmacy today – both of which are a 5 minute walk from our place. I feel like I should get a trophy for my efforts in independently leaving the house!!
Achievements: Baby N’s belly button stump finally fell off on Saturday – yay! It’s so much nicer not to have that hanging around anymore. Also, we took him to the supermarket on Saturday which was a huge deal for us. We put him in a special shopping basket that has a baby seat and even in that he was tiny. He slept through the whole experience and the second we walked in the front door he started screaming, which is probably the best result we could have hoped for.
Hair: He still has light-medium brown hair, with some tinges of auburn in there. I can see his hair getting longer even.
Eye colour: Yep, dark blue still, but going to be brown.
Things to do: Hubby did register his birth FINALLY and had to pay a penalty because he was over the 15 days since the birth. Ooops! He brought the birth certificate home and I realised my first name was incorrectly spelt in the certificate so he had to go back and get it changed. My first name is not remotely unusual or hard to spell so this was quite an acheivement. Nothing is simple around here. Otherwise, I think we have all of the new baby admin under control. That is until we want to try and get a passport or ID for the little guy. Ugh.
Things we have learned:
- We need help. I have now got someone coming to help out with housework at home a couple of times a week because I cannot handle a new baby, 3 cats and all of the associated housework on 2 hours sleep a night.
- Sleep = better milk supply. Sounds easier than it is, but interesting nonetheless.
- So many people have also struggled during this phase. Much like when I started discussing my miscarriages more openly, I have found over the past few days that if you ask people for advice or their experience they open up and it turns out everyone has really struggled at some point of parenthood.
- This has also led to me having THE FEAR of baby N getting colic. This sounds like a special kind of hell so can everyone please pray to whatever god you believe in (or don’t believe in) that he doesn’t get colic. I will lose my mind if this happens.
Mummy update: I seem to have lost another kilogram in all of the stress of the past week. I mean this is great, but not at the expense of my milk supply. I am now 6kg off my pre-pregnancy weight which is nice. My belly is still soft but now I pretty much just look a little overweight. I don’t think I could be secretly mistaken for being pregnant anymore and that’s 3 weeks after a c-section and I’m 38. Imagine if I was 25 and had a natural birth.
My c-section scar is no longer as tender as it was and getting up from a seated position and from bed is a whole lot easier these days. I still do have a slightly modified way of getting up but it looks awkward rather than anything more now. The actual incision line is still tender to touch but it’s not much of a big deal these days. I think my surgeon did a pretty awesome job all round.
Mentally I have been absolutely awful again this week. I mean some days have been ok like Saturday and today, but others I have been rock bottom and thinking bad things. Hubby has been incredible and so, so supportive. My mum and sister have been checking in on me (from Australia) daily so I think I will get there. I used to run marathons (although that seems like a different lifetime ago now) and I remember at some point during a marathon every part of your body aches to give up, but something in your mind keeps you moving forward. I have had to dig deep inside to get this part of me activated recently too. I am literally taking each day as it comes.
And here you go for some three week old fingers.