|A day or two after we got home from the hospital.|
My Declan is 10 weeks and 1 day old today. When I think about the past 10 weeks, what stands out to me are the moments. I've had my heart warmed so many times from day one, whether it was him looking at me with so much interest in the very beginning, cooing contently while he nursed, or giving me his huge, full, open-mouth, toothless smile with a squeal of delight like he is doing most recently.
Lots of people ask how it's going. Honestly, I feel in general like I am adapting to it slower than most new moms do. I didn't think I would struggle with failure so much. I knew going into it that it would be hard, but my philosophy was that babies are tough, and my instincts will kick in. On the other hand, I've had moments of extreme pride and victory, like the fact that he has slept for 6-7 hour stretches since we got home from the hospital (up until recently!... fail). So I told myself that we really had it easy because that infamous new baby sleep was fairly kind to us.
I've struggled with breastfeeding, too. I want it so bad for him because it's best, but in the hospital he had low blood sugar so his pediatrician had me supplement with formula. I was heartbroken over this tiny thing, I felt like it was a slippery slope and I would end up with a low milk supply and not be able to give him the best like I had imagined. We ended up fighting that and winning and he has been exclusively breastfed for 2 months now. However, just the other day after a couple of weeks of being stressed and overtired, I realized that supply was low again. He seemed dissatisfied after most feedings and his previously wonderful night sleep had gone from 6-8 hours stretches down to 3-4 (hence the stress and fatigue on my part). Last night we gave him a little formula before he went to bed to make sure he was full, and wouldn't you know the poor guy slept for 9 hours straight, and went on to have three 1-hour naps and one 2.5 hour nap today (completely new). So in the name of everyone sleeping well, I might try "topping him off" with a couple of ounces of formula before bed for the next couple of nights.
|Swaddle Me blanket... straightjacket|
Along with utilizing good old biology, there are a few items that really make parenting easier. At the moment we have fallen back in love with a device that is essentially a straight jacket (I say "back in love" because we used it when he was a newborn and loved it then, too - he barely fits into it anymore - his shoulders stick out the top, but it still works!) - it's a funny-shaped blanket called a "Swaddle Me." It's great for those of us who suck at swaddling (as both Ryan and I admit we do). Strapping his arms to his sides is apparently the one little trigger that makes a crying, furious, overtired baby switch to a calm child who will easily and quietly put himself to sleep (it happened 3 times today). From now on this item will be my gift at all baby showers - it is amazing.
|Dec modeling his bumGenius (c:|
I'm also embracing the cloth diapering. I now have 13 cloth diapers (7 more coming in the mail). The first 6 I purchased new (bumGenius). I got comfortable with those and decided that used ones would probably be perfectly acceptable and save me some cash, so I went to the almighty eBay. Other than being economical, fairly easy, and environmental, they're FUN! They come in any color you could want and lots of different prints (camo!). So we still use disposables at night and on outings, but for every day we just go cloth. We end up only using about 2 disposables a day on normal at-home days. Cha-ching! Cloth wipes, too - we have a wipe warmer that keeps the flannel wipes warm and moist. The biggest thing I love about those is how smooth they are - it's odd but they really are a pleasure to use over disposable wipes. Whodathunk!?
Oh, another product that I love is the Lansinoh manual breast pump. We thought about it a long time - electric pump? Splurge and get the best one? Settle? Will it even work for me? We ended up spending $30 on this device and it's been great. One of the main things I love about it is the portability and simplicity of it. I have taken it on road trips (a time when you usually need a bottle over nursing anyway) and it's so easy to pump in the car. Of course it's also not loud like an electric pump. Win/win.
I feel like I could write a book on all of the knowledge I have accrued in these 10 weeks, and I am eager to share it with other new moms and swap advice. But every time I think I have it figured out (pride booster), I am humbled. Miserably knocked down! I am surprised at my own inability to forgive myself for getting it wrong when I know that just about any mistake is so tiny in the grand scheme of things. I didn't know it would be so hard to not be hard on myself. So I'm working on that. When Declan gets up from his naps and he smiles and coos at me, it lifts me back up to confidence. My baby's happy and he loves me. That's enough to get me through til next time (c: