It's hard to believe that it's already been three weeks since our Little Guy arrived. It's been three of the most amazing and challenging weeks of my life. As with most life-changing time periods, this one has gone by at a number of varying paces. There are minutes that crawl by, mostly late at night when he can't decide whether he is nursing or sleeping. Other moments seem to flicker past almost too quickly for them to be appreciated - his soft little head resting against my cheek, an itty bitty hand curled around my finger, listening to him breath when I should be trying to get some sleep, or feeling his hot little body against my chest. When you put it all together it becomes a blur of exhaustion and bliss.
He's spent the majority of his young life sleeping and eating. This kid eats A LOT - like a whole lot. To give you an idea, he gained more than a pound during his first two weeks of outside life. Sometimes he nurses for hours on end, demanding the boob for four to six hours at a time. I've discovered that breastfeeding is a whole lot harder than I had imagined. About halfway into the first week, when my body was still aching from the birth, and my mind was reeling from a mix of hormones, insomnia, and some kind of post-partum PTSD, it occurred to me that I could probably go to sleep if I just gave it up and fed him a bottle. That thought continues to creep in whenever Mama-hood pushes me to the brink.
I guess I had anticipated how hard it might be if we ran into problems with nursing. If I wasn't producing enough milk, or if Baby couldn't latch, then yeah, it would be really hard. What didn't occur to me was that breastfeeding would still be incredibly challenging even if everything went right. We've been blessed with a baby that loves eating, sleeps pretty well, and all-in-all is remarkably patient and easygoing. Even so, I've spent plenty of time sobbing into a burpcloth and feeling completely overwhelmed.
Things have gotten better though, and as the days and nights tick by, Kiddo and I are figuring out how to make things easier on eachother. I'm also discovering that my struggles aren't unusual - that the first six weeks with a breastfed baby are always hard, no matter how "easy" your baby and situation seem to be.
We did have a couple of scary moments since he arrived, but Little Guy is happy, healthy, and growing like crazy. He had a couple of possible markers for health issues when he was born, so we had to take him for ultrasounds when he was just eight days old. It was pretty stressful, and until then I had never heard him cry for more than a few moments, but thankfully the tests revealed a perfectly healthy baby.
As for me, my body had a few unexpected reactions to my post-partum period, but things seem to be improving in that department as well. I think the biggest change I've noticed in the past few days is the settling of my emotions. I've been so tired and overwhelmed that I hadn't really had the chance to sit back and enjoy being with my baby. He'd also been either asleep or eating for the first week and half of his life, making time for mutual reflection brief.
Lately he has started staying up after his morning feedings to look around, gurgle, and grab my fingers. It's become my daily ritual to enjoy this hangout time as much as possible. I spend it talking to him, tracing the lines on his itty bitty body, smelling his head, and letting his existence really sink in. The fact that I made him, this brand new person, feels like a miracle. The realization that I could do it again makes it feel like a superpower.
One Week Milestones:
- Peed on Daddy seven days in a row.
- Gaining tons of weight.
- Wiggles, twists, and shimmies.
Two Week Milestones:
- He grew butt cheeks! Macho. Macho.
- He lost his cord stump.
- His hair is turning blonde.
Three Week Milestones:
- He's pushing his legs out so that he can "stand up" while being held.
- He rolls over during tummy time (I swear! ...Not that I can explain how a 3 week old baby can accomplish such a feat.)
- He hold his head up and pushes his chest up with his arms to look around.
- He's making new noises all the time.
P.S. Thank you, Scissorina, for talking such lovely pics of Babykins!