How is motherhood going?
It’s been pretty much exactly what I expected, so far. Hard and frustrating at times and pure bliss at others. A roller coaster of ups and downs that changes by the minute. The selflessness that comes along with caring for this little baby of mine has manifested deep within me. And I swear just after breastfeeding I feel huge rushes of oxytocin in my veins – rushes of love and emotion like you’d feel during a wedding ceremony or when you watch a family reunite after a long time apart.
Some comments on how it’s going:
-The Baby Connect app has been wonderful. I love tracking feedings and sleeping, as it gives me an idea of timing. I’m feeding him on demand – whenever he cries or roots – but it’s been helpful to know that it’s been an hour and a half and he will probably want to wake up and nurse any minute or that I’ve been asleep for 53 minutes since we last woke up at night.
-My house has always been spotless and decluttered. Obsessively so. Now, it’s more lived in, and I don’t mind a bit. As cliché as it sounds, our house feels more like a home. Baby swing in the kitchen and all.
-We’ve been aiming for “12 hours of bedtime” a night. I put that in quotes because it’s not really all sleep. I’m up anywhere from 5-7 of those hours nursing, rocking, swaddling, diaper changing. But getting in bed early when Mazen does has really helped us out on the sleep schedule. And despite the fact that this is the least amount of sleep I’ve ever had in my whole life, I feel pretty darn good in the daytime. When the sun is out and I’m up and dressed for the day, I don’t really feel tired at all. It’s really only nighttime that I very realllly sleepy at times.
-I absolutely LOVE all the little faces he makes! Especially right after he nurses, he reaches his arms up and stretches and makes the funniest little frog face. And his burp face is too cute. I love the way he looks up at me while he’s nursing with one eyeball open. And when he smiles (intentional or not) it’s priceless!! I haven’t been able to catch one of those on camera yet…
-Everything about our nursery is going well. I am SO GLAD we decided to keep the bed in there. It has been a lifesaver for getting quality sleep as we trade off. And great for breastfeeding too – I can sit up or lie down. Maze has been sleeping in his Rock and Play next to the bed and that’s going fine. He has slept in his crib a few times too, but the RnP is just a little easier and makes me feel better to have him closer.
-Speaking of having him close, I totally went out and bought a video monitor. I still like the Angelcare for when he sleeps in the crib – the peace of mind of the motion sensor is great – but I could not leave the room without coming in to check on him every 5 minutes! I was so worried he would roll over (seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me if he did because he’s been close!) The video monitor is GREAT and I wish I’d known how much I would like having one (well I sort of did know, but they are expensive so I talked myself out of it). It’s been fun to play with Matt on it too – “I SEE YOU!” from the kitchen : )
-The biggest surprise about baby care is how hard it is to get him to go to sleep. Feeding him is easy. Playing with him is easy. Changing diapers is easy. But getting him to sleep is HARD! According to the books I’ve read, babies this young need help with soothing to get them to sleep, and ours is no exception. He cries out and asks for help as soon as he’s tired, and he goes from wailing to sleeping in seconds when we get the soothing just right. Sometimes the process takes minutes (he loves to sleep in his Boba wrap and I can get him to settle quickly most of the time) but other times it takes 45 minutes to get him to sleep. During the night is hit or miss – sometimes he goes right back down; other times it takes a hour and then he gets hungry again and we start the process over from the start!
-Speaking of soothing, what on earth would we have done without the Happiest Baby on the Block techniques?! That book is LIFE CHANGING, and every new mom should read it. Lots of our medical professionals have recommended it too (pediatrician, baby care classes) so I think it’s pretty well respected. The 5 S’s have been so helpful – Maze would probably still be screaming if we didn’t know about them.
-I just spent YEARS teaching myself how to eat slowly and savor my food and that has all gone out the window. I am eating faster than ever because otherwise I might not get to finish my meal while it’s hot!
-The second hardest part about all of this is just that my body is still recovering from birth and my boobs, from the breastfeeding shock. Now 2.5 weeks out, my body feels pretty good, but in the beginning it was hard to walk and get in and out of bed, sit in a chair, etc. Add baby care on top of that 24 hours a day (I can’t imagine having a c-section incision! Although I guess you trade that for the complete bottom soreness.) And if I could just get over the hump of breastfeeding pain, I think we’d all be better off. I have only had a few moments of tears – generally breastfeeding is going well – but I can totally understand now why a mother would turn to formula. I’m lucky that he is nursing well, but I can’t say I look forward to each session yet. Unless Downton Abbey is ready to play… : )
–Matt and I both wonder if he loves or hates the fact that we kiss him constantly. We are leaning toward loves : )
-When I was pregnant, I was totally overwhelmed by the thought of having a toddler, a child or a teenager. I could only focus on the little newborn that would come out. But now that he is here, I can’t WAIT to see what he’s like when he’s older!! I’m not wishing away this age at all – he is too precious – but now that I can see his looks develop and watch is personality unfold, I’m truly excited for the years to come.
-Every day gets a little easier than the last as we figure this whole thing out. Single parents – I bow to you. Because having Matt home is a difference in night and day. Just having another set of arms to rock, change and play with him makes everything 100% easier. Even though I’ve worked from home for years, the house seems lonelier when it’s just me here. I can see why “it takes a village.” I sometimes just stop and say “You are doing it. You are being a mom.” It’s so surreal at times. I don’t even have a sense of time passing – I’m living in a bubble right now. A bubble of love and joy!