The day is a blur, am in a sleepless haze. Pretty sure the hormones have dropped too, like the floor dropping out of those centrifugal force rides at the carnival, or a bouncy swing being unplugged. (Not that we’ve set up the swing yet, but Scott did get it out of the basement today.)
There have been lots of tears.
This morning I nursed Jonah at 3, at 6, at 8, at 9, at 10, at 11… at noon, he started crying again and I just stood there and cried too.
Later, Scott noted that perhaps the novelty of being a pair of milk-distributing boobs with a person attached has worn thin.
It seems like the baby is never NOT hungry. Sometimes we think maybe he’s really had enough and we try the techniques we learned in the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD to get him to stop crying. Sometimes that works. Sometimes the wailing makes me feel like my skin is peeling off and I have to try to feed him again. Something. Anything. Please make it stop.
Right now, Scott has the baby strapped into the Moby Wrap. To give me a few moments to myself. Sometimes the Moby works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Am also reading the Baby Whisperer and am subject to no small amount of fear and guilt that I am probably letting the baby “use me as a pacifier” and that we aren’t following a schedule yet. According to her we’re supposed to have 45 minutes of activity after nursing… and what kind of activity would that be for a newborn? The only suggestion I’ve seen her make so far is diaper changing. That doesn’t take 45 minutes.
But I’m crying even when I’m not frustrated.
…We’re in the nursery, I’m in the fancy glider chair. His latch doesn’t hurt. The house is warm. Scott puts the lullaby CD in the stereo. A song about angels. The music is beautiful. And I just weep.
I figure that my heart has grown so big so fast in the last 10 days to love this little person that it has stretch marks.
* * *
The whole day passed. I barely had a second to myself.
Afraid I was going too far the other direction with “He can’t be hungry AGAIN, let’s try to soothe him,” I decided to throw in the towel, stop fighting, and just nurse him nonstop. Literally. Nonstop from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. Switching boobs every 20 minutes or so, and pausing occasionally for a for a brief nap or a diaper change.
You know, everyone says you can’t spoil a newborn. Feed him when he’s hungry, pick him up when he cries.
(My friend who dropped by tonight to bring us dinner said it, and I wanted to punch her in the face.)
I fed him and fed him and held him and still, he cried, gnashed his jaw, tried to swallow his fist.
Maybe I’m not making enough milk???
Finally I called my doulas (birth, and post-partum). PP answered first. She mentioned the mom-as-pacifier thing. I decided maybe by now she was right. Removed boob, inserted substitute.
She also reminded me that however un-PC it is to say this, even drug-addicted mothers on the street manage to raise babies, and maybe mine is not starving. Touché.
And that I’m no good to him if I don’t get some sleep.
Then birth doula called back. Suggested that perhaps we could substitute formula for the next feeding — so I could get some sleep.
I handed the baby to Scott with the instructions to finger-feed 1/2 to 1 ounce if needed and please swaddle him tightly and I headed to bed.
When I laid myself down on my back, I realized that I actually hadn’t been in that position for more than 24 hours. My body felt like a sack of wet sand.
I slept for one hour, woke to baby’s cries, went back to sleep for five glorious more. Woke at 4 a.m. just as he was smacking his lips and started the boobs up again. 1-1/2 hours of nursing. Now he’s in the Moby, pacifier in mouth, resting on my chest, while Scott sleeps and I type.