Monday, June 15, 2015

What I've learned in my first two weeks of motherhood

Here are a few thoughts I've had in my first two weeks of motherhood

• Baby blues are real and exhausting.
I've had a hard time dealing with them. I'm even getting teary eyed just typing this. Most of my pregnancy I had a little voice in the back of my head questioning if we made the right decision to have a baby. Were we ready? Are we old enough? Can we still do what we like to do (work out, do runs, etc)? Should we have done more of what we wanted to do? Should I have waited until I had gotten a job? After Logan's birth those little things came back along with doubts about if I am really cut out to be a mom. Things have gotten better but every now and then they come back. It's so nice to have the support of my husband and mom telling me how great I will be and that yeah I'll mess up but it will be ok because Logan will still love me no matter what.

• Breastfeeding is hard, pumping is hard, formula feeding is hard
I had this great idea that I was going to exclusively pump to feed Logan. I had got massive amounts of samples of formula so I would just supplement with those but I wouldn't need them. I was pressured quite a bit in the hospital to breastfeed. They wanted to know why I didn't want to and couldn't understand why I didn't. They would spout off all the benefits and I would just sit there and stare at them. See the thing is, I was a formula fed baby. My mom didn't produce milk. All these benefits of breastfeeding that supposedly only come from breastfeed I had too. The relationship with my mom was great, I had a good immune system, all that stuff. Then there were all the videos they showed in the birth classes. Oh breastfeeding is natural, it's embedded in our brains, it's so easy. No its not. At least not always. I'm sure there are women who get it right away and have no trouble but that wasn't me. I had trouble getting Logan to latch and then I wasn't producing enough milk so when he did feed he was still hungry afterwards. He ended up losing 7 ozs in the hospital and another 4 or 5 when we got home. But when we started supplementing and I just pumped things got better. He put on over an ounce a day and was up by his weight check 4 days after his first doctors appointment. OK so all seems good right? Nope. You read all this stuff about newborns only need 2 to 3 ounces per feeding. Well not always. We would feed logan the 2 to 3 ounces and sometimes he'd stop at 2, sometimes at 3, and there would be times that he was still hungry and he'd get 4 to 5 ounces that feed and wouldn't spit up any of it. So go figure. 
When it comes to pumping, I read a bunch of stuff on it. Mommy blogs of people who have done it and I would try the schedule they suggested (pumping every 2 hours for 20 minutes). But then one day I waited 3 hours and forgot about the time and pumped for 30 minutes. And low and behold I got much more milk out. So I ended up switching to that schedule. But the hard part? It's hard to feed and burp a baby while pumping. The pumps just get in the way. So I'm still trying to figure out what's the best to do because I'm by myself during the day and sometimes they both come at the same time. They say make a schedule but sometimes it just doesn't work. There are times I get frustrated with the pumping. I don't get a lot out or Logan gets fussy and wants to be held but I can't because the pump is in the way. I feel like giving up some days and just formula feeding him but then I know the price that has to the pocketbook and I'm not sure we are ready to deal with the financial blow.

• Taking care of a baby is partner work
My husband had 1 week of paid paternity leave (lucky I know) so while he was home sometimes he'd do things like feed and change the baby and sometimes I would. But when he started back at work, we needed teamwork in the morning especially. I know how lucky I am to have a partner who will work with me and help me out. That doesn't see all of this as women's work (thank god for marrying a male feminist!). We worked it out that he feeds Logan and changes his diaper in the morning while I pump and then burp. This gives me time to do the morning pump uninterrupted and him more bonding time with his son. It's all still a work in progress but we are figuring it out. He also made quite the deal with me. If I didn't get stressed out about things not getting done around the house during the day because Logan needs me all day long, he wouldn't get upset or stressed out either. We would work together to make sure dinner got made, dishes were done, and the house got taken care of. I am so lucky to have a husband that is this supportive and helpful, I count me lucky stars everyday.

• Doing things in shifts works best but sometimes you just can't
Sleep when baby sleeps, yeah I get it but I did and it actually just made my baby blues worse. See I'm an active person, I don't like to just sit around, I want to do things. But I spent most of my pregnancy sick and tired and now that I'm feeling better I want to do things even if they are little. Like empty the dishwasher, do the dishes, clean the house, make the bed. If I spend all that time sleeping, I just get overwhelmed and stressed out and start crying again. Not good when you are trying to get over the baby blues. But then there are days that all Logan wants to do is lie on my chest and sleep. So try as I
might it just doesn't happen.     
• When life gets down, just put the baby on your chest
Outside of exercise what helped me with my baby blues was sitting on the couch and just letting Logan lie on my chest. All the worry and pain just seemed to disappear. My puppy would lie at my feet and things would disappear. All the worry and doubt and everything. Sometimes I would cry a little bit and just hold him close. Sometimes the feeling of crying would just disappear. Just hold this thing I didn't know I could love so much just makes it all better.

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