I feel like so many blogs I've read glorify life after having a baby. Because of that, I was not prepared. I don't think it does women any favors to lie about how you have it all together, so I'm going to tell it to you straight. We started having trouble the day we got discharged from the hospital. Luke would latch in the hospital, but the day we got home and my milk came in I couldn't get him to eat. After him not eating all afternoon the first day home, I tried syringe feeding him expressed breastmilk. I was crying hysterically as my mom told me we needed to feed him formula that night so he could eat. We brought him to the pediatrician the next day and he was so close to being admitted to the hospital because his jaundice was so bad. Luckily, through formula feeding, we were able to avoid that. I saw a lactation consultant and she couldn't even get him to latch. She told me to just "keep trying." She made me feel bad for bottle feeding and *gasp!* feeding him formula at night because I couldn't pump enough. But I couldn't keep trying because trying meant 30 minutes of the both of us crying until he finally gave up, latched, and promptly fell asleep from exhaustion. I hated seeing him so miserable, and honestly in my sleep-deprived state I just couldn't do it anymore.
Then around Day 10 things started getting really hard. Luke "woke up." He was a fussy eater and we didn't know why. He would scream through his bottles like he was in pain, but as soon as he finished he was fine. His pediatrician prescribed reflux meds but they only helped a little, and between that and pumping around the clock I was losing it. I had been beating myself up for weeks because I couldn't get him to breastfeed. If you thought the screaming during bottle feeds was bad, you should have seen how he screamed bloody murder the second I tried to get him to latch. I cried for weeks because I felt like such a failure.
I remember at my 6 week postpartum appointment the nurse practitioner asked me how I was doing. I said "Fine!" with tears in my eyes. She asked me if I had the baby blues. "No"- I said. "I'm just tired. I'm fine." Looking back now I know I wasn't fine. I wasn't even enjoying my precious baby because I was such an empty shell of a person. If he wasn't eating, I set him in the swing just to have a break. Luke would wake up every 2-2.5 hrs all night long and after feeding him I would have to stay up and pump. Then, by the time I got back in bed, he was up an hour later and the cycle repeated. But at 6 weeks something magic happened. Luke started smiling! It's like he knew I needed that to motivate me to keep pushing through all the hard stuff.
|One of Luke's first smiles :)|
So, I pumped. And I pumped and I pumped some more. For about 2.5 months I pumped until I felt myself starting to crumble. I don't think Luke had colic, but he was on the brink of it. He had to be held at all times and would NOT tolerate being set down. But the crying was just isolated to his feeds. After the first few weeks, my mom wasn't staying with us anymore and Jeff was working full time, often not getting home til 7pm or later. It would come time for me to pump and I couldn't because I didn't have anyone else to hold the baby. Hours would go by and I would be texting Jeff frantically asking him when he would be home. I lived in a constant state of anxiety about how I was going to be able to pump! I was chained to that damn pump and I was miserable. I spent at least 3 hours a day just pumping.
Finally after 2.5 months, I decided I was done with it. Once my hormones settled, I was able to somewhat let go of the guilt that society and the lactation consultants put on you about not breastfeeding. Man, those hormones are a bitch. I swear the slogan "Breast is Best!" should be illegal. Of course I would have loved to breastfeed Luke, but it just wasn't in the cards for us. And that's ok! Breastfeeding doesn't work for everyone and isn't for everyone, and that's ok. I'll try again with the next baby, knowing that if it doesn't work out that doesn't mean I'm a failure.
After all of that, can I just say how happy we are now?? Things get SO much better around 3 months. Yes, they sleep more at night but you also get used to functioning on way less sleep. Luke is a sweet, happy, and most importantly, HEALTHY little boy. 90th percentile for height and 75th percentile for weight at his 4 month checkup! I'm only 5'0" and Jeff is 5'10" so where the heck did that come from? After a few months of feeling like you're flailing around, you become more confident in your parenting decisions and learn not to give a you know what about what other people think. It's really empowering actually! I'm SO looking forward to seeing who this little boy is going to be.
At 4.5 months, Luke:
-is starting to eat solids! Loves sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Not so sure about peas.
-can roll from belly to back, but seems to forget how sometimes
-will roll from back to his side, but doesn't want to go all the way to his belly
-fights me on naps and still wakes several times a night
-has his fingers in his mouth at all times!
-still loves bathtime
-has started laughing, mainly when Daddy lifts him up in the air
-jumps like crazy in his jumperoo
-smiles like crazy when I say "mama"