When you think you’ve got it all figured out…

So here we were, settling into our routine really well, she started sleeping well in her crib, she was eating quite regularly, and BAM. All of a sudden she didn’t want to sleep unless she was ON someone and she started cluster feeding. And for those of you who doesn’t know what cluster feeding is. It’s when she eats, ALL THE F’KING TIME. I have never been more grateful for being able to just text my doula and ask what’s up cause I was going completely crazy. It’s not only that she eats for a long time, it’s that she eats for like 15 minutes, let go, sleeps for 2 minutes, and then wakes up hungry again, and goes on like that for TWO HOURS. So every time she lets go you think she’s done, but noooo. And little did I know, that was just the beginning. Last night she was eating for the most part of FIVE HOURS.

BUT after I got the respons from my doula that it was normal and that she might go on like that for some time, I realized that there was no point going crazy but just get settled on the couch and try to relax. This apparently happens because they’re in a growth spurt and start needing more milk so they eat like crazy to promote the production. And it also means that I need to eat and drink more, and feel even more thirsty than usually (usually is already a hung-over-as-f’-feel).

However, since our girl haven’t really gained weight as she should, we have gone to the nurse once a week to keep track. And this week she had gained perfectly, more than any other week before. And I also get to catch up on friends, cause watching the whole serie 15 times obviously isn’t enough.

Well she has just started to sleep in her bed a little again, and today she slept quite a lot. Well let’s just agree that having a baby means working on being flexible and patient. I am not giving up on create a routine though, I’m just realizing there will be more bumps on the road than I might have thought.

Tips for anyone going through this

  • Get yourself a bunch of awesome snacks
  • Choose some books to read and stuff to watch on netflix
  • Call your loved ones, what better time to be on the phone then when you’re stuck on the couch. Or if you live closer to yours than I do, why don’t you invite them over so you also have someone who can do stuff for you and bring you stuff while you sit there.
  • Get out anyway, good time to practice being comfortable with breastfeeding in public
  • Allow yourself to take a break, Jesus Christ you’ll need it.

Morning routine

In my last post I talked about creating a routine, specifically a bedtime routine, so now I’m going to continue with telling you about our morning routine.

She is starting to do her nightly feedings pretty much the same times, but since they sometimes change from night to night it’s not super easy to set a time to wake up, yet. But almost! I’m aiming for 8 and usually it suits her schedule, at least close to it. So in the mornings, this is what we do.

  • Get ready
    Unless she is really hungry already, then I do her routine before mine. But if I wake up on time and she’s calm, especially if Odi’s awake and can have his cuddle time. I get ready,
    – I do my skincare routine
    – I change my clothes and,
    – Move my stuff to the living room
  • Change
    I change her diaper and her clothes, either I do after I’ve gotten ready, or Odi does while I get ready.
  • Eat
    I always make sure I get something to eat by this time. Something more proper than the snacks I eat at night. Something to eat while I feed her, a yoghurt or oatmeal usually.
  • Feeding
    I feed her while I eat my breakfast and after I’ve eaten I either read, not necessarily something for personal development but fiction or I watch my series. My baby girl eats for about an hour so I have time, and I need to, do things at the same time haha.
  • Morning walk
    I have only been doing this for a few days, and it’s still kind of tough since it’s soooo warm. So the mornings are better since it’s not as warm, and also to make sure I actually get out and moving.
  • Journal
    The one thing that I have kept doing during this whole time when I have had other things to focus on than my morning routine. It’s important for me to journal every day, to get my thoughts in order, or at least somewhat in order.

Of course it’s not always easy to stick to a routine with a baby, sometimes we have to change and follow her schedule. When that happens I make sure to still do all the same things but maybe in a different order and some days it just takes a long time to get all of it done!

I feel so much better having a routine to follow, or at least a routine to work towards, and with time I will include more things for myself, like meditation. But I also need to give myself a break and take it one step at a time.

Breastfeeding

While pregnant I had read a lot about breastfeeding and how it’s not as easy as it seems. Well, I still thought, how hard can it really be? and I also thought, once you’ve got it down there’s no problem. and also, that they baby at least knew how it works. Ha ha ha.

We’ve struggled a bit. First of all, who knew it takes a few days for milk to actually come through? Well I didn’t. Those first days were horrible, she didn’t sleep as well, some of the staff in the hospital made me feel super stressed, and the baby was crying more because she didn’t get enough food.

Then there’s the whole latch thing. With what you’ve seen you would think that you just put the baby close to your breast and they’ll do the rest. Oh oh no. They need the exact right everything for it to work, you need to latch them on in the right position, in the right angle, at the right time. If not, you’re nipple will be destroyed, and your breasts too. I had heard that it could hurt, but I had no idea. My nipples were all scared up, even bleeding and don’t even get me started on the pain in my breasts. I ended up using nipple shields, and I got help from our doula to find the right position.

The one that really works for us is the koala position, using nipple shields, and holding her lower lip down to make sure her mouth is really open when latching. Finally it worked, and didn’t hurt. Until I tried different nipple shields and it started hurting again. Yes it’s a whole science.

The koala position looks like this

So at least after all of this it’s all good, you would think ha haaa. Oh no. So we thought we got it all down and it was working full well. She hadn’t gained weight properly with the struggles, but then she did, she gained what she was supposed to one week and we thought it was all good. Until we went back five days later and she’d only gained 5 grams… oh my god, what now. And let me tell you the doctors and nurses here are not super supportive about it, especially if you want to keep trying with breastfeeding, they want to shove formula down your throat using scare tactics. Good thing we’ve had the help of our doula and a friend of my mothers who is a breastfeeding specialist, otherwise we would have given up.

So with the weight problem I got really worried that something was wrong with my milk. What didn’t make sense was that she seemed completely content and full, so it couldn’t be my supply, but maybe it could be the milk in itself that wasn’t good enough.

I would breastfeed her for about 30 minutes every 3 hours, and she would fall asleep over and over while eating, I had to keep her up while eating and sometimes wake her up to eat. So logically one would think she was done. Well turns out babies can be really lazy.

I spend the last days making sure she was done, using all the tricks in the book to keep her up, a wet cold washcloth on her back or her forehead, undressing her, changing her in the middle of feeding. And even when she let go, I would offer her twice on each side and have her let go by herself each time. I also fed her every 2 hours during the day and every 3 hours during the night, for an hour at a time, which means I’ve basically only been nursing these last days. I also pumped in the morning and supplemented with that milk twice a day to really make sure she got enough.

And WOHO she gained weight!! So it turns out, nothing it wrong with me, the milk or the baby, she’s just lazy. So now we’re hoping this will continue, and that she will start eating more efficiently.

Postpartum hormones kicking my ass

In all honesty the last few days have been a huge struggle. The postpartum hormones have hit me hard. I’ve been in a bad cycle of feeling guilty, crying my eyes out and not taking care of myself. The stress and exhaustion of course effecting the baby so she haven’t slept very well, the breastfeeding has been a bit tough and then on top of everything it turns out she’s not gaining weight.

I was up half the night with her having stomach ache, and of course I want to make it on my own so it took too long for me to ask my mom for help, and helping is literally the reason why she’s here, yet it makes me feel so awful leaving her cause there’s this voice in my head telling me that it means I can’t do it on my own. eventually I let my mom take her so I got a few hours of sleep. But when I woke up the feelings of not being good enough and not being able to do this was just overwhelming and I spent most of the morning crying. My parents and Odi were all there trying to tell me that I’m doing great and that I will be able to do this but nothing really helped, I just felt so worthless. And of course being completely exhausted didn’t really help. Eventually I managed to calm down and we went to the baby nurse, cause they wanted to see her again to make sure she’d start gaining weight, and it turned out she hadn’t. It’s not the end of the world and they recommended us to supplement with some formula. But with all these feelings already bubbling around in me, I cried all the way home. It was like that voice in my head found yet another thing to bet me down with and it just wouldn’t stop.

I’ve had a lot of talks with my parents and my mom especially who is trying to tell me how great I’m doing and that it’s completely normal to feel this way. That maybe we don’t talk about it too much but most of us spend a lot of days and nights in tears in this situation, wondering what the hell we’ve gotten ourselves into and how the hell we’re gonna survive this. And no matter how much you tell yourself that it is just that, completely normal, it’s so overwhelming and so hard to deal with. What makes it even harder is that everything really goes hand in hand. If you’re stressed your breastfeeding will suffer and the baby won’t get enough to eat, and she’ll feel your stress so she’ll cry and won’t sleep and you’ll be exhausted and even more stressed, so you don’t sleep enough, or eat enough, and that makes everything worse all over again.

This is so real. And to be honest, you sit here and wonder if it’s ever gonna get better or it this is just your life now. And then, you wake up the next day, maybe having had an okay night, gotten some sleep, had some breakfast, and sitting here typing in your computer with a seriously adorable baby sleeping next to you, and just for a moment it feels like it’s all gonna be okay.

Mom guilt

Oh how wrong I have been all these years thinking that people are just being ridiculous. These mommy hormones are completely mental. This has probably been the biggest chock to me out of all the chocking things regarding pregnancy and having a baby. She is like a drug to me. I cannot be away from her because I feel like I’m in physical pain. Even if she’s in the next room, if I don’t hold her for too long I just start crying for no reason. It’s completely insane.

And then there’s the guilt. I touched the subject a little bit in the post meeting my daughter for the first time cause literally a moment after giving birth to her I felt it for the first time. But since then it has happened a few more times. Like yesterday. Emma had a bad night, so I had a bad day since I hadn’t been sleeping much at all. I was completely exhausted and all the emotions was just too much. She also seemed to have a bit of a stomach ache and I couldn’t do anything about it. Odi came to hug me and out came the waterworks, I just cried and cried. So my mom told me to fed her and then she would take her for part of the night so I could sleep, at least until she needed to eat the next time. And I felt so bad. I realized that I needed to do it, and so I went into my bed and cried for a while before falling asleep.

It’s so completely messed up. Even though you know intellectually that it’s completely normal and reasonable to need a few hours of sleep, and that it doesn’t make you a bad mom or a bad person, the guilt is just there, it just shows up. I am working on leaving her for short moments and during my parents stay we will give it a try to leave the house without her for a little bit, but it’s so hard, and it’s completely shocking to me, how strong these feelings are.

So I apologize for ever thinking that people were just being ridiculous, not that I ever said to anyone, but still, I feel bad. I am now in my bedroom and going to take a nap while Emma is in the livingroom with Odi, patting myself on the shoulder, baby steps!