I don’t even know where to start talking about the last week and half since my baby girl Audrey was born. I guess I’ll just go stream of consciousness with this post!
I had tried to anticipate what motherhood might be like, but I never realized that it would feel as natural as it does. Obviously I try to live naturally as much as I can, but I thought this transition would be much more difficult. Audrey latched on right away and fed on colostrum for long stretches until my milk came in after just a couple days. My mom arrived from Minnesota the day after she was born and is here for a couple weeks to help out. We came home from the hospital when Audrey was two days old and settled into something of a routine.
Audrey is an eating, pooping, sleeping machine, so a lot of my time is spent simply bonding with her and tending to her needs. Also, after a physically (not emotionally!) traumatic birth, I am forced to lay low and recover. I am moving around much better than I did at first, but I am now in the phase of recovery where if I stand up for a little longer than I should my nether regions just start throbbing. Hopefully by next week sometime I’ll be ready to sit in a chair, and maybe even take a short walk!
I would like to confirm the advice to new mothers to limit visitors in the first few weeks. Everyone might want to come see the baby, and maybe that’s totally okay with you, but just make sure there are only a couple people at a time and that their visits are brief. With all the hormones gushing through your body and your limited mobility (whether you have a c-section or a vaginal birth, you are going to need some time to recover!), having the added pressure to entertain or having other people holding your baby for hours on end can be very difficult!
When Audrey was four days old just about Luke’s whole family came over. I was concerned that Audrey would get overwhelmed, but luckily she was asleep the whole time… it ended up being me who was overwhelmed. After a few hours of noisiness and activity, I started freaking out a bit. I went in the bedroom and cried so nobody would see me upset, then came back out when I had calmed myself. They had started playing board games and Audrey’s cousins and Godfather were fighting over who would hold her next and I couldn’t hold it in… My sister-in-law saw me crying and it slipped out, “I just want to hold my baby!” She immediately grabbed Audrey away and brought her to me, and while I brought her into the bedroom to nurse she made everyone leave. I felt really bad about the whole thing and didn’t need everyone to leave, I just needed a little time with my baby girl!
So lesson learned: short visits with just a few people (ideally people from whom you are comfortable baby-snatching when you want your kid back!) until your hormones are regulated!
A huge blessing this past week has been my mom… having her here has helped me enormously. In the first few days we were back home it hurt just to get up and down so she was bringing me food and drinks and mothering me as I was trying to figure out how to be a mother myself. She’s been taking care of all the stuff I would normally do like laundry, dishes, cleaning, and cooking, plus some stuff that who knows when I would ever get to! Plus, we discovered something interesting… I spent a lot of time sitting on my exercise ball towards the end of my pregnancy because my tailbone hurt and I was trying to keep my pelvic floor and thighs strong. Apparently Audrey remembers this, so when she is fussy, her grandma will hold her and bounce and it calms her right down!
Luke has been a wonderful father and husband despite having to go back to work almost immediately. He is just as obsessed with Audrey as I am and is happy to change her and do whatever he can to help. When we were in the hospital he changed all the diapers because it would have taken me just as long to get out of the bed as it would for him to change the diaper! He was also changing the night diapers and I would feed her, but now that I am feeling better I am doing more night diapers since he has to go to work in the morning and needs the sleep. He loves holding Audrey and recognizes all her noises… he’ll bring her to me as soon as she starts asking for booby!
I started pumping to get my milk supply up for when I go back to work, and about once a day Luke offers the bottle to Audrey. She knows what to do with it and will suck on it a little, but definitely not if I am around! We just want to make sure that when she starts daycare she’ll accept a bottle. I am also considering giving her a pacifier. I was going to wait a while longer, but it seems like a lot of the time she just wants “comfort booby” where she’ll just suck for a few minutes to put herself to sleep- she’s not really hungry. One of the big reasons for not introducing a pacifier too soon is to eliminate confusion and establish breastfeeding, but our breastfeeding relationship seems pretty well established and she definitely knows the difference between my breast and the bottle.
Finally, a little about Audrey herself! She is such a sweet, good baby and only fusses if she needs something or is gassy. She gets the hiccups a couple times per day, but breastfeeding gets rid of them right away! I wonder if sucking on a pacifier would have the same effect? When she’s on her tummy, Audrey can push up and hold her head up for a good 5-10 seconds. Also, she can sleep through anything: The Expendables, vacuuming around her, shrieking voices… so glad we don’d have to tiptoe around her!