So this one time, I had a baby, and then I spent the next 20 days CONSTANTLY FEEDING IT.
My baby is pretty chill. She sleeps a lot. She wakes up one of two ways. 1) Sweetly grunting and cooing that turns into lazy yawns and big gassy smiles. This lasts at most 30 minutes before she falls asleep again. 2) Two warning grunts followed by shrieking, squealing, and the tongue rolling horrifying scream that can only be achieved by a newborn. Obviously, I am not a fan of number 2, especially at 3:00 in the morning, but this is the typical greeting of a suddenly starving baby who wants fed and wants fed now!
Backing up a few steps, though she is totally healthy, we did have a few hiccups in the first few days of the new baby’s life. We almost had to stay an extra day at the hospital due to high bilirubin and jaundice. After another round of tests and a few more hours of waiting, they let us check-out on the condition that we would schedule the earliest pediatric appointment we could for Monday. Our second hiccup was related to her weight. She had already lost the typical 7% by the time we checked out of the hospital. While it is normal for babies to lose weight, it is also normal for them to pack it back on shortly after mother’s milk comes in. All the searches and paperwork I was sent home with indicated that she should be back up to birth weight by 10 days of life. When we checked in for her first appointment, she was still losing. They scheduled us a weight check appointment for Thursday (one week and one day old). She had still lost half an ounce. Another routine check was scheduled for the following Monday, but by then, my confidence was shaken.
The discomfort of early breastfeeding coupled with the shrieks of hunger coming from the wee one were almost enough to send me to the store for the largest batch of formula money could buy. But the doctor was encouraging, even if the pamphlets weren’t. She “prescribed” waking the baby to feed at a minimum of every two hours and to feed on demand if it appeared she was hungry.
At her appointment last Monday, we finally had some weight gain. While the system worked in getting her weight up, I fear it may have also set up some bad habits for the both of us. We have no other system for calming the baby. Shelby discovered that bouncing on the bed helps a little, but it doesn’t quiet her so we quickly give in and offer her a “snack”. She eats for a few minutes, but then falls asleep. I spend the next 10 minutes trying to keep her awake her enough to eat, straining to hear swallows whilst trying not to fall asleep myself. If I take her off, she wakes with a start (read bite) and then fusses until she is allowed back on. And the fear that I am not making enough for her to eat coupled with the instructions from her doctor mean that I let her back on every time. Which means that when she is not asleep, and even sometimes when she is asleep, she is attached to me. I am getting very little done.
I can happily report that it doesn’t really hurt anymore, so that’s something. And I’m fairly certain that we will find a medium soon. That as she gets older, we will discover other things she likes that can soothe her, like rattles or her bouncy chair. And I’ll find out tomorrow if she’s getting enough to eat when she gets weighed again. Maybe this time she’ll be up to her birth weight. It’s a bit later than 10 days, but better late than never. In the meantime, I beg your prayers for my poor, sore boobelahs and a chunked up child.