June 30, 2015

A month of parenting.

Life with a newborn isn't exactly exciting. I spend 90% of my time sleeping, breastfeeding, or thinking about sleeping or breastfeeding. A week ago I was spending 100% of my time thinking about those things because sleep wasn't happening and breastfeeding wasn't ever ending. I didn't really want to get into it because I literally can't stop talking about it and need a break from myself, but I can't help it. 

I totally understand why people bottle feed. Sleep. The answer is sleep. To be fair, I know that breastfeeding is really physically hard for a lot of people. Parker was born with a tongue tie but the doctor noticed and fixed it right away. We dodged a bullet there for sure. Aside from that, it's all gone pretty well. I was worried at first because dang it hurt, and everything that you read ever says if you're doing it right it shouldn't hurt. Everything that you read ever is a jerk, though, because how could it not hurt at first? As far as I'm concerned, nipple cream is a new mother's best friend. I'd bathe in that stuff if I could.

And sleep? Well. I asked our health nurse pretty early on when we should start trying to get Parker into a bit of a routine, not needing to be cuddled to sleep all the time and whatnot. Because I'm heartless. She told me that I should be cuddling all the time and feeding on demand because he's just so little and has been through a traumatizing event. But not to worry because it'll only really be a problem when he's older, like two or 10 or something.

So for the first three weeks of Parker's life we did that very thing. When my parents were out for the first two weeks it was fine, and they would cuddle him while I slept. It was great. And then they left and he became a comfort sucker and all of a sudden there was no sleep, only eating and spit up. So much regurgiated milk. What happens when you feed the baby to sleep but 45 minutes later he seems like he wants to eat and all you want to do is sleep so you feed that child because he must be hungry but then... he's too full and, whoops, you're covered in everything he just ate? You try not to cry. But definitely don't give him a soother to combat that comfort sucking because soothers, like formula, are the devil. 

Didn't you know that breastfeeding is the best? If your child is breastfed they'll be better, faster, stronger, smarter, better looking, richer, and have cooler friends. Also, you'll be richer because formula feeding is expensive. They don't even teach about formula feeding at prenatal classes here because it's what parents that hate their children do and every mother is capable of breast feeding her child. Every single one. And remember, if it hurts at all you're doing it wrong.

Anyway, I'm breastfeeding exclusively (until my supply evens out and I can pump and make Karl take the occasional night time feeding) because we want Parker to succeed in life where Karl and I didn't, both having been at least supplemented by formula on a regular basis by mothers that didn't love us enough. I'm also all over that burning an extra 500 calories a day business. When you're this sleep deprived the word of the day is always chocolate. I'm also sucking back a couple decaf coffees, pretending they're the real deal. I miss caffeine so badly right now but I'm pretty sure we're still enemies and I don't want to be an addict again. I've been caffeine sober for three years so why quit now?

I started sleep training Parker last Thursday. Like every parenting decision out there, it's super controversial. I'm basically spitting in the face of every health nurse I've met but, let's be honest, I'm a better parent when I've slept and Parker's a better child when he's happy, not overfed and overtired. Because, as much as he tries, he just can't form the words to let me know what he's feeling. And if he's anything like me, he probably has no idea what he even is feeling at any given moment. Sleep deprivation for the win. 

I've only read two books since he was born. The first was the new Princess Diaries book and the second was Babywise. A friend loaned me Babywise months ago, and I only ever got through the first few chapters. Last week, though, I was desperate and finished reading the whole thing in one sitting.

The basic premise is that you put your child on a schedule of eat, play, and sleep. It gets controversial because you let them cry it out at nap time and you shouldn't withhold feedings from a hungry newborn just to stick to a schedule. When your kid's on a schedule, though, and he gets proper feedings he should be getting enough food. That said, if the baby's hungry you're supposed to feed it. It's scheduling with common sense and it's working wonders. Parker is definitely not lacking his proper nutrition, either. Not to brag, but he gained  2 1/2 lbs in just over two weeks. Yeah, baby!

I thought it would take at least a week to get into the swing of things, but Parker slept for something like four or five hours straight that first night. And he didn't scream in his sleep like he always does because he was actually getting more restful sleep. I was really confused in the morning because it was the first time I'd missed the sunrise since going into the hospital. Sleep can be very disorienting when you're not used to it.

The past couple nights he's been waking up more regularly but I'm still getting sleep. Before, he'd feed, take an hour to fall asleep, and 15 minutes after I'd fallen asleep he'd wake up hungry. We're still trying to figure things out and making it our own, but dang, it's a lot easier. Life is also a lot less scary now, too, because I have a pretty good idea when he's going to want to eat and can actually leave the house with him and not have to worry about nursing everywhere I go. Like at the reception desk in my office (that happened).

I took Parker to the doctor today and everyone commented on how impressed they were that he didn't squawk while we were there. We don't need to talk about the scene he almost caused at our last visit, just know that it involved a lot of nervous sweating, anxious car seat rocking, and my first opportunity to nurse in a car.

And now it's time to fatten up that baby and decaffeinate myself some more. 


  1. I think you are rocking parenthood! :)

  2. Oh Honey.... I live in your city and would love to bring you a large box of Robin's chocolate donuts and give you a big hug. I would cuddle your babe and let you sleep and take a long luxurious shower, as long as you wanted to. I mean this in a non-stalkerish way, just a mommy who did bottle feed both babies. They are now happy, well adjusted adults with very cool friends. I would also like to have a chat about how the Public Health nurses are still mean ladies (they were so awful to me when I chose to bottle feed).
    Anyway....you got this. I know you do.

  3. I can tell you right now that I'm going to be just as mean and heartless of a mother as you are. Schedules for life. We'll be chatting a lot about this in the future, I predict. Obviously you do what's best for your baby but I believe parents need sanity too. And someone to cuddle them and feed them chocolate on demand, obvs.

  4. I want to physically strangle and suffocate everyone who says that breastfeeding doesn't hurt if you're doing it right. We were doing it correctly within 2 weeks, and it continued to hurt like a mother for 6 more weeks. I could write a book on how much I can't stand the nazi breastfeeding advocates, and I say that as a mom exclusively breastfeeding. I was also given some formula as a child, and I'm still alive too. Look at us defying statistics!

    I'm so glad you guys are getting more sleep! I remember the first time I missed the sunrise, too. I woke up around 6:30 and panicked when I realized the room wasn't dark. I was terrified she wasn't alive. We're not on a strict schedule by any means, which is fine with me because I'm not a regimented person at all, but I can typically anticipate most feedings and naps. We let her cry it out sometimes too, now that she's a little older. We're currently working on getting her to bed earlier. And then I need to get ME to bed earlier instead of staying up for another 2 hours reading because it's my only chance. Sigh.

  5. You're hilarious. I had to breastfeed and supplement formula for Ellie in her first few weeks of life. I wasn't producing enough milk and she had jaundice and wasn't gaining enough weight. I felt terrible and we were even using organic/natural formula. After those first 3 weeks she gained weight, my milk supply was booming, and she was healthy! Mommy-shaming is the worst. There is no problem with doing what you have to do.

    Hooray for sleep!! We tried the cry-it-out method when she was about 5 months old. She would only fall asleep if she was in her swing (which she outgrew around 3 1/2 months old) or being bounced. It was terrible. Nick and I had to be ninjas each time we needed to put her down and it would take about 45 minutes to do so. It's tiring!! We would bounce for about 30 minutes, creep over to the crib (while still bouncing) and set her in, and jump over all of the creaky floorboards to get out of the room. It was crazy. Whatever you have to do to be sane is what you have to do. As long as your baby is gaining weight and seems healthy you're not doing anything wrong!

    You're doing great momma :)


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