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.