Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thoughts on Motherhood - 1 Month In

I'm a month in to being a mother. These are some of my thoughts on this strange new world. :)

Never wake a sleeping baby? But what if you let her fall asleep in your arms?!? Ian and I have discovered that we would rather physically injure ourselves getting up and putting her down than wake her. :P

Aches and pains. Speaking of physically injuring ourselves... we've noticed some strange aches and pains. The normal stuff.. like arm and back pain from carrying her around is expected. The unexpected - our finger joints. My hands and finger joints are so sore! My best guess is that during feedings or when she is sleeping in my arms, I use my phone or Kindle to stay awake. Baby in the left arm, phone in left hand, bottle in right hand equals strange joint pain. Weird.  

Let the shoulds rain down. Being new parents means a whole lot of shoulds in your life. Should she be breathing like that? Should we sleep or wait to make sure she is really down? We should be able to get her to sleep longer. Should we put her in the bassinet or let her sleep in the swing? Should we use a pacifier? Should. Should. Should. Some of the shoulds we give ourselves. Some of them come from others. The shoulds suck. 

It goes by really quickly. It feels like Emma exited the newborn stage really quickly. I mean.. she's still an infant.. only 5 weeks old but the difference from a month ago is amazing. She's aware of her surroundings. She's starting to interact with us and know she is interacting with us. The other day I stuck my tongue out at her and she smiled/cooed and stuck her tongue out at me. This went on for 5 minutes. 

The pro breastfeeding chatter can be hurtful. There seemed to be so much talk of breastfeeding benefits before and after my pregnancy. I felt like getting a t-shirt that read "I GET IT. I'M ON BOARD." I'm still flabbergasted people even need to be convinced to breastfeed. 

Fast forward to our current reality. I am physically incapable of supplying enough milk to breastfeed. That's something that all that chatter never mentioned. If everything else goes right or you do everything you possibly can, you still may not be able to solely breastfeed. Emma's latch was pretty good from birth. She was eager to feed. She didn't use a pacifier or bottle. I sat with a heating pad and pumped. I took the herbs. I took the medication. I did tube feeding. And still... I can only produce up to 4 ounces of breast milk a day. I am lacking the glandular tissue needed to have a regular supply.

This is why the pro breastfeeding chatter can be hurtful - breastfeeding advocates make it seem like formula is evil. This leads those who MUST supplement to feel like they have failed. The breastfeeding class at the hospital even mentioned the terrible marketing practices of the formula companies. Maybe they've never been to the Nestle Canada website. I'll admit that I was stupid enough to judge people who didn't breastfeed. I'm sure people are judging me without knowing the full story.

I went through so many emotions during an already emotional time because of this. Guilt, failure, bitterness, sadness, anger... I'm still going through some of these. People would give me the pros of not having to breastfeed but it didn't stop me from feeling robbed somehow. Buying that first batch of formula almost killed me. But then... what was the alternative? I was going to let her starve?? The message should be really simple. Breastfeeding is best. But if you have to use formula, that's good too. Emma is healthy. That is all we can ask for. 

Not enough time, not enough hands. Now that I am a stay at home mom for a year (I'll be damned if I start using the ridiculous acronyms!), I have realized how quickly a day goes by. It's broken up by her feedings and naps.. but there is so little time to get anything done in between. This will change as she started to sleep longer. I'm not asking to be able to clean the entire house or even take a shower. I just want to be able to pump, eat and maybe even *gasp* nap!

And lastly, it's all new, we're still learning.. and it changes daily. There is only one thing that stays the same. Her cry usually means 1 of 4 things (hopefully never more than 1...). Either she is hungry, tired, needs to be burped or needs to be changed. If you run through the cycle, you can usually figure out what's wrong by process of elimination. Knowing this has taken the mystery out of babies. We still have meltdowns but it's easier to deal with when you have some idea of what could be wrong. The first few days when she was starving, we had no idea since we were feeding. That was probably the most frustrating point. But we are still learning. 

Overall, mommyhood is as hard as I expected it to be but much more fulfilling than I thought. She's adorable and when I see Ian melt over her cuteness it makes me really happy. He's such a sucker. We're in trouble. :) 

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