Mike and I have been blessed with a vibrant, healthy and happy baby boy. His smiles melt my heart and I cannot wait for that first true laugh. Any day now I think.
But that doesn’t mean every day is easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. Yet I realized this morning that I have shared a lot of the positive milestones here, but not all of the nitty gritty truths. And I sure as heck don’t want to be one of “those” moms who acts like we have it all figured out or make other moms think that our lives are all giggles and coos 24/7…because that would be a lie.
This post is about where I, personally, am struggling and calling on my dear mom friends daily (and sometimes hourly) for advice.
Feeding. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Breastfeeding is REALLY hard. Rylan took to it quickly but every feed is not a breeze. In fact, as he becomes more efficient at nursing he will often refuse to feed on both sides, which results in a very uncomfortable mama. I call those battle feedings as I refuse to give up without a fight. Plus, Baby Wise is all about making sure the baby takes a full feed instead of snack, which will enable him/her to remain satisfied until the next feed unless it’s a growth spurt day. Lately Rylan screams and claws at me when I try to offer the second side, especially at the 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. sessions. It isn’t fun for either of us and I feel wholly defeated when he only snacks.
Rylan also has days of major spit ups and I panic that he is losing most of his meal. The rational part of my brain knows this isn’t true but at 4 a.m. that part of my brain is still asleep in bed. It does seem that cutting out dairy – completely – from my diet has made a real difference. I miss pizza and froyo but I’ll take a dairy-free vegan dessert any day over watching him squirm and spit up in pain.
Naps. Rylan is a fantastic napper when he wants to be. But what BabyWise calls the “45 Minute Intruder” has definitely started to rear its ugly head. This means that like clockwork, Rylan starts crying 40 – 45 minutes into a nap. Yet at eight weeks old he definitely needs more time asleep. Following the book I tend to first treat his wake ups as a hunger cue and nurse him earlier than his 3-hour schedule. But if he isn’t hungry then I know I should have maybe let him cry it out a bit to see if he could fall back asleep to complete his nap. I don’t want to deny him any nutrition yet we don’t want to set up bad sleep/nap habits…but how the heck am I supposed to know when to let him fuss and when to offer an early feed? I am working to figure this out daily but as of late, I am more confused than ever about the 45 Minute Intruder.
Trusting my gut. Some may say I have read a little too much and at times, “the book” makes me second guess my instincts. I assume all moms struggle with listening to the voice in their head versus books and the advice people give on a daily basis. I urge new moms to figure out what makes them the most nervous and talk about that fear(s) with their partner. For me, it is making sure Rylan eats enough and is gaining weight on track with what’s healthy. Therefore my stress triggers are related to him not feeding well or waking up from naps early because he may be hungry. Mike helps me make better choices when we talk it out together. We were also lucky enough to inherit an infant scale from Mike’s sister so we can weigh Rylan and check his progress whenever we want. The scale has been more helpful than I ever imagined it would be and I wouldn’t hesitate from recommending them to other breastfeeding moms.
As I finish this post Rylan is crying in his crib, fighting a nap, and Mike is urging me to stay calm for a few more minutes to see if he falls asleep. We know he is so tired and really needs this nap. Since he just took a full feed an hour ago I decided to go in, offer a pacifier and pat his belly while telling him I love him a few times. Seconds later, he is sound asleep. He just needed a little love and soothing, not another snack or meal. Major points for Mike on that one!
Parenthood is a partnership and a daily adventure. Every day is different because Rylan is maturing and growing into his personality. Ups, downs, sideways days…I wouldn’t trade any of it, but am truly grateful for the moms who take my calls, texts and emails any time of day or night to share their wisdom and support. You know who you all are, and I seriously love each of you for it.