Monday, June 16, 2008

First Month


Looking back now those first four weeks were a blur. Here is what I remember:

* Feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Normally when you fall in love with someone it's something gradual. You meet them and there is probably an initial attraction. You then become friends and you start to notice qualities you like about the person. With a new baby you go from 0 to 1000 in .0005 seconds. Woah!!
* Once I got used to having a new love in my life I then became very anxious for about 7-10 days. It was probably the normal baby blues that one gets. But I just remember being consumed with fear for her life those first few days to the point where I didn't sleep at all for like 3 days just watching her nonstop. The other feeling that was present was utter incompetence. I felt really stupid a lot of the time!
* Breastfeeding does NOT just happen easily and naturally. Just like I didn't bother with birthing classes I also didn't understand why people needed breastfeeding instruction. Boy was I in for a shocker. I ended up needing several sessions with more than one lactation consultant and even then it took quite a while for things to fall into place. Even now I still worry about whether she's getting enough, whether I'm making enough, can't we make her latch better, etc.
* Going into the pregnancy I had low expectations for breastfeeding for a variety of reasons. But once she was here I became obsessed with getting it to work. Unfortunately my family was surprisingly NOT supportive. It seems that my breastfeeding was not in vogue for my Mom's generation. Three days after Alanis was born my parent came up to the house and the baby was crying because she was hungry. We were having trouble with the feeding still at that point and my parents started freaking out that she was hungry and I wasn't feeing her appropriately. So I gave in to them and gave her a bottle two feedings in a row. After they left when we tried to get her to latch on for the next feeding, she refused. I thought it was all over. We tried for 1.5 hours while both she and I cried. Eventually we got things to work, sort of and thankfully my milk finally came in the next evening and the baby was much happier. And my parents stopped harassing me about bottles!
* Growth. This one goes in conjunction with breastfeeding. Since I was set on BFing exclusively they had to monitor her weight closely those first few days. When we went in that Thursday after she was born (4/17) she was down to 5lbs 10oz since they lose some the first few days. At 8 days (4/21) she was back up to 6lbs. This was a nice gain of over an ounce a day. She continued that trend weighing 6lbs 9.5ounces at her 2 week check up on 4/28 and 7lbs 11ounces at her 1 month check up on 5/12. Wh
* Sleep. Oh wonderful uninterrupted sleep, how I miss you. I guess I didn't really think this one out through before I had the baby. This is probably a good thing because if I had known just how bad it is I may have waited some more. I guess I figured you'd have some bad nights but also some good nights. I didn't realize you would never sleep a full night again for a while!! Naive little me. I thought I'd have stretches of time where I'd be sleeping. Oh no no no. The baby needs to eat every 3 hours and since I was BFing that meant I had to be the one doing this. And at that point it took an hour a feeding so even if I did manage to sleep afterwards it was only for 2 hours at a time.
* Day/night confusion. Eventually she started having slightly longer awake periods. Unfortunately, these were in the dead of night at first. "Look Mommy and Daddy! I want to interact with you now!" Yeah, but it's 3am!! We were torn because we were happy that she was finally recognizing our presence but we really had no energy for her at that time.
* Within a few days we were doing decently well getting the baby's needs met. But we realized we were ignoring our own! Some days it would be mid-afternoon and we hadn't eaten anything. That's when I called Mom and begged her to come over and stay with us so she could feed us and clean the house.

Damn, this sounds like negative stuff but it really wasn't. It's just that that is what stands out the most in my mind at this point. The baby was still pretty "fetal" that first month, especially since she was born quite skinny. She didn't do much yet but she did smile as she drifted off to sleep. And all her bodily functions were in place and provided entertainment for us. We were still just in awe of having made a little person and were content to just stare at her for hours on end.

4 weeks old:


Patty said...

Yay! You're Back! :-)

... and what a sweetie. Congratulations and I hope you enjoy her in this small state; things change quickly. MY little sweetie (now 23) gets married this Sunday!

Everyone's story is different. Everyone's story has similarities. Writing out your story is wonderful because it's amazing how much you forget. Trust me.

I breastfed my kiddos too, although I only lasted 6 months. (With the first I was a breast pump mamma, and I was very zealous about it. With each one I lost the ambition a bit.) My mom wasn't exactly encouraging, but she knew not to say too much, as we were obviously going to be (at least in our eyes) the Best Parents Ever. Hah! We all make mistakes. I know I did. Still do. Go figure.

My kids slept through the night somewhat earlier than most babies these days. To be honest, I think it might be because we didn't own a baby monitor. But who knows?

Anyhoo, thanks for popping back in here, Hilda. I've missed you!

Big question is ... what does the young'un think of oboe? Or have you played yet?

Hilda said...

Patty! So glad to be back. I can't believe one of your kids is getting married. Wow! Congratulations!

6 months is great. I am hoping to make it to 6 because then at least at that point we can introduce solids and then she wouldn't be as dependent on me for everything. 4 more months to go. *faint*

Hmm I'll have to keep looking into why today's kids are having so many sleeping problems. We know people with preschoolers who still don't sleep through the night.

I actually did play for her once, but it was over a month ago back when she still wasn't that aware of things. I will have to try it again, hopefully this week, to see what she thinks. I'm assuming she'll like it since I did get to play a bit while pregnant and we do listen to oboe music a bit. I'll be sure to write about it when I do.

Patty said...


I don't even remember what my kiddos thought of the oboe. Weird, huh?

Sleeping ... well ... who the heck knows?! Maybe all kids are different. Maybe it's that I stubbornly wouldn't get up sometimes. Maybe my kids were just dosed with sleeping pills (NOT!). I really haven't a clue. It is what it is, and eventually they sleep.

When kids are OLDER and still not sleeping I am much more likely to suspect parents react too quickly. I've seen moms that cater just a bit more than I think is healthy. BUT I'm not a perfect mom, so I always have to remember that! :-)

Yeah, our daughter is getting married. Scary. It means I'm OLD enough to have a daughter getting married. Check out their site at if you wanna see the happy couple. :-)