Sunday, October 18, 2009

The first 6 weeks as a mom

I’ve survived what I feel should be called a “mothers milestone”, the first 6 weeks. It could also be called the sleep deprivation stage although I haven’t experience teething quite yet. I remember back in my last weeks of pregnancy people telling me “get all the sleep you can, you are gonna need it” usually followed by an annoying laugh. I’m not sure how other pregnant woman felt at the end, but between the constant hip pain and peeing every 15 minutes I wasn’t exactly getting quality sleep then either. At 41 plus weeks I was ready to deck the next person that would say that to me.

The sleep deprivation I experienced in the first 5 weeks of my daughter’s life was no laughing matter at all. It starts when you go into labour which in my case was 4 pm. I had been awake all day when “the time” finally came and it lasted until 6pm when my baby was born. I thought “wow I did it!” 26 hours of labour and survived. Little did I know that was just the warm up :-S After my body had gone through that traumatic event of giving birth all I wanted to do was sleep, however now I had this little baby that I had to start taking care of. Immediately you have to start feeding your baby every 2 hours.

I decided to breastfeed and no amount of prep can teach you how, until you actually try it. I had to learn and the baby had to learn, one feeding would sometimes take an hour, then I had to burp her and settle her, and change her diaper. By the time I was done 2 hours had gone by and I had to feed again and restart the process. When do I sleep??? OMG what have I gotten myself into??? For something so natural, breastfeeding is incredibly difficult i found. Learning to get her latched on properly, dealing with the initial pain of breastfeeding and of course sleep deprivation! No wonder only 17% of mothers make it to six months breastfeeding.

Scott was incredibly supportive that first week doing all the night shifts and allowing me to sleep and feed only. I was actually feeling pretty good. Once he went back to work and the world started to go back to normal, the reality of the workload started to affect me. My body was still healing and breastfeeding alone drains you so fast and of course sleep deprivation. I started to pump my milk and allow Scott to give her the odd bottle, but I was leery doing this as they don’t recommend it until at least 6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion. This was never in my “plan” either but like many rules you make before the baby comes this too went out the window. You do what works and what you need to, to survive!! I also said I would never give my child a soother, but after hours of crying and fussing, Scott tried one and she went right off to sleep....another rule bites the dust. How about “only sleeping in the bassinet”, I look lovely over at my daughter right now fast asleep in her spare car seat. Yep, that’s right folks, she sleeps in her car seat, the bassinet lasted only a week.

One of the hardest times has been week 4 and 5. We heard that colic likes to show its ugly head around this time and we were holding our breath, but like text book Byllee started fussing between 6pm until 3am some nights. We really had resigned ourselves to having a colicky baby. It doesn’t help that all those weeks of 3 hour cat naps starts to really catch up on you. I also got tonsillitis that week as well and was a crying, bubbling mess. Its hard enough doing this when you are “just exhausted”!

I started googling and turning to different websites to look for a possible solution. My mother suggested i cut back on caffeine...WHAT? Cut out coffee? Are you insane? I’m so sleep deprived and now I am suppose to cut out coffee too? I had to think long and hard about this one, and decided to go back to only 2 cups a day from the 4 cups I was drinking now. She actually started to slowly reduce fussy time almost immediately and thats when the “secret” formula occurred to me: Exhausted mom + Fussy baby + coffee = fussier baby and more alert mom. Alert mom and fussier baby MINUS coffee = less fussier baby and exhausted mom. Less fussier and happy baby = more rest which = less exhausted mom. Therefore coffee no longer needed.....who would have thought that was possible?

We are coming up now on Byllee’s 2 month birthday, and I can’t believe how time flies. One thing I hope to get a handle on is finding more time for me. It’s becoming a common sight for me to show up to my friends and families houses covered in puke with no makeup, wearing some ratty shirt I haven’t worn since high school since I don’t have enough clothes to last me till next laundry time. However, my baby girl is growing fast and is all smiles these days, so in the end, I guess I am doing something right and that’s all that matters :)

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