I'm going to sound a little crazy but lately, Jason and I have been seriously trying for a baby and it'a made me melancholy for the days when Noella was just a tiny babe. When I think back to when she was so tiny and new I can't help but think about all the things I wish I would have done differently. One of the biggest things I will probably always regret is not sticking it through the toughest times with breastfeeding.
It sounds like a totally random thing to regret almost two years later but I do. It makes me so so sad every time I think about the fact that I couldn't keep it up. I was tired. Beyond tired. I didn't take those two days after she was born while still in the hospital to sleep so when we got home and she suddenly decided she was hungry all night long it nearly killed me. (For those of you who know me well you know when I don't sleep I'm horribly horribly emotional. throw in post partum hormones and you're in for a rollercoaster.) I can remember the first night we came home with our new bundle of joy. The poor thing was so tiny and her head kept schlumping over in the carseat on the ride home. We were so enamoured but we had no clue what that night was going to hold for us.
She was literally awake every 20 minutes. She would wake up screaming, eat for five minutes fall asleep for 20 minutes and repeat. It. was. awful. The lactation consultant I called the next morning told me that was totally normal and that she was simply "cluster feeding" to help my milk come in. Yep. That was totally what I wanted to hear. This could be expected whenever she needed more milk than I was supplying. What had I gotten myself into?
Now because that first night was awful, I was a wreck the next day on top of post partum hormones. I stuck it out a few days before I started to lose it again. I didn't know of anyone else who had breastfed who could help me. The only women I could have asked for help were much older with grandchildren of their own now and so I felt awkward asking them to come over and help. Almost every time she needed to feed she stretched out stiff as a board and screamed until she was red in the face. It terrified me. And what if she wasn't getting enough? What if my milk wasn't nourishing enough? Was she ever going to be able to sleep longer than 2 hours at night?
I somewhere along the way decided that the only option was for me to pump exclusively because that way the milk would get into her mouth faster and therefore I wouldn't have a screaming stiff board of a baby. I was wrong. She still screamed but it was easier to give her a bottle than to try to get her at the right angle to line up for my breast. She was a strong little one. Moving her into a somewhat relaxed position when she wanted to eat NOW wasn't easy.
On top of feeding a seemingly ever famished newborn I felt like I couldn't let the house go. I was swimming in a big pool of anxiety over the dishes in the sink and the trails of sand and rock salt that was tracked in from the driveway. How was I supposed to keep this baby happy and be able to cook and clean? How did all those other moms do it?
Almost two years later I realize that in those first few months, no one expects your house to be clean or for you have showered in the past 4 days. Your only job is that baby and making sure you eat. I hate that hindsight is 20/20.
I regret not sticking through those rough first weeks. I feel like when I decided to start exclusively pumping so Jason could feed her too, that was when I kind of threw in the towel. We made it only 2 weeks breastfeeding and then about another month with expressed milk.
Jason says he wouldn't have had it any other way. He was able to help during the night basically from the get go which made him feel like he was really becoming a daddy. One major blessing we had from introducing her to formula early on is that she slept a full 8 hours at only 4 weeks old. She has been an excellent sleeper ever since (excluding teething and sickness).
I feel like I missed out on some sort of golden opportunity to bond with her. I know I did try and she was at least able to get the colostrum which is suuuuuper important but it makes me want to try harder the next time around. I want to make sure I stick through it next time.
I am very excited at the prospect of having another babe. I look forward to the changes that another Chauvin will bring. I just am waiting for that little pink line to tell me they are on their way. Soon. I hope.