Sunday, June 29, 2008

Food for thought

Something about motherhood that surprised me is the extent to which nursing has changed my life. DJ and I seem to be getting the hang of it, but there are always questions -- is he getting enough to eat? Is he getting enough hindmilk? Why did he suddenly start spitting up?

Besides the doubts, nursing is difficult work. Babies eat more frequently than their bottle-fed counterparts, as often as every two to three hours. That clock starts, though, when a feeding begins. So if DJ starts eating at 2 p.m., he'll need to start his next meal by 5 p.m. In the early weeks, nursing could take 45 minutes and doing anything else was tough. Now his feedings go faster. That schedule, thankfully, doesn't apply at night anymore. Now we're on demand, so if he sleeps seven hours straight (which he did two nights last week), we just wait until he wants to eat.

A nursing cover has also made life easier. Armed with it, DJ has eaten in diners, at Ikea, in his Dad's office, in his Mom's office, and even on a bus. That's the nice thing about nursing -- when he gets hungry, I just have to slip the cover over my head. We don't worry about preparing a bottle or making sure we have enough formula when we go out.

Clothing has also been a struggle. At first I stuck to button-down shirts, thinking they would make nursing easier, but they really didn't. And as nursing progressed, many shirts stopped fitting altogether. That was really frustrating, since the remaining baby weight already limited my clothing selection.

Trying to find something in my closet to wear to a recent baby shower was impossible. The only dresses that fit wouldn't have been suitable for nursing. I actually had to go buy a new outfit, which was a pain.

Speaking of pain, nursing isn't supposed to hurt, and doesn't, for the most part. In the beginning, as we were both figuring it out, there was pain. Even today there are occasional minor pains when he doesn't latch properly and we have to start over again, or if we've gone too long between feedings. I have been really lucky, though. Some friends and family who nursed endured quite a bit of pain to do so.

Even with these inconveniences, I'm glad I have been able to nurse, as it's a tremendous benefit to him and helps me feel more bonded. I hope we don't encounter any problems down the road that would make me have to stop doing it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The chaos is beginning to diminish

This week marked a few milestones for us. We moved into our house, and Tim, whose company has an extremely generous family leave policy, went back to work. Last week, we painted most of the interior and learned how little else gets done when watching a baby is the top priority. Family members helped us by coming to the house while we worked, which we really appreciated.

When they weren’t around, we took turns hanging out with him, but most of it fell to me, since I’m primarily responsible for feeding. I felt guilty about not helping with the house more, but Tim understood. Unpacking has been an extremely slow process, but we’re getting there.

Watching DJ all day is fun but tiring, and there are serious gaps in my childcare knowledge. I can't recall, for example, the words to the song "Pattycake." I also need to remember more children's songs to sing to him. I think he's getting tired of hearing "Old MacDonald" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." I bet there's a site online that could help me, and it's got me thinking about new guides that findingDulcinea could create for such a situation.

DJ is showing more interest in his surroundings, and if wet diapers didn’t bother him so much, he could probably spend hours on end looking at a window, the mobile on his bouncy seat, or the animals hanging from his play mat.

Besides cooing and making all sorts of noises, he's starting to smile, too. At first it was tentative, as his muscles weren’t sure what to do, but it's getting stronger. I hope to capture it on film soon.

This week, we also started acting like grown-ups. After months of talking about buying the Nintendo Wii and unsuccessfully searching for it, we ordered it on Father's Day, along with two games and extra controllers.

Once the ensemble arrived, though, Tim said he thought the money we spent could be used better elsewhere (he's absolutely right, but I, the less responsible one, didn't really think about that), so we returned it without opening any of the packages. He said the people at Circuit City were puzzled by the return.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Settling in

I meant to say this last week, but my apologies to those who have emailed or called that I haven’t responded to yet. I’m really behind when it comes to being social. I still have unwritten thank-you notes hanging over my head.

DJ is going to be a month this week, which amazes me. Here’s something I didn’t know about babies: some don’t sleep quietly. In the middle of the night, DJ coos, makes loud noises, and flings his arms out, hitting the sides of the bassinet. He cries out, but doesn’t cry, and does it all without waking up.

His bassinet is about an inch from my side of the bed, so I notice all these sounds. Earlier this week I mistakenly thought he was awake, so I got up with him when he started these little episodes. We were up every hour, and it was awful.

I talked to a friend about it, and she said some babies were noisy sleepers. The same day, I saw a question about it in a baby book, followed the advice, and things have been better.