Yesterday I got a call from the Loving Support Breastfeeding Hotline, they were the ones I called when I was having my engorgement problems. Anyhow, so they called just to see how everything was going and also to let me know that Evy was going to be going through a growth spurt any day now and to be on the lookout for increased feeding demands.
Man, were they right! Two days ago I was talking about how Evy seemed inconsolable other than with the breast and how strange it was for her - now it all makes sense. Its odd how when I read all of this in my books on breastfeeding, I just don't realize that eventually it'll happen to Evy and I. Reading about growth spurts, I naturally just pushed it back in my mind thinking, "Oh, that'll be awhile..." and the next thing you know its here. She's growing so fast!!!
Yesterday was long. Evy wasn't particularly fussy or anything, it just seemed like after her morning snooze (she often falls asleep after her first morning feeding until about 11am or so) she needed to be on my breast constantly. It was my first course of action to take (unless I could smell or feel her dirty diaper) and every time that seemed to be exactly what she needed. Plus, she didn't seem to nap at all! By the end of the day - even though she wasn't fussy - she simply would not detach. I think it's because she'd sucked me dry but still needed more so kept trying. I'm not even sure if that's possible, but I felt drained. I gave her a bath earlier than usual, because we're trying to get into an earlier nightly routine, and once I could tell she wasn't seemingly satisfied with my breast, I made her a bottle of stored breast milk. She had a good four ounces - like I said, I don't know if it's possible but I really do think I was "empty". After that she went straight to bed and slept through the whole night.
What a time to go back to work, eh? Thank you United States of America.
Did you guys know that some European countries give woman an entire YEAR off with pay? Not only that - women who choose to stay at home and not work are paid by the government for providing child care! Not fair!!!
Paul had the last four days off, so my already unscheduled days became even more unscheduled. Paul's the best, and let me sleep in every morning the last four days until well past 11am. The problem is that I began to stay up until about 2am and now I'm in the worst sleeping pattern. So I told Paul, "Make sure I get out of bed before you leave on Tuesday!" and he kept his word. I'm awake even if Evy isn't.
Speaking of Evy, she was a bit out of character yesterday afternoon & continued to be through this morning. Late yesterday afternoon she was really fussy, and no matter how many times I nursed her and she feel asleep, once she woke up she was upset and wanted to nurse again. No amount of rocking, swaddling, or back patting was working. It was so unlike her, I was caught off guard and it stressed me out a bit. Once we finally got her to calm down, around 9pm or so, she fell into a very deep sleep (I moved her from her swing around 10:30 to change her diaper and clothes for bed and she still didn't wake up) and didn't wake up until nearly after 8am this morning! Now, while its common for Evy to sleep through the night, that's usually under certain circumstances; bath, followed by nursing, followed promptly by bed but we don't start the routine until around 10:30pm so she's not even falling asleep until 11pm or so. Even then she occasionally wakes up around 5am to nurse and then naps until 7:30am. So imagine my surprise to wake up this morning not to the sound of a crying baby. I was so surprised I was actually worried - SIDS started flashing through my mind but the moment Paul peeked his head into the nursery she sneezed in her sleep. I figure it was just a bout of cluster feedings - something my breastfeeding book talked about.
My only serious goal for this week, my last week of maternity leave, is to get myself together - physically. Get my hair cut, make sure I have clothes that fit for work, and get myself on a decent sleeping schedule. Saturday I met my sister at the mall and by the time I'd walked a short distance through the crowds, I felt terrible about myself. I didn't like the shirt I was wearing as it made me feel fat even though I really am not that concerned with my weight right now, I've been unhappy with my hair for about 2 months now and it didn't help I hadn't washed it that morning, and because Evy is so freakin' cute (and I swear, every woman seems to be in baby fever these days) everyone who passed made sure to stare at us extra long and take in the whole train wreck. I made my sister stop into Old Navy with me just to pick up a new shirt and even though I'd never do this normally (phobia), I wore the shirt for the rest of the day even though I hadn't washed it yet. Needless to say, I have to spend some time getting myself together before going back to work.
Oh, and another reason I have to buy some new clothes is because I have nothing good for summer! My one pair of shorts that I do own (and love) don't fit right now, my sandals need to be replaced, and I lack a bathing suit. I discovered all of this yesterday, when trying to get ready for a pool party. Paul & I were the only ones there in jean pants avoiding the pool - we looked really out of place.
I just took this picture with my small point & shoot, ergo the tacky flash. But surprisingly it turned out well! I love having staring contests with her - she's so unbelievably perfect to me!
All I've been doing is photo posting lately. But that'll change really soon.
Today is the end of the 5th week of my maternity leave. That's right, I have one more week left of devoted motherhood. I'm going to miss it, but I'm happy that I'm not feeling... defeated and depressed by having to go back to work. I went into work on Wednesday and hashed out with my boss exactly what my reduced schedule was going to be. I wanted to move to four-day work weeks, still maintaining my regular business hours of 7-4, and after checking with FMLA regulations and my HR department we got it all worked out. I'll be taking every Wednesday off until the last week in December. I figure that'll give me a good amount of time to fully adjust to everything and it'll also mean my sister wont have Evy three days a week (along with her own newborn and 2.5 year old) until she's 9 months old. Hopefully that'll make a positive difference that'll be more of help rather than a hindrance.
So, Paul will be working from home Monday & Friday, my sister will be watching her Tuesday & Thursday and then I'll be with her on Wednesday. I'm so happy that she'll be with family! I know my parents had to do what they had to do but I hated going to people's homes for daycare and we just can't afford Kindercare.
I hate to say it, but I'm actually looking forward to going back to work a bit. Watching Evy, I really have no schedule. I'm lucky if I put on a bra or take a shower. Often times I wont eat breakfast until I'm shaking and I wont have lunch until well in the afternoon or until Paul get's home. I'm looking forward to getting back into some kind of routine that ensures I eat and bathe :P I'm sure I could have gotten into a good routine if I had more time - but these first few weeks have just flown by and everything keeps changing.
I also miss having a presence online. I miss blogging and my online friends. I know that sounds terrible but the truth is I've put everything on hold these last few weeks because I knew that they were only temporary. Once I go back to work and I know what'll be permanent.
Anyhow - so that's that. I go back to work on June 2nd.
My 2nd nephew Elijah - born on March 24th (less than a month before Evelyn) - came with my sister for our "Sister Night" tonight. With both the kiddies wiped out, we put them to sleep together in Evy's crib. Don't they look so cute! Elijah is on the left :)
Monday marked the beginning of Evy's 4th week - and I'm happy to say I've been learning a lot and we've been building some good routines. Evelyn's a really great baby - not completely stress free but what would be the fun of that?
For one thing, she's a great sleeper. Everyone scared me into thinking I'd be up every two hours feeding, changing diapers or soothing gassy stomachs so we bought a co-sleeper hoping it would cut down on the time and energy during the night. But we realized that Evy slept well in her crib during the day so we tried it at night and it's been great ever since! We put her down around 10pm (since that's when we head to bed) and she sleeps until around 5am and wakes bright and early with us at 7:30-8. Such a relief!
Another relief - no colic! I can make her happy, though sometimes it take some good investigative work :)
She doesn't burp very well - even though I'm sure that's more my fault than hers. We've had a few projectile spit-up incidents - and I feel bad each time.
She likes driving on the freeway - but not on city streets.
Breastfeeding in public is hard, though I just bought a really nifty cover up that I think will make it easier.
She doesn't like her swing as much as I'd hoped - maybe once she gets a bit older.
... Yeah. We're learning stuff every day:)
I've finally gotten the kinks out of my website editing tools, so I'm able to post here again :)
Its my 3rd week of being a mom and the biggest learning experience so far has been in regards to breast feeding. Its true what my book says, breast feeding may be the most natural thing in the world but it does not come naturally to either mother or baby. Aside from trying to learn how to get the process to work for Evy and I, I'm also tackling the natural side-effects of breast feedings. They are listed below, in the order I've experienced them so far.
Side effect one: Sore nipples. What they say, about how "it should never hurt if you're doing it right" is not true. I know that I've got Evy latched on properly - my nipples are just not used to the whole thing yet. Not wearing a bra is uncomfortable on my nipples, but it has other advantages so I flip-flop often.
Side effect two: Engorgement. This is when a woman's milk "comes in" (because as some may not now, you do not have milk when the baby is born - it takes up to five days) and for some it "comes in" with a fury. It did for me. It was a Wednesday when I woke up feeling fine and by the end of the day I was in so much pain! My left breast felt like a rock and it just got worse. I really regret not having my electric breast pump purchased and available to me because as I found out, if you become TOO engorged then a baby cannot nurse off of your breast because your nipple basically flattens out from the pressure. So I was unable to have Evy nurse the milk out, unable to express it manually, and if I didn't do something soon it could lead to a breast infection. Those few days marked the first breakdown I've had so far. Mix intense pain, frustration at not being able to do anything about it, and then add the fear of an infection that might prevent me from breast feeding at all and you can understand how I could have broken down. But in the end it all worked out. I borrowed (and eventually burnt out the motor of) my sister's over the counter single breast pump and expressed some, plus I got some help from a breast feeding hotline, and in the end Evy was able to nurse it back to normal. A few days later my breast pump arrived, unfortunatley for the $50 I paid for express shipping - too late to help with the engorgment.
Side effect three: Leaking breasts. I'd heard other women tell tall tales about how they would start lactating at the sound of a baby crying, and I always thought they were exaggerating. They were not. I'm assuming that my milk production will taper off, but as of right now when Evy cries my overly-full breasts immediately start to leak as though answering some - ironically - unspoken command. All of the breast feeding books tell you not to use breast pads in your bra that will hold moisture, but I just can't do my laundry quick enough to keep up with my spotting so I have to use the kind that hold moisture and just change them often. Expensive, but necessary. A funny part of leaking breasts is the fact that I habitually squirt milk right now. Its a bit annoying most times, but funny other times :) When I'm in the shower, I squirt. When Evy is feeding, I squirt - which wouldn't be a problem but Evy likes to take her time. She starts my milk flowing with a few good sucks and then wants to mull around my breast for awhile. In the meantime I'm squriting milk everywhere and have had to clean it out of her ear and eye. Good thing breast milk is good for just about everything :)
But aside from the side effects, the breast feeding is going good! I'm also pumping my milk right now and building my store for when I go back to work. You can store frozen breast milk for up to 4 months! I'm still resigned though not to give her a bottle until after six weeks though. I know she can latch onto my breast well, but the fact that she mulls around my breast and unlatches often makes me concerned. Maybe that's just Evy, but I don't want to chance any nipple confusion if we can.