Saturday, September 7th | 5 weeks and 2 days
By early September, breastfeeding had improved but I didn’t actually feel successful. Xavi was generally content after feedings and had enough wet/dirty diapers but he wasn’t growing out of newborn clothes or diapers. And since we wouldn’t be seeing the doctor again until his 2 month check-up, I had no clue about his weight gain. I considered going back to the lactation consultant, but kept putting it off. Instead, I looked up infant scales and asked Sean to pick one up on his weekly trip to Babies R Us for diapers.
As soon as Sean got home we set it up and weighed Xavi before his bath.
8 pounds, 2.5 ounces.
I quickly did some math and once again looked up the average weekly weight gain for breastfed babies. He was right on track and it made me feel so much better about my efforts. I know numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but they provided the reassurance and encouragement I needed. They put me at ease that my efforts were paying off. Most importantly, it was confirmation that Xavi was getting what he needed.
Thursday, September 12th | 6 weeks
We received a lot of great gifts for Xavier. One of those was the Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny swing. Sean set it up in the living room. For the past few months it’s sat there largely unused taking up space and occasionally tripping us up as we get too close to the legs.
Sean and I had both tried to put Xavi in the swing, but he always fussed. It didn’t have the magical calming and sleep inducing effect I read about with other swings. Sean wondered if Xavi disliked the positioning. I feared that the gift would never be used.
So it was a pleasant surprise when I put Xavi down to make lunch. I closed the blinds and sat down to eat lunch. Xavi stared at the birds and his reflection. After 15 minutes he had fallen asleep. He stayed asleep for over 2.5 hours, the most he’s napped during the day on his own (not held by me, Sean or another family member). While Xavi slept, I was able to get some housework and writing done.
By the time he woke up, I was more than ready to feed and cuddle my baby. While those hours to myself felt freeing, I missed Xavi. Since that afternoon, I’ve found the swing pretty reliable for naps.
Sean calls it the chore enabler.
Saturday, September 14th | 6 weeks and 2 days
It was a lazy Saturday morning. Sean was watching TV or reading comics. I was perusing a new moms Facebook group. Another mom posted the following:
New Mamas Get Nothing Done (and other untruths)
Original poster: So true, it made me cry.
I read the linked blog post and had the same reaction. I shared it with Sean and then posted my own pithy response: I feel accomplished when I eat a few times, shower and get dressed…
Seriously. I was not prepared for that fact and even if someone told me that I might not have a chance to brush my teeth some days until well until the afternoon I would’ve shrugged it off and thought they were exaggerating, doing something wrong, or had a difficult baby. I needed to learn this one on my own.
Reading that blog post assured me that I wasn’t the only one — are you ever the only one when it comes to mom/parent experiences? — and that it was okay to just be in my pajamas all day cuddling and feeding Xavier.
We were doing something (like champs!) and that something was my most important responsibility.
Saturday, September 28th | 8 weeks and 2 days
On Thursday we met with a potential fill-time babysitter. When I told her that Xavi had not yet taken a bottle of pumped breast milk she looked a little worried.
“Good luck with that,” I imagined her thinking.
We — er, Sean — tried after 6 weeks. I wanted to make sure breastfeeding was going well and had no issues with my supply. Sean tried twice. Both times Xavi refused the bottle. The situations weren’t ideal. I was home in another room or the shower. Also, Xavi was already getting to the hunger point where he was fussy. A bottle just wouldn’t do. The milk went to waste. Ugh.
This afternoon, I left Sean with 3 ounces of freshly pumped milk and a napping baby. I set out for an easy run walk with my cell phone.
“If he doesn’t take it, let me know. I won’t go far.”
I set off down the block feeling strange to be out without baby and stroller. The huge cracks in the sidewalk didn’t bug me and the sunshine and light breeze felt good. Since it was my first “run” in a very long time and because I’m out of shape, I kept it really slow and did run/walk intervals. I felt proud of being able to slowly jog for 12 minutes without stopping except to tie my shoe.
After about 15 minute I received a photo from Sean of an empty bottle. He took his first bottle! I almost cheered. It was such a relief to know at least one aspect of my return to work would be a little easier.
There were three firsts that day:
1. Xavi took a bottle of breast milk.
2. I went on a postpartum run/walk.
3. I was away from Xavi for more than 30 minutes. (The next day I’d be away for 3 hours. Success was mixed, but we were all happy to be reunited.)