She's a great sleeper. Don't hate me, but she's so great at sleeping at I worry about her. Shouldn't she be waking me up crying every two hours all night long? Not so much. She sleeps for 3, 4, and even 5 hour stretches at night, and usually I'm the one who wakes up because my boobs are about to explode.
I think we've gotten the hang of this nursing thing. With the help of Lanolin, soothing gel pads, these plastic air-bubble things that look ridiculous but keep your nips from rubbing against your bra or breastpad, and trial and error on the latch technique, we are past the toe-curling, skin-crawling agony of those first few days of nursing. How thrilled am I that my nipples are no longer bleeding?
Caro is a very efficient eater, which has also had me worried. (I know, I'm totally obnoxious, I really need to shut up because my baby is SO GOOD at EATING and SLEEPING.) But seriously. You know I'm going to worry no matter what is going on. She attacks my boob like a starving baby vampire, sucks and gulps like crazy (sometimes choking and coughing, which scares the hell out of me, even though she seems totally unfazed and just gives me this tired little sigh after coughing like, "Okay, already, put me back on the boob, I'm good."). And then... she's done. After like 5 or 6 minutes. So I switch to the other side and she does the same thing. I can tell that my boobs go from feeling full to feeling empty and squishy (Is this the sexiest post ever? I think so.) and I can see her get all limp and milk-drunk, so she seems to be getting full, but it just doesn't seem like enough time, you know? Especially when I was reading about newborns eating for 20-45 minutes. On EACH boob!
So I went to a nursing moms' support group today at the hospital and talked with the lactation consultant and some other moms. It was slightly awkward because there were moms there with serious supply issues, with thrush, with bleeding nipples after eight weeks of nursing, with babies who are twelve weeks old and still nursing every two hours around the clock, and then I was there to ask, "Should my baby really be eating for fifteen minutes total and then sleeping from midnight to 5am?" without sounding like a totally obnoxious douche because SERIOUSLY it's freaking me out that she's not the high-maintenance newborn I expected.
The thing that eased my mind the most was weighing her and seeing that she was up to 8 pounds 7 ounces.
So... here's her growth chart (because of course everyone on the interwebz cares about this as much as I do).
June 29: 8 pounds even
July 1: 7 pounds 9 ounces
July 3: 7 pounds 12 ounces
July 7: 7 pounds 15.5 ounces
July 12: 8 pounds 7 ounces (enormous sigh of relief!)
Of course, the July 12th weigh-in was back at the hospital, not at our pediatrician's office (where July 3 and July 7 occurred) so it's possible that the scales are off an ounce or two, but I still feel okay about that. I figure that either way, it's a good indication she's getting enough to eat. I'm totally psycho with tracking what time, how long, and how often she nurses (and then worrying vaguely about whether having my iPhone next to us at all times is exposing her to radiation) so it was SUCH a relief to see that things are working.
So far we're still exclusively nursing. I'm sort of dreading the pump (and just now feeling like we're getting the hang of nursing), so I haven't messed with it yet. But I talked with the lactation consultant about this, and she suggested introducing a bottle when she's about a month old, so I still have some time (well, only two weeks!). I want to do it because I want David to be able to feed her at 5am (yesssss!) and because she needs to get used to taking a bottle before I go back to work, but I'm still a little unsure how to balance feeding and pumping. I guess we'll figure it out. I mean, that's what you have to do, right?
One thing that my pediatrician discussed with me is the fact that part of the reason that nursing seems to be going well for us is because this isn't really the first time my boobs are doing this. I mean, obviously I haven't been able to nurse a newborn before, but the hormonal changes, the milk coming in, all of that happened after Eliza was born also (in fact, physically it was as traumatic for me as her birth). As excruciating as that experience was, it helped to prepare my body for this time around. Knowing that information makes me really sad, even though it's a relief to not be struggling with a low supply--I'd much rather be struggling to breastfeed and have two living babies. I guess that's obvious.
As we started the little group meeting, everyone went around and introduced themselves. We told our babies' names and then said whether the baby was our first (everyone there was there with their first baby). I talked a lot about Eliza when I was pregnant with Caroline--it actually got easier to talk about her--and I told almost everyone who asked that this was not our first baby, so I felt like I was an old pro at this kind of thing.
But today when I said that we lost our first baby, I cried. It just felt so unfair to be there with all these moms who had their first babies who were just fine, and to think about all of them feeling sorry for me, and at the same time feeling so glad that I was able to be there with Caroline. It was too much. Cue the tears. I couldn't even finish my sentence because I got all choked up.
Fortunately, it wasn't a huge deal. The lactation consultant leading the group was super nice and understanding and said how glad she was that I had a healthy baby there with me now, and then someone else's baby started crying so at least I wasn't alone... The rest of the meeting went just fine, and the weigh-in was reassuring. Plus I figure that no one is begrudging me my perfect eating/sleeping baby, considering what I've been through. So we just keep on doing what we're doing.
Which is a lot of this:
|flash card tummy time with Daddy|
|Sitting out on the deck in the evening|
|Snoozing - the dramatic arm over the face was a favorite pose of hers during ultrasounds|
|blurry, but adorable smile|
|shopping with Grams|
|zonked out after nursing group|
|cutie cute - we love the ducky headband!|