This morning when I woke up, all I wanted to do was break out into a little jig while singing at the top of my lungs. I then wanted to burst outside, swing around a telephone pole (not like that, don’t be gross), pick up the newspaper and kiss my elderly neighbour square on the lips (not like that, either…).
Why? Because I slept.
Sweet, merciful sleep.
When Alex was six weeks old he started to give us five to six hours of straight sleep. I bragged about his sleep patterns. I raved about motherhood. This is easy, I said to myself. Then it all changed. When he hit three months, he started to consistently wake up every few hours. After six weeks of this, he started waking up every hour or two. One night he was up seven times.
With working part time, I was tired. We were all tired. There was no singing or pole swinging happening in our household.
Then came this past Monday. Alex wouldn’t nap. He wouldn’t sleep. He cried. I cried. Toby stared. The dog rolled his eyes for the billionth time.
“That’s it – we’re going to have to let him cry it out,” I announced Monday night. I was so frustrated with Alex’s inability to put away more than a few hours, especially when he showed me he was capable of doing it in the first half of his very long life. I figured this was the only way to make it happen.
I’m told that a lot of dads often cite hunger as the baby’s problem, as that’s what they think is the best fix. Toby has often said this, but I’d repeatedly tell him: “I just fed him”.
We had already hired a lactation consultant when Alex was five weeks old and she was amazing. She was the force who allowed me to continue to nurse. I was taking herbs, pumping and trying to feed him more often to increase my supply.
On Monday, Toby gave me one last pitch to start supplementing him more often (we were already doing it for his last feed of the day). So that night, I swallowed my pride and we fed him formula throughout the night. In 12 hours, he was up twice for two quick feeds and right back to sleep. Last night, he was up once for a quick feed.
It turns out: the little man is hungry.
Today we went to the doctor and we discovered Alex is in the 95th percentile for height and the 85th percentile for weight. It’s no wonder I can’t keep up with my linebacker.
Like every mother in this world, guilt settled in. I felt I wasn’t doing my part to supply him with enough milk.
I started to feel disappointed about supplementing, but that quickly changed when he started sleeping. Not because I then got sleep (but that doesn’t hurt), but because I realized that solved his frequent wake ups, which means he’s no longer uncomfortable.
I’d say the biggest struggle I’ve faced as a new momma is feeding. It’s been a challenging five months in that regard, but now that we’re slowly figuring it out, I feel like we’re that much more in tune with what Alex needs. Not with what I want.
How was your experience feeding your babes?
Do you ever kiss your elderly neighbours?