Week Five

See that picture in the previous post?  That sweet, beautiful baby is crying right this minute.  His dad is carrying him right now because I’ve been his slave all day and for some reason I just couldn’t handle one more of his little baby kicks as I hold him in my lap.

The louder he cries, the louder my music gets.  I am a bad mommy.

I took a shower today when Sparky got home.  It was so necessary. Last night I tore apart the bedroom looking for the origin of a scent I could only describe as burned sugar with a hint of halogen incinerated bug. It was me.  Yet  my shower had to wait until Sparks got home because SOMEONE cannot be left for a moment.  In the shower I could hear him crying.  Every time Sparky walked by the bathroom with that little guy, I turned up the temperature of the water.  By the time I got out my skin was pink and squeaky clean and my muscles a little looser.

You know, the first week I was fooled, tricked even.  Max was delightful.  He’d eat and sleep in his cradle.  I was able to get up early in the morning, get dressed, do 30 minutes of housework before he woke up.  I was even able to put on mascara.

Then with the colic he was sleeping four to five hours solid.  That lasted a week.

He liked the sling.  I could wear him and do stuff.  He hates it now.  Screams the moment I try to put him in it.  I’ve tried the three different positions this sling allows for infants. Nothing doing.

I’m in week fiveA mom at five weeks now.  My hair is brushed perhaps every other day.  That’s okay though because it’s always in a ponytail. I might have a moment to brush my teeth, but only if I demand it.  The dark circles under my eyes are not from leftover make-up, but rather the every two hour wake up call.  I’ve developed a neurosis.  I know the moment I close my eyes, Max will wake up. Sparky won’t, but Max will.

Sparky and I walk around trying to figure out the un-figure-out-able.

Is he hungry or too full?  Is he too hot or too cold?  Does he have gas?  Does his bottom hurt with those massive sharts? Is he overly stimulated or are we ignoring his development?  Is his swaddle too tight, too loose?  Should we watch TV with him in the room?  What if he’s asleep?  Awake, but turned away from the TV?  Is the light to bright? Is it too dark? Are we feeding him too much?  Not enough? Do I force him to sleep by letting him cry?   Is he just too tired to sleep properly? What about his REM sleep?  Can he get enough with his 45 minute cat naps?  Am I a bad mom for putting him in the swing and letting him fall asleep there if he seems to like it?

The midwife came over and started sleep training him.  I kept looking at the clock wondering when she was going to leave so I could go rescue him.  She’s done this with new moms before, I suppose, and knew I’d be in there in a NY minute if she left before he was asleep.  He cried himself to sleep and slept for four hours.  But he did that little huh-huh of left over tears in his sleep and I cried as quietly as I could as I sat next to his cradle watching him sleep.  Four guilt filled hours.  I’m not doing that again for at least two more decades.

She told me to feed him only every three hours.  I tried it. That isn’t really working. He’s eating when every he wants to.  He’s only a month old.  I’m not setting him up for obesity. Right?

I’ve decided that I’m not listening to her anymore.  And she wears too much perfume.  Max smells like her until I bathe him.

I have to say, I’m holding out on the BFing for 6 weeks.  We’ll see after that.  The village feeders I used to call breasts are insane. Let’s just say that when they leak, and oh what a glorious thing that is, my thighs get wet. The constant child nibbling at them is driving me crazy.

We are holding on for that miracle three month mark at which I had better get something pretty and sparkly.

Oh and Claire, I’ve gained weight since all I’m doing is eating crap that I can shove down my throat one-handed and I need those snickers at 3 am to keep me awake until Mr. Bright Eyes deigns to sleep again. So I guess I shouldn’t have been all happy about those pre-pregnancy jeans which, even though I technically weigh less, don’t seem so eager to zip up.  And what’s with those stomach muscles not just jumping back into their place.  Aren’t I working hard enough?  Getting up at 6 am with Sparky to do stomach exercises seems like a cruel, cruel joke.

Rat Bastard.

Then there are the moments when Max looks up at me to say “Hey, what’s up?  Aren’t I the most adorable big eyed buglet? How can you NOT love me?”  Really, he’s probably just so happy that last diaper was changed or that during the last feeding he wasn’t suffocated by the massive milk machines.  But it’s those little smiles that make me smile and keep sanity within the apartment if it’s not in the same room.

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19 thoughts on “Week Five

  1. I did not laugh, but I smiled a WHOLE lot. It was this same neurosis that led me to write everything down in a tiny notebook and I started taking sleeping pills. Don’t go down that road.

    Let’s see:

    Is he hungry or too full?
    When I started bottle feeding it saved me from the oh my good how much has he had? I followed the instructions on the Aptimil box. The only time it did not work was when he went through a growth spurt.

    Is he too hot or too cold?
    If he is sweating, he is too hot. I dress Chris like I dress.

    Is he overly stimulated or are we ignoring his development?
    Dude, he does not know where his nose is! I would though read to Chris and play with him for about an hour in the mornings and one in the afternoon.

    Should we watch TV with him in the room? What if he’s asleep? Awake, but turned away from the TV?
    I felt REALLY bad about the TV thing for the first few months. However, Max does not know what it is. Give yourself a break. If watching Friends for 30 minutes while Max lies in his bassinet helps you feel sane, do it!

    Is the light to bright? Is it too dark?
    Christopher always squinted when we took him out. They do need shade when their eyes are developing. He

    Are we feeding him too much? Not enough?
    Like I said, I followed the box.

    Do I force him to sleep by letting him cry? Is he just too tired to sleep properly? What about his REM sleep? Can he get enough with his 45 minute cat naps? Am I a bad mom for putting him in the swing and letting him fall asleep there if he seems to like it?

    I am sending you my sleep book! We did sleep train Christopher. It took three days. We huddled in bed together while he cried. But it worked. We did it when he was 8 weeks.

    You are a not a bad mom. You actually care and consider these things. That makes you a fabulous mom. Remember, the hardest part is learning to let go of the control and the worry. I am still working on it myself.

  2. Have you checked out the No Cry Sleep Solution? I can send you my copy if you want to borrow it. It explains that babies require sleep differently than adults, but I don’t remember exactly what it says anymore (my brain is only retaining toddler related info at the moment). I’m not a fan of sleep training (being a Dr Sears lovin’ cosleeper, myself), but it’s better to do that than to let the baby drive you insane through sleep deprivation.

    If Max is gaining weight and filling diapers, you’re feeding him enough. “Breastfeeding Made Simple” helped me with a lot of those feeding related issues. I’d offer to loan you that too, but it’s already on loan to another mom.

    If you ever need any support, I’m just a phone call away. I think it was somewhere around the five week mark that I made a sobbing phone call to an English speaking LLL Leader somewhere in Germany, so I know how that goes. Things get better. Those first few weeks are really hard. I think after 6 weeks it gets a little easier, then after 3 months it eases up again, and once you hit 6 months, it gets much less difficult (dare I say mostly enjoyable?). Oliver is turning 2 next month and while I remember how hard those first few months were, they seem like such a short part of his life now.

    Also, because of my breast reduction, I breastfed and bottle fed formula because I didn’t have a full supply, and I can attest that bottle feeding isn’t easier. It’s a lot more work (and the diapers are way stinkier). I know several moms who really regret not hanging in there with their first child, now that they’re successfully bfing their second. That being said, only you know what’s right for you, and if you feel bfing really isn’t working for your family, then switching to formula may be the right choice for you.

    Hang in there!

  3. hmmm. see that’s why they’re so damn cute… ’cause if they weren’t… (okay, i won’t say anything about infanticide… oops; too late).

    i know bf’ing is the right thing to do (& i wouldn’t want anyone to sic the LLL on me), but obviously that was not an option with M. formula was so easy (albeit it stinky, both coming & going), & we didn’t worry about whether or not he was eating enough (okay; so there was an Excel spreadsheet…). plus it meant that we could share the late night/early morning feedings equitably.

    hang in there, babe. u know it’s all worth it (even when you don’t). it will get easier. & u r so going to be/are the best mom ever.

    kisses!

  4. The picture in the last post is so cute. Neurotic? We’ve all been there. I used to stand in front of the sink scarfing down whatever while bouncing him in the baby chair with my foot while making a bottle… It’s insanity in the beginning (okay first 18 years) you feel like you have no idea what you are doing. But they survive and so will you. Eat what you can when you can. If bf isn’t working there’s nothing wrong with stopping if it’s what you want. I see no reason to be doing cry it out at a month old. At 8 months, yes but before that no (unless it’s what YOU want to do). I think that is the only piece of advice I ever give. It’s your baby you do what feels right for you and forget all the well meaning people who tell you what to do 🙂 But on that note if you can find a vibrating baby seat, that’s heaven right there.

    The groove does come eventually and you start to learn more about what each cry and smile means and what they want. It just takes time.

  5. okay a) your blog eats my comments. b) no advice from me here, i’ll leave that to the real moms. just good luck and hang in there 🙂

  6. Hang in there!!! I honestly do not remember anything about the first 6-8 months that my son was born. I was a zombie all of the time and he cried. A LOT!

    Do what feels right and now we have all been down that road…

    Sending you virtual hugs… {{hugs}}

  7. See I am so tired because my 3 year old, who does actually sleep now, was sick and I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night!

    I meant “know” we have all been down that road…

    I need a nap!

  8. Before you know it, six months will have gone by and you’ll laugh at all the worrying you were doing.

  9. It does get better – every 30 days there is a small improvement. We eventually did the cry it out method, but not until they were about three or four months. Hang in and do what works to just get by for now. I swear, it does get easier.

  10. “She told me to feed him only every three hours. I tried it. That isn’t really working. He’s eating when every he wants to. He’s only a month old. I’m not setting him up for obesity. Right?”

    Nope. Feeding on demand is best for baby, and bf babies supposedly struggle less with obesity later.

    I’m also a “NO Cry Sleep Solution” fan. I could not allow my baby to cry, nor do I do much “training” in any aspect (lots of learning though), but that book was great for learning to recognize sleep cues, bed time cues and routines, etc. And during the worst of sleep problems, The Boy slept in his swing. Yes, for hours.

    Leaking– I stopped leaking around two months. Except for the time I had coffee with you and Sparky. LOL! During those two months or so of leaking, my milk could squirt half way across a room. I know I shot The Boy in the eye more than once. 🙂

    I didn’t stop watching TV while The Boy nursed until he started knowing the theme song of Two and a Half Men. LOL! He doesn’t watch much tv now (maybe 20 – 30 minutes every other day?), so it works out.

    You’ll get it. Listen to your heart. 🙂

  11. You guys are great. one of the things that makes me sad is that I’m here in germany without any family around to help. You guys just step right in. thank you. really, I can’t tell you how moved I am. tears might be involved, but its probably from hormones.

    Right now max weighs about 5 kilos. he was 3.790 when he was born. According to the Dr. he’s getting plenty to eat. The midwife told me the reason he wasn’t sleeping was because he’d eat too frequently so she “suggested” he eat only every three hours.

    max co-sleeps and frankly, i can’t imagine it any other way right now. He’s just a little guy. The midwife also thought that was a bad idea.

    See where I’m going? We’ve decided to forgo the midwife now. He’s old enough. We have a great Ped.

    My friend April gave us “the happiest baby on the block” to help with the crying and it works some of the time.

    I don’t want to sleep train him right now. when he’s older maybe, but he’s just so little and I’ve read enough of Dr. Sears to worry about breaking that trust with him and that trust was established our first night together in a hellish hospital when it was just he and I walking the halls all night. That whole sleep training period i felt like I had betrayed him and I just can’t handle that. He’s just so little and so trusting.

    I’ll pick up the no cry sleep solution. I have an amazon order coming through. Fluffy romance novels to read while I’m breast feeding.

    With the Bf-ing. I seriously do not have a single bra that fits. I’m far beyond the EEE. I want to do it, but it has to get easier. The pumping is random because I feed him when ever he wants to be fed and if i pump then i have less if he wants to eat right then. Then later the pumping increases the output which causes my boobs to get even bigger. its this weird cycle that I can’t get right. The midwife had no advice on pumping.

    This mixture of frustration, guilt, cluelessness and tiredness is so overwhelming. I really was not prepared for this.

    Again thank you.

    Erica and Linda – I’ll e-mail you back the moment I have time. thank you for your e-mails.

    It’s that time again and Sparky is looking a little ragged.

    love,
    jen

  12. Breastmilk digests quickly, which is why bf babies on average wake more frequently, but guess what? That is also why bf babies have lower rates of SIDS. 😉

    My real point in posting again is that I do know about pumping (ACK! Die pump die!) and breasts (woo hoo). Do you want to pump? If not, don’t do it for now (at least until your supply regulates, which is around six to twelve weeks for most women). If you have a goal for pumping (i.e. you want to get a bottle to go shopping or store up some milk, etc) or general questions, let me know and I would be more than happy to talk to you about pumping.

    I remember that my breasts slowly went down in size once my supply regulated itself. They were still two sizes larger than normal, but they did go down some after that. What I found to work best for me though were nursing tank tops. They allowed my breasts to expand as needed, yet held them a little more in place than going without a bra.

    Seriously Jen. Call. Me. Even if you simply want to scream. 😉

  13. forget the underpaid nurse, your doing great. Tell her to bath before comng in, stink furm is a no go when coming in to care for a child. Wait on the bottle thing unless you cannot wait, let him eat as much as he want, he will stop when he is full, you just might not like it, just watch his popp for something like Emi had, if so, switch to low iron form. try for the cryin to hold him stomach down on your arm, gental rocking strocking the back, worked with Brian, he has collack…sorry for the spelling, have the lung thing again and drugged up, should work….
    keep working, your dooing good!

  14. So glad I read the other comments because they said all the wise tidbits I was gonna leave you. Mostly, Jen… I swear, 6 weeks is the pinnacle of TOUGH! Really. You’re exhausted, but no longer birth-excitement exhausted. This is the real deal. It’ll get better, I promise.

    As far as this every 3 hours bullshit, how… well, how German! (Sorry Sparky!) Jen, feed the sweet thing when he’s hungry! Hold him when he cries. Let him sleep with you if it helps YOU sleep. Follow your heart. Really!

    I am just a Skype call away, my friend. Just e-mail me and we’ll plan it.

    Much love,

    Carol

  15. I know when we all say you are doing great, it can be quite hard to believe. I fed both of my 2 boys, the eldest was Mr 1 and a half hours until he was 8 weeks old and the little one was Mr 4 hours.
    I gradually tried to put them both into the crib at the bottom of our bed, until they got used to sleeping there and went into their own room at between 3 and 4 months.
    My mother in law used to play the, how do you know they are getting enough game with me. They were gaining weight and had enough wet and dirty nappies, to back up that I had enough milk for them.
    As for sleep training – I started when they were 8/9 months, it was easier with one than the other.
    I know we do not know each other very well but I am just half an hour down the road if you need to talk just yell or some more practical help, just yell.
    Being a parent is the hardest job we will ever do but it truly is the most rewarding.
    K
    xx

  16. SC would not let me put her down. Ever. Except in the car seat.
    The Man would come home and I would hand her over and charge into the bathroom for a shower and a meal I could eat without holding her in one arm.

    It was Girl Scout cookie season. Guess what my number one food was? 😀

    I find her attachment thing incredible ironic now, because at 14 she is generally not too physical with me at all. Thank heavens that JR is still a cuddler even if she is 10!

    Oh, and take Sears (and all the others) with a large grain of salt. He is at one end of the extreme spectrum and Dr Feder (the cry it out king) is at the other. There ARE happy mediums. And you’ll find yours!

  17. Wow that’s a lot of advice up there. As a mommy of four who’ve all lived, sadly I can’t restrain myself from adding to it. My apologies in advance.

    If you don’t mind my stating the utterly obvious I’d first like to say no one is really going to be able to give you reasonable advice as it’s a human with a distinct personality and needs we’re talking about, and not a product that rolled off the assembly line. But you knew this already. And may I say you’re being incredibly patient about it.

    Therefore, you can confidently chuck almost everything anyone tells you in a bin. The best we well-intentioned people can do is give you generalities. They might be helpful, then again they might not. Bottom line, it’s your baby, he’s in tune with you – he *is* you and Sparky – and you know what to do with him just as you know what to do with yourselves.

    That said, if it were me I’d send that lady home. Midwives are for teenagers and people with no confidence. These are categories that don’t include you.

    You don’t need anyone to train your baby to sleep. He’ll sleep when he needs to. Just as he’ll eat when he needs to, wet when he needs to, etc. Otherwise he’s lying alone crying himself sleepy, and all this is teaching him is that sometimes there is help when he calls, and sometimes not.

    I didn’t want my children to learn that lesson. I wanted them to be confident in their mother, confident that when they had a need it would been seen to, confident they were safe and loved, no matter what. It was uncomfortable, yes, but I lived. Millions of other mothers did too.

    In my opinion the decision to ‘train’ your child is about making a choice between yourself and the child. Someone is going to be compromised and you have to decide who that’s going to be. Some mothers can live with putting themselves first and some can’t. You know where your comfort zone is, what your gut tells you to do, so do that.

    General rules I can think of:

    He’s going to wake you up a lot until he’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 months old. Maybe shorter, maybe longer, but that’s a good guess of the time frame based on my experience. Then he should start sleeping through the night. Keep your eyes on the goal.

    Remember also that the moment he does you’re going to trade lamenting the fact you’re constantly exhausted for wondering where your so-cute-he’s-edible newborn has gone.

    It’s hard at the beginning, but you’re going to get throught it, and it’ll get gradually better every day. Write that down somewhere and tape it up where you can see it.

    As for holding him constantly – I do that with Isabel too. And Jordan. And Justin. And Oliver. And sometimes my husband. 🙂 I didn’t know what attachment parenting was until I looked it up. I just saw my babies needed to be held so I held them. They grow out of this stage and before you know it you’ll be begging to hold them while they squirm and try to get away from you. You’re doing the right thing keeping him near.

    You’re also feeling the right things. A bit of resentment, annoyance, guilt, etc. We’ve all felt that. Then we go and hold them anyway. It passes. We forgive ourselves for it and find a happy medium.

    As for the stinky mommy days, the crappy eating, the little bit of weight gain… this just tells me you’re doing everything right. If you were walking around looking like you just got off the red carpet I’d be really worried.

    Basically just hang in there. This is motherhood and it’s about the journey, and it’s sometimes a very painful journey. But just look at him. You’d throw yourself in front of a bus for him and more. He’s so worth it.

  18. And now I go back and read your comments and see my saying all this was unnecessary but I had a good time writing it so… it’s all good. 🙂

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