Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Finding our groove

After 6 straight nights of being awake from 2am to 5am, not being able to settle Sticky, breast feeding challenges and post op pain, I was beside myself. We were off schedule, exhausted and I felt like I was loosing my way. But, rather than drowning, I decided to let go of all the expectations and pressure I had put on myself and connect with my daughter through love and acceptance.

The day after we got home, we realised we needed some kind of structure to our day. We were simply responding to whatever kind of night we had so not getting to bed until 5am meant we didn't get up until 9am. It meant we had no idea when we could do things, when people could come over or when we could even eat! 

We started a routine that provided sleep and feeding times, down to 25 minute feed on the left breast and 15 minutes on the right. I spent the first 2 days clock watching and writing every minute down. The problem was it didn't help us in the 2 to 5am witching hour. Yesterday, after a particularly brutal night, I threw the routine out the window. It was difficult for me because I'm such a routine driven person, but I had to realise the some days we just needed to be kind to ourselves and go with the flow. 

I was struggling to know how long I should be feeding Sticky for. Sadly, boobs are not like bottles where you can see how much has been consumed so it's tricky to know if she's had enough. I was going with the times of the routine because it seemed logical enough. Having a sleepy baby means she never wakes up for a feed. I need to wake her every 3 hours so she's always tiered come feeding time which means it can be a very long process.

I was getting frustrated at her for taking so long and frustrated at myself for not knowing how to judge if she had had enough. I was becoming anti-breast feeding telling my husband I didn't want to spend hours sitting in the breast feeding chair waiting for her to wake up. Yesterday, I realised this was the wrong approach.

At 10 days old, I have a lot of breastfeeding time ahead of me and this was not the mindset I wanted to be in. I used feeding time to do some research on latching so it would be more comfortable and how long to feed for. I stumbled across a few websites and You tube videos that provided some really helpful information. I've been able to get better attachment so it's less painful and I realised she would let me know when she had had enough to eat. I stopped watching the clock and started watching my baby.

I decided I didn't care how long she took because I cared about her being healthy and growing. I decided I really didn't have anything else important to do other than nourishing my baby, comforting her, cuddling her, talking to her and just marvelling at her. I decided to just appreciate our time together rather than wishing it would go faster. To look at her beautiful little toes, smille at her perfectly formed ears and shed a tear when she clasps her hands together or just holds my finger. Really, where else would I rather be then in that perfect moment with her?

I think my calmer approach had an effect on her because I got a 4 hour stint of sleep last night. She was still awake and unsettled from 7 to 11 pm but rather than stressing about it, I just cuddled her when she cried, told her she was ok and gave her a top up feed without resenting it. Maybe it's just taken me this time to understand her better, build my confidence and figure out how to respond. I'm still loosely basing our day on the routine because we do need some structure, but I'm adapting it to us and Sticky's needs. If she needs longer to sleep she sleeps. If she needs to go to bed earlier she goes. 

I've realised that Sticky and I are developing a new partnership and slowly becoming a team. Like any relationship, it takes time to get to know each other, build trust in each other and appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses. Right now, all she needs to know is that she has a Mummy that loves her, looks after her, soothes her and responds to her needs. All I need to know is I have this gorgeous little angel that I am responsible for and I will give her the love, freedom and space we both need to find our groove. 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post. You are right on, being her mum and in the moment, giving her what she needs and focusing on what's most important is being the best mum you can be. A routine will come. Before you know it the two of you will fall into a natural routine, one that could never have been planned. All my love and thoughts to you, Jeff, and Sticky as you take things one moment at a time.



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