Ramblings on the Newborn Stage
Props to all the moms who actually love the newborn stage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond in love with my newborn, but the newborn stage is nothing short of the most exhausting, and at times frustrating, thing I’ve ever experienced.
Usually things come really easily to me. And I never realized how much I have taken this for granted. English. Math. College. Sports. Fashion. Getting jobs. Being a boss at all those jobs. Being a good wife. Being a good friend. Being a good daughter. No, those things weren’t (and aren’t) easy, but they came easily because I mostly had complete control over my performance and output, so I worked to make sure I was the best.
Being a mom to a newborn has not come easily for me. Because it’s not just my performance or output anymore. There’s another human involved, and everything is affected by how he feels and what he needs at any given moment.
I’m lucky if I brush my teeth before noon, and, on average, I reheat my coffee about three times a day. Reheated coffee is not good, by the way.
One night he will only wake up once in the middle of the night and I’ll wake up feeling like I’ve got this whole mom thing figured out, just for the very next night to roll around, and he’s screaming inconsolably for hours on end because his belly hurts and there’s really nothing I can do but try to bicycle kick his legs, burp him, and help him try to expel the gas in any way I can, and cry while I do it because it doesn’t seem to be helping and I haven’t really slept in nearly 24 hours. And yes, that’s all one sentence because that’s how it feels: never ending.
Brb: I have to nurse.
Okay, so... let’s talk about nursing. I have an oversupply. An oversupply should be a good thing, right? #firstworldproblems, right? Well, not necessarily.
I thought Summit had colic, then reflux, then I seriously questioned if he had GERD (look it up) after he projectile vomited his whole feed on us twice within a two day period. Turns out, he just has colicky and reflux-like symptoms because I have an oversupply of milk. And because of this, the milk comes out too fast, he takes too much in, his latch gets a little clicky because he has to push his tongue to stop the slow and kind of break the seal just to catch his breath, which in turn lets air in while he sucks, which goes into his stomach, and makes for more trapped gas than necessary, and then helloooo screams. Again, yes, that’s all one sentence.
We are figuring this out though because I’m an extensive freak of a researcher and I want the best for my baby. (PSA: Moms... PLEASE do your own research and don’t rely on every single thing your doctor says — they are helpful but they aren’t God.) A doctor could look at his symptoms and easily label it colic or reflux, which I initially believed to be true, but after ruling all of those things out, I found out it’s because of my oversupply.
We have stopped feeding for as long as we were during each session because we discovered his tummy can’t handle that much milk at once. We stop mid-feed to burp at least once, if not two or three times, to help expel the gas throughout the stretch of the feed and not just at the end. We stopped switching breasts at each feed and only stick to one boob per feed because we learned he was only getting fore milk (the more watery first milk that comes out) and never reaching the hind milk (the more substantial caloric milk that puts the weight on your baby and gives the nutrients he needs). We stopped feeding in any upright position where my boob was above his mouth because the milk was pouring into him like a waterfall and making him gag; and we started feeding only in side-lying or laid-back positions, so he has to work against gravity to draw the milk up and out, giving him more control over the flow. And when my letdown is really powerful, I hand express before offering the boob to baby.
All this to say, mom-ing is just figuring stuff out. If you are a mom, or about to be a mom, don’t be hard on yourself. One minute you will feel heartbroken for your baby who you can’t seem to soothe right away, then you will feel sheer annoyance that you still can’t soothe him 30 minutes... 1 hour... 2 hours later. And that’s okay. Just keep loving them even though it will be the most frustrating thing in the world that sometimes you just can’t stop the crying.
Because when they aren’t upset, they are making the most adorable, cross-eyed faces and the sweetest, most innocent noises. They look at you like you are the best thing in their world, which, you are. Their smile reflex kicks in when they start peeing on you right as you’re putting on their new diaper (which, I’m still not 100% convinced the smile thing is a reflex until they’re older... Summit smiles at very convenient times..). They snuggle into your neck and fall asleep there because they know that’s the most at home place they’ll ever be. They grip their tiny hands around your fingers and hold tighter when you try to pull away. When they are sleeping, they look like little angels. And they smell like heaven. Oh, how I will miss that smell when it’s gone.
For me, being “Mom” has been about figuring it all out, intentionally searching (sometimes very deeply) within myself to find patience when I need it, always seeking wisdom when I’m unsure, and holding very tightly to those little newborn moments that I know I’ll miss despite the many, many sleepless nights.
What about you, moms? What are/were your most and least favorite parts of the newborn stage? Moms-to-be: What are you anticipating? What questions do you have?