Monday, 14 May 2012

On My New Found Respect for Dairy Cows, and Other Things Having a Newborn Has Taught Me

About a week before I gave birth to Kenneth I was talking with a friend who mentioned reading an article about things that moms should "warn" each other about. I forget what points the article focused on, but it wasn't anything that I hadn't heard before. The thing I've found is that when it comes to kids, people can tell you stories to prepare you, but you can't grasp the actual impact that they have until they come. Take breast-feeding. Everyone told me that it would be painful, frustrating, that it might be difficult to establish, and that it takes a lot of time. But I couldn't conceptualize what that meant until I was up at 3:30am in a sleep deprived stupor desperately trying to get a resistant, but obviously hungry child, to latch. Ah, the joys of parenting. Having had one bottle-fed baby, I can testify that while formula is gross smelling and expensive, making a bottle in the middle of the night is easier, faster, and less painful than nursing. Thankfully for Kenneth, I am the cheapest person on earth, and I remember exactly what those cans of formula that Nic guzzled down did to my grocery bills. Thus I am not at all tempted to supplement or switch (so no one needs to send me an email touting the importance of nursing for the baby's and mother's health- I know and I am convinced that it's best). But I would be concealing the truth if I didn't admit that nursing is hard to do at first, and rather boring. Another thing I didn't fully comprehend was how much laundry a seven-pound person can generate. Kenneth somehow manages to dirty more clothes, sheets, blankets and towels than the rest of us combined. I'm beginning to think of the wash as my personal many-headed hydra. Every time I finish one load another springs up to take it's place! I used to do laundry once a week, and get it all knocked out in one day. No more. I'm doing a load every single day, and actually have found that this is working well. Life is easier when you have a washer and dryer in your living quarters. I am going to have a rude awakening when we get back to Illinois and I am feeding quarters into a shared machine. Also, my neighbors are going to HATE me for being a laundry hog, and our family is going to single-handedly pay for those new machines our landlord just installed. My last new-at-parenting-a-newborn complaint relates to how quickly we are burning through our diaper stash. We decided to use disposables for a little while, since the number of cloth diapers we have is not enough for both Nic and Kenny, and since Kenny still too small for the types I use (he needs to be 8 pounds at least). With my cloth diapers I don't really think about how many we use a day, because when the supply gets low I wash them and then we use them again. I thought that we had lots and lots of disposables, but my ideas regarding the necessary number of diapers were based on Nic...and older babies/toddlers just don't use as many and their teeny tiny counterparts. It just seems so backwards! Smaller people should make smaller messes...and yet the opposite is true. Lest you get the wrong idea, we are really enjoying Kenneth. He is a very sweet baby, and while I have nothing to compare him to, I would guess that he falls towards the easy side of the newborn spectrum rather than the far. His pediatrician has warned me that he is about the age for getting really fussy, so we'll see how that pans out. Kenny is a good cuddler, he is patient with his big brothers (whose love for him sometimes doesn't translate well), and he has all kinds of super cute facial expressions, especially when he is dreaming. Since certain older boys no longer appreciate me picking out adorable outfits for them, I am having a grand old time dressing the little guy up in his itty bitty clothes and wrapping him up in matching blankets. This may account for a bit of extra laundry...although I choose to blame the spit up. He had his two-week appointment today, and he has surpassed his birth weight (barely), but I am thankful that he is gaining back all the weight he lost. He is still a little jaundiced, and had to have a blood test today, but the results came back in his favor. Jeff went home yesterday, so I am doing nights on my own now. I am really missing him, as he is a great dad and did so much to care for the boys the last two weeks. Please pray that Kenneth will get some good chunks of sleep each night so that I can rest as well, and that the big boys sleep well too. I need as much energy as I can get at this point. Also, I had an unfortunate setback in my recovery, and it has limited some of my ability to keep up with the big boys, so I would appreciate prayers for my strength and recovery.


B. Wilson said...

I found the same things to be true regarding laundry and breastfeeding. Good news is that the whole BF ordeal does get easier and a tad less boring. Nothing like the feeling when your child is looking up at your while you're feeding them (free! always makes a mama happy anyway!) with huge eyes as to say, "Thanks, Mom."

Not that that all can't be done with a bottle, but it pretty remarkable that the human body can not only form another body within its own and then sustain its life for a full year after.

Congrats again. Your boys are just beautiful. I'm thinking and praying for Mary daily.

thecurryseven said...

And once nursing is established, I found I could hold a book in one hand and the baby in the other. I managed to plow through more than a few books while nursing. It's one of the many reasons I never took to tandem nursing... I couldn't read at the same time.


Oh, and a piece of completely unsolicited advice: add a fenugreek supplement to your day. It really helps with milk supply.