Remember how I said things were not all rainbows and unicorns? Well, rough is what I would call them. There is nothing out of the ordinary (that I can tell, anyway) but the luster of the early newborn days when all baby did was eat/sleep/poop are over and his personality and demands are emerging. He is sweet and boy do I love him, but he is demanding in a screaming like he is being poked with hot pokers kind of way.
I just feel inadequate. I am a doer not a be-er by nature and I need to feel a sense of accomplishment daily in order to settle in, relax, and eexhale. And, accomplishment needs to go beyond breast feeding/pumping/changing diapers/soothing (although I am working on allowing these things to be on my To Do list). I need to get things done around here, perhaps as a way to make me feel like I am earning my keep since I used to be the primary bread winner (again, something I need to further explore) but nothing that anyone is putting on me but myself. As a SAHM, acceptable tasks would include: making the bed, doing the laundry, collecting/taking out the trash, making dinner, vacuuming, putting my older son’s toys from the morning away, paying bills, picking up the dog poop, cleaning windows, you get the drift. A shower and brushing my teeth are sometimes optional.
Usually, our arrangement for baby’s care goes like this:
Husband takes the baby when he gets home for work so that I can make/serve dinner. He’ll then take the 9/10:00 and 12/1 AM feedings, during which times I pump and go right back to sleep.
I then relieve him, sometimes after I pump at 1 or 2 AM and then I take the 4AM and what usually turns out to be the 6:30 AM feedings. Sometimes, if our night is shifted later, it could be 7 AM at which point I give baby to daddy to feed so that I can make my older son’s lunch, make him breakfast, and sometimes hop in the shower.
Then, son and husband leave by 8:30 and I’ll do the day’s feedings (which could be 9:30/10, 12:30/1, 3:30/ 4, and 6:30/7 (unless husband is home and he’ll do this feeding so I can get some other things done).
The problem really comes in the overnight hours. While baby sleeps for daddy in between feedings, it is much harder for him to go down in the wee hours of the morning for me. For instance, this morning, I took over at 2:30 and fed him and he didn’t go down until 3:45 at which point I washed bottles, etc. He had a massive poop at 4:30 which woke him and since it’d been 2 hours since he last ate, he was hungry again. I breast fed him and tried to put him back down around 5:30, which he was having none of, and after massively spitting up, was hungry again at which point I fed him at 6:15 (these are not always full feedings which is part of the problem). He fell asleep in my arms and we slept together until 7:40. He woke from our nap starving again and we held him off until about 8:15. However, that feeding wasn’t enough, and I just fed him again at 9:15 and he is finally asleep for what should be his morning nap.
This cluster feeding is killing me. I mostly will throw him on a boob and I know I pump 3 oz so he gets at least that if he nurses from both sides and he always requires another ounce of formula. I brought this up to the pedi at our visit this week, that he seems to require 4 oz per feeding or else and she said he was gaining weight appropriately and to keep doing what we are doing. If we bottle feed him (breast milk and/or formula) he usually spits up a bit and often appears uncomfortable. I wonder if there is some reflux going on and need to research that a bit more. He has explosive gas/poop, again, our pedi didn’t seem concerned given his weight gain (as if that is all that matters). I am not complaining, but it is a lot and I am alone a lot which makes it feel even worse, and the overnights are killing me when he feeds constantly and won’t let me put him down which happens more nights than not.
Beyond baby, there is more yelling and raised voices usually directed at our older son that I would like. I try to remind myself that he is not quite 6 years old and has had his world rocked by the arrival of his fully dependent little brother. Already, my son has started fully dressing himself, brushing his teeth, taking a bath/shower by himself, and putting himself to bed. That is a LOT of change for such a young one in the span of 3 weeks, even if most kids we know were doing some or all of those things by themselves already. He has taken to negative attention getting behaviors and talking back (even mimicking me) and I feel like I am always correcting or disciplining him. I always go in and have a heart to heart and explain that things won’t always be this way and that we all have to try hard to do better and we always hug and share I love yous, but, again, I feel inadequate.
As I seasoned mother, I know that this, too, shall pass, but I am frayed and short-tempered which is just not like me. I’m not feeling baby blues, just frustrated that I can’t get into a rhythm with this baby. And, I remind myself that it took us 6 weeks to even figure out the things with our first son that we knew at birth with this one, so to give it time, but I’m finding it hard to do. And, where with son #1 our issues were around sleep (he would not sleep more than 20 mins – and hour at first and because he would not be swaddled was always startling himself awake, but he ate, on cue, every three hours. Seriously, he didn’t deviate from that until he was 2 years old), this baby sleeps better (when he does) in long, sometimes 3 hour stretches, but the feeding, oh the constant feeding. And, I try to not give in to feeding him off the bat. I’ll see if rocking him or putting him in one contraption or another will help, but almost always he needs to be fed. And, almost always I feel inadequate, all the way around.
I feel like this is disjointed and that’s because I’ve come back to it half a dozen or more times as I’ve tried to soothe/settle baby over the last 3 hours.
Inadequate: not adequate or sufficient; inept or unsuitable.