June 29, 2009

Three Weeks: The Joys of Cluster Feeding

Today Charlie turned three weeks old, and it was one of those days where, if he were able to talk, I feel pretty certain that he would have been asking for a new mother.



I should have known what kind of day it was going to be when my pump was barely working around 3 AM, thus leaving me with no choice but to go back to bed with rock-hard engorged boobs. (Charlie does not nurse, by the way.) Once Roy got up to get ready for work, Charlie was ready to be fed (of course) and my shirt was soaked with breast milk (of course). I picked Charlie up to comfort him as he cried, and he kicked my painfully sore boobs a number of times. Finally, Roy came to my rescue and I finally managed to get some pumping done but had to order more new parts for my pump (of course). I guess I'll have to pump each side separately until the new parts come in, like pumping both boobs at once is not time-consuming enough.



The morning passed quickly enough, with Charlie eating his regular amount, but (of course) almost every time I put him down to sleep, he'd be wide awake again in a matter of minutes. I did manage to get him to sleep long enough for me to start a shower. I put his bouncy chair outside the bathroom door, which I left open, and proceeded to shower with the lights off (so as not to disturb Prince Charles) and with my head sticking out of the shower curtain. Mao immediately began getting in Charlie's face (of course), but she eventually settled down under his bouncy chair - right around the time the pacifier fell out of Charlie's mouth and he started fussing. Mao decided to not be useful and wouldn't put Charlie's pacifier back in his mouth (even though I asked nicely). So I had no choice but to abort the shower mission and scoop up my little guy, who by that time had probably decided he hated me.



And that's how the rest of the day went, with Charlie definitely not sleeping enough due to his hourly demands to be fed, which means that his mom definitely didn't sleep enough and also didn't get to eat. Still, I handle these daytime challenges much better than I do the nighttime ones. At night, the whole world is dark and sleepy, except, seemingly, for Charlie and me (and Roy, when Roy's taking care of him), and Charlie's screams are enough to reduce me to tears (which they have many times at this point).



In the gentle light of day, though, I look down at my screaming baby and observe his delicious skin and his cute little baby toes; I see how his top gum peeks out from under his top lip and how his tiny little baby hands flail uncontrollably. I put the bottle in his mouth, and instantly he stops crying, and his dark blue eyes meet mine, and everything is okay, even if only for this moment. I am, after all, the mother of the most perfect baby I've ever seen, and even if only for this moment, I am everything he needs.

15 comments:

kim said...

What is it they all say? "This too shall pass?"

Hugs and love my friend.

That last picture of you two is amazing.

sherthebear said...

I have had many of those days too! What a handsome little boy!

phairhead said...

love the 1st pic!!

yr boobs look fantastic by the by : )

Myra said...

What a beautiful baby and momma. He is incredibly lucky to have you, and if he could talk, he'd tell you he knows it.

cowboyboot lady said...

The pics are gorgeous!!! My friends who are mothers say how difficult it is to take a shower...dang, you were nearly successful! Great pic of the two of you!

inflammatory writ said...

I'm sure you're doing great! Don't be too hard on yourself. Look at that adorable redhead you made! I know this sounds silly to say, but I'm proud of you. :)

A said...

You're doing a wonderful job!

Angie Eats Peace said...

You are a wonderful mother.

Growing Up Cameron said...

If you're not already, swaddle, swaddle, swaddle! Check out "happiest baby on the block".

I love me some Charlie.

Anonymous said...

Don't sweat the small stuff...it wont be like this for long. Enjoy it... your doing great! I'll be joining you soon on the midnight feeding and lack of sleep ---- Lynn

Bex said...

Dang he's cute. Those first weeks are incredibly tough. And you're right, daylight makes a huge difference. As does some sleep. Most of my meltdowns took place in the wee hours of the morning.It WILL get better, you're doing great!

Erika said...

Kepp up the good work....your doing awesome....from all the new mothers I know just getting a TOE in the shower is really something.....GOOD FOR YOU!!!

Love the pics BTW...

alejna said...

Oh, Leslie, I've been thinking about you. Those first few weeks are so incrediby, mind-numbingly, mind-alteringly exhausting that I really can't compare them to any other time in my life.

I don't know if you've seen me say it before, but I like to say that the first 8 weeks of my daughter's life were the longest 6 months of my life. We had all kinds of feeding problems, and I was an emotional wreck.

You mention that Charlie doesn't nurse. In case you haven't come across it, I want to recommend a website: mothers overcoming breastfeeding issues. There is also an associated Yahoo group. The mothers at this place have gone through a range of issues and offer both practical advice (much of which I found more useful than info I got from the lactation consultant I worked with) and commiseration. Many women grieve the loss of the breastfeeding relationship they imagined having. (I know I did.)

Charlie is just beautiful, by the way. You've gotten some really gorgeous shots of him.

alyssa said...

He's just beautiful! It sounds like you are appreciating each moment as much as you can! Thanks for letting us in during this incredible time for you and Roy.

amber said...

That last picture of the two of you is really cute. :)