It has to get better eventually, right? That’s what you all keep telling me.
It’s hit me. The exhaustion, the anxiety, the overwhelming feeling of wanting to crawl into bed and sleep for two days straight while someone else takes care of the kids.
This newborn business is no joke my friends, but I think it’d be a heck of a lot easier if I could just bond with my baby. I think because he is my “rainbow baby” (baby after a loss) I felt like we’d automatically be best friends from the start. But he’s best friends with Tyler instead. And while I’m happy for them and their bonding, it’s hard not to feel left out.
I didn’t have a problem bonding with Jack or Amelia. That relationship just happened naturally and effortlessly. With Owen, I’m having to work at it a little more. He’s four weeks old; it should have happened by now, right? I’m an excellent caregiver, but am I deserving of the title ‘mother‘?
Owen, I love you and I know you. I know that you like to be swaddled to sleep, and that after two yawns you need to be put down for a nap. You’re an excellent sleeper. I know that you don’t like the play gym yet, or distracting noises from toys and (well-meaning) big brothers. And you
don’t like tolerate cold milk. I know that you like to be held chest-to-chest instead of cradled, and you don’t like being in a dirty diaper for too long. I know what you like and what you don’t like, Owen, but do I know you?
I’ve been in tears for days and days over our nursing relationship. (And I think it’s the number one reason why I’m struggling with us.) I have a strong desire to breastfeed you, Owen, but it’s excruciating because of your tongue-tie. It’s clipped now, but old habits die hard. Your latch and everything is great, but that dang tongue-tie has thrown us a curve-ball and your tongue doesn’t do what it should yet. We do tongue exercises like they told us to, but you’re still having a really difficult time pulling your tongue out and over your gum. So to get food you munch and chew on me instead, and goodness gracious it hurts like hell. I’m purple and bruised. I know you don’t mean to do it, but sometimes when it’s 4 in the morning and I’m running on just a few hours of sleep, it’s hard not to take it personally.
I’m praying my heart out, asking for heaven’s help. My eyes are swollen and puffy and stressed. I’m at a loss for what to do, and am thiiiiiiis close to giving up breastfeeding altogether, but we want this, right?
Isn’t breastfeeding supposed to facilitate some sort of ethereal, holy bond with your baby? It isn’t for me; I’ll be honest in saying that most times I pull you in to nurse I cringe. But I persevere because I want this. I want that bond nursing mamas talk about.
But alas, whether we end up with the breast or the bottle I will be okay. We will be okay, Owen, because you looked me in the eyes last night and I felt it. I started to feel that tiny seed of mother’s love for you, sprouting deep within my heart. I’m so blessed and overwhelmed with gratitude that you came to our family, that you chose me as your mama. Broken, beat-up me to take care of you and love you forever. I thought my heart would heal the second you were born, but I now realize it didn’t because you weren’t the one who broke it.
So be patient with me, little man. I’m delighted to be your mama. I’ll soak up every minute of those snuggles you love to give and in exchange, you can slowly have my entire heart like you deserve. You are whole and complete and I’m smitten by you, Owen Tyler.
sleep | When you were first born, you had your days and nights mixed up. It was awful and exhausting. But since about 2 weeks old, you have started sleeping 6-hour stretches at night, from 10pm-4am. It’s wonderful! (Except the fact that I have to get up around 2 or 3am and pump anyway.) We also sleep-trained you around that time, and now by 4 weeks I can (usually) lay you down for nap/bedtime without a problem. (It’s only problematic if you’re overly tired because you’ve had too much stimulation and awake time. 45 minutes—1 hour is our golden window.) We calm you down, swaddle you tightly, and with your eyes still open we lay you down. Sometimes you’ll softly/moderately cry intermittently for a few minutes, but in 5-10 minutes you’ll be fast asleep. And other times, like today, you won’t cry at all and will just gradually drift off to sleep when you’re ready. You’re an excellent sleeper, just like your big brother Jack. Keep it up, Owen. It makes EVERYONE happier. :)
eat | You take soooo long to eat, Owen! It’s usually an hour (or more!) of breastfeeding you until you or I finally call it quits. You’re always falling asleep while eating, and don’t have a super strong suck either so it takes a while. We’re going to work on cutting eating time in half this next month. :) You have used the nipple shield almost exclusively, until the past few days when I have been able to help you latch on without it. (Cue heavenly choir of angels!) As long as you don’t nibble on me, I hope to wean you off of it soon. It should be MUCH easier to nurse in public without it! (I’m glad I listened to my own intuition instead of listening to the lactation specialist, because at 2-weeks old you weren’t ready to wean off of it.) You are (pretty much) exclusively breastfed, with just a couple of emergency ounces of formula here and there. This makes mama happy. You go from breast to bottle effortlessly, which also pleases us. ;)
play | You don’t play much yet, because you take so long to eat that we don’t get a lot of awake time with you. Sometimes we lay down on the bed next to you and stick our tongues out. You mimic us and it’s kind of cute. And Daddy has gotten a few smiles out of you, but generally you’re really quiet and introverted so far. You don’t even like your picture being taken (we will work on that!). Your legs are quite strong so you like to kick a lot when you’re on the ground. But you hate being on the ground; you’d much rather be held. You’ve also got quite the neck strength, and can roll over if you really set your mind to it.
We think you’re somewhere around 9lbs and 22″ long. Your head is still tiny, just like the rest of our family. ;) You’re finally developing a few rolls on your arms and legs, which is always a baby “rite of passage”. The amount of hair you have (though it doesn’t show much in pictures) has probably doubled since birth. You have quite a bit, but unless you see it in person it’s hard to tell. It’s dirty blonde and grows in a completely different pattern than Jack’s, so I’m hoping you don’t have cowlicks like him! Your eyes are still blue. :)