Isla Sofia Bechaz: AKA: Muffin: Baby Girl, 3.725kg, 54cms long, Born 7th Jan 2013
Muffin’s Mummy’s general emotions: A million varying from a feeling of wonderment and elation to complete and utter fear to inconsolable crying. It is like having PMS constantly.
Muffin’s Daddy’s general emotions: Ranging from joy to annoyance and sleep deprivation.
Muffin’s Favourite Thing: Boobs, baths and cuddles. I feel this will not change for quite a while.
If I thought labour was hard, it was nothing compared to the first two weeks of Muffin’s life. It feels out of control – and I like to be in control. I like routine. I like my own time. I have had none – NONE – of these things since Isla has been born. It has been the most challenging and beautiful experience I have ever had. Sometimes I just sit and stare at her sleeping (or crying, or feeding!) and think;
“How did Justin and I produce such a perfect little being?”
Isla has not been the easiest of babies, but by far not the
hardest! Of course as a new parent you expect the sleep deprivation and pooey
nappies (The first meconium poos are particularly interesting to deal with!)
but you don’t realise how much their crying affects you! The long crying sprees
(when either I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, she was unsettled, or
windy!) drive you crazy and many a time I have simply cried from frustration
and lack of knowing what to do! They tell me that by your second or third child
you can simply let them cry without a worry, but it is hard to believe that
now! Personally I believe that if a newborn cries it is for a reason; and for
that fact alone I have decided to demand feed for at least the first three -
six weeks if we can manage it, and then we’ll try for a routine.
|A rare moment of sleep in the first week!|
Anyway – what has happened over the past two weeks? Well, first of all, we spend five days in hospital getting acquainted with each other – Justin slept at home simply because he did not fit in the hospital bed (too tall!) and one of us had to have a good night’s sleep. In the hospital they kept a good eye on my stitches (yeah – they’re going to take a while to heal), I attempted to recover from the birth while tending to my new baby daughter, who cried a lot and didn’t sleep much.
|This is kind of the face to look for when looking|
for 'signs' that babies are hungry. Basically, she
is a giant vacuum.
Something you don’t realise when you are about to have a baby, is how hard those first few days of breastfeeding are. You don’t make milk for the first few days, you produce colostrum, a thick substance, and you don’t produce a lot of it, but it has amazing properties for a baby to consume. However, it feels like razorblades each time that poor baby latches on to your breast. Not to mention, you’re trying to learn how to hold this new little person so they can latch on to your breast, and they are learning how to suck properly (although Isla did not have this problem – she was off like a shot!) and your poor nipples feel like they are about to fall off. You dread having to try again in a couple of hours and (dare I say it) you feel a sort of resentment toward this little person for needing you to go through this constantly, though fortunately you are still on the ‘I just gave birth’ high and everything she does is amazing. You brace yourself for the pain of the sucking child. It hurts – a lot. Then suddenly, after a few days of feeding (almost hourly sometimes when they decide to cluster feed!!!) it gets a lot easier (for me – not for everyone unfortunately). Your milk comes in and you feel a tingling below your armpits down to your nipples that feels like little ants are wandering around under your skin. All of a sudden your breasts feel like melons. Suddenly your baby cries and feeds a lot less – because they are getting enough! FINALLY! Yes, you’re still learning how to position them (but with 8 – 10 feeds a day for Isla, we got it pretty quickly – Football hold for the win!) but this time it is without the razorblade-like pain. Instead, you get a short stab for about 10 seconds and then nothing but pressure and a tugging.
Isla is a good feeder and we are lucky enough to have a baby that latches well (TOO WELL!!! I can’t get her off sometimes!). We are slowly learning how to do things properly and so it works for us – we adjust the lips and have to reattach sometimes, but it’s happening. We are some of the lucky ones (so far) no mastitis, no latch problems, and a healthy, hungry baby.
So this is the thing I thought I would struggle with the most. Changing someone elses pooey nappy. To be completely honest – have not had a problem, even with the worst of them. We change nappies around 8 - 10 times a day before feeds (she wees a lot, but at least she is getting enough!). Justin learned pretty quickly how to change a nappy and is a total champion about it.
Sleep Deprivation/Irregular Sleeping Patterns
Okay – this is the part that was the second hardest for me. Sometimes she
|Note the pallid complexion, dark rings under the eyes, |
and the fact that I am sleeping in a chair as this is the
only place Isla would go to sleep on this particular night!
And then she would cry for hours (I’ll get on to that later!) because she was overtired!
So how do we get a baby off to sleep? We swaddle, then feed, then pat, then feed, then pat, then rock, then sing, then lie down together, then pat some more… and then cry because none of it is working! Frustration and sleep deprivation make for a very weepy woman.
|Isla does not like the carrier. |
She does not like it at all...
ALL THE TIME. Some days she cried and cried non stop. You think you would be able to handle this – I’ve done it before when handling kids at daycares and babysitting… but when it’s your own child you constantly think ‘OMG THERE”S SOMETHING WRONG SHE’S SICK OR DYING OR HUNGRY!!” when in actual fact, she was;
a) Windy. Isla got a lot of wind in her first few weeks – especially the second week when my milk came in and she was feeding well. She would constantly ‘parp’, but would burp very little despite our efforts. As week 3 happened, she started burping well, relaxing, and it happened a lot less.
b) Overtired. She didn’t sleep when we put her down, so she would cry more because she was overtired. I’ve felt the exact same way in airports on long flights to the UK. Overtired sucks.
c) Over stimulated. Too many people. Too many smells. Too many faces. Too bright, too colourful or too hot/cold. Any number of things that deviated from her ‘routine’ (loath to call it a routine as nothing happened the same way for more than a day at a time!) such as people holding her or going out for a walk. This caused crying that could rarely be remedied except for a breastfeed.
d) Hungry. SUrprisigly this is not really the most common crying reason. I expected her to cry for food all the time, but by catching the signs early (the midwives at the hospital are very good!) of her opening her mouth wide, moving her head from side to side, sucking on her fingers etc, we have avoided crying for food and (HOPEFULLY!) this will continue.
e) Wet nappy. This is obvious – who wants to sit in their own doo-doo? Not me.
f) For no reason other than she enjoys crying and (possibly) an emotional release.
So far these are the reasons we have identified, though I’m sure there are many more. We are slowly learning how to ‘fix’ them for her, and how to catch the signs before the crying turns into a tantrum.
Isla’s Amazing New Things!
Okay – now the positive AMAZING things that we have learned about our baby daughter.
|Our BEAUTIFUL baby being attacked by her|
She stares at you for long periods and seems to love being around people.
She loves having her feet rubbed.
She loves being over the shoulder – not so much in the cradle position.
She nuzzles your neck when hungry/tired/wants a cuddle.
She sucks on your arm/neck/skin that is nearest to her when she is hungry – it feels like kisses. VERY WET SLOBBERY KISSES!
She LOVES bathtime! I knew she would be a water baby from the beginning – despite not having a water birth!
She loves people cuddling her – she rarely wants time on her own (though sometimes she does)
We have more challenging days than not, but hopefully this will resolve in the next week or so as we get to know each other better. All we want to focus on at the moment is helping our gorgeous girl get to know us and the world around her the best she can with as much love, attention and guidance as we can give her!