The Swing Of Things

Vivian is three weeks old! Ahem, plus two days. And I have barely written anything about her! We have managed to keep her alive, and mostly keep our heads screwed on, for twenty-three days… But I still am not getting much computer time. (Sacrifices!)

Mostly it’s just been a series of days spent figuring out how to own and operate a tiny human, albeit a pretty easy one. Like I mentioned in passing last time, feeding has been tricky. At her two week visit to the Navy clinic, Vivian’s weight had not yet started to rebound and she was still down near 8 lbs; and therefore I was instructed to start supplementing with formula. (I’ve come to believe that breastfeeding must be a conspiracy designed to make women feel inadequate.) A week later, she was up to 9.0 lbs at her re-check. A full pound gained in a week! The doctor called her a porker. So, the supplementation has been working. My goal is to gradually start weaning her back off of it… Breastmilk or bust, dammit.

Comotomo (TM)

At least the bottle looks like a boob.

Honestly? I still am not really prepared to do a real long quality post here, in this sitting. I really do have actual intentions to write: the birth story (before I forget everything), and about breastfeeding (like I said, breastfeeding = inadequacy), and about what a bureaucratic ordeal it’s been giving birth to an American citizen abroad (huge pile of paperwork). But right now, for the remainder of this post, I’m going to copy and paste from a post I managed to get up on my family blog a couple of nights ago. Because it’s been easier (and not at all inaccurate) to post happy fluffy updates to satisfy the aunts than it has to write anything that requires actual thought. And so! Self-plagiarization begins here.

I’m really enjoying getting to know her, figuring out what makes her happy and how to fix the things that make her unhappy. At three weeks old, almost all of the major crying is about hunger. Other things that may make her fuss or cry include:

  • Having to poop. Apparently it’s uncomfortable. (Solution? Pooping.)
  • Needing her diaper changed. (Solution? Fresh diaper.)
  • Having her diaper changed. (Solution? Power through it; the crying will stop when the changing is over.)
  • Having her clothes changed. This is way worse than the diaper changing. (Solution? See above.) (B says his personal hell is an eternity of changing infants’ clothing… Putting their squirmy hands through sleeves that are a little too long and a little too narrow.)
  • The time immediately before and immediately after a bath. Some overlap with the clothes changing, coupled with the extra-cold factor. (Solution? Warm water / dry and dressed baby.)
  • Being put down/left alone, i.e. in the bassinet, swing, car seat. (Solution? Movement, or pacifier, or in extreme cases, picking her up again.)
  • Pacifier falls out of her mouth. (Solution? Mommy/Daddy/Grandma fetches pacifier. Solution part 2: work on pacifier retention skills.)

Things that Vivian likes (besides food) include:

  • Being held.
  • Being stroked, especially on her scalp or her legs.
  • Her hands, and keeping them on or near her face.
  • Pacifiers.
  • Baths.
  • Exercising: mainly kicking her feet; also, lifting her head. (She is so advanced.)
  • High contrast books and toys. Just like the literature says, she will track black and white or brightly colored objects held 1 to 2 feet from her face. Especially when those objects rattle.
The cuteness!

The cuteness!

She spends more and more time awake and not eating or crying. Just contentedly alert. It’s lovely. Holding Viv while she is peacefully sleeping (and watching the silly REM cycle faces) is awesome, but the happy alert times are the best.

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2 thoughts on “The Swing Of Things

  1. I’ll be curious to hear about your citizenship-obtaining adventure. Our daughter was also born overseas, and it was quite easy, getting her CLBA and applying for her passport. The only tricky things is that the Netherlands doesn’t generally give out birth certificates unless you ask for them (so we did), and passport photos for a little baby are HARD to get (took us twice before she stayed awake long enough to get one with her eyes open!).

  2. I found your blog nearly two years ago when I was diagnosed with PCOS. I ended up having to do IVF and after one round (thank goodness) we have a beautiful five month old boy. I don’t normally post comments on blogs but your comment about breastfeeding = inadequacy is soooo familiar! My little Lincoln was born ten days late and we had some complications so my milk came in late. Because of this, our first week was ROUGH. Four days after we came home he was inconsolable and I found myself at 4 am sitting in bed sobbing uncontrollably because he would latch and suck for two seconds and then screaming, rinse and repeat…

    We visited the pediatrician the next day who told me I wasn’t yet producing enough milk to satisfy my son, that he had lost weight. So we started supplementing with 2 oz of formula after every feeding and I started pumping to build up my supply. Then I got a post delivery infection and started an antibiotic that landed Linc in the ER at 1 week old because he had horrible diarrhea and was SOOOO uncomfortable. I had to pump and dump for two days until the antibiotic was out of my system.

    So then when we went to resume feeding Linc would not latch! He preferred the bottle. About this time I started telling my friends that for something that is supposed to be so natural, breastfeeding is so incredibly hard, and that with post-birth hormones it really is a cruel set up. We slowly got back to feeding with a lot of tears and the use of a shield. But now we had a new problem, it would take Linc about an hour and a half to eat, then about 45 minutes later he’d want to eat again.

    I can’t tell you how many times in the first 5-6 weeks I said I was going to quit. There were a lot of moments where Linc would be latched and eating and I would be sobbing because this baby was attached to me all the time. And he would only latch in one position, cradle hold. We tracked it during week three and I had four hours of sleep in two days, broken up into naps of 15-30 minutes here or there. It was horrible and everyone kept saying it would get better. “Just get through the first month.” they’d say. And they were right.

    Around week five things started to get better. He’d eat for 45 minutes every two hours, then 30 minutes every three hours, then 15 minutes every three hours. And now at five months we are pros, we could nurse upside down and it would work. I work full time and pump at work and he has no problems switching between bottle and breast and I have an oversupply instead of an inadequate supply. It DOES get better!

    And I was shocked, as I started talking about my issues with friends who had breastfeed I started to learn that almost all of them had issues with their kids too, they just never talked about it with me because unless you’ve done it, you just can’t understand how emotionally draining it is. It really did make me feel like a failure in that aspect of motherhood. But now Lincoln is the HAPPIEST baby, 100% breast milk, and growing so good. Now if we could just get him to sleep better, lol. Sorry for the book. But it does get better, hang in there Momma!

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