But really, how do people do this with a toddler or two or three toddlers? How do you breastfeed and simultaneously make sure your other kids don't accidentally do something suicidal? I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, or I'll wait until Skylar is an independent 8-year-old before having another. ;)
I think back to my pre-Skylar mind and remember thinking everything was going to be "routine" and "normal" by our scheduled trip to San Antonio in February. I know a lot of people want to be their pre-baby selves at times during mom-hood, but man, I kind of think my pre-baby self was a self-righteous idiot. I'm not sure if there was any sort of routine worked out by the time we flew to SA last month! But events are becoming slightly more predictable in these unchartered waters...
- Skylar laughed! It was brief but it was a telltale sign of a belly laugh in our near future. She's ticklish, but is not nearly as amused as I am with the "tickle monster". She reacts the first time, then looks at me like, "Mom, you're killing it...in a bad way" for the next five minutes.
- Neck control. I never thought I'd be so pumped about my baby's strong neck, but it makes her so much more fun. She can go on airplane rides on my legs, sit in the eye-sore that is the Fisher Price Jumperoo (it's OK that it's not aesthetically pleasing since it can basically babysit my child), and actually see things other than her blanket during tummy time.
|You can't see the full breadth of its vibrant ugliness in this photo--- but baby toys weren't meant to beautify your house, just pacify your life.|
- Getting her first cold. And it sucked harder than the booger sucker I used to help clear her congestion (and that sucked hard). She went from 3 nights in the crib with a 6-hour stretch to hourly coughing fits at my bedside in the Rock n Play. A sad regression, but the most terrifying part is watching your baby struggle to breathe. :( No one so new should have to experience phlegm. It took two weeks to clear, but she's now snot-free. Hallelujah!
|Matt might kill me for posting this, but it was too Norman Rockwell-esque to not share!|
- SLEEP. Beautiful sleep. She's been in the crib for a week and every night gets better. We've used the Baby Sleep Solution book (shoutout to Brandy and Phil Maben for the wondrous recommendation) to teach her how to self-soothe and it's been magic. We went from two nights of TONS of crying- interspersed with lots of mom and dad soothing crib-side - to nights of Skylar finding her hand to suck on instantly and falling asleep within five minutes. Voodoo, I know. We haven't followed the book's strict schedule by day because I feel like I need to feed Skylar more than every four hours to keep my supply up. That said, we do follow a sleep-feed-play schedule throughout the day. She takes 3-4 naps and is a MUCH happier girl because of the extra zzzs. Oh, and her mom is a much happier girl too.
- Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit. I'm really not sure which was more impactful, this marshmallow suit or the BSS book...I'm just going to say they've been a dreamy (pun-intended) combination. The sleep suit was designed to muffle young babies' Morrow (or startle) reflex, which often jolts them awake. It also lets them feel cozy, like they're still in a loving embrace (but they've actually been abandoned in a baby cage by the big human cradles they're used to...kidding, but cribs really are roofless cages, right?). Looking at Skylar, in her stay-puffed suit, in the monitor, never ceases to make me laugh out loud.
See? It's ridiculous. But magical.
|Don't judge me for the make-shift nest below her. Not pediatrician-approved, I know.|
- Breastfeeding. Skylar's tongue tie has got me paranoid for life in this realm, I'm afraid. She wasn't gaining well in the beginning and was always hungry. I worked really hard to recover my milk supply and am still always nervous about it. She's still not a fat baby, so the concern that's heard around mom world "is she getting enough?!" is always resounding in my head. It's just weird to me that she's not chubby. MG and I both had way more thigh folds as babies.
And pumping is a whole other un-fun side of breastfeeding that nobody tells you about. I'm udderly (get it...) impressed by moms who exclusively pump. It's quite possibly one of my top three least favorite activities in life. I do it daily to keep my milk supply in check, but geez, I don't enjoy any sucky minute of it (last pun, I swear).
Synopsis: the responsibility of sustaining a life with a product of your own body is stressful. I totally understand why people switch to formula now...no shame in it. I know plenty of hearty, healthy formula-fed babies. There are other struggles, but BFing is the highest on my list.
Ultimately, life with a baby is awesome. I stare at Skylar for irrational amounts of time and love attempting to see the world through her eyes-- seeing trees for the first time on our walks and trying to figure out what these enormous furry creatures are hovering around her. There are plenty of times I just want to go take an hour-long shower, but there's also every morning -- she smiles when she sees me for the first time and I have complete amnesia about whatever sleep loss she contributed to overnight. I just think "oh my gosh, it's been 12 hours since I last saw you in daylight! You're more beautiful than I remembered!".
Dear God, thank you for this incredible ability to make a baby and raise a baby! I'm loving the daily adventure.