Surprisingly I remembered today is Sunday which means you're all due for another earthside Bumpdate!
The past 2 weeks have been a bit chaotic to say the least! Time certainly goes completely out of the window when you have a newborn around. I don't think we would have survived the first week at home without my parents, our siblings, and my parents' incredible helper who is seemingly a miracle worker. Thank you all of you!
Today Noah is 2 weeks old, I think she's probably had around 100 outfit changes in her first 2 weeks of life. She's a very gassy and very spit up prone baby which means most of the day looks like this: feed her, burp and deal with spit up for at least an hour, attempt to get her to sleep for however long she wants, and repeat. The gassy period is easily the most difficult time of day with her, she's not super comfortable when she's gassy :(
When she's not spitting up or burping she's perhaps the most inquisitive newborn I've ever come across (I say from a completely unbiased viewpoint). She has very piercing, huge eyes that take in everything and anything around her. She's also a huge fan of grabbing things which leads to fun games of tug of war every now and then.
On Friday both Noah and I had follow up appointments with our respective doctors to see how we were getting on. My stitches have all healed, my blood pressure is under control, and the OB expects my blood work to come back totally normal.
Noah is doing super well. She’s grown a centimetre and is back at birth weight. The doctor seems to be slightly concerned about the amount of milk Noah spits up but she also said as long as she continues to grow and put on weight - we’re all good! The only thing that’s changed to hopefully help Noah with the gas is the introduction of pro-biotics into her diet. She spent the first week of life on 2 different antibiotics which probably didn’t do her gut too much good so hopefully the pro-biotic helps her out a bit. It’s fairly simple to administer, we mix a little scoop of pro-biotic with a few ml of expressed breastmilk and syringe feed her.
Given I’m off all training apart from walking, pelvic floor contractions, and belly breathing, in this week’s post I figured I'd tackle the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding and talk about things they do and don't prepare you for immediately post-birth.
I'm super lucky that she latched really well from day 1 which is a good thing because she's a hungry little one. After losing a few 100 grams of weight immediately post birth (as all newborns do) she'd gone back up to birth weight within 2 weeks of life.
I spent the first week in hospital with her feeding her whenever she showed signs of hunger. I figured the more she nursed the sooner my mature milk would come through and by day 3 she was eating super well!
I've opted to feed on demand. During the day she'll eat every 2-3 hours but overnight she can go for periods of 4-5 hours of sleeping before stirring for food. Yay for sleep for mum and dad!
As for feeding difficulties...
- For the first few days we experienced the nursing problem most newborns have - the failure to stay awake during a feed. Newborns have a pretty exhausting journey to go from womb to earth and they’re generally pretty sleepy for the first week of life. Unfortunately this coincides with a period of life where they do need to eat something! This lead to fun experiments with the best method to use to keep her awake. We ultimately settled on taking all her clothes of and tickling her feet.
- The day 3 engorgement is NO JOKE! You can do everything possible to mentally prepare for the discomfort but it’s nothing until you experience it. I didn’t think it was possible to be so rock hard and uncomfortable. I had to massage myself quite often to relieve some discomfort and I let Noah feed whenever possible. When I got very uncomfortable, I hand expressed some milk just to relieve some pressure. - I don’t think it’s a difficulty per se but when shes very distressed and upset she’s a huge fan of rooting for food then not actually eating, just latching, and comfort nursing. When I was in hospital I had a mini breakdown one evening about this. I remember thinking I was never going to have my life back again because this little one would never leave my side. Then I stepped back and looked at things from her perspective. The only link she has from her previous very comfortable and easy life in utero and her new scary life on earth is me. Newborns are not capable of being manipulative and if her only source of comfort is, for the time being, me - so be it! In a few months I’ll probably look back and miss the moments she just wanted to hang out, chill, and nap with me.
- Now that we’re 2 weeks into our breastfeeding journey we’ve both learned a few things (such as the best position to feed her in to minimise gas) but there’s definitely much more to learn!
In 2 weeks or so we will enter an exciting new phase of our feeding journey though...When Noah is around 4 weeks old we’re going to attempt to introduce a newborn bottle to her so that Jack can spend some quality feeding time her too! In an ideal world she’ll take to both the bottle and breast but I guess we’ll have to see how she reacts to it!
What to expect when you‘ve already expected
Everyone does a great job warning you about some things:
- The first time you go to the bathroom post-vaginal delivery
- The first time you have a bowel movement post-vaginal delivery
- Caring for episiotomies
- Breastfeeding is painful for the first few days
Here are a few things I was not prepared for/people need to talk about more:
- The first sneeze post-delivery with episiotomy stitches. Mildly terrifying...
- The first time you experience a full belly laugh post-delivery. Feels very weird...
- Her current witching hour (where she screams for a few minutes) is 7pm. During this period her next feed is immediately accompanied by a sleep on me. It’s not possible to put her in her bassinet. Comparing this experience, very naively, to the photos of newborns sound asleep in cots/bassinets was mildly distressing. Then we started to speak to people about this. The number of people who came back with “oh yeah, my newborn slept on me/with us in bed for the first 3 months because they wouldn’t sleep on their own” was staggering. Let’s normalise skin-to-skin sleeping in the first few months so other new parents don’t feel like they’re incapable of calming their newborn enough to put them to bed in their own bed!
To be honest I haven’t had the time to check in with myself to tackle this just yet. I probably could be a lot better but I could also be much much worse.
I did have a breakdown in the shower at the hospital one evening but it’s not as bad as it sounds. I literally just started crying out of nowhere and didn’t know why. Then I started to laugh because I didn’t know why I was crying and just thought the whole situation was hysterical.
Since then I haven’t had a breakdown but as I said, I haven’t really had time to mentally check in with myself either, I should probably do that at some point...
What I’m thankful for this week:
- We’ve found a way to get her to sleep at night. It’s not ideal in that it requires her to either sleep on me or on Jack but at least she’s sleeping! - After her first week of life in hospital, she’s doing a great job with her second week of life at home! - My parents are absolutely incredible at getting her to calm down when she’s wailing. One day we’ll get there too! - I’m healthy, she’s healthy, and Jack’s fabulous at taking care of both of us.
With that, I do have to get back to Noah and the family.
Until next time!