Thursday, May 25, 2006

My New Breast Friend - Month One

I will be the first to admit that I had seriously underestimated the workload that is being a stay-at-home-mom.

The first three weeks were easy as pie. Baby eats, baby sleeps, baby poops and repeat. The schedule was intact, the diapers were stacked and naps were being had alongside the happily-sleeping Carmen Jade.

The next three weeks, notsomuch.

Carmen is now closing in on six weeks and it shows. She's over 8lbs with pudgy thighs and arms - she even fits into the cute little Robeez slippers! She is quickly outgrowing the old-school Snugli we have, the one that Jason wears with pride even though it has a big feminine bow on the back and makes him look like a pregnant man! We even had to move up in diaper size, although we realized our earlier error in moving up too quickly when the poo streamed down her leg and all over my clothes!

She tolerates the stroller, hates the carseat, but loves to go outside and out for visits. She is alert a lot more now and demands attention and playtime, usually when I am trying to eat! I've had many one-handed meals where my pinkie is stuck in her mouth to soothe her until I've finished. I think this is why it's been so easy for me to return to my (mostly) normal weight!

Carmen also likes to join me in my afternoon Pilates session. When I roll out my yoga mat, I put her quilt down on the floor beside me for some tummy time. She sits on my hips for Baby Bridges and ab curls. She even does a mean Double Leg Stretch!

Unfortunately I've developed Carpal Tunnel in my right hand again from breastfeeding, so I can't do much yoga. The splint I'm wearing is annoying, but it definitely helps. It's also quite fashionable - as if!

I started pumping my breastmilk to allow me a bit of freedom, not to mention relieve the stress around being the only one that could feed her! In the first few weeks, I would often wake up and think that I was in the middle of nursing, madly patting the duvet around me in search of my missing baby! I even woke up once seated upright, with my nursing bra pulled down and boob out, air-nursing the invisible infant cradled in my arms!

I haven't actually tried using a bottle with Carmen, but Jason has successfully fed her a couple of times now. I think if I tried, she would smell my boobs and push the bottle aside - even when I'm just holding her in my arms, she will peck my nipples through my clothes! She gets that from her daddy...

I've returned to teaching a few times a week now, which is great for my well-being and also for Jason, to give him a bit of daddy-only time before he starts school in July. Lenore, the woman across the road, is going to help me with child care for a few hours here and there.

I was having misgivings about leaving her with someone so early. However, the other night Carmen was going berserk with gas - Jason was out and I was in tears with frustration and remorse for having eaten brocolli the previous evening, inflicting my poisonous breastmilk on my daughter! After nearly 21/2 hrs of her crying, Lenore saw me out on the front porch and told me to come over. She proceeded to whack the crap out of Carmen, along with about 5 burps and a fart. As I stared agape - half in horror and half amazed - she explained that she was NOT beating my child, but burping her like a baby instead of a fine porcelain doll. Needless to say, after teaching me three new burping positions and calming my daughter in less than 10 minutes, Lenore was HIRED.

When I choose to watch what I'm eating, my breastmilk has become Liquid Gold. I can use it to drug my darling daughter in order for her to sleep through an entire haircut appointment in her carseat! In the first three days of her life, the colostrum I was producing sustained my little cutie, but she was always quite alert after feedings. On day three, my milk came in and her first feeding nearly knocked her out! Her arms and legs dangled loosely at her sides, her jaw was slack and her eyes rolled back in her head! She let out a massive burp, much like Barney from the Simpsons. I was so worried about her lethargy that I called the midwives, who said casually, "Oh, that's just Drunk Baby."

Bella has become quite protective of us when we are out and about. I had to breastfeed her in the middle of an outing to the park today. As I perched on her changepad and rested against a tree trunk, Bella stood watch. When another dog came sniffing around, Bella wasted no time in establishing her perimeter and chasing the dog off. Usually she is so friendly, but not when she is being Big Sister!

We had a recent bout with diaper rash. My sister asked us if we had tried using the blow dryer to dry her off properly before putting on the diaper ointment. What a difference! Not only was she totally calmed by the noise, but the rash was gone in days! Now we have created a bit of a monster though, she is much like Marilyn Monroe over a sewer grate during change time. Oh well, whatever works.

I wonder what month two will bring?

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