Jason returned to work last week, and this week, I'm flying solo during the day. His mom was wonderful enough to help me, and my sister was here on Monday, but yesterday I was a one-man wolf pack. I think it was successful, although the urge to call Jason in frustration appeared a few times (and I resisted).
Elliott cluster feeds almost everyday, and yesterday was no exception. I should just assume he's cluster feeding if he cries because that seems to be the only reason he gets upset. He makes me sad when he cries because I just want to fix whatever is making him unhappy. Last night was kinda hellish for us, as he was cluster feeding from 8 pm until 4 am. We gave him formula twice, just so I could get more than a half-hour of sleep. I hate relying on formula for the extra sleep, but Jason has no other way to feed him!
At the pediatrician today, we got some sage advice on combatting cluster feedings, mainly through keeping my supply up so Elliott doesn't feel like he needs to cluster feed. First, we will forgo formula as much as possible for the next week or so. I cannot miss a feeding, since this early in the breastfeeding experience, my supply is "fragile." One missed feeding and my body may begin to assume that I'm over breastfeeding. Crazy. If I have to miss for some reason, I need to pump instead. Second, we learned to help him sleep better over all. We used to swaddle him with his arms out, as he would pull them out on his own. Now, we learned to swaddle him with his arms straight down. He may not like it at first, but it will keep him from his arms waking him up accidentally. If he startles, his arms may hit him and wake him up more, and as a result he may think it's time to eat. A brush from his arm also may trick him into thinking food is near and he'll start rooting and want to eat. Hopefully all this will keep him sleeping soundly between feedings.
Despite all this, which makes it sound like breastfeeding is so hard, he is growing well and feeding is usually very easy and makes him happy. He is 8 pounds, 15 ounces (50th percentile), 21 inches (25th percentile), and his head is 15 inches (also 50th percentile). Right on target. I knew he was growing fast, as my arms were trying to adapt to my quickly growing boy, but I had no idea he gained a pound and a half in two weeks! The doctor also mentioned that growth spurts will also bring on restless nights and cluster feedings, so last night might have been partially due to that as well.
After my mid-day nap, I was super productive. We got rid of the bed that was in his nursery (well, just a really good futon mattress, but we gave up looking for a frame and gave it to my sister, who is moving this weekend). This opened up a ton of space, so I rearranged his nursery a bit. I also organized some of my crafting supplies, and perhaps after dinner, I'll do some crocheting.
We leave for vacation in a little over a week, so I have a list of things to get done. Nothing crazy, just cleaning and packing and normal vacation prep. My mom is coming up for a day next week to help me out with this, so I think it's totally do-able. My parents and sister also treated me to a pedicure, which I'll get while my mom is here to babysit. I'm so excited. I love getting pedicures, but I haven't gotten one since about a month before I got pregnant. I considered getting one around month eight or nine, but the idea of the fumes put me off. I'm also psyched for vacation because we will have a lot of help with the baby and I'll get to relax a bit (and hopefully catch up on reading and crochet). Elliott can't really go out in the sun and I can't get in the pool, so he and I will spend quality time indoors. I am about a quarter of the way done with his blanket, so I hope to get that finished before the fall. Crocheted blankets, especially one done with granny squares, are so cozy and will be perfect to cuddle in on chilly fall walks. I also have a bootie to finish and some other small items on the back burner. My reading list is also calling me, and while I get a lot of reading done during feedings (sometimes I read out loud to him, but mostly he closes his eyes anyway), I will love having nice nooks to read in.
Thanks for the supportive / helpful / lovely comments. Motherhood is so much easier when you know other people are experienced or experiencing it with you.
- J & M.