Sunday, June 17, 2012

Life with baby, week two.

So far Daddy M and I are adapting fairly easily to the changes that Little Man is bringing to our lives.  It's good that his father has several weeks of paternity leave because it gives them time to bond. I love settling Little Man on his father's bare chest and watching him relax into his father's warmth, arms limp and hanging down along Daddy's ribs. They nap well together, now that M is learning how to relax with the baby on his chest. He's been great about stepping in to help with baby-related stuff when I find myself trying to juggle too many things at once.

Being a mother is a comfortable role for me. I wear it well. It's definitely not a role I ever intended to take on, but it suits me all the same. My life has changed significantly, but not beyond recognition. I value tranquility and contemplation, and while there is certainly less of both in my life these days, nursing Little Man does create opportunities for meditative moments. These little time-outs are restorative. They also enhance the bonding process and force me to slow down. There is very little going on in my world that can't wait until a baby finishes nursing, I've discovered.

We are blessed with an easy baby. Little Man rarely cries or fusses, and in the past two weeks I've learned to read him well enough to know when he's gassy and needs burping, when he needs a diaper change, when he's hungry, and when he wants snuggling. He's got a great smile that he shares liberally with us, and each day he's more alert for longer stretches of time. I carry or wear him around the house and outside when I'm puttering in the garden. He's such a quiet little guy that we've taken him to a few restaurants and even to a movie without incident. Our proximity to downtown means we can walk to dinner or the movies pushing him along in the pram, and when he's older the nearby city parks are going to be very easy to visit.

I am blessed with the ability to be fully functional on 4 to 6 hours of patchwork sleep.  It's hereditary, I think. My sisters were the same way, as was my mother. I am also blessed that Little Man only wakes up once a night for a feeding. I usually feed him at 11pm, again at 3am-ish, and then when we wakes up again sometime between 6 and 8 am, depending on how long it took him to get back to sleep from his middle-of-the-night milk-a-thon. He's drinking 3 and sometimes even 4 ounces at a time now, which is why he's sleeping for longer stretches than a lot of other newborns.

He started out rather small, at 7 pounds 1 ounce, and after losing 9 ounces on colostrum-only, was 7 pounds 9 ounces on Day 12. He's getting about 1/2 a liter of breastmilk a day (18 ounces), which accounts for his weight increase. And some of my weight loss, I'm sure. I'm glad I made the effort to exercise and keep my weight down during the pregnancy, because my energy-level bounced back up to near-normal within a few days after the baby was born. Seriously. I was cleaning house, doing laundry, gardening, baking, and taking care of the baby with just Daddy M's help (my step-mother had to go home the morning after I came home from the hospital) by Day 4. Apparently this quick a recovery isn't common, but I attribute it partially to my hardy Scottish and German peasant heritage (I'm built for baby-making) and partially to my efforts to stay active and keep my weight gain to a minimum so my body isn't burdened with the exhausting task of moving a lot of surplus weight around in addition to keeping up with the demands of a newborn. As it is, I'm looking forward to the soreness and bleeding to end so I can get to work firming up my lower body. I feel loose and jello-y in my abdomen and hips, and trying to walk at my usual pace still causes pelvic discomfort.

The wait to find out what he looks like isn't over yet. Infants are so plastic. So far it looks like Little Man has my nose. I wish he'd gotten his father's lovely grecian nose instead of my snub nose. I think he's got his father's mouth and eyes. Not sure about the chin yet. It's a pointy chin right now. If it had a hint of a cleft or a dimple I'd say he'd gotten mine, but time will tell. He definitely got my ears, which I got from my father's side of the family. His hair is brown and straight right now, but I know that newborn hair often falls out and grows in quite different. I was born with dark hair that fell out and grew in straight and blonde, and then when I hit puberty it turned dark and curly. Everyone comments on the perfect shape of his head. So far it looks like he's got his father's slender build rather than my sturdier one. Hopefully that means he'll have his father's grace, because I have very little. Without a doubt he's got my feet -- I'd know those long, almost prehensile toes anywhere :)

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