Little Man has been with us a month now, and wow, what a month!
It's amazing how quickly M and I have adapted our lives to the extreme changes that come with having a baby around 24/7. And amazing how much we haven't had to change.
Dining out, for now anyway, is still feasible. So is going to the movies. Sleep has become a luxury, though I know I'm getting more than a lot of new parents do. Little Man sleeps for a 4 hour stretch most nights. Keeping up with the house-work is a little more challenging, especially while M is home on paternity leave. Let's just say that he is getting a LOT more sleep than I am, often until nearly noon, and as a courtesy I avoid doing things like running the vacuum and other appliances until he is awake. At which point the noise bothers him. Ah well. A couple more weeks and he'll be back at work. And then all the family on his side will be coming to visit.
I'm finding that there are conveniences to bottle-feeding Little Man, but for the most part, I'm trying not to regret giving him the bottle, since he no longer wants to latch on to my breast. Too much work to get that milk, I think. I'm pumping about 30 ounces of milk a day and he's drinking nearly all of it, the little glutton. He's gained two pounds his first month of life, so he's less wrinkled. His cheeks are looking chubby and his thighs are filling-out, but he does not yet exhibit the rolls of fat that are characteristic of breast-fed babies.
He's less of a baby-blob than I thought he'd be. Past experiences with other infants lead me to believe that he'd mostly sleep when he wasn't eating, but Little Man is often alert and active for hours at a time. He surprised me on our first night with his ability to lift his head and shoulders, and as each day goes by, he gets stronger and stronger. He uses his hands to grip my clothes and uses his little legs to push himself as he climbs up my torso to reposition himself. Sometimes he likes being low on my belly, while at others, he wants to rest his forehead against my collarbone. He's also learning to mimic facial expressions. M has taught him how to stick out his tongue and make fish-lips. He's also starting to smile more and make noises, starting to experiment with his voice.
He's often enraptured by his father. M has a wonderful voice, and Little Man will turn to look at him, his eyes wide. M often unbuttons his shirts and puts the baby on his chest, especially when Little Man is being fussy and nothing I do settles him down. It's a heart-warming picture -- father and son enjoying a skin-on-skin interlude.
My body is mostly back to normal. The swelling in my feet is gone, and the tingling in my fingers, as well. The bulk of the bleeding stopped around day 20, and the lochia has been very light since then, though I've noticed a little bit of spotting again, the past couple of days. I've been walking a mile+ most days, some of them pushing Little Man in his pram, others wearing him in the Baby Bjorn. After half a mile of carrying him, it's definitely more of a workout. I've resumed most of my normal activities with the exception of heavy-lifting and other forms of exercise that put strain on the abdominal area. I don't want any hernias or other complications from over-exerting. So painting and power tools and gardening, yes, but no resistance-band training yet.
Motherhood seems to agree with me. My neighbors have commented that I seem to have un-aged a decade or two. Looking in the mirror, I do notice that something is different. I'm 44 and I have no wrinkles. Very little gray hair. My skin looks great (must be all that coco butter cream I'm slathering on after I shower) and the odd blemishes that appeared during pregnancy have completely cleared up. Breastfeeding is taking a fair amount of weight off of me, so much in fact that I'm meeting with a dietician/nutritionist today to see what I can do about that. I don't mind dropping a pound a week, but 4 pounds a week is just too fast, and I'm worried about endangering my milk supply. As it is, I've pulled sorted through the bin of 'someday' clothes in my closet, only to realize that I've dropped two to three dress sizes since last summer and there is very little that fits properly. Washing everything in hot water and drying on high has helped shrink some stuff up, and while I can still wear a lot of my shirts with my breasts ballooned to DD/F territory, even the smallest skirts and pants in my closet hang down around my hips. I suppose I'm going to have to bite the bullet and do some clothes shopping some day soon. Grr. I hate shopping.
I admit to being a bit tired, and on the rare night that Little Man is fussy, I struggle under the pall of exhaustion and irritability. I've awakened M a couple of times and handed the baby over to him when I'm at wit's end, though I try not to. M functions on 8 hours of sleep but needs 10. Less than 10 hours, or interrupted sleep, and he ends up with a headache all day, so I take care of the baby every night. M often takes over when he gets up, so I can nap for a few hours. I am already longing for the day that Little Man can speak his needs so it is easier to meet them.
Little Man is adorable when he's sleeping, and when he snuggles up against me and his breath puffs against my skin, all is right in the world. Everything slows down. Time simultaneously stops and flies. My world narrows down to the confines of our home and the peace and love that exists within it. And I think that is as it should be. Yes. It is as it should be.