Thoughts on Day One (with a New Baby)
Our 7th child, Luke Ebenezer entered the world Wednesday night (2/11) at 7:19 pm. It was my fastest labor yet (4 hours, start to finish), and he’s our biggest baby yet (9 pounds, 8 ounces & 22.5 inches long).
He is sweet and strong and much-adored. We’re all loving getting to know him.
I had a number of random thoughts from day 1 and wanted to share them here. There are a lot of little things I do that come naturally to me now. They did not always come naturally. I can’t help but think about the differences these “little” things make, over the long haul.
I offer them as food for thought for new moms– not as (necessarily) a model for every baby and mama, but as some things to consider.
- When he got flustered/frustrated with nursing, I instinctively lowered my voice to soothing tones, and worked to calm him down. I think our natural inclination is to get more anxious, more stressed, and feel like “I can’t do this/he won’t do this/what if he doesn’t nurse well?/maybe this isn’t going to work.” That response, though, escalates and exacerbates the stress. But instead, by calming down, and turning my mind to problem-solving, things are more likely to resolve and less likely to escalate.
- When he appeared satisfied after just 4 minutes of nursing, I laughed and said, “oh no, little buddy, you didn’t get born into an AP home. You’ve gotta eat a full meal. No snacking around here.” I said this tongue-in-cheek as I unwrapped him and helped him latch back on. I’m truly not meaning to “diss” any other mamas out there… just to say, I feel that these habits are built, incrementally, from day one. Learning to take a full meal (and not just snack) is a habit we work to instill in our kids, and I believe it leads to good long-term eating & sleep patterns. So, even on day one, there’s no quick-snack-nursing allowed here in our home. No matter how sweet and content they seem after just 4 minutes.
- When he wanted to nurse again an hour after he nursed, rather than thinking, “oh man, again?” I think “great! My milk is going to come in sooner.” Again, we don’t do snack-nursing here, so that meant two back-to-back “meals” (upwards of 20 minutes per nursing session), but I’m more than happy to nurse him more often in these early days because I know it will lead to good milk production and good sleep, sooner.
- When I was starving (breastfeeding is such a hungry-maker for me), I reached for high-protein, healthy-fat options, rather than carbs. A small handful of nuts, a few slices of gouda, thin-sliced ham rolled up around a strip of spicy brown mustard, a green apple & spoonful of peanut butter… these things kept me full but aren’t empty calories. I’m trying to do better at this, this time around… being more purposeful. For me, nursing has never been a time when I get skinny. In fact, my pattern has been the opposite– that I tend to stay relatively “chunky” until I wean a baby, and then the weight drops off. (So for those of you who find that to be true, rather than the oft-spoken, “breastfeeding melts the pounds away,” take heart!) But this time around, I’m at least trying to make good, healthy choices that won’t pack weight right on my mid-section.
- When I wanted to burn through the day and operate in my post-delivery “high,” I had to force myself to rest mid-day. I wanted to keep going-going-going, but once I made myself lay down, I easily fell asleep and got a 90-minute nap in between feedings. In these early days, it’s worth it to rest MORE than you feel you need to. By being proactive to care for me, I’m less likely to hit burnout, postpartum depression, physical exhaustion, excessive bleeding, and the angry/stress/emotional mama-zone with the kids 2-6 weeks from now. It’s soooooooooo worth it to take time to rest in these early days.
That said, I’d better get back to resting. He’s gonna need to eat soon. Here are a few pictures though.
Getting weighed, after delivery—
Meeting Nana & delighted big-sis MeiMei for the first time:
Being welcomed into the family with a kiss from the 2-year-old (I think all my 2 year olds have done this upon meeting their new sibling):
Snuggling with Moses, the 4 year old (wearing the friendship bracelet Moses gave him):
Making a precious pouty-lip face while being admired by Daddy & Theo:
With big-brother Ethan, 12, who is now a pro with new little guys:
Waking up with me this morning– I LOVE HIM!!!
Have a great weekend, and I will too. I’ll be resting. 😉
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