Our baby is one month old.
A lot of people say they cannot remember the time before the baby was born, but I definitely do. I remember sleeping a lot during my pregnancy, because I thought I was tired then. Now, I am consumed with everything baby. And I honestly, truly wouldn’t have it any other way. But this, motherhood, is real fatigue. As mothers, we wake up to every little sound he makes, we change 10+ diapers a day, burp the baby, wash the clothes, change baby’s clothes after a poop explosion, try to get him to nap, feed him around the clock, hold him, rock him, walk him, and try to eat, shower, run to the bathroom in between the chaos. Also as mothers, we are the most suited for these duties. It’s exhausting, no matter if he is the first baby or the fourth.
During my pregnancy, I always said that I felt like I would miss being pregnant once I gave birth. I have been so busy with the baby that it just occurred to me the other day I really don’t miss being pregnant. Of course I loved the whole experience and it was such a beautiful journey, but I have been wrapped up in motherhood, spilled breast milk, infinite amount of diapers, and lots of sleep deprivation to even think about much else than what’s going on right now. As soon as I try to do one thing, like eat or send a text, this little baby senses that his mommy is not right next to him and loses any sense of peacefulness. In fact, I am writing this while he is laying on my chest.
I have always heard people say that motherhood or parenthood is the hardest job and is absolutely a real full time job, but I never understood until I am in those shoes. He needs me. All the time. And I want to be the one to soothe and calm him. It’s my job, all the time. It is very kind when others try to help, but Lucca knows they are not his mama. He loves cuddling with his Papa, but he primarily needs me. Right now, he is also eating 10-30 minutes every 1-3 hours. He uses breastfeeding as a pacifier, time to cuddle, and a way to dose off to sleep in addition to nourishment. I’m supportive of his attachment to nursing.
Some days I forget to eat lunch. I suddenly realize I’m famished, and grab a dairy-free yogurt, pita chips and hummus, or something unhealthy like chex mix. That’s my “lunch.” When John gets home from work, he brings something for dinner or prepares something in the kitchen. We take turns holding Lucca so we can eat. If he’s asleep, I shovel food down, he usually wakes up, and I breastfeed him while I finish eating. I’m okay with multitasking, but he tends to need my full attention while at the breast. Our very own meditation.
A few people have said, let him cry it out when he gets upset. Absolutely not. Not only does he need me in those moments and would I feel insanely guilty as he gasps for air, he needs to feel secure, taken care of, and build good self-esteem. Maybe when he is older I can let him cry, but right now, 4 weeks old, as soon as I hear him getting upset, I jump in. And he is usually crying for a reason. Sometimes he just wants to lay by my breast. That is okay; he feels warmth, my smell, my heartbeat and is reminded of life in the womb.
He sleeps beside me at night or on top of me during the day. Maybe he falls asleep in the car or in his swing, but it doesn’t last long. Yet. We have tried putting him his bassinet and dock-a-tot at night, and he makes it about 5 minutes before screaming. Down the road, we will have to sleep train him to sleep in his bassinet and then crib, but he (and mama and papa) need rest. So for now, he sleeps beside me or in my arms. But he is sleeping!
When I dreamt of motherhood in the past, it was nothing like it really is. Being a mommy to Lucca is harder, more beautiful, more challenging, more exhausting, more confusing, sweeter, more fun, and more wonderful than I could have imagined. I try to record as much as possible, but I also stay in the moment. Loving him. 💙
New (Exhausted) Mama,