We all question ourselves and our abilities. Am I doing a good job? Am I doing this wrong? What can I do better? Am I the problem?
The first night home from the hospital, I was a mess. Mainly due to the fact I slept 2-3 hours a day for our 3 day stay in the hospital, none the night I went into labor, and not so great my last night of pregnancy, I was obviously exhausted. I felt as if I didn’t get a good headstart. In the hospital, we had a fabulous nursing staff, but I still didn’t rest well. I felt fierce and had energy.
Coming home, I felt as though I was not prepared for the fear, exhaustion, the not knowing. We put Lucca in the bassinet right beside our bed. Like it swivels right up to touch the mattress. I hovered over it sobbing because he was so far away. What if he started to cry, and I couldn’t hear him? What if he was hungry, and I was passed out catching up on sleep? Right then, I scooped him up, and Lucca slept on me. For the following two weeks, Mama, Papa, and baby slept on the sectional in the living room. I would try to put him in his Dock-a-Tot, and he’d be okay for maybe 10 minutes. Then he’d cry, and I’d get him out and let him sleep on my chest. “He should sleep on his back, in his own place,” says every nurse, doctor, and website. He cried so much the first several weeks, I did whatever I could so we both could sleep.
To this day, almost 12 weeks since birth, Lucca sleeps in the bed with us. On his back, or his side, right beside me. Sometimes he will cry, I’ll scoop him up next to me with an arm around him, and he falls back asleep. Naps go about the same: he sleeps lying on my chest (where he is now), occasionally in the bouncer, even less in the swing, and never, ever in his bassinet. I begin to wonder, is this my fault? Did I start off giving him this anxious energy when he was [barely] separated from me?
Lucca has been breastfeeding very well since an hour after he was born. For several weeks, I let him live on my breast. Slursing is what I call it: sleep nursing. I was against pacifiers and would start pumping breastmilk (at 6 weeks in my mind) so he could have a bottle once a day with his papa. Somehow I forgot this “plan” and began giving him a pacifier around 4 weeks. I still regret that. It seems like an easy fix when he could want to nurse a little. I began pumping I guess around 6 or 7 weeks, just enough for one bottle daily. All other feedings are from the boob. I now feel as though he’s not eating as well with me because he has to work a little more. What if he wants a bottle instead of breastfeeding? I’m not sure I can handle losing that time with my baby. I have worked so hard to accept: I am producing enough milk for him; my milk supply will reflect his needs. I refuse to give up and pump for solely bottle feedings. I worry I shouldn’t have started a bottle so soon.
When the baby is screaming or exceptionally fussy, I’ll hand him to my husband (when he’s home). And the crying ceases. He’ll fall asleep on him at night, and John will place him in the Dock-a-tot while Lucca stays asleep. At least for a little while. Am I the problem? Am I the reason he doesn’t sleep well or “properly?”
Before having my child, I was well aware my plans and ideas would change. I knew I would fight and question myself and decisions. But I was not expecting HOW MUCH I would struggle. How I think I should have waited until he was 3 months old to start his one bottle a day. How I should have been “tougher” at the beginning and enforced sleeping in the bassinet or Dock-a-Tot and naps in one of those or swing. How I might actually be the reason he’s so anxious, no matter how much I try to remain calm for him.
Is Lucca tired of me 24/7? I feel like just yesterday he only wanted me, all the time. I know I also need time for myself, but I get a little at night and don’t want to miss a second during the day. If he wants a little time away from me, will I be okay? Will he still love me the most? I selfishly want to be the one to take care of him.
I know it’s normal to doubt myself. I am aware feelings of inadequacy are common for new mothers, but I honestly am not seeing my best self currently. Buried under tears (baby and me) and screaming (baby), I find myself a little lost. The fact that I am feeling less than enough as a mother is contributing to how I act as a mother.
It’s a work in progress; I am a work in progress. No one has all the answers and every child is different and unique.
These are things I have to remind myself: other moms feel the same way or similar; I am not alone; it will get better and so will I; taking a break to cry is acceptable; I’m only human; and Lucca is perfect no matter how many mistakes I make.
[How long am I still considered a] new mama,