love is the messiness of dying to self

this blog has beem a Godsend. it’s so refreshing to find a blog that so closely mirrors my own parenting philosophy — pr whatever you want to call the conclusions i have come to in the past 6 weeks. and i love that there are other mommas out there that desire to follow Christ in being moms, and approach attachment parenting from an explicitely Christian worldview. because if i have learned anything in the past 6 weeks it is that responding to a little very needy being 24/7 requires self-sacrifice. dying to self. true servanthood. Lord make me a servant…teach me through taking care of Sam how to serve not only him better but everyone around me. for Your glory.

sleeping, or not sleeping, as the case may be.

If there is one thing I have discovered about this child of mine it is that his activity patterns that I noticed in the womb have continued on out here. Remember the child who would not stop kicking for what seemed like days, and then a few days later would send me into a panic as I hadn’t felt him move in what seemed like days? Yeah, what that translates into is a 6-week old who sleeps like a champ for a few days (5 hour stretches, wakes up to eat, goes back to sleep for 3 more hours) and then is constantly awake for a few days. No, seriously. Other than very short naps in arms after nursing once or twice a day, little Sam the Man would be up, awake, ready to play, happy. Kind of fussy for a while in the evenings, but not too bad. Well earlier this week he had an awake stretch where I got about 5 hours of sleep total in 48 hours. He just would not sleep. I don’t think it was a growth spurt (I think that was last week) but he was just not interested in sleeping. He would nurse on the couch and he’d drift off (I’d think) and so I would try to take him to bed but he would immediately wake up. Not unhappy. Just look at me with those gorgeous peepers like “hey, mom, can we play??” So I am trying harder to be more consistent with waking up and going to bed at the same time. This can be a little challenging, as it is difficult for me to get up at 8 o’clock when I just got to sleep at 3, but if we lie in bed and nurse and nap all day it only complicates the problem. So I am trying to work on keeping him awake/feeding him often during the day and hope that he will sleep more at night. He is sleeping for longer stretches of time, which is great, except those stretches don’t begin until like midnight or 1 am. Which is a little late for a tired mommy (and daddy who has to get up and go to work and not get fired). So I am getting him up earlier and trying to watch his naturally tired times, like The Baby Sleep Book recommends. So far in the past week or so I have noticed he naturally wants to take a nap at around 11am (hence the time to blog! it’s 11:37 here) and 2pm, and then starts to get sleepy for the night at around 7pm. I am trying to stretch his bedtime to 8pm because 7pm is difficult with getting dinner finished and put away, etc. I ordered a book online called The No-Cry Sleep Solution and I am hoping it offers some insight as well. I want Sam to be able to go to sleep on his own, not really for my own convenience (although it would be nice) but also so that he doesn’t feel scared to go to sleep. It would be nice if he could spend the night at my mom and dad’s later this summer and I am worried that if I am not there that my poor mom would have a really difficult, sleepless night. I know that it will still be a while until he in on any kind of real schedule but I am trying to pay attention and work on this stuff now, before it becomes a major issue later on. Now if I could get him to sleep in his co-sleeper, Pack ‘n Play, crib, bouncy seat, or swing, or basically anywhere but in my arms or nestled in my armpit, that would be great, too….I do cherish our little snuggly nursing moments at night, and know that they are fleeting, but at the same time I would love to be able to sleep next to my husband again.We are discussing buying a bigger (king size) bed if this sharing sleep thing continues. I will say that if I put him in his co-sleeper, he wakes up every 2 hours (or less) than if he is next to me…so we all end up sleeping more, which at this point in my life is very important to me.

I also ordered a book called The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears (again — I am so thankful for their parenting tips!) and am trying to become more informed about vaccines. I think of myself as being kind of a hippie mom but not so much as to not vaccinate altogether. So I am trying to come up with a delayed vaccination schedule for Sam sometime before his 2-month wellbaby appointment on March 20th. I need to talk to his pedi about it, too. I generally like the guy, he is a great doctor, but he has scolded me for co-sleeping and has also given me some wonky breastfeeding advice (like to switch sides every 20-25 minutes rather than draining one side before switching, and if he is not “done” in 20 minutes to take him off the breast because that will “teach” him to eat faster next time) so I am a little worried about how he will take this delayed vaccine schedule. I am not anti-vaccines, I just worry mostly about my son’s immune system being bombarded with viruses all at once, and would like to space it out a bit more, especially since he is exclusively breastfed and not in a daycare environment. But I will have to see what the book says before I make my decision.

Sam has begun smiling pretty regularly. It melts my heart. He is also becoming more vocal, making really cute little gurgles and coos in addition to loud screams of protest.

growth spurts and whatnot

sam enjoys eating. it ranks high in his list of  favorite activities. he must be going through his 6 week growth spurt because for the past 2-3 days all he does is eat! he didn’t hardly sleep for 24 hours. it was like his body was growing so fast that whatever he took from me was instantly utilized and so he was never satisfied. don’t get me wrong, i think it is endlessly fastenating that my body can produce whatever amount he asks for, but i was getting pretty tired. last night he slept great though — two 4 hour stretches. then this morning i swear he looked bigger. i am excited to find out how much he has gained this week on monday. i bet he’s at least 11 lbs by now.

our pediatrician sent home this little flyer and it said to start trying to get him on a routine. ha. what routine? i have been reading the baby sleep book by dr. sears and tring to figure out his sleepy times. it seems like he gets sleepy every night around 7 or so, so we have been trying to put him down around that time. it doesn’t always work. or ever. especially because he wants to eat…whenver. at random times. so i am not really sure how feeding on cue really works with a schedule. but at the same time i am starting to desire some kind of routine in my life, and feel like structure is good for sam. maybe he’s still too little and this will work itself out. i don’t really know. i know that i don’t believe in letting him cry it out so if he cries, i pick him up. i will let him fuss in his co-sleeper for a few minutes but if it’s obvious that he’s getting more and more aggravated i come in and get him. i can’t stand just letting him cry.

i am also working through being basically the only one who can comfort him. tim, i think, is starting to feel a bit left out. he very sweetly wants to comfort and be able to soothe his son, but it’s like i’ve told him…9 times out of 10 right now if sam is fussy nursing will soothe him and unfortunately for all of us tim cannot lactate. doesn’t have the goods. it would certainly be nice if he did have the goods sometimes!!

i am learning a lot, and praying that i don’t somehow damage the poor kid.

a blur of love, lansinoh, and little sleep that spans 5 weeks

I can’t believe my baby boy is 5 weeks already! Where has time gone? The last 5 weeks of pregnancy were eternal…and these past 5 weeks have been a blur. Tim and I like to joke that it’s still January 18th, it’s just been a really long day with naps. :)

Breastfeeding is going so much better. SO much. I am so thankful. I was really very seriously about ready to throw in the towel and it made me just sick. I hated having to supplement formula. It smells like a multivitamin. And it is so flipping expensive. It just made me sick. But something just clicked and Sam and I figured it out for the most part. I was so happy to discover that last week, the first week we have not had to supplement anything — formula or breastmilk I had pumped — that he gained MORE than when we were supplementing. :) I still have to use to shield, but I am hoping that one of these days he’ll figure out how to latch without it. And, even if he doesn’t ever figure it out, it’s not the end of the world.

We started cloth diapers today. So far so good. No leaks or blowouts yet. I don’t know if we are going to use them at night yet or not. I am not sure how to deal with possible leaks/blowouts when he sleeps for longer stretches of time at night. This morning he slept from 5:30am to 9:30! I feel like a new person with 4 hours of uninteruppted sleep. It helps that we have figured out how to nurse lying down. I fall asleep and he falls asleep when he is done and it works out nicely.

I just love this little guy. It’s amazing how something you love so completely can still make you love them even more every day, every hour.

beyond tired

Everyone tells me that breastfeeding gets easier at 4-6 weeks. I am holding out for that. It has been really REALLY really difficult. Some days are just awful and we both cry all day and some days, like today, are manageable. Trying to nurse him as often as he wants combined with pumping is exhausting. Tim lovingly fed him some of my expressed milk last night during the 3am feeding so I could get some uninteruppted sleep. I feel slightly more human today.

I never knew that something this small could be so needy. I never knew that something this small could overtake my heart and fill me with such love and undying devotion.

I need alot of grace. I need God’s strength. I need help with breastfeeding, and it’s been hard to have to seek out resources and people to try to figure it out. I am a pretty self-reliant person and I don’t like asking for help.

I do feel like things are going to get better. I think back to his first week of life, when he was dehydrated and had lost 17% of his birth weight. We’ve made significant progress. He was 9 lbs 6 oz today.

I wish Tim could work from home every day. It’s really hard sometimes to be at home all by myself with Sam, because I don’t feel like I have time to eat or brush my teeth or do much else but hold him.

It’s hard to be patient all the time when he is screaming. I am starting to “read” him better.

We are co-sleeping. He hates his co-sleeper, and in an effort to get us all in a horizontal position for more than an hour he sleeps on either my chest or Tim’s chest. For now. I would like it if he eventually would sleep in his co-sleeper. So far I have enjoyed co-sleeping though.

I am a mom., Sometimes I look at him and it shocks me a little bit that God would choose to give him to us.

nursing in public

for various reasons, i have to use a nipple shield. eventually, i am hoping, sam will outgrow needing to use it. until then, it’s just a part of our breastfeeding relationship.

i am just not sure i can ever leave the house and nurse him in public. at least, not discreetly.

so i have a choice to make. i can never leave the house, for fear of having to nurse him and show something when trying to latch him on with the shield. or i can just deal with the fact that some random strangers might see my boob for half a second as i position the shield and then get Sam to latch on.

personally, i am leaning toward just barring it all and saying “eh, screw it.” if people don’t like it, too bad. i gotta feed my kid, you know?

17 days

daddy-snuggles-003

i have so much to write, and so little time to write it. plus, i am holding him in one arm, so i have to type one-handed.

samuel ezra birkel was born at 4:42pm on sunday, january 18th. he weighed 9lbs 4oz, was 22.5 inches long. he has a full head of blond hair, a yawn like his daddy’s, and a nose like mine. he’s basically the most beautiful thing i have ever laid eyes on.

labor was hard but worth it. and i did it, by the grace of God, all naturally. my birth story is on facebook, if you care to read it….

motherhood is hard, but worth it. breastfeeding is hard, but worth it.

my husband is amazing, and seeing him be a daddy to sam is a wonderful gift.

did i mention how cute sam is?