Thursday, 30 September 2010

Early baby days

You can't help but compare. I guess it's human nature and sometimes I feel terrible doing it, but really, there's no judgement involved in the comparisons I make and I try my best to let Cubling know about it. Cubling was a colicky baby, and her personality from the start was on the energetic side. It's joyful watching her now, she is such a forceful little girl, with so many ideas, so much energy, so much that amazes us every single day. As a baby, without the ability to communicate other than through crying, it was a hard road to be travelling on - for all of us.

Consider the scene of the first bath: with Cubling, we tried to entice her with dimmed lights, a warmed up living room, gas fire on, relaxing music in the background, everything at the ready, candles lit. And she screamed the house down. Not a single bathtime was enjoyed in those early days. Evenings from 5pm were filled with inconsolable crying (and we tried, oh lordy, we tried to console her). I felt guilty not for being a bad mum, but for causing her so much suffering by simply having had her.

Now look at Snowflake, a picture of bliss and curiosity as we gently lower her into the baby bath, which we've set up on the kitchen table so I don't have to bend down. We're not particularly organised, not everything goes smoothly, there is only dimmed lights, no other enticement. She's clearly enjoying it.

Snowflake also sleeps a lot. Cubling was good at keeping herself awake all day and evening, getting increasingly overtired and fretful. Snowflake sleeps. Mostly anyway (we do get overstimulation too on occasional days). She sleeps such long stretches that I worry, and that I wake her to give her a feed. I know I should just enjoy it while it lasts, but if you're used to a baby who sleeps for 30 mins max, and never goes more than 2 1/2 hours between feeds, a 4 or even 6 hour sleeping stretch is rather mindboggling.

Which neatly brings us onto the feeding. With Cubling, it was so bloody hard. I was sore beyond words, she fed forever and then again. She never seemed contented after a feed, didn't poo and generally didn't give me all those ticks to assure me that she was getting enough. She clusterfed every single evening, and I never ever saw milk. There was no posset, no vomit, no milk leaking out the side of her mouth. Now look at Snowflake - she feeds quickly, efficiently, goes sometimes for long stretches between feeds, but other times also clusterfeeds (not too often). When she does feed, she likes to feed a lot and often overdoes it, so there's a lot of milk making its way out. She comes off herself, looks contented, the last milk drop dripping out of her mouth. There are plenty of wet nappies, regular dirty ones. I don't monitor frequency or length of feeds, and above all, I don't worry. Did I mention that I'm not sore? The discovery of pain free breastfeeding, I never thought it did actually exist. To be fair, I was a little bit sore when on day 1, Snowflake initially was a reluctant feeder (due to c-section delivery and being mucusy) and I had to hand express - that did hurt. But as soon as she latched, all was fine.

It's not all roses though - Snowflake suffers from wind and often cries when awake. We have had 2 long clusterfeeding nights, and one whole day where she was fretful and couldn't get herself to sleep. And while she sleeps a lot, this will only happen if I carry her - put her into the pram and she'll be awake within 10 minutes.

But still, it's oh so good not to have to worry about milk supply or what the heck is wrong with an incessantly crying baby. There are those who say it's because we're more relaxed this time, all I can say is that personally I'm anything but relaxed, simply because there's two little ones now. It kind of relaxes me though that feeding is clearly going well. It feels like all the hard work last time is finally paying off, and breastfeeding is truly the easy option.

##Photo: Snowflake is sporting a lovely handknitted cardigan by J, and this is the most likely the one and only face on photo for the blog, so enjoy!.##



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