|Photo by The Photolicious|
It’s been a little over a month since I gave birth. The past month has brought about many changes in my baby. It’s been a wonderful journey witnessing those changes, thus far…
Demand for Milk & Breastfeeding
My baby wasn’t as demanding for milk immediately after birth, while still in the hospital. But she was fed on-demand as opposed to the every-four-hour rule. (Baby’s preference, can’t change that!)
However, coming home after several days in the hospital, her demand for milk increased and yes, it was tiring as I was exclusively breastfeeding my little one. But as I’ve reiterated time and time again when people ask, exhaustion and sleep deprivation are two of the most prominent features of becoming parents (to a baby especially). It’s a universal experience; everyone feels the same thing, and it’s absolutely normal. It’s comforting to know that. That’s why I think these things should be talked about and shared.
Although breastfeeding was very new to me (of course, being a first-time mother!), Alhamdulillah my will power and adjusting to breastfeeding came fast and naturally. It was stressful because you would be breastfeeding a lot — day and night. It was mostly stressful in the middle of night, when you need to force yourself to wake up to feed a crying baby. It was also stressful as there were times the baby kept on crying and giving her milk seem to not make the cut. Babies can cry due to other reasons than just wanting milk; it could be that the baby needs a diaper change, needs to be burped or simply feels scared and alone.
Over the course of one month, I learnt how to accustom myself to the changes, day by day.
I learnt how to identify the signs my baby would show when wanting to be fed. Playing with her tongue, reacting to your finger being gently caressed next to her mouth and rapid movements of the mouth are some of the signs. When you know the baby wants milk, you don’t need to reach the point of the baby screaming at the top of his/her lungs.
It is also important to make breastfeeding comfortable for you and the baby. This could cut the stress.
.::. Make sure the room temperature is just nice – not too cold or too warm.
.::. Breastfeed in front of the TV so you could watch your favorite show.
.::. Have whatever you need within a hand’s reach (eg: muslin cloth for wiping baby’s mouth, mobile phone, TV remote control, etc.)
.::. Sit in a comfortable chair that could support your back.
.::. Make sure your baby is swaddled correctly.
I find that I tend to earn brownie points from my baby if I am attentive to her while breastfeeding i.e. not talking to someone else, playing with my phone, etc. She suckles better and longer if I focus on her. Talk about an attention-seeking baby! Hehe, kidding. I have read though, that making eye contact with the baby while breastfeeding enhances the bonding process.
If breastfeeding is too tiring for you, the baby can be bottle-fed alternately and intermittently. My baby’s paediatrician said it’s fine to have the baby use a bottle after one-week old. I also supplemented feedings with formula milk, during times when I did not have expressed milk in stock. Learning the right time to express (pump) milk was another thing to master, especially with a baby that constantly wants to be fed, causing the tendency for him/her to hijack your pumping sessions (lol).
I resorted to formula milk when I felt too tired to breastfeed (especially in the middle of the night). It does also become sore right where the baby suckles making breastfeeding painful sometimes. Applying nursing butter in the area will help soothe the pain and the good news is, that it does get better!
Recently, I’ve been able to do without formula milk (which is pretty expensive and can only be consumed within 4 weeks after opening the tin’s seal) as my baby’s sleeping pattern has started to change, enabling me to catch up on my Z’s a tad better during the night. That brings me to my next item on the list…
Sleep Cycle: Baby’s Broken Sleeps
During the first month, my baby would sleep a little longer in the morning til afternoon, rather than at night.
But after one month, this started to change. My baby established a new sleeping pattern as she would be more active during the day time (and crying more), and would be sleeping a little longer at night. I really hope this pattern sticks! People do say it gets better after a month.
Her Eyes, Her Eyes…
The baby will grow and mature into ascending stages right before your eyes. A newborn’s vision is blurry at first, being able to make out certain colors only. This will gradually change in a short span of time, where the baby will start to open his/her beautiful eyes wide and the observing begins. A baby’s eyes also tend to wander in the direction of any light. And soon, the baby will start looking at YOU! It’s such an amazing experience.
What I’ve noticed with my little one is that she’s easily awed by bright lights and the ceiling fan! Sometimes it helps her to stay put temporarily and not cry, when she shifts her focus to these things.
Smile! You’re on Candid Camera…
Not only will your baby’s eyes start to show progress but her mouth as well. The baby will start showing reflex smiles and grins, although the baby is not actually smiling. But it’s absolutely adorable. I notice my baby doing this after getting milk or before going off to sleep. Perhaps this reflex smile does indicate happiness and contentment. 😉
Whoever coined the phrase sleeping like a baby did not know how a baby actually sleeps like. If he meant it to mean ‘sound asleep’ or a deep and long slumber, that is.
A baby makes all sorts of noises as he/she sleeps and is only in a silent slumber for a short period intermittently. These sounds could vary from a tyre screeching to imitations of E.T./Yoda. (The best descriptions I could give!) Sometimes, it seems like the baby is throwing a fit. The sounds make me agitated, ending up in my constantly checking on the baby, fearing that something is wrong. Fortunately, these sounds are totally normal and part of the baby’s growth. It’s also totally normal to feel worried as a parent.
In just a matter of 30 days, your baby will grow at a substantial rate. His/her head will get bigger, and her arms and legs will get chunkier (adorable baby fat!). Some of my baby’s onesies have even gotten a little tight for her and she’s already starting to wear slightly bigger mittens. All this, powered by the milk your body produces.
I can’t wait to witness and experience more changes in the coming months. Grow up to be a good girl, Honey!