baby, breastfeeding, cluster feeding, newborn, sleep, two week old
I’m almost done writing up the next part of the labour story, I swear, but it’s bloody hard to find a moment in which to work on it.
This kid doesn’t sleep.
He is 16 days old and he doesn’t sleep. He suckles, and he cries, and sometimes he lies quietly alert and being all cure, before crying/suckling some more.
Now, I am not particularly disillusioned. I knew that having a baby would mean sleepless nights and a lot of screaming. But I did think that newborns, while waking up every couple of hours, would eventually go back to sleep for an hour or two at a time.
But when this baby dozes off, I am constantly afraid that it is for the last time, and that the next wake-up, which will likely happen in the next fifteen minutes or so, will never, ever end. Even my mother is baffled by his constant wakefulness and insatiable hunger. On Facebook, people keep commenting on how alert he looks in his pictures. They’re telling us.
On Tuesday, he was awake from 5 pm until 1 am. On Wednesday he was awake from 2:30 pm until nearly 10:00 pm. On Thursday he was awake from 1:30 pm until 9:30 pm. Today he woke up at 12:30, and right now he has FINALLY gone limp and he is downstairs in his moses basket with my mother and husband hovering over him like he is a bomb ready to go off. He may wake at any moment.
If we’re lucky, he’ll sleep for a couple hours before he’s up and screaming for food again. My nipples, which were beginning to heal, are getting sore again.
One thing I will say about him – the worst of the feeding/screaming fits have mostly been during the afternoon/evening. He does often sleep for as much as two or even three hours together over the night and in the morning, although last night it took my mother and I from 2 am until 4 am to get him to go back to sleep for those couple of hours.
In the meantime, he’s learning lots. He has discovered his rattle, and he reaches for my shirt or my glasses when he is enraged. He’s working on rolling over. He has also decided to try and help me put him to the breast by clutching at the sides of my boob and exerting as much muscle strength as he can summon to bring the booba to his mouth. Unfortunately, he hasn’t worked out the difference between Push and Pull, so he actually sits there pushing the breast away while gaping frantically like a goldfish out of water, and eventually screwing up his eyes and wailing in frustration, at which point I snatch away his fists and plunk my breast into his mouth.
So basically he’s strong and fit. I, on the other hand, am a hollowed-out shell of a woman who has watched far more HGTV than any normal human should watch in a year.
Can anyone explain to me why I feel guilty snatching half an hour to myself for a bath or to check Facebook, leaving the baby under the care of my mother or Perfect Husband? I mean, it’s not like he’s mine and only mine. He’s every bit as much my husband’s baby, and PH doesn’t feel the need to ask me if I can watch the baby for an hour while he reads cracked.com. But PH is happy to care for his son (if apologetic that he can’t help me with the constant-hunger issue), and my mother is delighted to have a chance to be useful before she leaves on Monday.
So how come I feel like I’m being selfish and asking them to do my job for me when I try to give myself a just few moments out of the rocking chair?