Mornings are sweet. …

Mornings are sweet. Kavya's usually slept a solid three hours just before, and is hungry but otherwise happy. We get up together sometime between 5 and 6:30. I take her to the nursery. We sit in the glider that Jed got us, and I feed her, rocking slowly. The breeze from the open door to the balcony is so pleasant, but a little chilly -- luckily, I have Karen's super-soft quilt to wrap around us. (Karen, it's still clean, but I bet that won't last for long -- remind me how I'm supposed to wash it?) When Kavi's done eating, I change her diaper and change her out of her sleeper into an outfit for the day. We have so many cute outfits from friends and family; it's much more fun than dressing a doll. :-) Today she is wearing a yellow onesie that has a picture of a elephant and the phrase, "I am an elephant and I am very big." Which is particularly funny, given how very small she is.

Then I lay her down in her crib, turn the monitor on (another gift, from my sister's friend Kavitha), and take the handset downstairs with me. Puppy and I have a little breakfast, and then it's back upstairs to putter around for an hour, checking e-mail and the like. Depending on how much I pumped earlier, I may or may not have enough milk for the next feeding, so possibly I spend some time pumping -- I usually read a bit of a book or read journals online while pumping in the mornings. It's just too peaceful to turn the tv on in the morning.

Some women really hate pumping, and I can understand why, but so far, it's no more than a mild nuisance to me -- and maybe it's actually a blessing in disguise, because it forces me to sit still for an extra 5-7 hours a day. I'm already doing more than I think I'm supposed to -- I'm not good at being an invalid, I guess. I'm supposed to take it very easy for six weeks after the c-section, and I have to fight my urge to be productive and get stuff done (which often involves going up and down the stairs, or even just getting up from the couch every ten minutes to do some little task). Kevin scolds me for trying to do too much, and I mean to be good, but I keep forgetting. Pumping forces me to sit still for a while, so at this stage, it's good. If I'm still doing it in six months, I may feel differently, especially if I'm still doing it seven times a day.

I actually don't want to nurse exclusively -- I think it's at least as important for Kevin to have some hours each night (and sometimes during the day) when he can give Kavya a bottle of milk, get the chance to snuggle and bond with baby. If he weren't planning on being home for the next three months (and home a good chunk of the time after that, 'cause, y'know, he's a professor and only has to go in to teach a few classes a week), I'd probably feel differently. But since he's here, it seems like he should get to do a good third of the feedings at least. And feeding her from a bottle, so far, is a lot sweeter than feeding her from the breast! I get to look in her eyes more then than at any other time, and with my big boobs, that's not possible while breastfeeding. So from our point of view, by far the ideal solution would be a mix of bottle feeding and breastfeeding (about half and half) -- and the breastfeeding only because a) I kind of enjoy it when it's working, and b) it takes much less time than pumping + bottles. Not right for every mom, but I think that combo would be pretty clearly right for me, at least right now. Weird -- not something I would have anticipated.

That said, Kavya's definitely not breastfeeding much at all, and I wish she were. At the moment, if I put her on the breast, she gives two or three sucks (once we've managed a latch, which can take quite a while), and then pulls away, grimacing. If I keep making her try it, eventually she howls. She's actually breastfeeding a lot less than she was two days ago, and I think it's our fault. When we took her to the pediatrician's office on Thursday, we didn't want her getting upset in the carseat, where we couldn't pick her up and cuddle her to calm her down. So we tried giving her a pacifier for the first time -- and she loved it. Loved it loved it loved it. We've let her have it off and on the last two days, and we're starting to think that was a mistake -- the pacifier is apparently so much nicer to suck on than my nipple. (Heh. It's a marker of how baby-oriented I've gotten that I didn't even think of the sexual implications of that when I wrote it; only when I went back to revise.) So we'll try to get through today without the pacifier and see how it goes. I'm guessing we'll be doing a lot more carrying her, cuddling, taking her outside (she loves outside), singing to her, etc. More tiring, esp. when you're already short on sleep. But not actually unpleasant, y'know. Hopefully we can cope, and she'll forget about the pacifier in a few days...

I was never much of a baby person -- when I spent all those years desperately wanting children, it was always at least toddler age. I imagined telling my kid stories, and having them actually participate in the storytelling. "And then the princess, whose name was...?" "Kavya!" "That's right, her name was Kavya! Princess Kavya went into the deep, dark forest..." Or baking cookies with them. Or teaching them bad jokes. I didn't fantasize about babies, and I'm still pretty eager for the day when Kavi can talk back to us. But at least in the mornings, it's rather sweet, having this incredibly soft creature in my arms. I'm starting to get the appeal of the whole baby thing. :-)

3 thoughts on “Mornings are sweet. …”

  1. I was so grateful that Esther pumped, and that I got to feed Aviva. Esther went to school every Friday, from the time Aviva was six weeks old or so, and I would stay home with her. It was incredibly important to me, as a father, to know that I could do everything she needed, and didn’t have to run to Esther saying “help, she’s crying!”

  2. I was told that to avoid the so-called nipple confusion, you can give the baby your pinky to suck on for a bit so she doesn’t get used to the pacifier.
    Once she’s gotten used to breastfeeding, giving her the pacifier is fine. Babies need to suck and they eventually fall out of the habit so the pacifier is not a bad thing.

    -A

  3. If pumping isn’t a problem for you then I wouldn’t worry about giving her the bottle or a pacifier. We avoided the pacifier with Special K and she sucks her fingers now. We gave Little T a pacifier. Pacifier is a much easier habit to break.

    You say Kavya’s lazy and doesn’t want to breastfeed and is rejecting you. All hormonal natural responses. I have been there crying while Little T pushes my breast away and cries. I know how horrible it feels.

    However being more logical and less hormonal for a moment: is it possible that you’re more relaxed when she’s bottlefeeding so she’s more relaxed so eating is easier? I know it’s really really hard to relax when breastfeeding is not going well. It’s also hard to eat while tense.

    And as the mother of a son who took to consistently breastfeed at 4 months old I really don’t think there’s this magical time frame when babies have to learn to breastfeed or do anything really.

    Despite the fact the lactation consultants except for one put tremendous pressure on me to TEACH HIM TO BREASTFEED CORRECTLY NOW NOW NOW OR HE WILL BE NIPPLE CONFUSED ETC ETC. AND HE WILL NEVER LEARN. DOOM DOOM DOOM.

    When I wasn’t being all hormonal I always knew in my heart that Little T was smart and sensitive to my moods and that he’d figure it out if I was just patient with myself and him. Frankly for me being patient and relaxed was the hardest part when every hormone was screaming DOOM DOOM along with the lactation consultants.

    Only one lactation consultant ever told me that and I wish I could have her come to your house but she’s near where I live. She also listened a lot and helped me relax and feel less bad. And also show me stuff in a gentle nurturing way. It took asking experienced moms to find her.

    I also suggest immediately firing any lactation consultants who make you feel bad or don’t listen. You and Kavya deserve better.

    I also don’t consider myself a baby person. And I longed for Special K to talk. Now both talks nonstop and both kids are incredibly loud. I thought newborns were loud but they just get louder and louder. And Special K has just really started reading which opens up another can of the world and hard stuff to deal with. And she’s wiry and gives tremendous hard hugs. It’s marvelous.

    Yet reading about your and other babies and seeing other friend’s babies sometimes makes me long for the simpler days when she was softer and quieter and smaller and I could make her entire world better with a pacifier. And this is dangerous territory because this is when moms consider having more children.

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