Going through a growth spurt and breastfeeding has proved challenging. I am starving. I am always thirsty (and water doesn’t cut it!). And I am beyond exhausted. (It is past midnight and baby is sleeping. I should go to bed.) So tired that my eyes hurt. I have cried the past two nights. More so last night when Victoire was crying, hungry and I felt empty. Not one drop of milk would come out. And all I wanted to do was sleep. I can understand now why a mother in distress would go to formula! We eventually fell asleep and, a couple hours later, some more milk had come in and she was able to nurse. She actually ate A LOT last night. I am hoping that tonight will be a little easier than last night – but I feel fuller, even tensed so it should be. I was able to get support from some ladies on the French LLL Facebook page and it really helped. Who would have thought that something so natural would be so hard!?
Three girls. Three pairs of feet. Three different personalities and routines, wants and needs.
When I became pregnant with Victoire, I often wondered how life would be like, looking after a 17 months old and newborn. I wasn’t so much worried about organization than how Sixtine would react to this change in our lives. I felt sad for my baby daughter thinking she would have to share her Mama, a Mama who could barely walk her to the park during a long, tedious pregnancy. I felt sad thinking she would have to be the “big girl” now, a big girl that was only so little…
I never really enjoyed being the eldest of four. My friends in school would call me “the little Mama” and that, I didn’t want for my daughter to have to go through. I wanted her to live her life and not worry about who was coming after. Or at least, not for some time. I guess I was projecting my own fears on Sixtine.
I had been dreading it for a week but one very early Monday morning, my husband had to go back to work after three weeks home (including one at the hospital for the birth of baby). When that day arrived, I had a good cry (I can’t-do-it-alone-sob-I-am-too-tired-sob-help-I-need-somebody-help), wiped my tears, got up and went. I nursed Victoire, prepared breakfast for Sixtine, got both girls ready, and one thing after the other, it was bedtime for Sixtine. I had mixed feelings at the end of the day: I felt both happy and proud, and at the same time I wondered how I would be able to do it for another week, month, year. But I realize now that children bring the best in you.
Looking after both of them day & night is extremely challenging – I find it hardest at meal times and at the end of the day, when we are all tired. But even then, it is much better than what I had envisioned.
Sixtine who I feared to be jealous and terrible, is actually very sweet to her baby sister, helpful, and generally well-behaved (as much as a 18-month old can be). She helped me change her sister this evening, holding wipes and diaper for me, and putting the dirty one in the garbage. She kisses, and strokes her sister’s head every single day, many times a day. She does sometimes walks on all fours (she has done that a few times now, since her sister has arrived), steals her sister’s soother, or jumps in her sister’s bed but I guess she is just showing her love. She loves her sister so she wants to be like her. She has also done a few cute things like putting a nursing pad under my shirt or hers. She’s also tried to nurse a couple times, asking then for a bottle of her own. (Oh yeah, and that one time when she told her sister not to scream with a threatening finger…I was in shock when it happened – it was the first time ever I heard her say “no screaming” (in French), let alone associate two words together.)
She loves her to pieces. The thought of it makes me really emotional as I can tell how happy she is to have a baby sister, even if she is still very small and doesn’t interact with her. I am so happy that we were able to give her the gift of a sibling. Now, I can’t say that it is all roses. I am extremely exhausted (as in major case of baby brain, and falling asleep for a half hour and waking up thinking it has been a full night already). I sometime forget to go pee or eat. I sometime feel like I am running a never-ending marathon. I haven’t blow dried my hair since Vic’s birth. I have very little time for myself until the night comes, and even then, baby Vic keeps me company. She is breastfed and we co-sleep. But I enjoy her company very much.
It has only been a month and I know there are more challenging days to come but this is how things are right now. I don’t think I can afford to worry about how it will be in a few months down the road. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow and make the most of it. It is much less scary that way!
When Sixtine was about 5 months we decided as a family that I and the baby would go to France for a few months so I could recharge my batteries and it was really needed. I did recharge them and felt better as soon as I landed but I missed my husband terribly after three months. He came for a two-week visit and wedid lots of sightseeing which was a lot of fun. He also had the opportunity to meet all my family, friends and see where I was from etc… I told him I never wanted to be apart again after being away for so long.
But again, Sixtine and I flew to France on the 27th of October and won’t be seeing him until the birth of the baby (unless he gets some time off for Christmas). Our future is pretty uncertain as he is starting a new job and doesn’t know what is in store for him yet.
I am exhausted ( I have said and written that a lot lately. Forgive me.) and raising Sissi by myself is pretty challenging. My husband is a very hands-on father, always willing to help. It feels like I have no break without him around. It is 24/7. I am definitely not your stay-at-home mother type of person and I am starting to wish I was going to work. I know it sounds horrible but I don’t think it is. I love my daughter to death. I just want to be my own person, not “just” a mum.
I miss him terribly and Skype hasn’t been doing a great job. It is always cutting up, and there is like a 8 hour time difference which means at midnight there it is 8 in the morning here.
To sum it up: Parenting alone su*ks! – especially when you have the most awesome husband in the world!
…just for clarification. I posted a somewhat subtle picture a few weeks ago but I received an email from a friend asking if I was actually pregnant so I thought I would clarify the situation for everyone. I am currently 14 weeks+ pregnant and I am due in March.
Now, as I type, I am recovering from a fever and I have what I think is the flu so excuse me in advance if I sound harsh but I guess being up all week with a sick baby (she is perfectly fine now – I am not) and trying to survive the everyday life I have been very sensitive too many things, in particular, the questions and comments some people have been making since the announcement of my pregnancy.
- I know – when Sixtine was born (even during pregnancy) I said I would never be pregnant again and I only wanted one child. For whatever reasons, people seem to think it is appropriate to bring it up again. How about Congratulations, how are you feeling? instead of I thought you only wanted one! Oddly, these comments only come from one side of the Atlantic.
- Back-to-back pregnancies. I was pregnant not too long ago and my baby is only 11 months. We found out we were pregnant when she was 9 months old. I feel that naturally, my already stretched belly picked up where we left off pretty quickly. I posted a picture of my cute belly and received a lot of: OMG You are so big or comments along those lines. How nice! In my defense, I would like to say that I haven’t gained a pound yet.
- I guess I didn’t need bullet points. I only had two main things to complain about.
I would also like to tell everyone that my house is a mess. And I have zero energy to do anything about it. It is really bad – but at the end of the day, I think if my baby is happy, entertained, fed, clean and rested, I have done an all right job.
I have recently come to the conclusion that wanting a baby girl because they are quiet, calm and sweet wasn’t very accurate. It appears that, as she develops her own personality, my daughter is a real active, fearless girl and I am starting to think…Will she want to go to ballerina classes? Those were my plans for her! She doesn’t take her fearlessness after me as I have always been considered as a “delicate flower”, a very girlie girl. My husband must be over-the-moon excited as he gets 2 for the price of one! “She may enjoy playing hockey”, he even said. Uh, no. Dance, and er..art, and if you really insist maybe figure skating.
Obviously, I love my daughter the way she is and won’t force her to do anything but I am hoping that we will get to share some things together. I am so happy that she is a smart, happy, social, full of life, and risk-taker type of person! I mean I wouldn’t dive off a bed like she does. I know she is only little and she will sure grow and change but she is starting to show us who she is and I love it!
When I first became pregnant, my only wish was to have a healthy pregnancy, delivery and baby. And then, as the pregnancy evolved I started to wish (more or less secretly) that we were expecting a girl. My dad kept saying “It’s a boy, it has to be boy. Nature will make things right…”. He meant balance things up a little bit as he is the father of four girls! And I felt it was a girl but waited until the day it was confirmed: “You are expecting a girl”! It was such a beautiful day.
We were ecstatic and then, after a bit, I felt a little sad for the baby boy we also envisioned and dreamed of…I think we won’t make the same mistake again (talking about two distinct babies – a boy and a girl) and will just talk about “baby” until we find out what baby is as it was really sad to think about that boy we already loved yet didn’t exist in real life.
Some of you may have requested to know the gender of their baby, some others may have waited for it to be a surprise…I was one of those mamas counting down the days to gender revelation day. You should have seen my face! I guess we all have our reasons for wanting a specific gender, or not wanting to know. I was glad we got to know as it helped prepared myself mentally…I think it would have taken me a few weeks to get over the fact that we weren’t having a girl. Don’t take me wrong though. Children are blessings and I would love a baby boy just as I love my baby girl, but some of us can’t help but wish for one or the other. I think I always felt like I would be a mama’s girl. Growing up in a family of 6 including 5 ladies, I never really had close friends that were boys, and I always wanted to have a daughter.
Now, if we were to have another baby some day, I know my husband would love to have a boy and I have to say that I would love to have a baby sister for my daughter but would be just as happy to have a boy, now that the girl box has been ticked!
I would love to hear your thoughts on baby gender! Did you find out the sex of your baby during your pregnancy or did you want the surprise? Why?
Sixtine is formula-fed. Discuss.
Breast-feeding vs formula-feeding seems to be a very hot subject lately. I want to tell you the story of my breastfeeding experience.
I became a mum on the seventeenth of October, at 9.08am. My body was naturally ready to feed my baby. Me, not so much. I never really gave a big thought about breastfeeding. I had breasts, I would produce milk, breastfeed my daughter and all would be well in the world. When Sissi was born and they had made sure she was fine, they put her on my chest. And we cuddled. It was a very special moment. She was so little. This skin-to-skin experience was amazing and I will always remember it. Then they put her to my breast. And she started to suck. It felt different but in a positive way, and I felt happy and empowered to be able to provide for my daughter. It wasn’t always easy to find the right position to feed her, but the nurses and lactation consultant were there to help. I started to feel confused after a few hours when different opinions were voiced and that the lactaction consultant told me that if baby was awake, she was hungry which led to a 6-hour (I may be exaggerating but slightly – I was tired so my memory is a little foggy) feeding (on and off) or at least, she was on the breast for those six hours. She was not sleeping, so she was hungry?
We returned home and the real challenge started. Oh dear…! I was beyond exhausted and baby was eating every 2 hours. I wasn’t always confident in the way I was doing it (is she getting any, is she latched on properly…) and it started to hurt. It went from mildy painful to oh-my-god-she-will-probably-wake-up-in-ten-minutes-please-don’t-wake-up-yet.
I loved the emotional aspect of breastfeeding but it wasn’t comfortable for me at all. It hurt a lot. I was always wet. And was somehow disturbed by that new function on a physical aspect: nipple hurting when seeing baby, extreme leakage, wet bed, shirts, everything…
It became very stressful, and extremely painful as in tears and ahh-ohhhs, and sobbs and crying so much one night I had to call a friend. I couldn’t keep my calm and told her how hard it was for me (she was still breastfeeding and I felt comfortable “confessing” myself. She’s not the judgemental type. That helps.) and she advised phoning Public Health which I did.
A nurse came in and checked me out. I felt very vulnerable at that time. Labor and delivery, an episiotomy and breasts in fire, anything she would have said would have made me cry. Even the word “sandwich”. Anyways, she checked my nipples and said: “no one could breastfeed with nipples like that.” It made me feel better because I thought I was being a “baby”. I saw a Dr who prescribed a cream Dr. something (can’t remember – baby brain anyone?), nipple shells, I was all geared up. The plan was to pump for a couple day until my nipples would get better so I could go back to breastfeeding Sixtine. I did feel better. Much better. So I decided to give it another try. My mum was home with me for the first two weeks of baby Sixtine’s life and saw how I was struggling and really highly suggested I formula-feed her seeing me in such pain. When I put Sixtine to the breast after two days off, I said to my mum: “I am scared, she is gonna bite me.” She answered: “You are scared of your own child” and laughed it off. I tried and she made a funny face. A look that said: “don’t want it”. After a couple more times, I assumed she didn’t like being on the breast anymore and I felt hurt but relieved. I decided then to pump my milk and give her expressed milk in a bottle. It worked wonders ! Didn’t hurt at all (anyone has noticed how big nipples get after pumping !?) and I felt good about the fact that she was still getting expressed milk. I was very good at it and was even able to freeze some. After a bit, I wasn’t home much and wasn’t able to pump as much as I used to and ended up producing less milk which made me wonder if I should buy my own pump or stop pumping completely. (The pump I was using was borrowed to the Public Health.)
I decided to stop. Formula was introduced once the frozen breastmilk ran out. I felt guilty at first and slowly, I started feeling somewhat ok with it. I think the feeding choice is a very personal one and I wish it wasn’t looked up or down so much.
My baby got a month and a half of breastmilk and I just want to hear: it is ok, you did your best.
- You want to better yourself for your baby.
- You silly dance and sing publicly for your baby like no one is watching.
- You become less self-conscious. I am talking bad hair day, shaving strike, nude face… You name it !
- You talk about poop and puke like it is the most natural thing in the world. It is, really.
- You see the world differently. You have new priorities.
- Stronger bond with your husband/partner.
- Get out of the door quickly. Well, actually, according to my husband, I never really did. But it’s gotten worse.
- Being addressed as —’s mother. It is the best feeling in the world.
- Guest contribution from my husband: You cherish your free time.
- New found respect for your mother. Our relationship has grown a lot since I became a mother myself. I appreciate her more and all she did for me.
Let’s make this list a longer one, share !
- Touch my baby without asking. I am not talking about family, friends and acquaintances. I am talking about strangers in the street.
- Stranger assuming baby is a boy because she’s wearing neutral colors. Do girls have to wear pink?
- Tell me to “enjoy it while it lasts”. I can’t help it if my baby sleeps. She might not be a good sleeper forever but let me enjoy it without sarcasm.
- Mention a second baby (or third, or fourth in your case). Mum, I love you dearly but please, she is only four months old. Give me a break.
- Look at me like I have three heads when I answer that my baby’s name is Sixtine. I know you didn’t ask for her age in weeks. And I know it sounds like the number. And although English is my second language, “What’s her name?” is a very basic question.
- Unwanted advice from a person who doesn’t have children.
- Wish me good luck with cloth diapering. We didn’t make the decision to cloth diaper overnight. We thought it through. Thank you.
- “She is/must be hungry.”Oh, thank you. I never thought.
- Expect my daughter to greet you with aahhs and oohhs after a nap and tell me that “she is so serious” if she doesn’t warm up to you right away. She is actually a pretty sociable baby.
- Sick strangers caughing around my baby. It makes me shiver.
I don’t mean to offend anyone. I am guilty of a couple of those, and sometimes, these are just innocent “making conversation” mistakes. Some of them are more or less annoying. I just wanted to share a few of them with you and most importantly, I would love for you to share your own cringe list with me !