Friday, January 20, 2012


This blog is about whatever is going on in my life and on my mind. And lately, it's been nursing.

The first thing I must get out is that I had NO idea how feeding a newborn is all-consuming. It's so frequent, and takes so much time, that my life revolved completely around it for nearly 3 months, and still does to a degree.
It's like this. A newborn feeds every two hours, and sometimes more frequently. Now, in text it doesn't actually sound that overwhelming, but look at it this way. Julie's feeding took at least 40 minutes. Sometimes it'd take a hour, because she'd fall asleep, and I'd re-awaken her, and take some time for burping, and I didn't know if she was done, so I'd let her eat for a whole hour. Now you do the math: if we eat every 2 hours and she takes 1 hour to eat, I have 1 hour before it's time to eat again! {Plus that means half of my day is feeding.}

Basically, our day went like this:
  • breakfast
  • second breakfast
  • elevensies
  • lunch
  • tea
  • supper
  • dinner
  • late night snack

Usually that was about right. Sometimes there were 9 feedings...
When you consider that the hour between feedings, every other hour, has to include my meals, getting dressed (on a good day, showering), laundry, dishes, etc., it's a wonder a new mom could ever get to the grocery store. And if she did, think how well-timed & fast it has to be: in the hour before feeding, I'd need to make sure I was showered, dressed, packed, list made, etc. Directly after feeding, I'd have to diaper Babes and get her dressed and in the stroller. If that takes (optimistically) 10 minutes, and it takes only 15 minutes to get wherever I'm going, I have a whopping 20 minutes in the store! And I better not dream of popping in another store on my way home, or I'll be in danger of having a screaming, hungry baby on my hands.

I write this because I wish I could have read this in September...I hadno idea what it would actually be like to be at home alone all day with a newborn. [And I'm sure it's not everyone's experience. Some babies must be faster eaters; those bottle feeding can share the duty, etc. etc.] But just as I wish I could have read that and known I was not alone, I also needed to be told that -that particular difficult aspect of parenting*- does NOT last long. It doesn't feel like it could be true while you're in the middle of it, but now (at 3.5 mo) I see it was over in the blink of an eye. Since Christmas, we've usually had three hours between feedings, and it's like the day has been handed back to me. I'm not constantly wary of the clock, ticking toward feeding time. The sun is a bit shinier, my eyes a little less glazed, and here I have a moment, while Julie naps, to write about the thoughts swirling in my brain.
But I ought to close with this, lest I dwell on what's negative and seem complaining...I said it before, but it ought to be said again...This is the hardest job I've had, but it is the most wonderful.

* PS: I've recently been told about how parenting is hard. Sometimes, when they ask me how I am, and I tell them like it is, I get a condescending (or perhaps I imagine it), "It gets harder. When they're older, the troubles are bigger." And that isn't really all that kind or helpful. Perhaps they are right, or perhaps it is because the difficulties that are so present to me are faded in their memories. Either way, when I hear that I feel "shushed" or slighted.

This weekend, a dear friend said to me (in a thoughtful, carefully spoken way): "Being a mom to a baby is hard. It's hard physically. Being a mom to teens and adults is hard emotionally." That was so helpful: being affirmed that what I feel is hard really is hard, while getting to hear her older perspective.

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