Baby Blues or Postnatal Depression
Baby blues can hit at a weird time, you’re so excited after giving birth but a few days later, you find yourself feeling sad. I blame the hormone changes, the rapid decrease of estrogen and progesterone and lack of sleep is probably the biggest culprit.
I found myself getting sad over the craziest things, such as missing the hospital, midwifery care, overly worried about my baby, scared he’s gonna get sick or something bad happening, afraid I’d screw up, sad that he’s gonna grow up, sad that I couldn’t feel him inside me anymore. Most of my sadness has to do with the fact that I love this baby so much that it’s painful!
Babies and Sleeping
My baby seem to sleep between an hour to two at a time at night, though the first week he slept 30 minute to an hour and needed frequent feedings, and I would often fight my sleep while feeding, but since then he seemed to have gotten better with feeding and last longer at night.
I have his bassinet right next to my bed so I can hear him the best and pick him up when he’s hungry.
For the bassinet, I dress him in comfortable clothing, wrap him in a sleeping bag and lay his legs at the end of the bassinet. He is always laid on his back and there is never anything else in there, such as pillows or blankets. I am terrified of anything potentially smothering him.
Sleeping Bags are so absolutely useful. It seems that my baby fidgets a lot and loves to move his arms and legs, and sometimes he wakes himself up and even scratches himself. I find that when I wrap a sleeping bag around him and has his hands tucked in, he falls asleep for longer periods of time. He also tends to fall back asleep if he wakes up. I find that sleeping bag works almost the same as swaddling, but much easier because swaddle blankets often fall apart.
To get enough sleep, I recommend preparing yourself to go to bed as early in the night as possible. I used to sleep around 11:30, now I go to bed and get ready to sleep at 8pm, because he often wakes up 4-5 times in the night for 30 minutes to an hour at a time, so I need to be sure I get more hours of sleep. I also try and wake up late as I can, such as around 10am. Try and keep your bed a nice, comfy place to sleep, darken the room if possible. Have your phone with you so you can read up stuff when your baby is feeding. I love to use this extra time to educate myself on babies.
Ironically, my baby doesn’t mind when the nappy is wet or dirty but gets grumpy when I change him, so sometimes I try and change him in the middle of a feed, so that even if he gets fussy afterwards, I can still feed him and hopefully send him off to sleep.
I tend to use reusable/cloth nappies because I really don’t want to spend an extra $4000 a year on disposables, think of all the amazing things I can buy him with that money, like cute clothes, books and such.
What I like to do is have a pilcher (waterproof shell) as the outer layer, with either a booster or towel folded in a long rectangle, with a thin layer of liner, which keeps the big chunky parts of the poo out. I usually use the pilcher if it’s not wet, but wash the towel each time. The towel goes in NapiSan for a day and then gets washed in the washing machine.
Other things I always use are tissue to first wipe up any poo, then baby wipes to clean it up, then if he has some rash, I would apply a cream called Sudocrem, which works wonders!
When I first started to breastfeed, I was afraid I’d have no milk because my mother had difficulties with me and had to pump and top up with formula. She kept warning me that I’d probably have none, but I found that is not true for me. I find that milk supply seem to have more to do with well latching, if a baby can’t latch well, they literally can’t suck anything out and sometimes they get frustrated. If you get help from midwives and hospitals, they will give you a good idea what’s a proper latch. You will feel a continous pull on your nipple once they’ve latched. It will feel very different and unique! I also found massaging my breast helps a lot!
One thing that I really find useful which I just started to use is a breastfeeding pillow, I bought the My Brest Friend Feeding Pillow and it works great. It straps around me, helps me sit up straight, helps lay baby on the pillow so I don’t have to hold him, this gives me a chance to stroke his cute little head while he’s feeding and sometimes use the phone to read.
My baby has huge cluster feeding sessions, which ranges from the morning, afternoon or evening. He often needs to feed about 3 hours in a row, without really stopping. At that time, if I try and put him down, he’ll be pretty upset. I know he’s done when he falls asleep in the bassinet without waking up again.
Always drink water during feeding, as you get super thirsty! Also, keep some tissues and breast pads near because when you’re feeding with one, the other is most likely going to leak and if you’re not careful, it will make everything wet, including your baby’s clothes.
Take pregnancy multivitamins if you can, eat really healthy with lots of everything, I also like to take extra calcium and Vitamin D, magnesium, iron and Omega 3 supplements.
Be sure you buy dresses with buttons so you can unbutton them any time to feed your baby.
A midwife showed me how to bath a baby and the best way is to first undress them, use a wet cloth to wipe their face and clean it, then use a wet towel with some soap to wash their hair and dry it first before putting their little bodies in the water.
As for the water, always check the temperature with your elbow, be sure it’s comfortably warm, NOT hot!
Then, quickly put their body in the water, give it a wash and dry it as fast as you can. Be sure to keep their face out of the water.
Spending Time with Baby
I honestly try to spend as much time with my baby as I can, so if he’s awake and alert, I will definitely have him on me, I would talk to him, sit him upright on my legs and interact with him. I love his expressions and he seem to be taking everything in. He often does this “oooohh” face which he looks so very intrigued by what’s going on.
I love to hold my baby so much, sometimes I do it so much that I don’t even want to put him down, even after a feed. I just find that since I started to hold him heaps, he just seems so peaceful and calm. He doesn’t really cry, but then again, I always try and pick up on his early hunger cues as soon as I could. I just want my baby to know he can trust me, the thought of him feeling distressed just breaks my heart!
I swear that Lucas has just entered a growth spurt, because yesterday, he would not stop eating all day. If I tried to put him down, he would soon wriggle around and look really uncomfortable, sometimes a little red and start opening his mouth. Usually, he’s quite happy to take a few naps, and I have been reading up on growth spurts, apparently newborns should get one around 7-10 days old, and guess what? He is just 10 days old today.
Though he was born a week and 2 days early, I don’t know if it would affect his growth spurt days.
So he wanted nothing but to feed nearly all day, and all night. It was more challenging at night because he also got fussier and sometimes, I can tell he wants his milk right now, and because he has a little trouble latching, he gets so frustrated that he starts to whimper and thrash his hands around (OMG he has sharp nails I can tell ya) and even refuses the breast. What I have done is tried to calm him a little, sometimes he may get frustrated and refuse, but fall asleep and then forget about it and happily eat. I also try to switch sides. Sometimes, I try to hold his hands down a little and push the nipple in his mouth really quick as he’s opening it, and it has worked quite well. I also looked up a lot of videos on how to get baby latch and I think they have helped too.
I actually fell asleep with him on me last night, though I still get very nervous about that happening.
My sleep has been pretty good despite that he has been wanting to feed a lot, because I take every minute I can. I also sleep in through the morning sometimes even till 10:00am so I can catch up on rest and it has helped tremendously. I’m so proud of my baby for growing, I just want him to be as comfortable as he can be, and know that he can trust me to be there when he needs to eat or anything else.
When I thought my anxiety levels would decrease after giving birth, I don’t know what the heck I was thinking. How naive was I. My anxiety about how he’s doing, his overall health and well-being, has skyrocket to a level that I cannot even measure. Some days, I feel that it’s so difficult to cope. It’s not just stress, it’s this really strange sad feeling that comes around 5pm, lasts through the night and usually gets a little better before 9pm.
The feeling is so intense, it’s like I am going to lose him, or fearing I might. The physical symptoms so far is that it makes me very teary and nauseous in that, I don’t remember feeling like this since I was a little child and my grandfather had to leave me, as we were so close but had to move to another city to go to school.
Perhaps I’m already starting to feel separation anxiety with Lucas, I just miss him. I can’t explain it, like when he’s sleeping, I really do miss him. Not only that, I am constantly worried if I’m doing something to hurt him, or if he’s content. It’s hard because babies at this age don’t show positive emotions in a conscious way, so I’m always afraid I might be doing something wrong. The amount of anxiety I feel about him is incredibly huge!
I just know that if I do anything that lets him cry in any kind of distress, I would feel absolutely awful! I want to say that I have NEVER felt that babies crying is annoying or disruptive or anything like that. It’s just if I hear him cry, especially in pain, I literally feel like it’s ripping me apart. I have to do everything I can to make him feel safe and loved, even if he doesn’t really understand these things yet, or even really know who I am. I just want to attend to his every signal, to make sure he doesn’t get distressed.
As each day goes by and seeing that he’s happy and well in the mornings, I am starting to feel a little more relief by the day, but I think my worry for him will never really go away, even when he’s all grown up!
It’s funny that even though I practically spend all day and night with him, I still find it hard to really give him to someone else to care for. I don’t mind when friends and family hold him while I’m there, but I don’t think I could ever just leave him in someone else’s care for a few hours while I do something. I would just be too worried about him, if he was hungry, wanted a cuddle or was the people looking after him also know about his early hunger cues?
Another thing I can’t stop doing is all these very horrific visions cross my mind, like what if I dropped him. What if I slipped and he fell out of my hand. The visions scare me so very much! I just have to look at his tiny little fingers and toes to get those visions.
Last night, I did something that I just couldn’t believe I did, I got so angry at myself! I accidentally dropped my iPhone on the side of his neck, and I completely freaked. I just kept hoping that no damage was made, the iPhone was not dropped from a high distance, thank God, and he didn’t even cry, but man, I felt so very bad. But, it’s been a day and he is completely fine, so I’ve started to regain my cool!