Thursday, April 14, 2011

The calm phase

I think I can finally say that breastfeeding has reached a normal stage. Hooray! It only took about 3.5 months and a heck of a lot of pain and struggle, but we did it! I’ve been off the nifedipine for over a week now and while I still have some blanching of the nipples due to Raynaud’s, it’s not painful enough to do anything about it. I’ve stopped attending the weekly breastfeeding support group, and kind of miss it. I’ll probably drop in closer to the time I return to work to get some advice on pumping.
I am so very grateful to that hospital-sponsored group. It was a lifesaver to know that once per week, I could get some non-judgmental feedback, specific advice and support to continue on.

Now I can hold my baby as she suckles and focus on the increasing heft of her body, the brightness of her young eyes, the changing patterns of acne, eczema and scratches on her forehead, the softness of her cheeks and the precious movements of her little ivory hands. These are moments that I try to mentally photograph, videotape, put safely in storage.

Sleep seems to be going a little better. Though she still wakes up many times per night, I’ve gotten at least two three-hour chunks of sleep for the past two nights. Though it doesn’t seem like much, it makes a big difference.

We’ve got her sleeping in the swing, with the toy bar over her legs to secure her. She goes to sleep there and I return her there after the first few feedings. Somewhere around 5 a.m. she gets restless and I take her into bed with me to feed her while I lie on my side. Often we’ll both fall asleep for at least a little while.

This morning Mark came in to tell me he was leaving for work and that River was at the table eating breakfast. Willow lay against my chest. I looked down at her closed eyes and her softly rising chest, and realized we were sleeping in the exact same position. Both of us had both of our arms raised above our heads.

I know I have to get her out of our bed in order for us both to get better rest. But I must admit I do enjoy those first moments of gazing upon her in the mornings and enjoying her first smiles upon waking up and seeing me.

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