Francis John Wyburd: Baby's Corner
This was the third week of G's life. My midwife calls the first week the week to TAKE IN. That is the week when I stay in my room and let others take care of everything outside those walls. I take care of myself and the baby (which is a lot, after all!). The second week she calls the week to TAKE HOLD. It's a week to come out of the bedroom and do a few things, but also a week to take it easy and continue the work of healing, resting, and nursing. The third week is the week to TAKE OVER. When I've finished the first two weeks' work of healing, resting and learning my new baby, it's time to take my place again in the home. This is when our "baby vacation" is over (not so many movies and sweet treats and time with Daddy!), and we realize that life looks different than it did three weeks ago and the pace is altered, but it is good.
Our third week started with a trip to the lactation consultant. I was still very sore and nursing was more painful than I expected it to be at that point. My friends and I (who have ALL experienced pain when nursing) know to give a good two weeks for the adjustment to nursing. I know to expect discomfort (yes, even pain!), but believed that at two weeks in we should be well on a path of nursing bliss (ha!). Here I was at the two week point, however, and feeling pretty miserable. There were feedings that were excruciating and evenings when I cried in our room for hours as I nursed and consoled a fussy baby.
In addition to my own pain, I was concerned for G, who didn't seem to be as content as he was the first week and didn't look to be putting on weight. He had a pattern of eating, sleeping, and crying that didn't include wakeful content time. Still, I knew to watch for wet and soiled diapers and he did have those. He was also giving me some longer night stretches (4-5 hours) that were most welcome. I wondered if he was not getting all he needed.
We went to the home of a wonderful lady who has been helping nursing mothers for over 25 years. To my dismay, G only weighed 6 pounds and 12 ounces (nearly a pound lighter than his birth weight). She corrected G's latch, gave me soothing hydrogels (so wonderful!), and sent me home with a list of suggestions and the encouragement I desperately needed.
Our third week, then, was nursing intensive. I focused on drinking lots of water (which I try to do anyway... but know I fall short when I'm nursing and busy around the home). I took the Motherlove nursing supplements that a kind friend had given me months ago. I tried to rest. We watched more movies. I tried to get G latched correctly and also nursed frequently (sometimes it felt nonstop!).
We are borrowing a gliding rocker from our dear friends. The little armchair from our room is being upholstered and our friends lent us their chair, knowing how helpful it would be for nursing. The chair sits by our bed and by the windows in our room. It's my "baby's corner." I've spent hours there over the past few weeks. . . praying, watching leaves fall, talking to G, nursing and nursing, dozing, thinking, listening. It's become a sweet place. That's why I like Francis Wyburd's painting (above). There is a tenderness revealed in the work of raising babies. . . beds to make, babes to dress and pray over, little needs to meet. And yet such sweetness!
So we nursed through the third week (and it didn't feel sweet to me) and we will meet with the lactation consultant again to find out if we've successfully increased our supply and G's weight.