My husband and I have survived 4 weeks of parenting! Things have become more routine now, and as time has passed, WZW has been sleeping better at night and having less episodes of crying for no apparent reason. In other words, things have gotten better in this short period of time.
The sleep-deprivation has gotten more chronic, so the feeling is different than the first week, when I was run by adrenaline or something (probably more like the initial anxiety). My husband described me like a meerkat that first week, acting all hypervigilant. Now, there are times when I feel so tired that as soon as I’ve finished feeding WZW, I will crash and leave my husband to take care of the rest, even if WZW is still fussing and crying. Nothing will stand in the way of my sleep at that point, unless it’s time for WZW to breastfeed.
The breastfeeding is certainly a lot of work- every few hours, I’m immobilized for about half an hour to feed him. I also recently started trying out the pumping, since I want to gradually introduce the bottle to him, and also start storing up breastmilk for when I return to work. While my husband is limited by his lack of a lactating breast, he pulls his weight with WZW’s care and household duties. We’ve done well as a team, and though my parents are retired and live 30 minutes away, we haven’t needed their help on a regular basis.
I will probably need more of their help when my husband returns to work this week, but I’m glad we were able to establish our routine in this early stage as a couple, and for my husband to bond with WZW. Since I often hand WZW off to my husband between feeds, he is more in tune than I am about his body language, like when WZW is working on a little gift for us in his diaper. My husband is also super silly with WZW. I think it’s just his personality, and having a baby is an excuse to let it out in a manner that is socially acceptable. 🙂 Recently, WZW smiled for the first time in response to one of my husband’s antics (as opposed to him only smiling when half asleep). Those babies really know how to get us- just when we’re feeling weary of the sleepless nights, they throw us a bone with that sweet smile, and we’re left panting for more. The social smile is still not regular, but it was fun to get a glimpse of it.
We’ve been making an effort to get out of the house most days. Right after WZW is done breastfeeding, we’ll make a quick trip out to run errands, grab some food, etc. It helps to maintain our sanity, because otherwise it would feel like Groundhog Day- the movie with Bill Murray where he wakes up and relives the same day over and over again. With the constant breastfeeding (particularly the multiple nighttime feeds), diaper changes, and soothing, the days would otherwise all blur together and we would go insane feeling trapped in the house all day.
Now that I’m more chronically tired, I have to say my eating habits haven’t been the best. Yes, I do still eat our healthy crock pot meals, but I also tend to snack a lot. Especially in the middle of the night, I get really hungry after feeding WZW, so I’ll need to eat something before going back to sleep. Often that is a Kind bar, which we’ve bought boxes of at Costco (at least they’re the bars with only 5 grams of sugar). In general, when I’m tired it makes me want to eat more and eat the junk- my tired brain says bring on the ice cream and pizza!
We decided to try out Blue Apron. The service delivers all of the ingredients you need for the recipes you chose for the week. The meals do take prep time, but at least you don’t have to do any grocery shopping for the recipes, and you are given the exact amounts that you need. It’s nice to have my husband make these home-cooked meals, even if they aren’t Paleo. The other service we’re thinking of trying is Munchery, which has chef-cooked meals delivered to you. All you have to do is heat up the food.
Although we get out of the house briefly, we haven’t been getting much exercise. Particularly with the breastfeeding, which requires me to sit for longer periods at a time, I feel kinda gross not walking more like I did during the pregnancy. But with the fatigue as well as limitations with WZW’s feeding schedule, I haven’t been motivated quite yet to start doing anything regularly. One thing at a time.
It’s all so strange how much life has changed in the past month. I was trying to describe how I’m feeling to my husband, but it’s hard to put into words. You spend all this time during the pregnancy in anticipation of the baby’s arrival. During the pregnancy, you gradually prepare for the baby’s arrival, but it’s still nebulous since you don’t know what he looks like. You know the sleepless nights and breastfeeding will be tough, but you don’t quite know what it’s like until it happens.
Now that WZW is here, there’s an element of wonder and amazement that this is my life now- I am now living the life that I had anticipated for so long. I’m not saying it has fallen below or exceeded expectations. It’s just the realization that this is it.
It’s probably one of the biggest life changes I will ever experience. And now that he’s here, in a way it’s hard to imagine life without him. I guess that’s the nature of life- I know looking at bigger babies and older children that WZW will eventually get there, but I can’t quite picture it and what he will look like. And it’s funny how our friends who are parents of older babies look at WZW and say that they can’t believe their child used to be so small. Although parenting can be tough at times, seeing him grow up will be a fun process, especially because they develop and change so quickly.