It's been a bit crazy around here for the past couple of weeks. John has described it much more cleverly than I could with my stressed and tired mind. But, let's just say that Thea has been exceptionally fussy. So fussy that it's sometimes all I can do to keep it together until John comes home to give me a break. Thank goodness my mother is close by and has been coming over to give me a little break.
Basically, Thea is fussy from the time we get up in the morning until we go to bed at night. When I say fussy, I mean crying frantically or outright screaming.
Thankfully, she is sleeping well at night - going 3 to 4 hours between feedings (measured from the start of the feedings). Which means that by the time I finish feeding her and pumping, I can usually get about 2 to 2 1/2 hours of sleep at a time. Which feels like heaven. Really.
We've worked out a little bit of a nighttime routine. I'll wake up when Thea wakes up. After I feed her, I'll wake John up so he can hold her while I pump. Usually, he can then just hand her off to me when I get back in bed, and I'll snuggle her in next to me for our next stretch of sleep. It's not exactly ideal, but it seems to work for now. For a while, I felt awful waking John up to help me in the middle of the night, but I really need as much rest as I can get to be able to take care of Thea during the day.
Before, it would take me about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours to feed her, settle her down so I could pump, pump, clean up pumping equipment for the next round, and settle her again to sleep.
If you noticed the word "pump" quite a bit in the last sentence, there's no mistake. Honestly, I feel like all I'm doing is nursing Thea and pumping. I've been pumping pretty much every three hours since she was born. Six weeks of pumping every three hours.
We're currently working hard to get Thea away from nursing with a nipple shield (This was introduced to us by the lactation consultant at the hospital, since Thea was not really able to latch on very well at all at first. We've continued using the shield under the supervision of another lactation consultant, who thought it would allow us to continue to try breastfeeding while Thea's suck got a little stronger). It's been a bit of a rough transition for us, and we've been at it for a few weeks. This weekend, she has started to latch on her own much more effectively, but I'm really struggling with the balance of feeding her and pumping, since her nursing on her own has a different rhythm than using the shield. (The lactation consultant has advised that I should continue pumping until she is latching well on her own and then cut out pumping sessions slowly. It's my understanding that this is to protect my milk supply from dwindling).
So, after a rough couple of weeks, I feel like we're making progress. Part of this is that we finally figured out how to get Thea into our Moby wrap. Once she is in, she settles down immediately, and it has made the days so much more manageable. The wrap has worked miracles. Seriously.
Even John has tried it out (I haven't uploaded those photos yet).
I'm actually looking forward to the week ahead. I feel like it will be so much more manageable now that I can get her to settle down. And I'm really looking forward to being able to get a few things done.
(The Moby wrap was actually a gift, but we have no idea who sent it. There was no packing slip and I threw away the packaging too soon. If you were the lovely soul who gifted us with this wrap, please drop me a line to let us know. You have a great deal of gratitude coming your way).
Off to nurse...