Wednesday, October 03, 2012

At Home With Lydia

The first few weeks home with Lydia have been both wonderful and challenging. Today Lydia is 6 weeks and 6 days old.

Feeding Lydia
The first week we were still on the NICU feeding schedule - every 3 hours at 5:30, 8:30, 11:30, and 2:30 (am and pm). Chip would take the 5:30 am, sometimes 5:30 pm, and 8:30 pm feedings. She was eating 50 mL by bottle, or she would nurse and I would supplement with a 20 mL bottle because she still was not a strong nurser. She would get tired before she got full. That started to become old very quickly because each time I fed her I would nurse her, warm a bottle, and pump breast milk. Yuck.

Recently she started finishing her 50 mL bottles really quickly, so we increased her to 60+ mL (about 2 ounces). She also started nursing longer and better, so I stopped offering her a bottle after she nurses. That means I don't have to heat and feed her a bottle after nursing, but now when I nurse she's hungry again after 2 or 2.5 hours instead of 3. I've thought about adding back the supplemental bottle at night so I can get a little more sleep, but I am worried that she will continue not to nurse well if she knows she's going to get a bottle at the end. Since milk flows from the bottle easier, it is less work for her to eat from the bottle.

In a way it is a relief to not be on such a strict feeding schedule. When I say she was on the schedule, I mean that fairly loosely. There were times when she was hungry before the three hour mark, and I would get so frustrated because she was not sticking to the "schedule". What I came to realize is that Lydia was not the source of my frustration! The schedule was!

Now that we are off the schedule things are going more smoothly. I'm learning to go with the flow and not try to structure my day so strictly. That's a good parenting lesson for me to learn since I tend to want to plan out everything.


Lydia is a great little sleeper... all day long. I've got to work on this! She loves sleeping in her swing during the day, and I have been letting her because I can get stuff done while she sleeps. But, this means that she doesn't sleep well and is fussy at night. Sometimes all night which is awful. Another thing that I've come to realize... with a new baby, there is really no such thing as getting stuff done. Between feeding, pumping, changing diapers, and doing dirty baby laundry (and sleeping, eating, showering, and making myself look halfway decent each day) I've got maybe an hour of free time. Two hours if Chip takes the evening feedings. For some reason I thought I would have a ton of free time during maternity leave. Ha! How naive I was!
Other than eating and sleeping, Lydia still doesn't do much. She still isn't even supposed to be born yet! Her due date is Friday, October 5.

We have noticed that her gaze at our faces has been more sustained over the past few days. I think she is finally actually seeing and recognizing us and not just looking at our shapes. Give that, in those hours of immense free time that I have I am working on a Munari-like black and white mobile for Lydia's changing table. I've also printed out some black and white images for her to look at during her tummy time and awake time. High contrast images are easier for newborn babies to focus on, so they stay more interested in them.

I have some awesome photos on my camera but I am on the iPad now... When is someone going to make a digital camera that is iCloud compatible? I feel like my camera holds my photos hostage. More photos to come, I swear!


Alison said...

I'm so glad to hear she's home with you now. It's been 30 years since my son was an infant, so feel free to take anything I have to say with a grain of salt. But just about every mother thinks that she will have free time. It's a shock to discover how much hard work mothering an infant is! So don't feel bad that you thought the same thing.

I bet you were also thinking that something was wrong with HER because she wasn't sticking to the schedule. It was a great insight to realize that it was the schedule that was wrong. Not every baby is the same, some babies love a schedule and some don't. Another thing you have to remember is that every week they change. Just when you think you have things down pat, they grow and develop, and you have to start all over again.

She'll start being awake more and more soon, during the day. Wait till that first smile, when she's figured out how to focus on your faces, and interact with you by imitating your smile. What a treasure she is!

sm2 said...

She's so beautiful and is filling out so nicely! Motherhood is full of fun surprises! You are doing a great job and you and Lydia will figure out what works best! I can't wait to love on her again!