nothing a little sunshine, sleep, food and love can't fix
last weekend we had to have an intervention for my sister.
just a disclaimer, never let anyone tell you it's easy-breezy having a newborn. it is hard work, you're exhausted, you might even be recovering from some crazy physical trauma brought on by childbirth, you're starting to lose your grip on reality due to lack of sleep. not to mention you are tackling the often frustrating and mysterious process of breastfeeding. for me it was a bit easier because my baby is very mellow and good natured; she only cried when she was hungry and nursing went really well for us. plus she was a summer baby so we were able to get outdoors a lot and friends were over all the time visiting and holding her.
but in addie's case, things had been very very trying, and she was at the end of her rope.
so last saturday our friend rebecca went to pick addie up and bring her here for a few days. she brought fuel: ladies vitality mix trail mix, cheesy tortellini, fresh baked pastries. we set up camp for ade in our bedroom, heater on, bathroom close at hand, and piles of squishy pillows. bowls of snacks and iphone by her side.
we put her to bed and i took her baby to care for awhile.
darin and lucy and i set up our own nest in the living room for a couple nights, a big snuggle fest.
addie's baby, little Utah, had not been gaining weight and she's had low milk production. we figure this is due to many factors: insufficient sleep, poor appetite, stress and anxiety and fatigue and physical trauma. he would struggle and scream at her breast, over and over again, and lactation consultants and pediatricians were all telling her different stories, giving her conflicting advice. it didn't take much for us to figure out that he was simply starving!
so while she worked on getting herself back in working order, i acted as wet-nurse and took him to my own breast a few times over the weekend. this way we were able to let her sleep a good chunk after several days of almost no sleep. she would wake up and nurse him as long as he'd go, then i would help get him full and comfy and back to sleep. we had a very successful night...and look how much better she was feeling by morning:
the cousins who play together, stay together.
plus here in placerville we have all the family around to help out.
and best of all, we all got a healthy dose of vitamin d. the sun was shining all day sunday and we relaxed in the backyard.
so over here it's been a big baby nurse-in. we've had pumping going on, (eight year old sylvan said "it looks like addie's doing a very strange experiment in there" when he walked in and addie was modestly pumping both breasts in the kitchen) bottles warming in cups of hot water, burp cloths draped over chairs, babies in moses basket or swing or someone's arms. babies in pajamas, babies in baths, babies rolling over. little utah can already roll over and he is only four weeks old. he can hold his head up like a champ! he is the strongest little newborn i've ever seen. now that he is consistently getting full he can devote more energy to checking out the world around him, and he is a bright and beautiful little boy.
back at home for the past week, addie and her little family are much revived. things are still hard but she's learning about herself, her baby, and what they need to get through their days without total breakdowns :)
i am afraid my own sunshiney approach to new parenthood did not help her fully prepare for the realities of having a newborn in your life and becoming a new mama. if anyone has words of encouragement or advice for her, spill em here and i'll share them with her!