Monday, January 30, 2012
Depending on what your routine/schedule looks like and how old your baby is, you could have anywhere from 1 to 4 night feedings. Getting up in the night to feed was really hard on me. It felt like right when I got back to sleep, Duke was crying and ready to eat again.
(P.S. It's considered a 'night feeding' when it's between 11:30ish-6:00ish.)
It's amazing how crazy we can be when we don't receive a 6-8 stretch of sleep at night. I'm not proud of a lot of the things I said or did or how I acted during those first few weeks of sleep deprivation. However, I know I'm not alone. I know I wasn't 'wrong' in feeling/doing/saying any of it, but they weren't my best moments.
Now, for those of you that are getting ready to have babies, don't worry! There is hope and there is an end to this! And, hey, maybe some of you moms out there loved your night feedings. There are some sweet ones that I'll never forget, but mostly, I wanted them to stop. I'm not telling you all of this to discourage, but rather to prepare. Get your tough skin on, tell yourself you can do it, and before you know it, it'll be over.
Surviving. This is the key. You just have to survive the whole get-up-in-the-night-and-feed thing and eventually, you won't have to do it. I was done with night feedings around 6-7 weeks (thanks to Babywise). If I would've known that I'd be done with them by then, I think it would've helped my outlook. So, how does one survive this? Here's what worked for me:
1. Music - I played Jewel's Lullaby album, but any kind of music would have worked. I just couldn't sit there in silence. And it was also sweet to sing along to Duke sometimes.
2. Water - If you're breastfeeding, you'll most likely get thirsty when you feed.
3. Crackers - There was usually a package of crackers sitting in Duke's nursery by the chair where I fed. It could be granola bars, nuts, whatever you want.
4. Chair and Ottoman - Obviously, you need a chair to sit in. Mine was not a really 'rocking chair,' but it swiveled and kind of rocked, so it worked just fine. Putting my feet up on an ottoman made it so much more relaxing.
5. Blanket - Always nice to have. You can pretend you're still in bed sleeping, right?
6. Pillows - My chair didn't offer too much support for my arms and it gets really old if you're having to hold your arms up to feed.
7. iPhone - There. I said it. Maybe I get the 'Bad Mom of the Year' award, but there were times I desperately needed to be distracted. I wasn't on it all the time. I still looked down at my precious boy and soaked in those little hands and feet and eyes. I still stroked his soft face and talked to him. But some nights were harder than others. On those nights, I'd whip out the phone. To each his own.
This is just a side note, but I never really liked feeding Duke in our bed. I had heard it would be nice in the beginning for Colt to go get Duke and bring him to me to feed. (If you have a C-section, this would be a must.) We tried it a few times, but it just wasn't my preference. Why? 1 - Duke spits up a lot so if I didn't catch it all, it'd end up on our bed. Not fun. 2 - Colt wouldn't sleep well. Looking back I can say that ONE of you has to be rested. ONE of you has to feel normal and rational. If we were both as sleep-deprived as I was, those first weeks would have been so much worse. 3 - Our bed is our place. I think there needs to be one place where it can just be you and your husband only ... no baby. Of course, these are just my opinions and what I prefer.
In summary, wherever you feed, you want it to be a place that is calm, comfortable, and has what you need to stay awake. Although you'll most likely be counting down the minutes until these feedings are over, you'll definitely end up with a few night feedings that will stick with you. :)