Saturday, October 20, 2012

In Appreciation of Nursing Mothers

Last night was the first time I've done any overnight feeding for the baby.  The bottle thing has been working out just fine, but since milk production sleeps for no woman, Tori has been getting up for all the overnight eating sessions.

I usually defer to Tori for the nightly plan of who's getting baby duty first, but lately she's just been doing most of the night time stuff, and I'll get up around 5:30 or 6:00...not a bad gig, really, and not all that different from when I used to teach so far from home, except that instead of driving 70 miles, I make coffee and drink it from a mug without a lid (one of my favorite simple pleasures in life).

Last night, though, I did my usual deference, and she said it would be most helpful if she could make us a bottle and go to bed, let me do one round of feeding, and then swap out the next time.  So we went for it.  Fiona and I went to sleep on the couch, baby-on-chest, around 10:30, and woke up to eat again around 1:00am.

Man, that sucks.

I don't gain full alertness quickly when I wake up.  Incidentally, that appears to be a trait I passed on, as evidenced by the myriad strange faces, sounds, hand positions, and stretches Fiona does when she wakes up:

I'd prepared for this, though, and tried to simplify the process by having the bottle right next to us.  It turned out it's not so easy.

1) Reposition self and baby. Use pillow to prop baby in case you fall asleep again.
2) Insert bottle.
3) Watch baby flail arms, hitting self in face repeatedly.  Try to block arms from knocking bottle out of mouth.
4) Baby gets pissed when bottle gets knocked out by baby's own doing.
5) Change baby when she starts falling asleep, but hasn't eaten enough yet.
6) Rinse (in milk, because baby is both drooling and mashing on the end of the bottle), repeat.

This whole process took about 30 minutes, though it felt like eternity.  I'd just gotten deep enough into sleep that it was really hard to get back out, and kept dropping the bottle.  When I changed her, I mis-snapped most of her outfit, leaving a foot dangling out and the top half open (not that I ever realized this; Tori saw and laughed at me when we changed the guard).

Anyway, through all of this I realized two things:

1) Tori has been doing this several times a night since Fiona was born.  That makes her much more awesome than I am, and than I realized.  She doesn't even miss snaps at night.

From what I hear, even when babies start sleeping all night, nursing moms still often get up to pump in the middle of the night.  I suppose that comes without the flailing and all, but it's still breaking up your sleep.  Now that I've done it once, my hat's off to you.  I'll probably keep doing it, but the second realization I had was:

2) We need her to sleep all the way through the night, and soon!

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