Scary stories from a lovely place
Tuesday was Silas’ half birthday – 6 months ago that he was born. On the one hand it’s gone quickly, but it also feels like I can’t really remember what life was like before I had Silas. I think that’s because it’s been so all-consuming, and that’s not an exaggeration or melodrama. Looking after a baby really is all I do. There are definitely other things here and there – helping at church, hanging out with friends, reading, knitting, swimming, blogging – but it’s usually all done with Silas somewhere close by, or at least on my mind.
In the spirit of retrospect on the last 6 months of Silas’ take-over here’s a list of things I’m glad I did and other things I wish I had done differently.
Taking it as it comes – As with my pregnancy I’ve tried to be calm and cool about the whole thing. I’ve been happy to be in the dark about most things – ignorance is bliss. Because of the difficulties of the last couple of weeks I’ve wondered if this has been to my detriment, but who knows. I’ve read bits of books but haven’t tried to subscribe to any one particular methodology or routine.
Not caring what people think – (I’ve only succeeded in this to varying degrees.) Whether it be breastfeeding in public, the way I carry Silas, decisions about returning to work or sleeping or how he behaves I have tried to have confidence in mine and Stephen’s decisions regardless of the reactions of others. One night we were at a friend’s party and some other guests urged me to put Silas to sleep in one of the rooms. I didn’t want to because he was still very tiny and I wouldn’t be able to hear him if he needed me. I decided to just hold him as he slept and as I talked to people but they told me I was spoiling him. I replied that I just really liked him, so wanted to hold him. It’s true, he’s cool.
Breastfeeding – Regardless of how much stuff I’ve read on the internet or in reputable books there are two voices about feeding a baby. One says breastfeeding is definitely best, the other which says it is no superior to formula feeding. I don’t know the science of it all, but I think nature dictates that breastfeeding is best. (However some people do have real difficulties with milk supply or simply can’t do it). Before Silas was born a friend encouraged me that breastfeeding required a lot of persistence. It hasn’t always been super easy for me. I’ve always had enough milk (although in the last 3 months my supply has regulated, so therefore no extra, and in the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling that my supply is dwindling – worrying), and I didn’t have too much trouble at the beginning. It took me about 2 weeks to get it working properly. In August Silas had oral thrush for 2 weeks which meant that feeding him involved a lot of screaming on his part, and internally on mine. I had to feed him with expressed milk from a bottle for most of that time. And I’m really struggling with it at the moment. But my friend’s urges to persist have stuck with me and that is what I have sought to do. Persist. Persist. Persist.
More time to recover – I wish I had given myself more time to get back to normal. It took me 3 months to feel like I knew what I was doing with Silas and a good 4 months before I felt like myself physically. That’s a long time! I wish I had not tried to do so much at the beginning. I should have not rushed back into work or helping at church, or initiating things with friends or doing all the cooking, housework and gardening. It’s only in the last few weeks I’ve let some of that stuff slide. The tiredness has caught up with me and I’m leaving more things to chance than I have allowed myself to up until now.
More sleep – Oh how I wish I had slept more. How I wish that for the 27 years before I had a baby I had appreciated what it meant to have a night of unbroken, uninterrupted sleep. While I was pregnant people told me a lot to appreciate the sleep and get lots of it. I couldn’t understand what they meant because I hadn’t yet experienced dire lack of it. That is the main thing I would do differently – except I can’t because next time I am pregnant I will already have a child and already have sleep debt. I also would have slept more at the beginning. When Silas was younger he slept a lot during the day and I used that time to cook, read, knit, catch up on work – anything I thought I needed to do. One day I remember washing all the windows inside and outside while he slept – madness.
I’m actually surprised there aren’t more regrets. Silas is just a very pleasant guy.