Wow, it’s been almost 48 hours since there’s been a fresh picture of Louisette. Better remedy that, stat!
Breastfeeding is continuing to improve, and I have the pulsating breasts to prove it (and now you know what having milk come in feels like). The midwife advised me to cut down on formula and “see what happens” (ie signs of hunger, signs of dehydration – that is, less wet nappies – and so on). Since her birth I’ve been keeping extremely careful records of when she feeds (and how long), all her nappies (and what. . . er, type of nappy), and when she’s particularly tired or genuinely awake (and if it’s grumpy or happy wakefulness). She has about seven feeds a day, and it used to be a breastfeed followed by a bottle. More and more of her feeds are breast only now (it is VERY clear when she is still hungry), and there is a clear pattern of one less bottle each day (smaller bottles, too). At this rate, she will be on breastmilk alone within three days! She was weighed on Monday and had gained 200 grams, which clearly indicated she is flourishing, not starving.
Eeeexcellent. . .
On the other hand, she had eleven feeds yesterday – so, not so good. Being used to a bottle, she often doesn’t have the concentration to do a full feed.
My note-taking has really come into its own over the past few days. I can actually see a fairly clear routine developing naturally among the 3/4-hourly feeds.
Louisette wakes up around 8 or 9 at night and is generally a bit grumpy for anywhere between half an hour and four hours (at which point I’m at my grumpiest, so I sleep while CJ looks after her – or if she’s asleep, we watch some TV). She has a couple of big feeds around midnight, then sleeps for a solid 4 or 5 hours (I base my life around those 4 or 5 hours, as you can imagine). She sleeps pretty well most of the morning (ditto, between feeds), then wakes up for a similar period of time in the afternoon, feeding three or four times in quick succession (I’m pretty awake and cheerful then, so I look after her a little). Then she sleeps deeply until about 6 or 7 (while I blog, shower, and maybe even run an errand – with or without her).
Ignoring the fact that she rarely opens her eyes, this routine roughly translates to a morning nap, an afternoon nap, and a single night-time feed. Of course it’s not as clear-cut as that description makes it sound.
She’s also developing her crying skills – the closest thing she currently has to a language. When she’s hungry, her cry is higher in pitch, like a squeak (accompanied by opening and closing her mouth like a fish, throwing her head from side to side, snorting, and kissing noises – it’s impossible to mistake her intentions). When she wants a nappy change, the rhythm of her cry is much quicker – four beats to a bar instead of two. Her bored/existentially depressed cry is the classic “Waagh! Waagh! Waagh!” that you expect from babies. And when she’s distressed it gets ragged.
She’s getting more facial expressions, and reacting in more complex ways to the world. She shows surprise, dislike, curiousity, and concern. I’m still very fond of her fart face and the oddly philosophical look she gets when trying to feed.
She is already able to turn on her side (by the power of sheer squirminess). At any moment the balance will tip and she’ll end up on her stomach, deeply startled.
One of the things I feel strongly about is that children – especially babies – shouldn’t be overstimulated. In babies it just frightens them. (I’m sure Louisette benefited from our careful rationing of visitors during the first two weeks.) I also think the most interesting thing in the world to a new baby (other than feeding time) is the faces of his/her parents. So when Louisette was awake, CJ and I spent plenty of time looking at her, and talking or singing. But yesterday I realised she was over us and needed more. So I grabbed “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” off our shelf and began to read. She LOVED it. I must have read it a dozen times. (And so it begins. . .)
I’m now able to drive quite comfortably, but it’s not wise for me to stand up for long, or walk very far, or exercise at all. It’s also not smart for me to lift anything heavier than Louisette – when I do, I feel muscles pulling ominously in my belly. But as long as I don’t do anythng stupid (like breastfeed eleven times in a day), I feel good.