Being a new Mum, whether it’s your 1st child or 2nd (or 3rd or 4th I’m sure) carries with it such a freaky rollercoaster of emotions. Sometimes I just want to scream “LET ME OFFFF” and sometimes I just cling on white knuckled for the ride and laugh hysterically. Our old friends ‘sleep deprivation’ and ‘hormonal surges’ only magnify all these feelings and emotions (thanks a lot guys) and can make you wonder if you are in fact, teetering on the side of cray cray!
This morning was a rough one… I’ve been struggling with my milk supply and have been pumping after every feed around the clock like mad milk machine banshee for the last month to try and boost volume…
About 1 night a fortnight (who am I kidding, 1 night a week is far more accurate) I am so tired that I fall asleep whilst feeding the baby and miss the whole pump section of the rigmarole. Then I wake up feeling pangs of guilt about the HUGELY MASSIVE 20ml I missed from the lost opportunity. God forbid I catch up on some much needed sleep – which actually helps with milk production. All I can think about is that tangible extra 20ml of milk that would look so damn good in the bottle and would surely make the world of difference to my babies weekly weight gain! Last night was one of those nights.
I woke up this morning and looked forlornly at my manual pumping bottle desperately missing that 20ml and feeling overwhelmed with mother guilt, when my rambunctious 3 year old came bounding into the bedroom in her usual style… “Good morning Mum!” “Good morning sweetheart”… and up she climbed to begin her ritual of harassing the baby with intense love (and jealousy, knowing that if she pushes on his fontanelle hard enough she’ll get the reaction and attention from me that she’s craving).
Her beautifully clumsy little body was awkwardly navigating my legs in an attempt to get as physically close as is humanly possible to the babies cheek which was nuzzled into my breast. She paused for a moment and looked up at me with her big, inquisitive eyes.
“Mum! I can see white hairs on your head, white and brown hairs!”
I muffled a laugh (I’m at one with my greys) when all of a sudden one of her spazzy little legs kicked out and caught the edge of my manual breast pump bottle, which crashed to the floor. At least 10ml of my precious, precious expressed golden breast milk spilt out from around the seal of the bottle…
The milk that took me 20 minutes in the middle of the night to pump… the milk that ate into 20 minutes of my cherished sleep time… the milk that is so much more needed today because of the second middle-of-the-night-pump-session that was missed. I took a deep breath, tried not to scream and was suddenly distracted by a warm, wet sensation spreading across my leg. The babies nappy had leaked all over the doona, sheets, my pyjamas and leg, All because I fell asleep during the aforementioned dreaded 2nd middle-of-the-night missed feeding/nappy change/pumping session and hence didn’t actually change said nappy… DAMN NATIONS!
I screamed… internally… externally I (so calmly it was creepy) told my daughter to go get her Dad (who was outside enjoying the fresh morning air – how very dare he, when I am constantly chained to the shackles of the baby/pump/bed and bound by the constraints of the timer/alarm/clock!) because I NEED him.
My darling husband raced inside and I handed him the wet baby whilst ugly cry/hiccupping through tears “change the baby, he wet through, Lotus kicked over my milk and I need to pee!” and instead of going to the toilet like I should have, I started manically stripping the bed to get the wee sheets into the washing machine because “how on earth am I going to find the time during the day to put a load of laundry on between all the pumping and feeding I’m doing?!”
Meanwhile, my 3yo was in her bed screaming hysterically. She’s yet to find her groove with the new addition (understandably) and despite my best attempts to make daily one on one time with her, she’s still really struggling. I chucked the bedding at the backdoor and crawled into bed with her. We both cried and I explained to her that I was sorry I got cross about her accidentally kicking over the milk (my precious, precious golden milk). I told her I love her very much. We cuddled a bit longer, then I pried myself from her vice like grip (they’re so much stronger than they look!) and finally made it to the toilet for my morning pee- which was no where near as enjoyable as it could have been with the 3yo’s screams that I ‘shouldn’t have left her ALL ALONE in her bedroom’ echoing through the house.
My husband cut up some fruit for the 3yo and I, made me a coffee and a ‘nursing tea’, handed me a lactation cookie, then sat down to finger feed the baby my expressed milk while I attached myself to the pump… again.
Looking at my little family on the couch I all of a sudden became overwhelmed with epically large rushes of love… (oxytocin and coffee will do that to you). I started crying all over again, but this time quietly to myself, and happy tears. Would I have looked awkward and creepy to an outsider? Sure… but I was loving every minute of it.
I know I’m going to look back in a matter of months (or years) at this time of my life (where I wonder weekly if I’m possibly bipolar ;P) and laugh.
It’s the highs and lows of new motherhood. We’re all adjusting and as hard as it is, it’s still a magical time. I may wonder why I pushed so hard to feed my baby breast milk, but for the moment it’s a maternal instinct that is so strong in me I can’t fight it. I had the same supply issues with my daughter and pushed myself to the brink of my sanity to breastfeed her. When I was pregnant with this miniature human I said I wouldn’t push so hard again… yet here I am. This time it’s easier. I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it won’t be like this forever. I am able to relish the highs a lot more and release the lows a smidgen quicker.
So for now, I sit back with my head full of white and brown hair, laugh at my manic behavior and ride this epic wave of new motherhood (2nd time around). I try not to take myself too seriously and am thankful for my husband who, at this moment in our life, is the only sane one under this roof!