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Not My First Rodeo

The infant stage is not easy. Having two kids is not easy. Being at the edge of baby blues/PPD is not easy. But Londo recently pointed out that I'm actually handling the Pookie's infant stage better than I did with the Pumpkin.

With the first one, I understood what was involved with having an infant... in theory. In actuality, the first child has thrown everyone I know for a loop--especially if it is a high-needs child like the Pumpkin was (and is). I clearly remember at the end of the first two weeks, during which Londo or I had to hold the Pumpkin all day and all night, I cried to both my sister and my sister-in-law and begged them to tell me when it would get better. My SIL said it gets better at about 3 months. I think I died a little. My sister said that it does get slightly better after the 6-8 week period, but that SIL was right and it really gets better after 3 months.

I didn't know what I was doing, and that lovely daughter of mine was especially needy. I didn't know what was normal and what wasn't. I didn't know how much to feed the child ("on demand" does not provide any quantitative answer, which I thought I needed) or how often.

So I recorded everything. I had a little log book in which I wrote down the time I feed her, which side and how long on each side, in addition to other details I thought might be important, like when she was super fussy or when she would sleep and for how long. I was seriously obsessed with it all.

With the Pookie? I totally get "on demand" and that's what I do. I don't bother to write anything down or worry about how much he is getting or even which side he fed on last. I'm not worried about his sleeping or his fussies or how often he's pooping. I'm not obsessed with tracking any of it. I know that he is normal, that the breastfeeding is going well and that we are doing just fine getting through these tough early weeks.

I also don't second guess things like keeping the Pookie next to me in bed when he's nursing all night (insteading of trying to stay awake to put him back in the cosleeper a few inches away). I don't worry about having a cup of coffee a day (although I'm not ready to also have an afternoon cup).

Most shockingly to myself, I don't usually freak out when he cries, even when he works up to that fire-engine-siren cry that means he's REALLY upset. When the Pumpkin would start fussing and working up to crying, I would feel this overwhelming need to grab her to me and comfort her and nurse her, even if it meant ripping her out of the arms of her very loving father. With the Pookie? It's like I have a delayed response or something to his cries and am willing to wait and see if he will settle down or can be calmed by someone else. At least until a certain point when I know nothing but nursing will calm him--and even then I don't drop everything to stick him to my breast, but finish what I'm doing and settle into a spot to nurse him.

I think this last thing is not just because I've been through the infant stage before, but also due to the different temperaments of children. The Pumpkin would go SO quickly from a little fussy to crazy upset (we called it "screaming bloody murder" and made all sorts of jokes about the bloody murder she was yelling about to keep our sanity) and take forever to calm down. The Pookie doesn't seem to get as upset (he's only once yelled about the murder which was bloody) and is generally easily soothed.

So we can all make it to and through the 6-8 week period, and then on through past the 3 month period. I will be back to work just before he turns 3 months old, and things should get easier all around by then. And right now? He's asleep in the swing, looking peaceful and letting me shower and write a blog post. We can do this. And before we know it, he'll be 2 and playing so cutely and even sleeping through the night on occasion (like the Pumpkin did last night, woo hoo!).


Cloud said…
I had a little log book, too! I think part of the reason for that was that everyone at the hospital and the home visit nurse just didn't seem to believe me when I said I fed Pumpkin on demand. She took the full two weeks to regain her birth weight, and I swear some of those people thought I was doing some sort of Baby Wise number on her or something. So I had a log book to show them. I remember feeling like yelling at the home visit nurse in particular: "yes, people, I get it! I feed her when she's hungry! Which is almost all the time!"

BTW, I've kept the log book. I used the same Moleskine journal for 1st pregnancy, Pumpkin's log, her doctor's visits, some random notes I made about what I liked and didn't like about each stage, etc. And now I'm using the same book for the second pregnancy.

I'm glad things are easier the second time around. I hope they are for us, too.

And a big high five to the Pumpkin for sleeping through the night!
It sounds like you are doing really great! I am glad to hear it.

Also so glad to hear the differences between one and two.... you know in case someday I go crazy and decide to have another one... and I am totally kidding... most of the time I really do want another one :)

I do think after two years of a high needs kid you have a better sense of urgency of when to rush and when to let go and more faith in both you and your husband! so good to hear.
"My SIL said it gets better at about 3 months. I think I died a little."

Oh, that was me! And the log book? I did that, too, although I abandoned it (and threw it away) after a week or two.

@Cloud - Le Petit also took a while to gain back his birth weight, too, and that's when the nurses started pushing formula. I'm glad I trusted my instincts on that one (and am grateful to both my mother-in-law and my best friend for backing me up.)

Sounds like you're doing a great job, Caramama!
Karen said…
I think there's a little more confidence when you have your second - you've been there and done that and it feels easier. Plus Pookie IS so much easier. I'm so happy for you guys.
meggiemoo said…
We're having parallel experiences...I feel far less anxious about my DD than I did my high-needs DS. Someone told me that 1st children often seem harder because they pick up on our anxieties so much. Altho my son *was* a terrible sleeper and couldn't be put down, I'm sure my terrible anxiety about it only made it worse.

That's why, altho 2 are really tough, it's nice to see that we can produce a child who actually sleeps, and will accept being held by someone other than me!
Anonymous said…
Sounds like things are going really well and that's good to hear.
Don Mills Diva said…
I'm sorry I have been away for so long I haven't even said congratulations!

I'm glad to hear you're handling everything ok - despite the blues.
Shellie said…
It's nice to have a less needy child and have experience under your belt. I think my second was the easiest baby too. Then he started walking.... but life was cool when he was little.:)

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