I can’t believe it’s been one month with our sweet baby boy. David Joseph has already brought so much joy into our lives and our world completely revolves around him. The first month has been such a journey. It’s been filled with joy, fear, pride, fatigue, all the emotions!
Some of the hardest things have been breastfeeding, sleeping, and being in quarantine during this time of so many unknowns. DJ was a pretty sleepy feeder when we were in the hospital. I ended up having to pump and then we would feed him through a syringe before my milk came in.
Because we hadn’t established breastfeeding by the time we left the hospital, we had to wait to circumcise him. He was circumcised in an out patient procedure a week later. The doctor warned us that very rarely there can be a complication where the penis bleeds too much. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to our little man. After a series of interventions, they were finally able to stop the bleeding. The photo of me and DJ sleeping together is after we got home from that very long and scary day at the hospital.
Another challenge that breastfeeding brought us was mastitis. It took a while for my milk to come in but when it did, it was full force. The week after DJ’s circumcision, I woke up with a 102 degree fever, feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. I made the tough decision to take antibiotics to help me recover and I also started taking a probiotic that I’m planning to continue taking for as long as I’m breastfeeding. Mastitis added more steps to our already fairly elaborate feeding routine which now included, soaking my breasts, massaging them, feeding, pumping, then icing.
Now, DJ’s feeding much better but we’re still learning how to navigate my forceful let down of milk that makes feeding difficult for him and weening him from the nipple shield he’s currently using to help him latch. It’s hard to not be able to get out to see the lactation consultant for help but I keep reminding myself how far we’ve come and that we can figure this out!
I’m so thankful our challenges with circumcision and mastitis happened to us just before COVID-19 caused everyone to remain at home. If DJ wasn’t born one week early, those challenges would have been even more difficult for us.
That said, it’s been hard learning how to be a mom during this pandemic. I have such a great support system with Joe, my mom, and my sister all helping me but the fears and unknowns of being a new mama seem to be amplified given the state of the world right now.
Whew, now that all the hard stuff is out of the way, I want to make sure I talk about how precious and rewarding it is to care for this little human.
We’ve been able to get into a comfortable routine of feeding every three hours during the day and every 4 hours at night. Although we’re not on a strict schedule, our nighttime feeds usually start at 8pm right before we go to bed. Then DJ wakes up around 12am and 4am to feed. Thankfully, Joe is still able to work under the Safer-At-Home order so he’s up at 4am with us getting ready for work. He helps me with DJ after that feed and it’s so special to have that time just the three of us. We’ve been so lucky to have both my mom and my sister here with us which has made being in quarantine with a new baby much more enjoyable. But with a full house, I so appreciate the moments when it’s just me and my boys. DJ and I try to get a few more hours of sleep in between the 4am and 8am feeds before we really get up to start our day.
It’s been so nice to be settling into a rhythm that works for us. But, of course, DJ’s on his own schedule so finding the balance between our routine and meeting his needs is a challenge some days.
My favorite things from this first month have been snuggling little DJ and watching Joe love on him (Joe’s such an amazing dad). I love spending time with my boys. DJ and I have been taking baths together and he absolutely loves the warm water. We take walks around our neighborhood together and it’s such precious time having him wrapped close to my chest in the fresh air. He’s growing so much already, I can’t believe it. It’s so special just to watch him do his thing. He’s a super aware baby and when he’s not hungry, gassy, or poopy, he’ll just look around and explore his world.
My overwhelming emotion during this first month has been gratitude…for an uncomplicated birth, for a healthy baby, for my healing body, for my wonderful support system. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been so worth it.
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