I had forgotten how it feels to lose any definition between night and day. A newborn baby makes sure you have no idea from one day to the next! I keep telling myself that it’s too early to be worried about routine, but that doesn’t ease the despair you feel when you can’t work out what the cry means. Is she hungry? Dirty? Wind? Tired? You go through each possible reason for the crying (I say crying, but it’s more like squawking), provide the solution; and yet still she squawks. You check the time and notice that because of the amount of time it takes to feed (my dear daughter spends between 10-20 minutes on each breast) it’s actually been over an hour since you started feeding and now you’ve winded her, changed her nappy and tried to listen to the crying in the hope that it is tiredness and she’ll soon give in, she’s probably hungry again.
This is when I am at my worst. During the day I can cope better. In the daytime I can happily watch a movie whilst feeding the little one, happily sit watching daytime TV whilst cuddling her to sleep. Everything seems better somehow, easier. But when evening comes and my reserves are draining away, it feels like an impossible task. Not knowing which feed will be the final one, and when I can eventually get some sleep, is torture. My little one changes her approach each day so you never quite know what you’re going to get! I guess that’s not unusual – this is all new to her too isn’t it. But that thought won’t get you through it without feeling despair and biting your husband’s head off every time he makes a suggestion!
Word of advice for soon to be mums to help with these moments. Read up about ‘cluster feeding’. I had no idea why my baby would go 3-4 hours between feeds at times and then hit a point (generally evenings) where all she wanted to do was feed. It’s normal, and you just have to go with it. It will feel easier if you accept your fate! Select something good to watch on TV, get a drink and snacks/treats, make sure the TV remote and anything else you need is to hand. You won’t feel as tied. Obviously cluster feeding is harder on you if you are breastfeeding as it can’t be shared, so this tip is even more important for breastfeeding mums.
The good news for me is that after an evening of cluster feeding, we generally get a full nights’ sleep. Last night the final feed was around 11:30pm and little lady woke at 6am. After the 6am feed she fell right back to sleep and is still sleeping now (it’s nearly 9am!). You have to take the rough with the smooth. You will work it out, things will get easier over time. Housework can wait – just accept that your little one is going to sap up all of your time for a long while to come! And no matter how frustrated you feel with them in the evening, it’s all forgotten in the morning when you see their little face 😍