I spent all of yesterday trying to get Owen to take a nap and failed miserably at doing so. The little guy was latched all day. By the afternoon he had become irritated, possibly from being tired. I had read on some website that infants are suppose to sleep 17 hours a day. We were nowhere near that mark on most days. However, I haven’t been following any guidelines or schedules so I’m not too concerned about numbers. On the other hand, I am a new mom with common insecurities, the biggest of which is am I feeding my baby enough. Whenever Owen becomes fussy, my first concern always turn to whether I have sufficient milk supply. When he spent all day yesterday nursing I wondered if I was producing enough milk to satisfy his hunger or if he is just inefficient at nursing. A more comforting thought would be maybe he’s cluster feeding or going through a growth spurt. How would I known for sure? Nothing sets aside of my insecurity, not even the number of diaper changes we meticulously track or the fact that he is gaining weight consistently.
Before Owen was born I had planned to not have any parents to come visit right away. It was easier with Peter’s parents since they live in Sweden. As for my parents, the only way to keep them away from their first grandson was to not inform them of such auspicious occasion. That’s right, I did not make any birth announcement. That may seem cruel but it is my opportunity to bond with my baby and I want no distractions. Besides, I didn’t know what my mental state would be after the birth, and whether I could even tolerate any visitors. I also knew very well that my mother can be very opinionated and set in her ways. Even though she always has the best intensions, we just don’t see eye to eye on many things. Instead of reasoning things out with her I have learned to mostly avoid any discussions. No matter what I say, she always plays that guilt card: why can’t you see your mother only wants the best for you? I knew very well that I wouldn’t be able to handle her commentary/advices during such a vulnerable time as the postpartum period. It took six weeks for the grandparents to finally come visit. Just so it happens, I spent the entire time being hospitalized for a rare infection. She took it easy on me then but now let the well intended advices be unleashed!
On the latest phone call my mom asked if I have sufficient milk supply. It’s a strange questions to ask out of the blue. Then she says, maybe Owen is nursing all of the time because you don’t have enough milk or it’s coming out too slowly. Why don’t you try feeding him formula at night so you don’t have to nurse him as often? Needless to say, I find these comments offensive and uninformed. Babies nurse. That’s what they do. So what if I have a slow flow? It doesn’t matter as long as my baby has enough to eat. If it takes a while it takes a while. I love spending time nursing Owen. What else is there for me to do that is more important? And no, formula fed babies don’t necessarily sleep better at night. Babies wake up at night for various reasons just like adults do. Breastfeeding is important to me and I’m committed to nursing Owen the best I can for as long as I can. Still, her words without a doubt drove into my insecurity. I don’t know if it will ever get any better.
Today Owen slept like a log, possibly for 17 hours. Maybe he is going through a growth spurt. I don’t know. The fact that he’s not having as many poop diapers is once again triggering my insecurity. I suppose it’s just one of those things I have to work through or maybe not. Being a mom means to always wonder if you’ve done enough. And for now, being enough, at minimum, means to produce enough milk.