Again. He wants to eat again.
Growth spurts and developmental leaps can greatly influence baby's behavior. Somethin' big is happening with my babe this week. Luckily, his nighttime routine hasn't changed all that much. We crawl into bed around 11pm, nurse to sleep, and then he's up every 2-3 hours to eat until we get up between 8-9am.
But everything leading up to 11pm is a little rough. This baby wants constant contact. I am thankful I can sit him down when we first wake up so I can make a pot of coffee and grab a quick breakfast (with both hands!). I'm also grateful that I have accommodating employment and don't have much else on my plate except for caring for my baby. He's growing every minute...and it's not just about weight gain or the fact he's 2 feet tall. He can follow my voice, lift his head, show emotion (happiness and discontent), and roll to his side (okay, maybe not purposefully). Oh, and I can't forget the cooing. Although our conversations are one-sided, he tries to talk back and often smiles when I joke around. How long until Mom isn't funny anymore? Luckily, I think I have a while. ;)
However, with all of these changes comes nursing around the clock. Sometimes it's not even about being hungry. He just wants to be close and to comfort suck. The "baby eats every 2-3 hours" rule of thumb is thrown out the window-- no use in watching the clock. Pumping to build a stash of milk often feels daunting because baby is constantly at the breast. How can I pump if he's busy eating? Sometimes I awkwardly pump one side while he feeds on the other. Other times, I just don't feel up to the challenge. Of course, those last couple hours of the day, when I'd really like a moment to myself, are spent holding my half-asleep, barely sucking, fidgety, fussy baby.
Mamas, this is hard. I'll admit--sometimes I feel trapped. I feel a little claustrophobic. I long for a date night with my husband or a night out with friends. I irrationally think to myself, "Well, that's never happening again." My sweet husband wears, bounces, and rocks our baby. He may even give our babe a bottle to give me "a break." But when it comes down to it, baby just wants to be at the breast. It's his happy place. My husband reminds me that this is temporary. This too shall pass. As exhausting as it is, it feels good to know I am needed. There will be a day when I'll look back at photos and think, "How was he ever that tiny?" I'll miss the constant cuddles, the belly-to-belly naps, and the nursing sessions where I just stare, observing his long eyelashes, his smell, and the softness of his skin.
When my baby looks up at me and smiles, I know it's all worth it.