Time flies when you’re having fun.
Yep. I’m a new mother and I’m actually having fun, believe it or not. Nine weeks in and I’m feeling pretty much like an expert. Everyone asks that common question, “You’re not overwhelmed?” to which I blissfully reply, “Nope!” Oh, the joys of having a baby with the disposition of a monk and the sleeping habits of a sloth. No fuss and I still manage to get close to seven hours sleep at night. He obviously got that quality from me. People around me express how lucky I am and I have to agree with them in more ways than one. Being a mother, I feel like I’ve won a lifetime reward and the perks just keep on coming. Here’s what I enjoy most about motherhood.
Although his feeding habits are somewhat gluttonous, I welcome this ravenous appetite given he wasn’t breastfeeding for the first week of birth. Most mothers I’ve read on forums or spoken to don’t have much praise for breastfeeding apart from providing necessary nourishment.
Yea, we get it. Breast is best.
From the ones who never considered it, to the ones who had to give it up after a month, to the ones who shun the eight months they had a human attached to their breasts, I’ve heard very few happy stories. And I don’t get it. I love breast feeding. For starters, the bonding is indescribable. Their little eyes as they peer up into yours while sucking for reassurance, their little hands placed on your breast, or in my case hungrily clutching onto your clothing guarding the milk supply with their life, their soft noises as they’re satisfied; I could go on. At six weeks, Liam had gone from feeding for 10-15 minutes on average to remaining on the breast for close to an hour and sometimes even more.
For the sake of my nipples, I had to invest in a nipple shield but after that I was quite happy to spend an hour out of my day four to five times a day and up to twice a night to breastfeed. I had to learn to be patient and manage my time to suit being pretty much incapacitated for most of my day, but I can’t say I have any complaints. I never thought feeling like a cow could ever be a good thing.
Have you ever wanted to feel needed? Have a baby.
But seriously, I’ve been “needed” in my jobs, my relationships, and my friendships but nothing can compare to that feeling of being needed and depended on by your baby. If you’ve ever needed a better reason to be a more improved version of yourself, having a baby is all the reason you would need. I find myself feeling guilty if I’m not particularly behaving myself, and look down to find Liam peering at me with his deep-pool eyes. Judging me. Reminding me that I have someone to set an example for now. Also, as I am currently primary milk source, I serve even more of a purpose to this little life as food, nourishment and comfort. People all around me are constantly emphasising how much little boys love their mothers and I find myself anticipating the months and years to come to watch our relationship blossom. Given that he doesn’t cry often, that feeling of being needed is only heightened when he belts out his little wails of disappointment. I say belt, although its hardly ever that loud, but I feel almost like in those times he’s trying to speak to me; let me know what’s bothering him. Of course, I usually already know because it happens most when its feeding time and I’m dangling my milk jugs over him while changing his diaper.
Such a tease.
The only thing better than self-growth is watching the growth of your baby. Especially if your baby was preterm. I’ve heard it been said that preterm babies actually strive faster and better than full-term babies because its their way of “catching up” and I believe I can attest to that. By 4 weeks old, Liam was already trying to hold his own head up. It may be partly because I wasn’t always the most proactive in supporting his head in movement and because John sees him as a test subject and is always making him try things he’s too young for, so he figured he didn’t have much of a choice.
However, by 5-6 weeks he was already holding his head almost on his own and lifting himself up on his chest when laying on his stomach. This was particularly comforting to me as a mother with a baby with re-flux who has difficulty lying on his back. I still didn’t (and don’t) feel comfortable with him sleeping on his stomach at night so I tried to make him comfortable in his sleep bassinet but eventually had to give in to him sleeping on his front on his Boppy pillow between John and I on the bed. The number one place I hadn’t intended for him to sleep. Still waiting for him to cross that milestone.
The most rewarding milestone had to be the return of a genuine smile. Although, it was rarely ever returned to me. John is clearly his favourite person right now; I’m just the milk supply. Oh, and the ladies. Liam always has a smile for the ladies. Despite this, after weeks of goofy faces, dorky smiles and over-exaggerated interaction being ignored, side-eyed and squinted at, it was pleasant to see a real smile. And you could tell the difference between his genuine smile and his gas smiles, which are still very much prevalent by the way, because his eyes light up with emotion. It truly is the most adorable thing ever. I mean, how could you not love that gummy smile.
Oh, how I love baby gums.
As a strictly breastfed baby, Liam is beginning to really fill out. I was always of the assumption that breast fed babies are chunkier than formula-fed babies although formula feeding mums beg to differ. I’ve concluded based on my observations that breastfed babies have a different kind of “chunk” than formula fed babies. Either way, I love chunky babies. Double chins, arm and leg rolls, cheeky bottoms; I want it all. Liam was a little spindly at birth but as he continues to grow, he’s been filling out quite nicely and I always find myself squeezing his chubby thighs when he’s breastfeeding while he scorns me with a side-eye.
I love to watch his daily developments like following people around a room, and the cutest ever, trying to take his little fist to his mouth for comfort. Even his cough when he’s chugging the milk without taking a breath and he starts spluttering; I can’t help but find his expression amusing. Once he’s done he always looks resigned as if he’s pissed that his feed has been interrupted. I can’t wait to see his personality unfold but something tells me he’s going to be quite the fire starter- like his mummy of course.
Being a mother really gives purpose to life. When I wake up in the morning, I no longer have a list that doesn’t include Liam whether it be feeding, play time or dedicating some time out of my day where I can be uninterrupted and just bond with him. I’ve given you my labour horrors but I can honestly add my name to the book of mothers who claim that the near loss of sanity that is labour is absolutely worth it.