There is a level exhaustion unbeknownst to all of us until you experience it. It’s a level of exhaustion that compares to no other exhaustion I’ve ever felt in my life, and I thought I had reached the lowest with my years of fibromyalgia. I had not. It was this level of exhaustion though that made me so glad that my mom was staying with us when we brought the baby home, and I highly recommend this to EVERYONE! I know that most of us live far from our families this day in age, but it’s definitely smart to have someone staying with you at night so you can get sleep.
I took the advice of sleep when the baby sleeps. I didn’t get much else done those first few weeks, because I was asleep a lot. Of course this was a good thing, but I was still super exhausted. The sleep wasn’t good sleep and the hours were shit. I was still recovering from surgery to boot. This made the 4 hours that my mom spent with him at night feel even more golden. I was able to sleep 4 straight hours uninterrupted thanks to mom being home with us. She slept on the couch and fed, changed, and otherwise soothed the little bugger so that I didn’t lose my sanity.
I’ll admit to trying to be Superwoman. I was so upset any time Sweet Baby J had to be given a bottle once we were home, because I knew they recommended introducing one between 3-5 weeks and not earlier. Of course he’d already had one at the hospital, but I didn’t want him to get used to it. All I had heard for days before we came home was about how he didn’t like to work for his food, and he wanted it to come easy to him. This meant he might start to like the bottle more and more and not nurse properly. I was anxious about it since we were already having difficulty at the time so I was determined to get rid of the bottle for a few weeks at first. Then I realized I wasn’t getting more than 2 hours sleep at a time, and I was unable to concentrate on anything. I would call to schedule my post partum appointments and forget what time they were set for before the end of the phone conversation. I wasn’t hearing people who were talking to me. It was time to give in and give him a bottle at least once a day. I felt terrible about this at first though you see, but we worked together until Sweet Baby J learned to nurse and definitely prefers it to the bottle.
Coming home wasn’t easy, because I didn’t have professionals there all the time helping me force him onto my breast. Luckily, I did have a nurse to reassure me about both his and my health. This meant that I would have to take her advice about getting some sleep. It didn’t make things any easier at first especially not with the hormones still raging.
I think the biggest thing to remember when coming home is to not compare yourself to others or what you think the ideal is at the time. It’s easier said than done to ignore that. I wasn’t able to do it for a while. I felt bad when I had to give the baby formula. I felt bad when I had to give the baby a bottle. I felt like a failure if I couldn’t figure out what he wanted. I felt like I was doing something wrong if he wasn’t satisfied by my attempts at perfection. The truth is though that there is no perfection. There is only perfect for you.
I know that having help was the biggest thing I needed to be able to adjust, and I think it’s important for most of us. Your life has just been thrown a major change and it takes awhile to get settled. You live and learn, and you’ll appreciate the wisdom of someone close to you.