I may have to cut this short -- Claire's still asleep but starting to squirm, so I'm working on borrowed time -- but I might as well do what I can. This week has been much better than last week, baby-wise. Most importantly, her nighttimes have been consistently good. Not perfect -- she still has trouble settling down to sleep when we first put her down, and, not surprisingly, she's still waking up at least every three hours for food most nights -- but we haven't pulled anything close to an all-nighter in more than a week. It's amazing to me what an effect sleep deprivation has on my mood, attitude and general emotional stability.
This is one of just a couple of periods in my life -- maybe the only one besides when Mom was recovering from her liver transplant -- when people's encouragement has really meant a lot to me. Don't get me wrong, encouragement is always nice. But for the past four weeks I have been soaking up and clinging to other parents' promises, perspective and empathy: "The first couple of months are really tough, but just wait until she smiles at you." "I remember feeling exactly like that. It does get better, and you'll barely remember this part." "The laundry can wait; she won't snuggle with you forever." Et cetera. Thank you to all of you who have been vital to my sanity. You know who you are!
Last Thursday we made the switch to Bum Genius one-size diapers -- cloth diapering for lazy parents. I think we received 11 of these as gifts and they are wonderful! I have just enough to make it through a 24-hour period before washing them. I'm contemplating buying enough for a two-day supply. I'd still probably wash every day, at least until she stops pooping multiple times a day, but I'd be able to hang them outside to dry, eliminating the dryer and saving money and electricity. I think they're a great investment because they're adjustable and in theory should fit her until she's potty trained. With luck we can even use them on future kids. But don't worry, we're not forcing them on babysitters. :)
Speaking of babysitters, tonight Matt and I are celebrating the four-week mark with a date! MANY thanks to Brie, who somehow made me feel like I was doing her a favor by "letting" her keep Claire. Quite the opposite! It will just be dinner, squeezed in (like everything) between feedings, but I can't wait.
And speaking of feedings, another major reason I'm feeling so much saner this week is that I've been able to start storing a decent amount of breast milk, which means there is plenty available for someone else to feed Claire if I'm not around. For the first few weeks I was discouraged about storing milk because every time I pumped, she seemed to wake up and want to eat, and because I was drained we'd end up having to give her a bottle of what I'd just pumped. At least it got her used to the bottle, but we weren't storing any milk.
Then Matt suggested I try pumping just an ounce or two at a time, several times during the day, instead of a whole bottle at once. It works like a charm. It takes almost no time, I still have plenty to feed her directly if she happens to be hungry immediately afterward, and now we can freeze about a bottle a day plus have a fresh bottle or two in the fridge. It is such a relief to not necessarily be the sole source of food for this girl!
Finally, I have been able to run a few times in the past week -- just on the treadmill so far because of scheduling difficulties -- and it has been wonderful. More than one person told me I'd probably pee all over myself but I'm pleased to report that was not the case. Running really does great things for the psyche.
Claire is still asleep, but this is too long already. Oh, but one more thing I wanted to mention -- several friends have started blogs recently and this makes me very happy! They're really good, too, so visit, and leave comments, because maybe this will inspire them to keep writing. :) The newbies are Brooke, Kylie, Lauren W. (formerly known as Lauren R.) and Sallie. OK, now I'm out.