Baby land: where the world turns slowly

Time moves slowly in baby land. After the third night of that kind of sleep, you feel like you’ll never sleep again. These few hours of whatever you’re struggling through roll themselves out into months.

I’ve locked myself in my mind many a time and played soothsayer with my child, divining the future, only to be proven wrong by evening time.

Talitha hasn’t really been gaining weight. She didn’t lose much in the initial postpartum days but excitingly gained that and more by day ten. Two weeks later she’s gained nothing. OK. Not worried. Much. Two weeks after that she’s gained two ounces. Huh.

“Don’t worry yet but we want to keep an eye on it and discuss it next week.”

How do you not worry when a baby that is at the breast all the day lit hours that God gives has gained two ounces between ten days and six weeks of life?

I know it could be nothing. It could be something that sorts itself out next week. I know no one worries like a new mother. But… I figure I’m as entitled to an opinion as much as anyone.

And I’ve been thinking since week two that something’s not right. “Newborns feed constantly.” I know but there is never any time between feeds unless I make it. The most she’s happy for is a few minutes, then her fist is violently in her mouth again.

You shouldn’t compare babies, especially with ethnic differences but I can’t help it. I’ve never really looked at babies this young before. Not really. I keep meeting babies her age or younger who look like they could eat Talitha for breakfast.

Their arms and legs have the pleasant fatty folds that make you feel comfortable playing with them. Maybe my daughter’s petite. I just wish she weren’t so thin.

So what could be going on if something is?

The health visitors: Are you eating and drinking enough?

I hadn’t thought about it before, to be honest, but I’ve been fairly idiotic on this point. Thinking back, I have for the last three weeks neglected either breakfast and lunch or both almost every week day.

With the baby at my breast all day, sorting food feels a mountainous task both in physical and emotional terms. My natural reaction to highest stress has always been to eat less.

But why have I really been so stupid? I have absolutely no natural desire to eat anything I can think of. Everything I’ve eaten today has been consumed with the inner mantra of: “It’s for the baby.”

Am I punishing myself unwittingly or subconsciously (as has been slightly offensively suggested) trying to fit into smaller jeans? Or is my body reacting to the huge event of birth?

Whether or not it’s any of these and whether or not this is the cause of Talitha’s lack of weight gain, I care for a young child. Bran and body need to function, so I’m getting my calories on.

The breastfeeding peer supporter: Is it possible she’s got a tongue tie?

I’d thought the early breastfeeding success meant there was no tongue tie. She gained weight, my uterus contracted, no issues there.

A friend of mine says that my experience sounds so like hers some months ago. She insisted on seeing a specialist. It turned out her son had tongue tie. Quick snip and everything suddenly changed.

Ah. So maybe. I look at Talitha, holding her up to my face. “Stick out your tongue, little girl,” I tell her. I stick mine out. She smiles. It’s the funniest thing she’s ever seen. “Stick out your tongue, Talitha. Like ‘ah’.” I touch her bottom lip and she sticks it out. Kind of. I think. Maybe. Well she certainly attempted, anyway.

How do you know what tongue tie looks like anyway? How do you know they don’t just have a small tongue? Everything else on them is small. So the breastfeeding peer supporter is coming round next week to have a look and Talitha has her six-week check up.

In the mean time, I’m to wear her as much as possible. Spend afternoons in bed with her, skin to skin and continue to feed her lots.

Me: I don’t know but things seem to be slow.

Every now and then the suction breaks and Talitha starts tugging at my breast and sometimes she cries briefly. It sounds like a complaint.

Just a week ago, it felt like we were looking at co-sleeping until she’s four. These days, she’s happily sleeping through the night in her own cot, which we has been pressed up to our bedside, replacing the Moses basket. When she wakes, it’s because I’ve picked her up to feed her out of concern.

And I’ve been advised to feed her every two or three hours at night instead of just leaving her, so there she comes back into bed with us, because I’m not spending all the moonlit hours God gives us sitting upright to feed her too.

It’s funny how quickly we’ve moved on to the next thing and yet the week’s felt endless.

Yesterday, a friend texted me from an unrecognized number: “Hi mom! Stying at becky’s 2ngt n gng to Justin Bieber concert. He’s so old, but still so gorg! eek! – Talitha. (what to expect in a decade or a few).”

I’d been feeling stressed and had been crying. The text made me stop and laugh. Without knowing it, my friend had reminded me that she will grow up, and when she does, I’ll wonder at how worrying this short time was.