My baby is like the cookie monster, but for my boobs. She grunts and growls and snarls and aggressively mouths the air when she smells the breast. She eats ALL. THE. TIME. I feel like I was set up by the midwives and nurses to believe that she should eat every 2 to 3 hours, and by now should be going 4 hours between feeds at night. In her first week of life she was super sleepy, and I had to set my alarm to wake her up for a feed every 2 hours. Now she demands feeds an hour apart through the night, with her longest naps being 2 hours during the afternoon.
For the past week and a half my nights have been long and sleepless. By the time she has been changed into a fresh diaper, eats, and is burped (which we do for a while now because she seems gassy), I could get 15 minutes of sleep before she starts rooting again. But no, I can’t get those 15 minutes, because she hates laying on her back in the bassinet and starts freaking out trying to push poop/gas out. So I walk her around the house for 15 min until she falls asleep, then lie her down in the bassinet, and lie my exhausted body down and wait for the end of the muscle spasms in my back so I can finally get comfy, and then… I hear grunts and growls and snarls from the bassinet beside me and I look over to see her aggressively eating her fist.
I was worried at first that she wasn’t getting enough milk, and that’s why she was feeding so often. But she isn’t frustrated while on the boob – she finishes on the creamy hindmilk and comes off on her own with milk dribbling out of her mouth, making us both sticky. She has lots of soiled diapers every day, and is growing steadily. So she is getting food, but she’s more of a grazer than an 8 square meals a day kind of a baby. And I have to let her breastfeed whenever she wants because I need to allow her to dictate the level of milk production she needs from my body. I am impatiently awaiting the day where I can get those 4 hour stretches of sleep that I was promised… I can’t seem to sleep when she sleeps because I am just so awake during her afternoon sleepy time. I find myself filling with anxiety as the sun sets and I know another night is upon us.
I know that every breastfeeding parent has been through these phases before, and if anyone has words of encouragement to get me through the sore nipples and zero sleep, I would be so happy to hear.