The darker moments of those newborn days

"Enjoy it, they don't stay that little forever."
It's true, of course, but I don't know how many times a day I hear this or a variation thereof as I go about my daily business with Quinn, from strangers on the bus to well meaning friends, I'm constantly reminded to drink in every moment of her newborn-ness. Believe me too, I try. I know that Quinn will be my last baby, I'll never have a newborn son or daughter again and so I naturally want to bask in her gorgeousness - but then there's life to get on with. I'm back to work next week, albeit from home and with her close by, there is shopping still to be done, appointments to meet, Boyfriend's Mum has been busy moving in to her new house... it's been go go go, and so perhaps I do need reminding to stop and appreciate Quinn's tiny fingers, vacant stare and open, toothless mouth every now and again, after all.
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter and you could be forgiven for thinking my newborn adventures have been a total breeze thus far. Other than the horrendous trouble I've had with her breastfeeding, as a result of a posterior tongue tie, being a new Mum again has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.
I do have it easy compared to some new parents. Quinn doesn't suffer from colic or reflux, and rarely cries unless it's to let you know that she wants something quite specific (boob). Quinn's been in brilliant health, we've been able to take her to see a chiropractor, just to ensure that she's in tip top condition, and we've not had any post-birth trauma to contend with. Quinn sleeps in 4+ hour chunks through the night and has taken well to her hammock, and I've managed to push on with breastfeeding despite the pain, which has seen her gain weight above her original birth weight of 7lbs 15ozs. What's more, I'm in great physical and mental health - which helps.
But I'd be lying if I said that we didn't struggle at times, Quinn is so very new in the world and we're both finding our own way, getting in to the groove of life together and learning from one another constantly, for the most part, we're in sync, and we're both happy, but sometimes, even with an "easy" baby, things get tough. I want my blog to reflect that as much as all of the positive, wonderful experiences of bringing up children.

Quinn's suddenly started cluster feeding, meaning she'll take a full feed from one breast, and then need to be fed again ten minutes later on the other side, and then back to the original, and then back to the alternative, and back to the original, and back to the alternative. Yesterday I fed her, continuously, swapping from one breast to the other, from 3:00pm until 11:00pm, with barely more than a ten minute break in between each feed.
What I wasn't prepared for, when I started breastfeeding, was just how exhausting it is. Yes, you just sit there, but this is a whole new world of tiredness, it isn't the tiredness caused by a lack of, or need to, sleep - it's the tiredness caused by every ounce of energy in your body being transferred to your baby through the continuous production of new milk. It's a physical exhaustion, more akin to completing a gruelling exercise programme than staying up all night - and it hurts. The pain in my nipples is excruciating anyway, I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about the full body ache from breastfeeding non stop for eight hours - urgh!
Last night Boyfriend took Quinn off of me, and took her away to soothe her in another room. Baby whisperer that he is, he managed to break her cycle of continuous feeding and get her off to sleep with a dummy, before returning her to her hammock. Hurting all over, with my boobs on fire (not literally) and unable to lift my head for the tiredness, I burst in to enormous, fat, tears.
What made everything difficult was that I felt awful for being upset - it didn't seem reasonable to cry simply because I was nurturing and nourishing my own child (albeit to the absolute stretch of my ability) and so I felt guilty - which made me cry more.
Then Boyfriend came and wrapped himself around me and gave me a huge cuddle - and that made me cry more.
This was probably the first time I've been well and truly ready to stop breastfeeding. The thought of Quinn waking up again and wanting to be fed even more was enough to make me want to scream in to a pillow - I felt as though she'd literally sucked the life from me and left me devoid of all energy and vitality. Despite two weeks of battling through the difficulties that we've faced with breastfeeding, and persevering with it whilst making sure we got Quinn access to treatment for her tongue tie that would allow me to feed her in relative comfort, I felt like a complete and utter failure last night, which, in turn, was further fuelled by the fact that I was tired - fatigue always makes everything seem a million times worse.
Quinn woke at 3:00am, somewhat typically for her, by which time I'd had a few hours sleep and was feeling more positive, and this morning - that dark cloud of hating everything about having a baby had lifted - and felt more like a dream. Quinn and I have had another brilliant day today, we found her some cute clothes in Boots, and met up with one of my best friends and her new baby, born the day after Quinn, for not one, not two, but three coffees.
As I write this, she is naked but for her nappy, wrapped against my bare chest in her sling, snuffling and squeaking in her sleep. Those dark clouds can, and will, visit all of us from time to time though, and I wanted to write this to remind myself, and anyone else who may be trying to distract themselves from the urge to bang their head against the wall - that clouds always blow over, and there's still blue sky behind them.

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