This week’s milestones:
Elodie has been really alert since birth, and smiling since the second week, but this week marked some breakthroughs in being social and smiling and making eye contact much more consistently!
She loves examining faces and imitating, so we spent a lot of time this week smiling at each other, talking and making noises, and sticking out our tongues. On Monday she was just starting to imitate me sticking out my tongue, and by Wednesday she was a pro. It is amazing to watch her change so fast.
She has also started to enjoy lying under her mobile and watching the toys move, and even began to grab at them! This is a big improvement because a week ago, she could not lie down by herself without crying.
I also discovered that she likes to look at pictures of herself (though not in the mirror).
Still having lots of clingy moments and cluster feeding though, and windiness is still happening, although I think it is getting better. I decided to cut out dairy (again) to see if that makes a difference. We did lots of walks around the neighbourhood in the carrier, which help her sleep and keep me sane.
I started to learn to pump breastmilk, to teach her to take a bottle so occasionally Andy can feed her. This is complicated to do, and hard to find the time when she feeds often and needs me holding her a lot. Andy gave her a bottle on Saturday and she sort of took it, but then gave up after a little while. I think it will take a few sessions for her to get used to it and learn. I didn’t want to start too soon but by one month of established breastfeeding, she shouldn’t have nipple confusion, but is still young enough to learn. I felt really conflicted watching Andy feed her; I know it will give me some freedom if he can feed her, and could make it easier to feed her when we are out. And it’s absolutely necessary for her to learn to take a bottle so I can go back to work. But I also know she needs breastfeeding for comfort and emotional needs beyond just getting milk, and I felt really strange being replaced by a bottle.
Along those same lines, we also tried a pacifier (dummy as they are called here) for the first time. We actually tried a few times during the week when she was really fussy but she rejected it. Suddenly on Sunday she took it. Again, I was (and still am) conflicted about this. On the one hand, the pacifier is a substitute for the breast, and if she wants the comfort of the breast, it’s not fair to replace it. But on the other hand, some babies have a strong urge to suck for comfort, and since birth, she has sucked on her right fist. Once she has fed plenty, a pacifier can help to settle her, so why not allow her to do something that brings comfort? I still feel really guilty about it, but it’s been a few days now and she doesn’t always take it. If she’s truly hungry, she’ll reject it and I’m happy to feed her on demand. But to give her comfort and bring peace to the whole house, I think it’s okay on occasion.
Relatedly, we have had some success with swaddling her at night to sleep. We’ve tried this off and on since birth and sometimes she really protests the swaddle. But lately it seems to comfort her more, as she has gotten stronger and more mobile and is constantly flailing her arms and legs about.
In other news, I developed an infected fingernail this week. I’ll spare the details but at times it felt more painful than childbirth, and we ended up an urgent care clinic on Sunday so I could get antibiotics. Not how any of us wanted to spend Sunday morning, but it was worth it. Andy walked Elodie around the neighbourhood in her carrier while I waited to be seen and it was the longest and furthest I had ever been from her, and it made me heart hurt to be separated, even in such a small way. The doctor reminded me I need to take care of myself, too.
Sunday was also Mother’s Day in the US! We celebrated since Elodie wasn’t born in time for the UK Mother’s Day this year. After the doctor, we went for brunch.
Andy was absolutely amazing and spoilt me all weekend; he brought me flowers and cakes from Ottolenghi, he and Elodie surprised me with treats from Neal’s Yard and Aesop, and he made an incredible dinner.
I felt so lucky, and so loved! It was very surreal to be on the mom side of Mother’s Day this year.