This has been another hard week for Benji, for a variety of reasons:
1. Nursing: His facility with nursing is slowly improving, with much patience on my part (“DON’T BITE!”) and persistent practice on his. He knows how to latch and suck now, but he gets frustrated and gives up easily, switching from happy feeding to full-throated scream mode seamlessly. Sometimes I can calm him down and coax him back; other times he or I feel too upset, and we bottle feed. Most of his nutrition still comes from pumped milk in a bottle, but we are slowly figuring out nursing.
2. Antibiotics: Have we heard this story before? Oh, yes, September 10 – 17 I took antibiotics and we feed him the milk, with disastrous results (both gastronomically and sleep-wise). This time I came down with mastitis September 26 and, once on drugs, immediately stopped giving Benji fresh milk. He got all thawed milk I pumped while drug-free.
…Except for what he drank while nursing (see above). I suspect the infection came back due to insufficient letdown. The body does not respond as well to pumping as to nursing, and I think some milk remained after pumping.
Operating on this theory, I have worked much more diligently at getting Benji to nurse at least a little every time. And he has! But alas, better nursing the last week had meant more antibiotics in his system, and more unhappy, sleepless, screamy days and nights.
3. Social maturation: Benji has started babbling, looking at things in the world with more interest, and playing with us (albeit simply, by returning our smiles or imitating our expressions). This is deeply rewarding and very fun – having him smile at me is the best part of my day – and we love to see the incredibly rapid changes as he grows.
He especially likes looking at faces, to the point where he keeps himself awake to do it, even when he’s very tired. Once he gets really tired, the screaming starts in earnest. We try to soothe him; he resists. Eventually sleep wins, but it could be hours of misery first.
I think as he matures, “arsenic hour” (from 4pm to 10 or 11pm) is kicking in, too.
These three factors have combined to make this week trying, at best. Mom had helped tremendously, but we still have many long, tired hours behind us. I’m just afraid we have more before us, too.