It's been four weeks since Asha joined our family and, dare I say it? I feel complete. She's so sweet, so snuggly, so tiny, such a baby, that I just know she was meant to always be the littlest member of our family.
Amaliya's infancy was a confusing time for me. I knew nothing about newborns, of course, so the physical demands of caring for one knocked me askew for quite a while. For the first 6 weeks I wished fervently that she was just grow a bit, just be a bit older and more independent, not constantly needing so much from me. I wished away her newborn-ness, and though I don't feel particularly guilty about it (I was doing my best, at the time), I am happy to say that I am reveling in Asha's first weeks on this earth. Newborns are familiar to me now - their simple yet taxing needs, their squeaks and gasps and yawns and sneezes, their erratic sleep patterns. I felt overwhelmed by Amaliya, never sure I was doing the right thing. Now? Ah, the different that confidence makes.
I've learned not to overthink babies. With Amaliya, anxiety about everything kept me up at night, even while she slept. With Asha, I am much more easy going. No panic attacks wondering if she's getting enough breastmilk, if her poop is the right color, if her weird breathing patterns are a sign of undiagnosed issues. She nurses and is gaining weight, so I don't freak out about her nutrition. She won't sleep in her crib? That's fine; we all sleep better with her tucked into bed with us anyway. Panic-free parenting has been wonderful, this time around.
Much of the credit for this relaxed attitude goes to Asha; Her needs are easy to interpret and address. I never felt like Amaliya was a baby, really. She was such an old soul, independent and sassy from the get go. Asha is different. There's something so vulnerable, so sweet about her, young though she is. Something about the way she can't sleep unless she's snuggled up in my warmth, how she burrows her face in my neck and falls asleep on my shoulder. Something about the way cold sensations and loud noises seem to upset her, the way they never upset her sister. She's delicate and gentle, with a quiet, mournful cry that sounds like singing (which her dad says makes him feel guilty, even when he hasn't done anything). She's made these first few weeks relatively easy on us.
Asha Likes: Being held all day and night, sleeping, boobs, staring at faces, the Boppy lounger, her play mat, the changing table, blankets, resting on mama's shoulder.
Asha Dislikes: Baths, cold wipes, the car seat, the bassinet, babywearing (though we're working on it), getting dressed, unfamiliar people, pacifiers.
Sleeping: Not bad for a baby, I guess? Her first couple nights at home, she cried from 12-4am and otherwise slept fitfully on my chest, but thankfully she straightened out her days and nights fairly quickly. Now she reliably sleeps from 8pm-12:30am, 12-3:30am, and 3:30-6am (roughly). The only caveat is, of course, that she has to sleep tucked into the crook of my arm, hugging my breast. We start every night in the crib, just for practice, but it typically lasts about 10-60 minutes before I take her to bed with me (except for one glorious night when she slept the whole night in her crib and I got really excited, only for her to refuse the next night). Honestly, I don't push it too hard. When she gets a bit older I'll try harder to transition her (I really don't LOVE cosleeping, snuggly though it may be. I want my adult bed back soonish), but for now? We're sleeping. I have a newborn and I am more-or-less well rested, so I'm willing to do whatever works to keep it that way, for now.
I am enjoying these moments. I know the days of falling asleep with a tiny baby snuggled in next to me are fleeting, and its likely something I won't experience again. I am soaking it in while I can.
Naps are all over the place, in typical new baby fashion, though she does take one 3ish hour nap every day, usually in the morning. She'll nap in the crib sometimes, but mostly likes to be on her tummy in the Boppy lounger (a position that does give me anxiety, but it is what it is. I watch her like a hawk).
Eating: Asha had an amazing latch from the beginning and, thankfully, we've had no problem with breastfeeding. She has a partial lip tie just like her sister, but less severe than Amaliya's I think, so my nipples are sore but not bleeding like I remember from 4 years ago. It doesn't affect her intake and I know from experience that the soreness will go away in a few weeks, so we're just going with it. There's no pattern to her feeding yet - on demand, 'round the clock is how we roll right now. She generally doesn't go more than 3 hours without eating, with an occasional 4 hour stretch overnight. I started pumping as soon as my milk came in to start building a freezer stash. She took her first bottle at around 2 weeks with no drama whatsoever, thank goodness.
How's the family?: We've all fared better than I anticipated in the wake of so many huge changes. The jump from one kid to two has been just as hard, if not harder, than I anticipated, just in interesting ways. Amaliya has been absolutely wonderful with her little sister. She's never acted jealous, loves on the baby constantly, and really enjoys being a helper. We're sleeping and therefore not as short-tempered as I had prepared for. Mostly it's the NOISE that is killing me now. Having a baby screaming in one ear, Amaliya yelling in the other, my husband trying to talk to me, and the TV going in the background is just too much, and I start to short-circuit and want to run away (obviously, I'm the only one in my house that appears to be averse to noise and chaos. Lucky me). I'm trying my best to just roll with it.
Otherwise, we're getting into a rhythm. Figuring out how to do all the things we used to do with one kid, just with two. Accepting that everything takes longer and requires a lot more equipment. A big perk of baby #2 is that you're not allowed to just wallow around in the newborn haze for too long. Big sister has school, extracirriculars, a routine that cannot and should not go out the window because a baby came along. Plus, it's almost summer, and we have a ton of fun things in mind to do. Our newest addition will be right there, living life with us.
Though it would help a lot of she could make peace with her carseat already .