As I write this, my little one is sleeping, which is a big relief, as he spent the past 48 hours going through his second growth spurt. It is, as always, a trying time for him and for me. Now, what’s so scary about a growth spurt? I mean, even the perpetually worried mother that I am is now able to recognize them. I know, intellectually, that they happen and are necessary. I know the signs, I know what happens, heck, I even knew that he would have one during his second or third week of life.
But you see, the thing with growth-spurts, I learned, is that when they happen, my son is feeding every hour to two hours (that is, when he isn’t cluster feeding). This means that if he eats at 7pm, by 8pm he’ll be famished again and seeing as my son seems to love his mother’s breasts, he typically spends a good half-hour draining one breast before (finally) falling asleep on it. This means that I have about a half-hour to rest/eat/shower between feedings.
If it were only that, it wouldn’t be too bad, but my boy’s growth spurts include large blocks of cluster feeding. You see, generally, my little angel cluster feeds from about 7pm to 11pm every evening. This means that he is PERPETUALLY at my breast. For those who think I’m exaggerating, I’m not. This seems to be some sort of bonding ritual between he and I as well as being a way to ensure my milk supply is up to par. You see, he will have a good feed and fall asleep. I will then proceed to lay him down for sleep and he will wake up and start wailing as soon as I set him down. I will pick him up and he will automatically turn towards my chest and try to get to my breasts through my shirt. So I start again, I put him to my breast again, tickle his cheek to make sure he keeps sucking on it and get all the milk he needs until he pulls his head away and falls asleep, then I put him in his moses or bed only to hear him cry it out again as soon as my hand leaves his head. The cycle continues: drink, sleep, lay down, wake, drink, sleep, lay down, wake… until he finally falls asleep for good (which means for two hours or so). On normal days, I can handle this, but during a growth spurt…whew…he keeps at it ALL night. I find that the nightly cluster feedings to be so hard because neither I or he can seem to get a wink of sleep. He gets cranky and so do I.
Knowing this, I decided, yesterday evening, that I would keep my boy in my arms when he fell asleep so that at least he could get some Zzzz in. I chose to feed him lying down, in the bed that we have in the spare bedroom (because it is against a wall, has a firm mattress and, most importantly, didn’t have a coughing and sick boyfriend in it). My son sucked away at my breast and fell asleep. I turned him so that I had his back against my chest and rubbed his tummy. I was happy with my success at allowing him some rest and smiled as I felt his every breath against my chest. I closed my eyes as I gave him a kiss…and woke up two hours later! I had my first (unplanned) co-sleeping experience. More on co-sleeping in another post.