Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Vampire Baby

So as you can tell from my previous post today, Genevieve is sucking me dry. It's crazy! She nurses like there's no tomorrow; she nurses like she's in one of those insane eating contests where the contestants suck down as many hot-dogs as they can in three minutes. Except she takes more than three minutes, and then she does it all over again in an hour or two. And repeats the scenario ad infinitum. All of you people who I keep hearing or reading about, whose one-month-old infants have already stretched out their nighttime nursings to over three hours? Maybe even four, or more? I don't want to hear about it. I am happy for you, and I know very well that many, many babies also exist who are currently doing the exact opposite--cruising through the 24-hour milk buffet every hour on the hour--but right now, I'm just a little too envious of anyone getting more sleep than I am to be overly gracious about anyone else's good luck. Because it just doesn't seem like I have the sort of babies who ever, EVER stretch out their nursings. Let's just pretend none of us is getting any sleep, shall we? Let's just pretend EVERYONE'S one-month-olds are still nursing every two hours at the longest, around the clock. Thank you.

So in the meantime, it all feels kind of weird, physically. As many of you know, my breastfeeding experience with Julia--in the early months, I mean--was physically difficult, painful and relentless. So I am not unfamiliar with feeling depleted from nursing. But this is different. It's not painful, so it's not effortful in the way it was when I nursed newborn Julia, but the sheer volume of milk my body is producing, coupled with Genevieve's enthusiastic suck-it-down attitude, makes me feel like all my life-force is being drained from my body by a vampire. A chubby, non-mobile, double-chinned, pooping vampire. Who happens to be extremely cute, thank goodness. For the first time, I can actually feel, physically, a direct (negative) correlation between the amount of milk my baby is guzzling out of me and my bodily energy level. Today, after the last few days of marathon nursing, I've mostly been staggering around the house panting and gasping weakly about needing more food and drink, unable to lift my feet fully off the floor as I walk. I feel like the Ghost of Nursing Past, Present, and Future.

I love my little vampire baby dearly, and I'm handling it okay, but honestly--I'm so physically tired as a result of all this milk-making! (Which is also to say that my previous plans to start working out again today, now that it is a month after the birth, are, well....not being realized.)

In the past week I've noticed that my whole body hurts--especially my neck, shoulders, back, even arms, wrists, and hands are all achy and sore, and they get worse the more I nurse and the less sleep I get, and better when I get additional rest. I think I alone am keeping the makers of Advil in business. In addition, I can't seem to eat enough to both provide Genevieve with her constant snacks and maintain my own weight--not a problem, since I'm still working on losing the last of the pregnancy pounds, but it is an odd sensation to consume three hefty meals a day, numerous high-calorie snacks, pre-bedtime cookies, glasses of milk, you name it--only to wake up the day after nursing Genna Rose every hour on the hour to find out that I've actually lost another pound. I've never eaten more in my life, and yet I've lost two more pounds in the past two weeks. Again: not a problem, but it does go to show how much the baby is taking out of me! Yikes.

Speaking of, I hear the cries of a hungry baby. After this nursing, I'm going to Target to spend money we don't really have on the essentials we need anyway: size one diapers, bigger pants and shirts and shoes for Julia for the fall, and, of course, Diet Coke, ice cream, chocolate, and assorted other snacks for the Human Milk Machine. And don't try to tell me those last items aren't essential.

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