My days at home with Annalise are now so limited in number... I have less than two weeks left at home. A few months back, the idea of 11 weeks of maternity leave sounded like heaven... There were so many things that I imagined that I would do: shopping, writing, reading stuff for work, spending time with my mom/dad/sister, gardening, meeting up with friends to go on walks, baby & me fitness class, etc etc etc. Well, I've done most of these things (except the "reading stuff for work" and baby & me fitness class parts), but none of them nearly as much as I had imagined. And now my time at home is almost over and I am mourning it. It's not that I dislike my job, but I guess I just like having free time so much more. Also, I do not feel that I am the perfect mom by any means, but I feel like I am currently the best person to meet Annalise's needs.
We ended up meeting up with a home daycare provider, Cindy, and we really liked her, so Annalise will be going to her home. She is also caring for 2 other children; I believe that they will be 7 months and ~14 months when we start. I have no idea how she can do it, but I pray that she can.
I still have very serious concerns about Annalise's willingness to feed from a bottle. Please, anyone out there who is breastfeeding and who may return to work: START your baby on a bottle at some point in the first 2-3 weeks! I read that 3 weeks was the optimum time, and that earlier than that might cause "nipple confusion" and make them reject breastfeeding. Yes, perhaps, but we tried our first bottle at 4 weeks and she was already somewhat reluctant to take it. She was fussy afterwards, and I worried that she had gas, so I spent a few days looking for a fancier bottle (a Dr. Brown's) and didn't really give her a second bottle until 5 weeks. I think she refused it a time or two but eventually took it. Then someone told me about Playtex VentAire, and I tried that, but again, she was not thrilled.
Meanwhile, we were just not good about giving it to her every day. Starting at about 6-7 weeks I got really serious about it, but she is getting more and more stubborn against it. I have now also bought two other bottle systems which are supposed to be designed for picky breastfeeding babies such as my own: the Nuby Natural Nurser and the Adiri. Well, she is not thrilled with these, either. I have also tried moving her to a Stage 2 Dr. Brown's nipple, but that also has not made a difference. We have tried all kinds of combinations: different people giving the bottle (me, S, S's mom, my mom), positions that mimic breastfeeding, positions that are nothing like her breastfeeding position, room temperature breast milk, slightly heated breastmilk, heated nipple, and starting the feeding when she is really hungry, sort of hungry, or not hungry at all. She generally either plays with the nipple in her mouth but never latches (when she is in a good mood), or gets really upset and tries to almost push it away (when she is hungry).
Anyway, I am genuinely afraid that Cindy will not be able to calm her and that she will get really super hungry and fussy and tearful when I am away at work. My first day back is a Monday, and Mondays, unfortunately, are my worst day in that I am busy seeing patients all day long. I won't be able to leave work if things aren't going well. On other days, I could theoretically do so if necessary. One idea is to start her in daycare next week (before I go back) to see how it goes, and I will probably do this for part of the day on a couple of days, but I am still insanely worried about it. My anxiety was heightened by the fact that my mom came over today and was generally unable to calm her down when she was crying, but when I would hold her, she would pretty much calm down within a minute or so. I hope that Cindy has a "magic touch" with little babies.
Let's see, in other news, she had her two month appointment last Friday. She was 22.5" and 11 lbs, 7 oz. She is growing so quickly! I have put her newborn clothes aside and now she is in 0-3 and 3 month stuff all of the time. She has great eye contact now, and makes adorable cooing sounds and loves to smile. She doesn't really reach for things as far as I can tell, but she does seem to be getting a little bit more purposeful with her hands (bringing them to her mouth to suck on her fist, for example). I have not been good about enforcing tummy time since she seemed to hate it so much, but the doctor suggested that it was OK to put a rolled up towel under her chest to make it a bit more pleasant. That does seem to help, so I guess we'll be doing it more. She can certainly hold her head up well from my chest, but from the floor she can really only raise it a few inches at this point. I know she'll get getter with practice, though.