Elizabeth has been here for more than a month now. We're sorting out what she likes (the sling, being swaddled) and what makes her grumpy (gas, gas, and more gas).
I'm finding my way with her as I did with Henry, as I did with Kathleen. The differences between Henry and Kathleen were pronounced and expected. She did not start her life in the NICU, did not have his low muscle tone, did not have a plethora of medical appointments in her first months of life. She had a healthy heart and started life "cordless." The early days with Kathleen were more what I expected with Henry—except I was doing the sleepless nights, new mom thing as a second time mom and a grieving mom. So I'm experienced now. I've mothered two babies—one sick, one not. Here I am, third time around and it is different yet again.
Elizabeth is not the swing-loving baby (not yet anyway) that her brother and sister were. She adores the sling (which I couldn't use with Henry and used sporadically with Kathleen). She sleeps better at night, which may be her or it may be me. I could not breastfeed Henry. It was too much work for him and my supply was lacking. With Kathleen, I expected supply would be an issue again, but wanted to what I could to maximize it. Part of that was frequent feeds, which meant that anytime I heard a peep out of Kathleen I snatched her up and tried to feed her. If I woke up after three hours and she showed no signs of stirring, I'd unswaddle her to encourage her to wake up to eat. With Elizabeth, if she is sleeping, I let her sleep. If she makes stirring noises, I wait; if she resettles, so do I. As a result, I'm in less of a fog. I'm tired, yes, exhausted even some days, but not sleepless haze I remember with Kathleen.
That rest when your baby rests thing that I found so hard to do with Kathleen is rarely an option now. Elizabeth most often eats and has a bout of gas while Kathleen sleeps, and Kathleen is up and if Elizabeth has a nap that doesn't involve being held. Somedays feeding Elizabeth without Kathleen climbing on me feels like a nap, though.
We're settling into a routine of sorts (Elizabeth most always wakes up for a feeding minutes before Kathleen wakes up from her nap; I stay up too late at night thinking Elizabeth will be ready to eat again soon). I'm still figuring out meeting the needs of my two girls and managing to sleep and eat myself. It's a work in progress, but we are managing—quite well some days, getting by the rest.