Has it really been (almost) a month since our little nugget joined us? He is exactly 4 weeks today and will be 1 month on Monday. The month of September is a blur…a good blur. Between 8 feedings a day, 500 diapers changes, lots of naps (for him, not me), a little play time, trying to get a shower and maybe exercise or run an errand or two (if I’m feeling really ambitious) the days fly by. I honestly don’t see how moms do the newborn phase with more than one child at home. I guess you figure that out when you get there. 🙂
Seriously, though, I am thankful for every moment of these 4 weeks that God has given me with my Luke. It is a such a blessing to be his mom—to have him in my life. And God’s grace is so sufficient in those moments of exhaustion and stress and cluelessness.
This week we are starting to make some strides in establishing our routine. Well, I think we are at least. Some days it seems that we take a step forward and then a step back. There is not a lot of consistency at this point, which can be tough for this structured, type A mama, but I think we are slowly moving toward more consistency. My pediatrician, as well as Luke’s “Doc” (my dad), have encouraged me not to be too uptight about getting him on a schedule at this point. He is still such a newborn…adjusting to life outside the womb. All that to say, we’re taking it slow, and I’m trying to be laid back about it.
(Beware: some boring details of scheduling ahead)
From the beginning we have been feeding every 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours, but each day looked different in terms of what times those feedings took place. This week my goal has been to establish a (somewhat consistent) first feeding of the day so that each day has a more routine pattern. So I chose the 8:00-8:30 am time frame, mainly because I don’t like to get up much earlier than this, and it works for our church schedule on Sundays. When he is finally sleeping 10-12 hours at night, I would rather him go to bed a little later and get up a little later. Just my preference. So, I try to feed sometime between 8 and 8:30 am each morning and then every 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours from there. This puts our last feeding of the day being around 11 or 11:30 pm. Then comes the tricky part. After his late night feeding, I don’t wake him again. I just let him wake me when he’s hungry. This past week he has woken up like clock-work around 3 to 3:30 am to feed. This is a good 4ish hour stretch, but after this middle of the night feeding, he typically can’t make it another 5 hours to his scheduled 8 am first-feeding time. The first day we tried this, he woke up hungry at 6:30 am. So, I fed him at 6:30, put him back down to sleep, and then just fed him again at 8:30 am to keep him on track (even though it had only been 2 hours). He seemed to do fine with that. Each day, his morning “wake up hungry time” has moved back a little. So, its tricky to figure out whether to go ahead and feed him when he wakes up, or try to push him until 8 am. Today, for example, he woke at 7:30 am. I opted to give him a paci and try to see if he could make it until 8. We made it until about 7:50. Close enough, and we can still pretty much stay on our routine. I’m hoping he can go a little longer each night until we are down to just the one middle of the night feed around 3. We’ll see.
After his 8 am feed (and then each feed following until 11 pm), we try to have some “awake” time for about 30 minutes and then go down for a nap. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t. After some feeds he is exhausted and sleeps the entire time until the next feed. Other times, he will fall asleep right after a feed and then wake up fussy an hour or so before the next scheduled feed. So, it’s tricky to figure out what to do if that happens….it’s not a perfect science. For “awake” time, I will sit him in his boppy and let him look around, or lay him on his play-mat, or put him in his swing. Sometimes I’ll shake a colorful toy in front of him or read him a story. Other times I’ll load him up in his car-seat and we’ll go grab lunch or go for a walk. He typically falls asleep immediately when put in his car seat. He usually is content and happy for about 30 minutes after a feed, and then he gets squirmy and fussy and ready to sleep. At least twice a day I try to swaddle him and lay him in his crib for a nap. Other times, he will sleep in his car seat while I’m on the go, or sleep in his swing, or sleep in our arms. He does pretty well sleeping in his crib. We’ve had to let him “cry it out” a couple of times, but he has never cried for more than 5 or 10 minutes. I would probably cave and go comfort him if he did. Adam is stronger with the “crying it out” than I am. Mind you, there are many, many diaper changes taking place between all this sleeping and eating and playing.
We’ve also introduced the bottle (with breast milk) this week. I want him to get accustomed to taking a bottle for times when we are on the go, or in case I decide to transition to formula in the next few months. Also, it’s nice to let Adam feed him every now and then. I was advised not to introduce a bottle until breastfeeding was well established but not to wait too long either, or he might reject it. We felt like this was a good time. Adam gave him the bottle (had also been advised to let someone else feed him a bottle). He did well with it, although, “slow flow” bottle nipples sure don’t seem to be flow slow enough. He gulped down the bottle in about 5 minutes (what would take him about 15 minutes to get while breastfeeding). I was afraid he was going to spit-up everywhere, but he didn’t. Thank goodness. We’re going to keep trying the bottle at one or two feedings a day. Don’t want him to get too attached though! It’s a lot less work for him than breastfeeding!
Our sweet boy is more alert each day! I love looking into those precious eyes. He usually smiles right when he is falling into a deep sleep (like he’s having a good dream), but this week he smiled really big while looking directly at Adam. Melts my heart. I love seeing that little personality develop a bit more each day. We are so blessed!