And the State of the Nursery:
- Sleep: I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting but the lack of sleep from Day 1 is amazing. I’m amazed that I’m functioning as well as I am with no sleep! In the hospital, we thought he was just fussy because we were trying to figure out feeding and he was new – that he didn’t get it, but certainly would. When we got him home the first night, we went to bed, put him in his pack and play and thought that was it! Haha poor new parents – not so! I even tried singing the lullabies my mom sang to me (specifically “In the Bleak Midwinter” which is certainly not a lullaby but is a song she sang and I thought it was super appropriate for my winter baby). He didn’t agree with my plan. We spent the first month of Liam’s life getting sleep wherever and however we could. When we went to his two week appointment, his lovely pediatrician (who is also one of my oldest friends!) told us in a super nice way that we needed to get ourselves together and find a way to get some safe sleep. We experimented with lots of methods, including safer co-sleeping, for the next two weeks until we had a TERRIBLE night of three hours of interrupted sleep and decided that enough was enough and we were no longer going to let him drive the ship. There’s lots of approaches to baby schedules – or a lack thereof – of course, but we couldn’t have that – we needed SLEEP. We busted out The Happiest Baby on the Block and Babywise and got studying, and put that boy on a schedule. And we haven’t looked back. We’re two weeks into the schedule and it’s such a work in progress, but it’s so much better. We essentially function in 2.5 to 3 hour blocks…he feeds for 30 minutes, hangs out or plays or has tummy time (or changing table time – that’s his absolute favorite!) for 30 minutes, and then goes to sleep for 1.5 hours. Or some variation in time. Usually we can get the longer naps earlier in the day but every day is different. We’ve also been getting longer stretches of sleep at night. Our best nights have at least one 4 hour stretch. Those are golden.
We also resorted to a co-sleeper pillow thing (see picture above) for him to share our bed safely. Within two nights of us having it, we put him down on it in his crib to get some things done upstairs and…he fell asleep. We decided that if he could sleep in his crib, who were we to argue and since then he’s been on the co-sleeper in the crib and we’ve been in the Queen/daybed in his room. It doesn’t completely comply with the ABC rule of sleeping but it is considered “safER” and he likes it so…it’s a win for us!
- Bonding Time: I’ll tell you what: I am very thankful for baby smiles. I’ve loved my baby boy from the moment I saw him (and before…but in a different way) but I love him so much more (who knew that was possible?) now that we can connect with him. Thankfully, we were able to do some shuffling in the budget and I’ve been able to take four additional weeks of maternity leave (unpaid). We felt like it was really important for me to be here with him figuring things out. I miss Shane when he isn’t here, and to be honest it still freaks me out to be solely responsible for keeping a tiny person alive, but we manage and everyday is easier.
- Technology: In the beginning, the nurses at the hospital asked us to keep track of feedings and diapers on a log. Shane did that with a vengeance. When we went to our first lactation consultant appointment and discovered that he was eating and gaining like a champ, we no longer needed the log. Only we liked it! I found an app called Baby Tracker and we are religious about it. We track his sleep, diapers, feedings, etc. Our favorite thing is his sleep because that effectively tracks ours as well. Are we human today? Yep! Got four hours! (Ugh.) We are also fans of the Wonder Weeks app. A friend shared it with me and I’m so thankful she did – it’s so nice to have a heads up about what’s coming with him developmentally. It’s also helpful to get ideas about appropriate activities for that particular stage and how to help comfort him as his brain is growing and developing.
- Feeding: Breastfeeding is a blessing. In the beginning, because he was jaundiced, and because we weren’t sure how my milk would be impacted by the issues I had during labor and after, we had to supplement with some formula and finger feed. We did that through the first weekend after his birth. We saw a lactation consultant at our pediatrician’s office on the Monday after we were release and she was amazing. Issues that the LCs at the hospital thought I’d have were complete non-issues for her. Since that day, we’ve been 100% breast milk. We exclusively breastfed for the first four weeks but then added a bottle of expressed milk once a day at bedtime. That’s Shane’s time with him…they do bath time, talk about their days, have a bottle, read some books, listen to music, and go to bed. We were concerned that he wouldn’t be willing to take a bottle when I return to work but he takes it like a champ! Despite the struggles at the very beginning, I am very thankful to have a good supply and the ability to sustain my baby myself – talk about a miracle!
- Sadie: I knew my girl would be ok with the baby because she’s such a good protector once she accepts someone as part of her pack – we just had to make sure that Liam was accepted. Now she spends lots of time cleaning him (which he doesn’t seem to mind at all!) and loving him and ignoring it when he pulls her hair. (As you’ll notice below, she’s a HUGE fan of his time on the floor – tummy or otherwise!) I’m excited for when he’s bigger and they can actually play. For now, he just gets lots and lots of her insatiable affection. (If you know Sadie, you know what I mean!)
- Cloth Diapers: I decided years and years ago that I wanted to give cloth diapers a shot. Thankfully my husband didn’t think I was completely insane and gave in after some research of his own to see that it would save us a ton of money and wouldn’t fill up landfills. (You can see one of the diapers peeking out from under his nightgown in one of the Sadie pictures.) Shane gave in when he saw that the all in one diapers are essentially as easy as disposable so that’s the route we took (specifically with the bumgenius Freetime). We also have a few pocket diapers (you stuff a pocket in the diaper with a soaker of your choosing) for nighttime because he has quite the bladder and the nature of the pocket diaper allows us to control the absorbency – and therefore, the length of our sleep!
- Sizing Him Up: He’s almost 13 pounds! 😳 At birth, he was 20.5″ long and 8 pounds, 2 ounces. The last estimated measurements from Week 39 of my pregnancy were 21.8″ and 7.9 pounds. Close!
- Family: Truly, we would not be able to do this without our family. I spend a lot of time being insanely sad that I am doing this without my parents but even without those four very important hands, we have had tremendous help from our sisters and Grammy Ronda. They have been amazing with meals, with laundry, with cleaning, and with lots of moral support. We definitely would NOT be able to do this, and do it as well as we have, without so much support. We pay them in baby snuggles.
So six weeks in and we are coming out of the newborn fog. Our schedule is paying off and us giving us a sense of normalcy – thank God! Onward and upward – hopefully with more sleep! 😂😴