It’s been three incredible weeks since Toby was born. Every day, I have laughed, I have cried, and I have fallen more deeply in love with my sweet little man.
The hubs and I have spent countless hours simply staring at him – enamored with his every stretch, yawn, smile (or was that gas!?), and the way he puckers his lips. As he begins to wake, he shoots his little fists to the sky and does a biiiigggg stretch that really couldn’t be any cuter and his mouth gapes open with one yawn after another. He often lets out a cry, clearly overwhelmed by the idea of waking up in this brand-new world.
He has some absolutely adorable facial expressions and poses where he’ll raise his eyebrows real high with his eyes still tightly closed, or he’ll smack his lips in a slow, thoughtful rhythm. He loves to keep his hands near his face as he sleeps which makes for the most precious poses. Pretty much everything he does is the most adorable thing we’ve ever seen and tops whatever he did just minutes before!
My greatest fear as I approached motherhood was an inability to successfully breastfeed. In the hospital, I was relieved to find that we both took to breastfeeding relatively successfully. Toby was able to latch immediately following his birth and although he lost a good bit of weight right away (from 6lbs 13oz to 6lbs 3oz – a 9% drop), I knew he was working hard to get the little bit of colostrum I was producing. Since then, he’s been gaining weight like a champ. He weighed 6lbs 14.5 oz at his 2 wk check-up, a week later he weighed in at 7lbs 9.8oz, and yesterday he was a whopping 8lbs 4oz. The goal is an ounce a day.
Breastfeeding has actually gotten harder, not easier, over time. We’ve had our struggles and have both shed many tears. Breastfeeding takes a lot of time, energy, and a trust in my body’s ability to effectively respond to his ever-changing needs. I have worried that my milk was taking too long to come in; that once my milk did come in, my breasts were too engorged for him to comfortably latch; that my flow was too fast; that it was too slow; that my milk supply diminished because my breasts no longer felt full; or that he was not effectively latching. I’ve begun seeking out support from local breastfeeding groups where I am surrounded by new mothers who can relate and lactation consultants eager to help. I think these groups will be my breastfeeding lifeline in many ways. All I know is that no matter what, I am determined to succeed and will continue to work with my little man until we master this together.
In his first two weeks, I would have described Toby as a pretty content baby. This last week, he went through his first growth spurt where he ate constantly, slept little, and fussed a lot. That fussiness seems to have persisted a bit which I believe is a result of his struggles with the gassiness newborns often suffer from since their digestive tracks are not yet fully developed. We’re working hard to help the little man be as comfortable as possible and I feel pretty good about how the hubs and I are working together to soothe him the best ways we can. Luckily, even when uncomfortable, he is relatively easily sooth (usually!) and when all else fails, the hubs has become a pro at utilizing the strategies of how to calm a crying baby from the Happiest Baby on the Block. But sometimes, we just all need a good cry together, then re-group and try again…
I wouldn’t dare say we are on any type of schedule at this point. We are basically at Toby’s beck and call at all hours of the day and night! He’s been sleeping in a Rock ‘n Play beside our bed and we often have him swaddled and ready for bed at around 930 or 10pm. We go to bed around the same time in order to maximize the amount of sleep we get. Yup, that’s how lame we are! 🙂 He tends to sleep anywhere from .75-2.5 hour stretches. Plus, even when he’s asleep, his grunts and moans often keep me from sleeping soundly as I’m always checking on him to make sure he’s ok. His final ‘bedtime’ feed is usually between 6:30-7:00am and I try my best to get him back down for another hour or two so that we can get a bit more sleep before starting the day. …That hasn’t happened the last couple of days…
Toby is a very alert baby and can go 1-2 hour stretches – often between 9-11am and 7-9pm where he is calm and content, wide-eyed and curious and simply taking in his new world. We try to engage him as much as possible by playing on his playmat, doing tummy time, reading books, telling stories, and singing songs. The rest of the day is filled with feedings every 2.5 hours, peppered with short periods of alert time and lots of naps.
The first few days home were rough for me as I was still recovering from my high BP and c-section and I am so grateful to my hubby for taking care of me in addition to Toby. He has worked so hard to keep the house clean, to keep me fed and hydrated, to play and engage with Toby, to change diapers in the middle of the night, and to calm me when my emotions take over.
I haven’t had a ton of time alone with Toby because my dad came out just days after his birth and fell so deeply in love that he booked another ticket just a week later and stayed for 8 days! It was so awesome seeing my dad with Toby – He spent his time here simply staring at him, cuddling him, taking 10,000 pictures of him, and making calls to brag about him to all his friends. I have a very special and close relationship with my dad, so this visit was extra special. In fact, we named Toby after him – his middle name, Jonathan. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
My brother and his wifey came last weekend as well which was also a wonderful treat! It was pretty funny watching my ginormous 6’4″ brother hold little Toby in his huge hands! They’re going to be an amazing aunt and uncle!
This whole parenthood thing is hard. It’s harder than I was expecting. But, it is also the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me and I cannot wait to continue to get to know my little guy and find new ways to learn and grow with him. He has made my life complete and while it terrifies me to love something so much, I can no longer imagine my world without him.