Six weeks!? Seriously? I can’t freakin believe it!
Toby is the silliest, sweetest, most wonderful little munchkin! We just adore him and fall deeper and deeper in love with him each passing day! And with each passing day, he has changed sooo much! I’ll be honest, there were a couple of days around the 3-4 week mark that I was on the verge of losing it and I
wondered worried that things may stay the same forever – a super fussy baby who doesn’t sleep and a breastfeeding relationship that felt like it was going downhill. Needless to say, I was feeling painfully like a very new mommy who was failing at pretty much everything. But, that was two weeks ago and oh how things have changed!
Toby’s first two weeks of life were absolutely glorious. Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but seriously, if there was one thing I wish someone had told me about newborns (most but not all) is that the initial two weeks are not necessarily an indication of what your bundle of joy will be like in his first few months of life. In this ‘fourth trimester,’ babies are trying to figure themselves and their environment out. They’re neural and digestive systems are still developing. They tend to spend the first two weeks catching up on sleep. For Toby, he did just that. He slept a fair bit (although never well overnight!), and would do so just about anywhere. I described him as a perfectly content little baby. After those two weeks, there was a notable change. He became more gassy as his immature digestive system attempted to cope which also made him more fussy. And, his breastfeeding actually suffered as he became more alert and therefore less focused at the breast.
He had a stretch of about two weeks (weeks 3-5) where he was really fussy. He would spend most of the morning (until 130pm-ish) and evening (beginning around 5pm) needing somewhat constant consolation. We are very lucky that this didn’t turn out to be colic, which leaves babies crying for hours inconsolably. We have always been able to console Toby, but it was bursts of crying, then calm for 5-20 mins then back to crying and then searching for the next strategy to console him. It was exhausting, especially given that I was home alone for a lot of it. I rarely had the chance to brush my teeth, shower, or eat lunch. I also struggled to find time to engage him through play, reading, or tummy time, which made me feel like a failure by limiting his development. My sole focus was to keep him calm. It was a hard two weeks that felt like it was never going to end (many colicky babies don’t recover until 3-4 months).
I couldn’t tell you what happened, but this last week and a half has been so different. Toby has been so much less fussy, crying less, handling diaper changes much better (he screams bloody murder about 1/3 of the time instead of every single time!), and has lengthy and wonderful calm and alert phases that give us time to chat, sing, play, read, and do tummy time! It could have been that I stopped eating chocolate based on a recommendation from a nurse and lactation consultant (LC). This hurt given that the day after I went cold turkey, the hub’s parents arrived from England with a ginormous bag of Cadbury’s chocolate! Ahhh! 😦 If it wasn’t the chocolate, then it was likely Toby simply becoming more comfortable in his new world, his digestive system maturing, and nearing the end of the dreaded 3-6wk phase which everyone including my doctor says are the hardest for all little babies. We’re definitely not out of the fussy woods, but it’s sure gotten better!
Oh the ups and downs of breastfeeding. I struggle with it every day but some days far more than others. I’ve had various issues along the way that I’ve sought help for at breastfeeding support groups, but I haven’t been super impressed with the feedback I’ve received. The problem is, I don’t seem to have any one specific problem when it comes to breastfeeding – some days his latch feels as painful as it did the first time we tried, other days he pulls and tugs on my nipple which might indicate a low supply issue, while other days he pulls off crying as though my flow is too fast. Some days Im just so damn sore that every feeding hurts like hell. Other days, I’m full of smiles at the end of the day, thrilled by the ease and success we had all day. I’m 6 weeks in and I’m disappointed that I’m still struggling as much as I am. But, I’m grateful every day that I have the ability and the adequate supply to nourish my little one. That adorable double chin and those sweet chunky thighs are all because of ME 🙂
Not the best sleeper. Nope, sure isn’t. I want to strangle every mom I hear say that their baby sleeps through the night. In fact, I want to strangle the mom whose baby sleeps for 3-4 hour stretches. I think a big part of the reason Toby has been so fussy is because of his crappy sleep. He’s been averaging 10-11 hrs in a 24 hr period. The average for 0-3mos is 16-18 hrs. That’s a lot of sleep he is missing out on! Toby struggles to fall asleep when he’s tired and that overtiredness makes him super duper fussy! So, I’ve been diligent in helping him get as much rest as he can. The moment I notice a yawn, we’ve got him in our arms, take him to a different room (with less stimulation than the living room) and rock him to sleep. It’s not always easy, but it usually works eventually. I’ve been getting longer or at least more consistent naps out of him ever since and he is clearly a happier boy for it!
As for nighttime, well, I’m just not one of those lucky moms with a good sleeper. For weeks, Toby would go down sometime between 9pm-11pm and would sleep about 2 hours on the first stretch, 1-1.5 on the second and then 45-55mins every time after that. Between each sleep, he was eating and he and I were awake for 30mins-1hr. Um, yea, I’m tired. I am happy to report, however, Toby extended his first sleep to around 3 hours, the next couple to 1.5-2.5hrs and only the last to 45 mins for a good couple of days! A lucky couple of days or a change for the better!? We shall wait and see!
Toby is no longer a newborn. He came home weighing just over 6 pounds. He was itty bitty little, all legs and arms, and flimsy as a piece of paper! These days, his cheeks are kissably full, he has the most adorable double chin, and sweet chunky little thighs. He holds his head up like a champ, melts our hearts as he holds our gaze with those big beautiful blue eyes and he follows people’s movements from the other side of a room. And he lays contently on his bouncy chair or play mat and can entertain himself for 15-25 minutes. He also produces all sorts of new sounds, new coos, and new cries. And best of all, we’re starting to see hints of that gorgeous smile!
My saving grace (aside from my wonderful husband) has been some great mommy friends. While pregnant, I joined a mommy group and attended coffee meetings, dinners, and lots of walks with fellow expectant mothers. I made a couple of good friends, one of whom had her baby 2 weeks before me and another who had hers 2 weeks after me. We have each provided a very necessary support system for one another during pregnancy and now mommyhood. I really don’t know what I would do without them. Well, them and some of my best mommy friends who call me regularly from the east coast to support me during this crazy time in my life. Mommy friends are an absolutely must!
I’m finally feeling back to my normal self. Because of pre-eclampsia, it took me a while to fully recover. I was put on antihypertensives but luckily only needed to take them for two weeks to get my BP under control. My c-section incision healed very quickly and the discomfort was virtually gone in two weeks. Is it weird that I kind of like the scar? Every time I look at it, it reminds me of my sweet little Toby. And there’s something about the fact that is it just a few inches below the scars from when they removed my tubes and rendered me infertile forever…
I can’t really describe how much I love and adore our little Toby. I walk away from him and within moments I miss him desperately. I feel so very lucky that I am able to feed and nourish him and I love…love, love, love…to be sitting in a quiet room, just me and Toby, holding him close, feeding him, and him reaching up and grasping my finger with his soft little hand and holding it while he eats.