We celebrated Toby’s 2 month birthday this past Monday! My itty bitty little newborn is now looking like a little boy!
It’s only been two weeks since my last post but I was moved to write an update given how much has changed and how much I was clearly struggling last time I posted.
I feel like a new person, a new mommy, a new friend and new wife. Weeks ago, I was living in a cloud of anxiety and stress and was feeling pretty overwhelmed by motherhood. Poor Toby was struggling so much with gassy pains that it left him fussy most of the day. He also decided one day that he was no longer willing to sleep anywhere but on me or my hubby, so I spent most of my days and nights with him cradled in my arms or laying on my chest terrified of moving an inch and waking him up. My poor little man was so uncomfortable and I felt helpless in trying to help him. Everyone kept telling me that 3-6 weeks is the peak of fussiness and it slowly begins to wane until 3-4 months when most kiddos are feeling far more comfortable and therefore happier and more content. During those long days, I was convinced that this stage was going to last forever, but then just like everyone said, Toby slowly began getting better over these last two weeks. His immature body still struggles to handle the tummy pains and gas, but those periods of time when he is truly miserable are far less frequent and are now sandwiched amongst many, many amazing moments.
Toby smiles! He coos! He stares into my eyes and his gaze follows his daddy as he moves across the room!
When Toby entered his seventh week, we saw him gain a new awareness of his surroundings. He focuses on his toys, gazes at pictures, and looks us in the eye. He’s clearly ready to begin taking in the sights of his new world and he’s mesmerized by it all! And he clearly enjoys much of what he sees based on the most perfect wide-mouthed smile we get to see multiple times throughout the day! He especially loves to smile at his daddy 🙂 And with those smiles come the most glorious sounds! Toby and I will have 5-10 minute conversations talking and cooing at one another. Seriously, nothing quite melts your heart like walking up to your little guy and watching as his excitement takes over, his legs begin to rapidly kick, his smile breaks loose and he lets out the most glorious coo just for you (or for the stuffed elephant sitting beside you!).
Well, breastfeeding is going…ok. I wish I could say we were totally out of the woods, but its just not so. I thought that by 8 weeks, everyone’s assurance that it ‘gets so much better‘ would have come true and breastfeeding would have become second nature for us both. I thought I was pretty much there, but now I worry that we may never be there…
Well, maybe not never, but I think painless breastfeeding will not come to fruition until Toby’s gas goes away. He latches on well and gulps and guzzles so I know he’s getting what he needs, BUT, he moves, wiggles, and kicks while doing so, trying desperately to get that nagging air bubble. Do you know what happens when a baby wiggles around while your nipple is in his mouth!? Well, he takes your nipple with him wherever he wiggles! My poor poor nipples get pulled and tugged all over the place and have become accustomed to a permanent state or sore- and tenderness.
Luckily, he’s not alllllways gassy and when Toby is calm and comfortable, there’s nothing I love more than breastfeeding. It’s such a special time I get to share with him. But the moment I feel that first tug, I decide that I hate it and I question whether I’ll ever make it a year. I’m determined, however, to not just stick it out, but to work with Toby so that we find a way to both enjoy it 100% of the time. We’re not there yet, but we will be…some day…hopefully soon!
In other news, bottle feeding, which my hubby has tried to tackle a handful of times started out as a huge struggle but has also gotten much better. It basically consisted of Toby screaming for an hour straight while taking intermittent gulps in between wails. It was a battle that I’m so impressed my hubby fought through. I know it wasn’t easy. He did catch Toby in just the right mood a time or two and was able to have some success with a lot less crying, but it was still tough and he found that the only way Toby would eat anything at all was if he laid him down on the couch and fed him without otherwise touching him. But then a miracle happened! – we decided to ditch the Tommee Tippee bottles that so many people rave about (nipple is most similar to the real thing) and tried the Playtex VentAire and just like that – Toby cuddles up soundly in my hubby’s arms and sucks down the milk in delightful silence 🙂
I’m just going to say it – Toby is a sucky sleeper! But to be fair, I think half of it can once again be contributed to his gassiness (which is always worse overnight) but the other half is just BAD SLEEPING.
The longest stretch Toby has ever gone was 4 hours straight. That has happened twice. TWICE! Then there have been about three 3 hour stretches. Every other sleep from day one has ranged from between 40 mins-2.5hrs. Again, gas seems to be at least partially the culprit. Toby tends to suddenly wake out of a deep sleep kicking and grunting and clearly uncomfortable. He usually begins to cry and it’s a new cry – a cry I absolutely HATE! It just screams, ‘Im in pain!’ And it breaks my heart every time.
On top of the interrupted sleep, Toby decided during week 6 that he only wanted to sleep on mommy or daddy’s chest…day and night. At first, I secretly loved it. There’s really nothing like the warmth and cuddliness of your little baby on your chest as he sleeps. But after almost a week, I found I was sitting on the couch most of the day terrified of moving an inch and waking him up, and at night I was sleeping even less than him because I would wake with his every movement and would struggle to get back to sleep. So, last weekend we did a little Baby Bootcamp and every time Toby began to doze off, we would lie him in his Rock n Play. If he fussed, we would pick him up, console him and then lay him back down. To our surprise, it only took the weekend to wean him and he has been back in his Rock n Play (or the swing which he has suddenly decided he loves instead of hates!) ever since!
One excellent change is that Toby has gotten better at putting himself to sleep when tired instead of needing endless rocking, singing, etc to get there. I have tried to do the E.A.S.Y. routine in the past week which has reallllly helped. Like I mentioned in my last post, I think Toby struggled a lot from being overtired in his first few weeks and I know that a lot of that was my fault because I was not picking up on his ‘Im tired, mommy!’ signals. E.A.S.Y. (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You) really encourages you to pay attention to those signals (yawning, turning away, rubbing eyes, etc) and helping you baby get to sleep the moment the signals strike so that your baby doesnt get overtired. It really makes a huge difference and since then, I pick Toby up the moment he yawns and hold him for less than 10 minutes and he’s out like a light.
Oh, what a wonderful couple of weeks! The smiles, the coos, the eye contact, the (sort of) reaching for toys, his first roll from front to back…! He’s so much more alert, so much more focused, and so much more playful! And with the marked reduction in fussiness, we get a lot more of these special moments to enjoy!
Walking around the house with Toby propped up on my shoulder, his wide eyes curiously darting from one thing to another and then I begin to feel his head ever so slowly start to bob on and off my shoulder as he begins to fight sleep until he finally nuzzles his little face in the rook of my neck and falls asleep 🙂