Tag Archives: Newborn

The sweet stuff

It’s been a beautiful weekend in more ways than one. Perfect weather, fun stuff to do, and a baby that gets more lovable with each passing day. Though our nights this weekend have been more difficult (and we attribute some of that to baby reflux), Curly seems a lot easier to deal with in the day time.

Some friends and relatives took me out for a birthday dinner and one of the best presents I got was a baby that slept for half the meal, and for the other half, was an alert and sweet one month old who brought a smile to everyone’s face. He was passed around the table and behaved himself marvelously while his proud mothers looked on.

Since there have been many difficult and challenging moments, we haven’t been able to focus as much on what we love. That’s what this post is about. We are beginning to come into our own as a family of 3 (well, 4…dog included). We went to an art show on Friday night and Curly slept in the sling the whole time. Many people admired him and it was so nice to have him sleeping soundly, pressed up against me, feeling his little hands tickle me from time to time, and his little legs dangling. We love to gaze at him, and when he’s awake and the light catches his face, we can see his eyes getting bluer and wonder what color his hair will eventually be. We think he is on the verge of smiling, and more than once I’ve caught the corners of his mouth turning upwards when I cooed at him. Nutella loves when he falls asleep on her after breastfeeding. And we both think he’s awfully cute when placed in the bath. It completely mellows him out and he stares so thoughtfully and peacefully at the water.

We’re looking forward to more outings with him. He seems to really like new surroundings, especially when he’s calm enough to take everything in. Frequently his face is full of wonder and curiosity, and it never fails to make us smile. Day by day he seems to gain more personality, and we welcome the little boy he’ll become as we more fully appreciate the baby he is.

One month old

Our little boy is one month old today, can you believe it?  It all seems so very new still and hard to imagine that we’ve been at it as long as we have.  Every day is lived in the present and the passage of time, dates, days of the week have very little meaning to me.  I can look at those first pictures of him and see how much he’s growing and changing but in the day to day it’s hard to see. 

Over the past 4 weeks, we’ve found that he loves bouncing and swaying, being bathed, looking at our exercise machine and picture frames on the wall, listening to music and looking at lights, our faces or the sky outside. He doesn’t so much like diaper changes, clothing changes, being swaddled (at first), or waiting for anything. He can already hold his head up like a two-month old and has recently found his hands and likes sucking on his fingers and fists.

He has his sweet moments and his fussy moments, and I have my calm moments and my hormonal ones, but we are learning about each other and growing as a family.  I look forward to all of the changes that month 2 and onward will bring.

But now, pictures!

Looking up at me

Looking up at me

overstimulation station

overstimulation station

Blissed out in the bath

Blissed out in the bath

Finding the new normal

Overall, it’s been a nice long holiday weekend. We’ve been trying to get out more often with the baby in tow. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it seems so daunting that we end up scrapping or changing plans, but that’s to be expected. We managed to have a nice lunch out on Saturday while Miles snoozed in his car seat at the restaurant, and then a lovely dinner out on Sunday while Curly snoozed in the baby bjorn that I was wearing as I tried to eat my meal without dropping any food on his head (success!)

We are trying to plan more lower-key expeditions…a picnic here, a neighborhood or nearby city stroll there…places where we can spend time outside should the little one have a meltdown, and places where we can change him or feed him easily. It won’t always be easy, and we’ve been lucky so far, but it’s been wonderful getting out as a new family, even if only for a couple hours at a time.

Things are still challenging at home. We feel bad when all his needs are taken care of and he still cries. We are lucky, however, in that he sleeps large chunks of the night away…anywhere from 2 to sometimes as long as 5 hour stretches, with room in between stretches for a change and feed. Nutella is getting by with me having gone back to work; fortunately(?) his worst meltdowns happen in the evenings, so she doesn’t have to deal with them alone. And I’ve found it nice to be back at work and have some normality and structure back in my schedule. It’s hard, but we’re doing our best to find the ‘new normal.’

Finally, our dog has been outstanding in her adjustment to the new human in the house. At first, she freaked out when he cried and ran to find us, or the one of us that wasn’t already comforting him. Now she knows it’s just par for the course. She likes to be with Nutella when she’s breastfeeding and curls up on the footstool. She has thoroughly smelled Curly and accepts him as one of the ‘pack.’ It’s very cute, because right now they’re pretty much the same size, and we just died of cuteness when she curled up next to him just after he was swaddled the other night (evidence below).

Breastfeeding, 3 weeks in.

Here’s where I continue with our honesty in blogging and also indulge in a bit of soul bearing and whining.  Breastfeeding is hard.  I don’t love it.  All those rose-tinted images that I had have been shattered.  Right now, I am sticking with it for intellectual reasons only.  If I based my decisions on convenience, emotions, or comfort I’d have given up 2 weeks ago.  Here’s a bit of a history on the past 3 weeks:

My breasts are very large and I am rather petite.  I’d have gotten a reduction years ago except I always wanted to breastfeed.  And THEN I’d have a reduction.  My breasts have been producing colostrum since my mid teens.  Clearly, I thought, breastfeeding was my destiny.

After my very difficult labor and delivery  I was still committed to get started right away.  Curly rooted on my bare chest as soon as he was placed there, 20 minutes after he was born.  He latched on and seemed to have the hang of it, though he was only getting a tiny bit of colostrum.  In the hospital, I got help with positioning and latch from the nurses and 2 different lactation consultants.  I was determined to succeed.  However, he wanted to suck ALL THE TIME. We couldn’t wait to get home and give him a pacifier so he’d stop screaming if he didn’t have the boob or a finger in his mouth.

Once we got home, I kept at trying to feed him.  It’s normal for the milk to take 3-5 days to come in.  That first night home he was clearly starving and my colostrum wasn’t enough.  My nipples were cracked and sore and one of them had a blood blister.  He screamed for hours.  For our sanity and for his comfort, we made him a bottle of formula (the hospital provided samples) and he finally fell asleep afterwards.

On the 3rd day, my milk came in but his latch was still quite painful.  For the next several days, he would nurse for hours off and on.  He’d sleep for 10 minutes, and then scream and flail and kick. Every time he latched on, he would choke and spit and pop off.  When he did stay latched, he would bite my nipple and leave it blanched white and cramping for hours afterwards.  I was a sobbing, hormonal mess.  Still, at the pediatrician, he was within 2 oz of his birth weight, so we were told everything was fine.

We began to notice that he was extremely gassy and that was what made him so uncomfortable much of the time.  He got hysterical if we tried to lay him flat.  I noticed that the longer he ate, the worse he was, so  I began to limit his time on the breast and things got a bit better.  Then, his poop changed from the normal loose seedy yellow/orange of a breastfed newborn to a dark watery green.  We looked this up online and found that we had all of the symptoms of a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and an overactive letdown.  (I’ll let you look those up if you are interested, basically I was making too much milk and it was flowing too fast.)  The first cure for this is to “block feed” where you offer only one breast repeatedly over a period of a few hours and only express enough out of the other breast to relieve discomfort.  So I did that.  And I got engorged and was in pain and was leaking everywhere.  But slowly, over a few days, his poop changed back to the right color and my supply adjusted itself.

A visit with the lactation consultant confirmed that we were doing everything right.  It is still a fight to get him to latch properly.  My wrists hurt from supporting his head and my breast.  My nipples ache and burn and sting. The time I sit in my special chair and nurse him is boring.  But, he is clearly thriving and even sleeping in his crib for a few hours at a time.  And so I’ll stick with it.  3 months is my first goal.  That’s when I return to work.  If I want to give up at that point, I might.  If not, I’ll try to pump at work and go until 6 months.  After that, I can stick with it if I want, but I will have met my long range goal.  Right now, that seems awfully far away.

Solemnity

I, Strawberry, return to work tomorrow after having had 3 full weeks off. It’s going to be quite an adjustment, although part of me looks forward to the “normality” of work once again. Spending 24/7 with a newborn can be quite trying at times, I’m not going to lie. Episodes of colic can certainly make a parent ache to get away. But of course, those times when he is sweet and thoughtful, contemplating the sunlight streaming in from the window, the feel of the blanket in his fist, or one of his moms’ faces in front of him…those times I will miss for sure.

Curly is two and half weeks old and those days have been filled with highs and lows. A newborn is all needs, and when you fill those needs and he still cries, it becomes a state of chaos and confusion. On the other hand, he is a beautiful wonder. He is a perfect, tiny human being who is learning to deal with his body and his senses, no easy task. We await the day he will show us his smile, when he will reach for us while knowing exactly what he is doing. When he is full of thoughts and imagination and reason and want, and not simply a creature of reflex and need.

I had been worried about how a baby would affect Nutella’s and my relationship, and truth be told, it takes a strong couple to get through the first few weeks. But we have been relying on each other, supporting each other, honest with each other and always there for one another and it has been wonderful. Each of our mothers has come over to watch Curly for a couple hours last week while we got out to have some couple time and I highly recommend that to new parents, whoever the trusted caregiver might be. I am hoping Nutella will be ok when I go back to work. Much of what we’ve been doing these past few weeks has been a joint effort and it will be an adjustment on both our parts.

And now, I will end this post with the many faces of Curly…

Paid in full, part duex and bathtime

On Friday, we received a lovely package from the ladies over at babypants.  Inside were some adorable handmade Pay It Forward baby shorts, soft shoes, and a messenger bag from the exchange.  It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the shorts fabric features tiny frogs in jars.  Perfect for our froggie themed nursery.  They are a bit too big for Curly just now, but we look forward to dressing him in them.  And by that time, the babypants ladies will have their own little bundle of joy to dress up!  Thanks ladies!

Pay it forward items

Pay it forward items

Last night brought another milestone to our lives.  Curly’s first bath!  The boy isn’t a fan of diaper changes and didn’t much appreciate any of the sponge baths he had received thus far, so we were wary of how he’d react to the tub.  But he loved it!  The contours of the bathtub are a little too big for him just now, so we might see about getting a contoured headrest.   He was quite cooperative and the entire bath only took about 5 minutes, but I think he had a good time.  And hey, we ended up with a clean baby!

Miles first bath

Curly's' first bath

All dry!

All dry!

Appointment extravaganza

Today Curly had his second pediatrician visit. He is now 8lbs 14oz (a week ago he was 8 lbs 2oz) so we need not worry about him eating well! We could definitely see that he’s gaining some weight…he’s got a cute, fat belly and some chub on his limbs and in his cheeks. The doctor said all looks well with him, and then a nurse did a repeat PKU. This involves a heel prick and after having been with him in the hospital for at least 2 heel pricks, I can safely say this nurse sucked at it. Poor Nutella couldn’t watch, and for 10 minutes, Curly was either frantically sucking on my finger or crying and Nutella was also crying. Not fun.

After that appointment, Nutella had her first postpartum visit with the midwives. They say she is healing well, all for one stitch where apparently her body didn’t like the stitch and decided to heal itself differently but just as well (called healing by secondary intention?) She was happy to find out that she’s already lost 25 pounds, and will pick up a prescription tomorrow for something to help with those nasty hemorrhoids.

Finally, Curly has been in gDiapers for the past couple days and so far, so good. He fills them out well and they almost always contain his messes, save for one or two pee blowouts (but even when he’s in Pampers, they still couldn’t contain those pee blowouts) So we’re definitely sticking with them for a while, and he models some below for you.

Orange, check out that belly!

Orange, check out that belly

stripes

stripes

Rockin out in glam black

Rockin' out in glam black