Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mom: The First Month

I can't believe Susan is already one month old.   She has already changed and grown so much! She had her one month visit today.  She weighs 11 pounds and is 22 inches long.  This puts her in the 96th percentile.  I have been trying to think of what I wanted to share with everyone so that those of you who have not done this or are thinking about doing it can learn a little. And those of you who have done it can chuckle at our ups and downs.

Susan at 1 month!  So Big!!

I guess the first thing I will mention is that I knew that having a baby would really change our life. That seems self-explanatory, but let me explain what I mean.  Those of you who know me well know that I am a very scheduled, organized, detailed person (some people might label it "OCD," but I don't like to put labels on things).  Laura Beth and Robbie, my two best friends from law school, will tell you how I used to plan my days in law school by the hour and put the post-it in my planner and pretty much follow it all day.  Robbie can tell you about how when we studied together for the Bar, I created a very detailed weekly study schedule separated by the week day and a separate weekend schedule (We passed by the way).  And I am still a big scheduler at work too.  It is just how I roll.

  How I rolled through Law School:

  Study Schedule – Monday June 1 – Sunday, July 25

  Monday – Thursday Bar Review Schedule
  ???? – 8:00 – Individual morning routines
  8:00 – 9:30 – Read today’s outlines/materials for Barbri Lecture
  9:30 – 1:00 – Barbri Lectures
  1:00 – 2:00 – Lunch Break
  2:00 – 4:30 – Create flashcards/summarize today’s lecture notes
  4:30 – 5:00 – Break
  5:00 – 7:00 – Practice MBE Questions and Essay Questions
  7:00 – 8:00 – Review previous substantive material
  8:00 - ???? – Home for Dinner and Relaxation

So during the pregnancy, I tried to prepare myself for how I would need to add flexibility to my life after Susan came. And I will say that I have done a pretty good job.  The first week and half was kind of all over the place.  I was healing, going through mood swings, and Susan was worrying the crap out of us.  Why?  Well, because all she wanted to do was sleep.  This is pretty standard for newborns in the first week.  They take about a week or two to "wake up."  And for those of you who don't know, newborns lose weight within the first few days.  So while she was born at 8 pounds 14 oz, she weighed 8 pounds 8 oz when we left the hospital.  So we spent that first week or so waking up her 30 minutes before her bottle.  "Waking her up" is a nice way of saying what felt like baby torture.  We would change her diaper, take her clothes off, and start rubbing her down with a cold wash cloth to get her to rise and shine.  Then we would battle for 35 to 40 minutes to get her to take 2 ounces.  However, this all passed after she woke up.

We also switched pediatricians.  It took her two weeks to gain back to her birth weight.  In the first week and half, our pediatrician kept making us come in every other day for weight checks.  Susan was only maintaining her weight, not gaining.  At the last one, on a Wednesday, they decided to switch her formula to a higher calorie formula.  Now, Susan has been doing great on her Enfamil Premium Newborn.  No constipation, no spit ups, etc.  It was just difficult to get her to eat because it was difficult to keep her awake!  The doctor wanted us to try Enfamil Enfacare.  We did four feedings with it.  The first one, with Chris, she spit up at the end of the bottle.  The formula was really thick and creamy.  It looked like a milkshake.  Anyway, the next feeding, she basically projectile vomited everything she had just consumed and let out the worst cry we had ever heard.  This happened during both middle of the night feedings as well.  Well, after the second time in the middle of the night, I had enough.  We had gone from a kid who didn't spit up at all to one who wasn't getting enough because she kept throwing it up!  And I was pissed at the pediatrician for stressing us out so much about her weight, switching formulas, and not giving us enough time to try different things.  Because by this time, we were on our third type of bottle.

Good formula to start with.  If she had been constipated or anything, we would have tried Enfamil Gentlease.  We knew better than to start with Similac because for generations, babies on my side of the family have not found Similac to be agreeable.

We had started with the Tommee Tippee bottle.  She didn't really like that nipple.  Then we tried the Avent bottles.  She liked those a little better but not a lot.  So then we tried the basic EvenFlo, which is what she used at the hospital.  EvenFlo is the most basic bottle.  No bells or whistles.  She loved it.  It was her bottle.  But it took us a week and half to figure this out.  So the next morning, after all the spit ups, I called a new pediatrician and set up a new appointment for that day.  I also put her back on her regular formula, and thankfully it didn't mess up her system too much. We went to see the new doctor, explained everything and the doctor said it sounded like she was just starting to wake up.  (She had finally taken a few 3.5 and 4 oz bottles).  The doctor asked us to come back on Monday for another weight check.  We did, and she had gained 7 oz!  We were back to her birth weight and on track with the feedings.


And after this, the girl woke up and was HUNGRY!  That weekend, she had her first five ounce bottle.  At 2.5 weeks she had her first 6 oz bottle.  Now she has somewhere between 4 and 6.5 at every feeding.  She is having six bottles a day, with only one in the middle of the night.

I have mentioned feedings, but not sleeping.  Well, from the very beginning, she has been sleeping in her Rock and Play Sleeper.  We have two of them, one downstairs for the day and one upstairs in the guest room for night.  We decided early on to take turns every other night sleeping with her. This means that every other night, one of us gets a full night of uninterrupted sleep while the other one sleeps upstairs with Susan taking care of the midnight feedings.  Well, last week when she started having bigger bottles, she started sleeping 4 and 5 hours at a stretch.  We didn't want her to learn to sleep through the night in the Rock and Play and then have to start all over when it was time to go to the crib.

Cannot recommend this enough!  If you are having a baby, buy one!  Buy two! They have come out with more deluxe models too. Seriously - check it out.  You will not find a baby product that receives better reviews.

So we have done two things.  First, last week, we started swaddling her in the Halo Sleep Sack (while still sleeping in the Rock and Play).  Then, on Friday, we bought Secrets of the Baby Whisperer.  This introduced us to E.A.S.Y. and made us feel brave enough to put her in the crib.  On Sunday afternoon, when it was time for her nap, we swaddled her in the Sleep Sack and put her in the crib.  AND SHE WENT TO SLEEP!  We could not believe it.  She had gone from sleeping elevated in the Rock and Play to sleeping flat on her back without any trouble!  And that night, she slept in the crib all night.  It was an adjustment for me, because instead of her being next to me in the guest room, I was listening to the monitor.  But she has taken all naps and bedtimes in her crib or pack and play (which is in our room) since Sunday.

Asleep in her crib!  Like a big girl!

She has also been on the E.A.S.Y. routine since Sunday.  I would highly recommend Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg to all moms and dads, and to read it before the baby is born and probably again after.  I wish I had read it while I was pregnant.  Anyway, I read it Sunday and Monday.  In the book, the parents learn about family-centered parenting.  It is a way to have a balanced lifestyle, so that the baby doesn't control everything and the baby gets some kind of structure, and at the same time, helping parents adjust to this new lifestyle.  So Tracy created a flexible routine for all babies - Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time (parents time).  It's called E.A.S.Y. because it really is easy!  It is not a schedule, but rather, an easy routine so that the baby always knows what to expect next.  So while every day may not be exactly the same, patterns will emerge.  Susan has taken to the routine like a champ.  After she eats, we talk to her, sing with her, do tummy time and back time.

Side Note:  Tummy time is really important for babies.  A lot of parents complain that their infants hate tummy time but 9 times out of 10, it is because the parents waited too long to start tummy time.  If the baby doesn't start tummy time until she is five weeks old, of course she will hate it.  She has spent five weeks playing and sleeping on her back.  Being on her tummy is totally different.  We started doing tummy time with Susan when she was four days old.  It lasted about 7 minutes before she started fussing, but she turned her head three times.  Now we do tummy time almost four times a day and she is already trying to roll over, lifting her head and trying to push up.

Okay back to E.A.S.Y.  She is usually awake for about an hour to an hour a half (except for the middle of the night) from the time she wakes up to when she goes back to sleep.  And Activity includes diaper changes, clothes changes and after the evening bottle, bath time.  And while she sleeps in her crib or pack and play, Chris and I get to take time for us.  For example, I am able to work out and get dressed during her morning nap.  This is usually her shortest nap, and after the next cycle, she sleeps a little longer and I am able to eat lunch, watch TV, blog, etc.  At night, we can eat dinner and hang out together.  And taking her places is easy because she usually sleeps in the car seat or just looks around at everything.  So going places doesn't affect the routine at all.  It has been great!  It lets Susan know what is coming next, and helps her learn to sleep without relying on the bottle or being rocked for an hour, etc.  The book also helped us learn Susan's cues.  We already knew what her cry sounded like when she was hungry (its the only time she cries without stopping).  But it also helped us figure out what her overtired/tired cry sounded like, what her overstimulated cry sounded like, etc.  And the cries sound a lot different.  We also learned the three stages of sleep and what to look for.  Now we know when its time to go to her room and put her in the Sleep Sack.  And we don't wait until she is sound asleep to lay her down either.  She is always still drifting in and out when we put her down.  We felt like semi-competent parents before this book, but now we not only feel competent but actually confident as well.  And I LOVE having her on a routine.  It is not a strict schedule but it gives us order to our day while still being flexible.  Which is definitely something my organized, somewhat OCD self can get on board with.

Must read for new parents.
 And I don't think we have much longer before she is sleeping through the night.  I have a feeling it will come within the next month or so.  And we are both REALLY looking forward to that!

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