do babies come with user manuals? i think not…

The past seven weeks have been… happy, sad, exciting, worrisome, busy, stressful, tiring, joyful, fun, hectic, exhausting, the list just keeps going. I knew what we were getting ourselves into, I mean, all I’ve done my whole life is babysit and take care of other peoples’ babies. But even with all of the experience, all of the know-how, and all of the advice, one can never fully prepare themselves to bring their newborn home and just “be” a parent. It’s hard. And between trying to get the hang of nursing and sleep deprivation, throw some major holidays into the mix and you have a recipe for gut-wrenching, hair-pulling, tear-inducing stress. But in the midst of all of this stress, there is a beautiful, tiny little life that is relying on you to be strong and get through the hard times. And that’s just what we’re doing, one day at a time.

The first three weeks, we had a really really hard time with the whole nursing thing. I developed a new found respect for all women who nurse their babies, yet I also understand why so many mommies find formula feeding so attractive. I wanted to switch to formula so badly that second week, but I told myself I would try my hardest to get through the first six weeks, which everyone says are the hardest. Mason’s little mouth just wouldn’t open up wide enough, at first, so after using a nipple shield for a week or so, we finally got our latch fixed and we’ve been nursing champs ever since.

This baby definitely lives up to his in-utero behavior of constantly kicking and moving around; Mason loves to be awake! And boy oh boy, he knows how to kick those feet! He is such an observer. Since day one, he has loved nothing more that to look at you and study your face and just listen to you talk to him. We got our first “gas smile” at four days old but he really started smiling at about three or four weeks old, and now at seven weeks he smiles all the time. He talks (coos) like crazy now, and if your really lucky he’ll give you a little laugh.

He has been growing like a weed, too. Mason weighed 7 lbs 12 oz, 20″ long when he was born, and was 7 lbs 3 oz when we left the hospital that Friday. The lactation nurses asked that we come back the following Monday to get his weight checked to make sure he was gaining a little and when we went back in, he was already back up to 7 lbs 11 oz! He weighed in at 8 lbs 3 oz at his two week check up, and grew a half an inch! And at his last appointment, his one month check up, he weighed 9 lbs 12 oz and grew to 21 3/4 inches! But all of that growing didn’t come easily. The first four weeks of nursing were rough (even after we got the latch right) with lots of painful gas and spitting up most of what he ate. He never actually lost any weight, so he was never diagnosed with reflux, but I self-diagnosed a problem with lactose, and ever since I’ve cut out most dairy from my diet and switched to lactose-free milk, the spit up has been practically eliminated! The gas is still a terrible problem; sometimes he wakes up screaming because it hurts him so bad. The gas drops that we were giving him with simethicone in them are made to help stomach gas, and he has trouble with intestinal gas, so they weren’t effective most of the time. I don’t really like giving him any sort of medicine that could have harmful side effects, and since most gripe waters having things like baking soda in them, which aren’t regulated by the FDA and can lead to side effects. Thank goodness we found Colic Calm (and no, I’m not paid to say that; we just tried the product and it truly works for us!) It’s a homeopathic gripe water consisting of nothing more than all natural products like aloe, vegetable charcoal, chamomile, peppermint, and ginger, which means that you can’t overdose; the body just absorbs what it needs and dispels the rest… and the product is regulated by the FDA, all of which makes this momma very happy.

All in all, we have an incredibly well mannered baby, he is so good. But I have really been struggling with his sleeping habits. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I realize that newborns and babies younger than three months don’t really have a set “schedule” quite yet, but this child is such a picky sleeper. Which has led to mommy sleeping on the couch for the last seven weeks. He absolutely HATES sleeping in his crib; the longest he has ever slept in his crib was about 10 minutes. He won’t even sleep in the crib if I swaddle him. We have one of those Fisher Price “Rock’N’Sleep” bassinets, but with all of his tummy troubles, he doesn’t like to be quite as “squished” as that. So we’ve had to lay a pillow in the bassinet before putting him, which seems to be just the right mixture of laying flat but being slightly elevated. I know every parent and doctor and child safety advocate is shaking their head at me right now, but it gets him to sleep. Now that he’s seven weeks old though, I think it’s about time to start sleep training and trying to get him to sleep in his crib. I’m not ready to make him cry it out yet, but we’re going to try to implement a bedtime routine for the next several weeks, and maybe start crying it out for naptime when he’s about three or four months. Although we’ve got some time to get all that worked out, I’m definitely looking forward to remembering what it’s like to sleep in my own bed, so stay tuned to see how that all works out.

And we’ve already experienced two major “firsts”… holidays! Mason was two weeks old for his first Thanksgiving, and we just celebrated his first Christmas. Obviously, they weren’t very eventful; Thanksgiving was mostly just time for family members to meet baby boy for the first time and me and Hubs didn’t even “get” any presents for Mason for his first Christmas (no worries, everyone else spoiled him rotten this year!). Next year he will be one and walking and talking (hopefully) and the holidays will be so much more fun with him being able to tear into presents and what not.

So that’s what we’ve been up to lately. This momma has lost her sanity and regained it, and doesn’t remember what it’s like to sleep in my own bed anymore, but baby boy is growing so much each and every day, and we love him so much. We may not be doing everything according to the books or what doctors say, but we’re figuring this whole mommy and daddy thing out. Who actually reads a user manual anyways… don’t most people just try to figure it out as they go? Isn’t that what parenting is? =] As I was typing this, looking back on the last seven weeks, I can’t believe that we’ve already gone from a newborn to a baby who’s almost two months old!

two weeks
three weeks
four weeks
five weeks
six weeks
seven weeks

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