We made it. The month is over. I will be honest…I am not sad to see this one go. The transition from sleepy preemie to alert newborn paired with an extreme growth spurt led to one overwhelmed momma. Thankfully, things seem to be settling down.
From about April 9-20th our tiny boy decided to eat…and eat…and eat. We went from 3oz per feeding, to 3.5 or 4, and nursing went from 10-15 minutes per session to 30 or 4o. In addition, we rarely made it to 3 hours…typically he wanted to eat every 2-2.5. Whew! Fortunately, this has passed. He is now eating about 3.5oz per bottle or nurses for about 20-25 minutes. At our 2 month checkup he was up to 10lbs 10oz, more than double what he was when we brought him home from the hospital!
Why yes, I should have known that I spoke too soon. This month has been a challenge. Nighttime sleep still is about the same. We put him down to sleep at 7, and feed him between 10 and 11. He sleeps until somewhere between 2:30-3:00, eats, and goes right back to sleep. He wakes up “for the day” between 6 and 6:30.
The challenge, however, was naps. For about 3 weeks, our sweet boy that we used to struggle to keep awake was suddenly aware of everything, and didn’t want to miss any of it! This led quickly to overstimulation, which prevented him from falling asleep, which led to being overtired, which also prevented him from falling asleep. My solution to this, of course, was to read everything I could about baby sleep and try every strategy I could find (all at once), which in turn led to a very stressed out mom trying to take care of a VERY cranky baby.
Things got better when I got rid of Google and stopped worrying about how many times a day he slept in his crib. I decided that I was not a failure and that this was a phase…he was sleeping fine in his crib at night, and it is just as important to me that he be able to sleep on-the-go. We are out and about too much for him to be tied to the crib at naptimes anyway… So I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, and suddenly things got better. He still doesn’t sleep well in his crib in the afternoons, so if naptime doesn’t go well we run errands…he usually falls asleep in the car pretty quickly. He is also starting to like the swing a bit more, so if he is having trouble falling asleep I will let him drift off in there, and then move him once he is out. The goal is full naps, by any means necessary. Once he gets overtired there is nothing we can do…
The month started out great in this department! On April 8th he was able to hold a small toy for the first time. He had help getting it into his hand, but once he did he held on and was able to shake it! 🙂
Then, the growth spurt. Sir Cranky-Pants wouldn’t let me put him down. Ever. For the majority of the month, if he was awake he was crying…so there was very little play time on the floor. We did a lot of walking around the house, swinging on the porch swing, and singing….but as far as motor development, this wasn’t our month.
Now that things have settled down, we are getting back to this. He is still very hesitant about being on the floor by himself. We are usually able to get in a long (20 minute) playtime first thing in the morning, but later in the day he still gets pretty cranky when I put him down. We do most of our tummy time on the couch…he lays on top of me or Nick. He is getting strong! He can lift his head with his arms underneath him. He can’t do this on the floor yet, but he is getting there!
We, as best we can, are following the Sleep/Wake/Play routine. As the month progressed, Caleb has settled into a more predictable schedule. This is somewhat baby-led, somewhat led by us. I spent a lot of time reading this blog during the first month and a half of Caleb’s life, but eventually came to realize that this is just one mom’s experience, and I wasn’t a failure if what worked for her didn’t work for us. The great Babywise debate is a post all in itself, but I will say that once I decided to stop stressing about the strict schedule, things got much easier. It could be a coincidence…the growth spurt ended around the same time…but I think it had a lot to do with it.
Our typical day looks like this…
- 6:30am – Wake up – Nick feeds him a bottle and then gets ready for work while Caleb and I play for about 45 minutes.
- 7:30-8:30am – Naptime – In his crib
- 8:30am – Eat
- 9:00am – Gym – Playtime and then he usually gets rocked to sleep by the lovely nursery ladies 🙂
- 10:00-1130 – Naptime – In his car seat usually. If he is awake when we get home I move him to the crib. If not, he stays in his car seat for the rest of the nap.
- 11:30 – Eat, then play or swing
- 12:30 -2:30 – Naptime – In his crib
- 2:30 – Eat, then play or swing
- 3:00-4:30 – Naptime – Sometimes we run errands during this nap, because Caleb sleeps better in the car in the afternoons
- 4:30 – Eat/ “play” with Daddy (or sometimes just cry with Daddy…we still have some “witchy-ness” during the Witching hours)
- 5:30-6:15 – Hopefully a short nap – Usually in the swing, car seat, or baby wrap.
- 6:15-7:00 – Bath, Eat, Bedtime routine
- 7:00 – Bedtime
- 10:00 – Eat
- 2:30 – Eat
These times vary about 30 minutes on any given day. This is what we shoot for, but we go by what he needs. If he wakes up early and is hungry, he eats. I put him down for a nap when I can tell he is ready (droopy eyes, yawns, etc.)
It figures that as I type this he is having a completely awful morning and hasn’t even come close to this schedule. 4 weeks ago this would have really bothered me. Today we are just going with the flow. We are a week into month 3 right now, and I think we may be hitting another growth spurt….ughhhh…
There were not quite as many of these this month, since we couldn’t go anywhere for long without crying. On April 10th, Nick’s grandmother, Penny, came with his mom to visit! A couple weeks later, Nicks mom and dad were both able to come visit. This boy is so loved… ❤
We have also been going to the YMCA several times a week. The ladies in the nursery absolutely adore him, and he gets lots of cuddle time! They fight over him every time we arrive. ❤
Things Caleb Loves
- Ceiling Fans
- Avent pacifiers – the plain kind, not the Freeflow. I don’t know why, but he has a clear preference.
- Bright lights, especially lamps or light coming through the blinds in the living room
- His blue curtains (yes, this makes the slaving away to make them SO worth it!)
- This song -He immediately calms down when he hears it…it is a worship song that we sang a lot at church while I was pregnant…this makes me happy 🙂 It is now part of his “go to sleep” playlist that we put on when we put him in his crib. He especially likes when I sing it to him (poor kid doesn’t know yet that I am completely tone deaf).
I’m sure you can tell from the rest of this post, this has been a pretty rough month for me. I think the root cause is the transition from teacher to mom. In the classroom, every minute of every day is scheduled and planned and I am in control of what we do. So, going from that to days that are completely unpredictable has been a bigger adjustment than I imagined.
My first year of teaching, someone gave me the most valued advice anyone has ever given me. She told me to give myself permission to just survive for the first year. To let myself off the hook, to not require perfection of myself. To take each day as it comes. It was good advice then, and it is good advice now. We are surviving, and I am okay with that!