Our baby in review: His First Month

I can’t believe Baby Boy is a month old today! I’ve always heard people with kids say, “Oh, enjoy every moment. It goes so fast!” And you know what? It does go by freaking fast! One month ago, this baby was inside me. He’s been a person, alive and in the world and in our lives, for a month. It feels like it’s gone by in a flash, and yet it also feels like he’s been in our lives forever.

Vital stats: When Baby Boy was born, he weighed 8 lbs, 8 oz and was 21 inches long. When we left the hospital, he was 7 lbs, 15 oz (since my milk had not yet come in). Within a week of his birth, he was up to 9 lbs, 6 oz! The doctor couldn’t believe it. At his three-week appointment, he was up to 11 lbs, 5 oz! We’re SO happy that Baby Boy is so sturdy and healthy. And I can’t wait until the next appointment, when he gets weighed again, because I love seeing him get bigger and bigger. Especially because his food comes from me — such a cool feeling.
Milestones: When I lay him on my chest, he uses his arms to hold up his whole upper body and look around. During the first week or two, his head bobbed around a lot (like a drunk, Darling Husband joked). But now he holds it up very steadily. He loves to look around at everything, and his focus is so much better than it was a few weeks ago. In his fourth week, he started making little cooing sounds. It’s so cute to hear something other than a cry or a grunt!

How I felt physically: Tired with a capital T. I have spent my life needing (NEEDING) eight hours of sleep a night. I had been worried, during my pregnancy, about how I was going to survive on less sleep. It has been hard to be sleep-deprived, but I am handling it better than I expected. The first week was AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL in terms of no sleep. I didn’t sleep a wink the night I was in labour, and got an hour here and there for the next three nights. Brutal. But as the first month went on, I started to get more sleep (and adjust to getting less sleep than usual).
Recovering from the C-section: It was pretty uneventful. I was taking Ibuprofen and regular Tylenol in the hospital — they would have given me stronger stuff, but I didn’t feel I needed it — and didn’t feel much pain (as long as I kept on top of the doses). I took Ibuprofen for the first two weeks I was home — not because the incision hurt, but because the uterus-shrinking hurt — and then I felt fine without it. I had heard horror stories about how much you bleed in those first six weeks, but I found the flow was very light during those first two weeks — and then it was basically gone. I think breastfeeding helped to shrink my uterus quickly. Once the regular cramping stopped, the bleeding stopped. Oh, and it was painful to get in and out of bed for the first week or two — damn bending and such.
How my body looked: I was very pleasantly surprised by how much weight I dropped immediately after Baby Boy was in my arms (not my bod). I haven’t weighed myself, as we don’t own a scale, but I’m taking about changes I can see. Immediately after the C-section, I looked at my stomach. I was afraid to touch it at first, and when I did, it was sooooo squooshy. It still is, actually. Like bread dough. I certainly wasn’t a skinny-mini before getting pregnant, but my stomach had always been firm — even though it wasn’t washboard-y. Post-baby, it is MUSHY and WEIRD and DOES NOT FEEL LIKE MINE. I am grateful that although it’s soft, it’s not huge. I finally understand what other moms mean when they say, “I lost the weight, but I don’t have my pre-baby body. Things are positioned differently.” I have a pooch that is different from a young-person, too-many-orders-of-fries pooch. This pooch makes me look older somehow. I’m curious if breastfeeding is going to help me lose it, or if I will need to really work hard to get rid of it? I guess we’ll see in a couple of weeks when I am allowed to start working out.

How I felt emotionally: Oh wow. This month was absolutely, without a doubt, the best and the hardest month of my entire life. I was a complete and utter basket case off-and-on for the first week. It was the weirdest thing. I would be tucked in my hospital bed, cuddling with Baby Boy on my chest, and talking softly to him … and then burst into sobs about how perfect and soft and tiny he was. I constantly felt like my heart was going to explode out of my body. Or we would have visitors come to the room, and I’d be cheerful and chatty, opening gifts, etc. And then the second they walked out the door, I would break down again because OH, they weren’t holding him carefully! and I just wanted them to leeeeeeave so I can sleeeeeep! Poor Darling Husband, seriously. I was a crazy person. Once we got home, we had four days before Darling Husband had to return to work. I spent those four days breaking down hourly about how I couldn’t manage without him, missed him already, and Oh God, you just can’t goooooo! Once he was actually back at work, I felt a lot better. It was not as bad as I’d worked myself up to think. I started only having a couple of teary moments a day, and then they tapered off. By the end of the month, I was down to maybe one a day. Progress!

What he’s been eating: Boob juice. It has definitely been a struggle at some points, but this baby has been 100% breastfed since he was born. I mentioned in this post that we both really got the hang of it by the eighth or ninth day — pain was gone, he was latching well, etc. Since then, he has gone through two (I think) growth spurts, and OH MY GOD they are hard on a breastfeeding mama! It basically means your baby eats around the clock, until your poor boobs resemble flacid penises (in texture) and Baby screams and fusses because they are EMPTY and MOMMY, WHY NO MILKIES? I tiredly explained to Baby Boy that he needs to sleep in order for the “milkies fairies” (yes, I made that up in a sleep-deprived moment) to visit and deliver more milkies. He just cried for more, and sucked and sucked and sucked. Growth spurts = evil.
Breastfeeding in public: So far I have fed Baby Boy in the in-laws’ living room, at the park during Canada Day events, and in the car in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. I used a cover or a receiving blanket every time, and there were no awkward flashings, thank God. I definitely need more practice using the cover, because it’s hard to see what he’s doing and help him out if he comes un-latched.
Pumping/bottle-feeding: I started pumping when he was 3 1/2 weeks old, and it went really well. I’ve been averaging about two three-ounce “servings” a day, and I freeze almost all of it in little breastmilk storage bags. It felt funny at first, but definitely doesn’t hurt. It makes me feel like a cow, though. Darling Husband has given him two bottles of breastmilk so far, and he accepted them willingly. He’s been working a lot, so he hasn’t taken over any nighttime feedings yet, but it will come. I’m glad to be building a supply so that he (and others) can offer Baby Boy bottles, and I can either sleep or go somewhere (go somewhere alone — imagine that!).
What Daddy and I have been eating: We had some pizzas, chicken, a chicken pot pie, and cupcakes dropped off in the first week, by lovely friends and family. It was VERY appreciated, and I have grand plans to return the favour when our friends have babies. But after the first few days at home, it was up to us. I am VERY grateful that I stocked our deep-freeze with tons of meals — few homemade, mostly pre-made stuff from M&M Meat Shops — because I can’t IMAGINE cooking anything from scratch at this point. Seriously. We have not bought chicken or ground beef or ANY of the things we used to buy, because there is no time/energy to make anything. If it’s frozen, we’re good to go. I have been eating a lot of tiny meals and snacks, since I’m hungry often but never want to eat too much at one sitting. Darling Husband has still been making me little snacks to eat while breastfeeding, and they’ve been lifesavers.
What he’s been wearing: Sadly, not much clothing, because it’s been so hot (and I’m super-paranoid about overheating him). He spends most of his time wearing just a diaper — I’ve been wearing just a nursing bra and underwear most of the time, so we “match.” When we take him out, he wears just a onesie (sometimes socks), and we drape a light receiving blanket over his legs if there’s air conditioning. Once he wore light pants and a T-shirt. And you know what? He’s basically outgrown all of his 0-3 month stuff! I packed most of it up this morning, except for a few items, and dug out the 3-6 month stuff. It’s disappointing, because he had so many cute little outfits, but his comfort is the most important thing.

How we’ve been sleeping: There wasn’t really much rhyme or reason in the first three weeks, honestly. We diligently wrote it all down: when he slept, when he nursed, how many poo and pee diapers, etc. But we didn’t see a pattern. He slept in two-hour chunks, sometimes one-hour chunks, and rarely three-hour chunks. When he hit the three-week mark, however, we saw a definite pattern: when we put him down at night, he will sleep for 3-3 1/2 hours — that’s his long stretch. Then for the rest of the night, he feeds for an hour, sleeps for two, feeds for an hour, sleeps for one, etc. During the day, he always takes an afternoon nap. In the first few weeks, he was taking a morning one as well, but lately it’s just been the one. I’m slowly adjusting to sleeping during the day, when he sleeps, but it’s hard: I’ve never been a napper, especially when sun is streaming in the windows.
Where we’ve been going: Because of my C-section, I can’t technically drive until Baby Boy is six weeks old (boo). Darling Husband works a lot, but when he’s home, he takes us places. We have gone for ice cream twice. We’ve been to three out of our four local malls. We’ve walked along the boardwalk. We went to the grocery store. I honestly don’t care WHERE we go, because I am so happy to get out of the condo. I have never been so happy in my life to even just ride in a car. I’m like a dog!
Diapering: We used disposables for the first 18 days of Baby Boy’s life, because we’d gotten a few packages as gifts. When the littlest size ran out, I happily pulled out the cloth diapers and started using them. We’re using the BumGenius one-size all-in-ones and the BumGenius one-size pocket diapers, and they’ve been much easier than I expected. So far I prefer the all-in-ones (with the snaps) because you literally just throw them in the pail, throw them in the washer/dryer, and then toss them in the drawer. The pocket diapers require removing the pad, attaching the velcro to the laundry tabs, and then re-stuffing the diaper when it’s clean and dry — not a lot of work, but definitely more work. As I mentioned before, we have 16 BumGenius diapers and five Kushies diapers. So far, we have not touched the Kushies (I just don’t wanna), because I like the BG so much. I wash a load of diapers pretty much every day — it depends on what time I washed them the day before. I wait until there are three left in the drawer, and throw the remaining 12 in the wash (since he’s wearing one). I thought it might be annoying to do a daily load of diapers, but surprisingly, it hasn’t been. It gives me a little feeling of satisfaction to know that every time I wash and re-use them, I’m not using (read: BUYING) disposables.
State of the house: Not too bad. In the first week at home, I found it extremely hard not to run around cleaning everything up myself. Darling Husband simply doesn’t do things as quickly as I do, and even though I tried not to let it, it BUGS ME. My mom and Little Sis helped a lot during the second week, and now between me and Darling Husband, we are running the dishwasher, cleaning off the counters, doing laundry, tidying up, etc. I’m getting good at loading the washer and dryer with one hand, while holding Baby Boy.
Things that surprised me: How totally and completely my everyday life changed, on every single level. I know, stupid me — I should have known, right? But I honestly thought I would have a bit more time to, like, do things. Like check my e-mail! And blog! And go to the bathroom! I knew he would take up tons of time and energy, but I underestimated the amount of time he would sleep — and didn’t really think I would need to sleep every time he was, but … I do. It was very rough in those first week at home to really see that, Wow, I have not checked my e-mail in days. I haven’t been outside in almost a week. Going to the bathroom requires planning ahead! WTF? Things started feeling a bit more normal after the second week, and now I am managing to sneak in a blog here and there. But for those first two weeks? I was kind of TERRIFIED at my new life, and how much I missed feeling normal.
Things that grossed me out: Baby Boy spits up about once a day, and it is A LOT. Like a huge gush of warm liquid with white bits in it (milk curds). It soaks my bra, my underwear, the couch, him, etc. I am getting used to it, but it still grosses me out to be covered in vomit — especially when the food that made the vomit came from my body. It’s like a gross cycle. Oh, and in other grossness news, he peed on me twice — not while being changed, but up through the front of his diaper, when the velcro wasn’t tight enough. Ew.
Things that have made me melt: When he’s crying in his bassinet with his arms stretched out, and he stops when I pick him up. When he’s fussing and I pull him to my boob, and he instantly relaxes and clutches it with his tiny hands. When he lies in my arms and looks up at me, totally peaceful. When he is grunting and thrashing in his swaddle blanket, trying to escape like a little Houdini, and he notices me and makes a funny face. Oh, this boy.

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