Abbie is four months old! Again, two months have passed since I’ve updated. But look at my adorable excuse!
Some Abbie stats/info:
Weight: 15 lbs, 1 oz, as of her four month appointment. She’s wearing 6 month (or 3-6 month) clothes and a size 2 diaper. I stocked up on diapers before she was born, and so far my count predictions were pretty accurate! We ran out of size 1’s right when she was ready to move up, and it looks like when the size 2’s run out, she’ll be ready for 3’s. Thankfully, both Huggies and Pampers work equally well for her. I had heard mixed reviews about Huggies, but the girl can blow out a Pampers diaper just as easily as she can Huggies. I got all my diapers for $4 or less a pack before she was born, and I loved being able to finally rock the diaper coupon deals. I haven’t needed to buy diapers yet, but I have done a few CVS runs for size 3 and 4. It’s just so much fun to buy diapers for my BABY!
Eating: The last three weeks have been sweet and life-giving for me, because I finally got Abbie back to breastfeeding. It was difficult to know how hard to fight for this, and I wavered about whether or not it was worth it. I would try to get her to latch and eat daily, and some days we got somewhere. But other days, she just screamed, and that killed me. I think that if I hadn’t enjoyed breastfeeding, if it had been painful or if she didn’t latch well, I would have given up and accepted that bottles were the way to go. It’s such a personal decision, and I admire the bravery of the moms who choose pumping or formula because they know it will make them a better mom. For me, I realized I wouldn’t be a good mother if I didn’t give everything I had to making breastfeeding work for us. I loved breastfeeding Abbie as a newborn, and I found myself longing for another baby to get things right with them. But what if there wasn’t another newborn? And how fair was that to Abbie to be longing for another already? I finally realized I was a complete mess because of it all, so I determined to do everything I could to change things. After ever nap, I used all the tricks in the book to get her to latch on. She still screamed most of the time, but we started making breakthroughs. She would eventually latch and eat. The sleepier she was, the better, so I skipped her nightly dream feed bottle and just nursed her whenever she woke up that night. Which was a lot; we didn’t get much sleep. But it worked. And each day got better, and she eventually forgot her negative association with the breast. And now that she’s older, she can handle the fast flow better, so my “overactive letdown” just means she’s done eating in five minutes. And I don’t have to wash a bottle. Or hook myself up to a pump. I just get to hold my baby close to me while she nurses. It’s wonderful and freeing, and I’m so thankful we were able to make this work for us.
Sleeping: Night sleep took a significant hit with the breastfeeding revamp. She was doing pretty good before; a dream feed, then up at 3 and 6. But then I stopped the dream feed, and then she hit four months and some sleep regression kicked in, sooo she is up a fair amount. She goes to sleep fairly easily at 7 and sleeps until 6 or later, but she is up every couple of hours. It’s different now that she is older, though. As a newborn, each feeding would take an hour, so it was a big deal if she woke up. But now, it takes 5-10 minutes to settle and/or feed her. So, I can handle it. It’s not like I could make it through the night without pumping, and waking to nurse my baby in much more enjoyable than that. Sleeping through the night was a big deal to me until we endured her nursing strike; then, it became less of a deal. I love waking up to see her sweet little face rooting away, and I love not having to pump or prepare the next bottle!
We got through months 1-4 thanks to The Happiest Baby on the Block methods, which was a lifesaver. I am a pro at the 5 S’s. They worked so well for Abbie, and we rarely had to endure long crying spells. It was pretty easy to calm her down in a minute or two. But then we hit month four, and all of a sudden the pediatrician is telling me to end the swaddle (due to the danger of rolling over while in it) and put her in the crib and let her cry it out, and I was not ready for that. Nor was the baby. I tried putting her in the crib unswaddled at nap time, and we were both sobbing after five minutes of it. I felt like we were being pushed off a cliff into unknown baby territory, right at the time when babies are supposed to get easier!
Thankfully, I have an awesome friend who helped me come up with a more gradual transition. Abbie has been sleeping next to our bed swaddled in her rock n play, and that has been working well. I don’t feel comfortable putting her swaddled in the crib, so we will keep her in the rock n play (since she can’t accidentally roll over while in there) until she can be weaned from the swaddle. And to get her ready for the crib transition, we are now working on seeing the crib as a fun place, using it for play time and tummy time. One sleep book I read talked about being attune to your baby, watching to see what they are able to do each day and trying not to enable them during those learning times. That has been helpful, and I enjoy watching her get a little more comfortable each day with tummy time and crib time and unswaddled time.
While night sleep is rougher at times, she is doing great with naps! She is currently taking 3-4 naps a day. A 3 hour nap in the morning, a couple 2 hour naps in the afternoon and a 30 minute or so nap in the evening. Up until the last week, she was napping downstairs in the swing. But then she started being more affected by noises and lights and random Gracie and Riley barking, so she wasn’t napping as well or for as long. So we started moving the rock n play in the nursery during the day for naps, and that made things so much better. It is also getting her more comfortable with the nursery, which will hopefully help with the crib transition. So, nights may be rough, but we are mastering the day sleep. This is obviously very helpful with me working from home. I get some work done while she plays, and even more when she sleeps, so we are figuring out a pretty great routine. And during my breaks, I squeeze her thighs and kiss her feet and she grins her gummy grin, and I am oh so happy to be home with this baby!
Likes/Dislikes: She loves being worn facing forward in the Baby K’tan. If we have a fussy spell during the time between her last nap and bedtime, I put her in that and we move around the house. It’s a great way to get stuff done, since I need to be moving the whole time. We put away laundry and throw the ball for Gracie and clean up clutter, and she is so happy! Now that she’s not as miraculously calmed by blasting a hair dryer, she is being calmed by our voices. Tom’s voice is especially calming to her; if she is crying, she stops as soon as he begins talking or singing to her. Which makes me try to figure out how to imitate his voice during the day (not an easy feat). She seems calmer if I sing or talk loudly, so I think it’s the level and strength of his voice that she loves. She also loves her wubbanub, her bouncy seat and her play mat. And she loves it when you kiss her feet and tickle her belly. She does not love tummy time, but it gets better every day. And she does not like being tired. She is as grouchy as her mama when she gets overtired.
A year ago today, I came home from work and unwrapped a digital test that I had purchased for my previous pregnancy. With my history, I don’t actually use expensive digital tests for testing. I just bought them when I knew I was pregnant so I could see the words on the screen. So, it seemed silly to actually use this test when I wasn’t sure if I was pregnant. But I had to know for sure, so I took it. And I waited. And while I waited, I gave myself the usual pep talk about how it would be ok if it was negative, we would get through it. We had done it before, and we would make it.
But then, in the middle of my pep talk, the screen changed. It said “pregnant”. And I started screaming. And screaming. I ran down the stairs screaming. Tom wasn’t home, so it was only me, Gracie and Riley, but they thoroughly enjoyed screaming and jumping with me. I called Tom screaming PREGNANT over and over again. And we were just so happy. Even after our miscarriage, we were so happy to get the opportunity to be pregnant again. We knew things could go wrong again, but we had hope that maybe they wouldn’t.
And a year later, we now know that all the things went very, very well.