I forget how hard the early newborn days are, when the baby needs you every minute of every day. It is physically and mentally draining. But its also so special at the same time. The newborn cuddles and sleepy times don't last long. The excuse to stay in your PJ's all day. It is a special time in motherhood that goes by REALLY REALLY fast. But damn its hard!
The sleep part is not bothering me as much as it has in the past. I heard someone use a great analogy- first baby the lack of sleep is shocking! Its like running a marathon when all you have ever run before is a 5k. But by time you get to the third baby, you haven't been sleeping well for years. Your body has adjusted. So it feels much more like I am well trained for this lack of sleep. I have been training for this marathon.
The hardest part about the early days for me is the cluster feeding in the evening and losing the adult time after the kids go to bed before I go to bed. Thomas is a serious cluster feeder, its not joke! He starts at about 4:30-5pm and either nurses or cries all the way til about 9pm when he goes to sleep for the night. This makes any and all night time activities impossible. Spending time with the boys, making dinner, eating, putting the other kids to bed... its all really challenging and exhausting. By time I get Thomas to sleep for the night, I am so beyond tired that I go right to bed too, knowing that his first wake up is only a few hours away. I struggle with this. Normally from 8-10pm is my "get shit done" time frame. Finish cleaning up from the day, finish any work that needs to be done, spend time with my husband, order that thing online that I have been meaning to get, etc. Becoming totally useless (except for the important role of nurturing a brand new baby) from 5pm til bedtime every night makes me a bit crazy. Luckily I know this phase is short, and once bedtime for Thomas gets a little earlier, I will have some adult time back, but for now its rough.
The boys have been busy in camps and playdates with friends or hanging with grandparents. I appreciate all the help, but I sure do miss them. I know I need this time to take care of myself and Thomas, but I still am sad about losing the time with Ryan and Patrick. Ryan said to me one day "mom I am so sorry you have to miss doing all of the fun things with us" which made me burst into tears because of guilt and appreciation for his empathy.
I actually do feel like we have still been doing a lot as a family- Blue Claws games, Kite Night, going out to Dinner, birthday parties. We have really been busy. I guess life doesn't stop when the new baby comes, you just bring him along to all the chaos.
And because its been brought up before, I can now officially say I like having a summer baby WAY more than a winter baby. Being able to go for walks outside, sit in the backyard, take him with me to summer activities, its been really nice. I am generally a happier person in the summer and struggle with a little bit of winter blues, so it has definitely been better on my postpartum stability to have this baby in the summer.
I have been exclusively breast feeding and its going really well. I think I developed a pretty good milk supply right off the bat. I had a few days of concern when he was so fussy during his night time nursing, I started to worry he is not getting enough. But in reading more and more about cluster feeding, its all very normal. He is gaining great weight, he is thriving, pees and poops frequently- all is good.
The other most challenging part about this particular phase is Mike's work schedule. In taking a new job this winter, his hours and commute changed. He now has a 1.5 hour commute each way, and thats on days with no traffic. The ride home normally ends up being closer to 2 hours. He has been leaving the house around 6am and getting home at about 7pm. This has been hard on the whole family. The boys miss him a lot, he feels like he is missing out on time with Thomas, I could really use him around more (especially in the evening when I am by myself with 3 kids, dinner and bath and bed time, and a cranky cluster feeding newborn!!!) We believe this is probably just a transitional job for him, but for now its really challenging. To quote Mike- he feels like he is falling short on both sides. He is missing family time and bonding with his new son because of work AND he is missing opportunities with his new job because he needs to be home more with his family.
Here are some stats for the month-
-I don't have his weight and height by me- but I know he is 50-75% in all categories.
-I think he has reflux. He does a lot of gurgling, crying out in pain after eating, spitting up, and just generally seems uncomfortable. We are watching this to see if it becomes more of a problem.
-I suspect a dairy or egg sensitivity is causing the problem, so I am going to cut it out and see how he reacts.
-He nurses constantly. The longest stretch he has ever gone during the day is 2 hours, and that is pushing it.
-Right now he is sleeping like a normal newborn. He goes down about 9pm and gets up between 12-1 and then sleeps again til about 4am and then up for the day around 7. I can't complain.
-He has been pretty cranky, especially the last 2 weeks. If he is awake he is crying and fussing, we haven't really seen a happy baby yet. But he is able to be soothed most of the time and will sleep in my arms or nurse on and off to stay calm.
-This is frustrating to visitors who want to come see a cute cuddly baby and all he does is cry if they hold him. I feel bad but right now he really only wants mommy.
-He has been very spot on with "growth spurts". Any time he has a day that he is extra fussy and wants to eat constantly, I look up a newborn growth spurt chart, and its been 100% accurate. It lasts a day or two and then he goes back to normal patterns.
-It doesn't happen often but we have seen a few real smiles from him!
-He has beautiful blue eyes! I really hope he keeps them.
-He loves being in the baby carrier (ergo or baby k'tan), baths, being held upright, and occasionally the green bouncy chair.
-He HATES the car! Its terrible. He screams like we are torturing him every time we drive anywhere. It sure can make me insane. It also makes doing anything a bit more challenging because even the simplest errand becomes more stressful because of the car screaming. Lets pray this is a quick phase. Third babies need to be able to be in the car a lot, they don't have a choice. They will be dragged around to all of the other family activities which equals many car naps. Fingers crossed.
-Lastly, Ryan and Patrick have been great big brothers. They seriously surprised me. They are both super helpful, understanding that they need to be patient, no jealousy, its been great. The love to hold him, and talk to him, and are just happy to have him in our family. Its been a great transition.
-And one more thing- I am already back to pre-baby weight! I seriously can't believe it. Thank you breast feeding and having an active pregnancy! Don't get me wrong, my body is no where near looking the same as it did before baby, but the pounds are gone. Now to get back to a few workouts a week and I might just feel like the old Shannon before I know it. I had gained a total of 25 lbs this pregnancy.