I won’t even commit to seven!
I’ve been trying to put down little things I notice about Dominic as the days go by, but I never seem to have two hands free to do the necessary typing. So here’s what I can pull off the top of my head now!
1. Dominic lost 18% of his birth weight within the first week — down from 6 lbs, 14 oz, to 5 lbs and change. At the pediatrician’s directing, we began supplementing him with formula, anxiously tracking all his feedings, and counting messy/wet diapers to determine hydration levels and monitor how much he was eating. At the end of his second week, he had regained most of his birth weight. By the end of the third week, he was up to 7 lbs, 2 oz, and mommy did a little jig of joy! The lactation consultant said, if I hadn’t told her about his colossal weight loss, she would never have known anything was amiss, as he was right back on track with where he should be.
This week, week 6, I have no idea how much he weighs, but my rough estimate is “a ton.” He has positively exploded in length and girth. While he swam in “newborn” size clothes for the first several weeks of his life, he has suddenly shot through the 0-3 month category and is almost out of his 3 month rompers. Plus, everywhere you pinch him, there is excess chub; his double chin has overtaken his first chin, and the roundness of his tummy is a sight to behold. When he lies on his back, his neck disappears beneath round, rosy jowls. Daddy makes comments about baby’s lack of moderation in the feeding department, but mommy is has her sights set past “chubby” and onto “fat.” Can’t stop now!
2. Dominic began smiling at three weeks old. Unless it was two weeks. At first, it was just a general brightening of the eyes when you kissed or cuddled him, then an uncertain opening of the mouth. I jokingly called this a smile at the time, knowing full well it was too early to be anything like it. But a few days later, as I kissed his smooshable little face several times and then sat back to admire him, he gave a full-on, kid-you-not, honest-to-goodness grin. Which became an wide-open-mouthed, ear-splitting smile a day or two later.
Now he smiles spontaneously when he is calm and happy, usually after a feeding. …and, with an unerring sense of self-preservation, usually at the first light of dawn after a long, long, fussy night. Which makes mommy melt into a puddle and forgive him on the spot.
3. Baby is the loudest eater I have ever heard. I have actually been afraid that he’s going to aspirate milk into his lungs as he nurses, what with all the spluttering squeaks and chirps and huff-huff-huffs. Every time he eats, it’s like he hasn’t eaten in a year.
4. …which may be what accounts for his poor nursing etiquette. Aside from being a “lazy nurser”, (his preferred rhythm of eating is “suck-suck-suck-suck…..[pause]……*deep sleepy breathing*…..suck-suck….. suck….*baby snoring*”), he has perfected what I call the “Chomp-and-Twist” and the “Chomp-and-Slide.”
The “chomp” involves clenching the nipple between his rock-hard gums and exerting rather more pressure than is strictly necessary. For the “slide”, he then pulls his head backward away from me until he runs out of nipple and falls off. I’m assuming he thinks this requires less effort than simply OPENING HIS MOUTH AND LETTING GO.
The Chomp-and-Twist will probably do me more damage, though: feeling a strong urge towards the end of nursing to squirm and writhe as he stretches his little fists above his head, he (presumably) thinks, “but what if I lose my latch while I whip my head around? I’d better get a good grip on this thing first…” Not cool, baby. Not. Cool.
5. In spite of this and numerous other complications (read: cracked nipples, bleeding nipples, mastitis, and pain so bad in the first few weeks it brought me to tears when he started nursing), I really like nursing. Even when it takes Baby an hour-and-a-half to finish eating because he keeps falling asleep, thereby confining me to my nursing chair for a third of my day. I get to hold my baby close to me, hear his squeaking and grunting, feel his soft skin and baby-warmth, and see him fall happily asleep because, in his mind, it’s the best place in the whole world to be. I’m not so eager to be anywhere else, myself.
6. Having (more or less) figured out the nursing thing, we are now turning our attention to Job #2 of being a newborn — sleeping. At the recommendation of several friends, I’m reading “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” and discovering why Dominic has been so predictably and uncontrollably fussy around 4-6pm every night. Not colic, happily — he’s just very overtired. Mostly because mommy didn’t realize that, at his age, he should be sleeping at least every two hours. And that she needs to help him to sleep well, and coax him to sleep before he’s very obviously tired!
Today was the first day trying this approach, and for the most part, it worked miraculously well. He slept much more during the day, appeared happier and more alert while awake, and — best of all — he has become SO easy to put down! (Whether this is coincidence or not, I don’t really care.) He used to struggle against the swaddle-wrap we have for him, so much so that I didn’t know for a while if it wasn’t being counter-productive. Now, as soon as I lay him on it, he wiggles for a bit to situate himself, then brings his arms down by his sides voluntarily so I can wrap him. Then I pat him on the head, give him his pacifier, and walk away. Usually in two minutes, he’s asleep. Seriously. I don’t want to jinx this, but it is AWESOME.
7. This post is not well-written. And I’m not going to fix it. I’m going to hit “post” and go to bed, because it’s late and, for the first time in weeks, I’m the last person up in the house. It’s a weird feeling…