Forest is 6 weeks old today. Most of my friends say that 6 weeks is the first major hump where things start to improve, followed by 3 months. I would say that all in all, things have gotten much easier. That’s partly because Forest is becoming more calm and easier to settle as he gets older, and also because we’re adjusting and becoming more patient and in-tune to his needs.
That being said, this child is totally inconsistent. I try to keep a loose routine/structure to our day. We’re following the Baby Wise/Baby Whisperer routine of Eat-Play-Sleep on about a 3 hour cycle throughout the day. Some days, he does beautifully. He naps hard after every single feeding and is content when he’s awake. This week, he even slept 16 hours in a 24 hour period, like all the books say he should.
But for every mountain with Forest, there is a valley. This past Thursday was the day from H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. He didn’t nap AT ALL and was inconsolable for 12 hours. 12 hours, y’all! Poor baby was losing his voice from screaming so loudly for so long, and his poor parents were losing their minds. I gave up on the whole ‘getting him to nap’ thing and would have been fine just getting him to calm down. He was obviously having some tummy issues and we were pumping him full of every colic remedy in the book, but nothing was working. We tried the swing. He screamed. We tried the bouncy seat. He screamed. We tried the stroller (on a day when it was blizzarding outside, by the way. That’s how desperate I was.). He screamed. I rocked him, cuddled him, carried him around. He screamed, screamed, and screamed some more.
I have never felt so helpless and powerless in my life. All of my Baby Wise and Baby Whisperer nonsense flew out the window. Accuse me of ‘accidental parenting’ all you want, but I strapped that baby to me in his Ergo carrier, locked myself in the laundry room, turned the light off, turned the dryer on and swayed back and forth for an hour just to get some peace and quiet.
That helped keep him calm until his next feeding, at which point we topped him off with some Chamomile Tea. Have y’all heard of this? If you give colicky babies a half ounce of Chamomile Tea, it relaxes their stomach, allowing them to dispel trapped gas (just make sure it doesn’t have honey in it!). It worked and he started toot-tooting away.
He still fussed for the next 2 hours, but once I fed him his bedtime feed, he zonked out and slept for 7 hours and 45 minutes!!! All that screaming tuckered him out. And thank goodness, because this momma needed some rest.
But if Thursday was his worst day yet, this Monday was his best. He went down so easy after each feeding that I thought somebody came in and switched him with an angel during the night. It was such a treat not to have to fight him to take a nap and to have confidence that every time I put him to bed, he would stay asleep until I woke him up for his next feeding.
I was worried that his daytime sleep would lessen his nighttime sleep, but he actually slept 5 hours and 45 minutes that night. In fact, for the past 3 nights he has slept 5+ hours, which gives me hope that longer stretches are on the horizon.
I feel like he is growing so fast! I know to other people, he still looks like small baby, but to me he is HUGE, not to mention adorably chunky. My arms are starting to ache when I hold him for too long and he’s totally outgrown his newborn clothes. I packed them up and handed them down to a friend of mine who’s expecting a baby boy this Spring.
Most people get all sentimental and sad about packing away the newborn clothes, but I was excited. First off, it means Forest is growing really well. Second off, the older he gets, the closer we are to getting out of this newborn phase alive. Colic is pure evil, y’all and I live in constant fear that another attack will pop up out of nowhere. It is just the most miserable thing for all involved. Do any of you guys have any go-to tricks that worked when your babies were inconsolable?
After his colic episode last Thursday, we made an appointment with the GP on Friday (here you don’t have a pediatrician, but just a GP who will refer you to a pediatrician if need be). She referred us to a private pediatrician to see if Forest may have a milk allergy (I’ve cut dairy from my diet and it seems to be helping), and also to address his tongue-tie.
I was told he had a tongue tie in the hospital, but I wasn’t sure what that meant, and since he was latching like a champ, they said it wasn’t an issue. When my sister’s baby was born 2 weeks ago, he had the same issue and she said nursing him was so much more painful than nursing her other two boys. Within a few days of being born, baby Andrew had his tongue tie snipped in a routine procedure and nursing has been going smoothly ever since.
Well, Forest is my first, so I just thought nursing was supposed to hurt this bad and I didn’t seek out any help for it. Now that I know that his tongue might be the problem and there is a relatively easy fix for it, I’m looking into getting that done. This past week has been the hardest as far as nursing goes. I won’t go into details, but if you’re interested, google ‘milk blister’. And yes, it’s as painful as it sounds.
Baby boy is starting to smile more frequently, and he’s also learning to reach and grasp for things. He does tummy time like a champ and enjoys doing his baby push ups.
He can hold his head up for quite a long time now, and if you hold up his hands, he loves to use his legs to stand up. He has started tracking his mobile with his eyes and refuses to eat if Jonathan and I are having a conversation because he is just too distracted trying to listen to our voices.
Because he is so alert, I have to be very careful not to OVER stimulate him. It’s a fine balance and I’m getting slightly better at detecting his first signs of drowsiness and trying to get him to take a nap immediately. If I miss the window, I am in trouble, and getting him to take a nap becomes an act in futility. And unfortunately, if he misses one nap, his subsequent naps are likely to suffer because at that point he becomes over-tired and even more likely to fight sleep.
He’s getting more adaptable though. I have been getting him out once a day to either stroll or run errands and it hasn’t gotten him off schedule or made him cranky, which is a blessing. For a while there, if I had to leave the house with him I knew it was going to result in a meltdown. It was making me stir crazy and a bit depressed. Now, it’s nice to get some fresh air.
Yesterday, my friends Pam and Jill came for a stroll with us. It was so great because they got to visit with him beforehand and then I got to have some good girl chat time while he snoozed in the stroller. It was so good for my soul!
I realize that this post has been a bit all over the place, but baby boy is actually napping and I’m trying to remember all of these little things. I’m already starting to forget so many things about his early days. The other day I was looking back at his weekly pictures and I had zero recollection of writing his ‘2 week old’ post. It’s nice to have the blog as a way to look back and reflect on how quickly he’s changing and growing up, and how I’m starting to adjust to motherhood. Please keep praying for us. I really feel like your prayers have made all the difference!
Here are his 6 week pictures:
|Can you guess what he's doing in this picture? Yep, that's his poop face.|
And just some bonus ones from his sixth week of life:
|Jon having a man-to-man talk with Forest about the importance of naps!|
And an example of how alert he is and how his motor skills are coming along as he tries to bat at the birds on his bouncy seat: