I can’t believe how much has changed since my last post. In his second month, Miles has definitely woken up. He opens his eyes nice and wide, makes eye contact, and focuses on people and objects (and dogs!) around him. He’s also started to vocalize with the cutest “gahs” and “ayes” and we always babble those sounds right back to him. I can’t get enough!
As you can see in the picture above, last week he started giving us some smiles, and…just …wow! Seeing those first smiles—real, unmistakable, on-purpose smiles—is the best thing in the world. It reminds me a lot of what it was like to feel him kick for the first time when I was pregnant. It’s hard to explain, but in both instances I suddenly felt so connected to this little life. We’ll do anything to make him smile no matter how ridiculous we may look.
Robert and I feel incredibly lucky that Miles makes it pretty easy for us to be new parents. Like any baby, he has his moments of crying and fussiness, but overall he’s a calm and content little fella. Not only does he look like his dad, I’m pretty sure he has his easygoing demeanor, too.
I’m happy to say that a lot of the things that felt so hard during the first four weeks are becoming much easier now. Of course, every day brings new adventures and challenges, but I feel like we’re really getting the hang of things now. In the past month, I’ve also started doing some things that make me feel a little more normal again. I go grocery shopping with Miles, we’ve gone to a few restaurants with him, and I try to go on a super long (70-90 minute) stroller walk most days. Cooking is still way too intimidating–I’ve only cooked a handful of things since he was born, so we’re still living off of those freezer meals and foods that are really easy to assemble (salads, sandwiches, eggs, etc.)
Sleep is a work in progress. In general, I’d say that he’s a pretty good sleeper for an 8-week-old. Currently, he goes to sleep between 8 and 9 p.m. and wakes up twice at night for feedings, which last 30 to 45 minutes each, and then goes down pretty easily after each one. When Miles was about 6.5 weeks old, we moved him out of our room and into his nursery. It was bittersweet, but a good decision for all of us. He makes so many noises at night that were keeping us up! At first he was sleeping in his rock n’ play in his room and he did really well with that. However, we know that he should be sleeping in his crib (which he’s never really liked) so we’ve been working on having him sleep in there at night and for some naps. We still swaddle him using either a Halo Sleepsack or Summer Infant Swaddleme.
No matter how much or how little sleep I get at night, I always look forward to the morning. Morning Miles is my favorite! (Bathtime Miles is a close second.) Even if our day starts at 5:30 a.m., I’m totally okay with it because of how sweet he is. After Miles has been fed, he’s super alert and so fun to be around. We’ll hang out in the jungle (aka his activity gym), do some tummy time, read some books in bed, make funny noises back and forth, and chill. Miles doesn’t even need to be entertained–he’s just happy and alert–but now that he’s awake for longer stretches, especially in the morning, I try to take advantage of that time when I can.
This is probably a result of spending way too much time on social media and reading too many blogs, but I often see people lamenting the fact that their baby is growing up and getting bigger. Is it weird that I don’t feel sad about this? As much as I adore this newborn stage (and I really really love everything about it), I’m excited about everything that’s still to come! I can’t wait for giggles, babbling, playing, crawling, and on and on. I love that he’s getting bigger. I love that I’ve already packed away his preemie outfits and his newborn-sized clothes are next. I love that every day he discovers something new like the crocodile hanging from his activity gym or the lights in the kitchen ceiling. I love that as soon as I think I know him, he becomes someone new. For me, this is what it’s all about and I’m happily soaking it all in.
In my last post I mentioned how much I love the Solly Baby wrap. Well, I’m convinced that babywearing is the key to a happy baby and happy parents, at least in this household! In addition to the Solly, we love our Lillebaby. I love the close contact babywearing provides, while enabling me to have my hands free to do things such as walk the dogs, put together a meal, eat, fold laundry, answer e-mails, and more. It’s also a great alternative to using the stroller when running errands. Babywearing is pretty magical—as soon as I put Miles into one of the carriers, he snuggles close to me and falls asleep. Some evenings I’ll wrap the Solly on while he’s still napping or hanging out and as soon as he starts fussing I plop him in there and all is right in the world again.
Looking ahead, this next month is a big one for us. Robert has one week left of his busy season and then he’ll be around a lot more. Woo hoo! In many ways it feels like a fresh start for us as parents. He’ll be taking a week of paternity leave in May and we planned a little getaway to Michigan for our first family trip, which should be really fun and, hopefully, relaxing.
Finally, I wanted to end this post with something that’s been on my mind since Miles was born. I realize that it may seem like it’s all puppies and babies and rainbows and unicorns around here, and for the most part it is (well, minus the rainbows and unicorns). What follows, which is about feeding Miles, has consumed a lot of my thoughts and energy during these first few months. As we enter his third month, I think I’m finally starting to accept things as they are, focus on the positive, and let my disappointment go.
So here it goes…
I had every intention of breastfeeding Miles for at least the first year. Before he was born I did everything I could to set us up for success. I took classes, read books, researched, stocked up on everything I could possibly need, and more. It was really important to me to make it work.
Unfortunately, that is not our reality. I just never produced anything. I worked with lactation consultants and tried everything imaginable, but still had nothing to give him.
Finally, my doctor offered one more option: a medication to treat acid reflux that’s prescribed off-label to induce lactation. I considered it briefly. I wanted to know that I did everything possible to feed our baby and that certainly would’ve been everything. However, after careful thought and discussion, I decided that the side effects such as anxiety and depression were too risky (what new mom needs that?) and there wasn’t enough long-term evidence for me to feel certain that it was safe for Miles and me. I also felt that I didn’t want to force my body to do something that it clearly wasn’t doing on its own. And so, our reality is that our baby is formula fed.
Accepting this reality has been the most difficult thing I’ve faced since he was born. I know that in the scheme of things feeding him formula isn’t that big of a deal. (Heck, I was formula fed and I seemed to turn out okay…) And of course, the most important thing is that he’s happy, healthy, growing, and loved. He’s certainly all of those things. It’s just that knowing all of the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby, I’m disappointed that we don’t get to experience them.
Whenever I feel bummed about giving Miles a bottle I call to mind something my mom said that put it all into perspective for me. At his two week doctors appointment when we found out that he was over five pounds, which was a big milestone for us, I texted my mom the news followed by “no thanks to me.” Her response: “Babies also grow on love.” Isn’t that the truth? I may not be able to feed him in the way I had hoped, but I’ll always be able to nourish him with an endless supply of love.