I know I say this every month, but I really can’t believe that Miles turned three months old this week. In some ways it feels like he was born yesterday and in other ways I can hardly remember what life was like before him.
We have one happy baby and two very happy parents! Just how happy is he? Often, while I’m giving him a bottle I have to stop midway to give him a break so he can smile and “talk”. He just can’t contain it! We also get some of his biggest smiles while he’s on his changing table or hanging out in his activity gym.
There’s so much change that happens from one month to the next, but I feel like I’ve noticed some of Miles’ greatest leaps over these past four weeks. It seems like he started out the month still a newborn and is now a full-fledged baby. The fourth trimester is totally a real thing. Within this past month he: eats more at each feeding; goes to bed earlier and sleeps longer at night; strings together noises to make more complex sounds; outgrew his newborn clothes and fits into his 3-month outfits; smiles and “talks” constantly; is more interested in toys, and much more. As you know, he was a tiny 4-pound peanut when he was born so we’re thrilled that he’s growing like crazy. We think he’s about 12 pounds now.
I think that the biggest lesson over this past month, for me, was to put the gosh darn parenting books down! Every family has their own parenting style and that’s totally cool. All along, Robert and I have taken a figure-it-out-as-we-go approach. Still, I’ve consulted different books for some guidance along the way. But you know what? Miles is our greatest guide–at least at this stage. We may be his parents, but changes are so much easier for all of us when he leads the way because it tells us that he’s ready for them. All we need to do is watch for his cues and help make it happen.
His bedtime is a huge example of this lesson for us. I’d read that babies should start going to sleep earlier as they get a little older. At the beginning of this month, he still had a pretty late bedtime—around 9 or 10pm. I tried moving it up (because the books told me to), but it was a struggle to get him to fall asleep any earlier. That is, until one night Miles moved his own bedtime to 7pm and it has been that way ever since.
Here’s how that went down. One evening around 6pm, when Miles was about 9.5 weeks old, he was completely inconsolable. We tried everything we could think of to calm him down and nothing worked. Finally, as a last-ditch effort we decided to give him a bath because he’s always happy and relaxed in there, even though it was several hours earlier than we’d normally bathe him. Happily, it worked. While taking a bath, he started to yawn so we decided to continue with our bedtime routine and just see what happened. So, after his bath he got some snuggles while wrapped in his towel, we put him in his PJs, I fed him a bottle, and before he was finished he started falling asleep. We swaddled him, put him in his crib, and before 7pm he was fast asleep. Robert and I snuck out of his room and as soon as we got downstairs we did a happy dance. Success! What’s more, he slept 6.5 hours (instead of his usual 3 to 4) that night before waking up for a feeding. Nearly every night since he’s gone to sleep between 7 and 7:30pm. Especially now that Robert isn’t working such crazy hours, it feels pretty spectacular to have our evenings back. Although we know that we should probably get in bed shortly after we put Miles down, we’re just so happy to have a few hours together in the evenings right now.
Miles still wakes up twice at night to eat (the second time is usually between 4:30 and 5 a.m., so technically I guess he’s only waking once at night?) I’ll take it for now, but I’m hoping he’ll drop at least one of those feedings over the next month, especially now that he’s eating more during the day. But do you want to know a secret about those nighttime feedings? I kind of like them. I realize I probably sound like a weirdo for saying that (and I may change my tune when I’m back to work), but for now I really cherish them. It isn’t always easy to get out of bed when I hear him crying on the monitor, but there’s something so sweet and peaceful about holding and feeding our baby in the middle of the night. I know that Miles won’t be waking up at night forever (right? Right? PROMISE?) so I’ll take those late-night snuggles and sleepy smiles while I can.
Without a doubt, the highlight of this month was our first family trip to Saugatuck, MI. Robert and I went there last September to celebrate our first anniversary and loved it so much. It’s this adorable little town along the Kalamazoo River and we were so happy to be back with Miles. He did great! He slept the whole three-hour long car ride there. He was such a champ while we bopped around town during the day and he napped while we ate a fancy steak dinner (with Robert wearing him in the Lillebaby and standing up at the bar – ha!) He kept us entertained with smiles in our little rental house and he slept well at night while Robert and I shared a bottle of wine and played cards.
I’m so excited about what’s to come during his fourth month. Miles is on the verge of so many cool things. We’re waiting for a giggle to happen any day now. When he’s really excited he wiggles his entire body, gives us the biggest open-mouthed gummy smile, and makes a sound that’s almost a giggle. It’s like he’s trying to figure out how to coordinate the facial motions and sounds necessary for producing a giggle. When Miles is on his tummy, he lifts his head and chest nice and high and leans to one side (see below) so I know that rolling over is just on the horizon. He did it once on his own last week, but we’re eagerly waiting for him to do it again. His head control has improved dramatically over this past month—it makes such a difference—so I’m sure it’ll continue to get stronger until he can totally hold it up on his own.
Finally, this is the month that I start back to work. We have a fabulous nanny share situation (I’ll be taking him to the other family’s house) that he starts the second week of June. I’ve already reached out to some editors about my return to work and have quite a few assignments waiting for me when I’m back at my computer. I have about 10 million feelings, both good and bad, about returning to work. I’m so fortunate to work from home, work for myself, enjoy what I do, and have some flexibility so I’m incredibly grateful for all of that. But the thought of being apart from Miles and having someone else care for him is really difficult for me to wrap my mind around at the moment. I know that over time we’ll find our new normal and figure it out together as a family. Just like we’ve done all along.