I’ve been a mom for four and a half months, and it’s officially fun.
It’s still hard sometimes. Definitely. I still don’t quite know what I’m doing most of the time, and I still don’t leave my house with Annie nearly as much as I probably should at this point. But she’s fun and interactive and not quite so fragile anymore.
Not that I didn’t love months one, two, and three, but I’m playing favorites, and I’m going with four.
BY THE NUMBERS
At her four-month checkup, Annie was up to 11 lbs. 9 oz.! Just about double her birth weight! She moved from the 1.8th percentile to the sixth for weight, so the pediatrician was very happy about that!
She’s still wearing mostly three-month-sized clothing. The 0–3 stuff is starting to really fit, but the 3-to-6-month stuff is still too big. My peanut. And this week, she graduated from size 1 to size 2 diapers. (Still preferring Huggies over all other brands, even though the Honest Company ones are the prettiest.)
At her last two appointments, the pediatrician heard a slight murmur, so she wanted us to see a pediatric cardiologist to get it checked out. I wasn’t worried, which is kind of shocking, if you know me. But we went to the cardiologist and Annie did great with all the tests and monitoring, and we are all very happy that she merely has a “musical murmur,” which is no cause for alarm. She’s just musical! She’s got rhythm! She’s got muuuusic!
ON THE SLEEP FRONT
It’s good. It’s been a lot better. I’m no longer sleeping on Annie’s floor, and I’m trying to be better about not checking the [very bright, even when it’s dimmed] monitor every few minutes.
I’ve never particularly liked talking about sleep here, because in the earliest days, people would constantly ask if Annie was sleeping (they still do), and when she wasn’t, it made me feel like a failure of a parent. Hearing about people whose babies were sleeping 12 hours by eight weeks made me cry. So while, yes, I’ve worked on getting Annie into a routine (more on that in a sec), I would like to point out that Annie being a reasonably good sleeper and napper now probably has very little to do with Brian or me. I think we just got lucky with her.
Parents get praised for getting their kids to sleep through the night, and there are a billion books, classes, and websites dedicated to teaching us how to make our tiny babies sleep. (“STTN” is perhaps the most-used acronym in all the mom groups and forums I follow right now.) I found it to be very overwhelming and all-consuming, especially in those early, sleep-deprived, super hormonal days, weeks, and months. Now that we are evening out a bit, it seems Annie is a pretty decent sleeper, and I think that’s all her. Sure, I set up little patterns and stuff, but I won’t pat myself on the back for this one. If I was able to help set her up for “success,” great! But who knows.
And when I say she’s a good sleeper, I still don’t quite think we’re where other babies Annie’s age are. Some nights, Annie sleeps like a log, and other nights she sleeps like a baby, which is more fussy, tossing and turning, and flinging herself around in the crib. But she doesn’t require a middle-of-the-night feed, which is huge. She may toss and turn, but she doesn’t get hungry until around 5 AM, which is very manageable.
The biggest thing: Annie can, for the most part, put her binkie back in by herself now. Most of the time. We tuck the Wubbanub gently into the top of her swaddle (people say not to do this; I say it saved us all), and if it falls out, she can almost always get it back in herself. That’s the biggest thing, I think!
AS FOR A ROUTINE
We have one! Annie has been doing so well on a schedule, both in regards to feeding, napping, and nighttime sleep. So yeah, I guess I’m that mom who is a little strict about stuff, but it means Annie is thriving, so I kind of don’t care that people will think I’m crazy and uptight. (I mean, I’m not exactly running a regime over here, and there’s plenty of wiggle room in what’s “planned” vs. what happens sometimes, but in general, it’s working for us.) It’s nice having some predictability, and then if Annie is fussy, I can usually pinpoint why (i.e. she didn’t feel like taking that third nap of the day, which is almost always the case!).
IN OTHER WORDS
Annie and I continue to get to know each other, and right now, we’re having a lot of fun together. She’s very chatty and loves to babble, and I can’t get enough of her funny noises and expressions. If we say things like “LOVE YOU” or “HELLO,” she tries really hard to repeat the sounds back to us, and sometimes it actually sounds right! She has flipped from front to back a bunch of times, and from back to front once (on Monday!). She has just about grown out of the Boppy Lounger, and she’s not quite as obsessed with her swing anymore. Her current favorite seats are the Bumbo and the Baby Bjorn bouncer. And the bath. Loves the bath.
She has started really grabbing onto things, whether it’s my hair or the toys that hang from her floor mat, and loves spinning the toys on the Baby Bjorn.
This month, she also really started to notice and be obsessed with Ellie. She focuses on her intently whenever she’s in the room, she laughs and shrieks whenever Ellie walks near her, and she loves when Ellie gives her kisses on the head. It’s my favorite thing.
ABOUT THE REFLUX STUFF
Note to self: I do have instincts, and I should trust them. Since day one, I’ve thought Annie had some level of reflux. She spits up a LOT, but because she’s generally a “happy spitter,” the pediatrician said it was normal because she’s “still a floppy baby.” (LOLLLLLL.) So I didn’t push it. But as time went on, feedings became so frustrating. She would arch her back in pain, she would grunt, she would often abandon the feeding altogether. It was frustrating for everyone, and seeing her in pain was awful. I feel like I kept bringing it up, but it was often dismissed. (And don’t get me wrong, I adore our pediatrician! I just wish I had advocated better.) At her last appointment, I brought it up again, and, yeah. The pediatrician agreed that it does, in fact, seem to be reflux. She suggested started with Zantac and seeing how Annie does with that. It’s been a bit better the past few days. Fingers crossed we’re continuing on an upswing. Eating should be fun!
HOW I’M DOING
BETTER. At least for now! I met with my midwife last weekend and talked about how I’ve been doing, and it was good. Helpful. Reassuring.
As of yesterday, I’m down to only pumping twice a day! Almost done! Yay! Annie will get breastmilk for the first eight months of her life. And then she won’t, and we’ll all be just fine! If I weren’t so anti-pollution, I’d definitely punt my pump in the Hudson River as soon as I’m done with it. But I shouldn’t do that. Still, I’m having a PARTY when this is all dried up!
I’m also balding! Everyone warned me about postpartum baldness, and here we are! Right at the four-month mark, my hair started falling out in giant clumps. I’m constantly covered in strays. I fear for my shower drain. (My hair falls out like this during Crohn’s flares, too, so I’m no stranger to it, but it’s definitely visible right around my forehead and hairline.)
But generally, after a few really good days, if only in this moment, I feel good. I finally feel like a somewhat capable mom.
That said, I’m still trying to figure out what type of mom I am and how to do everything I want to do. I’m not a full-time stay at home mom and I’m not a full-time working mom. I work from home, I’m freelance, and I work for myself. I have part-time help a few days a week, but it’s not enough for me to be able to put in full-time hours for my career. Some days, I feel like it would be easier to go to work at an office so I could be more focused, but I also love being around and having some flexibility. I’m (surprisingly) not putting pressure on myself to define what, exactly, I am — a stay-at-home mom, a work-from-home mom. Does it matter? Probably not. But I do have lots of professional goals for the year, and want to find a way to work toward them without missing much at home.
Is that possible? I guess we’ll find out!
I can barely remember when Annie was a tiny baby snoozing on me all day long. But to jog all our memories, here’s a look back:
Try taking some magnesium powder in warm water at night. Garden of Life makes a great orange flavored one. I swear it did wonders for my hair and nails; they grew like crazy after just a month of taking it!
love to you and your family, thank you for sharing a slice of your experience!
My friend had a lot of luck with the Merlin Sleep Suit. Glad it’s working for you all! Love the photos of Annie.
That Merlin sleep sack looks scary! Can’t see bend her arms? Can you use it as a snowsuit too?
Haha it’s not scary, it’s great! It’s nice and soft, and yes, she can bend her arms in it! And no, definitely not a snowsuit! It’s ventilated, so it’s not super hot to sleep in.
She is super adorable!!!! You could not have picked a better name!!! Annster’s Domain
I’m with you on the sleep. Somehow you will survive. My son is 20 months now and didn’t consistently sleep through the night until well past 1 year. Then a miracle happened around 14 months, he switched to sleeping 12+ hours overnight. I think a big part was he was (and still is) very small and very active so he just needed the calories. I remember thinking it will never end but it will. I also developed an extreme dislike whenever I heard anyone mention how well their baby slept.
She is the cutest!