Sunday, April 21, 2013

4 Months

 Really running behind here! Better late than never:)

When did my baby become a four-month-old? At his check-up I couldn't believe I was sitting there discussing things that are in our near future such as appropriate upright toys (jumpers, bumbo seats, etc.) and solid foods (eek!). You mean my baby is going to eat real food soon? I know it's mashed up, but I just can't believe it. My current plan is to wait until he reaches the six month mark to introduce solids, but I'm realizing that, like everything else from this past year, six months will be here before I know it.
4 Months
This time last year I was carrying around my little secret and writing hidden blog posts about the journey that had just begun. It was a year ago (April 4th to be exact) that I discovered my little resident bug. What. A. Year.
Catching up to my rabbit!

Health and Growth
Owen is weighing in at 13lbs 3oz and 25 inches long. I'm told he is healthy and gaining appropriately. He is still little, but he's always been on the smallish end of the growth charts. Plus, he's a breastfed baby and I'm told they tend (but not always) to be on the smaller end of the spectrum for the first few months. I actually took him to the appointment by myself which meant that I braved the four month shots alone! It really wasn't that bad. It's tough to see him startle and cry like that, but he turned it off really quick once I picked him up to soothe him.

Taking up more space in the tub!
I've noticed a distinct change in the way Owen plays with his toys. Instead of randomly batting at things he is actually reaching for objects. I can sit there watching the wheels in his head turn. He will also pick up certain things and put them in his mouth. Speaking of putting things in his mouth, this child just loves cramming his hands in his mouth. It's like he wants to see if his whole fist will fit. He has also become quite the drooler. It's not something I'm loving, but I know it will stick around for a while, especially once he starts teething.

Our biggest accomplishment for the month? Rolling over! This one kind of scared mommy. We began finding Owen on his stomach in the morning when we would go to wake him. The first time he did it, he was still in his swaddle blanket since we had no idea he was capable of turning over. Not cool. We dropped the swaddle cold turkey that night and he did fine. We continued to find him on his tummy for about a week but we still never saw him roll during the daytime. Then one day he rolled over during a playtime on his mat. However, we both missed it. I was out running errands and Patrick said he walked back from getting something in the kitchen to find him on his tummy. It's like we had a secret roller!

Earlier last week, however, he couldn't hide his new trick any longer. He spent an entire hour rolling from his back to his stomach. He hasn't figured out how to roll back over yet. Hey, maybe next month!

We are still going strong with breastfeeding 6-7 times a day. He rarely needs me to throw in an extra middle-of-the-night session for him but it has happened like twice this month. He's taking his bottles like a champ when I'm at work and frequently screams for more, I'm told. This has been somewhat of an issue at times, but I think everyone is getting used to it. It's hard to train people (especially when I'm not there) to let him cry when the milk is gone. With a breastfed baby, you just can't cram them full of milk like you can with formula because when the milk is gone, it's gone. I can only produce so much. I never pump more than 5 oz after the first pumping session in the morning (when I get 8oz, but that's after a full nights sleep). It just doesn't make sense to let him gulp down 6-8oz bottles all day. My 'girls' would never be able to produce that for him. I don't want to stretch his little tummy out and make him think that it is normal to get that much milk, but I want to be gracious to the people taking care of him. It's a balancing act for sure. I think he just really enjoys the fast flow of milk from a bottle, gets greedy, and wants to suck longer.

Getting some love from Aunt Caroline.
Owen has made sleeping through the night pretty much the norm this month. Now, it's still not every night. He has the occasional 4 or 5am wake up. I'm really proud of my little man and realize how lucky I am to have a baby that will sleep for 10-11 hours.

We have been so bad about his naps this month. They've kind of been all over the place and we been really bad about putting him in his cradle. It's not affecting his night time sleep, but I think I'm beginning to notice that it is affecting his daytime sleep. Now that he likes to roll over, I don't think he likes sleeping in his cradle for long stretches anymore. He just can't change positions quite the same. Even Mrs. Terrie (the lady that keeps him on Mondays) was starting to take notice that he wouldn't nap for her. After two weeks of struggling through different techniques, we finally realized that we just couldn't let him fall asleep in our arms anymore. He would either wake up during the transfer to the crib or he would wake up 5-10 minutes later and scream because he wasn't being held.

Catnapping in the swing
 So we decided to start putting him down awake (yes, I was nervous about the outcome). The first nap we did this was AWFUL. I will admit that it was probably harder on me than on Owen. About five minutes after I left the room he started to cry. I looked at Patrick with a please-let-me-go-get-my-baby face. He was strong and simply reminded me that we had discussed this, made a decision, and we needed to stick to it. So I got in the shower. When I got out, it was quiet. Not only that, but it stayed quiet for 2.5 hours. My little man woke up cooing and gave me the biggest smile. I was in shock. He hadn't napped like that in weeks (45 minutes had become the "long" naps).

Waking up with dad is fun.
The amazing thing was that it only took that one nap for him to figure it all out. When the next nap time came around (I was dreading it), I put him down awake, walked out, and heard instant cries. I was determined, so I went to turn the TV on for distraction. I had just pressed the button, when it was silent. The end. Did that really just happen? He slept for another 2 hours. My happy, easy, smiley baby was back after that second nap and I began wondering why we hadn't done this sooner. I'll also add that naps became way less stressful. We just walk in the room, close the curtain, turn on the sound machine, put him in his sleep sack, and walk out.
Just talking with mom.
I'm enjoying playtime more and more every day. Now that he is rolling over I can tell that his head control is improving, along with his ability to lift his head while on his tummy. One of his favorite things lately has been looking in mirrors at himself. He always smiles really big. We take hour long walks on the pretty days that have popped up recently and he seems to really enjoy being outside. His favorite toy this month has been a simple orange ball that he got from my Aunt Amy. It's easy for him to hold and put in his mouth. It can entertain him for an hour solid. Plus, I can hook it to his car seat during trips for distraction.

He also loves standing. He will stand in your lap or on the floor (with support) forever. I think he has my strong legs (and long torso for that matter).

showing off for Sally
Sally's face when she was greeted with a little gas:) Love it.
I've been back at work for a month. It's been good and bad. I still LOVE my job. Of course, it's a lot harder when I have to throw in pumping sessions to already crazy busy days. Milk supply is always on my brain somewhere. I think I was a little over confident when I returned to work since I had over 60 oz in the freezer. I quickly discovered that we had a problem. I now know that I pump about 24-26 oz on the days that I work. Owen was eating 30+ oz. The math was not good. After a few short weeks, I was down to no freezer stash. Zero. It was a little disheartening, but we broke down and gave Owen one bottle of formula for his last feeding 4 days in a row so that I could pump and regain some ground. Since then, we got a little more strict with the number of ounces he gets, I pump during my off days, and I started drinking mother's milk tea. I'm back ahead, but not by very much. I can also honestly say that I will not miss pumping one single bit. I may just throw a party to celebrate the day that I no longer have to pump.

My boys hanging out on the back porch.

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