As I write this I am watching Kaitlin sit so quiet and peacefully in her swing, watching mommy type on the computer.
In these last three weeks I have learned to appreciate these times of quiet and make the most out of every minute.
She is three weeks old today - amazing!
Sometimes I feel like she must be three or four months by now, and other times I still can't believe that she is already here and is ours to keep forever (and ever and ever...)
This was a big week for Kaitlin and I - we were on our own for the first time. My mom and dad left last weekend and Brian is back to work. It was just me and the baby. And you know what? We did just fine on our own! Thats not to say that I wasn't thrilled when Brian arrived home each night so he could take over for a little bit, but it wasn't nearly the disaster I thought it was going to be. This week gave me a lot of confidence in being a new mom - we even ventured out to the Doctors office and the grocery store all on our own, and made it back in one piece (sort of)!
Kaitlin had her two week check-up this week and I would have to say this was the hardest part of the week. Not only is the doctors office freezing cold (and she has to sit there in her diaper while she gets checked out) but we were there forever waiting to get her foot pricked for blood samples. This did not make for a happy baby and she screamed and cried the entire time we were there (and then some). But the results were good - she has gained back all the weight she lost in the hospital and then some, she is now a whopping 7lb 4oz! Which means that for all the trouble we have had nursing she is getting enough to eat- a huge confidence boost for me - we are doing it! And she has grown over an inch since she was born and now measures 21 1/4". Slowly but surely she is getting bigger!
At the recommendation of the pediatrician I started "training" her on recognizing days from nights in an effort to get her to sleep better at night (after a few melt downs we had while my parents were here in the wee hours of the morning). I try to keep her awake for a short time after feedings during the day, and at night I keep the nursery dark and put her back to bed right away, while she is still in her food coma. Now this system hasn't been perfect but it is definitely starting to work. Except for last night. Apparently Kaitlin likes to party and stay up late on Friday nights. But hey - at least it was a Friday night.
Another new development we tried this week was giving her a pacifier to help calm her down when she goes in to melt-down mode. I really did not want to give her a pacifier
ever this early (nursing is a big enough challenge, I didn't want to add nipple confusion into the mix as well) but it was a good call. We are getting better at catching her before she goes into melt-down mode, but when she does the pacifier definitely helps. She has a major sucking reflex and is constantly trying to suck on her hands, fingers, swaddle - anything she can get ahold of. Until she has better control of her hands (so she can suck on that instead) the pacifier helps sooth her. My other big concern about a pacifier was getting her "hooked" on them, and having to face the nightmare later on of weening her off it. What I have realized is that the "danger" of getting the baby hooked on their pacifier is more the parents problem then the babies. Our Pediatrician said as long as we start to take it away by three months she shouldn't get hooked on using the pacifier, she will learn other ways to self sooth. The key is not to give her a pacifier every time she starts to cry - which is a tough lesson to learn. It becomes so easy to just pop it in her mouth every time she starts to cry, when I need to remember to check for other things that might be making her upset. Is she hungry/tired/have a wet diaper? Is she too hot/cold/bored/need attention? If all of these things are in check - or if I can tell that she is over tired and fighting sleep - then I try the pacifier. This will be a bigger lesson for mom and dad to learn rather than the baby, but we will get there. For now I am just glad to have a way to quiet her down and make her calm enough to go to sleep.
Since it has been just the two of us this week I have had a lot of bonding time with Kaitlin. While I loved her from the moment she was born, I feel like I have grown so close to her this week. I am starting to notice all the little noises she makes and facial expressions she has. We are better in tune with each other and are starting to have a rhythm to our day. We are having more fun together (well, at least I am, I can't speak for her) - going on walks and reading stories. And even when I am overtired and cranky and annoyed that I have to get up again in the middle of the night to feed her, all I have to do is take a look at her sweet little face and all of that frustration melts away.
And even if the day is a total disaster and we are all in pieces crying - at least we can find some hilarity in her explosive bowel movements, gas and insistence on dirtying the changing table as often as possible. Sometimes it's the little (stinky) things that get you through the day :)