I meant to get this up after month one, and then after month 2, and here were are at the 3 month milestone.. but such is life with a newborn! So instead of 1 month in review, here is a 3 for 1!
These last 3 months have been the most enjoyable and most challenging 3 months of my life, simultaneously. I can’t believe how fast it has gone and how much she has changed already. Most of all, I can’t believe that I can love someone so much. My world has been turned upside-down, and she is now the center of it, in the best way possible.
Sol and I are really lucky that Lola chose us. I don’t know how much credit we can take for what a good baby she is, but I feel like our extensive preparation for our new arrival paired with our mental and emotional readiness to become parents has made our transition into a family of three pretty smooth. Lola is happy, healthy, mellow, flexible and it has been a joy to have her in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, we have our not-so-sunshiney moments like all new parents do, figuring out how to make a family of 3 work is a big change from a (childless) family of 2, but we are thankful every day for how lucky we are to have such a beautiful and easy baby.
At Lola’s 2 week appt. she had gone from 6 lbs. 14 oz, 19.75 inches (the weight and height she left the hospital at) to 8 lbs. 6 oz., 21.5 inches! She is a growing machine!
At her 8 week appt. she was 11 lbs. and 23.25 inches!
Even though the nurses told us that all newborns do is sleep for the first couple weeks of life, Lola came out ready to party. In the hospital, we became expert baby soothers because Lola did not want to go to sleep! We hadn’t gotten more than an hour or 2 of sleep here and there for the first couple of days. One night, after I had sent Sol to sleep in the chair next to my hospital bed and taken over 3 am baby duty, I unintentionally fell asleep while Lola was eating. I woke up with her sleeping peacefully on my boob and realized that she and I had been fast asleep for 4 HOURS! I was at first elated, and then worried- I had read too much about the dangers of co-sleeping and felt immediately guilty for already developing bad habits before we had even left the hospital. I didn’t want to have one of those babies that could only sleep ON one of us. I expressed these concerns to the nurse who told me not to worry, that it was impossible to spoil a newborn and that the skin to skin contact was good to support breastfeeding, so we spent the next few days in the hospital in a full-time snuggle session with lots of peaceful sleep.
Our first day home, Lola slept in the MamaRoo, in the car seat, in the monkey chair, and on our chests. When it was time for Sol and I to go to bed, we put Lola, who was sound asleep, down in the pack-n-play bassinet right next to our bed. And she promptly woke up. We got her back to sleep, put her down, and she slept there…for 20 minutes. Repeat this an innumerable amount of times and guess where Lola ended up….in our bed. She slept great, but I was restless. Sol is a wild sleeper, and trying to keep her out of the way of his elbows, pillows, and blankets was a challenge, and I have read way too much about SIDS to not be totally paranoid about this unintentional co-sleeping situation. I was sleeping with one eye open to make sure she was breathing the entire night. I remembered that my friend Liz had the same problem, where her daughter could only sleep ON her for the first couple of months, until she got this magical contraption that she called “the taco”. I looked it up online and found out that it is called a “Rock-n-Play” sleeper. We trekked out to Babies-R-Us where we acquired said “taco”. The taco changed our lives. Lola immediately started sleeping way better and for way longer, and we started sleeping better too knowing that she was safer. I would highly recommend this for any new parents- it is by far the best baby item we have. By 2 weeks Lola was up to 6 hour stretches at night! We still often pull her into bed in the morning for family snuggle time, after a good night of sleep! Sol came down on the second day A.T. (after taco), and said “I need the number of the inventor of the taco so I can call and personally thank him!” By the end of month one we were in a regular sleeping pattern, one big 4-6.5 hour stretch at the beginning of the night, a short feeding, and then a couple more 2-3 hour stretches after that with feedings in between.
By the end of 2 months, right around the time I went back to work (thankfully!) The “big sleep” stretch at the beginning of the night went from 4-6 hours to 7-8 hours! In one week we hit the 7 hour and 8 hour (straight consecutive) sleep milestones. After a quick feeding she would go right back down for another 2-4 hour stretch. Ohhh this was heaven. She was still going to bed pretty late, around 11 or so, which was fine when I was on maternity leave, but hard once I had to start going back to work. I would have to get up at 5:45, and she would still be blissfully sleeping. Note to self: before summer break is over- retrain her bedtime to be 7 or 8 pm!
Now at the end of month 3, she is consistently giving us the “big sleep” for 7-10 hours STRAIGHT! followed by a feeding and another 2-4 hour stretch. Funny enough, she hit the 9 hour and 10 hour milestones while camping. We should just sleep in a tent every night! (No seriously..) I am happy she is such a good sleeper, but even the best 3 month old sleeper is not without her hiccups. We had some newborn sleep pattern reversions after the 2 month shots and at the 12 week growth spurt, which I expected but that didn’t make it any easier to go back to several middle of the night feedings, even temporarily. Our new challenge is keeping her cool enough at night in the 100+ degree Sacramento summer temps. She still needs to be swaddled to sleep, which even with just a diaper in the thinnest cotton swaddle blanket we have is still toasty. We have to sleep with the AC on most nights, so cool that Sol and I are freezing under a huge comforter, but it is worth it to make sure she is comfy enough to sleep.
Now napping is a different story…she is still not a consistent or very long daytime napper. I guess I need to pick my battles and be thankful that she is sleeping so well at night, but if we could get at least 2 daytime naps over 45 minutes long I would be a much happier and more productive mommy!
Breastfeeding has been going really well from the beginning, which seems miraculous to me considering I was in surgery for the first few hours of her life, delaying skin-to-skin contact and eating, and was extremely anemic for the first few weeks after her birth. I was told that milk usually comes in the first few days after birth, but because of my blood loss it might take more than a week. I was assured that the colostrum would be plenty to feed her, and not to worry, but she was eating allll the time and I was starting to get worried that it would not be enough. 2 days later my milk came in full force- another miracle.
Lola is a great latcher and has been a ravenous eater. The first few weeks were challenging, she was cluster feeding A LOT, and I had more than a few small breakdowns about how much of my life was now consumed by sitting on the couch with a baby on my boob. Yes, breastfeeding is natural, but breastfeeding is HARD! I am lucky to have not had any serious issues (lack of supply, mastitis, thrush, forceful letdown, the list goes on and on..) but it was one of the most challenging things I have ever conquered. Today, after successfully breastfeeding for 3 months, I still can’t say I love breastfeeding, but I can say that we have reached an understanding. I DO love the snuggle time with Lola, I do love the cute faces she makes and smiles she gives me while eating, and I do love that no matter how upset she gets, the boob is always the magic cure. I don’t love how my body, after 10 months of pregnancy, is still not “my own”, that I am constantly aware of what I am putting in it, can’t have more than 1 beer without some serious planning and timing, constantly worried about my supply (Did I drink enough water today? Can I have that Claritin?), planning when and how to pump and that I can’t leave Lola for even an hour without making sure her caretaker has a supply of hard-earned liquid gold. But putting all of that aside, it is worth it to know that Lola is getting the best possible nutrition available and thriving. And you know what? I am PROUD. Rightfully proud. Proud that my body alone has sustained a human being, not only through pregnancy but beyond- 3 months now. Proud that Lola has not had one drop of formula, and she is a chunky, happy, healthy, smiley infant. My original goal was to make it to 6 months, but now I think I want to, and CAN, make it to a year, and I’m already well on my way there.
It’s amazing how much a baby learns and changes in the first 3 months of life. When we first brought her home from the hospital, she could eat, sleep, cry and well, that’s about it. Even a regular diaper or outfit change would be meltdown worthy. In the hospital while Sol changed her diaper and she wailed away he asked, “Does this get easier? Will she always be this upset?” I told him, “Of course! She is just getting used to the world, and it’s hard!” Imagine being all warm and cozy in this little watery home and all of a sudden (after the traumatic squeezing out of the birth canal) having to deal with things like itchy tags, someone wiping your butt with a cold wipe, scrubbing your skin and hair, basically everything would be an ordeal! Quickly things got easier for her though, and she started to get used to the regular baby routine..now she can handle even the messiest diaper change or outfit transition without so much as a whimper, (actually sometimes she doesn’t wake up!)
Within the first couple of weeks she was rolling from side to side (she still hasn’t rolled over yet, but she’s close!), staying awake for longer periods of time, and being fascinated by your face and voice. She started to be able to see clearly at farther distances, and around 6 weeks she could “track” you, follow you around the room with her eyes. Around 6 weeks she started to socially smile, and around 8 weeks we got our first giggle. THIS is when the rewards really come in, no matter how little sleep you’ve had or how frustrated you are, there is NOTHING that compares to those little smiles and giggles. They are the sweetest gift, the most addictive drug. Now, Lola is smiling allll the time, and laughing more and more every day. She especially likes kissy noises and high pitched squeals, sometimes though we catch her beaming at us for no reason at all.
Her most recent discoveries in month 3 have been her hands and her voice. She has figured out that she can use her voice for something else besides crying and she is “talking” up a storm! She is cooing, gurgling and making all kinds of other silly sounds. She can also mimic the tones we make in a call and response type of way. It is adorable, and it really is the first semblance of talking. Now she is even starting to string the sounds together in a way that sounds like sentences, and she says it with such purpose that you feel like she really has something important to tell you. She might not be the quickest to roll over, crawl or walk, but I think she’s going to be one of those toddlers that can hold an advanced level conversation with you and use ridiculous vocabulary words at an early age!
Her hand-eye coordination has gotten a lot better and she can now grab the toys while playing in her play gym, and her new favorite thing is grabbing fabric (a nearby burp cloth or her shirt or dress) with both hands and shoving it in her mouth. She also likes to suck on her fist, sometimes trying to stick both fists in her mouth at the same time (we call this her “hand” sandwich). Her head and neck is also getting stronger, she can now hold her head up for several minutes at a time (in her Bumbo or being held under her arms) and lean against one of us sitting up for extended periods of time. Most of the time when she is sitting up she is looking allll around, trying to take in everything! Her favorite thing to watch is a nearby fan, her favorite thing is watching ceiling fans. The ones in Grandma Cece and Papa Tom’s house are especially fun because they are dark wood and super contrasty. When I lay her on the middle of our bed, she looks up at the ceiling fan and laughs hilariously like the fan is telling her a funny joke.
In the first 3 months of life, Lola has:
Gone to Truckee for the Radford’s baby shower (First out of town trip- week 2)
Dined at countless restaurants
Celebrated her first holiday with family (Easter- week 3)
Partied at her first girls weekend (for Bianca’s bachelorette retreat- week 6)
Watched her daddy graduate with his Masters Degree (San Francisco- week 7)
Partied at the McClures house at her first kids birthday party (week 8 )
Cruised Lake Folsom on Papa Tom’s jet boat, and relaxed on the shore (week 9)
First tent camping trip in Coloma (week 11)
I know that all parents tell you “Oh they grow up SO FAST!” and I always brushed it off as a overused turn-of-phrase, but these 3 months have literally flown by. I can’t believe how fast she is growing, seemingly on a daily basis before our very eyes! At the same time I am sad that she will never be this small again, I am excited to keep watching her grow and change.