How is my baby 4 months old already?? I think I have heard it a thousand times that time flies when you have kids but holy cow is that true! I guess it doesn’t help time slow down when you have a newborn, move, and are settling into a whole new life.
Moving with a newborn is certainly not ideal in any way but I think the hardest part is taking this sweet baby away from his grandparents, aunts, uncle and all of our friends. As much as I miss our family and friends, there is something about adding this little one to the mix that makes this process heart breaking.
Nolan has already changed so much in the three months that he has been on this earth. I see him next to Newborns now and feel like he looks like a monster in comparison! I think back to those sleepless nights at the beginning and can’t believe that the big whimpering newborn cry, those little frog legs that curl up when he sleeps on me, and the days of truly only sleeping, eating and pooping have already come and gone. As I think back on those days, I miss those little newborn snuggles but can truly say that each passing day and each new adventure has brought an even deeper appreciation for motherhood than the day before.
I wasn’t prepared for how fully and completely my heart would be consumed as a mom. Nolan has completely stolen my heart. It truly is unlike anything else in this world and every time I look into those big blue eyes, the rest of the world, all of my worries and fears, fade away completely. And believe me, the worries and fears that come with being a new mom are great and plenty, so having them melt away is no small thing. I guess when something so little steals your heart in such a big way, the days of being worry free become a thing of the past. I could honestly stare into those eyes all day, and when he looks at me and smiles I feel this deep connection to him and truly feel that he is communicating his love to me in a bigger way than words ever could. I never understood moms who gushed, showed countless pictures, and talked endlessly about seemingly insignificant milestones…now I’m totally one of those moms…
When people ask me about Nolan, usually they ask if he is sleeping through the night, how nursing is going, and about his milestones, so that’s what I plan to talk about:
I don’t feel that I can talk about sleep without first addressing this topic. We have come a long way in this category. When I was pregnant, I was very adamant that I wanted to breastfeed Nolan. I was warned by many about how difficult it can be but never thought to far into that. On the other hand, I had lactation consultants and other friends tell me how incredibly natural it is and how both me and my baby are meant to do this. I chose to go into it with that mindset. I wanted to believe that our breastfeeding relationship would be nothing but natural. That was not the case. I could go on forever about this process and could probably spend an entire post focusing on just that, but I won’t. Long story short, breastfeeding in the beginning was not natural. Nolan had a hard time with the latch and so I began pumping and bottle feeding to supplement. Slowly he got better at it but each nursing session was a struggle and there were a lot of tears from both him and me. Since I was both pumping and feeding, when my milk came in, I had a pretty intense oversupply. At each session I would feed him which would take at least a half hour and then pump. Between feeding, pumping, washing the pump and prepping for the next time it would take me at least an hour and typically I would only have about an hour before starting the process over again. To say the least, I was one exhausted mama. In the beginning I was super discouraged and didn’t know if I would be able to breastfeed like I had hoped. Then there was the joys of engorgement, constant leaking, and I was lucky enough to get mastitis which put me out for days.(<–sarcasm)
Slowly, nursing has gotten increasingly easier. I am no longer pumping and most sessions only last about ten minutes. After about two months, I really felt like things were turning around for us in this area. Now I am so thankful that I kept at it. Not only do I feel like it so much more convenient than fixing a bottle for every feeding and washing it after, I truly enjoy the time I have with Nolan while I am nursing him. It is truly a special time for me and I am very happy that I am able to do it.
That look he gives me right after he finishes nursing melts my heart.
As far as my plans for nursing or my “goals,” right now I would like to nurse exclusively for 6 months and then slowly introduce solids. My goal is to nurse for a year and re-evaluate when we make it to that point. For now, I know that this is not a given for everyone and am very thankful that I am able to do it for so many reasons. The only downfall is that I am the only one that can get up for the middle of the night feelings with Nolan, but I honestly don’t mind that since he is so quick at eating and there is nothing better than baby snuggles… Even at 2 am.
That brings me to the topic of sleep. As I said, in the beginning, Nolan was pretty much eating every 2-3 hours around the clock so he was getting up fairly frequently throughout the night. Luckily, once Nolan started sleeping in longer chunks, his longer chunks would be at night vs. during the day. He was not a baby that had his days and nights mixed up. Since he was about a month old, sleep has gotten increasingly better.
People ask me if he is sleeping through the night and I honestly don’t really know what that means. He is an excellent night time sleeper. He usually won’t make it past 7 pm so that has become his bedtime. We usually start his nighttime routine of nursing, lullabies, prayers and a book if he will tolerate it at around 6:45. He loves when I sing and read to him so this is a very special time for us, unless he is overly tired and just ready for bed, in which case we will expedite the process to get him down more quickly. So he goes down for the night at 7, I will feed him again before I go to bed, usually at around 9:30. Then throughout the night he is usually up at around 2-3 am to eat then around 5:30. He is very quick and usually sleeps through his whole feeding during the night time so it typically is a very easy process.
We moved him to sleeping in his room in a crib from our room in a pack n play when he was about 2 ½ months old and he transitioned perfectly to that. We began swaddling him in the beginning and although it helped him sleep better, he didn’t really like the swaddle. At about 2 months we started using the Magic Merlin Sleep Suit and that has been a wonderful thing in our lives. He sleeps perfectly in this, falls asleep well and seems to love it. Plus he looks hilarious in it. I think he looks like the kid in the Christmas Story 🙂
So long story short, no he is not sleeping through the night but he is a rock star at night time sleeping and so I am happy with where we are at right now.
Naps are another story. This has been a process and one that has caused me some anxiety as I have tried to figure out what is “normal.” My conclusion is that there is no normal at this point and Nolan is doing just fine. Typically, if we are at home, he will be up for about 90 minutes – 2 hours at a time (less in the morning and more in the afternoon) before he naps for about an hour to an hour and a half. That adds up to about 3 naps per day. To be honest, as a person that likes schedules and routine (it must be the teacher in me) I was hoping for a more predictable schedule sooner than what has happened. I have questioned myself every step of the way in the area of sleep and have referred to Google more times than I’d like to admit. I have come to the simple conclusion that every child is different and you have to do what works well for you and your family. I have been nervous to post about sleep because there are such strong and differing opinions out there and all too often those opinions end in imposing one mom’s OPINION onto the next making her feel guilty about what she is doing. Mom shaming is something that happens way too frequently and saddens me deeply. There is no one way to raise a child. The only thing that matters is that you love your child and want to very best for him or her. And if you can say that then I guarantee that you are working hard to do everything the very best for your child. Yes there are extreme no-nos but for the overwhelming majority what works for one won’t work for all, and in the end your child needs love and everything else will fall into place because of that. *end soap box*
It is amazing to me how much babies change in their first year. From newborn to now, Nolan has grown and changed completely. As I mentioned before, he has literally gone from nothing but eating, sleeping and pooping to a fun loving and active little boy. He is now rolling over and talking like he has something important to tell the world and I am convinced that he does. There is nothing better than to hear those happy baby coos and squawks coming out of that little boy’s mouth. He touches and looks and experiences the world. Aaron and I laugh at how incredibly intelligent our family conversations have gotten as we naturally respond right back to Nolan with the same sounds and squawks that he lets out to us. So if you ever listen in on a Friday night Johnson family conversation, I am sure you would leave feeling much more intelligent than when you entered…not. Nolan lifts his head so high, bears all his weight and is even starting to push himself around on the floor. It is pretty amazing! I think we will have a mover and a shaker before long! I have concluded that I have a very active, energetic and social baby. He loves people and loves to be apart of the action. I absolutely love that about him and cannot wait to see his little personality emerge more and more as he gets older.