Three months have gone by and I’ve yet to put pen to paper (err…finger to keyboard) to write anything about the hilarious little lump that is our son. I grew up surrounded by babies, so I knew they came out with their own little personalities, but each day since Billy’s been here, I’ve been continually flabbergasted at how much of a little person he is.
Feeding – He has the appetite of a 15 year old boy. He weighed in at a huge 10lb 8oz at birth, and he’s been doing the best he can to keep up that trend ever since. Those first two weeks of breastfeeding were the toughest of my life, both physically and mentally, but I’ve got a half formulated blog post in my head, so I’ll save that for another time.
We’ve been combination feeding from the start, then got down to 2 bottles of formula a day, and since then, have been slowly increasing the amount of formula milk, with a view to completely weaning him on to formula at some distant stage in the future. When he has a bottle, he seems satisfied for longer, happier, more talkative and sleeps better. When I put him on the boob, he seems frustrated, either that there’s not enough of it, or he’s not getting it fast enough. An hour later, he’s hungry again. I feel like he would be happier if he was 100% formula fed, but then, maybe that’s because I think I would be happier if he was bottle fed. A couple of weeks ago, I considered chucking in the towel completely, mulled it over in my head for 24 hours and was then consumed by all encompassing guilt that I’d be letting him down, and sadness at contemplating our last ever breastfeed. I concluded I wasn’t ready to give it up just yet, and Billy seems completely unaware of the whole situation, and happy to consume whatever he is given.
Sleeping – In the first couple of weeks, I used to get this sinking feeling in my belly when it got to about 7pm. Billy was, as was to be expected, nowhere near a routine, and it would be difficult to predict whether he would sleep for a 4 hour stint, or whether he would be up every 30 minutes or so. In fact, although I’ve banished the memory to a part of my brain never to be accessed again, those first few days, he wouldn’t sleep anywhere but our chests. This led to: slight deliriousness, a swift change in our opinions on co-sleeping, very bad backs and the purchase of a £90 pillow (I still cringe thinking about the price) from John Lewis, which just about revolutionised our lives.
Slowly but surely he started to sleep for longer periods of time, going to bed around 9-10pm, waking at 3am, and waking again at 5am. Billy, keen to prove his genetic links to his parents, is a bloody noisy sleeper. He squeaks, grunts, dream cries and chuckles his way through his sleeping hours. From 6 weeks, we moved him in to his own room, and we all got a better night’s sleep. We discovered that you can turn the sensitivity down on our baby monitor. If he makes the odd grunt or squeak, the monitor doesn’t kick in. If he makes another noise within a few seconds, the lights on the monitor flash.
From about 8 weeks, we started a proper bedtime routine, with a big splash in the bath tub, followed by PJs, a story, a bottle, and in bed by 7pm. The first time he went down at 7pm, I felt positively giddy, and I had no idea what to do with my evening (if you’re interested, this involved 2 loads of laundry and eating dinner with both hands for a change). These days, it’s something we’ve started to take for granted, with me heading to bed around 9:30pm and Neil getting a couple of hours work done. Neil did the next feed before he went to bed around 11pm, and I did any wake ups after that. We had the last breastfeed of the day just after bathtime, I pumped before bed, and in the middle of the night. We had a something vaguely resembling a ROUTINE. I was happy.
When he was 11 weeks old, I stopped using the monitor altogether when we are in bed. I’ve developed superpowers where I seem to wake just as he starts to grumble, and I hear him before the monitor kicks in. It’s more annoying than useful to have to move the monitor out of our room to avoid waking Neil up, so I just stopped bothering.
When it came to nightfeeds, I wrongly assumed that a big bottle at 3am or so would hopefully induce a lovely milky coma so I could get back in bed for a couple more hours’ shut eye. I didn’t think about eventually trying to drop the feed, and the problem with getting him used to a massive feed at 3am. I read a book that suggested capping the nightfeed at 4oz, and gradually reducing the ratio of milk to water, with a view that eventually, he would stop waking up for the feed altogether. Well, Billy was already used to 5 or 6 oz, so I capped it at 5, and over a couple of weeks, reduced it down to 4oz. I used expressed milk in a bottle so I could monitor how much he was having (control freak tendencies, much?). One day, he woke up around 4am, but he just wasn’t hungry. He just wanted to play and have a cuddle until around 7am. Then, 4am wakeups became 5am wakeups, and I was secretly convinced he’d be sleeping through til 6am within a matter of days.
…Then we went on holiday with my family. I’m not sure whether it is the heat, the noise, the fact that we’re all in the same room, or the change of scenery, but we’re back to being starving hungry at 3am, and 5am, and 7am, with a few extra wake ups thrown in for good measure. My inner control freak is in turmoil, but the practical mother in me knows it’ll all change again next week, so I’m just riding the storm.
Playing – Billy is a complete chatter box. He has a limited repertoire of words, but he likes to use them. A lot. “Ah-GEEEE’, ‘Ning’ and ‘Guuuu’ are amongst his favourite words. Once he added an ‘s’ sound to the end of a ‘Guuu’. I’m going to go right ahead and say he said his first word, “Goose” at 12 weeks old. Miracle child, I tell ye.
Other favourite things include:
- Drenching anyone within a mile radius of our bathroom at bath time with various kicks and flailing arms.
- An Octopus Lamaze toy with crackly feet from his non-godmother Laura
- A muslin blanket tied to the handle of his carseat (who said babies were expensive?)
- His jungle bouncy chair
- Bouncing in his door bouncer
- Waiting til you’ve taken his nappy off to do a poo. Thanks, kid.
- Anyone who will blow raspberries on his tummy for any length of time
Billy loves to have your undivided attention, and will talk to you for hours with various coos and gurgles. He’s not a big fan of loud places, including mother and baby groups, where he prefers to stick his head in my armpit and fall asleep. He’s not remotely interested in other babies yet, and prefers adult company and ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’. Baby has televisual taste.
He’s just started reaching for toys and grabbing anything within reach, whilst simultaneously trying to shove it in his mouth. This goes for: boobs (not just my boobs, anyone’s will do), cats tails, toys and blankets. In his buggy or on his changing mat, he tenses his tummy muscles in an attempt to sit forward. I think this might be a pre-cursor to rolling, so I’m enjoying the time where he stays where you put him whilst it lasts.
So I might be a little bit biased, but I think he’s an awesome baby. He’s chilled out, content and smiley, he has us in fits of laughter and I’m just a teensy bit smitten.