Our Family With a 4 Week Old
I could write another post like my last baby update, telling you how our family is doing now that the baby is 4 weeks old, but it would be more of the same from my last post:
Baby is easy peasy, kids love him, he’s nursing and gaining weight well, blah blah blah. Good stuff like that.
The only real difference is that I’m feeling much better at 4 weeks post c-section. At the end of the day, sometimes my stomach hurts if I’ve overdone it, and I’m still avoiding wearing my jeans because it’s uncomfortable on my incision. But trust me, after 9 months of morning sickness, I can definitely fit into those pre-pregnancy jeans!
I’m still taking it easy. Like any mom with a newborn, I’m pretty tired, so I make naps a big priority. I haven’t had to cook yet, thanks to our friends who have scheduled meals for us every other day for the entire month of August. How amazing is that?
But slowly, we’re resuming our regular schedules. We brought the baby out for his first Sunday at church, though we’re still not quite ready to brave busier places, especially a germ fest like the grocery store. This is what happens when your first two babies are born during cold and flu season: even though the third is born in the summer, we’re so used to having to shelter our babies from germs that we continue with our germophobic habits. Oh well.
And there are certainly some things that aren’t easier. Both of my older kids are at difficult stages that require lots of attention and firmness, which is hard to manage when you have a newborn. Cleaning the house is a challenge. Getting out the door is a real challenge! And sleeping when the baby sleeps is nice in theory, but it doesn’t work when other kids are awake and in need of attention. But the baby himself is worlds easier than the other two.
So What Makes Our Third Baby So Easy?
I love all three of my kids. Truly, I do. But it’s nice to have an easy one for a change. How is this one any different from the previous two?
He’s a good eater. My first child, Isabelle, had difficulty latching when nursing, and at the hospital, we got some pretty bad advice. Combine that with my complete inexperience with breastfeeding, and you can imagine the struggles we had. She was two weeks old before we were able to get her to eat well on her own. Baby #3 was a great nurser from the beginning.
But not too good of an eater. My second baby ate. All. The. Time. Every hour and a half to two hours. And this continued for quite a while. I was thrilled to have such a great eater, which was an answer to my prayers, but Andrew wore me out. I was exhausted all the time for quite a while. Alexandre will sometimes eat every hour or two, but he spaces his nighttime feedings out nicely, so that I’m only waking up once or twice a night. Thank you, Alexandre. Mommy appreciates the sleep.
He’s not colicky. Isabelle was pretty colicky for a few weeks, but around 3 weeks, she started sleepign through the night. Still, about one night a week, I would have to stay up for hours at a time, just rocking her. She seemed pretty gassy, and we would try infant massage, leg exercises, and gas drops to try to comfort her, but in the end, I would still have to stay up with her.
Andrew was colicky for much longer, thanks to his reflux. He really didn’t become a happier baby until he learned to sit up well on his own, around 5 months. We were finally able to take him off the reflux medicine at 6 months.
At some point in my pregnancy, my husband and I decided that all of our babies would be colicky, and that was OK with us. We bought something called a Happi Tummi, which makes a warm cumberbun type of thing that you can velcro around the baby’s waist for comfort on colicky nights. We used it one night, when he was fussy. That’s all. We also pulled my glider out of the nursery and into our bedroom, expecting to spend many a sleepless night rocking the baby in it. We’ve hardly used it for him. He’s a happy baby.
Baby’s personality. When I told my doctor that our baby was easy going, he joked “So he takes after you, right?” I laughed. I’ve never been accused of being easy going. My husband is more laid back, and I’m the type A personality that wants everything done ten minutes ago. So yes, perhaps this baby’s personality is simply easier. And I do think that birth order helps. It doesn’t matter if Alexandre wants to be easy going or not. He’ll have to be easy going to be schlepped around all the time, since he’s the third, not the first born. I also love Traci Hogg’s book, The Baby Whisperer, and her analysis of various baby personalities. Alexandre is probably a textbook baby, and if I recognize and respond to his cues, then he’ll probably continue to be a happy baby.
Having a healthy baby. When our second child was born, his big sister had the flu, which was a pretty scary experience for us. We sent her off to grandma’s to get well and prayed that the baby wouldn’t get sick. Then at 5 weeks, he developed the cold that almost killed him, since no one knew he had a lung defect. A flight with EMTs, emergency surgery, and a two week stay in the hospital, and we were “back to normal,” but normal is never the same again after an experience like that one. So with this baby, so far, we haven’t had any scary adrenaline rushes or awful diagnoses. Thank you, Lord. We’ve learned to trust God with our children’s health, as well as our own. Our children are really His anyway; we’re just stewards of them for a time, however long that may be.
We’ve got plenty of experience with babies. One dad at church mentioned this to my husband. He said perhaps the baby isn’t easier, but it’s the parents who know what to do that makes all the difference. At first, I dismissed this thought. But yesterday evening, Alexandre got fussy, and my first thought was that he had gas pains, and that I was in for a rough night. But then I realized that he was probably tired and over stimulated. I immediately swaddled him tightly, popped a paci in his mouth, and put him in his bed. He closed his eyes and was out within minutes. Maybe experience does make a difference. Experienced parents can recognize a baby’s cues easier than we did with our first baby.
Have you noticed this as well? Kids don’t always get harder, if anything, they may get easier. What are your thoughts? What makes some kids easier than others?