It’s so hard to believe it has already been a month since Elsa came into our lives. On the one hand, it seems like just yesterday that we met our sweet baby. On the other hand, it feels like ages have passed. She has grown a lot in this last month. She weighed 8lb at birth, dropped to 7lb3oz while in the hospital, but was back to her birth weight at 1 week. I stepped on the scale with her earlier this week and though not as exact as a doctor's scale, mine showed her weighing a whopping 11lb!!! She looks gigantic now to me. How can a baby simultaneously have no chin and 10 chins? I guess that means breastfeeding is going well.
My little peanut in her going home from the hospital outfit.
To the chunker she is now!
I have asked everyone if a breastfed baby can be too fat, and they assure me, that no, she cannot.
Elsa's activities are pretty limited right now since she is so young. There are the obvious things like eat, sleep, and poop. During her awake times, I put her on her activity mat and she looks at the toys dangling above her. Or, she sits in her bouncy chair and stares out the window. I spend a lot of time talking to her, which she seems to like. I swear I have gotten a smile out of her a few times. The changing pad is her "smiley" place. She also enjoys looking around her nursery, especially finding the light coming in through the window. Both Jason and I have worn her in theMoby Wrap, which she likes for the most part. Sometimes she doesn't like her head covered because she just wants to look around (Some of these photos aren't great quality because I took them with my iPod. I email Jason a picture of Elsa every day when he's at work).
Since she's too young to be on a schedule, we're just letting her dictate how the day goes in terms of eating and sleeping. I am breastfeeding her, which has been going smoothly so far other than a few episodes of clogged ducts. I love our time together during our breastfeeding sessions and cherish those quiet moments snuggling. I know she is getting enough to eat because of her incredible weight gain and her chipmunk cheeks. I have pumped a few times to start a small freezer stash so I can do things like get my hair colored or go out to dinner with Jason. She is sort of iffy on the bottle right now, so we will just have to keep at it.
Sleep is going...fine. It's just as I would expect with a newborn. Once we left the hospital, we kept her in our room where she slept in the newborn napper attachment of the Pack N Play. We swaddled her up tight (Jason is the master of swaddling) and that first week, she would only get up once or twice/night. Now some nights are better than others. She will typically get up after 2.5 hours max, but she has had two five-hour stretches when we first put her to sleep in the early evening. I wish she would do one of those in the middle of the night! Sometimes she goes back down easily and sometimes it's an hour or more of soothing. She is also the noisiest little sleeper ever and grunts loudly, which keeps us up. It can be rough.
I got so exhausted and run down one day that I was too weak to carry her around and take care of her, so sadly, my own mom had to come over and take care of me so I could take care of Elsa. There is nothing like real food and a two-hour nap to make you feel like a new woman. You just nap so much better when you don't have a baby or a dog or a baby monitor in the room and know someone else is taking care of the baby!
In the last week or so, we've been putting her in her crib to sleep. I know some people think that's a terrible thing to do to a baby so small, but honestly, she sleeps better in there. All of her long stretches have been in her crib. She doesn't have to listen to us making noise during the night and most importantly, doesn't have to listen to Neptune snoring away! Since the dogs are still sleeping in our bed, it's been very easy to resist the temptation to bring her into bed with us!
During the day, she sleeps pretty much anywhere-in our arms, in her Rock N Play, in the Moby, in her crib, etc. She is very easy to soothe, so I have really not felt overwhelmed at any point. If she cries, it's usually caused by an easy-to-identify factor: she wants to be picked up, she is hungry, she is overtired, or she wants you to walk around because she likes the movement. There has never been a time (knock on wood) in which we haven't been able to soothe her pretty easily. That being said, she will fight sleep, so while she's not crying or fussing, she won't go to sleep and we can't put her down while she is awake.
After her cord fell off, we were able to give her her first real bath, which she LOVED. Now we bathe her every other night in the evening and give her a little massage with lotion before we put on her jammies and get her ready for bed. While I don't believe in scheduling for a newborn, I do think it's not too early to start routines with her. I also think she sleeps better on nights when she has her bath, but I'm afraid if I give her one every night, her skin will dry out.
We started cloth diapering almost immediately after getting home from the hospital and I can't say enough good things about it! We are using Green Mountain Diaper prefolds with eitherThirsties or Bummis covers. I think she's getting close to being big enough for the one-size diapers. We are also using baby washcloths as wipes and just using water with a few drops of Dr. Bronner soap in the bottle for wiping her down. I love doing cloth and find it very easy. I just do the laundry every other day (we use Nellie's detergent), no big deal. With the sheer number of diapers we go through, I can't imagine using disposable and creating the waste that goes along with that. I know cloth diapering isn't the perfect ecological solution since you use so much water to wash them, but it's a nice alternative. And since my sister gave us a box of newborn sized disposables that we used at night for the first few weeks, we have not had to spend one penny on disposable diapers.
Elsa has been so spoiled by all of our loved ones. She has been given so many lovely gifts, including books, clothes, toys, and a friend from school even made her a beautiful blanket. It's so touching to see how many people already love our little girl! My sister has also passed on an eye-popping amount of clothing. Elsa is one stylish baby. I admit I love choosing her outfit every morning and am sad to say that some of her newborn clothes are already too small. Sob. I blame it on the extra-cushioning from the cloth diapers. It's not because my tiny little peanut is getting big, right?
This outfit just shrunk in the dryer, I'm sure.
Some of her other stylish outfits, including her Halloween attire.
I confess I am loathe to leave the house with her and probably spend way too much time cooped up inside. I was not permitted to even take a walk until two week postpartum and then the weather got cold, and I got lazy, and sometimes it's just easier to stay at home. I am making more of an effort these days to leave the house with her. We have seen her cousins multiple times and it is wonderful to see how much they love Elsa already. My oldest nephew has a magic head-rubbing technique that makes Elsa purr like a cat. It's hilarious. Elsa is gaining on my niece who is a mere 4.5 months her senior. Their size difference was laughably enormous in the beginning, but it won't be long before they are playing together and making mischief. Elsa also visits with both her grandmas every week and my mom even stayed with her on her one-month birthday so Jason and I could go out to celebrate his 33rd birthday. And Elsa survived without me for two whole hours!
Elsa and Eve shortly after Elsa's birth.
Elsa with her other cousins.
Practicing the magical head stroke;
I guess that about sums up life with little Elsa in the first month! I want to do two more posts about my physical recovery and how the dogs (and birds) are coping with all of the competition for our attention. We love our little girl so much. I can't stop staring at her and am in total disbelief that I am now responsible for this little person. It's scary and exhilarating at the same time. I can't wait to watch her grow and get to know her little personality. Hopefully I don't fuck her up too badly. She's such a clean slate in a way, I just hope I can raise a relatively well-adjusted person that doesn't need therapy in 15 years because of my parenting skills or lack thereof. Luckily, I have already found that I have stores of patience I never knew I had and my heart has grown larger than I ever thought it could. I am so thankful for every member of my family, even, er, Lola, and I am eager to see what life brings us in month two!