It’s been two weeks since Everly was born, and we’ve been loving these sweet newborn days with her. She is a really good, easy, content baby. She rarely cries and smiles in her sleep ALL the time, which is my favorite! Her siblings think she is very cute, but very boring. They frequently ask when she’s going to be able to play with them and sleep in her own room. The rest of the family finds GREAT delight in this tiny girl. When they’re over she is never put down. We’re just soaking up this little miracle and enjoying her while she’s so little. #babiesdontkeep
Out of all the things about having a new baby, I was most concerned about breastfeeding. We’ve pretty much done everything when it comes to babies, but nursing is not one of those things. It has gone surprisingly well though! We only had one small latch issue on one side. I went to the lactation consultant a week after she was born, and it was an easy fix!
In the hospital we were on a pretty set 3-hour feeding schedule. Everly was so sleepy that she never woke up in between those times to eat so I always had to wake her up every 3 hours. She was jaundice in the hospital so to help get rid of that, we gave her donor breastmilk at the hospital, which helped her flush out the toxins that cause jaundice. So every 3 hours I would nurse a little, then while I pumped Gary would bottle feed the baby donor breastmilk, then top her off with any colostrum I had pumped. My milk came in 2-3 days after Everly was born so when we went home I didn’t have to supplement at all, which I was thankful for.
Our current schedule is very similar to what we were doing in the hospital, except she’s nursing more often now. I nurse her on demand, but never go more than 3 hours between feedings. This follows Babywise’s Parent Directed Feeding (PDF) model, which instructs you to nurse when baby is hungry but with an upper limit on how long you allow baby to go between feedings. Basically I feed her every 3 hours, plus whenever she wants to eat in between those feedings. For the first week I was waking her up during the night every 3 hours to eat, but I’ve stopped now. She still wakes up every 3-4 hours anyways to eat on her own. She nurses like a champ! Girlfriend can drain a boob in less than 10 minutes. I don’t know the average boob-drainage rate for a 2 week old, but I think 10 minutes is pretty impressive.
Everly is a great sleeper! We’ve been loosely using babywise principles to get her days and nights straightened out, and the effort has paid off. She nurses, has a little awake time if she’s not super sleepy, and then sleeps for 1.5-2.5 hours until I wake her up to eat again. During the night she sleeps anywhere from 3-4 hours before waking up to eat so we’re doing 2 middle of the night feedings right now. We bought a Halo Bassinest so that she can sleep by our bed, which makes those MOTN feedings super easy on me. I don’t even have to get out of bed to get her. I was concerned I might not be able to sleep through all the little baby noises that babies make if she was that close to me because when we had the twins that was a problem, but I’m more sleep deprived this time so I think that helps me sleep through those noises. So I’m loving the Bassinest and having her so close all night!
Our schedule looks a little like this right now, give or take 30 minutes either way. This schedule is an extremely loose schedule. There’s some awake time throw in here and there, plus nursing in between scheduled feedings. But in general this is what I’m aiming for – ish.
7:30 am – nurse
8:00 am – nap
10:30 am – nurse
11:00 am – nap
1:30 pm – nurse
2:00 pm – nap
4:30 pm – nurse
5:00 pm – nap
7:30 pm – nurse
8:00 pm – nap
10:30 pm – nurse
11:00 pm – bed
MOTN feedings happen usually every 3-4 hours, whenever she wakes up to eat.
A week after Everly was born she was almost back up to birth weight and had grown 1/4 of an inch. When I took her to her 2-week appointment she was 20.5 inches and 7 lbs 7 oz. That means she grew 1.25 inches and gained a pound in 1 week! The nurse also mentioned her head grew 3/4 of an inch. So much growing!!! No wonder girlfriend is so hungry all the time.
What We’ve Been Working On
Full Feedings – We’re focusing heavily on getting full feedings in so that we avoid snacking (nursing every hour). Occasionally she’s just too sleepy and falls asleep a little before I’d like her to, but this is improving as she gets a little older. Full feedings not only help avoid snacking, but also it helps so much with their sleep routine. The goal is at least 8 feedings a day (every 24 hours).
Full naps – Full feedings helps with getting in full naps. Honestly, she’s been so sleepy this hasn’t been a problem. She’s getting great full naps in all day long. If she’s having a hard time getting to sleep for a nap, I do whatever it takes to get her to sleep. I’ll rock her, shush her, pat her, nurse her – whatever. At thing point, getting in full naps is more important than sleep training. (see Sleep Hierarchy). I’ve been holding her while she naps and letting other people hold her just because she’s so little so she naps well anywhere, and also, babies don’t keep so I’m just enjoying being able to hold her while she sleeps while I can. If she ever wakes up early from a nap I check these things: burp/gas, hot/cold, wet/dirty diaper.
Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle – It’s never too early to start working on the eat/wake/sleep cycle. I try to keep her awake after each feeding, even if it’s just for a couple minutes! This helps babies not associate sleeping with eating. I try to only nurse her to sleep during the middle of the night. E/W/S also helps with full feedings because they eat right after sleeping so they have energy to eat well. I track when she eats and sleeps using the Baby Connect app. This helps me keep track of any changes in eating or sleeping, how long her naps are, and which side she ate on first and last.
I’m doing great! I’m starting to feel way more like myself after Everly’s difficult delivery, which included two days of labor and two blood transfusions (more on that later). I still have some bleeding and pain, but not much. My swelling has drastically gone down. When I look at my feet they look emaciated to me because they’ve been so swollen for so long. The rest of me got so swollen at the hospital because I was on fluids 24/7 for so many days, but I finally feel like I look back to normal again. I started having night sweats, which are so gross and annoying. I wake up totally drenched in sweat, which makes me feel disgusting. The other issue I’ve been dealing with is a little postpartum anxiety. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, just irrational thoughts and fears that I have to really battle against. When I think those thoughts I remind myself of truth, pray that I would believe true and right things, and try not to dwell on the crazy thoughts that pop into my mind.
I’ve actually been sleeping pretty well and don’t feel like I can’t function, which is how I thought I’d feel. I’ve been able to nap when Everly naps and sleep well in between MOTN feedings. Friends have been bringing meals every other day so I haven’t had to worry about that, and we’ve been eating really well thanks to friends who love us and take care of us well.
In general, I’d say things are going great! Better than expected even. Sometimes we can still hardly believe that she’s here and that she’s ours. We waited so long for her, and she is proving to be worth the wait (and wait and wait and wait). We’re enjoying our girl so so much and fall more in love with her every day.