I actually wrote almost this entire post a few weeks ago, but when I logged in the following day to finish it up, the whole thing was gone! Hopefully I’ll be able to get through writing it all again in time to post in a timely manner…
Baby Boy #2 turned 3 months old a few days ago. This means that the period commonly known as the fourth trimester, or alternatively as the 90 days of hell is now behind us. Given this milestone, I thought it was a good time to report how we are all doing.
First, a note about nomenclature – throughout this blog, I’ve referred to my older son as “Baby Boy”, however there is now a new Baby Boy in the house (in da house!), so to keep things simple from here on in, I’ll refer to my older son as “Gus”, and to my younger son as “Squeak”. Secondly, I won’t get into details of the birth story in this post, other than to say that Squeak arrived as expected, via a straightforward planned c section. If I find the time, I’ll write some more about that whole process, but for now I’d like to focus on what’s happened since.
Newborn babies do little other than eat and sleep (or at least it seems that way compared to our active 2 year old!), and the first two questions that everybody, from friends and family to the stranger in the grocery store asks a new parent are “How is baby sleeping?” and “How is baby eating?”. Unfortunately, simple as these two things seem to us adults, these are often loaded questions due to the myriad difficulties that new parents experience. So, below here is the skinny on Squeak…
I’m am thrilled to report that Squeak is a breastfeeding champ! He latched on in the recovery room post birth and has not looked back. I had all sorts of issues with breastfeeding Gus, but this time around things could not have gone smoother. While last time, we went through a period of cup feeding, syringe feeding, finger feeding, and nipple shields in order to get Gus to take breast milk, Squeak has so far only been fed either directly from the breast, or via a bottle of breastmilk. It is impossible for me to communicate just what a whole world of difference breastfeeding this time around has been.
We introduced the bottle to Squeak at around two weeks so that he would be used to if/when I needed/wanted someone else to feed him. On a typical day, he gets 1 or 2 bottles, which I give when we are out and about, and/or around dinner time. We often have family dropping in around dinner, and it’s a nice option to let one of them feed Squeak while I am getting dinner ready. It makes for a nice bonding experience and a better visit all around than being stuck watching me breastfeed.
To date, we have not had to supplement with formula, and I even have a formidable freezer stash as a backstop. With Gus I pumped several times a day for bottles to be used that day or next, and did not get any sort of freezer stash going until he was 7.5 months old (the month before he went to daycare). At that point, I made a concerted effort to devote one pump a day to building a freezer stash such that 1 of his 3 daycare bottles could be breastmilk.
This time around, I started out pumping 15 minutes once a day. My supply has been very good, so very quickly one pumping session would yield enough milk for 2-3 feeds. As I was only giving 1-2 bottles a day, in no time I was running out of space in my freezer (we do not have a stand alone freezer, so space is at a premium), and I have since taken breaks from pumping as I use up some of the stash.
We have also been successful with being more adventurous with breastfeeding this time around. I have breastfed Squeak out in public several times now, something that I never did with Gus (I was not able to ever figure out the proper positioning with him). I’ve also really enjoyed breastfeeding lying down with Squeak. We started this when he was about a week old, and got the hang of it the first try. Gus was six months old before I attempted this position with him, and it took us multiple tries over many days to get the positioning right before he would successfully feed lying down.
I have also been able to keep the mastitis mostly at bay. While with Gus I had two back to back infections (one of which was particularly nasty), this time around I had one mild case. I was actually really on the fence about whether to bother with the antibiotics, but after an evening spent massaging my breast in a hot bath, followed by hours of almost non stop sucking from Squeak did not help the pain, I decided it was better to be safe and nip the infection in the bud rather than risk it getting out of control.
I wrote several long breastfeeding posts about my experience with Gus, so rather than get into more comparisons, let’s just say that just about everything (everything?) is completely different (i.e. better!) this time around.
While I am extremely lucky that both my boys seem to be naturally good sleepers, I think Squeak’s sleeping patterns are more typically babyish (i.e. worse) than Gus’ were.
Gus was sleeping eight hour stretches at night within a week or two of coming home from the hospital, and very quickly was able to do ten hour stretches. Ahh, those were the days! He was not a big napper during the day though, and would easily stay awake for four or more hours at a time. In addition to the napping pattern, another reason why I think he slept longer at night is that he was able to fill up quicker on fewer feeds. Almost right from the start, Gus ate only 5 times a day (every three hours during the day, and then the longer stretch at night), and was taking bigger bottles much quicker than Squeak is, which I think helped him sleep longer right away.
In contrast, Squeak has been eating 7-8 times a day steady, or every three hours pretty much around the clock. I do load him up on an extra feed in the evening to give him a longer stretch of sleep at night, and by about 6 weeks, he was consistently doing a 5 hour stretch at night. Then there was a glorious period where this 5 hour stretch changed to 6 hours, to 7 hours, and then to two nights of 8 hours.
Sadly, after those two 8 hour nights, in the last week or so we’re back to the long stretch being 4 hours max. I have no idea what has changed, but am hoping it will change back again soon.
As I mentioned above, the boys’ day time sleep patterns are also quite different. While Gus was able to stay awake (and in good humour) for long periods of time even as a newborn, I don’t think Squeak has ever been awake for longer than two hours! The first week or two he slept pretty much all day long, to the point where I was waking him for feeds during the day, and doing everything I could to keep him awake even a few minutes so that he would sleep better at night (as his only real awake time fell between 9 and midnight, or exactly when we’d like to be putting him down).
Related to both eating and sleeping, another big difference is that Squeak has been a Gassy baby. Early on, the hardest part of his sleep at night was not the number of times that he woke up, but that he would not fall back asleep easily after his night time feeds. He would grunt, snort, fart, and get disturbing wet sounding hiccups (almost sounded like he was choking). We’re now giving him probiotic drops, which I think have helped calm his system down. He is still quite farty, but has made progress on everything else (though recently with the poorer sleep habits, I find that getting him back to sleep is again hit or miss).
So that’s the skinny on the basics! I’m hoping to write some more posts about how things have changed for us going from one to two kids 🙂