Monday, April 18, 2011

Kate’s First Month

Even though I am so FAR behind, I have been keeping notes on Katie's developments and our life these first few months. So I'm finally going to start sharing monthly updates on her. There will actually be several posts regarding Katie's first month with us. Because as I sat down to write about it, I found that I had a lot to say. Not only was Kate here and we were becoming a new family but there were so many other adjustments. Finding out who we were as parents, how we coped, new habits, new activities, a new diabetes routine . . . a whole new normal. I had so many thoughts buzzing in my head as we tried to regain our footing and find sure ground that first month. So I broke it up into several posts based on the different things I was thinking those first few weeks. Of course, the first post will be devoted entirely to Miss Kate:

It's amazing how much we could learn about Kate in just a few weeks. It's hard to imagine back when we first found out that we were pregnant and she was just a tiny cluster of cells. Now she's this big, beautiful baby with likes and dislikes and habits and characteristics all her own. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when we didn't know about her, when she didn't exist, when we weren't expecting her and preparing for her. These are just a few of the things we've picked up on about Kate so far:

* She picked up on breastfeeding pretty quickly (especially compared to some horror stories I've heard). She needed a little help with her latch and we used a nipple shield at first but were able to wean off that by about 2 weeks and she's been doing great ever since! And she doesn't spit up at all . . . we got really lucky!

* As far as feedings go, the only hiccup we had was when Kate was about a week old. She was getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk (the creamy, fattier milk that is released toward the end of the feeding). As a result, she was fussier, passing some loose green stools and not remaining satisfied as long between feeds. All we did to clear this up was to change from offering both breasts at each feeding to only offering one per feed, that way she would drain it completely and get plenty of hindmilk with each feeding. It also helped that the engorgement that I experienced around this time (OUCH!) cleared up in a few days. (FYI: When a mom is engorged it takes baby longer to get to the hindmilk which is fattier and keeps babies full longer.)

* She experimented with a couple of bottles of breastmilk during this first month. First, because I was pumping and bottle feeding just in case she wasn't getting enough, especially in the hospital. And second, because I wanted to make sure Brad had a chance to practice bottle feeding her for when I would go back to work. She was a CHAMP! A little bit of a messy eater (like most breastfed babies) but she took to the bottle great. She never had any trouble with nipple confusion and has even been on a paci since the beginning without issues!

* She doesn't have too much of a schedule for the first few weeks. She likes to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours and may go as long as 4 hours overnight. Mostly we are just on a rotating schedule of sleep-change-eat-awake-wash-rinse-repeat.

* She had some battles with erythema toxicum (aka newborn rash) that came and went from about 5 days old until she was about 2 weeks old and then cropped up again at about 4-6 weeks old. Very transient. I kept telling him not to sweat it but her dad worried about it a lot. I decided to try some Aveeno sensitive skin bath soap and it helped a little but really we just had to wait it out and it went away.

* We had LOADS of visitors the first few weeks. It seemed like everyone flocked to see our Katie girl. Which was fine by us because we LOVED showing her off . . .uh, I mean introducing her to everyone. Her grandmas, in particular, became crazy for her right away.

* It took us a while to venture out in the world. We did go to Target when Kate was 5 days old but that was because we needed a few necessities. But after that it was a couple weeks before we ventured out again. Brad was nervous to go anywhere with a newborn, afraid she'd cry and everyone would stare. Or that she would hate the car. But what we found instead was that she LOVED her car seat. It seemed to be a drug for her. She was always calm in it and usually drifted off to sleep shortly after being buckled in. Restaurants and stores didn't faze her. We were still hesitant to do too much but were relieved to find that if we needed to go out, Katie was amenable!!

* She started being vocal around 3 weeks with soft coos and short vowel sounds.

* She has a habit of grinning and smiling in her sleep and toward the end of the first month she even starts to show us her open-mouth, gummy, on-purpose smiles.

* She hated baths and diaper changes, but we quickly learned that her binky can help her (and Brad and I) get through unscarred. ;-)

* She loves laying on Mama's chest and it almost always put her to sleep.

* She also likes when Daddy walks around the house with her. "Doing laps" around the house almost always calms her down.

* She is generally a very happy baby and during the day spends her time laying in her Mama and Daddy's arms, looking around and only getting fussy when she needs changing or is hungry. Until, at about 1 1/2 weeks old, she started on her "sun-downing" trick where she got fussy every night once it got dark but still nothing a feeding or some cuddles couldn't soothe. Around 3 weeks, she decided that night-time (between around 9 to around midnight) was not her friend and just wailed every night during this time. Her dad discovered that making laps around the house was about the only thing that helped.

* Fortunately, I was able to get out of witnessing these awful spells because Brad took the "first shift" of the night, which allowed me to go to bed early and get some uninterrupted sleep. He usually stayed up with her until about midnight or so. Then he would bring her in and set her in the pack and play next to the bed (where she slept for the first 8 weeks) and go to bed. From that point on I would feed her and get her back to sleep so that he could rest up for work the next day. (More details on our night time routine here.)
* She wore Newborn sized clothes and diapers for her whole first month (and well into her second!) I was so surprised because I've heard so many parents say that their babies only wore NB size for a very short time or skipped that size all together! So we only had a handful of NB size outfits and actually had to run out and buy more!!

* Brad went back to work on January 17th. I think we were both a little worried about it! Brad had been such a huge help around the house while I was focused on Katie and it had been so nice to have him around that I couldn't imagine him being out of the house all day. And, of course, he didn't want to leave his girls behind. But it all worked out in the end and as hard as it was saying goodbye in the morning, it was always great to see him walk through that door every night! And he's so excited to be home. This is how he greeted Katie one night:

* As much as everyone says their baby loves the swing, sadly, Kate does not. She doesn't hate it but it isn't the cure-all for us that it seems to be for other parents. We also tried to put her on her playmat at about 2 or 3 weeks old to see if she was interested in the mobile and lights and music. Uh . . . not so much.

* She does what we call the "Ole!" It's where she has one fist up by her face and the fist curled up at the opposite elbow, kind of like a flamenco dancer. And you can just see "Ole!" in a thought bubble above her head. ;-)

* She got dressed up in her first official outfit and attended her first official outing, a bridal shower, on January 30th.

* At an appointment she had shortly after turning 1 month old she weighed 9 lbs 8 oz. Yay for good weight gain!

That's about it for my girl in her first month. It really was an amazing time for our little family. Next up: How this tiny girl stole a little more of our hearts every day.


  1. FINALLLY :) so many pictures!! YAY! She is seriously adorable. Has anyone told you that? Because she is SOOO CUTE!!!!!! I love catching up on all the Katie news. I have SO MANY comments...way too many for poor blog. But one I will leave here - noooone told me about the whole nipple shield thing...and boy do I wish I knew about it...I cried for teh first two weeks every single time that she latched on.

  2. I love the details you've written!! You and Katie will cherish this when she's older! I wish I had done the same for my son - all I've been doing is filling out a baby book but I find they never give you enough space to get everything on paper! ugh!! I did start a journal for him but havent picked it up since february. Maybe I should get back to that...