Sunday, January 20, 2013

CJ's First Month!

Everyone always says that babies grow up so fast. On the one hand, I totally agree - the weeks tend to fly by super-quickly when you're a busy parent, and when I look at how big S has grown and how far she's progressed emotionally and intellectually in the 25 months since her birth, I'm pretty floored. However I have to say our first month with li'l bro CJ seemed to last a looooong time! Not that we were any less busy; infact, quite the opposite! We packed in so many different projects, events and experiences during this timeframe that it's hard to believe it all happened within a mere 31 days!

I'm going to continue the tradition of monthly photos with our little man, like we did with S. Here is his official 1 month photo! Isn't he a handsome li'l guy?

Let's look at what all's been going down since he arrived!

Week 1 (Dec 11 to 18)

I followed my midwife's advice and spent a lot of time resting and relaxing with CJ, mainly in the bedroom. His bassinet is beside the bed (like we had it with S) so he's always nice & close - especially helpful during night-time feedngs! During the first several days things actually felt super-easy; Chris was off work so he was able to help full-time, CJ started off nursing well (such a relief after the trials & tribulations we experienced with S) and when he wasn't nursing he pretty much slept full time. Unlike last time, we felt up for visitors right from the start so many family and friends stopped by over the first few days. (In fact, on Day 1 alone we had four visits - my midwife Katie, my Dad & stepmother, my BFF Maryana and Chris' sister and her family!) Newborn snuggles galore!

I also felt like I was bleeding less and healing better than last time. Yay!

My milk came in Thursday overnight (3 1/2 days in) and by the next evening I was painfully engorged. Oddly, though, my letdown reflex wasn't happening right away so I was huge AND he wasn't getting much out! I did some research and read that frequent nursing and massaging was the best approach (no pumping!), and thankfully I was letting down properly within another 24 hours or so and engorgement was down. My nipples were pretty sore over the first week as well (a downside of having a super-strong latcher from the start?) however the calendula lotion from my midwife provided some relief.

CJ thrived well over his first week! 2 days in (at his hospital visit/bilirubin test) he'd only dropped 6% of his birth weight (down to just under 8 oz, from 8lb 6oz), then he started climbing again right on schedule: 8lb 1oz on Day 3, 8lb 3oz on Day 5 and 8lb 6oz on Day 7! It was so nice having all the home visits from the midwives to check up on both of us. Again, quite the difference from going the OB route!

Another big milestone during Week 1 - our basement got finished! w00t! Finally a proper office for Chris and toyroom for the kiddos!

Week 2 (Dec 19 to 25)

Bring on the holiday festivities! From the 22nd to the 25th, we hosted or attended a total of 6 events, and it would have been higher if I didn't come down with another postpartum infection. On the evening of the 23rd, I started bleeding heavily again and feeling some pressure/discomfort in my abdominal region. The next morning these feelings continued and I passed a large clot. :( Luckily I got in to see my family doctor that afternoon and he prescribed me some antibiotics (clindamycin and flagyl, same as last time). The midwives are totally perplexed as to why I've gotten an infection twice now, as usually this only happens when there are "retained products of conception" (i.e. a piece of the placenta kicks around) which wasn't the case either time. Plus, Katie was super-careful with the post-delivery repair work this time around. By all early evidence, I was healing so well! Very odd, indeed, and frustrating. Antibiotics aren't fun and I knew I'd have an uphill battle keeping my energy up while taking them with everything else going on! Luckily CJ continued to sleep and nurse well, and all the events were a lot of fun for S and kept her busy.

Another big milestone this week - we transitioned S to her Big Girl Room! She was so happy and proud - a special parenting moment for sure!

Week 3 (Dec 26 to Jan 1)

CJ started nursing more frequently this week (especially late in the evenings) so I figured he was either on a growth spurt or perhaps my milk production was low due to exhaustion from all the events / lack of sleep, the antibiotics or a combo of the two. Indeed, at his 2+ week midwife appointment he was only up to 8 lb 9 oz - gaining, but at a slower rate than expected. The midwife suggested I try compressions and work on his latch to ensure he was feeding efficiently. He also got a "refer" on his hearing test (right ear) which means we need to go for special testing. Apparently we shouldn't be alarmed at this point as the vast majority of refers end up checking out OK, but still a bit of a concern - knock on wood! (His test is booked for late this month.)

This week we also purchased new furniture sets for the basement and main floor, did some home organization (gifts away, items up for sale online, etc.) and completed S' room decoration project. New Years was low key - we stayed at home and had my dad and stepmother over for board games. CJ was a quick study! :)

Week 4+ (Jan 2 to Jan 11)

With the holidays over and Chris back to work, "real life" began to set in. I have to say - caring for an infant and toddler on my own has proven to be no trivial task! It didn't help that we all came down with various forms of illness starting the weekend of the 5th/6th....boooo. More on all this later.

CJ's continued desire to nurse super-frequently at night prompted me to pick up some Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid Tea and it definitely seemed to make a difference! Some mornings after drinking a cup I've actually been somewhat engorged - normally not a pleasant thing but in my case (given our low supply concerns) actually welcome!

We had another midwife visit on Jan 7th and CJ weighed in at 9lb 2oz - a much better gain rate than last time! We also got cute li'l ink prints of his feet as a keepsake. Katie re-checked his hearing and we got another "refer" on his right ear, but she reassured us that there was still no real cause for concern. We'll find out this week one way or the other.

All About CJ!

As I mentioned in CJ's birth story, our little guy was healthy, vigorous and a good feeder right from the start! He's also proven to be a pretty easygoing baby. He cries infrequently (usually just when he's hungry or not feeling well, and sometimes he "grump cries" when he's wet/dirty) and has lots of content, alert periods when he is awake. Like S, he had lots of those "twitchy sleep smiles" right from the start, and at around the one month mark, he began showing us some true, heart warming social smiles. Love! He also makes this funny, cross-eyed "alien face" when he gets excited and has the cutest "pout cry" ever. Here's a little video collage of his many adorable little faces!

Sleep-wise, right from the start he went 4-5 hour periods overnight which this tired mama has certainly appreciated! His day napping is all over the board, however - sometimes he'll nap the better part of the day and other times we'll just get a couple 30-40 minute cat naps. Recently the poor guy's been all congested from one of the many bugs kicking around so it's been hard getting him to nap at all. :-/ A car ride is the one sure thing, though - this'll usually knock him out for hours! One thing that's been pretty consistent is that he likes to "party" and cluster-nurse late in the evening. This can get pretty draining as we'll get our rambunctious toddler down for bed just in time for a little man demanding lots of food and entertainment!

Although (as I mentioned in the weekly summaries) his weight gain has been on the slow-ish side, he certainly appears to be growing like a weed! He is already too long for all his newborn sleepers and onesies, and a bunch of the supposed "0-3 month" ones. Looks like he'll outgrow the bassinet at about 2 months too like his sister did.

CJ has already garnered quite a few nicknames. I call him Superman and Bubs, and Chris likes Mr. Man. :) I'm sure he'll accumulate many more over the years!

Naturally, we can't help compare CJ to his sister at the same age. Their mouths and jawlines are decidedly similar and both were born with dark hair, though CJ's is a little lighter/fluffier and his hairline goes to a cute little point at the front, whereas S' mane was longer and shaggier. Both had deep, dark eyes as well. S ended up with light blonde hair and blue eyes so it'll be interesting to see if CJ follows suit! Both of them have long, thin, "piano playing" fingers too. And neither one has been much of a spit-up baby which is nice. As for differences, CJ has a rounder, more "bulby" nose and wider forehead, and S had bigger ears, one of which bent out at the tip. A few weeks in, CJ started looking less like his sister and more "boy-like". Which is good, since he is a boy and all!

For fun, I made a few comparison collages. S is on the left and CJ on the right in each one.

Heading home from the hospital

Sleepyheads - you can really see the jawline and mouth similarities here!

First cloth diaper (8-9 days old) - who do you think rocked it better? :)

Nose kisses with Daddy!

Snuggles with Granda

1 month old "look how I'm growing!" shot

It'd be fun to do a month-to-month comparison vid of our two little monkeys a couple years down the road! Yeah - I think I'll do that. :)

Adjusting as a Family of Four

Elizabeth Banks came under fire the other day when she said she was "really a mom" now that she has two kids. While she arguably could have phrased things more tactfully, I can certainly relate to the sentiment! With a newborn and toddler in particular, both have almost completely separate needs and (likely) very different schedules. You can volley a single child between two parents, but with two young children, each parent pretty much has one at all times. Or one has both - which I'm learning can be very challenging and exhausting! One thing I have yet to do (believe it or not) is embark on an outing by myself with both of them together. The thought of all the logistics involved (especially now during the winter) and the potential for one or both to melt down still intimidates me. I know I just need to DO IT to increase my confidence and get us all out of the house, as it's not fun nor healthy for any of us to hibernate all winter. I have one really good friend (a mama of 4 1/2 and 2 year olds) who is super down-to-earth and helps ground me. She said you have to be OK with letting go of some control - meltdowns happen, one (or both) of them are often going to be upset and as much as you attempt to plan for things, life has a way of throwing you curveballs. So one of my own challenges as a mom of two is to relax, not sweat the small stuff and learn to go with the flow a bit more! Of course everything's harder when you're exhausted, sleep-deprived and/or sick - states I've had the "pleasure" of experiencing in abundance over the past month! :)

Things have been challenging for Chris too, particularly since going back to work. He has a demanding job and tends to work long hours, so it's been exhausting for him balancing this with family life. He works from home which is convenient, however it also makes it difficult to draw a line between work and non-work time. One thing that's nice for him is that he curls 3x/week, so at least he can get out for some fun, exercise and social time.

Finally, the Big Question - how is S adjusting to having a little brother? Well-l-l, she's proving to be a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde! She oscillates between being SUPER-sweet - giving him kisses, singing him songs when he's crying and helping with diapers - and, well, seemingly plotting his demise. :) We've had a number of incidents of biting, slapping and eye poking so we have to be vigilant when the two are near each other. At the same time she seems more inclined toward this behaviour when we make a big deal out of it and/or indicate that he's "off limits", so it's a delicate balance between allowing them to bond and keeping him safe. Apparently all this is a pretty normal reaction for a 2-year-old when their new sibling arrives, however it's one more thing that stresses me out about caring for the two of them by myself!

I could ramble on about all this adjustment stuff further, but I'll save it for an upcoming post (or five) - this one's gotten long enough! (Mine have a tendency to do that, don't they? ;) Plus I've got a small window here to grab a shower - gotta take it when you can get it, right? ;) Ciao for now!


  1. Congratulations of your beautiful family! I really enjoyed viewing your photos and hearing about how your family has been doing since CJ's arrival!


  2. GREAT post! Brings back so memories! I love hearing birth stories and watching them grow! Congrats on a beautiful family!

  3. Aw, congrats to you! It does would like a busy month. :) And I remember that adjusting to two was huge! The first month is tough. Now that they are 4 and 2, having two is awesome as they play with each other so much!!! I'm waiting to see how it is with number 3... :)

    1. I'm looking forward to the point when they can play together vs. being all anxious that the older one's going to off the younger one. :) Glad to hear it gets easier! Good luck with #3!!

  4. As a mama with similar aged kids my tip for getting out of the house is babywearing. I put on my wrap before I leave, I got an ergo coat on sale (you can see it here and put the baby in the carrier when we get to our destination. Leave my hands free and makes it easy to chase after the toddler.

    1. Thanks for the tips Kate! I do have some carriers and want to love babywearing with a newborn but so far I've found it awkward and almost more trouble than it's worth. :( I guess same as anything, practice makes perfect!