As mentioned in the Life with a Baby Month 1 update Ava struggled with eating. I was desperately trying to breastfeed but it wasn’t working the way it needed to. I was trying to feed her all the time and supplement with some formula but honestly we didn’t know how much formula to give her. We were giving her 2-3 oz at a time and then when she finished and still appeared hungry we didn’t listen to her and tried to soothe her in another way. This resulted her being only 5oz over her birth weight by her 1 month appointment. I didn’t really know how much we should give her or how much she should weigh. The doctor told us in no uncertain terms to feed her until she doesn’t want anymore. If she finishes 4oz put another oz in the bottle. Keep feeding her until she doesn’t want anymore.
All the Food:
After we left the appointment (and lot of tears shed by me) we did just that. Feed her until she didn’t want anymore. It resulted in a completely different baby. Overnight she became happier and calm instead of just screaming all the time because she was hungry. When I took her back 2 weeks later for her follow up appointment she had gained 1.5lbs in 2 weeks and was getting back on track for her weight curve. The doctor was happy, Ava was happy and we had finally got her to a point where she was developing and gaining weight.
We kept doing that and Ava is now on target for where she should be based on her birth weight. I felt terrible for doing that and not giving her enough food however she is on track now and developing as she should.
Around week 5 Ava started becoming more aware of her surroundings. She was more alert and awake and not just sleeping, eating and pooping. This was a lot of fun because we eventually got baby interactions, smiles and cooing. The older she gets the more awesome it is because she is much more interactive and exciting to be around. What was not great was the FOMO (fear of missing out) that caused Ava to basically stay up for hours at a time. There were days that she didn’t sleep from 12pm-11pm. This resulted in EPIC meltdowns at the end of the night because she was overtired.
By around 7 weeks we gave up and gave her a pacifier. We use it during the day when she has a hard time sleeping and we know we need to. We have 5 different ones and there are days where we use every single one. Some people are VERY against pacifiers but it’s just a tool to help nurture and get her to sleep and she needs her daytime sleep.
But at night she slept like a boss.
By 7 weeks Ava was sleeping through the night. And I mean straight from 11pm until 7am 99% of the nights. No waking up or anything. I remember the first time she gave us a night’s sleep I woke up in sheer panic that she wasn’t breathing. It just happened one day. There was nothing we did or didn’t do to make her sleep through the night. We try to make sure her crib is distraction free, no mobile, no TV in our room; however I don’t think we had anything to do with her sleep schedule. She just spoiled us.
I was still dealing with some of the emotions of missing work and a lack of mental stimulation. You can only binge watch so much TV before you start missing your old life and talking to other adults. One day I was going to take Ava to the mall however she was still crying when I got there so I just decided to continue driving down the highway to my office. It was a quiet day at the office but I got to see several people and chat with them. After a couple of hours in the office I left and felt so much better. I realized that this is only 1 year in my life that I’m off with her. In a split second she will be in school and growing up faster than I know it. Instead of getting upset I need to slow down and really enjoy the time we have together because I will be back to work before I know it.
I know some people don’t venture into the office while on maternity leave and if I was only off for 12 weeks I likely wouldn’t either. But that visit, as spontaneous as it was, helped me feel better and value my time with Ava a lot more.
Stay tuned for month 3 where I share sleep, feeling down and looking for daycares.