I read through previous 4 week postpartum updates that I wrote (Marina here and Liam here) and in both I couldn’t believe how quickly 4 weeks past. This time however, it seems as if this has been the longest month of my life. I feel like I have aged a decade in 4 weeks, and that the delivery in the hospital was months ago. I have a lot of thoughts on why that is, but let’s get into the update to put it all together.
How big is Dean?
Dean was born at 6 lbs 10 oz and lost just a small amount of weight before leaving the hospital. He gained all the weight back within 4 days of leaving the hospital (Exactly the way Liam was) and by his 2 week appointment he was 7 lbs 5 oz. I think he is probably 8.5 lbs now at 4 weeks, as he eats pretty steadily and lovessss the boob. We actually already started using a pacifier at 3 weeks, because I really needed a break from the sucking, and with Liam we started much later, after 6 weeks, and that proved more difficult to get him to take a pacifier. I know pacifiers get mixed reviews, but they have always been a saving grace for my 3 kids and all the travel we do, so it was important that Dean took one as well.
What is his eating and sleeping schedule like?
Again, Dean is more similar to Liam. Marina woke 3-4 times a night at this age as she was so tiny that she couldn’t get enough to eat. Dean last the longest between feeds; we get one 4-5 hour stretch from 8:30pm to 1am, and then usually a 3-4 hour stretch before he wakes up and starts making noise, but not yelling, until around 4-5am. I have learned that he makes a lot of digestive noise and heavy breathing when he wakes up, before he is actually ready to eat, so I take a bit of time (in and out of consciousness) before I actually pick him up for the feed. Mr. R has been sleeping in the guest bedroom so I don’t have to worry about the noise bothering him, which helps ease the nighttime stress.
We have no other consistent schedule with Dean at this time. Only in the last 2-3 days have we started to get 2 decent naps a day, but they can happen at any time, which makes planning for work or activities tough. Although he sleeps in the car seat, he only likes it when we are actually moving, so any traffic or pause in movement wakes him up and causes him to scream pretty loudly, so running errands can get tricky.
Dean sleeps in a Snoo at night and usually one nap a day, but we have it permanently on weaning mode, which means it only plays sounds, and doesn’t move unless he cries. But he does seem to love the movement and increased noise when he cries! He screams until it gets to level 4, and then instantly calms down with the noise for that level. It’s pretty fascinating, but gives me a little reassurance when he is crying that he will calm down eventually without me having to run to him.
We also introduced a bottle at 2.5 weeks just so Mr. R could feed him every once in awhile as well, which has helped with balance. We only do it if I decide to have a glass of wine, so it’s not every day, but does help me feel a little less tethered.
What is his demeanor/personality like?
It’s always hard to tell at this point but he seems to be a more serious baby than I remember Liam to be. Interestingly enough Liam was an early smiler, and proved to be the happiest, smiliest, and goofiest of my 3 kids (so far). Dean seems a bit more serious at this stage and I have to wonder if he will be a bit more subdued as he grows. Everyone around me tells me Dean is not fussy, but I feel like he is also the fussiest of my 3 as well. As long as he is being held, he is happy and calm, but he doesn’t love to be in the dockatot, bouncy chair or activity gym by himself for longer than about 5 minutes before he starts to whine. He also doesn’t really try very hard during tummy time to look around. I can tell he is interested in the black and white images and toys I lay out for him, but he doesn’t really seem that interested in picking up his head and moving around as my other two.
How am I feeling mentally?
Oy, this question. I took 2-3 weeks of maternity leave from my retail consulting job, and although I still see no other alternative, I feel like that was the worst decision I could have made. A newborn doesn’t have a schedule, and I am trying to work and sleep and take my kids to camp… all things that do have schedules. Plus, knowing this is my last baby, my last chance at enjoying newborn stage… it’s all too much for my emotions and hormones to handle. I definitely feel like crying or throwing in the towel with work almost every day, and generally feel like I am failing at everything. My other kids are definitely struggling with less mommy time, and are acting up in their own ways. Liam doesn’t want me holding Dean or generally want Dean around for anything, and although Marina is OBSESSED with Dean and wants to do everything with him, she has been acting up with me. I find her saying awful things to me and mimicking some of the things I have said while angry and frustrated, which only makes me feel devastated that I am setting such a bad example for her. At the moment it all feels so hopeless. People like to tell me I need more childcare, but that’s not really the situation I want. I like to do activities with my kids and plan fun things in or out of the house with them, but right now I don’t have the mental or physical capacity to do that more than once a week. I have been working on some special things for the kids: a playhouse/clubhouse outside, an activity book for Marina, updating her dollhouse and building a play kitchen for Liam… all in the last month. It’s been hard but I wanted them to feel like they are not being forgotten. I think it’s working but it’s been draining for me.
How am I feeling physically?
Luckily, the recovery for Dean was the easiest of the 3, due to his smaller head size than Liam :). I really only had days as opposed to weeks of downtime, and jumped back into parenting right away, as any mom of 3 would. During my delivery I was pumped with about 5-6 bags of IV fluid because it was helping relieve some stress on Dean, and so believe it or not when I got home and weighed myself, I weighed the SAME amount as when I left for the hospital 4 days prior. Instead of carrying a baby, I was swollen everywhere with fluids that released over the next 2 weeks. As far as any other physical activity, it’s been pretty nonexistent. I have gone on a few walks and played pickleball with my family a few times, but nothing too vigorous or structured. I feel pretty weak and tight and will most likely have a difficult time getting back into a workout routine as I have so many other priorities at the moment. That said, I am up 12 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight which is higher than other postpartum experiences for me, but something I’m still ok with. In the past I have lost the weight pretty quickly and watched my milk supply dwindle with the weight, so this time I am trying to slow the pace down a bit more so I can maintain my milk supply.
Which is another topic. I pump every morning after my first feed to build up a supply for when my supply starts to dwindle, typically around 6 months. Hopefully I can keep it going longer this time!
What products are our baby saviors right now?
Luckily with baby #3 you don’t really need anything new anymore, so I’ve been using the same things as with previous babies. A dockatot, MaM pacifiers, comotomo bottles, and Uppababy strollers/bassinet/car seat are the go to’s. I bought a few soft clothing items from LouLou and Co. for Dean as I wanted him to have a few new things to wear/be swaddled up in, but it was mostly pointless as I think he wears a diaper only 90% of the time!