Henry- 4 weeks old!
I think I enjoy every baby ever so slightly more than the last. Is that horrible to say? Maybe it’s just that my memory fails me every time, but as I nurse, change diapers, cuddle, and soothe Henry; I find myself thinking that he’s my sweetest baby ever and that I wish he could stay this small forever.
Maybe it’s that with each baby I (We!) gain a bit more confidence and experience; and that every time gets a little smoother and easier. Maybe each of my babies has actually been slightly “easier” than the last! I’m not sure, but I am sure that I really love and enjoy each of my babies! And they get big way way way too quickly.
There are of course little tricks that make the newborn phase much easier for us that are now our go-to standards. (Note: These ‘tricks’ are not anything new that I figured out on my own! I’m fairly certain I learned them in a book, but I can’t recall now what it was!)
- Swaddling. Swaddling has been fantastic for all our babies. Especially at first. We have two blankets that are made specifically for swaddling and we love those, but we also just use regular blankets too. You don’t necessarily need a swaddling specific-blanket! (Though it is a nice little luxury.)
- Nursing/Suckling. With Claire, Will, and Ephraim I very carefully avoided using a pacifier at first to avoid any potential problems with breastfeeding. So for them, this part was fulfilled purely with nursing. Henry has seemed to have a much stronger need for almost-continual-suckling for comfort so he has used a pacifier in addition to plentiful nursing. Especially since Mommy has been overly-taxed with gigs this season, the pacifier has been somewhat necessary when I’m not quite as readily available as with our other babies. But at home we can survive most of the time without it.
- White Noise. Steven and I both have white noise Apps on our iPhones- just for Henry! And we use one of our phones almost every night for this purpose.
- Co-sleeping. Especially with our new set-up this time! More on that later.
The combination of these things is almost always pure gold in soothing our newborns. We make sure he has a sufficiently full belly, a clean diaper, and comfortable clothes; swaddle him; turn on the white noise; and then either nurse him to sleep or let him have his pacifier. This is how Henry goes to sleep every night and he typically sleeps 2-4 hours when we use these “tricks.” When he wakes me to nurse again, I leave him swaddled, feed him, and he usually goes right back to sleep for another 2-4 hours. He usually has one good 4 hour stretch at night and then a couple little 2 or 3 hour stretches the rest of the time. If he is fitful or fussy after a feeding, then we burp and change him in addition to the usual and that does the trick. He doesn’t need that more than once a night typically.
Of course, as we hit growth spurts and other normal developmental changes, I’m sure that it won’t be quite this easy. But for the majority of the time, this works!
The set-up in our room for baby Henry (Except we do not keep the Moses Basket in his bed.)
I can’t say enough about how much we love our new set-up with his crib! It has worked out soooo much better than the co-sleeper did. I barely have to move Henry to nurse him in the middle of the night so we are both much less disturbed during feedings and I barely even have to wake up! I just wake up enough to latch and then doze the rest of the time until he is done. Then we both are back to sleep in no time at all. It has been wonderful! I have a soft blanket placed right next to me that he sleeps on and he’s actually sleeping just about right where the crib meets the mattress. But since they are tightly flush together and covered with his baby blankets, it’s completely flat and safe! I do have to say that this aspect has been significantly easier with Henry than with any of the others! The side-car-crib is our best set-up for a newborn so far!
Anything that helps a new baby and a (not-so-new!) mama sleep easier, longer, and more peacefully is well-worth it to me! This doesn’t mean that I’m not still a little sleep deprived- that is unavoidable with a new baby. But I’m certain that having a bit more rest is a big part of Henry and I enjoying our days together so much!