Finding a New Normal…
So I typed up a really long blog post about 3 weeks ago that I never posted. It was all about how much of an adjustment life with a baby is and how you really can’t wrap your head around it until it happens. I was really frustrated at the time and trying to get Ritter on some sort of schedule and getting back to work and all that – it was tough and I needed to vent. But I didn’t ever get around to posting it because a couple of weeks passed by and things got so much better and then it kinda didn’t apply. And I realize that’s how life with a new baby is. It’s so challenging and scary and you work so hard to get things figured out…and when you hit this place where you’re like “omg when will things get better?” they suddenly do! You work so hard to find a new normal but it’s a process and it’s ever changing.
Another tough thing is adjusting to the fact that Eric and I never get “us” time anymore. Everything revolves around Ritter – as it should – but again, it’s something you have to adjust to. I asked a friend today “when does it start to feel like you can have quality time as a couple again?” My friend with 2 kids, the oldest being 3, said…”I’ll let you know when it happens.” Ha! I just miss Eric at times. Yes he’s here every day with me but I miss our long adult conversations and having time to just sit and enjoy being together. I miss cuddling and watching a movie. I miss dates. I miss cooking dinner together and talking about our day. We catch moments here and there but it’s tough. There are always bottles to be washed or laundry to be done. Of course this experience has made us closer..has strengthened us…but it’s also changed things. Please don’t get me wrong…I’m SOOOO HAPPY to have Ritter in our lives – it’s just an adjustment. I remind myself every single day how blessed I am to have him and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s just that one day it’s me and Eric and the next it’s not…and there’s another life in the house and you’re responsible for it…and it’s just an adjustment no matter how much you plan and prepare.
Anyway…. while Ritter brings SO much joy to my life and I wanted him so very badly, I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to find a sense of normalcy after his birth. Life is never the same..it’s good…but it’s an adjustment. No one really talks about that. It’s a very long process…and we are still getting there… it feels like we are finally reaching some sort of “new normal.” I have a friend at the gym who says that the magic week is week 16 – both in pregnancy and after the baby comes. She kept telling me that in week 16 of my pregnancy I would feel better – it was at exactly 16 and a half weeks that I began to feel great! And she says that at 16 weeks you finally begin to get in a good groove with a new baby. So…Ritter is now 13 weeks – I’m expecting smooth sailing in about 3 more weeks Mrs. Tina 😉
I almost didn’t include this part in the blog because I know some people might interpret this as ungrateful or something but it’s real life and I like to keep it real. ha. But honestly…I think most parents experience an adjustment phase and it’s tough – but no one wants to talk about it because they don’t want to seem like they are complaining. I don’t regret my decision to have a child – I wanted it more than anything on this earth – still do… it’s just a big adjustment and there’s really no other way to describe it. I think you have to create space for adult time…and give yourself permission to feel overwhelmed and frustrated at times – that’s what helps you adjust.
Life at 3 months…
So here we are…3 months in…and our New Normal is starting to emerge!!! Ritter is HILARIOUS these days. He smiles at everything and just yesterday let out his first big chuckle. Luckily we got it on video!!! He hasn’t done it again though. I’m sure it’ll be like the smiling was in the beginning. He would smile just sporadically and then it became an everyday thing. I’m LIVING for his next big laugh. I hope I’m here for it!!!
He has started putting his hands in his mouth constantly and I can tell he’s trying to reach for things. He has also started making alot more noises and doing different things with his voice which is fun. Bath time is still awesome. Although with the discovery of his hands it’s kinda tough when I’m trying to bathe him and his hands are covered in soap and he puts them into his mouth. He still loves to stare at lights and ceiling fans. He loves to be rocked for cuddle time but when it’s time to sleep he just wants to be put into the crib – which I’m thankful for. He is still not sleeping through the night but he wakes up just to eat around 3 or 4 and goes right back to sleep. We never have trouble getting him down and he never fusses in the night. We’ve had one night where he slept all the way to 6am – but then it was back to 3 or 4. I think we are getting close to sleeping through the night. I’m hoping he’ll drop this 4am feeding on his own and we won’t have to wean him off of it or anything like that. I haven’t had to do any level of cry it out and I’m hoping we never have to. My pediatrician keeps telling me that MOST babies don’t STTN until 6 months …but I’d love to know why EVERY person I’m friends with has a kid who slept through the night at 9,10,11 weeks old. Eric says they are all lying or exaggerating. haha.
He’s still on 4 naps a day. He eats every 3 hours and can really only stand being awake for about an hour and a half at a time. Any more than that and he gets overtired and fussy. We hope to move to 3 naps within the next month and go down to 2 by 6-8 months.
To Schedule or Not to Schedule…
When you have a baby it seems there are essentially 2 theories – let them do their own thing or put them on a schedule. Forget researching because you’ll find people who swear by both methods. You’ll find research supporting both methods. You’ll find all this data about why both methods lead to smarter babies and babies who sleep better..blah blah blah. It REALLY is true when people say “you just have to find what works for you.” Well we have. It’s called a schedule. Ritter is happier, more rested, and more predictable on a schedule. Since we put him on a schedule life has changed. I plan on posting a completely separate blog about this so I won’t go into much detail here but I suppose it’s safe to say that Ritter is like his mommy – he likes routine, structure and predictability. I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about when people condemn the practice of putting babies on a schedule. I feed him when he’s hungry and he sleeps when he’s sleepy – that hasn’t changed. With the schedule I’m able to predict these times so that he never becomes overtired or overhungy – he’s like a different baby! It’s wonderful. And having the predictability makes it easier to plan outings and doctor’s appointments, etc. I know things will change as he grows. Like everyone says, you’ll find what works and then things will change. But at least I have an idea about how to proceed with the changes. I will tweak the schedule as he begins eating more or napping less – but we’ll stay on one. It’s been a lifesaver.
Things we can’t live without…
1) I don’t know how I have neglected to post about this so far. This is the ONE thing that has been ESSENTIAL every single day. Our BabyConnect app. Every single bit of information about Ritter goes into it. Every diaper change, every bottle, every nap, every doctor’s appointment, everything. It keeps up with all of this plus activity, milestones, vaccinations, temp, height, weight, etc. The BEST thing about it is that multiple caregivers can use it and enter info and it syncs on everyone’s devices instantly. I can check it while at work and see how well he has napped, if he’s pooped, etc. It’s AWESOME!!! It also has a website for desktop users. It’s used at daycares also. Check out the app in the app store and the website at http://www.baby-connect.com.
2) Musical gym – Ritter is much more alert now and is learning so much about the world around him. He loves colorful things and lights and sounds. This thing is SOOO soft and has lots of neat things for him to look at. Plus it has a mobile in the top that spins around and lights up and plays music. He lays on his back and kicks and watches it and we also do tummy time and he looks at himself in the mirror. I can’t wait until he starts reaching for stuff and grasping things!
Weighs a little over 15 pounds
Eating 5.5 ounces at each feeding – 4 ounces at dreamfeed
Has outgrown most 3 month clothes- wearing mostly 6 month onesies
Smiles at everything
Has started to giggle this week!
Puts hands to his mouth, eyes, and face
Watches us and follows us with his eyes
Knows our voices and faces
Wakes up happy!
Great head control
4 naps per day
Max wake time is 1.5 hours