A mother for a month
Nico is a month old now, a fact that catches me off guard at times and scrambles my brain a bit. Not too long ago he was still inside my belly, and before I had the chance to get completely used to the idea that he was out and a newborn, he wasn't a newborn anymore. Each day seems a mirror of all the days that came before as we move through the rhythm of the hours -- feeding, use the breastpump, change a diaper, fit in a chore or two or eat a sandwich while Nico naps, then start over with another feeding. But when I look back on the days that are gone, I can see how fast he's changing, and it both thrills me and makes me feel like crying.
Nursing was not easy for us at the beginning. My milk was very late and Nico lost too much weight while we were still in the hospital. He was so frustrated that he would scream and scream and refuse to latch. We've come a long, long way since then. It's not always easy, but it's so much easier than it was. At a month old, Nico mostly nurses well, a relief and a blessing. We started taking him out on errands right away; I think he made his first trip to Target at nine days old. He only tolerates his carseat when it's in a moving car or stroller, but usually the drive to the store is long enough to put him to sleep for the duration of the errand. He is not a fan of tummy time, not remotely. I still make him do it, though probably not as often as I should. This week we got out his giant playmat, and he seems to like it. He is also learning to like his swing, after weeks of hating it, and sometimes lets me put him in his bouncy chair long enough to eat a snack or wash the dishes. Soon he'll be grabbing at toys and trying to roll over.
Because he lost so much weight at the hospital -- he was born at 8 lbs 9.5 oz and discharged at 7 lbs 7 oz -- getting him to gain weight has been at the forefront since we brought him home. Luckily, I was able to focus on making sure he was getting good feedings rather than worrying too much about the numbers. I think this kept me from noticing how much he was growing week to week. I watched his cheeks and skinny thighs for signs of plumping, but didn't realize just how much he'd changed until I compared these two photos:
He's still so, so small, but day to day things happen. The socks that were a bit too big when my mom knitted them for him are now a perfect fit. The sleeves of one of my favorite onesies are getting too short. When I sit him upright on my lap, he holds his head up for longer stretches of time. And just last night, I discovered he's grown too long for his two cutest newborn-sized pairs of jammies. But he's still so, so small. At the end of each day, I carry Nico up the stairs to our bedroom. If I'm lucky I get to brush my teeth and wash my face, and then I swaddle him in a soft flannel blanket and lay him across the Boppy pillow on my lap. Head toward one hip and feet toward the other, he nurses in nearly the same position he was in on the inside just before he was born. He's allowed 20 minutes on each side, and at the end he usually slips to sleep, lying limp and heavy in my arms. I might hold him forever if I could, or at least freeze time for a little while, so that he'd stay small and sweet-smelling and serene for just a bit longer.