My baby is no longer a newborn by anyone's definition of the term. And while I feel incredibly wistful and nostalgic whenever I see pictures of him during his first week, it's so fun to be able to play with a sturdier, more interactive baby whose personality is starting to peak through more and more.
I can say that more easily after the past few days, which have been fantastic. The first half of this week was...well, rough. Remember that Wonder Week I mentioned last week? I can now say with certainty that we went through it. The wonder weeks chart shows a fussy stage between 11.5 and 12.5 weeks. The first night where he cried inconsolably for a long time was right at 11.5 weeks, and the last night of it was this past Wednesday, at 12.5 weeks. I can't believe how textbook my child is! Since Thursday, he's been back to his sunny self with the addition of more motor control that I guess was developing during that wonder week--and the ability to roll!
We are winding down our time here in China and very excited to come home in exactly two weeks. I'm looking forward to California weather, a car, my friends, cooking.... I would say I'm looking forward to developing a new routine after we get through jet lag, but that actually probably won't come until September. We'll be housesitting at two different houses for the first two weeks after we get back, as our subletters will still be in our apartment. Then we'll be home for a week before I take off with Brax to Georgia for two weeks to visit family and friends (Pete will be joining us after the first week). I'm excited to see everyone and to introduce lots of family members to Braxon, but traveling is definitely more stressful with a little one! And of course, the whole trip happens to coincide with the next predicted wonder week. I'm praying we sail through that one--or at least don't notice it with all the disruptions!
Now for the longer version...
We are so fortunate that the wonder week did not disrupt Brax's night sleep. He did take an hour or more of crying most nights before falling asleep, but then he slept just as soundly as before, until 7am. I've been waking him every morning, so I sense that he's ready to extend the night sleep even longer. So, after the wonder week was clearly over, I've started moving the dreamfeed a little earlier every night to hopefully eliminate it soon. I think he could probably make it at least 10-11 hours at this point. I'm hoping that doesn't cause any issues with my milk supply, so I'll be monitoring that carefully, for sure.
During the wonder week, his naps were pretty awful. He fussed for a little while every time I put him down, but then he woke up within 45 minutes to 1 hour almost every single time and cried. Sometimes he would go back to sleep again, sometimes he wouldn't and I'd just get him up for the next feed. I was watching carefully to make sure it wasn't a growth spurt, as well, but he never seemed any hungrier than usual. The terrible napping was worst on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I was feeling really ragged from listening to crying so much (as a side note--rocking him does not help but just keeps him awake, and he eventually gets even fussier). Then, on Thursday, it was over. Since then, he's been back to sleeping 1hr15m to 1hr45m. In fact, I think he's been sleeping even better than before the wonder week. If he wakes up, he either cries for only a very few minutes before falling back asleep, or he talks to himself happily and looks around. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, the author says that babies' daytime sleep becomes more organized between 3 and 4 months, so maybe that's what's happening. His fourth nap of the day is usually only 30-40 minutes, so perhaps he'll be ready to drop down to 3 naps soon.
Brax is becoming more consistently faster at nursing. I'd say it takes an average of 20 minutes these days. He spits up a lot between feedings, so I've been careful to not encourage him to keep eating after he pulls off the boob the first time. I also wonder if he's getting fed more often than he needs to. Though I've never read that that can cause spitting up, it makes sense that it would, doesn't it? He's getting 6 feeds a day right now, but after we drop the dreamfeed (hopefully soon), it will be 5. I'm hoping I can spread them out a little more then. Since I've been having to wake him to feed him most times during the day (since the wonder week ended), it seems like he's ready to extend the time between feeds, take longer naps, and then maybe drop the fourth nap. I'm wondering if some of that will just happen naturally as we readjust from jet lag. But he also seems pretty young to go down to 4 feedings a day, so I definitely don't want to push it.
I decided the wonder week was not a good time to mess with the swaddle. But he definitely gained much better arm control over the past week. So, after two great nap days, we decided to try one arm out this morning--his left arm, to encourage him to turn his head to the left and hopefully round the back of his head out a bit! We watched him, and he did seem a bit confused by the fact that his arm could move around. He fussed for a minute or two, then talked for a few more minutes, and then got quiet and fell asleep for a nice long nap! Such a big boy! So I guess we'll probably be able to drop both the dreamfeed and the swaddle before we head home.
Growth and Development
Like I said above, the past week and a half have seen Brax through some pretty big developments. He is really good at grabbing things and moving them around intentionally now and loves doing it. He also rolled over for the first time! While he was doing tummy time one day, he lost his balance a bit on his elbows and leaned over enough to fall onto his side. That was purely accidental, but we started helping him do it sometimes to show him how. Then, one day, he started doing it on his own repeatedly, and making it onto his back! He usually looks startled but then gets excited (though that could be because I'm cheering and clapping my hands). He still seems to forget how to do it sometimes and get frustrated trying to make it happen, but other times he does it completely unprompted by me.
We took Brax out 3 times in the evening this week--way more than ever before. Pete's lab wanted to take us out for dinner one night and another night we were meeting a friend who couldn't meet any other time. We've learned that Brax doesn't really sleep when we take him out at night, even in the sling. He'll sleep in the sling when Pete's walking with it or in a moving vehicle, but not otherwise, and not at night. So he stayed up much later than usual those nights. However, he was so interested in all the new sights and faces that he didn't fuss much (only when we got him home and put him to bed, but that was also during the wonder week). He did well enough that we decided to go out to dinner ourselves last night, since it was our anniversary, and he again did great and, this time, went to sleep more quickly when we got home. We had brought bottles the other two nights, but I actually nursed at the restaurant last night with my handy nursing cover. We're not sure if that's culturally appropriate or not. The Chinese rarely bring young babies out, so we've never seen a woman breastfeeding in public here. Hopefully they're okay with us doing it. If not, we can still play the ignorant American card at this point. And the nursing cover keeps things modest :).
Enough time spent baby-gazing, I think. Happy weekend!