The Short Summary
There's a baby book out there that some of you may have heard of called The Wonder Weeks. The basic premise is that babies go through major leaps in their mental and physical development at around the same times--around 5 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 19 weeks, etc. During these developmental leaps, they are often fussier, clingier, and generally different than normal because their world is changing so rapidly. It's one baby book that I actually don't own and haven't read. However, I've heard enough about it from other moms to know that many have found it very accurate and helpful.
We are supposedly in the middle of Wonder Week 12 here. This was helpful and encouraging information this past week, which has been a more difficult week in some ways (outside of a couple of angel-baby days). Part of the difficulty was that I was single-momming it for the first half of the week. The rest was just that Brax was simply fussier than usual for several days. I actually resorted to nursing him to sleep at night twice, out of desperation. However, he has definitely been making some major strides in hand control, which is fun to watch.
Braxon was also apparently fantastic for his first ever non-grandparent babysitting experience. We dropped him off at our friends' apartment last night around 6:15. They were amazed at how good he was. We were a bit amazed, too, since he was coming off of several fussy days. But he took his bottle well and went to sleep easily. I think our friends were a bit jealous. They have identical twin boys who are now 6 but were apparently quite the handful as newborns--the kind that never stopped crying. I can only imagine!
That's the quick summary of the week. Read on for more details, but I won't be offended if you skim :).
The Longer Version
Still doing great in this department. The wingy days haven't affected his night sleep yet. Even the one night when he fussed and wouldn't sleep the whole evening, even after I tried nursing him to sleep, he still went right to sleep at the dreamfeed and slept until our morning wake time, which was a full 9 hours later. I think we're going to wait another week or two and then think about dropping the dream feed, though I want to either be finished with it before we travel back to the US or not mess with it until after we get there and are adjusted to CA time.
We had two nearly perfect nap days, where I went down for naps without a peep and didn't wake up until I woke him. The rest of the days he often woke early, sometimes putting himself back to sleep and sometimes not. I also think he's at the point where the fourth nap of the day only needs to be a catnap of 30-40 minutes, especially if he's slept well all day. But we'll see how things even out with that.
Since we got to China, we got in a habit of putting a light blanket over his Pack n Play when he sleeps. This was because when we first got here, my in-laws were in what is now his room, and he was sleeping in an area that got really bright in the mornings. Then we were afraid to remove it in case he wouldn't sleep without it. But I decided to buckle down and try without it this week, and now he's pretty much weaned off it. I'm not sure if he really noticed the difference or not when I first took it off. He was waking up early from most naps, but it's hard to say if the lack of cover was affecting that.
Brax has gotten one or both of his hands out of the swaddle a few times this week and still slept okay, so I think he's starting to drop it. We're still swaddling but are allowing the swaddle to be looser during the day. If his hands come out, we just leave them so that he'll learn to sleep like that. He's definitely into sucking his hands, so I'm hoping they might become part of his self-soothing process.
I definitely think he's taking in more and more during most nursing sessions. He must be, since he only gets 6 a day and is still gaining weight very well (up to about 13 pounds 10 ounces today). He still takes just as long, but I doubt he's getting much by the end on each boob. I'm probably letting him suck longer than he needs to since I'm usually engrossed in a book* :). But since neither of us is in any rush, I figure it's good bonding time for us--and easy entertainment. He's also started pulling off sometimes to smile and talk to me, which is pretty cute and funny. And he's started to grab my boob or clothes with his hands.
If the Wonder Weeks thing is for real, he's supposedly making a big leap in learning about "smooth transitions." I guess this means he'll be less jerky with hand and other movements. We have certainly noticed that he can move his hands and grasp things with more intentionality. He's paying attention to toys that he never showed interest in before. And he could be happy forever in his activity gym, grabbing the toys and staring at himself in the mirror. He's also finally gotten interested in books! This is very exciting for me. He will actually look at the book the whole time while I'm reading to him now, and yesterday, he was clearly trying really hard to touch it--and succeeding sometimes. I've been moving his hand to turn the pages, and he did it by himself once or twice last night. Who knows if it was random or not, but it definitely made my bookworm heart soar! Finally, he has rolled himself from tummy to back a few times. It's still accidental, when he's propped on his elbows and then leans over enough to fall over. He seems surprised but a little excited about it, so maybe he'll start doing it on purpose soon.
Like I said, I resorted to nursing Brax to sleep in the evening twice this week. And I tried several times last night, and he wouldn't stay asleep. But I'm wondering if he's experiencing a touch of a witching hour. Since Wednesday, he's had big problems falling asleep for his official bedtime (around 7:30-7:45) every other night. I know most babies experience this starting earlier than 12 weeks. But since he'll fall asleep fine for his daytime naps but then get so upset about being put to bed in the evening, I wonder what's going on. However, like Pete reminded me, it's only been 3 nights--and they weren't 3 in a row--so we can't really make any conclusions yet. I know it's not a good idea to let babies cry it out if they are experiencing a witching hour. But when, like last night, he won't calm down with anything else (rocking in various positions, nursing, playing, swaddled or not), what else can we do? If we had a swing or a carseat here, I'd definitely try those. Since we don't, Pete wants to give cry it out a real go if it happens again. At least our next-door neighbor here just moved out, so we don't have to worry about a screaming baby bothering her! I might need to listen to music with headphones to keep from crying myself, though.
I wanted to write down what we usually do when Brax is awake between nursing and going down for a nap. He seems to need much more awake time than many Babywise babies. Other moms talk about their babies only being about to handle 45-60 minutes at this stage, including feeding time. Brax, however, usually goes 75-90 minutes. If we put him down too early, he protests much more than if he's really tired. And getting overtired doesn't seem to be too much of a problem. This leaves me with a lot of time to keep him entertained during the day! I usually make sure to fit in a good chunk of independent play time (in his activity gym with me close by) and tummy time several times during the day. Three times a week, his afternoon awake time is with his daddy, while I go to language tutoring. His evening awake time (right before bed) is usually spent strapped in his stroller near the table while we eat dinner--the stroller is the closest thing we have to an infant seat here. The rest of the time, I sing to him and do motions, talk to him, read to him (not always baby books--I've read Shakespeare and Nourishing Traditions to him this week, both of which he was thrilled by), let him play with toys, and find other interesting games to play. I've also strapped him facing outward in the sling a few times while cooking or doing laundry. He enjoys this, but he's getting heavy and I tire out quickly! I don't know how people who believe really firmly in baby-wearing can do it all day! I guess you develop strong shoulder and back muscles.
I think that's about all I wanted to record for posterity this week. A good friend of mine just had baby #2. Of course we haven't been able to visit yet, but it's so cute looking at the pictures and watching the older sister, who will be 2 in September, meet her new baby sister! It makes me actually look forward to having our next one, though I'm definitely not ready to think about being pregnant again yet. We haven't decided how long we want to wait before trying again. I'm guessing it will take a looong time for my body to start ovulating again. But I'm really hoping and praying that pregnancy--and my improved diet and lifestyle--has done good for my hormones, and that the next one will happen naturally.
*I'm currently engrossed in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It's beautifully written, though fairly dark and sad and emotionally affecting, at least for me. Part of the premise is essentially that infertility has become more widespread because of pollution, etc. It's all very interesting and imaginative. Anyone else read it? I'm also always open to other book suggestions now that I get so much time to read!