Happy Labor Day weekend friends and followers! As we close in on our final weekend by the pool and at the lake before the cooler weather sets in I’m looking back at the last month after becoming a family of four.
After all the introductions at the hospital and at home, Banks became well acquainted with his grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, a slew of cousins and friends it was finally time for the four of us to settle in at home.
After spending a couple nights in the hospital I think a normal concern for even second time parents like ourselves is how the new baby will adjust at home. How will he sleep? Will he sleep? What about Miles, how will he adjust now that he realizes this thing is here to stay?
I often worried how Miles would do at bedtime. His clingiest time especially with mama. The last three weeks before Banks arrival we had been putting Miles in his crib in his room. Before he had slept in our room in a pack and play so we were hoping moving him to his big boy bed would prevent him from being woke up by baby brother during the night. Thinking consoling one would be easier than two. However after returning home and three nights away from mommy and daddy we quickly realized Miles was having some attachment issues. He did not want us to leave his sight and to be honest I missed my biggest baby like crazy and wanted him near me at all times as well. I’d like to say he stayed one night or even one week in bed with us but that would be a lie. One month later and big brother is still wedged between mom and dad, hogging the bed, throwing elbows and sweating up a storm. Jared and I look at each other every night when Miles is fast asleep and say “we have to get him back in his own bed”. Maybe I will have an update post of big brother transitioning back into his own bed.
Little brother however has been going in and out of his bassinet after feedings like a champ. I’m not going to lie, trying to stay awake during nursing sessions every hour and a half or two hours the first week was a challenge. A tip for new mama’s- it helps if you sit up in your bed to nurse or have a chair or glider near by. I’m hoping in the next couple months both boys will be moved into their own rooms and I will not have knees in my back and little brother will be a easier than big brother transitioning into his crib.
Something I highly recommend is the halo swaddle sack for your new baby. We have used them with Miles and now Banks. The swaddle is a safety measure for parents to use instead of a loose blanket. I have loved the safety behind the swaddles but my boys have loved the feeling of being all tight and cozy. It has instantly calmed Banks during a fussy session a time or two.
Miles has done so well sharing his bedtime routine with Banks. Jared and I will usually rotate the changing table, changing diapers, putting on lotions and putting on pajamas for both boys. We then move to our bedroom and I will usually nurse Banks in our bed and lay him in his bassinet for his first couple hours of sleep. I worried during this time when I would usually cuddle Miles to sleep while he drank his bedtime milk would be a hard adjustment for him. I worried he would try to push his baby brother right out of the way. Instead and to my surprise he will gently snuggle as close to me and beside his brother and touch whatever he can reach while he goes off to sleep. Skin to skin contact is Miles security blanket, he will rub my chest or Jared’s until he falls asleep. Those sweet, sweaty, uncomfortable bed time snuggles with my two boys has quickly become my favorite time.
New parents are often asked “how is the baby sleeping” or “are you getting any sleep”. To be honest even with a toddler eight hours of straight sleep is a thing of the past. The first couple nights Banks wanted to nurse so often I felt like I would barley lay him down before he was ready to nurse again. By then end of the first week we started getting more on a two hour schedule. Jared has always been a big help. Of course he can not do much during feedings but he has always changed diapers and took his turn rocking and bouncing the boys when they have fought sleep. Now more than ever our team work is important. I don’t know how I would survive the restless nights with out his help. We probably get eight hours of sleep between us and definitely broken up. No one gets more sleep than Miles. Thankfully so though. No one is a bigger grouch than Miles without sleep.
Now I know I know you are not suppose to take a newborn out side your home for the first couple weeks. Extreme parents will even say months. Well we have never been those types of parents. Plus we have a toddler to occupy in the dead heat of Summer. We had spent the majority of Summer by the pool at Jared’s grandparents. Miles had become so accustomed to the daily trips, he would recognize my pool bag when I would begin to pack it. So after Banks arrival our schedule did not change. We would pack our pool bag and the four of us would head off to the pool. I would lay Banks in the shade under the covered swing and I had bought a small clip fan from Walgreen’s I would hang above him. He has took many naps by his great grandparents pool while big brother practiced his swimming. He even met his cousins for the first time during a pool day. It is a very special place for us.
The rest of our first week was pretty much the same, adjusting to less sleep again, changing diapers more often and times two now and just soaking up time with both our boys.
Week two was fairly similar to week one. Banks was starting to sleep longer periods and space out his feedings a bit more. Jared and I felt like we were getting the hang of this two kids thing and big brother was adjusting well. Honestly better than we ever expected him too. He has yet to show signs of jealousy or meanness towards his baby brother. He loves to kiss his feet and take him his paci. We have been so amazed by his tenderness and honestly just so proud of him.
Week two had a couple big events. Banks got his first bath on day ten. Like his brother he hated the naked drop into the water but loved it as soon as his tiny butt sat in the warm tub. He slept through most of the bath. Nothing smells better than a fresh clean baby dipped in lotion.
The next event was double special. August 4th was our seventh wedding anniversary and Banks first church service. He did so well. He matched his brother in their baby blue outfits and spent most the service being held by his great grandmother. I remember worrying about Miles crying in church until someone told me the only thing worse than hearing a child cry in church is not hearing children in church. Even now I think about that and even though a toddler and now a toddler and infant might not always corporate and it can be difficult it is worth it to have our babies in church at a young age.
Week three was the most challenging week. Since bringing Banks home from the hospital he would have fussy periods after most feedings. He was having dirty diapers, gaining weight and I was producing so much milk I knew he wasn’t crying from hunger. It was an uncomfortable cry, you could tell something was bother him but during week three his uncomfortableness and crying got much worse.
I feared the worst. I feared my sweet baby was developing colic and I immediately thought how will we survive this. How will I balance a baby that constantly cries and still give my toddler all the attention he deserves.
One day while Banks was in his car seat I noticed something odd. He was drooling. Excessively. I thought he is way too young to be teething. Jared assured me nothing was wrong that babies just drool but my gut told me different. After another fussy day and a night full of research I was confident I knew what was going on with my baby that a week before was so content and happy.
Silent reflux. Sounds completely made up right? I thought the same thing. It’s common for babies to have acid reflux and easy to diagnose because of excessive spit up after feedings. Banks did not spit up. Hardly ever. However he had all the signs and symptoms of silent reflux. The difference is instead of a baby spitting up the acid, they swallow it. You know that feeling you get right before you throw up? Your mouth salivates so bad. That is why he was drooling so bad because he was swallowing all that acid after feedings and why he was so uncomfortable. Silent reflux is not always recognized or diagnosed. Some doctors will just call it colic and let it run its course. I however was convinced something was making my baby uncomfortable and I wanted to know what and how to help him.
Here are the sign and symptoms I have found that may help another mother that baby might be suffering from silent reflux-
- Arching back after feedings
- screaming rather than crying
- hiccuping a lot
- not sleeping well
- getting upset when placed on their back (this was a big one for Banks)
- sleeping better when sat up right
- gaging a lot
- wet sounding burps
Tips I have found that have made a huge difference in Banks happiness have been.
- shorter feedings with smaller amounts (I make him take breaks)
- feeding at a 30 degree angle or greater
- burping thoroughly after
- not laying flat for at least 30 minutes after feedings (the most important for us)
After several days of following these tips Banks was like a new baby. He was content and happy between feedings again and only having the occasional spell of uncomfortableness but nothing like before. The biggest help for him has been being elevated after feedings in which we use the boppy pillow to sit him up for at least 30 minutes. At his one month check up we talked to his pediatrician who told us to continue doing what we were doing and saw no reason for medication at this point in time.
Although week three was a little harder I am thankful for it because it showed us how we did under the pressure of being a family of four and having two kids under two. Once again team work was the best medicine for week three. I’m thankful for a helpful husband and the patience I needed to understand what was bothering our baby.
Week four was pretty breezy compared to week three. We had lots of time at home. Dad started painting the house and mom took care of the boys inside. On the 24th Banks turned one month old. He loves his mommy, daddy and his big brother Miles. He loves nursing and sleeping. He weighed 8.6lbs and 21 inches long – 2lbs and 2 inches longer than birth and he loves to give a good smirk.
We have loved and enjoyed one whole month with our baby boy Banks. What a wonderful fast month it has been. It has been full of love and learning and one thing is for sure. I wouldn’t trade this crazy and beautiful life for anything. The days we think we have it all figured out are usually followed by the craziest day where we can only laugh and live in the chaos. Isn’t that how it should be though? Up or down we are blessed to have our family of four.