I’m so glad I’m writing down the details of these first months of Theo’s life, so I will always remember what we did and how I felt, because the first few weeks after his birth already feel like a hazy dream of nursing and pumping and snuggles and wonder. It’s amazing how quickly Theo has transitioned from a sleepy newborn to a baby with a distinct personality and little boy traits. And how he has transformed our lives.
Unless you’re interested in Theo’s milestones or baby sleep schedules, this post might be a little boring for you. If that’s the case, stay tuned, because recipes and travel posts will be returning to this site soon. I’m back in the kitchen and cooking again (and we have some fun travel plans in the works), but I just need to figure out how to get my baby boss to give me time to take photos and write blog posts.
I have a feeling we’re going to say this at every stage, but this past month has been so fun. At five weeks, he started sleeping in his snuggle beside our bed at night, instead of in the bed between us. Elie and I both appreciated having our bed back with just the two of us, but we still like having him in the room with us at night. Another sleep progression happened that week when he started napping in his crib, instead of next to us, wherever we happened to be in the house. We’re trying to start establishing his room as a sleep space early on. Also that week, Elie and I went on our first date night, for my birthday. Mimi (my Mom) and our friend, Guy, babysat for us. Everything went well, except Theo wouldn’t fall asleep until we got home.
At six weeks, we went to Palm Springs for our first vacation, to test out his affinity for traveling. Thankfully, he is a great traveler. He didn’t make a peep on the plane, both there and back, either sleeping or just sitting contently in our laps. We discovered he loves warm weather, just like his parents. He had a huge smile on his face when Elie took him for a swim in the pool. Not surprisingly, since he also loves his nightly bath. Palm Springs was also a milestone for me, because it was the first time I nursed in public (insert hoots and applause here). It may sound like a silly accomplishment, but it felt big, and we didn’t have any mishaps, if you know what I mean. Also, our first night in Palm Springs, Theo slept eight hours straight! That was huge, although he’s only done it a few times since then.
At seven weeks, we started transitioning to a bit of an ‘eat, play, sleep’ schedule, which is beginning to give our days at least some predictability, with cadence if not times. For play, we read books (Goodnight Moon is the current favorite), sing songs and dance (Lisa Loeb’s Big Rock Candy Mountain and Little Red Caboose are his favorites, on repeat), practice tummy time (he loves it!), make faces in the mirror, play peek-a-boo, try to take a walk through the neighborhood (only semi-successful), or just sit and talk. Especially in the past week, he’s started to really carry on a conversation, with a chorus of coos. This week, we started trying to get him to fall asleep on his own, by putting him in the crib when sleepy but awake. It’s only worked a few times, but we keep trying.
At eight weeks, the ‘eat, play, sleep’ schedule really started to solidify, thanks to the book The Happy Sleeper. We’ve followed the suggestions for children under four months, and it’s been a game-changer, really helping us to understand Theo’s sleep needs and how to help ease him into a schedule. Actually ‘schedule’ is probably too strong of a word. Instead, we have a pattern or rhythm for the days and nights.
Starting at seven or eight weeks, Theo naturally started to gravitate to falling asleep around 9 p.m., so we’ve started a bedtime routine with that goal in mind. Elie and I usually have dinner around 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. After dinner, we give Theo a bath give him a massage with coconut oil and put on his pajamas. Sometimes we read a bedtime story. Then, Elie plays guitar and we sing while I nurse Theo and rock him to sleep. Conventional wisdom is that you shouldn’t nurse or rock your baby to sleep, but it works for us, and Theo sleeps soundly.
He used to wake twice during the night, once around 1 a.m. and once around 4 or 5 a.m. But over the past few weeks, he’s dropped the first waking, and he usually sleeps until the early morning. When he wakes up, I change him and strip him down to just his diaper. We get back in bed and he nurses for 20 minutes or so and then he falls back asleep on my chest. I fall asleep, too, until he wakes around 7 or 8:00 a.m. That way, we both fall back asleep quickly and we get some good skin-on-skin time. Again, this is probably not recommended by any sleep experts, but it has worked well for us, and I am never sleep deprived.
Theo’s usually pretty hungry first thing in the morning, so when he wakes up, we tend to stay in bed and snuggle and nurse for the better part of an hour. Elie sweetly brings me coffee and lets the kitties out of the basement and gives them their breakfast. Once Theo has had his breakfast, Elie then plays with him until Theo’s ready for his first nap. That’s when I usually take a shower and get dressed for the day. Generally, Theo goes down for a nap 90 minutes after he wakes up. This first nap usually only lasts 30 or 45 minutes. When he wakes, we play and then he’ll nurse right before going down for a nap again, 90 minutes after his last nap. This cycle continues throughout the day. Sometimes (but rarely) he’ll take two long naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. More often, he takes a lot of cat naps, 30 to 45 minutes each. Those are the days I don’t get much else done!
There’s a saying about having children: The days are long, but the years are short. I have to say, I find the days go by fast. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my time than by playing with my son, watching his eyes light up and seeing that big smile break out across his face. It’s a precious, fleeting time and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.