The 4 Month Mark
I have managed to go M.I.A for way too long again. Please excuse my absence! Hopefully I will have blogging often down to a science soon.
Here are some updates. Chiddy bear is 4 months old now (I cannot remember what week it is today, 19 I think) and weighed 6.58kg (14.8 lbs) at 17 weeks. He smiles a lot, laughs when tickled, and is VERY chatty especially in the mornings. He sits with minimal support, can grab and hold unto his feet while on his back and he can roll from back to front. He has also had a massive growth spurt in the last two weeks and now fits into his 3-6 months clothes. In fact, I think he is going to outgrow those too in a few weeks so we have done a bit of shopping in advance. All in all, he seems to be a content little boy and I am a very pleased mama.
It has been a crazy 4 months. I have felt all kinds of powerful emotions; gone from really upset and frustrated one minute to overjoyed and brimming with pride the next. I have felt that intense love that I think only mothers would understand and it is such an amazing feeling. It has been a roller-coaster but I continue to love every bit of it.
I have said in previous posts how being a new mother attracts all kinds of advice, most of them although well-meaning, come across as criticism and can dent a her confidence. That said, in this post I want to share some tips (solicited and unsolicited) that were given to me, which I have found very helpful in my motherhood journey thus far.
1. "Sleep with baby in your bed"
My mother gave me this advice. She felt that since I was breastfeeding and just had a c-section, it didn't make sense for baby to sleep in the separately. Initially I struggled with this one because everything I had read recommended to put baby in a Moses basket to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). By week three however, baby refused to sleep in the basket; he cried every time we put him in it. We have been co-sleeping ever since and we probably will continue to for a while. Breastfeeding and co-sleeping go perfectly hand in hand. I get so much more sleep because when he is hungry, all I have to do is pop the breast in his mouth and go right back to sleep. Thank goodness breastfeeding also acts like a tranquilliser.
2. "Be careful about some baby body and bath products"
This advice came from a good friend who is also a new mother. She had discovered that some products caused her newborn to have allergic reactions and after a week of using same product, I too discovered that my son was having bad reactions. Her advice was to discontinue usage. Before I had baby, my plan was to use only natural/hypoallergenic products. I started off with Olive Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Shea Butter and African Black Soap but somehow my husband convinced me to try some Johnson's products on baby so that he could "smell more like a baby." Anyway good news is, we are back to mostly natural products and they are helping a great deal to keep his skin soft and beautiful.
3. "Always use a barrier cream on his bottom"
You would think this is a no-brainer but I knew almost nothing about the nappy situation. I mean I had read about the pros and cons of cloth nappies vs. disposables and all that, but I did not think much about the actual process of changing a nappy. This tip came from my mother-in-law who advised to always use Vaseline or any nappy cream on his bum to help prevent rashes. Happy to say that tip has worked really well for me. I alternate between Vaseline and Shea butter regularly and when he got a rash one time, I used a little bit of Sudocrem and they disappeared the next day. He has not had any more irritations since then.
4. "Sleep when he sleeps"
To be frank, initially this advice did not work for me as I found it difficult to sleep when he slept. Even when I had help around the house, my mind was always still ticking away making it virtually impossible to sleep. However, a few weeks of getting settled and a colicky baby gave me a real kick up the backside and I started to sleep when he slept. Not always, because sometimes all I want to do is eat, watch a movie or blog, but most of the time.
5. "When baby cries or won't sleep, breastfeed him or back him"
As I came to find out, even when he had colic, my baby loves to be carried and given lots of TLC (what baby doesn't?). Breastfeeding does more than nourish, it relaxes both of us: it works as a tranquilliser not just for baby but for me too. Where breastfeeding doesn't quite work, backing him always works like a charm. I remember the first time I backed ChiddyBear. He had kept me up all night, only managing to sleep a total of 3 hours split into 30 minute intervals. He cried and fussed so much that I started to cry too. As you can imagine, I got no sleep. I was super tired. So at about 11am when I could not take it anymore, I video-called my mother in Nigeria. She asked if I had fed him (at this point I had began to wonder if he was getting enough milk). I told her I had. Then she told me to back him. She showed me how to do it safely and for the first time in several hours, my baby slept for about 2 hours straight. You can imagine my relief. Anyway, this was one of the soundest pieces of advice I received and one of the things that made me more interested in full-time babywearing. My baby cried so much less after that.
6. "Always try to take a little time in the day for yourself"
I absolutely love "me-time". Time to myself always does me a world of good. This is something that I missed during the newborn stage. I cannot remember who but someone told me to make sure I always took a little time for myself during the day. This was much easier to do when my husband was still on paternity leave and he could hold baby while I took a really long shower, caught up on my favourite TV show, ate a nice meal, read a book/blog, went for a little walk or just stared at the ceiling. Once he returned to work, that became a little harder but I still tried to do it. Whenever I could not take time out during the day, I would at night when baby slept. He is a good sleeper, thankfully. This was the best advice that I got! I continue to use it even now. It keeps me sane!
These are just the few that I can remember. There are so many more. If I remember any more, I will probably share them on twitter. You can follow me on social media for more frequent updates.