So Penelope is about six and a half weeks old and I thought it might be a good time to give you an update on how things are going 'round these parts.
It's pretty wild to think about how much life has changed in just six short weeks. It's been a fun, exciting and joyous ride thus far, but I'd be lying if I said that it hasn't had its share of challenges.
I've spent all but a few mere hours over the last weeks with Penelope while I'm on my maternity leave. It has been great to have so much time with her in these precious first weeks.
Though we spend most of our time at home, I try to get out of the house at least once a day. This ranges from visiting my mom or lunch with my aunts to a trip to the mall or a simple walk around the neighborhood.
I wanted to try and get back to 'normal' as quickly as possible and not let my fear of leaving the house with a fragile newborn keep me stuck in neutral. I'm thrilled to say that Penelope travels well so far and I'm happy that she's allowed us to survive hour-long car rides and even a sit-down lunch.
Speaking of lunch...
Penelope eats like a champ. She definitely inherited Mama's genes in that department (unfortunately for her). I'm exclusively nursing but Pen gets about 1 bottle a day (so Shaun can enjoy feeding her as well). Somedays, it seems like all she does is want to eat...like if she's not eating, she is crying and vice versa. This has been tough on me because I feel as though no matter what I do, she wants more and I have a hard time accepting that sometimes, I just cannot get anything else done (like toss in a load of laundry, eat or pee for that matter). However, she is gaining weight like whoa (we think she is already around 11 pounds), and so I'm thrilled to have a healthy growing girl on my hands.
The Fun Things
And since she has grown so much over the last few weeks, she is starting to do and see a bit more, which has been completely awesome to witness. She started smiling about two weeks ago and everytime she does it, my heart just explodes with joy and happiness. There is no better feeling than that. She loves kisses, silly noises, light cheek squeezes and staring at little toys that hang from her car seat and bouncer. It is truly adorable to see her stare at these things in wonderment and it makes me so excited for all of the things to come and she discovers more and more.
Her new love is her Snugabunny bouncer!
She smiles at the little birdies that hang above her and she loves the vibrating movement.
I have lots of thoughts on different baby products and so perhaps I'll do a separate post on that soon.
The Crying Game
On the not so fun side, we learned early on that Penelope is a crier. I don't really have much experience with babies beyond Pen, and so I'm not sure what a 'normal' level of crying is for a newborn. I just know that Penelope cries a lot, and continues to do so at 6+ weeks.
In fact, after a string of non-stop 6 hour wailing (and I mean incosolable, full-body raging wailing) sessions, I even took her to the pediatrician for a look. To my simultaneous happiness (that my child is perfectly healthy) and dismay (that there was nothing to be done about said wailing), she essentially told me to simply 'deal with it'.
After shedding a few tears myself and grabbing a cupcake to ease my woes, we regrouped. It turns out that newborns get overstimulated incredibly easily and there is no 'off' switch. Just because we think it's bedtime, doesn't mean that Penelope thinks so. And thus in the evening hours, we are trying to keep all of the lights dim, speak softly and rock her as much as possible. This week, we are going to try and make a concerted effort to 'teach' her how to fall asleep. We're testing out a rocking chair and I'm hoping that will help. Outside of that, sometimes the only comfort is putting her in the Moby wrap and walking the hallways of our building.
Luckily, once she is down for the night, things are great. It could take 4 hours of fussing to get her to sleep, but once she is sleeping, over the last week she has done a 5-6 hour stretch, wakes up to eat and get changed, then goes back down for another 2.5-3 hours. I can't complain about that! It's a far cry from the first few weeks of 1.5-2 hour stretches all.night.long. Eek. So I'm happy to be getting a bit more sleep these days.
Any moms with sleeping tips out there? I'm happy to take any advice you're willing to give!
For now, I'll continue to soak up my time with her any way I can...