River at one month:
Weight: 12 pounds (95 percentile)
Feeding: River has been exclusively breastfed since birth. For the first few weeks, I fed him on demand but followed the EASY routine. I've posted on this method before: it is NOT a sleep training method or a strict routine. It is simply a way to ensure that all of your baby's needs are met and to assist your baby in finding a natural rhythm to their day. I first read about this theory when I was pregnant for Isabelle and I have used it with all three of our kids. It is taken from the book "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems," by Tracy Hogg. In Hogg's words:
E.A.S.Y. is "a routine that gives the day structure and makes family life consistent, which is important because all of us, children and adults, as well as babies and toddlers, thrive on predictability." "With E.A.S.Y., you don't follow the baby; you take charge. You observe him carefully, tune in to his cues, but you take the lead, gently encouraging him to follow what you know will make him thrive: eating, appropriate levels of activity, and a good sleep afterwards. You are the baby's guide. You set the pace." (page 16)
At around 2 weeks old, River began a predictable cycle of nursing every two hours. At night, his feedings have spread out to every 3-4 hours. There are days when he nurses more often, however, and I am careful on those days to follow his cues and feed him as often as he needs.
At one month old, River and I are settling into a good routine with nursing. I experienced a fair amount of soreness and engorgement for the first two weeks, to be expected, but those things have settled down and I am feeling much more comfortable these days. River has a good latch and has not experienced any reflux or colic issues unlike his sisters. Breastfeeding has gone so well with this little guy and I am hoping to continue nursing him well into his first year.
Sleep: River literally slept through most of his first month of life. Almost every photo we have of him shows him sleeping in one place or another. For the first two weeks, he had his days and nights mixed up and typically chose to be awake through the late night hours. The only way he would sleep at night was in my arms and so we spent the first two weeks of his life sleeping in our rocker/recliner in the living room. I watched more late night TV this month than I ever have in my life. Sleeping sitting up with a baby in your arms is not the most restful way to spend the night, I can promise you that. But, at around two weeks old, he started to shift into a more natural rhythm and began a more predictable sleep cycle. He is now sleeping with Shawn and I in our bed, getting 2-3 hours of sleep at a time and then waking to nurse. The EASY routine addresses sleep as well as feeding and helps baby to differentiate between night and day sleep cycles. River is slowly but surely figuring this all out and is getting better rest because of it.
Health: River is a big, healthy boy! He had an ultrasound done to his hips this month due to a family history of hip dysplasia and his very large gestational size but the results came back perfect. I am learning what I can and can not eat in regards to his digestion and so far have limited my intake of caffeine, dairy, and oranges.
Personality: River is, overall, a very calm and sweet baby. As the third child in our family, he has adjusted well to life inside this loud, full of life home. He tolerates his sisters' shrill screams, barely flinching when they run right by his bed making more noise than a heavy metal band. He loves to be held and worn, spending much of his day in my Solly wrap or Ergo carrier. He is the first of our children to actually like his baby swing and is content to sit in his swing while we cook dinner or get a few things done around the house. He responds well to music and loves to be swaddled and rocked to sleep. He enjoys being outdoors and I have found that the quickest way to soothe him if he is fussy is to take him on a walk in the fresh air. He does NOT like bath time, being cold, or getting dressed.
River is a month old already and I am amazed by how quickly time has flown by. The first month is always a bit of a haze between the sleepless nights, constant breast feeding, and the overall delirium that accompanies a new life. It has been a wonderful month, though, as we all get to know the newest member of our family. We have not traveled far from our nest these last few weeks, instead choosing to hibernate for a while, heal, relax, and spend time with each other in the quiet and comfortable environment of our home. These days together have been so precious to me and are such a nice change from my usual schedule. We have all been making an effort to practice extra patience and grace with one another, to be understanding of the effects a life change such as this one has on a family, and to make changes accordingly. I am so proud of our family and have been overwhelmed by the amount of love I have witnessed this month. It's been an amazing ride so far.