The First 6 Weeks

November 12, 2012

Full of so many emotions, ups and downs!!!

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Themes

  • Sweet snuggles
  • Baby wearing
  • Painful nursing
  • Fussing
  • Unpredictability
  • Tons of love

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I definitely would not say Mazen was an easy newborn. But he wasn’t terribly difficult either. He seemed to be pretty textbook to me – wanting to be held, fussing in the evenings, and having a hard time soothing himself to sleep. Most of his fussing stemmed from needing to go to sleep but not knowing how. We could tell he was tired and wanted us to rock and pat him until he was completely out. He rarely fell asleep on his own. Sometimes this took an hour; other times more like 15 minutes.

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Nursing

He was a great nurser from the start and latched on so hard that he gave me super sore nipples that lasted pretty much the whole first month. Then things started to get better. One lesson I learned was that the latch isn’t 100% mom’s job. The baby has to learn too, and when I finally got some nipple relief it was when HE learned to open his mouth wider. It wasn’t something I did. No matter how many times I tried to get his lower jaw lower, he would just readjust it back. But once he learned how to do it himself, things got better. So time and patience was really all we needed.

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Because he was so good at nursing, he barely lost any weight after birth. He was 10 pounds, 12 ounces at 4 weeks and I believe at 6 weeks he was up to about 11 pounds. He’s right in the 50th percentiles for height and weight, so he’s doing well!

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Sleep

Mazen was not a sleeper. I thought newborns were supposed to sleep all day, but ours definitely did not. He would take maybe 2-4 short naps a day, but most of them had to be on us or in a carrier. He didn’t like being put down at all – in seats, in his stroller, in his crib. We responded by wearing him most of the time, which made us both happy.

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At night, he slept 2-3 hours at a time. Twice during the first 6 weeks he slept 4 hours straight, which shocked us, but it was never something we could predict. Generally we got our longest stretch first and sometimes second then from 3am-7am he would wake up every hour. It was definitely exhausting at times, but since Matt and I were tag-teaming the nights, we survived feeling OK.

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For a while, I slept in the master bedroom for the first part of the evening and Matt would bring Maze in to me to feed and then go back to the nursery for diaper changing and what could be up to an hour of soothing back to sleep. This was great because I was able to sleep whenever I wasn’t feeding him. We introduced a bottle at 3.5 weeks so that Matt could give him his late evening feeding and I could sleep a longer stretch. I went to bed in the master bedroom from 8-9pm until 12-1-2am and Matt fed him a pumped bottle at 10pm and then slept in the nursery until he woke up again. Whenever he woke up next, we would switch and I finished the night while Matt got a solid 6-8 hours in the master. This worked REALLY well for us, and we both felt well rested most days. A few times when Matt needed more sleep I did the entire night myself without starting with a nap and I praise anyone who does that full-time.

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There was definitely a period of time when I started to dread the nights a little – just because they were so long, lonely and exhausting, but once we implemented our tag-team-bottle-feeding routine, things got so much better.

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Fussing

Things that really worked for us:

  • Baby wearing
  • Pacifiers (starting at 3 weeks)
  • White Noise Lite app (on airplane mode)
  • Everything related to Happiest Baby on the Block
  • Swaddling
  • Being flexible and patient

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Schedule

During the first 6 weeks we really had no kind of schedule. I never knew when he would fall asleep or want to eat. With the eating, we generally could count on every 1-3 hours, but as far as a time of day, it was really hard to plan things in advance. A friend would ask me to meet her for a walk at 10am and my response would be: “Can I text you 2 hours before and maybe move the time forward or backward by 30 minutes!?” It was really hard to make plans (and now at 7 weeks, it still sort of is) because nursing is just so unpredictable and entirely dependent on the first feeding of the day, which happens anywhere from 6:30-8:30. I read the Baby Whisperer book at about 4 weeks and realized Maze was doing E.A.S.Y. (eat, activity, sleep, you) already, so that’s the routine we have been following (by his choice). He was generally really happy after he ate and then got gradually more subdued in the 15-30 minutes after until he would cry for us to try to put him to sleep.

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Play

During the first 6 weeks, he really didn’t show any response to toys, music or books. We did some reading, some singing and things, but other than a few smiles after a month, he was pretty much a cute newborn just looking out at the world. Right at 6 weeks, this all changed!

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Although it may sound like the first 6 weeks were full of frustration (at least it does to me writing this after the fact!), that was overshadowed by the amazement and joy of becoming new parents. It’s only now looking back that I realize how hard it was. I kept thinking two things during this time:

1) The first 6 weeks are about survival

2) Being a mom is so fun

The two canceled each other out!

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6 Weeks Old

Something magical happened almost the day that Mazen turned six weeks old.

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  • He started falling asleep (!)
  • He started smiling a TON!
  • He started showing interest and playing with toys.
  • He started to like his stroller and his bouncy seats.
  • He started napping in his crib (sometimes).
  • He started to get a little more predictable.
  • He started liking books and music and his playmat.
  • He started sleeping 4-5 hours during the first part of the night.

and he seems to love us even more than ever!

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I already miss the newborn stage. He was so tiny and cute!!! It breaks my heart a little to watch the videos or look at the photos from those first few weeks because I know we can never go back in time. But I’m excited for every day that passes and and every new thing he learns!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Averie @ Averie Cooks November 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Kath this is such a sweet post! I love that you have this all documented and it’s funny to hear you say you miss the newborn stages but to me he is still so small and adorable. Just wait til he’s 50 pounds and reading and telling YOU the the way life is and should be :) Then you’ll really wonder where the last 5 years have gone. That’s my life today :)

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2 Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) November 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I can’t believe how fast babies change – it’s amazing! Such a wonderful post =)

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3 Michelle@Peachy Palate November 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Such gorgeous pics – I hope you’re printing some of them! Something I always forget to do myself these days! Nothing better than looking back at baby pics in a good old fashioned photo album! :)

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4 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More November 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm

This post is so sweet! You guys really have the post precious baby. I know he’s not always happy but in the photos he just seems so happy and ADORABLE! :)

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5 natalie @ will jog for food November 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Great post! He has grown up so much in 6 weeks :)

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6 britt November 12, 2012 at 3:29 pm

i love the pics!! it’s funny, i completely forgot dreading the nighttime, like REALLY dreading it, until you mentioned it here. then i very clearly remembered that feeling. i kind of hope i forget it again since we’re trying for another baby ;)
how did you get maze to start falling asleep on his own? my son was like yours and did not want to fall asleep on his own. i, unfortunately, started nursing him to sleep but this really only made things worse in the long-run, so i don’t plan on doing that for our next kid(s). did you just try putting him down every night until he eventually caught on?

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7 KERF November 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm

We still need to help him get to sleep about 50% of the time. We have avoided bouncing and rocking because those are hard to transfer down, but we do a lot of holding and some patting (because you can do those in the crib – hand on back or patting back). But around 6 weeks, he started falling asleep on his own (in the stroller and SOMETIMES in the crib) much more frequently, but it’s definitely not 100% of the time or a piece of cake : )

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8 Coco November 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I share a lot of what you said in this post only wishing that I knew and believed earlier that six weeks is really a turning point. ;) thanks specially on the two shifts solution for the night. It serves me soooo well. I now let my mom take care of the feeding for the 11 and 3 am, and I take care afterwards so I get 7-8 hrs of sleep which is what a normal person sleeps and feeling finally normal again. :)

My 6.5 weeks old baby still doesn’t smile to us often, only 3 times in her awake time. So I’m really looking forward to see it more. It makes us feel like super woman or super mom when they smile back to us, isn’t it?

I also can’t believe how fast they grow. I’m kind of sad when I think about how fast I won’t be able to hold her in my arms and rock her to sleep.

Looking forward to read more of this kind of summary post. You always nail it down so well. :)

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9 Mom November 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

You’re both doing a great job. Well I should say, all three of you are doing a great job! Maze is amazing, that’s for sure.

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10 Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) November 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm

You said it well. First few weeks (well I would say first 3 months in my opinion) are ALL about survival. You do what works and that’s all you can do. I’m so thankful that Maze seemed to have a relatively easy 6 week mark. I have heard that the 6 week mark is the peak of fussiness and that was definitely the case for us. Actually, I would say weeks 6-12 were by far the hardest weeks we have had so far (colic appeared at 6 weeks and hung around until 3 months). Very thankful your little guy is settling down! Despite the craziness of it all I couldn’t’ agree more. . . motherhood is so fun and amazing!

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11 Liza November 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm

He is so incredibly adorable.

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12 Lisa @bitesforbabies November 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm

My husband and I had the exact same schedule as you and it really worked for us too! My husband works from home and stays up most nights pretty late so it wasn’t that hard to adjust..I’m the one who got the better end of the deal because I would go to bed at 8 or 9 and sometimes he wouldn’t wake me up until 4 or 5!! Needless to say it caught up with him, lol! Btw, great pics!

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13 Dani November 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm

You are so rigth about the first 6 weeks being all about survival but also so, so much fun. I feel like I can barely remember that itty bitty newborn stage but I still miss that newborn baby smell! I will say though, the older my son has gotten (15 months now!) the more and more fun I have with him. Things get more challenging in some ways, easier in others but every stage just gets more and more fun. For us, around 4-6 months, Will started taking long naps by himself in his crib and it changed my life. He’s not a huge napper (we’re down to 1 90 minute nap now) but the fact that he sleeps without being held still amazes me after those newborn months!

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14 Emily S November 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm

great post! i identified with a lot of it. he is such a cutie.

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15 mandy pierce November 13, 2012 at 7:39 am

i love this! thanks for doing this review/update – we’re due in 4 weeks, and it’s so exciting/scary not really knowing what to expect. i especially love and am encouraged by this:
“I kept thinking two things during this time:
1) The first 6 weeks are about survival
2) Being a mom is so fun
The two canceled each other out!”

thank you for writing!

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16 Elizabeth November 13, 2012 at 9:23 am

What a GREAT post. Thanks so much for sharing, Kath. You have some really sweet pictures in there, especially some of M and Matt. I think I will be sharing this post with my husband when we get pregnant to get a feel for what we can expect with a newborn. (We are officially TTC and I am enjoying re-reading some of your old posts!)

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17 Kasia (Chicago) November 13, 2012 at 10:12 am

I have a 4 week old and your post hit the spot, my boy exacts exact same way Maze did. This gives me hope and joy that things will get exciting and fun soon!!!! They are sooo precoius!!!! Thanks for all your candid posts.

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18 Melissa November 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

Le sigh. Looking at this, and thinking about my now four year old, just makes me so sad and proud all at the same time! I took tons of pictures, and am so glad I did, because those first few weeks went by in a blur and seem to be a lightyear away from where we’re at now. I’d give anything to have my newborn baby back, but since that’s not happening, I’d REALLY like to end this 3+ years of TTC and have a NEW newborn…(hint hint God, any day now! LOL!) :) Enjoy it all – it goes by faster than you could ever imagine. The older he gets, the faster it’ll go!

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19 Kelly K November 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm

He is such a cutie, it’s ridiculous! Thank you for yet another insightful post. My husband and I will be trying for our first soon (!), so I am just soaking up all the information I can get. I agree with you on a lot of things, in general, so I especially enjoy hearing your perspective on parenting. Just started using Fertility Friend based on your recommendation…love the app! :-)

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20 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) November 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Your pictures of him are amazing and the ones of Matt and Maz are priceless! I loved the newborn days (not to be confused with them being easy, because they weren’t), and I always assumed everyone missed those days and longed for them back. However, now that H is 13 months old I realize the fun and amazement comes from the fact that they are your child and you get help and watch them grow. It’s makes every stage incredible, with it’s own joys and challenges. I’m so glad your loving being a mom. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me!

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21 Blessing @ WorkingMomJounal November 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm

What a beautiful recap of the his first 6weeks. I hope you made an album out of that. He is so cute :)

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22 Anna November 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I remember those early days with my 17 month old. Truly, the best advice someone gave me was to try to roll with the punches and stop trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Don’t look for predictability — seriously, all the stuff you are praising now will change next week (and might make you crazy)! I remember reading sleep books trying to come up with a sleep strategy for 10-12 weeks old and when the time came, none of it was applicable. I was also trying to find patterns in nursing and that would change. I found my girl just fell into patterns and became easier on her own, with such little help. Around 4 months she started sleeping better during the day, 5 months she LOVED solid foods (totally baby led weaning), and by 8 months we were done co-sleeping, and only nursing before 3 naps and at night. She weaned herself really at 12 months. I just found that following her lead and going day by day was such a more mellow approach than even trying to force her into a schedule. I really liked reading a book called Wonder Weeks – it breaks down baby development and gives activities you can try over certain weeks to see how your kid is developing and ways to interact with them.

PS – rocking, patting, swinging them are really not bad behaviors and they don’t stick around. People do it because they work. I think if I tried rocking my girl was she was 5 or 6 months old she wouldn’t have tolerated it or have fallen asleep to it. By that point, she thrived in the dark, quiet room on a flat surface. I think she lived in the moby wrap, our arms, or her swing for 85% of her day until that point. However, at the end of the day, you know your own baby better than anyone else so if those things just don’t agree with him than obviously do what works. I just throw out that you can’t really spoil a baby or develop bad habits under 4 months.

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23 Danielle November 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

My baby girl just hit the one month mark. This post definitely made me feel so much better. I keep telling myself that I am in survival mode right now and it is ok that my house is a mess and I sleep while she is sleeping during the day. It’s ok not to cross everything off my to do list right now. Thanks for the encouragement!

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24 Claire November 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Such a sweet post! I really enjoy reading your thoughts about becoming a mom. It warms my heart. :)

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25 Ali November 14, 2012 at 7:52 am

I love this post! So honest and sweet. My baby girl is 8 weeks and the non-stop smiling just melts my heart. After reading your updates, my only regret is not documenting those first six weeks as much as you did. I’m sure blogging with a new baby must have seemed impossible at times, especially after some sleepless nights, but I’m sure you will be so happy to have all of these posts to look back on! He’s adorable and seems like you’re doing a great job!
Also, so happy that you’ve kept baby kerf going!

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26 Monica November 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

My little man turned 1 today and this post has me all emotional! Where does time go? I feel like I was just where you are, yet in all actuality it was kind of a long time ago.

Mazen, you are a cutie pa-tootie! Keep smiling kiddo!

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27 Fran@BCDC November 15, 2012 at 8:15 am

He’s grown so much!

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28 Rebecca November 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Sweet post (and all so true). He is getting so handsome.

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29 Ali November 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Kath –

Great post – our baby is 4 weeks old and it’s fun reading about someone who was just there!

QUESTION: how did you start pumping? Our son eats every 2-3 hours on both sides – so how do you work in a session to pump (without messing up your supply)? I would love my husband to be able to feed him once in a while! But I cannot figure out how to work it in.

THANKS!

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30 KERF November 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I started pumping about 20 minutes after a feeding so I’d have plenty of time to replenish. I didn’t get much out (which was depressing) and it took 2-3 pumps to get a bottle for the night. I also used this Milk Saver because I have a lot of let down on the side I’m not nursing on. It was a pain to do, but I was able to collect enough for a bottle everyday just by being diligent with the milk saver.

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31 Elizabeth March 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

Kath, I’m going to have a similar nursery furniture setup as you–a crib, a twin bed for parent and a Rock N Play sleeper. For those first few weeks, was Mazen in the Rock N Play or the crib? I keep wondering if I should buy a Within Arm’s Reach co-sleeper to scoot up next to the twin bed for those first weeks, but it’s pretty expensive. A lot of people seem to do fine with the Rock N Play by the bed while transitioning baby to crib. Baby in the master bedroom is not an option because our pets sleep in our master and I think we’d have an animal riot if we’d try to kick them out.

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32 KERF March 25, 2013 at 10:56 am

He slept in the rock n play for the first month. I definitely wouldn’t buy both that and the Arm’s Reach. Just the RnP is probably good until you do the crib.

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33 Aimee December 19, 2013 at 3:55 am

Kath, love this blog! My son is 6 weeks old now and it’s fun to look back at your old posts. Not sure if you’ll see this or have time to reply, but did you mentioned Mazen wasn’t the best sleeper and didn’t like to sleep unless in contact with you during the day. Was this also at night? How did you get him to sleep in his crib, or did he do it on his own from the get go?

I’m having a hard time getting this little one to sleep at all unless I’m holding him! I thought the rock n play was great because he slept in it one night for 4 hours until the next day when my pediatrician said absolutely no rock n play due to increased sids risk. Just looking for any advice. I’ve tried about everything so hoping he will just grow out of this one day.

I don’t wanna wish my baby’s newborn days away, but I’d love to get even an hour of uninterrupted sleep!

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34 KERF December 19, 2013 at 6:59 am

We had luck with the rock and play sleeper. He’d sleep for 2 hour stretches in that but only at night. Good luck! It’s exhausting

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