Full of so many emotions, ups and downs!!!
Tons of love
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Being flexible and patient
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.
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!
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!
6 Weeks Old
Something magical happened almost the day that Mazen turned six weeks old.
- 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!
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!