Thursday, February 23, 2012

4 months

PB is already four months old, and I realized with some sadness that I'm already starting to forget things from when he was a newborn. Of course we were all pretty tired in the first few weeks, and that can lend a haze to the recall function, but still - it's nice to remember these things.

I'll try to be better about a monthly update from here on out, since he changes so much these days. So here's what's up with him at 4 months old - and it's pretty wordy, since this is the first of these I've done:

His 4-month appointment was on 2/22, two days after he turned 4 months old.

Weight: 17lb, 10 oz (90th percentile)

Length: 26.5 inches (95th percentile)

Head circumference: 98th percentile

So... he's pretty big!

What's he eating: Exclusively breastmilk, approximately 24oz from bottles while I'm at work, and then three nursing sessions per 24 hours. On days I'm home he gets almost all his milk from nursing, though there's an occasional bottle if I'm out running an errand or something. So: easily over a quart of milk per day. We're putting those Poly-Vi-Sol with Iron drops in one bottle a day (99% of the time DH is the one who remembers/does this, thankfully). They make his poop stink like metal. But I guess that's good.

Physical skills:

* Rolling from his tummy to his back is old hat for him.

* He's found his hands, and they are usually in his mouth, except when they're grabbing toys/burp rags/ his dad's beard or mom's dangling earrings. I can't believe there was a time when he didn't grab everything, but that was actually just over three weeks ago.

* Sometimes he just chills on his tummy during his tummy time, and while he's doing that he does a sustained pushup while moving his legs in a very pre-crawl kind of way. His neck is quite strong now and he will also look around a lot while he's on his tummy - if one of us is walking around the apartment he'll just track us, and then smile if we stop and say hi/make a face/ do something goofy.

* Lately he's also started rolling over on to his back and then figuring out how to do a Stooge-esque move wherein he wiggles himself around in a circle, with his head at the center. He does that in his crib, too, so sometimes when he wakes up from a nap he'll be facing the opposite direction from the way he was set down. That's all recent - within the last week.

* Overall, the dude never stops moving, and he is STRONG. He wiggles so much during diaper changes that it's becoming something of a wrestling match, and he's thwacked me in the face with his head so hard a couple of times that I've had actual concerns about chipping a tooth or breaking my nose. Neither has happened yet, fortunately.

* The amount of drool he produces in a day is astounding.

Favorite Toys:

Sophie the Giraffe, The Sqwish, The OBall, and burp rags.

Verbal skills:

* He's definitely laughing now, though it's at kind of random times. Often when he gets placed on the changing table, he does a giggle-SHRIEK combo that encourages me to do a lot of silly stuff to draw out changing time because it's a lot of fun. Of course, changing diapers takes twice as long now, anyway, on account of the wiggles, so I'm glad he's happy there.

* When DH plays his guitar, PB likes to babble along. Sometimes he makes extended "aaaaaaa" sounds, almost like singing. And sometimes he makes that noise while holding his hands up like he has a harmonica, so it looks like he's accompanying his pa. Cute!

* He's also making a cute "bppppththtt" tugboat-type sound. He's been doing that for a little over a month now.

Social skills:

* PB is really a happy baby, though he's definitely a morning person. We had a family funeral this past weekend, and he didn't handle the visitation well (I would normally not take a 4-month old to a visitation, but there were automobile logistics involved) because it was late in the evening, he slept in the car on the way there, and when he woke up there were 4 complete strangers (excited cousins) looming over him, so he was kind of overwhelmed. On the other hand, the church service was the next day at 11:30am, and he did wonderfully: he quietly sat and watched the ceiling fans, chewed on his hands or a burp rag, and played with his great uncle's glasses for the hour. He babbled a little toward the end of the service, but several people actually thanked me afterward - they said hearing a baby in church helped remind them that life goes on. I was concerned about the lunch after the service (the funeral was for DH's 90-year-old grandfather, and nearly all of his very numerous descendants were present), but he handled the crowd well, and did a lot of smiling and looking around while he was passed from relative to relative. He definitely recognizes the voices of DH's parents - he generally reacts with a smile when he hears them, especially his grandmother, who's crazy about him.


I'm going to be very wordy about this, because in the last month or so this has changed drastically for us.

* We're settling in to a decent nighttime sleep routine. Bed time is 7pm, so around 6:15 I start to draw a bath. I give PB his bath in the bathroom tub (dude's too big for the kitchen sink now!) in his green foam baby tub, which is not ideal but we only really need it until he can sit up on his own. I just climb in to the tub barefoot with shorts on and crouch over him to bathe him - it's the easiest way to manage bathing him at this point - again, when he's a little bigger I'll probably kneel next to the tub, but at this point I have to support him somewhat, so I'm often using my foot to keep the little tub propped up while I use my hands to bathe him. (I've heard of people just taking a bath with their baby, but then isn't the aftermath too slippery? How do you get both of yourselves dried off? I don't know how well that would work for us.)

PB used to not be a big fan of the bath. Now he's OK with it, and sometimes I get a few smiles. If he has a washcloth to hang on to and chew, he's pretty content. After the bath, he gets a triple-stuffed diaper (just started tripling 2 nights ago, with good results), PJs, a sleep sack and hat, and then we enjoy a nice long nursing session in the chair in his room. His room has a dimmer light, which is perfect because I can set it to almost-off and help him get drowsy while he eats. Half the time he falls asleep at the breast, which they say isn't the best sleep training, but "they" can deal - it's adorable and he's happy. The other half the time I'll put him in his crib drowsy and he might complain for a few minutes, but it's rarely longer than 8-10 minutes, and his heart isn't in it. He wakes up once or twice a night. If he's up before 1am, DH gives him a bottle of milk and puts him right back down. If it's after 1am, I nurse him. If he sleeps that long (which he's been doing more often lately), I usually have to change his PJs, and sometimes his crib sheet, because he's peed through everything - hence the triple-stuffing, which has helped this problem. I get all the fabric changing out of the way first so he can nurse himself back in to a stupor afterward. He generally looks wide awake when I put him in his crib after a night feeding, but he doesn't make much noise at all, usually just a little chatting to himself before he drops back to sleep. He wakes up for the day between 6:00 and 7:30am (though this weekend after a particularly tiring day he slept until 8:30! On a Sunday morning! I was in heaven).

* Side note: Evenings are nice. DH and I have our dinner after PB is in bed - often DH is cooking while I'm doing the whole bath/bed routine - so we have a couple of hours of just-the-two-of-us time to eat and chat and watch a little TV or whatever. I'm not sure why, but I didn't expect that perk.

* Naps are not completely consistent, but it often seems to hinge on the morning nap: if PB gets an hour or more at the 9am nap, he's pretty happy for the rest of the day. If the 9am nap doesn't work out well, the rest of the day's naps are usually crap, and he's a crank by the evening. On good days (which are more common) PB takes 2 long naps (1.5 - 2 hours each) or 3 shorter (45 minutes - 1 hour) naps. The longest nap he's taken when I'm home is an hour and 15 minutes... I think the dynamic is just different if I'm around all day and he's nursing, rather than getting bottles.

For naps, we're generally just following the guidelines in "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" that say an infant shouldn't be awake for longer than 2 hours at a time. PB gives pretty clear cues that he's getting sleepy, though: starting to whine (annoying) and rubbing his eyes (adorable).

All this wordiness may convey that I was a little bit obsessive about sleep. When PB was almost 3 months old, I read in Dr. Spock that children should be able to go to sleep on their own when they're put to bed "drowsy but awake" by 4 months of age. This freaked me out, because at the time we didn't have a consistent bedtime or routine, and putting him down for his long (maybe 5 hours) sleep at night involved a long time (sometimes upward of an hour) of rocking/bouncing/shushing/etc. to try to get him to sleep around 11pm. I'm a little stunned to realize that a month ago we were still doing all that - and still wrapping PB up in a swaddle blanket at night. And only a couple of weeks before that he was doing all his sleeping in the swing.

I checked out probably 8 different sleep books from the library. Part of the reason there are a zillion sleep books to choose from is that every baby is a bit different... so we just decided to pick and choose what sounded reasonable for the baby we have. In the end, I think the folks who needed the most "training" were DH and me. Once we tried a routine, PB took to it right away, and now, as Dr. Spock predicted, we can put him in his crib still awake and he will go to sleep.

* The night after his 4-month shots, PB went to sleep just before 7pm (he fell asleep at the breast - he was pretty tired) and slept for TWELVE HOURS STRAIGHT. He has never done that before, and I'm sure it was because of the shots, but wow... I felt so well-rested.

I also felt like my chest was going to explode, but such is life.

Things change so quickly with this guy. I wonder what I'll be writing about him in another month!

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