Monday, March 20, 2017

Henrik's Newborn Photos + Life Update

Gaaaah his face.

Baby yawns are like the cutest thing ever.

I love it when his face gets so horizontal and squished.

I kiss him probably 5000 times a day.

Family of three!

My two favorite guys.

His toooooeeessss.

I cannot say enough good things about these photos. Seriously. They are so beautiful and perfect and a wonderful reminder of the joy that our son has brought into our lives. Vanessa, thank you!!!! If you're local and in need of a photographer, she's your gal. You can check out her website here (she also did my maternity photos!). The session was so fun and relaxing! She knew how to handle Henrik perfectly and make us feel really comfortable. I truly feel like she captured our love for him perfectly. 

The last (almost) three months have been amazing. Challenging at times for sure, but also incredible. This little guy is just the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to us. Chris and I make a pretty good team when it comes to parenting. As soon as he gets home, he is all hands on deck to help Henrik (and me). I could not do it without him. 

My parents have of course been a huge help too. They never pass up an opportunity to watch and hang out with him, even if he's just sleeping. My mom watches him every weekday for about an hour so I can go to the gym, which is sooooo helpful. Getting out of the house, even if it's just to go walk on a treadmill, has done wonders for me as I've been adjusting to this new life. 

The first month, Henrik slept great. I mean, newborns sleep like 20 hours out of the day so I was like hey this isn't so bad! He sleeps all the time and I can get a lot done. No biggie. But then, he started getting fussier and fussier at night. We were sometimes up until 3 or 4 in the morning trying to get him to settle down and sleep. His symptoms were pretty consistent with colic so I took solace in reading that those symptoms would subside by about two months and that by six weeks, his fussiness will have reached its peak. 

We thought that in order to help him sleep better at night, we should keep him awake more during the day. Makes sense, right? Wear him out while he's awake then he'll sleep better at night. But the fussiness and screaming in the evening did not get better. I read our sleep books and found out that's pretty much the exact OPPOSITE of what you're supposed to do. They said babies at that age should be allowed to sleep as much as they want during the day and should never be awake more than two hours. It said that sleep begets sleep and that if they're overtired, they'll sleep worse at night so never deprive them of sleep during the day. 

WHATTTTT????? IT MAKES NO SENSE. Ok it makes a little sense, but STILL. SO COUNTERINTUITIVE. Once we started abiding by those recommendations, he slept sooooo much better. Parenting success. Well, actually a parenting mistake. But we fixed it! So now it's a success.

Weeks 8-10, he slept really well again thanks to our new "never be awake more than two hours" rule and I thought we were done with the colic, but then last week, it was HORRIBLE. His screaming was much worse than it had ever been. We had three nights in a row that were some of the worst of my life. I was tired and sick of him screaming at me and being so needy. Chris did everything he could to help, but it was still rough. Chris would finally get him to sleep, but then 30 minutes later he would decide he was hungry so I'd have to get up. He would fall back asleep, only to cry every time his pacifier fell out so I sat next to him for like an hour reinserting it every 2-3 minutes. It was bad. 

After three nights of this, I decided that something had to change or else we would not survive another night. I re-read the sleep books we have and decided to try a slightly different approach to our nighttime routine. 

He's still not on a set schedule, but now in the evening, I wait until he's been up for about an hour and a half (sometimes less) and then start the bedtime routine. If it's bath night, we do a bath, then we go into the nursery where the lights are suuuuper dim (putting a dimmer in there was one of the best things we did), I play calming acoustic lullabies on my phone, then we change him into his pj's, lotion him up (his skin is quite dry), give him a little massage, weigh him (trying to fatten him up a bit), then I play white noise on my phone, read a book to him, and let him eat until he falls asleep. Once I think he's pretty out of it, I carry him to his bassinet (he normally wakes up during this part), give him his pacifier, and he's usually out again within about five minutes. Sometimes he fusses a bit, but not nearly as much as he used to. 

Knock on wood, this new routine has been working like magic. He'll go down for the evening between 5 and 8 pm, get up sometime around midnight to eat, then he'll wake up between 6 and 8 am to eat, then sleep again until 11 or 12. It's fantastic. Occasionally, he'll sleep from 9 pm until 7:30 am without getting up to be fed and then we do a big happy dance. 

Evenings used to be the most stressful time of day, which was really unfortunate because it meant Chris and I's only time together was spent taking turns trying to get Henrik to stop screaming. We didn't get to eat dinner together or go to bed at the same time. But now we have our evenings back and it's amazing! It has made a huge difference in our relationship and stress levels. 

Henrik is also soooo much fun now! He loves his play pad so after he's fed, we sit together on the floor and play. We listen to Disney songs and sing and dance to them and he smiles so big. It's the absolute best. He's getting really interactive with us and it's so fun to watch. He loves it when I sing to him, which is quite endearing. Music has this way of calming him down and making him laugh and smile. Maybe he'll be a little musician when he grows up? 

He's also getting really chatty, which is hilarious. He loves to have conversations with us or just by himself. He even mimics the sounds we make and is getting pretty good at saying something that sounds like "hi". He'll join in on the songs when I sing to him and it's adorable. It brings me so much happiness. 

Basically, motherhood is great. I definitely freak out plenty and worry, but I'm getting used to it. My anxiety problems have come back in a new form, which can definitely be discouraging and frustrating, but I'm re-learning how to cope with my feelings and prevent panic attacks from occurring (getting out of the house, exercising, and having Chris or my parents watch him for a bit so I can have a break make the biggest difference). It'll be really nice once the weather improves so we can do more outings together as a family. Right now, we just feel kind of cooped up most of the time, which can be hard, but spring weather is almost here for good!

I am sure there are many challenges ahead for the three of us, however I am really looking forward to it all. I can't wait to see Henrik grow and develop and get to know him better. I think we are going to have a lot of fun together :) I already love him so much and I know that love is only going to grow more in the coming years. 

Listening To: The soundtrack from "Moana". IT IS THE BEST HAVE YOU LISTENED TO IT?
Henrik: Is sleeping. Yesssssssssss.
Still: Have a lot to do, but that's ok. 
Days Until Christmas: 280!

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