~This shot was taken today. Savina is 10 weeks and 6 days old~
It’s been a wild month with many challenges.
First, Savina had her two months well-visit at the doctor’s on December 17th, and we found out that she’d grown 1.5 inches in length, within the four weeks prior, but only 8 oz in weight, two of them within the two weeks prior to the well-visit. That got me a bit concerned, maybe more so than the doctor. He said it may have just been a growth spurt, but he’d want to see her again in a month to weigh her. Ever since then it’s been quite a ride for me trying to help Savina gain weight appropriately. And I’ve had so much help from so many very nice people. Making a long story short, Savina weighed over 9 pounds this morning (she’d struggled at 8 pounds). I think this is largely because we are finally getting a better latch every day without nipple shields! In fact I’ve not used them at all, except for night feedings, for several days now. I’m so proud of myself! Yes, my breasts are miserable and sore, but it’s much better than it was!
Also at her two months well-visit, Savina got her first set of vaccines: three shots into the thigh muscles and one drinkable vaccine. I nursed Savina before the shots and right afterwards to calm her down and offer her comfort. As a Mommy who can tell pain cries apart from other cries, it was heartbreaking hearing Savina cry so hard with so much pain when receiving the shots. I think next time I’ll try to nurse her during them. The moment I took her in my arms afterwards and nursing her she calmed down. She was okay after that.
However, when she gets her next set of shots, I may ask for a different nurse, as I was unhappy with the one who did it last time. She shot two vaccines into Savina’s left thigh and one into her right. I noticed it swelling a little bit on her left thigh and asked the nurse if that’s supposed to happen, if that’s normal. She completely ignored me! So when she was done with the right thigh (she did the left first), I asked her again. She tiptoed around an answer, so I left it at that. At our next visit I will let the doctor know about that. I’m fairly sure I remember the nurse’s name correctly, too. A couple days later I took the bandaids off and noticed a hard lumpy spot on her left thigh. I called the doctor’s office and asked about that. I was told it’s common and nothing to worry about, and it may take several months to disappear. Wow! Coincidentally it’s the side I’d noticed the swelling… well…
Another challenge this month was/is Savina’s 8-weeks leap. If you’ve read “The Wonder Weeks,” you know what I’m talking about. In case you haven’t, let me enlighten you:
According to Hetty van de Rijt, Ph.D. and Frans Plooij, Ph.D. babies go through ten major developmental leaps in their mental development within the first twenty months of their lives. Counting from the due date, not the actual birth date, the first leap occurs at 5 weeks and the second at 8 weeks. In their book, Rijt and Plooij describe what to expect, when to expect it, and what happens when the baby has made the leap. They list signs that baby is ready to discover a new world and the results afterwards.
At Savina’s 8 weeks leap she discovers patterns, as the authors of “The Wonder Weeks” call it, with all of her senses. Among other things, she’ll find her hands. They say the signs this leap is approaching are extra clinging, a little shyness, demanding more attention, loss of appetite, poor sleep (having a hard time falling and staying asleep), and lots of crying. Babies get scared because this whole new world suddenly opens up to them as they discover it all anew. If it was up to the baby, s/he would crawl right back into Mommy’s womb.
Savina displayed, believe it or not, all of these signs. Especially on the Wednesday on which she would have turned 8 weeks if she’d been born on her due date. She was 9 weeks and 1 day old and had the worst day ever! She was extra cranky, extra clingy, wouldn’t sleep, wouldn’t eat, and constantly wanted to be entertained. She cried and cried so much, and there was nothing I could do, it seemed. I changed her diaper, fed her (though she wouldn’t eat much), and tried to help her fall asleep for a nap. I rocked her, tried to entertain her, nothing would work. I was getting so frustrated, I burst into tears myself. Oddly, Savina calmed down a little when I started to cry, as if to say, I’m sorry Mommy, I didn’t mean to make you sad. My eyes then spotted the book my wonderful midwife had lent us: “The Wonder Weeks.” And I remembered what I’d read. I grabbed the book again and looked at their developmental leap timetable. They were spot-on in their prediction of this fussy phase, and that made me feel so much better, because now I knew what was going on, and I knew what I could do to help Savina.
I had stopped using white noise because Savina had stopped responding to it–I thought she’d grown out of it. I was wrong: she simply didn’t need it the times I tried. That day, at 9w1d old (8weeks from the DD), she responded to it again. I shushed to her and she calmed and fell right asleep. All she’d wanted was to crawl right back inside me, where she knew it was safe. This big new world was scaring her, and she was looking for safety. The white noise has been working again for her ever since. Now, she is slowly mastering her new skills and getting past the 8-weeks leap phase. The last couple of days she’s been happier, and since yesterday she’s finally been sleeping better again. We’ll be getting a 1-2 weeks break and then there is the next leap to look forward to: at around 12 weeks (from the due date).
Apart from these challenges, we’ve of course had some really awesome times as well. One of them being Savina’s very first laugh! On December 23rd she burst out laughing while in the tub with Mommy, taking a bath. Savina was looking at Daddy as he poured some soap onto a washcloth for his baby girl. My sweet Savinababy looked at her Daddy and laughed out loud for the very first time! Consciously and deliberately. I totally melted away–it was so heartwarming after a hard fussy-time. She hasn’t laughed since, but has made several attempts.
Of course we would be approaching Christmas during her fussy phase, and so, as you can imagine, she was not the happiest baby most of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Oh well, she got spoiled regardless. My little cutiepie got many gifts all around. Toys, clothes, and a jumperoo.
One last thing for today: Infant massage! My midwife, Becca, had first introduced us to this wonderful bonding “tool.” Savina was still too little though to appreciate it, and often she was too cranky to want anything to do with it. Later, I met Susannah, a birth and postpartum doula, who offered us her doula services as part of her training. She showed us some more infant massage, and Savina has been growing into it since. She now has times she loves it, and one time she actually enjoyed it so much that she smiled throughout the whole thing! Lately, unfortunately, she’s been too fussy to want a massage. I’ve only managed to give her one twice in the last week or so, while I’m trying to make it a bedtime routine. By the way, if you have any tips for bedtime routines, including times and routine management, please do comment below.
Thanks for reading!