Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Come and Gone

The "newborn phase" is officially over. My baby is 3 months old. I guess the proper classification is now "infant".

*insert pout here*

I opened up his drawer of newborn clothes yesterday with every intention to pack them away and make room for the larger sizes, along with the 0-3 month collection that is now much too snug for comfort. I held up the articles of clothing, reminiscing about a time when my current roly-poly fit into them with room to spare. So tiny. Fragile. Like doll clothes. I fingered the felt adornment on the front of a onesie and brought it to my face, breathing in the intoxicating baby aroma that still lingered. The floodgates opened. I hurried and threw the disheveled onesie back into the drawer as if it were about to infect me with the Black Plague and rapidly shut the drawer. I'm just not ready to close that chapter. Not yet. The drawers are going to have to overflow to the point that my dire need to organize overrides my resistance to change.

With each milestone we reach, I think about how far we've come. I remember the early days when every peep Nate made would send me into a panic. When the mere thought of breastfeeding made me wince. When the moonlight would perpetuate howling from not only werewolves but my colicky boy. Everything was a guessing game. I may still rely on trial and error but I have my bearings. I don't know why it took me 3 months to realize this - perhaps I'm a slow learner in this arena - but the bottom line is babies cry. It's inevitable. It's no reason to feel like a failure. It is Nate's sole method of communication. Even adults - who have mastered the art of language - can't smile 24/7. So, how can I expect that of a baby? All I can do is equip myself with tools for success (a.k.a read and research) and strive for happiness.

I can now identify when he's crying from tiredness ("ooh" or "eww"), overstimulated/overtired ("waah"), hunger ("geh" or "neh") or gas pain ( sudden bursts of "eh", with legs drawing up to chest). Similar to the Dunstan system but not exact. I can recognize his patterns. Now we have the "educated guess"-ing game.

Around 9 weeks, it was as if someone flipped a switch. I think it is finally safe to say that the colic is kaput. Nate is still fussy around dinnertime - forget about a hot meal for the foreseeable future - but it is nowhere close to the nights we endured just over a month ago. Cluster feeding still rules around this time, as he builds up his caloric intake for the night. My arse is still firmly planted in the glider as the sun goes down. But no more incessant wailing. I'm sure our neighbors are just as grateful as we are.

For as difficult as those first few weeks were as we were both schooled in breastfeeding, it is now a completely natural routine. My nipples must have toughened up from their time in the penitentiary because they can even stand up to the rigors of near-constant suckling without slathering on the Lanolin. I am pleased as punch for making it to 3 months of exclusive breastmilk. It hasn't been easy by any stretch of the imagination but when my baby looks up from my breast and flashes a winning smile, that is all the reward I need.

Everyone - and I mean everyone, even strangers at the mall - told us that 3 months was the magic number. Things would get easier. And while it was hard to believe at the time, I can see the fog giving way to brighter days. It may be hard to admit when we're in the middle of an all-nighter - thank you, f*&^ing growth spurts! - but all it takes is one look back to see how good we really have it.

We may have a long way to go but I can't disregard the great progress we've made. And that we continue to make.


Fertilized said...

excellent success!

Courtney said...

I'm right there with you, lamenting the newborn phase of yesterday (my little one is three months tomorrow). When did they ever get so big????

Geohde said...

Yes- I find it hard to believe that the teeny tiny preemie suits that don't even come down to either babies waist now were ever swimmingly huge. But they were.


Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

I cannot believe three months have passed already. It seems like yesterday I was pregnant and waiting for Lemy to arrive and now, here we are. Strange. ((HUGS))

Shelby said...

I'm so with you! My little guy is over 8 months now, and I only just removed his 0-3 month clothes from his drawers. The 3-6 month things are still in there (at least the cute ones are). I can't put them aside yet...I just can't. They grow up WAY too fast, don't they.

K77 said...

Happy 3 months, and 3 months of breastfeeding - well done :)