Monday, July 28, 2014

The Fourth Trimester...

The first 3 months of a baby's life are often referred to as the fourth extension of the previous 3 trimesters in the womb.

BABY BLING:  The Amber Teething Necklace is courtesy of a fellow "hippie-"friend.  Thanks, Melissa!  It's helped calm his mood and slow down his drool.  And just gawk at him in all his chubby-fat-roll-baby-ness!  He tastes like FAT BABY when I munch on his cheeks all day and it is glorious! :)

The past few months with Shipton have completely flown by!  Shipton is adjusting and has grown not only physically, but emotionally as well.  Here are a few things we really liked about our parenting choices for his fourth trimester...

*SWADDLING: Shipton LOVED to be swaddled.  For the first month or so he hated to be unswaddled.  That was a bit tricky because we need to change his diaper and clothes and bathe him.  We purchased these swaddlers from walmart instead of new baby blankets.  He loved it.  We loved them too because they were so easy to use and we could get him as snug as he wanted.  You put baby down into the bottom like a sleeping bag then velcro the sides.  VWALA...swaddled!  Little by little he didn't need swaddling until now he loves using his hands while he is awake and sleeps soundly without swaddling.

*BABY WEARING: Shipton really needed the continuity of being close to us, especially his Mama.  This gave him the security he craved, but also freed up my hands to be able to do what I needed to with the other kids or with preparing meals and house work.  Initially we held or baby wore Shipton most of the time during the day.  I think this was really important to his emotional development.  Now he sleeps in his crib for naps if we are home.  It's also how I make it through shopping trips with the four kids myself.  It's also how we get through our church meetings too.  We have a Mai Tie and also a Moby.  The Mai Tie is faster to get him into, but the Moby has been more comfortable for longer times I baby wear.
REAL men baby wear. Haha! :)  He has learned the value of 2 hands.  He is just unwilling to wear the polka-dots so flips the wrap around and wears the solid side.

His little head peeking out and his chubby little legs kicking out were too cute to not grab a snapshot.

*CO-SLEEPING: Shipton is our first baby we have co-slept with.  It was really nice!  We modified his crib by only attaching 3 sides and tethering the crib frame to our bedframe.  We made sure they were level with each other.  Mark has helped with night-time care with our other 3 children.  This time around he is working 2 jobs, so I am flying solo other than Daddy takes poopy diaper duty in the 5/6-ish am hour.  Having Shipton right there and not having to get up and down has helped me stay more groggy, and therefore sleep better.  I have a difficult time going back to sleep if I get wide-awake (hence Daddy bringing babies and burping/diapering them previously.  He can go right back to sleep).  I think it also really helped Shipton to be so close.

About a month ago he started kicking around to the point the he was rolling into our bed.  If I am nursing and doze off, I sleep lightly because I know he is there.  It really startled me to find him rolled into our bed when he would wake up for the next feeding.  After 2 nights we decided it wasn't working for us and we put the 4th side of the crib back on....then his legs were getting caught between the bars.  His thighs are so chubby he couldn't get them back out again!  That lead for a few more sleepless nights.  THEN we figured out we just needed to dress him in a sleeper (it's like a night-gown with a sleeping bag for the bottom), so his legs can't even get into the bars.  Ahhhh....that's working for us.  He still usually ends up spending part of the night in bed with me.  We are happy with our sleeping choices for his first few months.
This is the closest picture to co-sleeping I have.  Big brother is on our bed, Shipton is in his own bed in this picture.
*BABY-LED BREASTFEEDING:  This is our first baby I have allowed to breastfeed as often and long as he wants to.  My others I would only feed every 2-3 hours for 10min max/side.  Especially at the beginning he was nursing frequently.  Things are in a more predictable pattern now. Any time he seemed interested in nursing I would offer...and he rarely declined.  When I realized that babies breastfeed for more than just needing to eat, I was willing to let him lead out.  Breastfeeding can bring comfort and familiarity as a baby is transitioning during this fourth trimester (and later too).

Look at that fat baby smile!  He seems proud of his Mama-milk-made fat rolls. :)

*NO DIAPERING AT NIGHT:  This was a fantastic tip from the midwives.  We do not change his diaper at night.  He usually goes from 7:30 pm and only wets, then "loads his pants" like clockwork around 5 or 6 am.  This has been a fantastic piece of advice because it has kept him in a deeper sleep vs. changing his diaper with each feeding like we do during the day.

*KEEPING HIM WITHIN 9 FEET OF MOM FOR THE FIRST 40 DAYS:  This was pretty interesting.  In trying out aspects of conscious pregnancy (yoga lifestyle), my yoga teacher recommended this.  When a woman is pregnant, he aura expands to accommodate the new life she is carrying.  Both baby's and Mom's auras mesh together during pregnancy.  The aura only reaches a 9 foot radius.  Keeping baby within that area ensures baby has a transitioning time and is still meshing while simultaneously adjusting to life earth-side.  We stayed within 9 feet of each other during that time.

I am thankful we have taken the past few months slowly and really soaked him in.  We have absolutely loved having Shipton in our home!  I cannot believe how quickly time has gone by and how much he has already changed.  He is becoming more of the vibrant and happy baby I sensed he was when I carried him.

He smiles and laughs and jabbers and is happy most of the time.  It is a refreshing change from the first month that was completely opposite.  The first time he laughed the kids and I couldn't get enough of that sound.  It was so sweet to hear his joy being expressed out load and continues to be such a delicious sound in our home!  Between having his little life and cares consistent as much as possible and time fading memories of his loss, he is becoming more confident and calm.

Even the once dreaded bath-time has become joyful for him.

We are so grateful to be caring for this sweet little guy and we are blessed to have him in our home.

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