Monday, March 29, 2010

Babies Have Intuition. They Just Know... (feeding and sleeping)

When people ask if Ben is a good sleeper, I usually say, "It depends." If you're talking about how he naps, then the answer is no. If you're asking about his sleep at night, then the answer is yes.

Just like his mom, Ben is NOT a napper. My mom tells me that I hated napping as an infant up until I was in kindergarten. In pre-school, while the other kids took out their mats for naptime, my teacher had to sit with me because I wouldn't sleep! I bet she tried doing everything until she finally accepted the fact that I wasn't going to nap. I remember having to do extra math sheets while my buddies were snoring away.

On any given day, Ben might take 2 naps that last for about 15 minutes at most. You could clearly tell he's tired-- he gets cranky, his eyes get smaller, he rubs his eyes, etc. but this baby refuses to sleep! We've tried the bouncer, the swing, putting him in the stroller, and carrying him for over an hour. His eyes might close for a few seconds, but then he quickly opens them again.

When we first brought Ben home, he wasn't sleeping much at all. However, for the past 4 weeks, he's been an awesome sleeper, sleeping from the moment we put him down into his crib which is usually at around 7:30-8:00 to 6 am! He started doing this a little before I had to go back to work. It was almost as if he knew that I needed him to sleep through the night so that I could survive at work. We were shocked by this because prior to it happening, he was waking up quite frequently.

When we were first discharged after his birth, we were told to feed him every two hours, even if it required that we had to wake him up from his sleep. Even if he slept for longer intervals, we didn't let him. They never tell you that feeding a baby every two hours means that the next feeding starts two hours from the beginning of the last feeding-- not two hours from the end of the last feeding!! This means that if it takes your baby 30 minutes for a feeding, the next feeding really starts 1.5 hours after the last ends. Needless to say, we didn't sleep very much for the first two weeks.

When we finally decided to be less strict about his feedings, the whole jaundice fiasco began (remember? his bili level was at 23) and the drs at the ER scared us by saying that his jaundice won't get better unless we fed him every two hours. So we were back to the 2 hour schedule.

After a few weeks, our worrying about his jaundice had subsided. We continued to swaddle him now using the Miracle Blanket instead of the Halo Sack and started weaning off his night-time feedings one at a time and didn't feed him until he woke up on his own, which was every 3 hours and then every 4 hours. Eventually, he was sleeping for a good 5 hour chunk and then a 7 hour one. (For a period of time, he would wake up every day at 4am on the dot giving us a 4 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep, which we needed desperately.) As I mentioned earlier, for the past 4 weeks, he's been sleeping through the entire night waking up at around 6 and hanging out in his crib until his morning feeding at 630ish.

Now this brings me to today-- the first day of my spring break. He decided to wake up once at 2am which didn't require much other than placing a binky in his mouth. And then he decided to wake up again at 4am and he just kept on playing in his crib cooing and babbling nonstop which was followed by crying. Joon and I tried figuring out why he didn't sleep through the night this time but couldn't think of any specific reason.

Sometimes, I wonder if babies know what's really going on. It was almost as if Ben knew that I wasn't going to work this morning and he knew 3 weeks ago that I would be going to work and needed sleep. I wonder if this pattern will continue and what's going to happen when I have to go back in a week. Hopefully my theory will hold true and he'll sleep through the night again because if not, then I'm in big trouble!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fist Pumping Baby

Since Ben isn't allowed to watch TV, we don't understand how he learned how to fist pump like the guys on the Jersey Shore. We hope he doesn't live by their motto of GTL (gym, tan, laundry) although I wouldn't mind him doing the laundry from time to time. =)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Recapping the Past 4 weeks

What's happened in the past 4 weeks? Hope these photos can do the recapping...

We celebrated weeks 10, 11, 12, and 13. We love these photos of him smiling with his eyes closed.

He's gotten better at tummy time, although he still hates it. His cheeks keep weighing him down!

He loves listening to stories. Boy can focus!

He had his first playdate with his friend Gavin.

He went to the park for the first time. We enjoyed the beautiful 65 degree weather!

He knows how to pick up the ladies. "How YOU doing!"

He can grasp the bendy ball and smiles when he drops it.

He sucks his fingers.

He spent time with family.

He got new hats. Here are two of them.

He browsed the books at Barnes and Nobles.

And finally, he can't stop smiling!

Our beautiful baby!

Typical Day in the Life of a Working First-Time Mommy

Oh faithful readers... all 5 of you... I apologize for being MIA. After considering long and hard as to whether or not I should return to work or be a stay-at-home mom, we decided that it was best for me to go back. Today marks the end of my second week back at work after a 12 week leave. These two weeks have been perhaps some of the most challenging weeks of my entire life.

The question people keep asking me is: How's it like being back? I usually give one of two generic answers saying, "It's great to be back!" or "It's really tough being back." Yes, I know they contradict each other, but depending on the given second when the question is asked, my response changes. Although I've answered this question more than 50 times already, I still feel rather uncomfortable when it's asked because I'm still not sure about how I feel. I wonder if I'll ever know. If I figure that out, I promise to share it with you.

For 12 weeks since his birth, I was at home all day, everyday and my life revolved around one and only one thing-- Ben. If he needed his diaper changed for the 11th time that day, I changed his diaper. If he woke up crying hysterically needing to be fed at 4am, I woke up and fed him. If he needed to be held and rocked for over an hour to take a nap that lasted only 5 minutes, that's what I did. This was my life, my full-time job, and I loved every second of it.

My schedule has obviously changed tremendously since I've been back at work. The word that best describes how I felt initially is OVERWHELMED. All of a sudden I had a job other than that of being Ben's mom. I was no longer just Michelle, the mommy, but I was also Ms. Park, the teacher. I now had two full-time jobs.

I feel like I'm always running from one place to the next. I feel like I'm not doing either of my jobs well enough. But I know that with time, things will get better and easier.

Since someone has asked me for this, maybe it'll be helpful for other future mamas who are planning on going back to work. Here's what a typical weekday is like for me:

6:00 Wake-up, eat breakfast, pack lunch, get dressed, watch/read the news
6:45 Feed (nurse on one side while pumping the other)
7:30 Leave the apartment and go to work
7:45 Get to work and try to get ready before the kids to arrive
8:15 Teach (pump during my break which is at a different time each day)
4:30 Get home and feed
5:00 Play with baby in the apartment or at the park
6:30 Make dinner, eat, clean up
7:30 Bath time (every other day) and feed
9:00 Prepare for work and shower
10:00 Pump again while watching tv
11:00 Sleep

This is what I get to come home to every day... Nothing else can make my bad days into amazing ones like this!