Wow. I can't believe 4 weeks has already passed since little Decker was born! I can honestly say it's been one of the most challenging month's of our life. I don't think I was at all prepared for everything that would change once we brought Decker home. I wanted to make sure to record highlights from our first month before I forget. The first few nights at home were probably the longest nights of my life. Decker absolutely would not sleep and just cried all night long until around 6am when I think he finally fell asleep from exhaustion. I was so worried that we were going to have one of those fussy, nonstop crying babies. We took him to his first pediatrician appointment on the 18th (4 days after birth.) We found out his weight had dropped from 7 pounds, 4 ounces at birth to 6 pounds, 5 ounces! The doctor was concerned and told me to start feeding him every 2 hours and also to start pumping to help my supply. We realized the reason he was crying all night was probably due to being hungry. We were practically starving our child! Since I was breastfeeding, it was hard for me to know how much he was eating. We had had some problems with his latch when we were initially in the hospital, so I figured he must be latching improperly and not getting enough milk. I wanted to keep breastfeeding, so we decided to keep at it and supplement with some formula. Ten days later we had a weight check and his weight was up to 6 pounds, 15 ounces, so the doctor was very pleased and we were relieved!
Throughout the first few weeks, I really struggled with the decision to breastfeed. All along I had planned to do it, because everyone says "breast is best." But besides the initial problems with his latch, I also realized if I was going to breastfeed, it would mean he was attached to me nearly 24/7. The nights dragged on because he wanted to be fed nearly every hour and I was also being used as a pacifier. I know a lot of moms say this is completely normal, but I really couldn't handle the lack of sleep. So, I decided to try pumping and feeding him with a bottle. This decision was also very short-lived as it was causing me to lose even MORE sleep. I was trying to pump every 3 hours, including at night. But between waking up with him to feed him and change him and get him back to sleep, and then having to pump, I was again getting no sleep. I was so stressed out and exhausted, I felt like I wasn't even enjoying spending time with my new baby and it was really contributing to my "baby blues." Finally, after 3 weeks, Scott and I made the decision to switch him exclusively to formula. It was the biggest relief and I felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest. Now that he is on formula, I actually enjoy feeding him and I don't dread the nights like I did before because I know I won't be up every hour. I have so much respect for the moms who stick with breastfeeding and do it successfully. It just wasn't the right choice for us and I don't regret deciding to use formula at all. We tried a couple different formulas, but have found one now that I think is working really well for him.
Once we started formula, Decker was still eating about every 3 hours at night, which means we would get about 2 hours of sleep at a time. It was definitely rough! But just a couple days ago, he started sleeping 5-6 hours during the first night stretch. We hope he keeps it up! He loves his swing and loves watching the lights and mobile go around. We took him out for his first public outing last night (to a Mexican restaurant) and he did great! He mostly just slept. I felt like it was the first time we got to do something that resembled our pre-baby life and it felt good to realize we can still go out in public, especially since I haven't gotten out much lately. Shiloh has been great with him. She's mostly just very curious and will try licking him whenever she gets the chance. I can't wait until Decker is old enough to chase her around and terrorize her. :-) I also think the older he has gotten, the more asian he is looking.
We are really blessed because he is actually a very mellow, low-maintenance baby. After spending this week home alone with him, I finally am starting to feel like I somewhat know what I am doing as far as mothering goes. Scott is such a good dad and is very hands-on. I know I would NOT have been able to survive this first month without him!
Decker in his Husky gear
Daddy and Decker