Health: This week we discovered that chocolate is a big NO NO while breastfeeding! Elijah was having three fantastic days of minimal discomfort. Some friends, very kindly, brought us dinner and some bars of chocolate. That evening I ate one of them, and the following morning I ate another. Shortly after the second chocolate bar, Elijah started to scream again and he had not done that in days. We then realised that during week one I had been eating tons of chocolate that guests had given to us. I’m rather disappointed that I am not able to eat chocolate because while I was pregnant I could not eat it either since it gave me terrible heartburn. I have literally waited all pregnancy to eat chocolate and now I can’t. It doesn’t matter though because it’s much more important that Eli is comfortable! We are happy to have figured that out for Elijah’s sake. We then had another 2-3 great days where Eli was happy and comfortable, but one evening he started screaming again after dinner and all through the night. I couldn’t figure out what I had eaten that could have caused it. I thought that I was “being good” by having a salad, but the following day I realised that my salad had boiled eggs in it, and eggs often cause this problem for babies. Therefore it seems that eggs are off the menu too! Along with the stomach discomfort, Eli also has congestion and funky (mucousy) green poops after I eat something that doesn’t quite agree with him. He gets super gassy and hates this feeling!
Most of what I read online is contradictory. Some sources say that this completely normal in newborns as their digestive systems are immature and need time to adapt to life outside the womb. Mother’s are therefore supposed to eat whatever they want, and exercise strict moderation only with alcohol, caffeine and fish that may contain mercury. This is what the doctor told us when he screamed during the night while we were at the hospital. Other sources say that what the mother eats very much affects how the baby’s stomach reacts, and that elimination diets are necessary in order to figure out which foods should be cut out. This leaves me confused and unsure how to, and what to, eat!! I feel very guilty eating anything that might cause him unnecessary discomfort… but at the same time, I am not sure what foods to stay away from (except for chocolate, beans and eggs – and a huge list of other possible “problem” foods).
Sleep: Elijah was slept wonderfully for most of this week! Sometimes he cluster feeds at night, and then we get amazing 4 hour stretches of sleep. Week 3 has been pretty amazing, except for the post chocolate indulgence and then the egg episodes, and even then he sleeps well between outbursts. Eli is happy sleeping in his crib, but in the morning I usually take him into our bed so that we can cuddle him for a couple of hours before we get up. Those are some of my favourite moments of the day! On Monday night he slept for over 4 consecutive hours. It felt like a full night of sleep for mommy.
Eating: Towards the end of this week Eli started eating for longer periods at a time, roughly 15-20 minutes as an average, rather than only 10 minutes per feeding. He tends to stay awake more now while he eats, and looks around curiously as he does. I have wondered why he doesn’t look at me while I feed him, but apparently this is normal. When he is upset he likes to “feed” but I doubt that he is getting much milk, he is merely using me as a pacifier. We are resisting the late night urge to give him a pacifier, as we would prefer him not to have one. If the need arises though, we might give in and offer him one. With any luck, he will refuse it, but we are too scared to try it and find out.
Diapering: This week we have been using a Chinese brand of diapers, in size small, and they have worked really well. No leaks and they fit perfectly. Everyone recommended Pampers, but these ones are actually only half the price and they work perfectly. How lucky for us!
Clothes: We took Eli clothes shopping since we had a few items given to us that he already had. We managed to exchange what we had for some very cute outfits in the 2-4, 4-6 and 6-9 month range. This week he was still in his newborn and 0-1 month onesies but since it is so hot he barely needs to wear much at all! This week we were able to notice his growth when we buttoned up his onesies. He may be a tall guy one day, like his daddy!
Milestones: During tummy-time this week Eli is able to lift his head for longer periods of time, and then turn from left to right, looking around with his beautiful big blue eyes. We love these moments because he is so alert and cute. We cheer him on when he does this! When he lies on Justin’s stomach he uses his legs to push himself closer to his daddy’s face. Again, it is so adorable that we cheer him and tell him how strong he is. Halfway through this week he started watching his elephant mobile turning round and round above his crib… this milestone made mommy SMILE!
We took Elijah on his first walk on July 2nd, and because we had never gone anywhere with him in the stroller, we decided to stay within out apartment complex. We took him to the Korean store nearby. While there a lady came over to look at him, and as fast as lightning he stuck her hand into the stroller to touch his face. This always only happens when Justin walks away from us, and I’m such a dork because I just stare in disbelief at the person when they do this. In my mind, I am shouting “no… no…. don’t touch my baby!!”, but nothing comes out! Justin literally had to shout from across the store, and the lady stepped away split seconds before her finger reached Eli’s face! Urrrgg – I am going to have to learn to speak my mind in these situations! For now, I am just shocked so I stand there speechless. The following day we walked all the way to a shopping centre which is a 25 minute walk from where we live. We spent a few hours there, so Elijah got super hungry. Feeding him was tough because people generally stop to look at us. They literally stop, turn and then stand and stare at us… And MUCH MORE so now that we have a baby! I sit there trying to take my boob out under a blanket, in the blazing summer heat, while Eli wriggles and cries for milk… and the people stand there staring. I imagine I will eventually give up and just take my boob out and not care that they are looking, but for now I am shy and I know that having large boobs means people will definitely stare EVEN MORE!!! I need to learn how to say, “Please stop staring” in Chinese so that they realise that it is rude and I am uncomfortable. Unfortunately, in this culture staring does not seem to be rude. Everyone here does it.
At Home this Week: Justin was home a lot this week because school closed a couple of days earlier than anticipated. We were therefore able to spend some great quality time together and with Elijah. Yesterday daddy started working his summer jobs, so baby and I will be alone at home during the day from now on. We rest a lot.. and Eli feeds OFTEN!
Mommy: I’m all healed up and find it hard to grasp the fact that I gave birth to a child only three weeks ago! In week 3 Elijah must have hit a growth spurt because he was feeding a lot and I therefore I was not able to do much. I have lost another 5 lbs this week (that seems to be the trend – 5 lbs a week) so I am down 30 of the 55 that I picked up while pregnant with Eli. As I said, I was not able to do much this week as Elijah was feeding so frequently. I have therefore not been able to do any walking, and I have been eating only what I CAN eat… let’s just say that it’s a lot of carbs and junk! I have no idea how I keep losing weight. It must be the miracle of breastfeeding that is causing the pounds to fall off. I feel much less emotional this week. And besides one evening where I bawled my eyes out because Eli was in pain, I have been feeling very calm and collected. I feel myself returning to normal – and the change settles in more and more with every passing day. Thankfully, I no longer feel any anxiety or irritation. Perhaps all those placenta smoothies (which I am still drinking every morning) are working!
Daddy: Justin was feeling much more rested at the beginning of this week, especially since school had ended and he had been able to sleep in a few times. Towards the end of the week he was feeling tired all over again because we are often up during the night consoling little Elijah when he feels discomfort. Justin doesn’t let me get up alone when this happens, and I feel bad that he gets up to help me and also goes to work the following day, but I really do appreciate it! Justin is now working two summer jobs – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. So far he has no jobs booked for August, so maybe we will have that month to “just be”.
* Our first walk around the complex with Elijah… It was a real “family moment” to be walking side-by-side and pushing the stroller. We are so thankful that God blessed us with this baby!
* The way that Elijah stares at the elephant mobile above his crib. He watches it with wide eyes, and then slowly falls asleep.
* The cute new sounds Elijah makes everyday. Even when he is feeding, he makes the sweetest sounds that melt mommy’s heart! When I go to another room he coo’s loudly and it makes me smile. it feels like he is calling out to me, so I reply and tell him where I am.
* When Elijah does a wee while we change him, it always shoots up into his own face, but he doesn’t cry or stop. He looks confused as to where it is coming from. Funny stuff! He has not YET wee’d into one of our faces, but I’m sure that it will happen in the future. This is inevitable with little boys.
Week three had more rough days than easy ones, but yet we still smile when we think about the week that has passed. Although we want these tummy issues to pass, that also means that we are wishing these first weeks away. It’s so weird to want something to be over, and yet to never want this stage to end! Here are some snapshots of week 3 with our little man…
Oh my gosh – this little man’s facial expression entertain us all day long. He has already brought us so much joy! I’m sad that our families will never see him at this tiny, sweet stage of his life. We will have to keep posting pictures so that all of you can watch him grow. The next update that you get on Elijah will be on his one month birthday, and then every month after that. Thank you for all the words of encouragement and love, and all of the prayers!