Don't worry, I haven't fallen out of love with the adorable, squidgy fella that joined our household just under 4 weeks ago, far from it. We are, however, past the initial 'Babymoon' phase and hitting our first growth major spurt.
I had never heard of the term 'Babymoon' until it was mentioned by a couple of readers shortly after Alfie was born but it is a fabulous phrase and very appropriate for the initial new-parent stage, well it is for me second time around. Milo and I seemed to have skipped that phase altogether and had ours later at around 8-10 months when the cloud of postpartum depression disipated and our real bonding began.
Alfie and I thankfully did enjoy a 'Babymoon' and what a lovely time it was. I'm not saying there weren't any challenges, there definitely were, but all in all I was able to soak up the joys of having a newborn and I soaked them up with all my might.
In the last couple of days there have been clear signs of things beginning to change...
Whereas a week ago I could put a sleeping Alfie down in his cot or bouncer chair shortly after he fell asleep and he'd keep happily slumbering, in the last days, once put down, he will often wake up within seconds.
A week ago he would usually only have one screamy stage in the day (between 8-10PM roughly), in the last days he has been far louder and harder to appease at numerous points in the day.
A week ago he would wake up just once or twice in the night to feed giving me blissful, longish chunks of sleep. In the last days he has been waking every two hours desperate for a feed.
I won't go on with the comparisons, I think you get the gist. Basically, whilst he is still a lovely, smiley little baby, he is a little more challenging at the moment than in his first 3 1/2 weeks. Thankfully though, having done this once before, I knew this time was coming. Instead of these changes hitting me smack in the face, I was expecting them and prepared mentally for them and so I was in no way shocked when the nights started getting less sleep-filled and the days a little more challenging. In fact, the only surprise I've had is that I had it so easy for so long!
Alfie has definitely hit his first major growth spurt. Last Thursday, during the midwife's weekly visit (they visit regularly during the first 8 weeks post-birth, called 'Wochenbett', here in Berlin), Alfie had finally put on a good amount of weight between visits which was a relief. Until then he had been at the lower end weight-wise for his age so, whilst not overly worried, I did want to see this improve and was happy with the news. Since then his hunger levels have clearly increased and his need for feeds has gone from often having a gap of 4-5 hours between to him regularly wanting feeding every 2 hours day and night.
With this spurt of his I am starting to feel the difference physically. I find it that much harder to wake up in the morning, that much harder to get out of bed and I am starting to notice myself getting a little forgetful and spaced at times. Thankfully I'm not forgetting anything super important but I do find myself forgetting my point mid-conversation with friends and babybrain is definitely taking hold! It's exciting though. The spurt may have its downsides but it also means my boy is growing well and it is important for him to build his strength for all the developmental changes coming. That's my boy!
For the first time mums, here are some of the typcial signs that your baby is having a growth spurt:
- Increased appetite in baby and mum (if you are breastfeeding). Don't worry, if your baby suddenly seems to need to feed constantly, it doesn't guarantee that it will stay this way for long. Often baby's feeding will go back to some normality within a few days.
- Increased irratibility of baby / harder to calm.
- Sudden changes in general routine (you most likely won't have a fixed routine for the first growth spurts)
- Change in sleep pattern. Some babies wake more due to the need for more feeding, others can sleep more as they can need the rest to deal with all that's happening to their bodies.
How did/do you and your baby deal with growth spurts and developmental changes? Did they often come as a shock or could you see the signs early? Have you any tips for fellow parents on how to best deal with the spurts?
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