I heard from many you that my “Week One with Baby Luke” post was a helpful reference, so I wanted to share an update on how things have been going since. I’m including a recap of our routine, my nursing plan, and how Tom, Wyatt and I have been handling the transition to a family of four (with two under two!).
We also just got back our family photos from Jill Baker and I’m so excited to share a few of them too! Jill is based locally here in Marin, and I would highly recommend working with her if you are looking for a family photographer. She was super flexible with scheduling and so relaxed to work with, which is a huge bonus if you know how stress-inducing these photo shoots can be with a toddler!
We feel extremely fortunate that Luke has been a great sleeper, and has recently started to get some 8 hours stretches in overnight (starting around 8 weeks). The guidance my pediatrician has given is that baby should be able to sleep as many hours consecutively as they are weeks old, and that has generally held true for Luke. If that’s not happening for you yet, don’t worry! All babies are different and have their own timetables.
My best advice to try to extend nighttime sleep is to work on getting “full feedings” before bedtime (and all the time, if possible), to help baby get a longer stretch of sleep. To accomplish this, I usually nurse on one side, then change his diaper and burp him to wake him back up, and then feed on the second side. It can be tough to motivate to do this late at night, especially if baby is falling asleep after the first side, but I find the extra time invested leads to longer stretches of much-needed sleep.
Our daily routine looks something like this:
- 6:30am – Luke usually wakes up briefly while the house is stirring in the morning for a feeding. I say good morning to Wyatt when he wakes up around 6:30-7:00am, before he heads off to his nanny share for the day. If I can, I try to go back to sleep for another hour or so.
- 8:00am-9:00am – Luke and Mom wake up for the day. Feeding & diaper change.
- 9:00-5:00pm – Luke and I usually get out of the house for a good chunk of the day, whether that’s to meet friends, go to a coffee shop, do errands, etc. I always run through my Diaper Bag Checklist before we head out the door. I try to minimize the time he spends in his car seat and often use my Boppy Comfyfit Carrier to hold him while I’m out and about. He sleeps for the vast majority of the day and feeds every 2-3 hours during this time (more often closer to every 3 hours).
- 5:00-9:00pm – Luke is feeding almost every hour during the “witching hour” (more like hours in our case). This *conveniently* (heavy sarcasm) coincides with Wyatt’s dinner and bathtime. On the plus side, I think he is fueling up before he goes to sleep for a longer stretch!
- 9:30-10:00pm – Bedtime. Luke sleeps in the SNOO. We transitioned to “Weaning” mode around month one so it just rocks him until he falls asleep, then plays white noise (no movement) after that. As of the last 2-3 weeks, he has been sleeping through most nights until around 6am. I am now working on inching this bedtime up earlier day by day.
I’m still breastfeeding exclusively, and hoping to make it to six months again as I did with Wyatt, if possible. I was lucky to have a great supply with Wyatt, and was initially a little concerned that it wasn’t quite as strong this time around, in part due to a bout of mastitis I experienced during week 2. I have noticed an improvement recently as Luke’s appetite has increased and he’s feeding more often.
I hope to be able to make it to six months again, but I definitely won’t hesitate to supplement with formula if necessary given the great experience we had with Wyatt (I wrote about that transition and my recommendations here). In general, I am taking a much more relaxed approach to breastfeeding Luke than I did with Wyatt. I have spent very little time tracking or measuring my milk supply – instead just relying on Luke’s healthy weight gain (up to 14 lbs now!) as an indicator that things are going well.
I mentioned the Haakaa Breast Pump in my last post about Luke, and I have become even more of an evangelist of this product since! Though Luke is nearly 10 weeks old at this point, I have used my traditional pump (the Medela Freestyle) less than a dozen times as a result of this awesome little device. It’s basically a suction cup that extracts milk, and I’ve found it to be just as effective as an electric pump, but more gentle and much, much simpler to use (no setup required!).
When I nurse Luke (and I’m at home/not in a public place), I use the Haakaa on the opposite breast. If Luke is still hungry after feeding on one side, I screw on the bottle top that comes with the Haakaa and just feed him directly with the collected milk. Typically I am left with some excess milk, which I store using the Kiinde breastmilk storage system – have built up a great backstock as a result. There are a lot of things I love about this product: 1) no wasted milk with each letdown (I’m collecting 2-3 ozs per side, per feeding), 2) teaching baby to both nurse and drink from a bottle – an essential skill!, 3) limited cleanup or mess, especially relative to using a traditional electric pump. You can just rinse the Haakaa in the sink or put it in the dishwasher to clean.
The third generation model (my preference given better suction capability and the bottle-top attachment) retails for just $42.99, a fraction of what most electric pumps cost. I highly recommend you give it a shot! I am currently traveling for 2 weeks and it’s the only pump I brought with me (I now have two).
Overall, I’d say Wyatt has been managing the transition to becoming a big brother pretty well. The first thing he does when he wakes up is ask for “Lukey-loo!!!”. Wyatt and Luke are just 18 months apart, so I’m not sure how much of the change he truly understands yet.
We do have to be constantly vigilant with Wyatt and Luke together. Wyatt has recently taken to expressing his frustrations physically – by hitting or slapping us, or trying to hit Luke. Many friends have reached out to say that their kids went through the same phase around his age. The most common guidance I’ve heard is to try not to pay a lot of attention to the negative behavior, as the reason they are acting out is to try to get attention and responding to it (even negatively) will likely reinforce that behavior. I have also heard that it’s helpful to try to give them words to describe what they’re feeling over time: “Are you sad? Do you feel angry? Would a hug help?” I think we’ve started the “terrible twos” early and we’re just beginning to figure out how to manage it! I’ll share more as we (hopefully) find some effective strategies.
TOM & ME
I’d be lying if I said that the transition to two kids has not put some strain on each of us personally and on our relationship in the last few months. While we both feel incredibly fortunate to have two healthy, wonderful kids, not to mention full-time childcare for Wyatt, we are also often overwhelmed by the responsibilities we now have. There is a rarely a break for personal time alongside the constant routine of playing, feeding, doing laundry, cooking and cleaning up. It can be easy to take these feelings of frustration out on one another, especially when (inevitably), our best efforts to prepare for whatever comes our way still don’t prevent chaos.
My mom recently sent us this article, “My Trick for Maintaining a Healthy Marriage In the Midst of Toddler Chaos” which really resonated with both Tom and me.
Well, it comes down to this: My wife and I try, not always successfully, to accept that we won’t necessarily react as we’d like to in extreme situations. That we’ll snap, darkly mutter obscenities, and wonder why the other one is so utterly useless when he (or she, but it’s usually me) forgets to bring wet wipes to the park, forcing us to scurry around gathering leaves to scrape across our beloved children’s behinds. Or when I purposely take my time at the cheese counter in the supermarket, while my wife deals with a double meltdown in the baked goods aisle. We accept that these grievances aren’t a true reflection of how we actually feel about each other. They’re a product of a shit moment, so keeping them in that moment rather than letting them fester and gnaw away at the foundations of our relationship seems like the best way to go.”
That seems like excellent advice to me! I know we’re both doing our best to remember this guidance and be a bit more forgiving to one another – though it’s not always easy.
Last but not least, an update on me! As of the last few weeks, I am feeling completely healed and almost like my pre-pregnancy self. While most of my clothes fit again (mostly thanks to breastfeeding, but I have tried to do barre/spin 2-3x a week in the last month) – I still feel pretty soft around the middle, with some hard work to go to get back to where I started. I did go a little insane with Black Friday shopping after not buying anything for myself for many months – and it feels great to be wearing non-maternity clothes again.
I have been so relieved to find that caring for a newborn came much more naturally to me the second time around – having two working limbs this time helps a great deal! I definitely have much more confidence with Luke than I did with Wyatt – I feel a lot more comfortable taking him out with me, nursing him when and where I need to, and just enjoying being with him – rather than stressing constantly about my milk supply, his sleep schedule, and regaining my pre-pregnancy body (all major sources of stress with Wyatt).
That being said, I am extremely lucky to still have excellent full-time childcare for Wyatt, and to be able to focus on spending time with Luke. I give major props to the stay at home moms in my life, as taking care of two kids – including one very busy toddler – may be one of the hardest jobs out there. Don’t be fooled – life with two under two is definitely not as carefree as the pictures here suggest!
I had a lot more to say here than I thought! I hope some of this information is helpful to you, and as always I am more than happy to try to help if there something you’re wondering about. Feel free to send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message in the comments below!