Walter-4 Months

Weight:  He is feeling a little heftier these days. He is exactly 13 pounds. We have almost doubled his birth weight.

Health: We are no longer giving him medicine for his acid reflux. Some days he is doing well being off; other days he still spits up a lot. I do notice that it typically happens more in the morning than other times of the day, so I am not sure if it is related to me being more full in the mornings and the flow is higher.

Diet: Breastfeeding is going really well. I have no thoughts around needing to supplementing at this point, which feels really good. Walt feeds 6 or 7 times a day, and on average it adds up to 2.5 hours of nursing. He is going about 3 hours between feedings during the day. My app says that we have had 190 feedings over this last month, and spent 3 days feeding him. In addition to that I have pumped 12 times. I only go into the office one day a week, and it is so nice not to have to pump every day. It is doing so much for our breastfeeding journey to be the one to actually feed him 24/7 6 days out of the week. Looking back at both of the bigs’ journeys, I am in a much better position this time around. I was already supplementing with formula with George at this point. And with Daph, I had to pump extra times each night to make enough for her. I truly think a big reason why it’s not even on my radar to need to do either is that I am nursing him most days completely. I am truly thankful to be working from home this much to allow for this. I am not a good pumper, so it has been nice to need to do that very minimally.

Clothes: He is solidly in 0-3 month clothes, but I would assume we would move up to 3 months before his next update. He is still in size 1 diapers.

Sleeping:  He is so go with the flow with his sleep, which has been a godsend since our schedule never seems to be the same from day to day. We started putting him down for the night around 8pm. Then I wake him up at 10pm for a feeding, and then he goes right back down. He typically doesn’t wake up until I get him up at 5:15am, and often times sleeps until 7 on the weekends. I had been thinking of knocking out that 10pm feeding to just let him completely sleep through the night. But the couple days I have thought to test it out he has woken up by 11 acting hungry, so we’ll keep with this schedule for awhile. He typically takes two naps during the day, and he is taking those in his crib fully now. He is still sleeping in a pack and play in our room overnight. I am thinking we will keep him in this for awhile now so when we go on vacation this summer he will be used to a pack and play and it wont be a complete mess to his sleep. I would say that 9/10 times, we are able to put him down awake, and he falls asleep within 5 minutes. Oh and we are doing the magic merlin suit for the day naps, and a swaddle with both arms completely wrapped overnight. I do think we will have to stop with the swaddle here soon because I think we are close to rolling.

Likes:  His favorite place is upright with his face to our ears. We have this little vibrating bouncy seat that he loves to get crazy in. He seems like the best listener and loves to hear all of us tell him stories. He also love playing peek-a-boo, however it looks like it startles him at first then he just laughs and laughs.

Dislikes:  He despises baths. Honestly it is really the only time he cries.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Butters, Sweet Bean, and Stinkerdoodle. Daphne still has her own names that all include Baby in the title: Waltie baby, Cutie baby, Sweetie baby, Baby guy, and Baby Walter.

Milestones: We put him in the bumbo for the first time this last week. He is doing so well with his neck control. I think we are soooo close to him rolling over from front to back. He did start laughing this last month, and my oh my does it warm the soul. He had his first road trip yesterday to the zoo in St. Louis.

Quirks:  He has started chewing/sucking on his thumb. The drool is coming in as well. Whenever a camera comes out, he deadpans it. He can be laughing so hard, and then I try to document it, and he almost immediately goes stone face on me. I have to work really hard to get these smiles on camera.

We parents are:  drained. This has been a pretty heavy month. I can hardly believe all that has happened in the last 30 days…I had all four of my wisdom teeth taken out at the beginning of the month, which I am still recovering from 4 weeks later. I do not recommend this while breastfeeding, but it was a must for my own dental health. For me it was worse than when I had knee surgery. Then, I went back to work full time. It’s mostly been good and a fairly easy transition. I am more tired, and there is always work to do. I feel like I am processing things much better now, and able to ward off most of my negative feelings. It is also an exciting time at work with a few things that have been added to my plate and the new teams that I getting to be a part of, so that definitely adds to the mix of making it worthwhile to leave me kids every day. I have been keeping up with working out 5 days of the week, which is so helpful for me not only physically but really mentally as well. Then there was Crosby. Losing Crosby was and is really hard on us emotionally, and we are still dealing with the aftermath of that. Tom has been crushing it at work, but it also comes with using a lot of his energy physically and mentally. We are also prepping ourselves to get our gardens ready and making plans to really use our outside space the best we can.

Big kids are:  doing pretty well. Daphne got into our district’s preschool program for next year, so we are really excited for her. Daph and George will be at the same school for the next couple years which is great! George started soccer, and we’ll see how it goes. It is entertaining for us all at least. They have been great with Walt, and they both have their ways of showing him love. George does it in quiet small ways like stroking his face to help calm him or helping shine a light for him when we are in a dark space. Daphne however is loud and aggressive with her love towards Walt. She is always telling him how much she loves him and that he is her friend. She always wants to be next to him, and has become the alarm whenever anything is awry as far as Walt is concerned. She also announces to anyone who meets Walt who he belongs to (her).

The dogs are: As I mentioned, we are still in a daze from Crosby’s passing a week ago. There are moments where it just doesn’t seem real yet. The kids mention missing him almost every day. George’s teacher went above and beyond and got the kids a framed picture of our family with Crosby to put next to their beds. He was such a big part of our days that they just feel a little empty. Grace is moving along in her charmed life now as an only dog. We are able to give her a little more freedom out of the yard because she wasn’t our runner, so she is loving that. It still makes me so sad that Walt won’t have any memories of our Crosby.

In case you are curious, here is George at four months and Daphne at four months.

Walt you are the perfect puzzle piece to our family. You are the chill to every one else’s crazy. Thank you for these past 4 months of loving on you!

Walter-3 Months

Weight:  He is 12 pounds! I feel he is gotten big this last week.

Health: He is still throwing up a lot, however we did get him some acid reflux medicine. While it has not stopped his spit up, it has dramatically changed the consistency of it. A lot less cottage cheese vomit happening over here. He seems much happier this month two. Last month he just always seemed upset so hopefully we settled his tummy troubles!

Diet: I feel like this month we finally hit our stride with breastfeeding, which may be a big reason why it feels like he is gaining weight more steadily. I did drop all of my pumping sessions since I am back at work. I didn’t want to try to have to finagle those additional sessions especially since we are not giving him an extra bottle between his feedings anymore. Right now I am straight nursing him since I am working from home, which is such a blessing. Dropping the pumping has really helped with my mentality since I am not doing something every 2 hours now nor am I having to wash pump parts which is huge. As long as I can keep my supply up, we will continue this way on the days I am working from home. I have enough in stock to get us through a supply dip for awhile. Walt feeds 7 or 8 times a day, and on average it adds up to 3 hours of nursing. He is going about 2-3 hours between feedings. My app says that we have had 219 feedings over this last month, and spent 3.5 days feeding him.

Clothes: We did just size up to 0-3 month clothes. It was a bittersweet moment realizing it was the last time I would use those newborn clothes for my own kids. He is also in size 1 diapers.

Sleeping:  He is fairly good in this department. He sleeps about 6 hours each night, so that has been a glorious transition. Naps during the day are hit or miss. He does some in his crib and some while someone is holding him. We really need to work on getting him totally in naps in his crib. He is still sleeping in a pack and play in our room overnight. Until we get this spit up thing completely under control, I don’t feel comfortable just yet having him by himself in his room overnight. On the plus side, I can usually just put him down while he is awake, and he will put himself to sleep within 10 minutes. He just lays there and grunts and wiggles himself to sleep without any fuss.

Likes:  He loves being held, and his favorite place is upright on our shoulder with his ear next to mine. I think he loves being close to us and being able to watch around over our shoulder. He loves the 8pm hour. He is always so talkative and smiley during this time. One of our TVs always turns on to a static channel, and he loves it.

Dislikes:  He hates baths and getting lotion on. We keep trying to make a pacy work for him, but I think he could do without. We never are successful getting him to use it to go to sleep so I guess that is a good thing down the road. Honestly there isn’t much that riles him up. His temperament has been really chill this month.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Butters, Sweet Bean, and Stinkerdoodle. Daphne still has her own names that all include Baby in the title: Waltie baby, Cutie baby, Sweetie baby, Baby guy, and Baby Walter.

Milestones: He holds his neck up so well. His smiles are so big, and I feel like we are just on the verge of laughs. He has been cooing, but not perfectly repeating us just yet. He rolls to his side, but not quite all the way over yet.

Quirks:  When he does tummy time, he kicks his legs so hard like he is trying to crawl already. He has almost hurled himself over the boppy pillow with his legs pushing off the floor. He has lost most of his hair on the top of his head. It’s all little peach fuzz now, but he has a nice ring of thicker hair at the base of his neck.

We parents are:  doing much better this month. Month two was extremely taxing, and this month has been a breeze in comparison. I really have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding, and a lot of the animosity does come from pumping. So removing that this last month has been so healthy for me. I have been working half time at work this month, and the transition back has been fairly smooth. I highly recommend any mom try to swing returning from maternity leave a couple weeks as part time, and even better if you can do it from home. This upcoming week is my last week at half time, so the next month potentially could be a doozy. I started working out a lot more this month, and I think that has also helped clear the fog that comes with newborn days. Tom and I also have been trying to be more intentional about having a meal together with just the two of us.

Big kids are:  doing pretty good considering this was a cold month with very little time outside. George is really excelling at school, and I love hearing how he is creating relationships there. Daphne has had a difficult month. She has had some pretty severe tantrums that will last 30-45 minutes. And the girl is so stubborn; there is often no reasoning with her and we just have to wait until she is tired for it to wear off. We know it has a lot to do with wanting attention, and it is not lost on me that these awful tantrums have coincided with me going back to work. We just need to make sure we are giving her just Daph time. Being a middle child and big sister is hard stuff! As far as the bigs with Walter, they are still so good with him. George tries to soothe him by caressing his head. Most of the time, George does his own thing away from the baby. Daphne, however, always wants to be with him. She wants to hold him, snuggle him, sing to him, read to him, be on him…you get the picture. She is just the best big sister.

The dogs are: just enjoying their doggy lives. Crosby does like to follow Walter around. He is often at my feet when I am feeding him. Grace doesn’t give two hoots about him.

In case you are curious, here is George at two months and Daphne at two months.

Walter-2 Months

Weight:  Walt is around 9 and a half pounds. Finally this kid is gaining weight!

Health: We don’t really have any serious health concerns right now. We’ll see at his check up this week if we need to be more concerned about his weight and eating. He does throw up after each feeding, so I am going to ask if there is anything we can do about it. Looking back on the big kids’ updates, they were having the same problem, however, I feel like Walt is doing it so much more.

Diet: Each month feels like a major triumph with our breastfeeding journey. We are still feeding every 2-3 hours, but we backed off on the bottles in between. We occasionally will give him a one ounce bottle if he is having a fussy day. I started using a new app to track his feedings, and it says that I am feeding him on average 3.5 hours total a day. I am pumping 1-3 times a day to stock up for when I go back to work, and I have pumped just about 100 oz this month. My schedule is still pretty tight around his feeding, but the windows of time do seem to be getting bigger in length. I am no longer using the nipple shields which saves me so much time and hassle. It’s also a bonus that it’s no longer painful when he is feeding. I am in a much better place than I was last month with our breastfeeding plan, but as always my goal is to make it to the next month and re-evaluate. I head back to work here soon, so we’ll see how that affects the dynamic.

Clothes: He is still in newborn clothes, but he is starting to fill them out a little more. I did switch him to size one diapers, but really only because I had a box in the closet when we ran out of newborns and didn’t want to buy another newborn box.

Sleeping:  Sleeping is going much better, and I feel that we are getting a rhythm down. He sleeps from 11-4ish most nights and then will go back down after a nursing session until about 8. Then he has two or three naps during the day in about 2 hour spurts. We are doing some of his naps in his crib in his room instead of the pack and play in our room. I have been putting a drop of Young Living’s Gentle Baby blend on his swaddle before I put him down. I am not saying that it is the reason he is sleeping longer, but I am also saying it hasn’t hurt.

Likes:  He loves being held laying up right on my chest. He loves the baby carrier, and now his legs are out of the newborn position which has seemed to make him like it more. He seems more interested in his surroundings and all of us.

Dislikes:  He is still not a fan of being naked or anything with changing clothes or diapers.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Butters, Sweet Bean, and Stinkerdoodle. Daphne has her own nicknames for him: Waltie baby, Cutie baby, and Baby Walter.

Milestones: He just started smiling over the last couple days. He is also doing a really good job with his neck control.

Quirks:  He farts like a grown man. They are so loud, that they have woken Tom and I up in the middle of the night. Most of the time he looks like he is terrified of something or he has this grimace like he is silently judging all of us. His eyes are just so big!

We parents are:  tired. It has been an emotional month still just trying to manage all the things and figure out our new normal. We are getting there. I am trying to take time to breath more for myself and I am taking some steps to really focus on that so I can be the best mom and wife I can. Tom has been working extra hours, so he has been tired on top of the newborn parent tired.

Big kids are:  doing good. George has had school this whole month, so that routine has been great for him. He is getting tested for some things with the school’s speech pathologist, so I am interested to see how that pans out for him. George is definitely favoring Tom more right now, which is understandable since I am always doing something with Walt. I am really going to miss taking him to and from school because that is time where it is just us. Daphne is OBSESSED with Walt. She is always coming to his rescue when he cries, and she wants to be touching him all the time. She is so sweet with him, and I think she believes it is her personal mission to be his protector and healer. It is just the best to watch. I wish I could just record her all day with him. You can see that she is having moments of middle childness, so we have been making an effort to give her some alone parent time too.

The dogs are: old and don’t seem to care too much about Walt. Crosby does love to lay on the kick and play mat though. We did find out recently that Crosby has lymphoma. It is progressive enough that we are choosing not to do treatments. He also has two torn ACLs, so we are treating him for pain on that. It came down to deciding prolonging his life time wise but have him be on tons of medication/undergo procedures but be noticeable sick or in pain, or just making him comfortable as possible with his remaining time. It was a difficult decision, but we are going with quality of life for him especially besides an occasional limp, he is still leaving the dream life for a dog. He still chases after all the things, and has loved the sunroom to bark at the birds and neighbor cats more easily. It’s just not an easy thing for us to have to think about or make decisions on. We will just love on them as long as we can!

In case you are curious, here is George at two months and Daphne at two months.

Sweet bean, I love the extra snuggles you have brought into our life.

Walter-1 Month

What a month it has been!

Weight:  Walt is around 7 and a half pounds. He is not really gaining weight but he also doesn’t seem to be losing it either.

Health: No real big health concerns as of right now. His mouth is completely healed from the tongue tie procedure. Breastfeeding is still a work in progress. I am monitoring his weight now to see if we dip down again, but other than that it seems like we are doing good! We seem to have another “happy spitter” on our hands though. Both of the big kids were spitting up at this age too, so I feel like we are ok here. I also watched a video the other day that was a good reminder that even though it seems like they are spitting up their whole feeding, in reality it is only a teaspoon or so.

Diet: We made it a full month of only breastfeeding. We are still feeding every 2-3 hours, and he gets a couple 1 oz bottles between those feedings as well. I am pumping 3 times a days to meet those needs and still stock some up for when I go back to work. Essentially I am either feeding him or pumping every 1-2 hours. My goal is to make it to the next month and then reevaluate. If we are still on this schedule in a month, I may introduce formula. I really don’t have time to do much else besides focus on feeding him and trying to maintain some supply for him. At the current rate we are going, I am not sure this schedule will be sustainable for my health. It is utterly exhausting and draining in so many ways. I am struggling with this a little bit since I made it a full year with Daphne. I know it is not rational but my brain is saying you have made it a year before, and I am feeling this extreme guilt for even thinking about formula this early. Like some how I am failing Walt for not making this breastfeeding journey work for us, which is basically why I never leave this chair to make it happen right now. But as I said I do know from my experience with George that this is not sustainable for much longer, so we will continue to take a little bit at a time and reevaluate. I also fully believe in “fed is best” and really have no issue with formula; it’s just a debate I am internally struggling with because I have made it work before, and hormones are weird.

Clothes: He is still in premie and newborn clothes, and he is in newborn diapers.

Sleeping:  He is awake a little more now. He sleeps the best between 7am-noon. He is fussier in the afternoon an early evening. Night time has been hit or miss with what schedule he wants to be on. There seems to be no middle ground. Either is he cluster/comfort feeding all night or he stays asleep for 5-6 hours at a time. There have also been a couple nights that I have had to hold him while we sleep in a chair because even feeding him won’t console him.

Likes:  He still loves being held and getting pats on the butt. He is starting to notice his big siblings and look for them. He loves to ride in the car. I started using the baby carrier over the last week, and he doesn’t like getting in it, but then he falls asleep as soon as he is settled in against my chest.

Dislikes:  He has found his voice over the last couple months, however Tom and I agree that he is still our quietest baby yet. He does not like getting his clothes or diaper changed. He generally hates the hours between 3-7 if you aren’t holding him. As much as we have tried, he does not seem to like a pacy. Once he is in the car, he loves it, but getting in the car seat initially is a different story.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Dooders. Daphne has her own nicknames for him: Waltie baby, Cutie baby, and Baby Walter.

Quirks:  With him starting to be awake more, I am sure more of these will start to arise.

We parents are:  ready for some sense of a routine. With bringing a new baby home, virtual school, and the holidays, this month has been a whirlwind. Exhausted doesn’t even seem to be the appropriate word. Feeding him has been really consuming, and I have had a few meltdowns myself with the exhaustion. I feel like I never leave our bedroom between all the feedings and pumpings. I know this will end, and I just have to keep reminding myself that but it is hard when you are bound to a chair day in and day out. I am feeling like I am completely healed from the birth, so that has been nice to not feel like I am broken all over. I also am able to wear all my normal clothes again, but let’s be real I still live in leggings most days. I would love to start working out again, and my hope is to start walking on the treadmill here soon. But I need to get a better handle on this feeding stuff. It seems that there is never any time between the feedings to do things for myself because there is something else that always needs my attention with the limited breaks. I also feel like I am touched out, which is hard when you have too big kids who need affection as well. It’s just a lot right now to be able to give to all the people who need it. Tom is back at work with 12 hour shifts, so I know it is a lot on him as well to come home needing a break but also juggling giving attention to all of us. Fortunately, the sun room is done, so he can take some down time on his days off.

Big kids are:  doing as good as can be expected with all of us being home all the time. I think virtual school about broke us all. It has been a really hard month for George to become a big brother again and lose some of his attention from us, and then to be forced to do kindergarten virtually for the weeks before the holiday break. It just wasn’t ideal for his personality for this all to happen at once. But we are trying! George is also fascinated by me feeding Walt. He wants to know how breastfeeding works and all the mechanics behind pumping. So many questions! Daphne is now obsessed with Walt. She is always checking to see if he is awake or if he needs something. She is quick to try to console him and sings the sweetest songs to him. She loves to read to him and try to find toys that he can use. They both love him so much, and I can wait to see their relationship continue to grow.

The dogs are: now 10 years old! We totally missed their birthday this month…..whoops.

In case you are curious, here is George at two weeks and Daphne at one week.

Walter-Two Weeks

Thank you for everyone has reached out and shared in the excitement of our newest little nugget. It has been a whirlwind couple weeks since he got here.

Because I know that babies don’t keep, I still want to attempt to document everything about these stages.

Weight:  Walt is hovering around 7 lbs. We have been having issues with losing weight. He was 7 lbs 8 oz when he was born but at our appointments last week he dropped below 7 lbs. We have had so many doctor’s appointments to try to monitor this. He is just so skinny!

Health: We were having some severe issues breastfeeding. He was only using his gums to eat, and after just a couple days I was bleeding through every feeding. So through several lactation appointments and some referrals to a specialist, we found that Walt had a really bad tongue tie. It was so severe he basically could not use his tongue. So he was using his jaws and gums to gnaw the milk out. The doctor we saw said that if we had not found it now, he would have had issues with eating and speech later on. A procedure to fix this later on would have meant we would have had to drive to either St. Louis or Kansas City to have a more serious procedure and do physical therapy. But since we found it so quickly, last week we did a procedure to laser that tie. Since his tongue was basically useless before, this week we have been trying to retrain him how to eat. We are hoping that this is helping with the weight issue. Today we did get the green light that everything is healing nicely and we are seeing enough progress that we don’t need to come back to the specialist again.

Diet: He is only on breastmilk. I have to use a nipple shield, which is really not ideal for the long run, but it is helping him learn how to do it correctly. I am hoping we can stop using it soon. We are on a strict feeding schedule of every 2-3 hours nursing and then following up with a 1 oz bottle of pumped milk. So I am really just feeding him or pumping all day.

Clothes: Even though he is our biggest baby, he is still so tiny. He cannot wear any newborn sleepers or pants without swimming in them. We have few premie things that he fits perfectly.

Sleeping:  Honestly, he is doing a really good job sleeping. For the most part, when he is not eating he is sleeping. Sometimes it is hard to keep him awake enough to eat with the schedule we have from the doctor too. We did have issues with him at first with sleeping flat on his back. He was spitting up a lot, and he would just cry when we put him down flat. After talking with the specialist, he said a lot of this was because of the tongue tie. Walt would just take in a lot of extra air with how he was eating. We have seen this improve a lot since we had the procedure done, and we have been working on transitioning from sleeping with an incline to flat.

Likes:  He likes when I sing “You are my Sunshine” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” He loves getting pats on the butt. Both seem to soothe him pretty quickly.

Dislikes:  Walt is the chillest baby. Even his cries aren’t that loud. He really only shows disdain when I am a little slow to get him set up to eat or when I am putting lotion on him.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Brother, and Daphne only calls him Baby Walter.

Quirks:  It’s hard to say right now. Eat, sleep, poop…

We parents are:  Tom went back to work a couple days ago. He has been working his behind off to get our sunroom done and keep the big kids occupied. We just moved plants into the sunroom, and it is all very exciting to watch this project wrap up. I have been a little overwhelmed to be honest with the feeding stuff. I know it has only been two weeks, so I am trying to give myself grace with our transition. However, it is hard to not be exhausted and feel like you can’t just be yourself when you are constantly focused on the feeding. I am also trying not to feel guilty that he is not gaining weight since he is getting all his sustenance from me. Whether it is making sure I am not letting too much time go by without a feeding or a bottle to keeping myself hydrated, and then add in trying to give the big kids some attention, it’s just been a lot. We have also not had many days where we haven’t had an appointment, so I am ready for a few days in a row without any plans to rest fully. Physically outside of the exhaustion, I am feeling decent. My body is healing up nicely, but I also want to be sure to be easy on myself that the pre-baby body doesn’t exist and nor should it. I will say the more that I think about his birth too, it was the closure experience I needed. It was like he was sent to us to help me heal from our previous pregnancies and birth experiences. My heart needed him, and it has been beautiful to have him join our family.

Big kids are:  doing so much better than expected. I hope to write a post soon about how the bigs are reacting to Wally coming home. It’s been precious. They are super supportive and protective right now and tell everyone that he is their baby and we will keep him here. Daphne has been calling him our “treasure.” George cried the first several days because he was overcome with joy and love for him. We’ll see how the next month goes because George is home doing virtual school for the next two weeks and then is off school until the new year. He may feel differently with all the time I spend feeding little man instead of playing with George. But all in all, I could not have asked for a better reaction from our first two babies. As far as who Walt looks more like, it is hard to say. When he was first born, I thought he looked like both pretty equally. Now as the days go by, I see more similarities to George.

The dogs are: doing just fine. Honestly, I don’t think they are even phased at this point that we brought another kid home. They have sniffed him a little, but they mostly ignore him.

In case you are curious, here is George at two weeks and Daphne at one week.

Walt, you are the final piece to our family puzzle. And we love you so very much!