The “fourth” trimester brought along several upgrades. Some were unexpected, but each contributed to give us fuller hearts, a livelier home, and an increasingly alert and active baby boy. To be honest, motherhood is very much a work-in-progress but I do feel more confident and less anxious with B each passing day.
- Healthy sleep habits, happy child … and family too: B’s nap and sleep time were disrupted by all the Chinese New Year activity. Unfortunately, that brought back the overtired fussy baby (who we thought we’d literally put to bed by week 6) who needs to be rocked to sleep. After several exhausting days, we bought a bouncer (the Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance Air – a true Godsend!) and I introduced a sleep schedule: 7/8a wake up, 3 naps (9/10a, after the mid-day feed, 5/6p) leading into his 9/10p “longer bedtime” before the day starts again at dawn. It isn’t easy to enforce this with the hubby who comes home late and B’s many caregivers and visitors but I’m determined to give him the 15 hours sleep needed for his age.
- Tummy time is good for you, boy: B hates to exercise (who does?!) and makes me look like a slavedriver when others are around to witness his complaints and whimpers. What does mama do? Sneak in playmat time when the critics aren’t around, carry/burp him head-over-shoulder and allow daytime naps on his tummy (supervised of course). It’s paid off – his neck is stronger, the flat spots (!) on the back of his head get a breather … plus, I don’t seem so evil anymore!
- One unexpected “upgrade”: I am inadvertently on Plan B aka stay-at-home mom until I return to work again (or continue if baby #2 comes along). Plan A was to return to work after my four-month maternity leave (i.e. end of February) and we had scoped out infant care centers to accomodate that. However, recent personal and office developments led us down a different path. When I tendered at work last week, I felt really conflicted — guilty for wanting to work and guilty for choosing not to. It’ll take time to get used to saying “I’m a stay-at-home mom” vs “I work as X at Y” but I know that this opportunity, however brief, is a blessing and B will be the better for it. No regrets.
- Sleeping “through the night:” About two weeks ago (from week 11 onwards), B started regularly skipping one of his night feeds, i.e. waking up just once for a feed between 8p and 8a. As I’m still breastfeeding, I kept waking up every 4-5 hours to express and check on him but eventually realised that he’s REALLY sleeping ~7 hours straight overnight (or at least can quietly self-soothe). What bliss! I’m enjoying these extra hours of rest after months of sleep deprivation. Pray for no relapses and longer night sleep.
- Physical development: B does mini push ups, moves his head side to side with greater ease (though he still favours one side more), opens up and clasps his fingers together, reaches for, grips and shakes his rattles, blankie, crib mobile, kick-and-play piano, books, mommy’s T-shirt, etc… and his all-time-favourite – sucks his fist (and thumb). He briefly sits upright when propped up and can roll over while supported too.
- Social development: B really enjoys his 1-1 time of chatting, storytelling and singing. He smiles socially, pouts and chuckles on occasion (i.e. when playing peek-a-boo or funny faces) and imitates sticking his tongue out. He vocalises different combination vowels and different tones now and has new distinct “babbles” when he’s hungry, tired, angry, bored, etc.
- New year, new things: We had to upgrade him to a convertible cot bed earlier (thanks, 爷爷) after he got stuck in his crib at night for the umpteenth time. He’s also outgrown his moses basket, newborn/0-3 month diapers, mits, booties, socks and vests. We’ve now switched over to 3-6 month and even some 6-12 month clothes, and passed the rest on to other expectant mom friends. As for swaddling, forget it! B is too active — and no amount of wrapping can keep him cosy and warm. We’ve started using sleeping bags instead and they work like a dream.
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