September 14, 2018 - Milo is officially 4 months old and I am finally taking some time to reflect over the past four months. I also thought it was about time I shared our adorable photos from his newborn shoot. Parenthood has rocked my world in the best possible way. Everyone tells you before you become a parent that sleep becomes a long lost friend and your time with your spouse will never be the same. No advice or planning can fully prepare you for those two realities. Milo was born a month before his due date, and even though he was healthy and strong, it added some complications to the start of his life. His fast arrival meant that he still had amniotic fluid in his lungs, which impacted his breathing and his ability to eat. On the second night in the hospital, he had his stomach pumped and spent quite a few hours in the nursery with our amazing night nurse. My anxiety was through the roof. I was so worried about him that I couldn't sleep the entire time he was in the nursery.
Our first night out of the hospital, Will stayed up with him the entire night and let me sleep. He held him, and fed him and burped him. He did not sleep because we were so worried about Milo spitting up and choking. Every time we put him down, he would start grunting and would throw up. I slept for about 6 hours and then took over and let Will sleep. We should of known then how little sleep we would get over the next two months.
At Milo's two week check up the doctor diagnosed him with reflux. We had to keep him elevated for 30 minutes after each feed and only feed him one ounce at a time between burping. He had to sleep in a Rock N Play which we put in a Pack 'n Play to protect him from dog sniffs and licks.
For the first month he slept in our room right next to our bed. I would wake up spontaneously throughout the night for the first three weeks and would check multiple times to make sure he was breathing. That happened less and less the older he got.
After a month of him in our room waking up every 30-60 minutes to eat and grunting loudly the rest of the time, we decided to move him into his nursery. Since he was born premature and still only a month old, we made up the futon and I decided to try sleeping in there for a week. Milo was still waking up so many times at night and would struggle to fall asleep. Those nights were a complete blur and most days I spent in my pajamas, covered in throw up, holding him. He would really only sleep during the day if I rocked him to sleep and held him. I watched a lot of netflix but was so anxious that I could not sleep.
We then decided at 6 weeks to try adding formula to his bottles of breast milk. BIG MISTAKE! His little premie body could not digest the formula and the gas from it made him scream all night. We decided that we would stick with the breast milk and drop any expectations that he would start sleeping longer.
Just before his two month check up, I called the doctor about reflux medicine. Milo was growing really well and was on track, so he had not prescribed the medicine at the previous appointment. But Milo was grunting and in so much discomfort and I knew the medicine would help. Will and I also decided to start alternating nights with sleeping in the nursery. I was having a really hard time doing every single night feed and taking care of him during the day. So we took turns. Every other night one of us would sleep in the nursery and do all the night feeds. The other would then get a recovery night to sleep on their own. It helped us get more rest and a little more sanity.
When we travelled to California when Milo was two months old, something switched. Milo started sleeping up to 5 hours at night. We had moved him from the Rock N Play at 2 months and started using the Dock A Tot. We still had to keep him elevated after he eats and on an incline when he sleeps, but we noticed his throwing up had significantly decreased and he was sleeping longer stretches. We swaddled him in a Halo sleep sack, but he insisted on having his arms up, so we only would swaddle his waist.
We got a little bit confident and started introducing formula again. At three months he was sleeping 6-8 hours at night and was climbing up the growth chart like a champ. The formula definitely helped him sleep longer, but it also made him puke a lot. We also realized that Milo needed to nap more during the day and we started introducing a routine. Today, Milo is officially 4 months old. He is sleeping 12 hours at night, with one dream feed, and is taking 3-4 naps during the day. He is eating less milk (and not throwing up hardly at all) and is overall a rested and happy baby. He has totally found his voice with cooing and talking but also screaming when he is hungry or tired. He laughs when we tickle him and he smiles back at us non-stop. He loves to grab onto things and play with them and is constantly chomping on his hand. He is always kicking his legs and loves to sleep cuddled up with his giraffe pacifier 'Ginny'.
For Will and I, parenthood has shifted our priorities. We have traded in spontaneous trips to the movie theater and sleeping in on the weekends for naptime routines and diaper changes. We are more intentional with our time, because its limited.
Our days look different then before, but we still make time for date nights and we are more of a team than ever before. I could not be the mother I am without Will, and I know he would the same about me. Our priorities have shifted for the better.
Milo not only has made us parents, he has made us better spouses to each other. We might have had a rough start to parenthood, but every single second has been worth it because of Milo.