The changes between three and four months have been the biggest to me. Jared said to me the other day, "I know you miss him being that little newborn baby, but I am really excited about him getting bigger and older because we are bonding a lot more." Well, melt my damn heart. It is so true, watching the two of them grow closer over the last month has been the best, and oh so heartwarming!
Eating: Fletcher is up to four 7-8oz bottles during the day and a 9oz bottle before bed. With numbers like that, you would expect our child to be huge but he's actually really average at 15 pounds and 24 inches. I suspect all those calories are going to his large noggin, yep, still in the 97th percentile there... He is still just exclusive breast milk. We talked to the doctor at his 4 month check up and she said she did not think he was ready for solids just yet because he still has a few primitive reflexes, like the tongue-push-out-thing, yeah real technical term there. We are interested in doing the baby led weaning with him too, so we are not trying to rush it. He has already started to show an interest in food and loves to watch us eat dinner while sitting up in his Bumbo. Can't wait to start introducing foods to him, especially since I don't know how much longer my pumping can keep up with his current milk demands.
Sleeping: this is of course everyone's favorite baby topic. As a new and first time mom, I feel like this is the number one question I get asked about. "is he sleeping through the night yet?" "how many naps does he take?" "does he sleep in his crib?" "do you rock him to sleep?" "use a pacifier or swaddle?" It is so overwhelming. And I know I shouldn't, but I feel guilty when I admit how good of sleeper we have been blessed with. However, this was our most challenging month sleep wise because I questioned myself a lot.
On the first night of month four, Fletcher decided he was going to start rolling over back to front and continuously breaking out of his swaddle. He kept waking himself up and I thought, "shoot, is this the 4 month sleep regression starting early??" The rolling meant it was time to drop the swaddle (dun dun dun). I was dreading this day because the swaddle is amazing but also knew we were going to start sleep training. I was being selfish thinking about all the sleep I was going to miss.
Up until this point we had been reading the Moms on Call book for scheduling. Their method for dropping the swaddle is really intense. It entails placing the baby in their crib, awake, no swaddle and not going back in the room until 7 am, no matter how hard your little one is crying. I knew that I could not do this method, it would be just too rough on my heart. But, I also knew I wanted to drop the swaddle and sleep props cold turkey. I didn't want Fletcher to be reliant on a sleep sack or pacifier to go to sleep. So, Jared and I decided on the "Ferber method." Yes, I know, this is a very controversial topic in the parenting world and has gotten a bad wrap in my opinion. We made a decision, as parents, on what would work best for our family. Plus lots of support from a friend who did this with her son.
The method has been incorrectly named the "cry it out" and people assume you are just leaving your child to cry until they pass out or throw up (yes, I actually read where someone thought that was the case). It is actually is teaching them to self-soothe. The method takes a "progressive waiting approach" that calls for waiting predetermined amounts of time before going in to check on the baby. It starts with 5 minutes then 10 then 15 then 20 and so on. It is not only reassuring for mama but also for baby. I will never forget the night of July 2nd. It was the most time interval we had ever gotten to, 35 minutes which, combined is a total of 2 hours of on and off crying. It was rough emotionally because I felt like I was a horrible mother. I was sobbing in the bathroom while poor Jared was watching Fletcher on the monitor. I considered throwing in the towel so many times, but I was armed with the research I had done and I was trying to reassure myself that this was the worst part. And it was, it has been all up hill since. This method is not for everyone and like Jessie said to me, "it sucks it sucks it sucks" but it also works.
We have kept a consistent bedtime routine since he was just a few weeks old; bath, book, bottle, bed. Sometimes he passes out while drinking his bottle and other times I will rock him a little until he is drowsy but awake. Most nights he is still awake when we put him down, but he quickly rolls to his belly and puts himself to sleep, without any tears. The boy loves to sleep on his belly with his little butt sticking straight up. I am pretty sure this is how he was positioned in the womb. He typically sleeps 8pm-7am now. There is the occasional 6:00 or 6:30 wake up where he will be restless and cry for a few minutes but always puts himself back to sleep.
We are still in a love-hate relationship with naps. In the beginning of the sleep training we were still swaddling for naps. Unfortunately, we started daycare around this time as well and can't swaddle them, so we had to drop it all together. It was rough at first and some days are better than others. Honestly, I'm fine with a crappy napper as long as the sleeping through the night continues ;)
Activity: biggest milestone this month, rolling back to belly. He still has only laughed a handful of times. Apparently mom and dad are not at funny as we thought we were. He is super smiley though. Loves to put things in his mouth, especially his hands and Sophie. Started to reach for objects which makes me feel like I have the smartest baby in the world for some reason. He loves to stand up while we hold his hands out. Though, we were told by the doctor not to do this because of skipping some milestones. Whoops, he's been doing that since about 2.5 months...He is still obsessed with being outside and bath time of course. Drooling like you couldn't imagine. It is like a constant wet t-shirt contest. Still giving the stank-face-stare-down that can make you feel so inferior. Not a fan of the car seat but is getting better thanks to some distraction techniques (aka hanging toys). He is still just a happy snuggly sweet boy.
Four Month Picture Recap:
just like dad
First Fourth of July spent at a the Beer Garden!
started daycare. mom had a much harder time than Fletcher. He has wonderful teachers who love him and give me lots of updates and pictures :)
went in the pool for the first time. very hesitant at first but then loved it.
slept on some runs with mom and enjoyed being in the stroller and not the infant seat!
rocked the cutest damn overalls
peed on mom and thought it was hilarious
whole family caught the summer flu/cold from daycare
went to the church nursery for the first time
twinned with Dad some more
bid Uncle Michael farewell. He now has a big boy job in San Fran. doing big things.
remained the cutest thing ever
found dad's beard and realized how fun it is to pull :)
had 4 month check up and shots
Fletcher James, we are beyond lucky to have you in our lives. What did we do before you? Thank you for being the greatest thing that has ever happened to us. We love you more everyday sweet boy.