In the first few months after E was born, I kept a stack of baby/parenting guides by the tv upstairs, and I consulted them often, sometimes frantically. There were so many changes, so many decisions to make, and inevitably something weird would happen with his poop or his sleep or his breathing or his nursing, and I wouldn't know what it meant or if I should be worried. I also used to wonder things like: How will I know when to stop swaddling him? How will I know when he's ready to go longer between feedings? How will I know when it's time to move him from the co-sleeper to his crib? When should we start feeding him solids?
I now look at the baby books very, very rarely. They sit on a shelf in my office, mostly collecting dust. It's not that I'm an expert now. Newborns really are inscrutable mysteries in many ways. Caring for them is very stressful, in my opinion. But I've also realized that there is this thing called instinct and it has guided me through the unanswerable questions and transitions over the past year, even when I didn't realize that's what was happening and I felt anything but confident. I somehow just knew when it was time to stop swaddling E, for instance. And the latest thing is that I think it's time to start giving him cow's milk. He won't be one until the end of the month, but he eats a lot of dairy (cottage cheese is like crack to him) and he has no problems with it. Also, my breasts have felt incredibly empty lately, almost deflated. At the same time, E has suddenly started gulping down water, whereas up until now he would only take a couple of sips a day. So, I think it's time (maybe this seems obvious). I let him have some of my skim milk to try last week and he took to it immediately, so I'll be interested to see what he does with whole milk.
In other E news, the second top tooth came through yesterday, just a sliver. Today his gum has been bleeding but he's been okay. Last night we finally put the kebosh on the middle-of the-night feeding. He woke up at 2:00, and I could tell it was because of his teeth (usually he wakes up closer to 4:00). I rocked him but he kept wincing and twitching and he started screaming again when I put him back down. TJ got up and we gave him some Motrin and then TJ rocked him, which E wasn't happy about at all. He flipped when I left the room but calmed down after a few minutes. TJ rocked him for a long time and then came back to bed and fell asleep, but E was crying again in a few minutes. I went back in and rocked him yet again, and he didn't protest. This time it took. It was after 3:00 when I crawled back in bed. Once we've gotten him night weaned, we'll need to stop going in and rocking him endlessly, but I thought last night went well, considering. I did nurse him when he woke up screaming at 5:30 this morning. I'd like to wait until 6:00 if I can, but I didn't want to make him cry until then. Surprisingly, he went back to sleep after nursing. Thank God. I felt like the walking dead.
He only napped for a half hour or so total yesterday, so that was quite a feat.
He is just the sweetest boy. When you rock him he buries his face as far as possible into your neck and he stays that way the entire time.