Ramblings from five weeks

As you may or may not have noticed from a couple of posts back, my daughter has already had her name shortened for day-to-day use.  Prior to her birth we left the question open as to whether we would use Katherine or Katie (I vetoed Kathy), but within her first few days we’d pretty much fallen into using Katie – Katherine seemed a bit too long for such a little scrap of a thing.  Barry, who comes up with the nicknames in our family, has dubbed her Katie-frog for her habit of scrunching up into a frog-like shape when perched on someone’s chest.  Jamie was briefly confused by baby Kaff’win suddenly going by a different name, but he does know that his name is James although he’s called Jamie and that Mummy and Daddy also have names other than Mummy and Daddy, so it wasn’t too hard to explain that it was the same for the baby.

Katie turned five weeks old on Sunday.  I marked the occasion by giving her her first bottle.  Not that this was a deliberate marking of anything, just a rare concatenation of appropriate circumstances (Katie fell asleep in the morning before Jamie was up for long enough to allow me to put her down in her car seat and get a quick pump done, then woke up fussing for food just as I’d finished, so I left a couple of ounces in the pumping bottle when I put the rest in the freezer, screwed a teat on top, and fed it to her).  I’d actually been meaning to give her first bottle before that after reading in one of the comments on my blog that, apparently, even four weeks may be too late to introduce a bottle as far as some babies are concerned – since bottle refusal is one thing we can do without and breastfeeding has been going swimmingly well from the start, I thought it would be worth introducing a bottle between three and four weeks to be on the safe side.  However, Barry thought we should get Christmas out of the way first, and putting off the extra hassle of bottles for a bit longer was fine by me (after all, it won’t be me who has a hard time of it if she refuses bottles), so I was happy to go along with that.  As it turned out, we had no problem – she was highly dubious when I first stuck the teat in her mouth, but I managed to keep it there for long enough for her to figure out that milk did come out of it even though it wasn’t what she was used to, and although she still looked rather puzzled by the whole experience she drank all the milk and then nursed perfectly well afterwards.  First hurdle cleared.  If we can make time to give her a bottle a couple of times a week from now on, and make sure Barry gives some of them so she gets used to him feeding her as well, we should hopefully be OK.

The breastfeeding continues to go splendidly.  I realise I keep repeating that, but, after all the problems with Jamie, it gives me so much pleasure to see everything going well this time – the enthusiastic feeding, the spaces between feeds (she sleeps!  This baby sleeps!  In her basket!), and, best of all, her weight tracking up the appropriate centile line at each successive visit just as it ought.  She’s put on more than two pounds in the first month since her birth.  She is also doing other age-appropriate things – smiling, holding her head up (she was having a fair stab at both of those accomplishments from a couple of weeks after her birth, although she’s still a relative novice at both of them), following objects with her eyes, showing signs of recognising my voice when someone else is holding her, and being more fussy over the past week.  According to what I’ve read (all this obsessive reading does occasionally come in handy), the normal pattern for infant crying is for babies to get increasingly fussy for the first six weeks, then decreasingly fussy for the next six until they’re a lot more settled by the age of three months.  This is useful knowledge, because it means that if we can just hang in there for a further week of worsening fussiness then things should start to improve thereafter.  Of course, there is no guarantee that she’ll follow the pattern, but the odds are in favour of it and maintaining the illusion of having at least some idea of what will happen next is pleasing to me, so I shall assume that things will be that way and then change my views if events warrant it.  Don’t get the wrong idea – I don’t think she’s particularly fussy as babies go.  She has, overall, been a delightfully straightforward baby and a joy to look after.

Oh, and she can breastfeed in the sling without me needing to hold her in position.  In other words, I can go hands-free.  I discovered this in the supermarket yesterday and couldn’t believe my luck – I never could get this to work with Jamie and always wondered what I was doing wrong, but it seems that it’s just one of those things that some babies can do and some babies can’t, and second time around I’ve been lucky enough to get one that can.

I am normally terrible at spotting family resemblances in babies – they generally just look like babies to me – but Katie’s resemblance to her brother is unmistakeable even to me.  I’ve spent so much time looking at his newborn photos, and she came out looking like a rerun of the same baby (though at least some of that was probably due to her being dressed in his cast-offs – I’d refused to get any pink stuff ready until we knew for certain what gender the baby was).  Some details are different – she doesn’t have the little hair whorl that was in Jamie’s hairline, or the near-pointy shape that he had in the curve of his upper ear, and I am delighted to be able to report that she also does not have the tongue tie or, as far as it’s possible to tell at this early stage, the squint.  But the resemblance is still strong, although it has become less so as the weeks have passed and she’s grown more into her own face.  What has been fascinating is seeing how different she is from him in other ways – it is not as though newborns do anything much other than eat, sleep, cry and poo, and yet from Day 1 I could see clear differences between the way she does all these things and the way Jamie did them.  I am so looking forward to watching her grow and seeing all the similarities and differences as she develops into whomever she’s going to be.

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