Friday, September 16, 2011

Life with Alexander

In some time warp that I don't completely understand, seven weeks have passed since Alexander's birth. The days and weeks just keep flying by as we've started Max in Kindergarten, celebrated Max and Maggie's birthdays, enjoyed a good visit from Lucas' Dad and Maria, and (Xander and I) flew to New Mexico for a few days to see Laura and welcome new baby Penelope! His first few weeks of life have happened in a blink!

Before Alexander was born, a couple of different friends told me that you're simply on the go more with #3, and I've definitely found that to be true. God has again graciously given me exactly what I needed, a very mellow-personalitied baby #3. Alexander has definitely been a trooper as we've toted him all over creation during his first few weeks of life!

Since we returned from New Mexico this week, I am feeling like we can finally settle into "normal" life as a family of five. Interestingly enough, "normal" newborn life with Alexander has turned out to be quite a bit different than the newborn phase was with Max and Maggie. I am finding that one never quite gets past the learning curve in parenting!

Alexander is definitely his own person. He apparently doesn't want to fall in line and do everything just like his older siblings did! After giving us a bit of a weight-loss scare during his second week of life (he dropped from a birth weight of 8 lb. 4 oz. down to 6 lb. 15 oz.), we discovered that he had such a weak suck that he was practically getting no nutrients from breastfeeding. I worked really hard to try to get him to nurse better, but in the end we had to switch to bottle feeding him pumped breast milk plus formula to supplement. I'm still nursing him a little, but he is now primarily a bottled-fed baby. It's been really tough for me to let go of breastfeeding– It's something I value, and having never had any problems with it for Max or Maggie, I wasn't prepared for the possibility of not be able to do it with Alexander.

Lucas has been really good to encourage me throughout this process– the highest value here is that Alexander is able to get what he needs, which is apparently going to look a little different for him than the other two. My dad also reminded me to be thankful: a couple hundred years ago, before breast pumps, or formula or even bottles were widely available, our son probably would have died or been a very, very sickly child. I am so grateful that I am able to pump to get him the benefits of breast milk, and I am really grateful that good formulas are available to supplement for the rest. He is healthy and thriving, and that's the most important thing.

But since feeding a newborn is such a big part of their care, and feeding Alexander has been so different than my first two, I feel like a new mom all over again! I've had to ask a lot of questions and do a lot of learning about bottle feeding, pumping and supplementing. I've found that for me, bottle-feeding seems like a bigger hassle and takes more time over-all than breastfeeding, but that it is nice that he is not completely dependent on my body for eating. I'm enjoying the upsides, including that Lucas and others can help occasionally, and it's a lot easier for feeding on-the-go and when we are out and about.

I'm excited to see more and more of Alexander's personality surfacing. He is just starting to give his first smiles! Everything about him seems to indicate that he's going to be a "Steady-Eddie" type of guy– He's pretty chilled out much of the time. Time will tell, and I can't wait to see just who God made this little guy to be!

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