Our first month with Alice, our first born child, has already taught us so much about babies. First of all, a baby is changing day to day. The first month of her life witnesses the bigger change in her weight, 30 % more ! So Alice grew and gained some weight, she was only 3kg (6lbs 11oz) when she was born, and 2.7 kg (5lbs 15oz), 4 days later, for 49 cm (1ft 7in), two months later Alice reached 4kg and 45 grams (8lbs 15oz), exactly 1 kg more than when she was born, (2lbs 3oz) and 1.3 Kg compared to her all time low (2lbs 14oz). Also she was 52.5 cm tall (1ft 9in).
Leeloo continued to breastfeed Alice, and though it was not easy every day, with some precautions and good practices this task was far easier than at first. The new mother is usually extremely solicited during the first months, but the daddy can help for sure! Alice needed to have her diapers changed, and often be comforted. Moreover the awakening of a baby starts at birth, and already during her second month Alice was more dynamic and alert, and started to demonstrate some interest to her surroundings.
A little baby sleeps a lot, from 16 to 18 hours a day, but with a lot of intervals. Some parents are lucky enough to have their baby sleep through the night just a few weeks after leaving the maternity ward, but in most cases, including ours, a newborn does not have enough energy stocks to sleep more than 3 or 4 hours. And if it’s not hunger that wakes her up, it can be stomach aches because a two months baby has a immature digestive system and lacks important muscles to handle the pain in her stomach. In her first month, Alice waked up twice per night, around 1am and around 4. In her second month, she progressively increased her first period of sleep up to 5 to 6 hours. She slept from 10pm to 3 to 4 am, then wake in the morning, between 6 and 7am.
Our go-to-sleep ritual starts as early as 8pm, when Alice takes her bath every other day. Leeloo then breastfeeds Alice around 9pm and we all go to sleep. Then we read and discuss our respective days. If everything goes all right, we are all asleep at 10 pm. Alice sleeps in our room, and if she weeps, we usually wait for a few seconds so that she falls asleep again by herself (she may cry in her sleep, it’s not rare for babies to cry while sleeping), but if she keeps weeping, Leeloo breastfeeds her rapidly before she could become too excited, and once fed she falls asleep again quickly. It takes close to one hour to feed and change her diapers during the night.
On the morning, Alice usually wakes up between 5 and 6am, and we do the same. I start my day then, Leeloo feed Alice and sleeps a bit more. If Alice is really awake, I take her with me, if not she sleeps a bit more with her mother.
We were still quite careful as far as Alice’s health was concerned, because a baby’s health is very fragile before 6 months. We chose to wait a bit before trying to brutally improve her immune system with all the vaccine you can find! We just proceeded with the mandatory vaccines in France, diphteria, tetanus and poliomyelitis. We follow the recommendation for room temperature, between 19 and 20⁰C (65 to 68⁰F). However, Alice does not seem disturbed if the temperature is as low as 17 ⁰C (63 ⁰F) if in teeshirt, pajamas and baby sleeping bag. Temperature should be monitored as babies have difficulties controlling their internal temperature, and overheating could be dangerous.
We own a ThermoFlash Model LX-26, a infrared remote thermometer, which allows a very easy body temperature check. Some argue that it is a less precise method than the anal temperature check, but how easier! We can check Alice’s temperature without disturbing her, at anytime, and check if she has a fever or if she is hot or cold. So even if it is not as precise as a classic one, (which I do not believe, anal check has its own drawback) regular checks are a good way to detect unusual variations.
A baby has a tremendous growth the first month, Alice gained about 1kg and 4cm, 2lbs 3oz and 1 inch ½. This is 30 % of her own weight and close to 10 % of her height compared to birth. As if you grow from 1m70 (5 ft 7) to 1m85 (6 ft 1) in one month, from 60kg (130 lbs) to 90 kg (200 lbs)! Never again in her life she will experience such an important change. And already for her second month, the growth is slowing down, as she is going to gain about 800g (1 lb and 12 oz), and 2.5 cm (1 in).
We own a precision scale and we weigh Alice with it. Usually after her bath, every other day. There is absolutely no need to weigh a child so often, once or twice a month is largely enough, as long as the baby eats correctly and seems healthy. But I I like curves and statistics, and this is a good opportunity to have some interesting graphics. On the figure below I included the World Health Organisation (WHO) data for breastfed baby girl. Alice is a small baby and navigates close to the 25% curve, but she was born two weeks early so she needs to catch up!
The growth is not regular, this is important to know and not to worry unnecessarily. A baby could take 15 grams (⅔ oz) per day during a week and 30 grams (1 oz ¼) the next week.