BabyDumpling is now 6 weeks old. At her one-month pediatrician visit, they weighed her and she was 10 lbs. The nurse couldn’t believe his eyes. He looked at her chart, she was only 8.3 lbs the last time she was weighed (at 2 weeks old). “She grew nearly 2 lbs in two weeks? That can’t be right. Let’s weigh her again.” So we stripped her down again and put her on the scale. It read 10 lbs. Still refusing to believe it, he said, “Maybe this scale is broken.” So he took us to a different room and weighed her on a different scale. It still read 10 lbs. “She hasn’t pooped yet,” PapaDumpling offered, as way of explanation for her apparent heaviness. “How much do you think her poop weighs?” I interjected, “Two pounds??”
The nurse finally accepted that BabyDumpling did, in fact, weigh 10 lbs. He said he’d never seen a baby gain 2 lbs in two weeks. She was at the 74th percentile for weight and 86th percentile for head circumference.
So it was confirmed. BabyDumpling is a big baby, with a big head. The pediatrician seemed very pleased. “She’s growing very well,” he said, “You’re out of the danger zone. Feed her when she wants to feed, let her sleep if she wants to sleep. Now you don’t need to worry.” He didn’t seem worried at all – in fact, he didn’t see the need for us to see him any time soon. “See you in a month!” he said as he waved us goodbye.
BabyDumpling has been growing very fast. She’s already outgrown most of her 0-3 month clothes and we’ve started to dress her in 3-6 month baby clothes. Everyone who sees her can’t believe she’s only 6 weeks old. She has gained another 1.5 lbs in the past 2 weeks since her one-month checkup. In addition to being rather large, she can hold her head up on her own, and she’s very responsive. She will follow people and objects with her eyes and clearly seems to be reacting to her environment. She’s now awake for longer stretches and we try to play with her during the day so that she sleeps longer at night. She can sleep for four hours between feedings at night no problem. She doesn’t even wake herself up with the startle reflex (or Moro reflex), which is an involuntary jerking motion in babies that often cause them to wake themselves up while sleeping. Most newborns are swaddled to prevent the startle reflex from waking themselves up, but BabyDumpling never liked to be swaddled. She has the skills of a ninja in terms of wriggling out of any swaddle. Many parents who swaddle start to transition out of the swaddle at three months old, and their babies have to learn not to startle themselves awake. We haven’t been swaddling BabyDumpling since Week 2, she just sleeps with her arms out, and she can still sleep through four, sometimes even five, hours. It makes me think that our six-week old is really like a three-month old.
This past weekend was a long weekend (Canada Day/July 4th) so my parents came down to visit us. This is the first time they’ve seen BabyDumpling since she was born, and of course the first thing they noticed was how big she’s gotten. Our house was bustling with three grandparents (my parents and my mother-in-law) and two dogs, but it also gave us more relief from baby duties. It also gave my MIL a breather because my dad did all the cooking, and my mom helped watch the baby. Most of the time, if PapaDumpling and I have to leave the house, my MIL has to stay home to watch the baby. Now that my parents were here, my MIL could leave the baby in their care and leave the house for the first time. We took her shopping at an outlet mall on Saturday and spent nearly five hours there.
This weekend, we tried making dumplings or xiaolongbao (how fitting for the Dumpling Family!) from scratch for the first time. It was, mostly, a success. The hardest part was folding it to look like a xiaolongbao. We also had a big family dinner on Sunday night, where my dad cooked a lot of Chinese dishes, and we opened a bottle of sake that PapaDumpling and I had brought back from our trip to Japan a year ago. It was my first time having alcohol since becoming pregnant, so it has been a long time. I wonder if my breast milk tasted like sake afterwards? (No worries, I pumped before I drank alcohol. But apparently alcohol can get into the breastmilk – so theoretically BabyDumpling could get more than just “milk drunk.”)
My mother-in-law has been very attached to BabyDumpling, unsurprisingly. We’ve been very lucky to have her helping us during this time, it’s definitely reduced most of the postpartum stress on me. Sometimes I think she loves BabyDumpling even more than I do, as if BabyDumpling is her own daughter. Although, it’s very possible that grandparents love their grandkids even more than their own kids. She is always cradling BabyDumpling in her arms and never wants to put her down. When I take BabyDumpling for a while, it’s almost as if I’m giving her a break instead of the other way around. She was supposed to go back to Shanghai at the end of July, but now she most likely will extend her stay until September or October. I think she will have a really hard time leaving BabyDumpling for any amount of time. She started crying just talking about leaving BabyDumpling. She even mentioned wanting to take BabyDumpling with her to Shanghai for a few months. She says it’s to “give us space” but, in truth, I think it’s because she doesn’t want to leave the baby. Obviously, we wouldn’t want her to take BabyDumpling away for that long, whether it’s now or when BabyDumpling is older, because I know that if she grew up with her grandparents, she would be completely spoiled. Instead, I wish that PapaDumpling’s parents could just move to the US and live with us. But US immigration is so difficult that it’s impossible at this point. They, and we, will just have to settle for seeing each other a couple months every year.
My parents are less attached, even though they live closer, possibly because they’ve been Westernized and never envisioned living with us or taking on our childcare duties. Plus, both my parents are still working, whereas PapaDumpling’s parents have retired, so it’s hard for them to come for long stretches of time.
This past weekend was also BabyDumpling’s first “long” trip out of the house. For July 4th, we went to PapaDumpling’s American parents home for a BBQ. She was out of the house for basically the entire day. Unsurprisingly, it took an hour getting ready to leave because there was so much to bring even for 5-6 hours outside of the house. We had to bring a cooler for the breastmilk and pre-made formula. I had to bring my pump and pumping accessories. We brought twelve (twelve!) diapers because I had no idea how much she would pee or poop. I brought a bib, a hat, a swaddle, and extra clothes in case she got her outfit dirty. We couldn’t fit everything into her diaper bag so we had to bring another tote. In total, just in terms of baby-related stuff, we had: the car seat, stroller, diaper bag, extra tote, pump and accessories, and cooler. Our car was nearly full with her things and we weren’t even going for an overnight trip!
It also took a long time to leave the house because of BabyDumpling’s record-breaking poop. I never expected that babies could poop so much. Not in terms of frequency but in terms of volume. I mean, she’s only so big, how can her stomach hold that much poop? But let me tell you, the size of her poop defied belief. Her diaper wasn’t big enough to hold it all in so it was coming out from the front and the back and it had stained her clothes all over. Trying to undress her poop-laden clothes was basically like reaching into a bucket of poop and trying to tug a baby out. We normally give BabyDumpling a bath after a big poop (because it’s futile trying to wipe a big poop – that would just be like smearing poop around), and obviously, since this was the biggest poop of her life (so far), we had to give her a bath. So off we go, undressing her, bathing her, putting on some lotion, and putting her clothes back on again. That alone took at least half an hour.
It was PapaDumpling’s American parents’ first time meeting BabyDumpling. They also remarked how big she was and how much she seemed like a 3-month old already. BabyDumpling behaved very well overall. Since she had such a big poop before we left the house, we weren’t worried about that while we were there. She slept for the first half of the day in the stroller, and after she woke up and was fed, she got passed around from person to person. Everybody wanted to hold her and take pictures of her. She didn’t seem to like it very much.
DoggyDumpling also got a lot of attention, as they are a family that loves dogs, and the grandpa of the family also has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the Blenheim colour. It was the first time for DoggyDumpling to meet another dog that looked exactly like him, although I don’t know if he could tell. The other Cavalier was much older than him though, and not interested in playing.
Since BabyDumpling was so well-behaved this weekend, I’m excited to start taking her out more. We have to be careful because she’s not vaccinated yet, and that was my biggest concern about taking her to places with lots of people, especially if people want to touch her and hold her. But I don’t think I need to worry so much; my breast milk boosts her immune system and interacting with people and animals will also boost her immune system.
This weekend was a weekend of firsts: BabyDumpling’s record-breaking poop, BabyDumpling’s first July 4th party (or any party for that matter), Dumpling Family making xiaolongbao for the first time, and DoggyDumpling’s first time meeting another Blenheim Cavalier. Here’s to many more firsts!