Hello friends, long time no talk. Happy Friday and long weekend! I hope you have some fun plans that include a BBQ and time spent outside this memorial day weekend. Life here has been pretty busy with our newborn baby girl Audrina. I am so in love with her and cannot believe we brought her into the world. There is seriously nothing better than baby snuggles.
Not gonna lie though I totally thought while on maternity leave I would have time to keep up with blog posts, but it seems the hours our little girl is sleeping I prefer to get caught up with cleaning up the house, cooking, or relaxing. My mom was here for the first month and she was so helpful! I don’t know how people do this without some extra helping hands. She just recently headed back to Cleveland and I’ve been on my own for a few days and wanted to share with you a few thoughts on life so far with a newborn.
Home from the Hospital
I had a vaginal delivery and no severe complications, just one tear and a slight fever after, so we only spent two nights in the hospital. I’m so thankful that I had a normal delivery and my baby did not have to suffer any major complications either, because I had previously heard of new parents who had to seek legal help from law firms such as McGehee ☆ Chang, Landgraf, Feiler (https://lawtx.com/) because their baby was injured during the birthing process. Quite scary, to be honest. Nevertheless, my little girl and I both were very comfortable in the hospital. The staff were also super friendly and caring. They were so helpful with teaching us how to bathe, feed, read her cues, etc. I loved having the nursing staff close by but after hours of just sitting around in our room I was ready to head home. Oh and thankfully my family came in town for her delivery and my older sister is nearby so we didn’t have to eat hospital food (which I will never understand why it is NOT good or very nutritious).
Once we were given the ok to head home, tests passed, discharge paperwork, car seat check, off we were. I was of course that mother that sat in the back seat and starred at her the entire way. She luckily just slept through her first car ride.
As soon as we got home reality hit quick. We used a hospital blanket to get the dog adjusted to her smell but Blitz was still VERY curious and has high anxiety which didn’t help. Blitz was running sniffing up a storm and within five minutes Audrina was spitting up and had a serious diaper blow out. We definitely had that welcome to parenthood moment.
After some time everything calmed down and we were able to enjoy the next few days with my family still in town. Audrina fell asleep pretty much after every feeding and slept for 2-3 hours before I would wake her to eat again. I am exclusively breastfeeding so yes that means even if the baby is sleeping I needed to wake her every 2-3 hours. I used my phone to always set an alarm and tracked her feeding times and diaper changes with the Baby Tracker App I found on HMHB which is amazing!
We did introduce a bottle with pumped breastmilk, I am using the Spectra 2 and Haakka to get expressed milk. I honestly just prefer to latch her on, but will have Tom or my mom give her the occasional bottle.
Now a month later we are still feeding about every 2-3 hours, except at night she gives me longer stretches. I knew breastfeeding wasn’t going to be easy but I really wanted to commit to it because of the health benefits for Audrina and myself. Something that I didn’t consider was how I would feel breastfeeding in public areas like restaurants. It made me feel self-conscious even though it’s totally nautral. To stop me from feeling this way, we bought a breasfeeding cover and it helped me feel more comfortable. I do totally respect mothers who choose not to or aren’t able to breastfeed, everyone’s situation is different and you need to do whats best for you, baby, and your family.
As far as my experience, YES there have been days where I feel like she is constantly on me. YES she has occasionally been very fussy while feeding and made it veryyyy difficult.YES I have cried because sometimes I feel trapped. YES I spend probably 5-6 hours a day feeding, burping, and changing, it’s seriously a JOB! And YES I’ve even went to a breastfeeding class and support group to make sure I had all the info I needed, like when the liquid gold stage starts and ends.
Then there are moments I hold her as she eats peacefully looking up at me that just absolutely melt my heart.
I feel extremely lucky that Audrina took well to swaddling and the bassinet at night. We still have yet to have a ‘bedtime routine’ but she gives me long stretches of sleep throughout the night. The first two weeks I set an alarm to feed every 3 hours. Then when the doctor said she was gaining weight and I could try to stretch it longer we went about 4 hours before I woke up to her stirring.
Now at five weeks she usually gets her last feed between 8 and 9 p.m. and then isn’t up until between 1 and 2 which I’m so thankful for. Then we’ll have an occasional 4 am wake up, but usually she’ll stretch it until a little before 6. It’s not perfect, but we’re sleeping and I have yet to really take a nap during the day.
I really think we’re just lucky that she has a decent sleep schedule. I do try to keep all naps in daylight and play with her when she’s up. Then at night it’s all business, eat and diaper change then back to bed. I also love these swaddles with the velcro and put another blanket swaddled around it for extra warmth. And we have this bassinet right next to our bed.
During the day she will nap in the crib, occasionally the swing or rock and play, but mostly she loved to nap on my mom when she was here.
When Audrina is awake and ready to play we practice ‘tummy time’, I make faces at her, sing, practice her moving her eyes with an object, and she loves kicking and starring on this playmat.
Now there is also time she’s awake and very fussy. This started when she was about two weeks, the mornings are great, then anytime in the afternoon she’ll cry and cry. I know she’s just eaten so then try everything else to soothe her. I read Happiest Baby on the Block and try to use the 5 S’s to get her to calm down, usually she just needs sleep at that point so swaddle, sway, side hold, shhhh, and sleep! This white noise machine has been magical for helping her calm down. But let me tell you 10 minutes of a fussy crying baby, feels like an hour when you’re trying to figure out what they need. I just keep trying everything and usually eventually something works.
Food and Fitness
Even though I’m now a mom, I am still going to keep the majority of this blog about food and fitness. Postpartum I’ve planned to take the full six weeks off of all workouts, my doctor gave me the go ahead to start walking though when I was comfortable. After delivery I was definitely not feeling totally normal down there, extremely tender and sore. I also had an epidural so it took a day or two to get used to walking around again. But after being home a few days we went out for our first family walk.
Then my mom and I started doing 1-1.5 miles and worked our way up to a 2.5 mile walk everyday. It was not only great for me, but for her also! I see the doctor next week and look forward to gradually getting into some light workouts soon.
As for food, breastfeeding hunger is NO joke. If you remember I told you throughout pregnancy I never felt more hungry and the idea of ‘eating for two’ is nonsense. Well now I need to eat about every 2-3 hours breastfeeding. Snacks are my best friend because they’re easy to grab. It’s tough to fit in a full warm meal with a newborn! I’ve reheated many a dinners and eaten and breastfed at the same time.
I’ve tried to incorporate some galactagogues foods that help support milk supply such as flax seed, oatmeal, brewers yeast, whole grains, fruits and veggies. I also have a nightly Mother Milk tea. There have been times that I thought my supply was low because she was extremely fussy while feeding, but I’ve realized that’s just because she needs a break to burp. And I haven’t noticed if any foods really affect her so I’ve pretty much eaten the same things I did while pregnant, but toned it down a bit with the spicy food, I LOVE spicy food so that’s tough.
Oh life has definitely changed! It’s weird that I just can’t run a quick errand or easily leave the house for that matter.
But I cannot believe it has already been a month, our little girl has grown so much. She’s gained about two pounds and almost grown two inches since birth. Every time we’re having a tough moment I remind myself that she can’t communicate with us and I just need to try every thing to soothe her. I can’t get enough of her little snuggles and she has started smiling and laughing with us.
I am truly enjoying motherhood and especially treasured the time that my mom was here with us. I learned so much about when my sisters and I were kids and feel a whole new connection with her.
I’m not sure when it will actually feel like I’m a ‘mom’. Probably not until Audrina can talk or I have a total ‘mom moment’ in public.
Thank you so much for reading today, I hope this post helps anyone who is expecting or going through the ups and downs of having a newborn at home. Would love to hear about your experience in the comments below. 🙂
Questions of the Day:
When did you feel like a ‘mom’?
What was your experience like with a newborn?
What advice would you give to new moms?