A lot has happened over the past year! I am way behind on my posts and for one big reason, we had a baby boy! He is so precious and adorable, he hogs all my time and all the good photo ops. Now that he’s almost 3 months I hope to start posting a back log of our travels from last year including Yellowstone National Park (2 times), Rocky Mountain National Park, the road trip with my mom from New Jersey to Texas and our road trip / baby moon to Banff National Park, Canada. Isn’t he cute?
As a new mother to a sweet baby boy I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned over the past 13 weeks in hopes that it helps any other new moms out there know… they are not alone! I’ve spent almost every night of these past couple months Googling and posting on mom group boards asking questions and reading doctors blogs and learning everything I could about each and every detail of my baby’s development. Thankfully, and to my surprise, these things are all normal.
Shout out to my amazing sister for her support during and after labor and helping me stay sane late at night and reminding me that as mommas we are doing a great job!
*Disclaimer: These are all of my learnings and observations, my opinions, and in no way am I an expert in this area so always consult your pediatrication or doctor if you have questions about your new baby*
- Your birth story is one of a kind. No matter who says “that happened to me,” when you share your story, each experience is unique. Be in the moment and remember to take it all in. And Breathe! Even though it’s painful and surreal it’s all a mere moment in time and over so fast. Being able to talk about your birth and delivery is important to your postpartum recovery process. Friends and family who ask want to hear And you should share what you want, when you want.
- Going Home. The last day in the hospital they just sign a form and send you on your way, no instruction manual, no PhD needed! They say c-ya and let you figure it all out and turn the room over for the next new family. Leaving the hospital in the car you’re kind of stoked and excited and ready to go home but you’re also terrified and like WFT just happened!!??
- The first night home is the hardest. If you’re nursing and your milk comes in you are way better off and your new milk monster will be super happy. If you’re still waiting for that sweet milk let-down your baby will be a munching crying mess and your hormones will be rushing, you will feel sleep deprived and shaky and question what the heck you just did!! You may have to suppulement and if that’s what it takes to get that baby fed so be it! If you survive without calling in reinforcement, congrats!
- Breastfeeding is hard! Seriously! There are so many factors- don’t be afraid to ask for help. Our nurse said to get a good latch, wait for the open mouth and just slam that babies face hard into your breast! Yes, it seems like you’re suffocating them but it works and their little noses are flared to make sure they can breathe. Ask for a lactation consult before you leave the hospital (or after) and they will check out that everything is OK. And yes, babies who breast feed can still take in air from crying, breathing, swallowing, so even if they are not taking a bottle they still need to burp after. If you use breast pads keep an extra set with you at all times. Being one with a little extra milk the NatureBond suction breast pump has saved my life a few times at night when my boobs are on fire! I spent countless nights reading about technique and what’s normal and should I be pumping and what if, what if.. just trust your instincts. Oh and you’ll probably be eating all the time, like a hobbit, because you’re boring more calories now while your body makes all this milk.
- Ask for Help. If you did not have a doula for delivery, like me, there is nothing wrong with asking for a consult after. What I found was that having a Doula visit after the birth was incredibly helpful and she provided tips about reading the facial queue, listening to the sounds/cry, swaddling, burping, the 5 S’s (the Happiest Baby) and especially tips on feeding the baby. Also, use your friends and family as resources. The best thing in the middle of the night was all my girlfriends who recently had babies. Asking each other questions and sharing stories makes everything seem less stressful and reminds us how amazing our bodies are and how strong we all are!
- Seriously. Sleep! For the first 2-4 weeks. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Seriously. Let everyone else do the chores and help with food or pets. (Thanks hubby!!) This saved my sanity and allowed me to get on the schedule that has helped us maintain some sense of normalcy. It feels really insane and hard to maintain a 1-3 hour sleep schedule at first but in the long run it is well worth it! On average I still sleep in 3-5 hour chunks but no one has ever died from lack of sleep… right?!?
- Newborn Babies make noise! We had a grunter at about 3 weeks and it freaked us out! Our little man went the full spectrum from cooing and grunting, spitting up, choking, farting, laughing, crying, hiccups, gurgling and occasional chuckle. I had no idea that was possible until we had a loud, grunty baby in the middle of the night; and I went crazy trying to figure out what was wrong, but it was all normal. Every blog you go on will be story after story of what happened to someone else, it’s helpful to see these things are normal. When in doubt- call your Pediatrician!
- Hiccups are Normal! And they get them all the time. Babies are not like adults where they can chug a drink or hold their breath to rid the hiccups, poor things, they just have to ride them out. At first I tried to feed baby to rid them of their never ending hiccups and the doc said to stop that, just let them go. It doesn’t bother them. Sadly one of the easiest ways for ours to get them to go away would be to cry- regulate their breathing or do tummy time.
- Sneezing a lot is normal. They’re not sick or have allergies, its just their way of ridding all the stuff in their bodies.
- Scream Crying for a moment in the middle of sleep is normal! Rushing over to check on them and seeing they are already back asleep will make you chuckle.
- Making the cutest sad faces in the middle of sleep is normal! Trying to catch it in a photo will not be as easy.
- Choking of saliva… normal!? They have a reflex to close off their air so they won’t choke to death, ugh! The booger sucker is good for removing any excess saliva too.
- Spit up is normal! Projectile vomiting happens, usually just after you shower and put on fresh clothes….but should be monitored and talked about with your doctor.
- Turning bright red while working out a poop or farting is normal. Most of the time while staring directly at you. Making you feel completely helpless. Our little dude had bad gas starting around 3 weeks. So much that I ended up cutting out dairy from my diet and it helped. Some friends just eat whatever and don’t have issues but I’m still dairy free because I noticeed if I have even a little cows milk he got extra gassy. Yes, I miss pizza!! Let’s not even go there. I read I can still have yogurt and goat cheese and then use coconut milk for anything else. If you notice their tummy is tight and legs pulled up, do some bicycle legs, tummy massage and even try gas drops. We tried a couple and liked Little Remedies the best, even though my heart broke with each drop gave him, it helped tremendously! There is nothing worse that seeing them in pain. Their little GI tracks are just underdeveloped and over time will work out. Around 8 weeks things started to really get better. Consult your doctor as well for more info.
- Double down the diaper when changing. Poop will always find a way out. If you have a boy… never ever ever kiss him in the belly while changing a diaper, you will get pee in the face.. meh. You’ll know you need to go up a size in diapers when you keep having blow-outs. And if the diaper looks huge on the baby at first, its ok, they will fill it out faster than you know.
- Bags and Bags! Who knew you would become some version of a bag lady when you want to take baby anywhere. You need the diapers and the wipes, and the changing pad, extra clothes, spit up rags, booger sucker (not only for boogers but spit that they choke on), and don’t forget your sling or BabyBjorn, or your bag snacks because your always starving from breastfeeding, and strollers and the this and that! Ahhh. Let’s not even talk about packing for a trip! Hmm maybe I should blog about that….
- Sleep Patterns. From the very start I started tracking my babies eating schedule using the app Baby Tracker to find patterns. I know they say you can’t get them on a schedule until they are over 4 months old but we have done really well with our process. Since the start we’ve made day time feedings happy and bright allowing noises and visitors talking, vacuums, TV, etc. and then at night we make it very calm and dark, using a white noise machine, keep talking to a whisper and very dim night lights. Some things I noticed:
- If they wake up try not to turn up the lights. Don’t Talk or be very quiet and calm. Change the diaper in silence and then bring the baby in to feed. If you use your phone, keep the screen as dim as possible and don’t let them see it!!
- To make your phone extra dark you can go into Settings: General: Accessibility: Zoom > ON. Then using 3 fingers double tap and use the controller to zoom out. This will make your screen really dark.
- We use the Hatch Baby Rest night light so we can control it from our phones
- We did best with burping him over the shoulder or a light bounce on the leg. When laying them in your arms make sure the head is higher than their tummy. Sometimes they like little pat on the booty to help with the gas.
- Stuff. We said we would never have all the “stuff”and would be total minamilists. Ha! In the first month I spent more buying ridiculous things that who knows if he may not like… right away but maybe eventually. We had no newborn clothes so had to get them, which he promptly outgrew. Our baby was not a fan of the MamaRoo we got on FB Marketplace at first but now he’s 13 weeks old and starting to enjoy it. Same thing for his Baby Bjorn chair. It was a place we could put him while we scarfed down food and would have to bounce him non stop, but now he likes being in there and his own wiggles help him bounce away. I had papa make us one of these Scandinavian toy activity gym and then I made the rings, and our baby has loved it from the start.
- Essentials. If I had to list the things I needed in the beginning and can’t live without now, besides the obvious like diapers/wipes, they would be… thermometer, some kind of booger sucker, a really good swaddle and knowing how to make it tight, a “practical basinette” (hubby is laughing as I type this) and lounge chair (baby bjorn) for baby.
- Food, Exercise and Fresh Air. Your shoulders and back will be killing you, you’ll feel the weight over time and your arms will be like a hammock at night trying to catch all the flailing limbs. Make sure to eat healthy, drink lots of water (especially if you’re breastfeeding) and get out side! Being active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help with your attitude toward yourself, your baby and your partner. Getting fresh air and vitamin D is important to your postpartum recovery as well. Don’t push your self while you are still healing from your labor and delivery, just when you feel ready. Try postpartum yoga if you can find it, baby and momma bonding time!
- Last, I want to mention, if you’re feeling down or sad and not engaged with your baby, or feel alone and cry all the time, talk to your friends, talk to your spouse and talk to your doctor! Trust me, uncontrollable crying is totally normal, with all the hormones taking over your body after the birth you will feel totally out of it and not like yourself. Just go easy on yourself and let those feelings happen, recognize them and know this is just a moment in time.
Everything is a phase!
This moment in time is not forever!
YOU ARE AN AWESOME MOMMA and DOING A GREAT JOB!