Life with a Baby: Weeks 1+2

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on October 4, 2014

It probably sounds silly, but I already feel nostalgic for the passing days of this super sweet newborn stage. Everyone is warning me about how fast the newborn stage goes and I want to cry when I think about how quickly the days are flying by. There’s just something incredibly beautiful about a tiny human being entirely dependent on their parents. I’m trying to soak up and imprint into memory every snuggle, kiss, silly face, and squeak. I had a moment the other day when I had to pack away a few newborn sleepers that are too small for Adriana now. Sniff.

It’s hard being a new mom though. Shocker, I know. And so humbling. Life is crazier than ever and some days I feel like nothing more than a weepy milk maid, but I’ve never felt so very lucky and happy at the same time. This new role is a bit like my experience with labour –  I didn’t really know how crazy hard it would be until I was in the thick of it (which is probably a good thing).

The first week was so, so hard. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much self-doubt about everything all at once. There is so much to learn right off the bat. And the hormones…oh my gosh. I would go from feeling elated on a total high to feeling completely overwhelmed. I wasn’t prepared for the challenges of breastfeeding, for starters. Sure, I watched lots of videos and we met with our lactation consultant before I delivered, but my experience was nothing like the happy breastfeeding moms I saw in the videos. They made it look so effortless with their babies demonstrating picture perfect latches, and the moms changing up positions like a pro. Adriana didn’t latch for the first day at all, and not much at all the second day, despite a team of us in the hospital trying to make it happen. I felt like I was failing at something I wanted to happen so badly. I could see her getting more and more frustrated with each attempt at feeding and I knew if I didn’t make it happen soon she would be losing more weight. I felt defeated. Adriana hadn’t developed her sucking reflex yet, so she tended to “chomp” on my nipple. My nipples were raw for the first several days, despite using every nipple cream under the sun. Luckily, our lactation consultant met with us the first night we got home from the hospital and she suggested that we try the side-lying position in bed or on the couch. Well, it was sooo much easier in this position. Adriana latched so much easier. Day by day, things started to fall into place after that. Many times I wanted to give up, but I thought of you all saying to give breastfeeding two weeks (or 6 weeks or 2 months!), so I kept at it. Here we are two weeks later and I’m happy to say that breastfeeding is coming along great. I feel like we’ve gotten over the most difficult part now. We’re still trying to master the seated positions, but I’m confident that we will get it in time. Lately, we’ve been logging around 5 hours per day of breastfeeding. I had no idea it would take up this much time (it feels like a full time job!), but I’m sure some day in the not so distant future I’ll be longing for this precious bonding time again. My advice is don’t lose hope or feel like you are alone if you are struggling with breastfeeding because you certainly aren’t the only one. Knowing that other moms struggled during the early days really helped reassure me that we could work past it too. I recommend finding a good lactation consultant and checking out the breastfeeding website called Kelly Mom.

Because we struggled with feeding during the first several days, our lactation consultant and nurses recommended that we write down all of Adriana’s feedings to keep track of things until she got the hang of feeding. For a few days we were writing everything on a pen and paper which wasn’t overly convenient and we found ourselves forgetting to log overnight. So I decided to search for an app and came across the free Baby Tracker App. Well, it has simplified things so much. You can track feedings (the time, which boob you started on, and how long per side), diaper changes, sleep, pumping, and more. There is a detail list view of the entire day so you can easily see the whole day at a glance. Genius!! I can’t say enough good things about this app! I don’t plan on tracking forever (I’ve already stopped tracking diaper changes since everything is on track), but I think it can be very helpful in the early stages for a new mom. A reader also said it’s a great way to determine when they are going through a growth spurt (you can compare total daily feeding time across days and easily spot when there is a spike).

It’s true what our pediatrician told us – days 4 and 5 were the hardest. I’m so glad she told us this at our first appointment because we were ready for it. I read that newborns go through their first growth spurt shortly after coming home from the hospital and I think Adriana did too. She was so fussy for a few days and some nights she cluster fed until 4:30am (she was basically feeding every 30 minutes for hours on end). I was trying to get by on 1-2 hours of sleep. But after those few hard days things got so much better. The past several nights I’ve been getting a total of 5-6 hours of (broken up) sleep and I feel so much more like myself. I’m surprised by how little sleep I can function on. The body really does adapt.

Side note: This swaddleme sleeper is a game changer. When we started putting this on her before bed at night she went from sleeping 30-60 minute intervals to 2-3 hour stretches. We were swaddling her previously with a normal swaddle blanket, but she would always wiggle it off and then wake up because she got cold. The Velcro swaddlers are where it’s at.

Week 2…was sooo much better! Honestly, it’s like night and day. We both feel so much more confident as parents this past week.

I’m enjoying…journaling, both written and with photographs. I bought this Mom’s One Line a Day book to record memories. The first 3 days it was blank and I started to question whether I could keep up with it! But I got caught up and I’m really enjoying writing a memory down from each day. It will be a miracle if I can do it for 5 years, especially if we have another baby in a couple years. But here’s hoping I can at least do the first year?

Our cat Sketchie…isn’t overly happy that there is a new creature in the house that is louder, poopier, needier, and more dramatic than he is. At first he was terrified of Adriana, but he has warmed up to her now and likes to be in the same room as us again. We’ve been trying to give him lots of affection so he doesn’t feel left out. I think he’s starting to come around slowly but surely.

The first time I laughed after labour…was when I was handed my first “monster pad” after delivery. They are HUGE! I was expecting a slightly bigger version of an overnight pad, but oh no. God no. These monster pads are about 2 feet long and 3/4 of a foot wide. Friggin hilarious. The nurse said, “Don’t you have any underwear bigger than those??” Tip: When they say bring huge granny panties, they mean it! Then the nurse stuck a frozen padsicle (just pads soaked in witch hazel and frozen) on top of the monster pad and I waddled to my room.

I’ve never been so…thirsty!!! I honestly can’t get enough fluids into me. I’m also eating like crazy. Two breakfasts, two lunches…you get the idea. This mama needs her fuel!

My recovery has been…slower than I would’ve hoped. I honestly didn’t expect to be this sore after birth (not sure why!). I think the side-lying breastfeeding position has been great for my recovery though because it’s forced me to be completely off my feet for hours each day. Now that I’m at the 2 week mark, I am seeing a big improvement. I’m no longer waddling around like I have a pole shoved up my butt (lol) and I’m feeling more like myself each day. Time heals all wounds!

To pump or not to pump…I wasn’t sure if I would need a breast pump right away, but I ended up having to buy one almost immediately since Adriana wasn’t latching on very well and my breasts become engorged and painful when my milk came in. Oye. The pump wasn’t as scary as I thought though and I was so happy to have some relief.

I’m thankful for…a healthy baby. I’m so grateful she is doing well. Also, I’m thankful for Eric and his general awesomeness. He’s a great dad and has taken such an active role in her care.

Our second pediatrician visit…We met with our pediatrician for the second appointment and I was thrilled to find out that Adriana had already surpassed her birth weight. She is gaining on average 45 grams per day (the doctor said 15-30 grams a day is great) which made this new nursing mama very happy to see that we are on track. Her next appointment is at the 1 month mark.

Nothing beats a…hot shower in the morning. Hot showers have taken on a whole new meaning of joy in my life!!

Nicknames…Adriana’s current nickname is “monkey” or “milk monster”

Adriana lights up when… I sing her “Your Song” – the one we played to her while she was in my belly (we love the Ellie Goulding version). She also loves Eric playing the guitar for her. She also lights up after letting out some gas (lol) and loves to crack a silly smile! Often when she hears my voice she starts making eating motions with her mouth. She sure knows who her milk maid is!

V.I.P’s…We were all spoiled to have “Mimi” (my mom) here for a full week. My stepdad (“Papa”) came later in the week too. Not going to lie, I was so bummed when they went back home to Alberta. Adriana also got to meet her “Babcha” “Babcia” and “Granddad” (Eric’s mom and dad), “Gigi” (my grandma), second cousins, great aunts, aunts, uncles, and more.

She made it through her first…newborn photo shoot! It was a long shoot – about 3.5 hours and I had to feed her multiple times during it to keep her nice and sleepy. She also pooped all over her mom and dad, lol. We got some family photos (including some 3 generation photos with my mom). Here are a couple sneak peeks from behind the scenes…

 

 

Thank you for all your congrats and kind words on my birth announcement post! We are so thankful to have such an amazing group of people reading this blog.

If you’d like to see more pictures from the past two weeks, you can see them on my personal Instagram account: @theglowspot

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

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Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork October 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm

What a great, honest post about breastfeeding. Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry you had to go through that, but it’s great that you had such amazing support (as well as time to work on it).
I have heard of those huge pads. Cannot even imagine having to wear them. Glad you’re feeling more like yourself and that everyone is happy and healthy!

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Nicole October 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Omg! I started reading your blog when I was 15, you were/are such an inspiration to me! I am 20 years old now,I lost track a couple of years ago and it just popped into my head to search oh she glows, I couldnt stop smiling and saying omg to all the cuteness of your new baby girl she is beautiful. Sending you and your family so much light and love!

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Cyndie October 14, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and struggles. I really appreciate your honesty about the highs and lows of new motherhood. I remember having all those same feelings when I had my first baby over 7 years ago (how is it possible? where did the time go?!). You’re right to really try to enjoy the precious newborn moments as much as you can. What I wouldn’t give to go back to my first few months of motherhood knowing what I know now, and really soaking it all in, enjoying it more and truly not sweating the small stuff. Luckily, I was able to enjoy #2 and #3 a lot more. ;-)

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Bree October 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm

This birth story better be reeeaaalllllllyy good. :-P

Haha j/k take your time and enjoy your little princess! Can’t wait to read when you’re ready. :-)

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Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health October 15, 2014 at 10:44 am

Thank you for being so open with your experience! I was dying at the monster pad part, lol.
My husband and I are hoping to start trying in the next year and if we (hopefully) succeed, I will definitely refer back to your baby posts for tips. So please keep the baby tab on your menu!! :)

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Nikita October 15, 2014 at 11:12 am

Congratulations, Angela! She is so beautiful and she couldn’t ask for a better mama!

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Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine October 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Both of you look gorgeous! She is so incredibly tiny. What an amazing experience– I can’t wait until it’s my turn! Soon, hopefully soon!

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suzanne October 17, 2014 at 7:20 am

Thanks for sharing Angela – sounds like you are doing amazing as a new mom – and having all the normal emotions/changes that come alone with it! I can relate to the breastfeeding challenges – I had tremendous trouble with it and mine never latched on (were premie too so various other issues)- I was incredibly sad about it. So happy you have that bonding time with her – enjoy the opportunity and sit and just BE with your precious little one.

The feeling of wanting to hold onto the ‘newborn’ stage never really ends ….each stage is so magical and amazing in its own way. I have multiples (and no others) so always knew whatever stage I was in, I would never be there again (as not having any more kids)…so I just treasured each stage – and then welcomed the new one knowing it would have its own beauty….even now with teenagers, I am loving it! :-)

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Janice October 18, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Thank you for the tips! I’m due in March and my last baby was born 12 years ago and I don’t remember much. I’m definetly getting some Velcro swaddle blankets. I don’t think those existed back then.

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Adriana D October 18, 2014 at 10:25 pm

I’m a newcomer to your blog (and healthy eating), and reading this made me so insanely happy (because your baby and I have the same name and I happen to love babies). I think that’s enough motivation in itself for me to continue on with the challenge of healthy eating. Thank you so much for this coincidence. (Funnily enough, my dad also called me a monkey as a kid!)

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Tranabanana October 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Congratulations! I Had breastfeesing issues after both pregnancies. After my first, I could NOT get her to wake up enough to eat. It took weeks, and I always had milk supply issues, but after about 2 months, things got easier. I still had to be careful to nurse on demand (my supply would drop fast if I wasn’t careful), but we kept at it until she was almost 15 months. The second time around I had twins, one with very serious medical issues, and breastfeeding didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, no matter how hard I fought for it. I remember having chills really bad for about 24 hours after my first. They only subsided when I was holding my baby. I remember that. They put her on my chest right after she was born, and after a bit they took her to weigh her and stuff, and my legs were just shaking uncontrollably bad. The doctor was still trying to stitch up my tear, and I think she was getting frustrated. When they handed me my daughter, I immediately stopped shaking. It was really weird! I don’t remember having that after the twins (also a vaginal delivery). Lastly, I remember being voraciously thirsty all the time. It never failed that the second I sat down to nurse my daughter that I would call to my husband to bring me a glass of water!

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Tranabanana October 19, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Enjoy this time! It goes by so fast. My babies are now 10 and 12!

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Emily October 19, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Congrats to you and your family!! Adriana is so beautiful and so blessed to have such wonderful, caring parents. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well and I can totally empathize with you on your breastgeeding struggles. I hope things are going better for you but if the latch or any part of nursing is still painful I’d recommend having your baby checked for a tongue tie or upper lip tie. I have three kids – 3, 19 months and 3 weeks old and ALL of them had a lip and tongue tie (posterior). Nursing was extremely painful and felt like they were chomping. With my first we had no prior knowledge of posterior tongue ties as they are apparently much harder to diagnosis so we went 3 agonizing months with many ups and downs until we got to the root cause. The LC’s in the hospital, drs and nurses all missed it but thankfully we got in touch with someone who specializes in babies with tongue ties and were able to have it corrected (laser procedure by Dr Kotlow in NY). Once we had the procedure done nursing was 100% pain free. I feel for people who struggle im silence with this issue because Unfortunateky there isn’t as much awareness or education surrounding the issue. Anyways, I hope that’s not the case with uou and your sweet girl but just wanted to mention it as
I had a woman from La Leche mention it to me and I’m so glad she did. Congrats again!!

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Em October 20, 2014 at 5:11 pm

WOO! Congratulations to both of you on the birth of your precious daughter! She’s absolutely beautiful, and I’m sure you will both make fantastic parents. Many, many best wishes to all three of you for a perfect future.

On a side note, her name is gorgeous and original. Nice work all around :)

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Emma October 21, 2014 at 6:52 am

Well done on persisting with breastfeeding! I had so many problems with latching to start with but we just kept on with it (with help from a lactation consultant too) and we got there in the end. You are doing an awesome job mama x

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Heather J October 26, 2014 at 10:22 am

Congratulations! I loved reading all about your birth experience and life with a newborn. It did make me nostalgic for those first few precious days and weeks. Ours are now 4, 6 and 8 years old. I was also grateful that you wrote about yoru breastfeeding challenges. It was a struggle with our 1st, day 31 was when I remembered not crying with every feeding from pain. But worth it too–I ended up being able to donate a lot of milk through our National Milk Bank and breastfeeding all 3 kids until 15 months. I know it’s a personal decision of if and how long but for me, it worked. But it was a challenge.

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Cassandra October 26, 2014 at 3:04 pm

I really enjoy your site! Especially the recipes. I wanted to share a little something that you may or may not have been told. As a woman and mom we tend to want to do it all. Feeding, diapers, clothes, baths, and holding. Let your husband to as much and more as he wants. Letting go feels so good. He can bond and get the good feelings of being a dad. Too many times it’s easy to forget that men don’t get do the things early in the baby’s life. Just a little present, because, it felt so good for me when my husband wanted to take the baby.

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Ana October 27, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Hi! Just wondering if you intend to raise her vegan too?

All the best xx

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Teresa November 1, 2014 at 4:47 am

Congrats, she is beautiful. Breastfeeding is hard and glad you stuck it out. It gets easier and easier the longer you do it.

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Zilia November 1, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Hi there!
I just read your birth story and your first struggles and a new mama. You are doing great! As a mother of 3 I have seen and experienced all kinds of labors and nursing issues. The most important thing when it comes to breastfeeding is that you don’t give up :-) what seems like a full time job now nursing all day will soon change and before you know it you’ll be chasing a toddler around haha!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, meet up with La Leche league in your area and to meet other nursing mamas :-) side laying position while sleeping/nursing is a great way to get some snooze yourself.
And remember, nursing is so much more than just food. Your precious baby wants to be close to you, because YOU are what she knows- your scent, your voice, your moves. So just keep doing what you’re doing :-)

Love the recipe on Yukon gold potatoes with avocado aioli- will make them tomorrow!!

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kammilska November 16, 2014 at 8:34 pm

just a short note I’ve just found your blog, fell in love with your recipes and now with you and your baby-what a lucky man your husband is! – and I just want to congratulate you on making you, your life and people around you so beautiful and happy:) what an excellent job
and a wonderful achievement! thanks from your -soon to be- cookbook owner:) and warmest regards from Holland!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm

aw thanks so much!!

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