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