Dear New Moms

Welcome to the club.

An acquaintance sent me this simple one line email after I had BabyBird and the news spread across Facebook. I thought it was a sweet and simple message, saying congrats on just giving birth and welcome to being a momma.

But now, 15 months later, I can truly appreciate what she meant. Oh the mom club. Where on one hand you are filled with an indescribable amount of instant love you have for your newborn child, how you will worry about each decision and if you are doing the right thing, you’ll think of food in ounces, poop in color, consistency and more importantly frequency is he pooping too much, too little? You plan around your day on when you can squeeze in a shower, or the time to eat something, and wonder how you will ever function again as an adult. It’s so hard when you are in the trences of day to day survival mode of being responsible on keeping another human being alive, clean and fed.

You worry about breastfeeding and if he’s getting enough, or should you use bottles and why are your nipples so sore, is this normal? Counting wet diapers and remembering when he ate last when you’ve only slept in 3 hour long increments. Is it too hot or cold? Is his swaddle too tight? You worry about SIDS and spend way to much time googling and reading about it.

You wonder how you will ever get to that pile of laundry that is doubling by the minute. Curse when you snap those footed PJs wrong and you are one button off, but only realize this when you are almost finished. Sway and walk around the nursery 387 times a day. You silently high-five yourself when your baby finally poops. Wonder how in the world you will clip those itsy bitsy finger nails.

Then you realize you haven’t eaten since this morning and you are about to go to bed. There’s spit up on your shirt, your hair is a mess and unwashed, and you do not care. The sense and knowing that there is a little human who depends on you for every need, somehow gives you that one more ounce of energy to keep going.

Dear new mom, you are doing everything right. Don’t doubt yourself. Keep going and try to remember that this is just a phase and it too will pass. Newborns are tiny, and oh so sweet. They fall asleep anywhere. But their tummy’s are tiny, so they have to be fed constantly, at all hours of the night. Sleep depravation will hit you hard and you feel like crying, if you had the energy.

They can’t fall asleep on their own, or without their arms swaddled because of that darn startle reflex. They spit up. And burp. Oh, how I’ve missed the burps. Stay strong momma, it’ll get easier. I promise and it gets so much better.

I understand it now. Welcome to the club. I totally get it.

So today, I sent a sweet message to a new mom who just went through 72+ of labor with her little one, and my opening line was… welcome to the club.

Sleep… or lack thereof

Somewhere around 7-10 weeks, sweet BabyBird decided that crib was no longer the place to sleep or take naps. And also around that same time, MommaBird was exhausted with the nighttime nursing sessions and out of sleep deprivation brought the wee one to bed one night. I even joked a few days later that I would be creating a monster, and sure enough it only took a week or two to make my statement come true! I still swaddled him at night and we got into a great bedtime routine and he knew exactly what was to follow after bath, massage, nurse and then sleepy time. With the swaddle he slept pretty good, we even got a few rare 5 hour time blocks here and there which helped my sanity. But then there were the 2 hour, or even the 1.5 hour sleep cycles and then would require… err demand, a nursing session for 15-30 minutes, then rocking and finally the little guy would close his eyes and fall asleep. It was the 1.5 hour ones that drove me to bring him to bed and try to use the co-sleeper bassinet. BabyBird took to the co-sleeper bassinet like a fish to water, he hated it! Why sleep within arm’s reach of mom when you could sleep in mom’s arms? Uh.. yeah, you can guess which one he preferred. So the co-sleeping/family bed/cuddling/absolute-sweet-cuddling took place. In the beginning it was absolutely heart melting and not only did we both sleep better, but it also renewed my heart towards my baby. Nursing was easier, I could wake up and get myself ready before he completely woke up and nurse and then quickly fall back asleep without ever having to get out of bed. Fast forward another week or two and he started to bust out of his swaddle, even the SwaddleMe blankets with Velcro. Last Wednesday, (May 4th… and I only know this because I looked at my Facebook news feed) we gave up the swaddle. The first nights sucked! He would swing his arms around and kick his legs whenever he was put down on the bed. But when cuddled up and sleeping on his side, he was fine and was able to sleep and he stopped trying to break free of the swaddle all night long. It’s been a bumpy ride these last few days (and it’s only Monday, not even a full week yet since we stopped swaddling) without the swaddle and seeing how he adjusts. BabyBird just has a strong startle reflex and throws his little arms up in the air and wakes himself up. But slowly he is getting a bit better with controlling his arms. I hope in a few weeks he looses this reflex and can be set down to sleep without us having to lay our hands on him and hold his arms down gently for awhile until he settles down to sleep. And right now as I type this, BabyBird is asleep solo for the first time in weeks without the swaddle. Step One is complete!

 

We went and visited his daycare center today, which is a Montessori School. Met with his teachers again, got a list of supplies to bring and overall looked around the room he would be in. His class right now is composed of mainly 1 year olds who are sitting by themselves and eating snacks at tables with little chairs, plates and cups of milk. He will be the youngest one in class when he goes in 2 weeks so I hope it’s a smooth transition for him. The teachers are really nice and the school is clean, organized and well taken care of.

 

Week 5

This week, we moved baby bird back to the co-sleeper and back into our bedroom at night. I think he likes the co-sleeper a lot better this time around and we are able to be next to each other and breastfeed at night. Yup, that’s right, we have given up the pumping at night and bottles and are doing 100% boob at night. The first night was a bit tricky in sitting up in bed and figuring out the logistics of getting him to breastfeed, but I think we are both getting the hang of it. I feel that my supply is more stable now and even though we do sometimes go 4 hour stretches (ahem… I am NOT complaining in the least bit!) my breasts do tend to fill up and feel full. Now that I can somewhat predict his sleeping patterns I’ve pumped before going to bed myself so that by the time he wakes, my supply will be ready for him.

This week has been fun, as we’ve done a few little outings here and there. Yesterday we got up and went to the hubs office to introduce baby bird to his co-workers. He was on such good behavior and never cried or made much of a peep the whole time. And today, we got up this morning and went to an Infant Group in Boulder with other babies and moms just like myself. The group was really enjoyable because it was nice to see and meet other moms who went through the same thing I did or am going through right now and are able to offer advice but most of all to offer support and encouragement. Best part was that this morning we could just throw everything together and get in the car knowing that by the time I got there, I could feed him and change him if he needed. Not having to time the perfect time of after a feeding with fresh diaper on before heading out the door made it a lot easier to get out of the house. After the group, we drove and went to Noodles for lunch. Yes, lunch alone with my baby. For. The. First. Time. He was amazing! He slept in his stroller the entire time and I could eat and chew my food at a normal pace without the fear of him waking up. Plus I knew that he was full and had a clean diaper. We came home, hanged out and he went to bed at 8:30pm. I then got a chance to heat something up for dinner and get ready for bed.

Tomorrow we are going to the Breastfeeding Club at BCH to do a weight check and to chat with the lacation specialist. I just have two questions… one being if she had any thoughts on the breastfeeding jaundice and how to do a side-latch properly. If I could master the side-latch in bed, that would make our night time routine so much easier! And of course to see just how much he is getting each time we breastfeed and see where his weight is at. If my arms are any indication, I think he’s got to be in the late 8 lbs range or maybe even 9 lbs? I’ve started to notice some more “chubby” thighs and his belly/torso has definitely gotten bigger.

 

Week 4

Monday, March 28th – one day before my precious baby boy turns 5 weeks old. It’s amazing how fast time has gone by. It does not feel like it’s been a month since I gave birth to this baby boy and having my world be completely changed. I haven’t left his side all this time (other than a few hours here and there to run errands or go to Target by myself to get out of the house). I can tell the difference in his cries, between the ones were he is just waking up  to when he has bird mouth and is hungry and wants to be fed. Our affectionate nickname for him is birdie, because of the wide bird mouth he does when he’s rooting and is hungry and wants to eat. We always joke that the Restaurant of Mom has great food, but sometimes the service is slow. Baby bird does not like to wait for his bottle to be ready, and the time he gives us between bird mouth and hungry cries is oh… about 60 seconds maybe?