One month with Scarlet already, how did that happen? The passing of each day and all of the tiny moments that comprise those 24 hours are long, but weeks pass so quickly and suddenly the marks on your body from carrying (and delivering) a baby begin to fade and disappear and new changes take their place, including giant boobs and sore shoulders. All the while, the little creature you brought in to the World is getting bigger by the minute. As the saying goes, this really is the longest shortest time.
Speaking of time. Did I mention it takes FOREVER to get anything done? This post, for instance, took more days than I want to admit to complete.
While I don’t exactly miss being pregnant, I do feel a bit of a loss of the initial bond that she and I created those first nine months. That feeling passes quickly though, and the lack of both heartburn and sugar cravings, along with no longer needing to sleep in a pillow fort just to breathe at night has been a welcome change!
Transitioning from pregnancy to parenthood has been both exciting and emotional. The first two weeks I didn’t really want to leave the house, I was freaked out having Scarlet in public because of the flu that everyone is talking about and it felt like a huge effort to go anywhere. Wyatt pushed me to get out every day, which was probably a good thing as we were going a bit stir crazy at home. In terms of sleep, we’ve been lucky that Scarlet sleeps well overall and therefore we do too, although things are certainly starting to shift now and she’s becoming fussier at night, but the first days were frankly quite uneventful; turns out new babies sleep a lot!
Here are a few bits of wisdom that I can impart from our first weeks as a party of three:
Support: Wyatt and I chose to hold off on having many out of town visitors for the first few weeks and I think this was a good decision. Several friends sent and brought food over which was amazing and we were so grateful for that since cooking was a challenge! Overall, it was really nice to have some time to ourselves to just adjust to our new life, and as someone who always feels like I need to entertain guests, I got to keep my sanity intact. I will say though, having the closest person in your life, in my case my sister, around for the first week is incredibly helpful, especially if they’ve already had a baby. If someone has to ask how they can help you, they may not be the right people to have visit right away. You want people around who just know you and will jump in and cook, clean, get you water or snacks, whatever. Don’t feel bad–setting healthy boundaries is good for everyone.
Postpartum Doula: We loved having a birth doula but I had never heard of a postpartum or night doula before. We had a few friends recommend we look into it, especially since we don’t have family nearby, to help ease the transition and guarantee a few nights of sleep per week. We did and we’ve absolutely loved having Beth who acts as a teacher for me, helps with housework and takes care of the baby between feedings so we can just focus on catching up on sleep.
Find a Mom-Posse: Right now the number one thing on my agenda is building relationships with other new moms. Studies show that spending time with women aids in preventing isolation and PPD. It’s also great to learn from new moms and make some friends that are in the same place in life. I’ve recently joined a Mom’s group that my midwives are hosting and am planning to join a postnatal Mom and baby yoga class soon as well.
My Favorite Products (So Far):
Dock a Tot- When I first saw this thing, my response was, “this is the bougiest thing I’ve ever seen, what a silly product.” But how wrong I was! This thing has saved us at night and given us amazing sleep and peace of mind. We also have the Halo Bassinest, it’s really nice, but honestly, it’s mostly functioning as a changing table in our bedroom at the moment.
Babywearing- I was gifted a few different fabric wraps and so far the Organic Boba wrap is my favorite. It was a bit daunting to learn to use, but I find it’s a great fit and keeps baby upright which the K’Tan is harder to achieve. Wyatt and I also have the Lalabu shirts and his is great, he uses it almost every day but the women’s version has too much gapping in the top for me and I sized up to a Medium and it still seems a bit snug in the pouch. I want to try Solly Baby next! If you have others that you love, let me know in the comments!
Swings/Rockers- I bought a few of these at a neighbors baby sale a few months ago and am so glad that I didn’t spend much and that we have a few options to work with. You really have no idea what you’re baby will be in to (and when), so don’t blow your budget on a really expensive rocker until you get to know them.
Swaddles- Like the swings/rockers, I recommend putting several options on your registry so you can try a few. Our favorites have been these velcro ones by SwaddleMe that are super easy to put on and lightweight. We’ve also liked the Halo sleepsuit and haven’t even removed the pretty Aden and Anais ones from the box.
Reading, Apps, Videos
I read The Fourth Trimester as soon as Scarlet was born which was helpful in understanding the shifts in baby’s mind and body the first three months after birth. It’s a really quick easy read and is laid out very clearly, making it easy to retain.
I downloaded a couple of breastfeeding apps for the first few days which was helpful since the exhaustion and newness of the process makes it hard to remember which boob, when and for how long. I stopped using them after a few days when the pediatrician said she was back to her birth weight and we could let her tell us when she’s hungry, so I wouldn’t pay for one. We also downloaded the Wonder Weeks app which helps describe the ins and outs of babies changing moods and development.
Our doula told us to watch Happiest Baby on the Block which we did and I’m so glad. It’s really dated but the tricks to soothe a fussy baby have been so straightforward and helpful!
Clothes for Mama: After pregnancy, you can just go back to wearing whatever you want, right? Wrong! Now it’s all about easy access, especially if you’re nursing in public, which is already a balancing act. Sure, you can wear a normal shirt, but you may regret it (and potentially be covered in milk). My favorite nursing gear so far are the basics from H&M and Target, which you can only get online so order before you have your baby so you’re ready to go! I also ordered a few from Amazon that have been great for sleeping in, but for me are too baggy for daily wear.
Clothes for Baby: One piece of advice that I got over and over was to not buy much infant clothing because babies grow so fast, but the thing is, they don’t grow that fast and the 0-3 sizing runs fairly large in most brands. Definitely, order tons of soft cotton zipper pajamas and skip the more fashiony gear for later on because it’s too much work to put on and will probably need to be changed multiple times per day due to all the things that come out of babies.
Food: As I mentioned in my birth story post, I had to be on some antibiotics during labor and my stomach has definitely been in recovery as well. To aid in the process, I’ve been drinking bone broth or putting collagen in my smoothies every day to help re-strengthen my digestive system. Breastfeeding requires extra calorie consumption, especially at first, so I’ve been hungrier than usual but my diet has mostly returned to normal and I’m eating lots of high fiber foods, oatmeal, raw and cooked veggies, smoothies, nuts and nut butter, soup, etc. It’s hard to find time to cook anything really complicated but even harder to find time to eat it sometimes. One of the best gifts we received was a gift card to Munchery from my Dad.
Drink: Breastfeeding also requires added hydration and I’ve never been thirstier in my life! I’m also excited to be having a glass of wine or Health-Ade kombucha again as well.
Exercise: It’s taken me awhile to get back into an exercise routine and I’m certainly not completely back to my normal level of physical activity, but I am really listening to my body, which I haven’t always been good at. I started small with walking and mellow hikes near our house and have built up to barre and ballet type workouts and some light weights. I think it’s so important to take it slow and respect your body as you heal so that you don’t cause any setbacks. Also, don’t forget the pelvic floor exercises!
Breastfeeding is also a workout in itself, according to Joy Kosak, co-founder of Simple Wishes, a hands-free pumping bra, “Our bodies burn almost 20 calories to make just an ounce of breast milk. If your baby eats 19-30 ounces a day, that’s anywhere between 380-600 calories burned.”
Supplements: I’m currently taking postnatal vitamins, these are my favorite, fish oil, probiotics, Sedalia for stress, irritability and exhaustion and a D3 gummy vitamin. Babies don’t get enough sunlight usually so they need D either through drops or breast milk if quantities of it are high enough in diet and supplements.
So excited to share a few photos that my amazing photographer friends, Caitlin (@cru.cait) and Phil (@sweden95) gifted us at our shower (AMAZING gift, btw). Just like my maternity photos, I didn’t know if I wanted to do newborn shots. All those cheesy staged baskets and flower crowns and what not, not really my thing. But, I’m glad we did it because this special time certainly won’t last forever. Tip, definitely have an idea of what you want and set up the shoot before they’re born. We were pretty tired and not all there in the planning and these have to get done the week or so after birth so that leaves a narrow window.