Wow, one month with our beautiful baby girl already, I can’t believe it! If I had a penny for every time someone said “enjoy this newborn stage with her, it goes fast” – I’d definitely have a dollar and oh my goodness are they right.
I don’t think anyone can really wrap their minds around becoming parents until a few days after birth, even after that baby is in your arms – it’s still hard to believe that they are yours. Heck – I still can’t believe we have a daughter!
Transitioning as parents (and me talking specifically as a mother) has brought on different feelings every day – from accepting this new body, to loving so deeply for this little baby, to running on only a few hours of sleep.
I’m excited to share what the first month of life with Eastyn has looked like – from breastfeeding to handling emotions, I’m giving a pretty thorough recap.
In case you didn’t catch it, you can read Eastyn’s birth story here!
Eastyn is as healthy as can be. From birth to now she has been right on track (or ahead) of where she should be for weight and development. As parents, we can’t really ask for much else.
We see changes in her every day. The biggest was at around 2 weeks, her facial features started to take shape and I couldn’t believe how much of Greg I saw I her. As of now, she isn’t big on bouncy chairs or swings, she totally wants to be spoiled with our touch and attention. Overall she is super alert and an extremely happy baby. At around 3 weeks she started to show more emotions, even an occasional smile. She follows our movements with her eyes and reacts to our voices, she will even react to pages on books or little toys! She even is holding her head up pretty well on her own when she does tummy time with us on our chest, her development in just a short time is pretty incredible.
Since birth Eastyn has had a great latch and been very eager to nurse- it’s made my life easy in that aspect. We introduced a bottle (of breast milk) at around 3 weeks to see how she’d do. She guzzled down 3 oz from Greg in no time! Which is great since I will be going back to work and her taking a bottle is a necessity. However I prefer to breastfeed her directly so that will always come first. I am pumping around once a day (with the Spectra S1) and using the Hakaa (amazing) to catch my letdown on the other breast to make a little stash for when I return.
I’d done lots of reading prior to Eastyn’s birth on sleep and eating “schedule” approaches. I had a pretty good idea of what a perfect scenario of our days would look like. I planned the eat-wake-sleep routine of the Baby Wise book, but didn’t intend to incorporate it too heavily in the first month of life. We also took the online “Will I ever sleep Again?” course by Taking Cara Babies and in addition to reinforcing what we were doing, we learned a lot. I strongly suggest taking that.
Luckily, Eastyn actually got into a little routine. During the day I wake her for feedings every three hours and we do try to have a “play time” following before she goes down for a nap. This schedule got more prevalent after 2 weeks. Since she is gaining weight wonderfully, I will let her go as long as she wants at night – usually 3-5 hour stretches.
Her feeding schedule looks alot like this:
8:30 AM morning feed, wake up for day
11:30 AM feed
8:30 feed, Bedtime
Wakes 1-2 times in this time frame for feeding
5:30 AM feed
**This is what some days/nights have looked like – others look nothing close. For example, over the last few days we’ve had lots of visitors and she’s had tons of stimulation, and not napped well. By around 7 pm she was so fussy and it’s been hard for us to know what she wants. Eventually we will get her down (realizing she’s just exhausted) and then she will sleep for a much longer stretch (3-5 hrs).
I’ve had a lot of people ask how we are liking the Happiest Baby SNOO crib. In the first week or so I felt the it was hard to give the SNOO a raving review because it’s hard to know how she’d sleep at night without it since that’s all we’ve ever done. However as she has woken up a bit and needed more help getting to sleep it has been a lifesaver during the night and evenings. I put her down and it basically soothes her on its own before we need to step in. Sometimes I will place my hand on her stomach for comfort or hold a pacifier in her mouth. But I am not having to rock and shush her for long lengths – the crib is! It has different levels of noise/rocking to calm her when she fusses, giving me a few more minutes to sleep for sure- which I think is worth any penny. However, if a SNOO is out of the budget, take a peek at the Sleepea Swaddle. Otherwise, our go-to for day time is the Ollie Swaddle.
I also have to mention the Owlet smart sock. We snagged it last minute and it’s provided us so much comfort at night. Another must-have I have to suggest if you worry…which once you are a mom, you will!
Being a Mom, even just for a month has brought on more personal challenges and growth than I would have expected. Looking back at the month I know I’ve had a relatively easy road because I’ve had the constant support of Greg. But, I still experienced (and will continue to) experience things that Greg simply can’t help with. Adjusting to this new role, body, & crazy emotions.
Oh the Body Changes
To be honest, other than referring to a picture, I don’t remember what my pre-pregnancy body was like. Mostly speaking in regards to my tummy. I do of course still remember being pregnant, rocking a belly made for a proud and happy Emily.
I am still both of those things – even greater, but looking in the mirror at this post-partum body does kind of give me the heeby jeebies.
At around 3 weeks PP I was a few lbs shy of my pre-pregnancy weight, but things certainly did not look the same. I was much thinner with barely any muscle. Due to my diastasis recti I have a little pooch for a belly. My linea nigra line is still super dark and only the good Lord knows what’s going on around my old belly button piercing.
The biggest changes have actually been to my boobs – oh my breastfeeding has done a number on them! While I was lucky enough to not have many stretch marks on my belly – my breasts are filled with them. I guess it means I’m producing well, right..? But they are always sore I’m still trying to get the production to regulate as one side always feels engorged.
I have started to do some core exercises for healing the diastasis recti and tried to maintain a healthy diet (despite always being starving). I’m visiting the gym on occasion, but am taking things very slow.
Gym routine so far PP looks like this:
- 10 minute incline treadmill walk (10 incline, 3 speed)
- 10 minute walking lunges/side shuffles rotation on treadmill (10 incline, 1.5 speed)
- 5 lb arm lifts (side raises, front raises, bicep & tricep exercises)
- Air squats
- Air lunges
- Diastasis breathing and core exercises
BUT – starting this week I am following the Expecting & Empowered Postpartum fitness guide. I’ve never done anything like this and stuck to it, so I am super excited to follow a plan that has been tried and true verses me inventing it. I went with these gals after hearing a few recommendations from people. I was also drawn to their approach. Check them out on IG!
In the hospital they made me watch a baby blues and postpartum depression educational video. To be honest I didn’t really pay attention, I filled out the form without really thinking about how I was feeling or even considering the possibility that I’d be affected by this (even just for a week or so). Mostly because I hadn’t heard of many mom’s close to me experiencing it, but not because they didn’t, just because they didn’t share about it! Which, I even debated including this section.
In the first 14 days postpartum I experienced some pretty heavy emotional swings. At some point in the evening between 7-10 pm, I’d find my eyes getting hot and the tears start to swell. It was a terrible sob like the kind that a two-year old does, first the lip curl and then the intense cry sometimes ending in hyperventilating.
I felt terrible that I was feeling this way. The first few nights following her birth, I wasn’t sad, I would cry just because my body told me to. But soon my mind started racing with thoughts of doubt around my identity and the rapid routine changes and the feelings shifted.
An Identity.. Crisis?
I’ve identified with certain characteristics for my entire adult life. As of late – a career driven, health focused, fitness guru, bargain shopper, list maker, organized, blogger, artist, wife, daughter, sister, dog mom… you get the point.
Now, I was now Eastyn’s Mom. My sole job was to care for her. And while I was so in love with this child I was still conflicted with who this new “Emily” was and what our new normal looked like.
I hate admitting this but when Eastyn was 6 days old, I hopped on an optional conference call with the marketing team at work to riff about 2019 goals and restructuring of titles. Eastyn was in my arms, but I still chimed into the conference call with my opinions. This was the most I’d felt myself since she was born because it included a part of my life I was familiar with.
And so the thoughts started racing…
How will I go back to work? Can I juggle it all? How is Greg doing? In order to give Eastyn my all what else will I have time for? For our dog, for my husband? For my blog, for my painting, for the gym? How can I possibly give it ALL 100%? Am I going to feel this way forever?
Talking About It With Loved Ones
The only reason I felt okay (other than googling that this was normal, lol) when the tears started to come was because of Greg.
He knew there would be a time in this pregnancy (and beyond) where I felt overwhelmed. When I just needed to be loved on and supported. He reminded me there was no reason to be ashamed or guilty for feeling this way – this was the biggest change in our entire lives! It didn’t mean that I loved our daughter any less. It was just me coping with the changes.
Greg for those of you who don’t know, has a history with depression. He knows what it’s like to not “feel yourself”. I felt like he knew exactly what to say, and what not to say. Or when to just wrap his hands around me and let me cry it out.
Finding someone that can be that support system is so important, whether it be a partner or another mom who has been there before. Heck, or simply just take comfort knowing that I’m right there with you too.
By around day 12 post-partum my evening crying sessions stopped and I finally started to relax about the future and my fears surrounding what would come. Throughout this time, I talked to God a lot more about serenity and I looked up verses that spoke to my feelings of worry and doubt.
I also started to more confidently mother Eastyn and accept the days for what they were instead of thinking they would look anything like they did before her arrival. Greg and I began to run an errand of some sort (or two) a day and together we were figuring out life with Eastyn. We went Christmas shopping (and saw Santa!!), had lunch, went to church, went for walks outside and went for evening car rides to break up the evenings. We ventured up north to our cabin and spent time with family.
Greg and I’s relationship too has withstood this trying time with an A+. I’m actually surprised that we haven’t wanted to rip each other’s heads of yet. But we went into this knowing it wasn’t going to be easy and it was a team effort. His patience for me has grown even greater, and vise versa. He’s seen me at a new all-time low and I’ve managed to love him even deeper (which I didn’t think was possible).
Saying that I’m excited for many more months with Greg and Eastyn is a huge understatement. This new normal is one impossible to dream up and I’m so happy it’s ours.