Everyone knows being a new mom is tough. No matter how prepared you felt during pregnancy, caring for a newborn will be a lot harder than you think. But, it will also be much more rewarding and fun than you expect, too.
A ton of products have made my life as a new mom easier: Wyatt's Boppy newborn pillow, his Ergo carrier, wubbanubs, and our thankfully endless supply of burp cloths. Though in my very limited time as a mother (it's only been 9 weeks!), I've learned it's the things that don't come from Buy Buy Baby that are really helping my quality of life.
I could not have survived these past two months without the following:
1. Help. My parents and in-laws don't live nearby, but they've come to our house several times to help out. I could not have survived without having extra hands around. I had friends offer to come watch Wyatt so I could nap, and others brought us dinner. I'm so blessed to have such generous people in my life. I guess it really does take a village!
2. Peer support. I don't know what I would have done without my fellow mom friends from real life, the blog world, and twitter. Your peers won't always have the answer to your struggles, but having cheerleaders really helps when you feel like you're doing everything wrong. Plus, they'll completely understand your new mom paranoia about every, single, little detail. Thank you all so, so much.
3. A good pediatrician. Wyatt's doctor is wonderful. He spends a lot of time with us during appointments, and encourages me to call for any reason. I was pleasantly surprised when he was so concerned about Wyatt's not sleeping issue. And I was even more shocked to hear that he fully supports Wyatt's stomach sleeping even though it's taboo. I feel like he considers each baby's situation individually instead of just following the guidelines to a T.
4. An open mind. One of my favorite sayings has always been, "no matter how nicely it's presented, unsolicited advice is never welcome." My parents are awesome. Growing up, instead of telling me what to do, they'd let me make mistakes and figure things out on my own. For this reason, I really don't enjoy being told what I "should" do. But now that I'm a mom, I always have an open ear. Different things work for different babies. I'm never going to figure out what works best for Wyatt without staying open-minded. So bring on the advice!
5. Perspective. In the middle of the night, after weeks of sleep deprivation and frustration, the tears would flow very easily. At the time, it felt like I couldn't go on. But after a couple minutes and a few deep breaths, I'd always snap out of it and remember how lucky I am. There were a lot more tears shed last January when I thought I'd never get pregnant. For me, having a "difficult", insomniac baby trumps having no baby. Besides, I knew the not sleeping couldn't last forever, and each day we'd be one step closer to getting some rest. I don't want to jinx anything, but Wyatt has slept so well the past few nights. Fingers crossed it continues. And if it doesn't, I know we'll get through it together.
I thought month one went by quickly. Well, this month flew by even faster. I can't believe Wyatt is two months old already.
Here's our two month update:
Month two can be summed up this way: happy baby in the mornings…
cranky baby in the afternoons.
In the a.m. hours, Wyatt smiles, coos, and is interested in his toys. In the afternoon and evening hours, he's either sleeping, eating, puking, or screaming. He was technically diagnosed with colic. Though I still think what he's dealing with is just general baby fussiness + reflux.
I must say this to the little guy ten times a day, "you're such a big baby!" He really isn't that big, but he's HUGE compared to where he was. His lowest weight was 6lbs 2oz. At his 2 month checkup yesterday he weighed 11lbs 9oz! This means he went from the 5th percentile for weight to the 50th in fewer than 2 months. Someone likes eating! He's also in the 50th percentile for height (22.5 inches) and head circumference (39.5cm). Basically, this means he's perfect.
These are Wyatt's lucky Giants pajamas. He's worn them during the last 5 Giants games. In those games, the Giants are undefeated. If Wyatt can still fit into these pjs on Feb. 5, the Giants will win the Superbowl. Fellow fans, you are welcome.
Except for his sleeping habits. But we may have found a solution: stomach sleeping. The past few nights, we've allowed Wyatt to sleep on his belly and he's slept much better. I know this is not the recommended way to let a baby sleep (it increases SIDS risk), but Wyatt's doctor is OK with it. A lot of refluxy babies are only comfortable on their bellies. His doctor said we could either allow him to stomach sleep or give him stronger reflux meds. He said there are similar risks to each choice so it was up to us. We're going to let him sleep on his tummy and see how that goes. We have the Angelcare movement and sound monitor which offers some reassurance and he can lift his head and turn it from side to side, but it is still a bit nerve-wracking allowing our baby to do something considered so dangerous...
...but our not sleeping situation was also becoming unsafe.
This past Friday night, after 8.5 weeks of very little sleep, I had a bit of a breakdown. I couldn't get Wyatt to sleep more than a half hour at a time that night. Around 4:00 a.m., I heard him screaming and got up to take care of him. I was up, but not completely awake. I was aware of my weird between sleep and awake state and totally freaked out. I gave Wyatt to Jeff and started packing my bags. I was convinced I was a danger to Wyatt and had to leave. It was completely crazy and irrational. I remember packing, turning on the shower but not getting in it, and calling up my mom crying. Thankfully, I didn't go anywhere, and Jeff allowed me to sleep for 5 full hours. I awoke to everyone being really worried about me. We decided something had to change before I really lost it.
I looked for night nurses and postpartum doulas all weekend, but most didn't get back to me. We interviewed one, but her ideas didn't mesh well with ours, unfortunately. We're still looking for someone, though I hope stomach sleeping will the answer to our problems.
Otherwise, I'm doing OK. My workouts are going surprisingly well. I wish I could run longer or more often, but that's not going to happen until the sleep situation improves. And I'm fine with that.
Clearly, this was taken in the p.m. hours.
As for my body, I lost 5lbs this month and am 4lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight (though about 9lbs away from my "normal" weight). But that number on the scale really means nothing. Pregnancy changed my body so much that I don't even fit in pants one size bigger than my usual size. My stomach is flabbier, my hips are wider, and my thighs are thicker. I know I need to be patient, but I also need to be realistic. I'll give myself one more month of living in sweat pants, and if no other clothes fit by then, I'll suck it up and head to the mall.
And honestly, if I never get my pre-baby body back exactly, that's OK too. I'll take a cuddly baby over a trim waistline any day.
I can't wait to see what month three brings!
I have pretty strong opinions. I’m sure this news is not shocking to anyone who knows me.
Still, I’ve always respected the opinions of others. I enjoy learning why people think the way they do. For example, my husband and I vote for different political parties. I don’t agree with some of his beliefs, but I like knowing why he feels the way he does.
I never take someone’s opinion as my own. I always thoroughly research both sides of an issue before making up my mind. But once I’ve made my choice, my mind is usually set for good.
Rather, that’s how I used to feel.
Then I became a mom.
I feel like everything I said I would never do as a mother, I’ve already done! Motherhood has taught me a lot about unconditional love and patience. But I’ve also learned to be receptive to almost any idea.
Before 11/23/11, never would I ever have thought I’d…
Be cool with getting induced. Especially not as early as 37 weeks! But my water broke, and labor wasn’t starting. Getting pumped with pitocin was a much more appealing to me than risking Wyatt getting an infection.
Get an epidural. I really thought I wouldn’t need pain medication during labor. But I did end up getting an epidural (though not for pain reasons) and I was so happy with my decision.
Feeling much better with the help of drugs.
Give my baby formula. Being a public health nerd, “breast is best” has been ingrained in my brain for a decade. Then a pediatrician told me that my 3-day old baby was losing too much weight. After hearing that, I could not get the formula in his little tummy quickly enough.
Be using disposable diapers this long. Wyatt is 8 weeks old and we still haven’t transitioned to cloth diapers yet. We’re going to at some point (hopefully soon). But I really want to tackle the not sleeping issue first. I feel like adding another load of laundry to my day would stress me out even more. So disposable diapers it is for the time being!
Allow my baby to sleep with me. I sleep on a mattress on the floor in Wyatt’s nursery. There are only so many times I can get up and down each night before losing my mind. In the wee hours of the morning, he usually winds up in bed with me. Though I don’t see this lasting. Neither of us sleeps well together!
Want to be a stay-at-home mom. Technically, I am a stay-at-home mom (I was laid off during pregnancy). I do have to go back to work for financial reasons, but I also thought I wouldn’t be fulfilled “just” staying home with my son (see further thoughts here). Now, I honestly cannot imagine having to leave my little guy with someone else all day. I know I’ll have to do it at some point, so I’m trying to cherish our days together while they last.
Someone doesn’t like the idea of mommy going back to work eventually.
I can only imagine what other issues I’ll change my mind on. Only time will tell…