I have officially survived the first month with my new baby girl! Let me tell you how that went…
My step-mom and step-brother came to visit for 2 weeks when the baby was born. Some people warned against having family around right at the beginning but it definitely had its pros and cons. One of the cons was it was hectic. My little brother was only 2 and our puppy is basically the same size as he is so getting him adjusted to her was a process in addition to normal toddler behavior. The pro to this was the first week with baby was going to be hectic anyway so I’m glad we got all of it out of the way right in the beginning. Another pro was my step-mom cooked for us and did the dishes. I didn’t have a freezer full of meals but even then there was no way I had the energy to even get stuff out of the freezer and heat stuff up. It was also nice to have someone to go with me places to help out. Unfortunately hubby had to work when I needed to take her to one of her appointments so mom went with me instead. Also, we were both not very good at gauging how tight the car seat straps needed to be on her so mom double checked for us just about every time we went out. One of the cons was that I didn’t really get to spend to much time with them. Definitely for the first week I tried to be modest about breastfeeding and a breastfeeding cover has no place in the first week. So I breastfed and pumped upstairs in baby’s room. Pro, we got to take family pictures with her newborn pictures since we live so far away from everyone. Also, we had someone at home who could watch the puppy for us.
Giving Up on the “No Paci, No Bottle” Rule
I never really had anything against the paci aside from it interfering with breastfeeding. I actually wanted to use the paci eventually to avoid baby becoming a thumb sucker. You can throw away a paci but you can’t throw away their thumbs. Also, apparently, baby sleeping with a paci helps reduce the risk of SIDS so extra bonus. However, this kid was a screamer and she acted like she wanted to eat way too often. So the paci helped hold her over just a bit till I could get ready for feeding her again.
After about the 4th day I needed some sanity bottles. My nipples weren’t recovering in-between feedings and since she would fall asleep and would NOT wake up she wanted to feed about every hour. Nah boo! Bottle.
Side note about using bottles. Please have a conversation with your partner about how much baby is supposed to eat out of a bottle. I had bottles ready for her AND labeled in the fridge for her to eat but I also had some unlabeled bottles that held my pumped milk for when I had time to sort it for the freezer. One day hubby lets me fall asleep on the couch since I hadn’t slept pretty much at all in days. However, when I wake up I find him with one of my pump bottles in the hot water (this thing had about 7 oz of milk in it) and he’s getting another pump bottle out of the fridge. In my exhaustion and shock I’m freaking out trying to figure out what he’s doing and when I look back he’s putting one of my frozen bags of milk back in the freezer…WTF?! I really don’t know what he was thinking but the next day we talked about how small her tummy was and how many ounces she could actually hold.
The Feeding Schedule
I was going to wait until the second week to focus on the feeding schedule but I needed one for my sanity and it really helped! Without the schedule I was becoming frustrated thinking I had JUST fed her. Once I started the schedule I realized that sometimes time just flew by and it had actually been 2 or 3 hours since I fed her last. It also helped keep her from taking those 4-5 hour naps that she legit wouldn’t wake up from. She was impossible. So now I know throughout the day what time she needs to eat, when shell nap and when I need to pump so I can plan when to do chores around the house in the future.
Hubby Sleeping in the Basement
When I was pregnant I’d have dreams about hubby sneaking off to sleep in the basement because baby would keep him up and that would make me angry. Like, I’m sleep deprived so you can be too! However, once my family left I suggested that he go sleep down there and it was the best choice. Hubby was going back to work soon so he would need to start sleeping through the night. Not only that but I was breastfeeding at night so he really couldn’t help me with bottles anyway. Also, and most importantly, it allowed baby and me to get on a routine with all the space we needed and without any disruptions (aside from the puppy). Now when I got up at night I could turn the bright light on if I needed to, I could watch stuff on my iPad if I wanted to and I could move around as much as I needed to in order to take care of baby. It was wonderful! Even better, once hubby did start back at work he would come up to take the puppy outside for me and say goodbye. He would need to get up for work around 330 am which is one of baby’s feeding times anyway so it didn’t even disrupt us.
Fine Tuning the Schedule
The feeding schedule was pretty stable at this point. It stopped being so rigid and I was able to plan around some of the “interruptions” like needing to go to an appointment or friends coming to visit. However, since hubby had gone back to work at this point I really had to focus on how I was going to get done everything I needed or wanted to get done during the day as easily as possible. The day time turned out to be pretty easy to keep up with. It was the evenings when things got hectic. The first night I was waiting for hubby to get home from work so I could eat dinner and get everything ready for bed. Wrong. Hubby doesn’t get home from work till about 7 pm which I must have forgotten. Since he has to get up at 330 am to get ready for work he goes to bed at 730 at night. After eating, pooping and vaping he really doesn’t have any free time left. So making sure I have my bottles and flanges cleaned, clean clothes for the next day and have eaten dinner before 6 was really important. Baby and I don’t head upstairs for bed till 930 but betting on baby taking a nap between her 630 and 930 feeding didn’t pan out so great one night.
Managing My Daily Expectations
There are a few things I wanted to make sure I did every day. Vacuum, clean the kitchen, do the laundry and read a book to baby. There were also a few things that I hoped to do every day like take the puppy for a walk, take a shower and organize the house. I made sure not to over do my list because it would only stress me out more to see a huge list of things to do but it also wouldn’t allow any room for recovery if something came up. This was I’m able to go get groceries, baby can skip a nap or someone can come visit without me falling behind on my must do list.
Being Very Productive
I had my flexible schedule and my daily to-do list and everything was going smooth. I pumped and fed at night, showered (if baby would let me) in the morning, fed everyone then did all the chores while baby napped and pretty much chilled the rest of the day. I would pump if and when baby slept and I even walked the dog one day!
The Poor Puppy
Speaking of walking the dog… Since hubby had gone back to work the puppy wasn’t going on her walks. She pulls way too much for me to safely walk her with the baby attached to me I found out so that was out. She did pretty good for most of the day but in the evening puppy would get hype and needy right around the time baby got fussy and needy and the two weren’t working so I still needed to figure out a plan for the pup.
I spent a few minutes every day when baby was content looking through the baby planner trying to fill in themes for weeks and activities at least for the following month when I would start really using the planner. This way I wouldn’t be scrambling every week or day trying to figure out what I could do with her.
Baby started staying up longer after feedings so by the time she actually fell asleep I would get distracted with chores or the planner or the puppy and skip a pump session. This became pretty painful since I would wait for baby to wake up before feeding when I was painfully full. I was also going through reusable nursing pads, bras and clothes in general way too quickly.
Feeling Defeated and Overwhelmed
I was looking forward to baby being awake more often during the day but at this point it felt like any time she was awake she was screaming at me. Not to mention that dad would come, home, pick her up and she would immediately stop crying -_- a crushing feeling after trying everything all day. At this point too she rarely slept without being on me or held so I wasn’t able to keep up with the house and definitely wasn’t able to shower every day. Thankfully hubby was off work at least every 3 days but even then sometimes I was even less productive because we would both get caught up in tv or running errands instead of working on the house.
The Hottest of Days
It was 82 degrees out when I checked sometime this week. To some of you that may not seem too unbearable but keep in mind temps out here in Alaska went from -30’s this winter up to this 82 crap. Over 100 degree difference. Not ok. So that night I moved some things to the basement and I slept on the couch with baby in the bassinet. Because of the heat I needed to get out of the reusable nursing pads that didn’t wick moisture and decided to use a kitchen towel stuffed in my bra instead…(insert deep sigh and head shake). I woke up to baby crying with painfully full boobs which had leaked all over the couch, had completely soaked the towel AND bra (straps and clasp included). So half asleep I try to feed baby on boobs that are too full. Didn’t happen. Had to go get my pump and bottles from upstairs when I realized I was leaking so much that my underwear was now wet. Pumped enough through baby screaming to be able to feed her. Put her down so I could find some dry clothes and then moved everything to the living room upstairs since I couldn’t sleep on the couch anymore. The longest of nights. I’ll never trust a towel again.
Baby girl is a daddy’s girl already. I don’t know if it’s the comfy dad bod or the fact that she can smell the milk on me but she calms down instantly with dad. So now I make him give me the shirt he wore that day and I break that sucker out when I’m feeding or putting her to sleep. She sleeps with the shirt too now and sleeps like a rock <3
How did the first month with your baby go?