A little while ago, I shared Jack’s birth story and now, it seems like I blinked and he’s already a month old. It’s true that time speeds up with a little one. But, if I’m being completely honest, there have been so many hurdles and surprises with Jack that I find myself wishing for him to be a bit older, with the newborn months behind us. Each stage has its struggles I’m sure, but this first month was actually a lot more challenging than I expected. I thought I would LOVE the newborn time, but in actuality I find it more stressful than anything! Typical first time mom feelings I suppose.
So, in light of that, I thought I would share how I survived the first month with a newborn and some of the lessons I’ve learned, and continue to learn, along the way.
The First Few Days Can Really Suck
Those first 3 nights were by far the hardest. Jack was so frustrated because my milk hadn’t come in yet and he was literally sucking everything out of me. It wasn’t until the nurse came on day 2 and told us to try supplementing a bit of formula through a pipette. That absolutely helped get us through those first days of having no milk and a hungry baby. Not to mention, the first few nights are the most devoid of sleep, hormones are raging and everything is just a bit anxiety inducing.
It’s OK to Get Emotional
There were definitely a few times that I felt almost silly for crying or getting emotional about something. Ryan was so great about these cry sessions and made sure I was communicating my feelings. That really helped – to be able to talk through the emotions. Because in a day, heck even an hour sometimes, I could feel sad, incredibly happy, weepy, angry, guilty, and soooo overwhelmed. I also talked with my friends who’d had babies and knew exactly what I was going through. I definitely felt guilty when I had any small negative thoughts but acknowledging them and then talking about them was the best thing I could do. I’m still going through the ups and downs but it helps to remember that it’s all part of the process and totally normal, at this level of course.
Be Kind to Your Post Baby Bod
Holy crap the body goes through an absolute whirlwind after pregnancy…no one can really prepare you for it. The bleeding and pain, trips to the washroom, shrinking uterus, stretch marks, sore breasts…I could keep going! Even just SEEING my post baby body was a shock for me. A few things I tried and am currently doing: sitz baths for down there and my body in general, using oils for the stretch marks, taking it easy and trying not to take on too much in a day and, of course, trying to remain positive. Sleep is also nice too! My body just went through 9 months of continual change and then went through labour and delivery. I need to be kind to it and remember nothing happens over night.
Self Care is Essential
I know it’s hard to focus on yourself when all your time and energy is going into the baby. But even doing a few small things can make a world of difference. For instance, right before Jack was born, I went and got my eyebrows tinted and my lashes lifted and tinted. My theory was that I’d be unlikely to have much of a makeup routine once he came, and these couple of treatments would allow me to still look somewhat put together without needing a lot of effort. And though it seems silly, those simple treatments really did make a difference in how I felt each day. Whether it’s getting your hair done, getting a massage or treating those nails to a mani, a bit of self care can really go a long way in helping with those baby blues.
PS – If you live in Edmonton, check out Lash Affair. They were so amazing!
Nipple Cream is a Lifesaver
If I did one thing right this past month, it was using the lanolin cream. I applied it religiously because I was so afraid of what could happen if I didn’t. And so far, it has been saving my nips. Seriously, I could not have survived this first month without it.
Water, Water, Water
I am notoriously bad at drinking water – it was something I struggled with throughout my entire pregnancy. But getting enough water while breastfeeding is essential and Ryan constantly makes sure I have a glass of H2O beside me. Having a great water bottle is super handy to have!
Use An App to Track
When you’re sleep deprived, keeping track of just about anything is hard, let alone how many times the baby pooped or which boob you just fed him on. I tried an app called Sprout and another called Awesome Baby Tracker and both were great. It was super handy to have when we did our two week check up or when we spoke to the nurses about Jack.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Scheduling Visitors
It is so special having everyone come and visit the new little one. We had so many people come and shower us with love…and food (which was amazing!). With that being said, it was also nice when it was just the three of us, trying to figure things out and establish a bit of normalcy. So, there were times that we had to say no or ask people to come at specific times. Setting up a schedule will never be a bad thing for your recovery as a new mom and it definitely shouldn’t make you feel guilty.
Lean on Your Supporters
Like I said, we had so many people who wanted to come meet Jack, but they were also incredible at bringing us food, offering to clean or just taking Jack for an hour so we could have a nap. It’s true that it takes a village and in the first month, I definitely leaned on that village. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the love and support. So never, ever feel guilty for accepting the help!
Do Get Photos Done (Even if You Feel like Shit!)
Remember how I was saying to be kind to your post baby bod? Well, it was hard for me to get in the mindset to take photos with Jack. I felt frumpy, saggy and not at all photo worthy. But, after seeing some of the photos, I am so glad that I shook off those negative thoughts and went for it. Yes, I was tired and yes, I worried the whole time that he would freak out and it would all be for nothing. In the end though, those photos are incredibly special and I would have forever regretted it if I hadn’t gotten them taken. It also helped that we had a photographer who we loved and who just so happened to be a best friend. Having someone we could trust was essential.
Accept Your Baby for Who He Is
If you know me at all, you know I love to read. And before Jack came, I read quite a bit about pregnancy, labour/delivery and, of course, the first few months of baby care. I learned pretty quickly in the first 30 days though that it really doesn’t matter how much you read, nothing can prepare you for what it’s really like caring for a newborn. He isn’t necessarily going to fit the typical mould either. Jack is his own little person and we are still getting to know him. Just because so and so’s baby is already sleeping in her crib, and someone else’s baby takes a soother no problem doesn’t mean that Jack will be the same way. I have to get to know my baby and what works for us.
It’s OK to Take the Time to Figure It All Out
The type A in me wants everything to work perfectly from the get go. But that’s obviously not how newborns work. One of my dear friends who is an amazing mom told me not to worry about developing habits this early on and that really set my mind at ease. It’s ok to take the time to slowly figure it out, make those mistakes and try again. There will be times of transition on the horizon, but for now, it’s ok that I just let it be. I’m learning how fast time flies with a newborn and that I shouldn’t spend that precious time worrying about things out of my control.
Any moms out there have anything they want to share about their first months with a newborn? I’d love to hear your experiences and what worked for you!