Not to sound like literally every single mother ever, but it is true: time flies. I am sitting here in complete disbelief that it has been a month since I met my little girl, and since Mike and I became parents.
I’ve been home with Ivy all month, and it’s amazing to see how much she has grown. It’s amazing to me that I can see all the changes even though I spend literally every hour of every day with her. There’s something different about her every time I see her. I notice every little thing – how big her hands have gotten, how much more alert she has become, how her eyelashes have grown, where her hair has filled in, etc.
This post is a couple days late, but I definitely wanted to share all the things we went through in our first month together.
She was a strong baby right from the start: the moment they placed her on my chest she lifted her neck and the nurses were all completely shocked. She had the motor skills of a much older baby – from her neck strength to her ability to make and hold eye contact. It was so cool to see and so exciting because everyone in the hospital was so sweet about it! It made me feel like a bad ass mom to have such a great baby already.
Breastfeeding has luckily been very easy for us. I was so nervous that I would be bad at it or hate it, but I secretly love it. I was terrible at being pregnant, but I love being a mom. I feel like a Goddess when I’m breastfeeding. When the nurses, lactation consultant, and pediatrician saw Ivy latch they were all amazed at how naturally it came to us. I was prepared for pain and to be doing it wrong, but this is so my daughter and she came out of the womb knowing exactly how to eat. My girl!
Initially, we were supplementing with formula to make sure she was getting enough to eat, but after she was about a week old the doctor gave me the go-ahead to exclusively breastfeed again. I was very excited because this was always the goal – I wanted to be able to nurse her 100% of the time. She’s not supposed to go more than 3 hours without a feeding, but it started being more like every 2 hours because unfortunately, our little girl got sick!
The first week or two she liked her Rock N Play, but lately, she has been all about her Dock a Tot. I found that she doesn’t love swaddling, but likes to feel like she is in a tight space. The pediatrician recommended we roll blankets up and put them around her, which we did for a while. But now we have a Dock a Tot thanks to my mom’s best friend, so we put her in that and she sleeps pretty soundly! Some nights she will wake me up to feed, other nights I’ll wake up realizing it’s been 3 hours and it’s time. I used to set alarms in the first few days, but I notice that either she will wake up or I will wake up so it’s kind of pointless!
When she was only two weeks old she caught a little bug, and it was the saddest and most miserable week. Luckily she wasn’t running a fever and her lungs were okay, it was simply her nose that was clogged up. I think we spent like $300 that week buying all the things to try and make her better – every humidifier, every saline drop and booger sucker/nasal aspirator on the market, etc. Mike was great about using the Nose Frida, which is highly recommended by literally everyone I’ve ever talked to, and we sat in the bathroom with hot water running a couple times a day at the pediatrician’s suggestion.
Because her nose was clogged up her feeding sessions were much shorter, and therefore much more frequent. It was a little harder on me just because I was exhausted, but obviously I wanted to make sure she was getting enough to eat so the extra feedings were really no sweat. But because she was sick she wouldn’t let me put her down, ever. I spent whole days with her on my chest and eventually purchased two different baby carriers so I’d be able to do more things around the house. She wanted skin to skin all the time – any time I had a blanket or a shirt covering my chest, she would fuss around until her cheek found my bare skin. It was sad but also so sweet knowing that my skin and heartbeat could comfort her!
I didn’t eat well that week because she wouldn’t let me put her down and I obviously couldn’t cook while holding her. But thankfully by the end of the week, she was doing much better: our feeding sessions were longer, she was breathing better, and she was sleeping soundly and letting us put her back in her bassinet.
My first month as a mother flew by. Initially, I spent most of my waking hours reading the newborn books and handouts our hospital and lactation consultant gave. I had so many questions – how often do I feed? Do I always have to offer both breasts? How do I store the breast milk I pump? – and I kept forgetting the answers because I was exhausted. I reread the same pamphlets a dozen times, and read What To Expect: The First Year a bunch of times as well. It’s crazy – you spend so much time being pregnant worrying about the labor and delivery that you don’t spend enough time worrying about the actual keeping an infant alive thing.
My parents were with us for the first week, and then my dad left and it was just my mom for another week. Having them around helped so much, especially with my C-section recovery. Mike was able to take off a week from work, and the second week he only worked half days. So Ivy and I had time to adjust to it just being the two of us, which was really helpful to me. On days when Mike worked half days I would wait until he got home to shower and really start my day. I was able to really focus on just being her mom: feeding her, changing her, and making sure she was okay.
The week after Ivy was sick, I got sick. So that was fun. I’m finally on the mend, but there is nothing more exhausting than having a fever of 102 and an infant. Other than that, I have been recovering from my C-section fairly well, and although I haven’t been cleared to work out yet I am definitely feeling the urge. I’m working on a more in-depth recovery story, but let’s just say that I was pretty much right to fear the C-section recovery!
Being a mom is as wonderful and as exhausting as everyone says it will be! And not to sound like every annoying first-time mom out there, but there really is nothing like the love you have for your baby. Nothing prepares you for it, and I’m so blessed to be this little girl’s mom.