It’s hard to believe that our little girl is a month old today. Everyone told us that the days are long but the years are short, and they weren’t kidding. Though every day (and night) has been long and lots of work, somehow this month still flew by. I’ve experienced my highest highs and lowest lows of life in only a matter of weeks.
Motherhood has somehow been harder than I expected and easier than I expected all at once. That might be my brain dead baby brain talking, but I can’t explain it.
I’m planning to write a post every month (like this one) with Amalia’s updates, and am hoping to keep them all in a similar format, but let me know if I missed anything here that you want to see in future months.
Week 1: The first week was no joke… Woah! If I could tell myself anything during that week now, I’d say that it gets easier soon. While it’s not easy by any means now, compared to those first few nights home, life is a walk in the park. First of all, I was super hormonal, crying everyday at 4pm without fail. Amalia was still eating every two hours all day and all night, and her feedings took an hour each time , so I never got more than an hour stretch without her attached to me for probably four days. That was intense.
The other part of week one that was tough was that if she wasn’t eating, she was sleeping. So I felt like we didn’t get to really spend much time with her awake.
Things eased up a lot when she went from eating every two hours to every three. The first time it happened I cried tears of joy! My mom showed up halfway through this week too.
Week 2: In week two, we decided to hire a baby nurse to help us figure out what to do at night. Having someone teach us tricks for getting her to fall asleep and stay asleep was beyond helpful. At this point, I got the hang of feeding her a little more and it stopped hurting so much. The most drastic change this week was that I started pumping (on day 9) and Anel was able to give her a bottle at night.
The hardest part of week two was when she started cluster feeding for the first time. It was like four straight hours of non stop eating during a growth spurt. It only lasted for two days (from like 4-8pm) thank goodness. I thought it would never end! It happened again once in week three but I was prepared for it the second time. I recommend settling in with Netflix and just letting go. If you can pump and let your partner take over for a little, that helps a lot too. Or supplement with formula! We did that the second time because I couldn’t produce enough milk and it was like a miracle.
Week 3: The beginning of week three was good. I felt like we were getting into somewhat of a groove. Then a few days in, she started getting gas and everything went downhill for a while. She was having trouble sleeping because of her tummy issues. The best part about week three is that she started having more awake time after feedings, so we got to know her personality a lot more. More on that below.
Another big change this week is that her feedings went from 50-60 minutes down to 20-30 minutes. She became more efficient at eating (thank goodness) and my milk starting coming in faster.
Week 4: We’re halfway through week four, and I’ve truly learned at this point that once we get the hang of something, it changes. I’m also finally feeling more confident as a mother, being able to stay calm in (almost) all situations. I now know to always trust my instincts and that I can’t control everything when it comes to the baby.
Her Disposition: Amalia is a happy little baby. Even when she’s spitting up, she’ll smile while she does it. When she’s not gassy or hungry, she’s pretty much always chill (knock on wood). I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m going to give meditation during pregnancy a little bit of credit! That might be silly but it definitely couldn’t have hurt.
Awake Time: About a week ago, she started being more awake and alert during the day. We try to spend her awake time doing activities like showing her baby art cards (she is obsessed with the owl for some reason), tummy time, and playing on her play mat. Other times, we just cuddle and I stare at her because I’m a mom and that’s what moms do apparently. It’s been so fun to spend more awake time with her lately.
Breastfeeding: I wrote a whole post on breastfeeding earlier this week. It’s been a challenge but so worth it for those special bonding moments that we have, and the knowledge that I’m nourishing my baby via my body… So crazy!
I said it there and on my Instagram Q&A, but I’ll say it again: It’s a blessing that I’m able to feed her this way, but I don’t think it’s the end all be all. I fully believe that every mother and family needs to make their own decisions when it comes to parenting. Whether that means breast vs bottle feeding, sleep training or not. You do you, mamas!
Sleep Schedule: We’ve been following On Becoming Babywise, and Amalia is thriving on it. The idea behind the book, written by two doctors, is that if you get the baby on a schedule during the day, the night schedule will follow. We try our best to stay on schedule, but always feed her when she’s hungry or put her down when she’s tired so, while it’s not perfect every day, it’s been pretty much on track since we started around day eight.
We added in a “dream feed” at 10:30pm every night, and since we did that, she’s only been waking up once between then and 7:00am each morning. We had no idea she would do that so quickly, but feel very lucky. Going from two to one feedings in the middle of the night makes a huge difference. We feed her with pumped breast milk for the dream feed so I can go to bed at 9 or 9:30 (literally) which helps so much.
My Recovery: It was a lot easier than I expected! After about two weeks, I felt almost no pain which I wasn’t expecting at all. Before that, padsicles (pads covered in aloe and witch hazel and then frozen) and Motrin were my jam. As far as my body goes, I still have 15 pounds to drop, but I’m not dieting until I stop breastfeeding, and I can’t workout for two more weeks so I’m just living with it for now.
Best Moment: There isn’t one particular moment, but my favorite time of day is when I feed her before she goes down for bed, just after her bath. There’s something about a freshly bathed baby that is just so cute and fresh. We dim the lights, play lullabies, and she’s usually super calm and sweet. Getting her down to sleep after that wonderful moment is often the hardest part of my day, but I seem to forget that every night!
Worst Moment: One day last week, Amalia was spitting up a lot… like almost everything she ate. One afternoon, I handed her to my mom so I could run to the bathroom. All of a sudden I heard the baby scream bloody murder and my heart stopped. She was totally calm five seconds ago, so something seemed seriously wrong. She rarely cries, unless she’s hungry or needs to be changed, so it was totally out of the ordinary for her. I ran into her room and grabbed her back to see what was going on.
My heart was racing and I was completely freaked out. Turns out, she was just starving because she had thrown up earlier and her belly was empty. At the end of the day, it seems silly that this was even an issue for me, but to hear my baby scream like that was just awful!
I want to end this post with a quote from an email sent to me by my mom’s husband, Rob, an amazing writer and all around incredible guy. It’s a good reminder for parents everywhere: “No matter how hard things get—and any parent sooner or later can’t help but find out and know how hard things can get—you can see the vitality of life and how it keeps exploding with fascinating challenges and new things both to worry about and to delight in.”
If you want to see more pictures of her, check out our newborn shoot photos here.