We survived the first month with Little Miss Sandee!
Congratulations! You have a baby! Alexandra Maria is finally here, and you get to take her home.
Yep, that’s how it goes.
We chose to stay at the hospital for one night (24 hours) so the nurse and lactation consultant could help me out breastfeeding tips and winecoach could learn how to change diapers and swaddle baby. I was pretty sore from the birth experience earlier that day, and tired from the 18 hour labor as well. Winecoach also got no sleep and was my support system through the whole process, plus we didn’t take the early discharge class that would have otherwise allowed us to go home 4-6 hours after birth in the birthing center, so we stayed.
We chose to keep baby in the room with us, which meant we didn’t get much sleep at all. Besides getting checked by the nurses which felt like every hour on the hour, Alexandra also woke up constantly, either to feed, because she was dirty or simply because well, she was on the outside world now. My poor hubby who was sleeping in a less than comfortable fold up couch got up multiple times since I was not very mobile, and still, I had to focus on my very sore lady bits, get through my hourly “fundus massages” aka uterus punches (they really push forcefully on your belly) every couple of hours to expel afterbirth, and TRY to feed my baby, which at the time felt like I would never get the hang of.
After a day in the birthing center and a full nigh and day in the maternity floor of the hospital (which was simply a couple of floors up), we got to bring our baby home, and then things got real.
Life with a newborn is overwhelmingly pleasing. I say this because I had plenty of help the first month, so that’s just my outlook. Winecoach was able to take 2 weeks off of work to be with us and my mom was also with us.
On one hand you can hardly contain yourself with excitement and and on the other hand you are positive you won’t survive, the baby won’t survive, or at least one of you will definitely not make it.
That’s how week 1 is (or at least it was for me): You have a crying machine that sleeps a lot (mostly when you don’t or need it to) or doesn’t sleep at all When you’d really like it to. This one is up to you, is the glass half empty or half full?
The mini machine also eats all the time (or struggles to eat because neither of you can figure out this breastfeeding thing), and between squeezing your nipples like heck waiting for this so-called “milk” to come in, that’s right, milk doesn’t just spurt out right away, you’re both out of luck. I’m convinced that’s what kept my baby up most of the time the first week. HUNGER. The fact that this colostrum wasn’t enough to feed her and she was just hangry (yes, hangry!) until the milk finally came in around day 4-5 and she was getting enough to last her 1-2 hours of sleep!
Until then, it was up every hour on the hour if we were lucky, sometimes 40 minutes. She definitely was a night owl coming in from the womb, naturally with her days and nights all mixed up just like when she was jamming in my belly all night.
Poop! and pee. The first couple of days you’re just trying to figure out what crazy colors your baby’s poop is gonna be and/or obsessing over how many diapers they are soiling. First couple of days it’s just black tar, or meconium (poop that was already inside of her in the womb). Winecoach was strictly in charge of diapers the first 2.5 weeks, I never even changed her once until he went back to work. He’s amazing at it, and was very aware of how many times she pooped, peed. Babies usually soil about 8-12 diapers a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. Obviously it depends on how many times they complain or how many times you actually look to see that they’re dirty. This baby hardly ever complaints when she’s dirty so you really gotta check.
The first week is survival week. Baby wakes up all the time, so the best way to handle it is tag teaming. I was on boob duty and winecoach was on diaper duty. We did good, despite the sleep deprivation, but we literally slept when she slept. One time we even gave her to my mom in the morning when she was fed, clean but simply wouldn’t sleep. She did that a lot the first couple of weeks and I was thankful for having my mom so we could hand her over a couple of times during that time.
The Halo Bassinest is awesome and worked great for us, and will for a while. So comforting to peek at Alexandra anytime she makes a little noise or squeal! I easily scooped her up for feedings and diaper changes through the night.
The Halo Sleepsack is also amazing, especially if you don’t know what to do when it comes to swaddling. It also provides easy access for diaper changing without unswaddling, so they can go right back to sleep if you need to change them! Seriously the best thing out there for new parents.
Week 2 was a little better, but not by much. She was still sleeping only about 1-2 hours at a time (at night), and pretty much all day. Alexandra was feeding for 1-2 hours at a time (sometimes 3) once she finally learned to suck without the assistance of the nipple shield, which was then allowing her to sleep maybe 3-4 hours at a time, but when she did wake up, she was up for 2-3 hours as well, again feeding, cooing, just looking at us….If she woke up at 4 am, we just knew she’d be up till 7, so we would watch movies and such.
She just wouldn’t go back to sleep and was a very slow feeder! WAS. We were watching full movies at like, 3 and 4am. This was also when we were bathing her in the mornings (we started with regular baths at around 4 days old, mainly because there was poopapocalypse the one time I was alone with her, and I never looked back). I would share pictures but it’s just too disgusting haha!
Her belly button ended up drying out and falling off between 8-9 days old so we could really dip her in the bathtub which was wonderful. Babies love baths and she’s no different. Because we were bathing her in the mornings, we later assumed she would relax all day and sleep; AND not do that at night. As a matter of fact she would have screaming fits when we hoped she would sleep. This was getting worse (at least it seemed that way), but she definitely put up a fight to go to sleep at night, and wasn’t sleeping much at all. I think everyone has trouble with this in the beginning.
Breastfeeding was still quite challenging to me, and it’s when I also started pumping. My breasts would get so engorged I’d wake up in a puddle of milk. I was pumping 12-15 oz a day on top of feeding her. I mainly pumped for comfort, about 20-30 minutes after feeding her maybe 2-3 times a day when she wasn’t emptying my breasts. I guess at this point she hadn’t hit her first growth spurt and hadn’t gotten the hang of feeding well yet.
A lot of people ask why I pump and it’s mainly for my own relief but also I’m trying to build a supply for when I return to work. There isn’t really a schedule I follow as I feed on demand. Some days it’s once, some twice and some not at all. I mostly do it for my own relief.
Everyone asks about this bathtub. I love it! It literally was sitting right there at the store when I went in on my pre-labor night, not realizing those cramps were pre-labor pains, wondering if I should get a bathtub. We are quite happy with this one.
By week 3 we had gotten smart and started bathing her at night. This worked great, and it was the first time she slept through the night without screaming. She slept 6 or 7 hours that night, so we never stopped. We make sure to bathe her around 9pm and hope to get 6-7 hours out of her per night (sometimes we even get 8 hours). I know this sounds wonderful, but she does fuss plenty before she actually falls asleep, as well as feeds for hours still, which is fine; but the unexplainable screaming was what we were confused about. Needless to say some babies just scream for no reason.
This would happen for a good 30 minutes to an hourbefore she would get tired and fall asleep. We attributed to gas? Who knows. According to the pediatrician it was too early for colic, as that usually starts around 6 weeks. Still we are thankful for the time she does sleep at night, even if she screams some before bedtime. Count your blessings right?
This was also the week winecoach went back to work (well, at 2.5 weeks), so I was doing most of the work at night (feeding, diaper change, rocking her and simply waiting for her to fall asleep). You don’t realize how much it helps when you tag team, but still, I could sleep in the morning when she fell asleep again, so yea, I managed.
Week 4 really was a marker. Alexandra was really sleeping through the night more and more regularly. She was now rarely waking up before sleeping for at least 6 hours, and when she did, she stayed up only 20-30 minutes. Just enough time for a good feeding and diaper change. Nothing like the crazy 2-3 hour blocks in the middle of the night from a couple of weeks back. Amen Jesus! This was also the week that my pumping was virtually non existent.
Alexandra turned 1 month and was suddenly the hungriest baby EVER. Her appetite was fierce, and she literally was drinking everything I was producing, so no wonder she was sleeping so much. This was her first growth spurt.
She also became super clingy, and wanted to be on me all day. I found this was her first neurological “leap” which causes babies to be just like this. Crying for no reason and super clingy, which is fine.
Week 5 was great, and I maybe started back with pumping, but only 2-4 oz a day, and in the morning because she was sleeping through the night, so my breasts were pretty engorged in the mornings. Plus, I only pumped a little bit because my let down was so intense she nearly choked. At night, right before bed, she continued fussing, and this time she was drinking with such urgency she would cry/feed/fuss which was making her also inefficient.
I had to figure out ways of calming her down, giving her to her dad to be away for a minute or two so she could recoup. I even found myself having to retrieve that morning pumped milk to supplement the evening hunger! It was insane how hungry she was, and fussy. She was drinking SO much before bed she ended up sleeping all night (which I’m thankful for), but was really super fussy and would scream for nearly an hour before finally falling asleep.
Week 5 was also the first week I spent completely alone with Alexandra during the day. Mom left temporarily to check on her cat and have a peek at her life, so I was cooking for myself and trying to figure out my schedule with baby. Some days I couldn’t shower till winecoach got home, and some days were much better depending on the level of clinginess that day.
I even classified her cries in 4 stages!
- Stage 1 is wine crying, like I don’t really want to cry but I’m going to complain.
- State 2 is active crying, a little more continuous and involved.
- State 3 is like 2, only higher pitched and involved some deep breaths in between high squeals.
- Stage 4 is the “dolphin”, which is stage 3 escalated with this unbearable sound she makes where she nearly hyperventilates making a sound alike a dolphin. I definitely don’t like to hear this one, so I try to get her in between states 2-3.
You should know I feed Alexandra in bed at night and early morning, with a support pillow. I maybe used the chair in the nursery only a few times but know I will note when she starts sleeping in there! She sleeps right next to me in her bassinest so I just find it easier, and is has been working amazing for us. I hear every peep out of her which is the mode I’m still in.
Week 6 was good because I got into a routine with Alexandra. With my mom being gone a week or so my confidence level skyrocketed and I felt empowered. I CAN do this on my own. Oh MY! I was cooking (lightly cleaning, I don’t really like to clean, ha!), taking care of her all day and we were surviving! Wow! I really didn’t think I could do the job so week but I was doing it!
The final test was going out on my own, just me and her. I went to my 6 week post Partum appointment at the birthing center with her and brought the stroller and everything! I even met winecoach for lunch like a real grown up. I can do this!
The next day we even went on a date with Alexandra for the first time, just the 3 of us. It was great, as she did sleep the whole time in her car seat so no complaints. We are killing this parenting thing right??
I just want to let you know the first few weeks can be tough, but are also so gratifying and you will do a great job/or are doing a great job. Just the fact that you’re reading this shows you care and want to be prepared or want to know what other moms are doing for their babes as quality assurance for yourself! The truth is, we think we know, but we learn it all with our babes! I’m really learning everyday and am so grateful for so many suggestions from so many of you.
What people don’t tell you:
4th trimester insane cravings worse then during pregnancy. Mine have been for crunch things like cereal. This is a mix of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Capt crunch. Seriously, I haven’t had cereal since I was 12.
Breast engorgement is certain, especially when you or your babe wakes up. Most certainly your boobs WILL wake you up. I suggest pumping a couple of ounces to alleviate even before the baby latches if you produce a lot of milk. This will help our milk “let down” go a bit easier. I know I have to do that sometimes otherwise Alexandra literally chokes on the milk which literally spurts out otherwise.
If you’re problem is decrease in production, try my lactarion oats recipe or even my mom’s Brazilian sweet hominy (canjica) recipe which I believe both have helped me with milk production.
Every time you’re hungry, your baby will also be hungry. Apparently this doesn’t change ever.
Very upset lady bits for the first month at the very least, depending on how much you tear. I don’t know much about the ladies who have C-sections but I do know it takes at least 8 weeks for such a deep incision to heal properly.
Needless to say, both require a great deal of care, but a vaginal birth will leave you needing much TLC, and padsicles is definitely the way to go and I used it the first month for sure!
More about this will be on my post-partum survival guide that will go up later this week. If you recently had a baby or are about to make sure you read it!
Other things I had questions about and also get asked about:
What diapers and wipes to use: I liked the pampers swaddlers and have been sticking with them so far. They do use them at the hospital and I think that’s a great choice for newborns (not sure going forward but for now we are sticking with it). Wipes? You just need wipes. Really any wipes are fine. Just a TON of wipes. I think we are using buggies wipes just cause.
4 Moms Mamaroo: A lot of people say their babies don’t like this, but Alexandra loves hers. It sometimes rocks her to sleep and sometimes just calms her down and let’s me eat dinner. I hear a lot of swings are also great. It’s going to depend on your baby really. I guess we got lucky with our selection that day, and it was also on sale!
Graco Pack and Play Suite is the one we have and I mainly use it to change her. I also use the bouncer a lot, mostly when I’m in the bathroom and she needs to be somewhere looking at me! ha. We have a 2 floor home so that’s our go to for everything. I mainly use it as a changing station and second closet since we often bathe her in the kitchen, the warmest part of the house.
Boppy Pillow is great for feeding, but you probably already know that.
A hand pump is a great on the go tool if you’re engorged, your baby is sleeping and won’t feed or if you’re out without your baby and your boobs are ready to explode. I learned this the hard way but now it’s always in the purse.
I’m not into any of the fancy butt pastes of the world. Good old fashion Aquafor works amazing for baby’s dry skin (Yes, I completely lube her up after her bath along with baby lotion (loving the Mustela products and the Earth Mama Angel Baby products so I go between the two) because she had dry skin early on due to being born in the bag of waters. She doesn’t have it anymore but I continue to baste her like a turkey. And she likes the massage so it’s a win win for us! We also use it for major poopagetton disasters that tend to happen every other day.
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