LIFE WITH A NEWBORN AS A FIRST TIME MOM (THE FIRST 6 WEEKS)

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I have dreamed about having a family since I was a little girl and when I got married to the greatest man ever three years ago, I knew it was going to happen. When we found out I was expecting last year, we were over the moon ecstatic. I immediately began reading and “studying” for the big day. Well, a few weeks ago, that day finally arrived and it was better than I could have imagined. Now, six weeks in, I am (just now) beginning to get the hang of things. This is a very long-winded post so I apologize in advance. Please keep in mind that this is just my experience and I am being honest about how I feel. I’m doing my best to be the best mom I can be.

I can’t begin to explain how much I love this little girl. I worried about her for nine months before she was born and when she made her appearance, I couldn’t believe it was real life. I know it sounds corny but it really does feel like a dream. I can’t stop thinking/saying things like “I can’t believe she was inside me” and “I can’t believe I am a mom.” There are no words to describe the emotional and physical ups and downs that come with being a first time mom. I constantly stress about her and I probably check a million times a day if she is breathing. Every whimper, grunt, hiccup or cough and I run over to see if she is ok. Her cry breaks my heart and her smile lights up my life. She is my sunshine.

fingers

When I though about how the first weeks would go, I figured there would be a lot of time spent entertaining and playing with her. However, all she did was sleep and eat. There wasn’t really any time between feeding her and her sleeping for us to “play” with her. Almost all of those first two weeks were spent holding a sleeping baby. This was fine because we were extremely exhausted those first weeks…and still are.

BREASTFEEDING

I thought breastfeeding would be hard at first and get easier with time. It was something I didn’t research because I new there would be a consultant at the hospital. As much as I told myself I was definitely going to exclusively breastfeed, I couldn’t imagine my body actually doing it. When she was born, they laid her on my chest and she immediately began nursing. I didn’t have to coax her or position her in any way. She just new. Then, my milk came in. At first, everything was going smoothly. Then, at around two and a half weeks, she started getting fussy and throwing up a lot. This led to more frequent feedings (like every 30 minutes). This was physically and mentally exhausting but really wonderful at the same time because I was still nourishing my little girl (other moms will understand). At her 1 month checkup, I told the doctor what was going on and he asked some questions and ran some tests. It turns out, she has reflux. I know it could be so much worse and I’m really thankful there is a reason and a treatment for what she has been experiencing. We started her on medicine and since then she has been doing much better in terms of pain (she still throws up sometimes).

Then, we hit a point recently where I was having issues with latch and let-down and it was getting really frustrating because I really want to continue to exclusively breastfeed. After reading about Julie’s experience, I purchased a nipple shield and it is a lifesaver. When it is 3am and she is thrashing her head back and forth choking from a forceful let-down, it is literally the best thing ever!

After all this, I think we have established a rhythm that works for us. So I guess this was my long way of saying it started easy, got hard, and is getting easier again. Even though it is challenging sometimes, it is my favorite way to spend time with her and I never imagined how much I would enjoy it. To any moms out there struggling, stick with it!

SLEEP

Overall sleep has been touch and go. She usually does really great at night with only two feedings. After she eats she goes right back to sleep. Daytime is rough. At first, she slept through the day with no problem. Then, when her reflux emerged it became an issue. She isn’t comfortable laying flat on her back so we either have to hold her or put her bassinet on an incline for her to nap. She still experiences some discomfort so she cries between naps/feedings. Her naps range from 30 minutes to an hour. She never really goes into deep sleep during the day so it is hard for me to nap or do chores around the house because I usually end up helping her “settle” several times during her naps. She has been on meds for about a week and we have started to see an improvement in her sleep in general. 

HOW AM I?

Overall, I am doing really well. Some days I’m exhausted and overwhelmed but that just comes with the territory. Mentally, I feel like I am in a good place. I am happy everyday (maybe not all day every day, but every day I am happy). I am extremely anxious about returning to work in two weeks. I love my job and I’m excited to get back but I feel nervous and guilty about leaving her. I’m sure it will pass with time.

Physically, I feel more normal as each day passes. My body doesn’t look different from before I was pregnant but I definitely feel weaker and more flabby in my arms, stomach and legs. That too will get better when I am able to return to the gym and honestly I’m not too worried about it.

Right now I am focusing on doing my best as a mom and treasuring the last days alone with my precious little girl. We already have a bond that is indescribable and I will forever remember these past few weeks that we have had alone (while dad is at work) to get to know each other and to form a very strong mother-daughter relationship from the very beginning.

I want to say thank you to my sweet little girl for being mine and loving me unconditionally.

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