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A Year In Motherhood

· Baby,Motherhood

Before my pregnancy, I balanced my office and competing competitively in weightlifting. My physical limitations were slowly growing by the months and that made it challenging. My body transformed in ways what seemed unnatural and unfamiliar to me, but never ceased to glow with beauty for others. I truly miss the belly days.

Delivery day was here, two days before the due date. The pains of active labor are one of a kind. A hazy and outer-body experience, but after three hours of pain it was pure bliss to finally meet my sweet baby. So many thoughts, emotions, and senses are awakened at this point, a true initiation into motherhood.

Motherhood is by far the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve ever been blessed to be a part of. In a couple days, we will be celebrating the little dumpling’s special day. Here are some thing’s I’ve learned along the way so far:

Breastfeeding 

  • During the first weeks postpartum, your boobs will be no doubt sore and engorged. I had an abundance of milk and it was helpful to collect letdown on one side while nursing on the other with the Haakaa silicone pump (not a substitute to a pumping machine).
  • At around week 5-6, my body was better adjusted and experienced less engorgement and letdown discomfort.
  • I used both reusable and disposable breast pads. Reusable ones were useless until week 8. There were times I would leak through the pads during the day when out and about and not notice my milk drenched shirt.

A Fussy Baby 

  • Every month your baby will reach milestones and learn new things like it’s their job. With that, there are periods of fussiness either before or after, hang in there it’s normal! “This too shall pass.”
  • As a newborn their stomach’s are still adjusting and I found that getting in a good burping session after nursing was essential. Or else it resulted in a colicky little gremlin in the evenings due to all the trap gassed that had been accumulating throughout the day. Warm baths, bicycle kicks, Boiron Colic remedy, and tummy massages helped soothe.
  • There may be moments that there is nothing you can do to console your fussy baby, just hold them tight and let them know you’re there for them.
  • Each day is can be different, routines can change, and feelings about routines can change. Emma loved bath time and the whole bed time routine. That changed one night for what felt like weeks, she would cry her head off during our usual routine. No idea why, but the good news is it was a phase and I no longer break a sweat trying to get her pajamas on before she looses it.

Don't Buy So Much Crap

  • We had too many swaddles, pacifiers, and bottles; which she never liked any. I’ve also read that if your baby hates to be swaddled, you might be doing it wrong. She still hated it. As for bottles and pacifiers, I’ve tried so many times and gave up just as much. At 7 months she started drinking from a straw sippy cup.
  • The Kirkland diapers are basically Huggies, but about $.16 cheaper per diaper. (Emma graduated from newborn sized diapers to 1 by week 5). My favorite diaper brands are Kirkland and Honest for how well they fit and helped prevent major blowout situations.
  • If you’re on a budget, focus on the essentials you need presently. Newborns grow out of things at rapid speed once they hit those 5 weeks. And that really cute high chair, you won’t need for at least another 5 to 6 months.

Skin Issues 

  • Mustella Cradle Cap Foam Shampoo and brushing out flakes helps to get rid of cradle cap most effectively. Within a week, it was gone forever.
  • If your baby has a bad diaper rash, changing their diaper often and rinsing off with water is helpful. I love Earth Mama's diaper balm too! Having diaper free time is also nice way to help their bum air out.
  • Eczema (I have a lot to say about this). It has taken a year to get under control and slowly making our way to healing. I’ve found that supporting their digestive health has been most important and patience. It’s a tough journey, but you are not alone.

Don’t Compare 

  • Babies love to be held by you, with you, or on you for a lot of the time. There are a lot of times where you won’t be able to do anything else, but be nap trapped by your sleeping beauty. Be prepared with snacks and entertainment, get comfortable.
  • You will see or hear a lot about schedules and the number one question, “How do they sleep?” Don’t get frustrated or discouraged by what you see other mamas doing as far as schedules and nap times because it doesn’t matter. I learned through a long winded way to just follow Emma’s lead and be flexible. You will soon see their patterns and have an organic routine that keeps your sanity.
  • Your baby will wake during the night whether it’s to play or nurse and it’s okay. There is nothing wrong with your baby or what you’re doing during the day. This is life with a baby, you’re doing an amazing job!
  • You know your baby best mama. Don’t let others make you feel like you are doing the wrong thing. If you want to give them all the cuddles and kisses, do it! It impossible to spoil your baby by holding them too much, it’s in their nature to be nurtured and for mothers/parents to be nurturing.

Take A Breath 

  • I’m a maniac when it comes to doing it yourself and that creates big problems. Let others help because although you have since gained the skills to do a gajillion things at once under 10 minutes, its okay to not do everything (even if you are a very capable badass).
  • If you need to cry, cry. It releases oxytocin (love hormone) and endorphins (happy hormone). No one is judging you.
  • Take time to nourish and replenish yourself, you can’t be your best self with an empty spirit. That will get old fast, give yourself a minute or sixty. Whether it’s to clean around the house, getting a lift in, or lying sprawled out on the floor doing absolutely nothing. Do what keeps your spirit lifted.

This new adventure can feel a little lonesome at times. You are never alone. When you may up be late at night for the second or third time nursing your hungry baby, many other mamas are right there with you. When you are on the verge of tears because you are frustrated your fussy and tired baby is resisting their nap, many other mamas can relate that there must be some sort of special equation and favorable conditions to be met before a nap can happen peacefully. The added thing that makes motherhood so special is the unspoken bond between mamas near and far. If you ever need it, we will rally around you.

With so much love,

Emma’s Mama

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