Instead of writing in complete and coherent sentences, which would take way too much brain energy, I am going to summarize my experiences from the first three months post-partum using point-form style. This is essentially my own personal journal, and is not intended to be particularly interesting for the reader, so feel free to gloss over this post and move on to another! I won’t be offended (and not like I would know anyways). I just want to try and remember all the little things so years from now, I can go back and look at what those first few months were really like with Heidi-bear (though I do know there is a reason women selectively forget how incredibly trying some of those long days and nights can be – if they didn’t, I’m positive there’d be a lot more 1-child families around!). Again, I must warn you, if you do read further just know there will be no real order to the chaos. Kind of like my life right now, this post will be random and disjointed, and lack any overall semblance of a pattern/routine/order! Feel free to ask for clarification on anything. For example “cabbage leaves” may appear confusing to anyone who hasn’t had a baby or struggled with an over-supply problem during the early days of breast-feeding. That being said, you could always google the term or phrase and I am most certain you will find more information than you ever knew existed (roughly 22% of which will be somewhat accurate).
MONTH 1: Euphoria, heart exploding, disbelief, insomnia, late hemorrhage, frozen diaper pads, cabbage leaves, engorgement, semi-automatic milk ejection, hand expressing, agile baby toes in poo, Pampers for the win over Huggies (opposite rule applies for the wipes), unable to smell the difference between a wet versus soiled diaper (thanks to breastmilk?), upright or laid back nursing, constant stain removal (who knew breastmilk was so fatty?). Three week and six week growth spurt = feeding monster. Mommy losing 9 lbs despite eating like a horse, voracious hunger at night. Unimaginably in love with this tiny human; ball in throat at the thought of her …
MONTH 2: House fire in basement due to air filter malfunctioning with Heidi 5 weeks old (stressful beyond belief; suddenly safety is paramount and mommy becomes paranoid about all old appliances in the house). Attended yoga that same weekend and felt for the first time like I was reclaiming my body; it was “mine” for the first time in over a year … hard to explain, very surreal. Attended a wedding with her as our first family outing and she slept the entire time (6-10pm-ish) – talk about the benefit of white noise (it was a casual and loud affair). Up until about week 7, Heidi’s sleep had been typically from 7-1030pm, then another stretch 2.5 – 3 hours at 1030pm, then 2 more hours then 1.5 hours (up at 6/7am). Moved her into own room in bassinet (doors open) and mommy/baby started sleeping stretches of 4 hours then 3 then 2! Sometimes when very tired, she wouldn’t latch on to the breast (we had started bottle and pacifier early, about 1 week post-partum, without difficulty). Started using Ergo carrier without insert, only with a receiving towel (too bulky and hot otherwise). Bought Medella breast pads (washable) which were a nice change from the disposables. Longest sleep started day of 2 month vaccinations (7 hours, likely to do with the Tylenol and exhausting herself from crying for hours). The length decreased to 5/6 hours straight over the next few weeks (counted from last dream feed to wake-up, e.g. 10pm-3 or 4am).
MONTH 3: Longer sleeps continued. No more weight loss for mommy (since 4 weeks post-partum, sadly). Problems with latch and refusal of breast (screaming and red-faced) started shortly after 2 month vaccinations (not that I believe there is a correlation; I just remember the timing. Trust me, I am not an anti-vaccer). Saw a lactation consultant who advised that Heidi was not latching properly (likely because I had such an oversupply of milk in the first several weeks that she could simply sit there with her mouth open and the milk would spray in. I am serious. It was crazy). She hadn’t needed to latch or suck well, so now that supply was steadying, she had to work a little bit for her “food” and was frustrated by this (or so the LC thought). During our trip to Vancouver (week 9.5-11.5) Heidi refused once every 2-3 days and I just gave her the bottle. She started sleeping 6-7 hour stretches and went several hours without feeds during the day. The swing remained the best way to settle her when fussy and for daytime naps, as she only slept 20-45 minutes in the bassinet if put down swaddled with pacifier and white noise. Boba wrap also worked wonders on flight to/from Vancouver. Tried Benadryl a few days prior to flying back to Ottawa and seemed to have little effect (one day she was drowsy after for an hour or so, another day she had a meltdown after. Who knows). Around week 10 there was an explosion of cooing and different sounds/pitches vocalized. She giggled for the first time when I blew on her stomach. Cutest thing ever! Heidi didn’t love the car seat … But enjoyed the stroller and slept for hours at a time so that Opa, Nana and mommy could do the seawall and enjoy the dike in Richmond.
Things I couldn’t have done without:
1. Nursing pillow (thank you to my friend Katie for lending it to me)
3. Velcro “Summer Infant” Swaddles (because swaddling a squirmy, Houdini-esque child in a blanket is nearly impossible … and she just slept so much better with arms swaddled)
4. Swing (this is 100% the most important life-saver from those first few months – when Heidi was having a meltdown or wouldn’t sleep, the swing worked like magic. Thank you Shannon & Derek) *Note: If yours is battery-run only, have extras on hand! Ours is plug in.
5. Baby Einstein playmat (thank you Nana & Opa, this was a godsend and the “third parent” during morning breakfast prep and dishes as well as at various times throughout the day)
6. Sheepskin fuzzy rug, which we lay on top of playmat to make it softer and also used for various weekly photoshoots (thank you Dustin & Nicole)
A few other items I didn’t bother to get photos of are, of course, the breast pump (Medella Swing), antimicrobial changing pad (soaks up the pee and easy to wash), white noise and nursing timer apps (I used white noise during Heidi’s naps and night-time sleep and still do!), heating pad for bassinet and rolled up towels (to make her feel cozy in there), carriers (Ergo, Becco and Boba), pacifiers, Mommies Facebook Groups (Ottawa and Canada-wide).
That’s that!! Heidi is just over 4 months old as I finalize this post on May 25th (though I did start it many weeks ago) so my next post will be all about the fourth month post-partum (which I am just coming out of) and will include some random – and most likely, inappropriate – mommy musings from the past several weeks.