disclaimer: I started this post on Wednesday while the baby was sleeping and didn't get a chance to finish it until today, Friday. #momlife
I'm sitting here on the couch next to baby Luca sleeping soundly in his Dock-a-Tot. the Today Show is on and I'm organizing my Inbox a bit, taking advantage of this quiet time before he stirs and wakes up.
I can't believe Luca is already two weeks old! those first two weeks FLEW by (as everyone said they would) and although I'm getting used to newborn life, I have been spoiled, because my mother had been staying with us for the first two weeks. she slept in the nursery (we have this amazing daybed in there). the fairytale ended this morning, when, after Luca's 6:30am feeding, she went home. then, at 8am, Lu went to work. so, it's all Mommy now!
I'm equally parts terrified and ready. it's time I get used to being home alone with Luca (at least before I have help come once I'm ready to go back to work). I'm excited to develop a little routine with him and get to know him better (since I can't just hand him off to my mother when I need a break or to get something done around the apartment!) my mother taught us SO much about baby-rearing and I'm so grateful for the time she spent with us.
she was hugely helpful at night too - she'd wake up with me while I breastfed and then say, "okay, go get some rest, I'll get Luca to bed!" and she'd put him to bed in his crib so I could get a solid 3 hours of sleep before his next feeding. yes, totally spoiled! something tell she she won't be able to stay way (and she's coming back in 2 weeks for a wedding/to visit)!
the first week
the first week, Luca literally slept. he slept for 3.5-4 hour stretches and would be awake for 20 minutes (IF that!) before he went back to bed. Lu and I were high-fiving each other, thinking we won the lottery with our baby - so easy! just feed him, burp him, and let him sleep!
the hardest part was my body - still sore, having to wear maxi pads (I hadn't purchased a maxi pad since middle school), bleeding non-stop, and the hormones. half the time I was burning up - like feverish - and half the time I was freezing cold. I'd find myself wanting to cry (I still haven't let myself cry!) from joy, fear, and all of the above.
although sleep deprivation is real, you kinda power through it - your adrenaline is rushing and your maternal instincts/parental instincts take over. I also had my mother here and Lu here for the first week, so I was able to fit in a nap a day and had some help in the middle of the night. half the time my mother would take the baby after I fed him and get him to sleep. it was heavenly.
the nighttime feeding (2am) is tough because of the burping, honestly. if I could just put Luca down after he feeds (he's always so drowsy/tired), it would be so easy - but you have to burp him first and that usually wakes him up and then who knows how long it'll take to get him back to sleep - sometimes it's 5 minutes, sometimes an hour!
the second week
Luca stopped sleeping as much and was much more alert during the day. like, he was awake for 6-7 hours. it was a little more difficult because we constantly had to be with the baby, entertaining him. we went on some walks outside, played with him, sung to him, and danced him around the apartment.
Lu went back to work, so it was just my mom and I. we had our little groove going. he started eating less frequently (instead of every 2-3 hours, we fed him every 4 hours.) luckily, Luca was already back at his birth weight, so the pediatrician said it's okay if we wanted to do that. he seemed like he was generally on a schedule at night - 10pm feeding, 2am feeding, and 6am feeding. it wasn't too bad!
when Lu gets home from work, he's usually right around the time I'm finishing up a feeding, and Lu is our 'burp master' - he can instantly get Luca to burp and spit up, whereas it takes me a bit longer (I dunno why!)
then his witching hour and cluster feeding began. he would feed every 1-2 hours at night (from 6-9pm) and he was much fussier than he had ever been before. it took a lot to settle him down and sometimes, I'd just throw him on the boob because nothing else was working - and that always works.
as my mom said, "some babies just need to fuss before they get to bed." Luca started fussing and crying and then he'd pass out hard. I guess she was right! it's hard realizing that the baby doesn't actually NEED anything except for sleep and he's just overtired and doesn't know how to put himself to sleep.
they're not kidding when they said breastfeeding is the hardest part!!
I must have spent HOURS watching breastfeeding YouTube videos on proper latching, read articles about it, went to a breastfeeding class, and even got some help in the hospital post-delivery. still, I couldn't figure out how to get Luca to latch without a lot of pain. in the hospital, I was so overwhelmed, I'd just shove him on my boob and hope for the best. it was so painful I ended up having scabbed, chapped, and blistered nipples - the WORST. it's hard to fall asleep with that kind of pain!
when my milk came in, it was like WOA, did I just get breast implants? my breasts felt like hard rocks - they were immediately engorged. it was hard to breastfeed Luca because my boobs were so hard, I couldn't even hold my boob right to get it in Luca's mouth. that's when the lactation counselor came in. my milk came in a day or two after I got home from the hospital and the LC came the next day (a Friday.)
WHAT A GODSEND. it is literally the best money I've spent on this baby to date - worth every penny. she texts me all day, I can send her photos and videos of my latch when I'm not sure what I'm doing, and if I have any questions or concerns, she's right there for me. she spent 3 hours with me perfecting my latch, showing me different positions, showing me what to look for in a good latch, what it should feel like, what to do if you're engorged, etc.
luckily, I'm able to exclusively breastfeed (it's SO convenient!) - and baby Luca is thriving! he was 8 pounds 2 ounces on Monday, so gaining an ounce a day, in the healthy range! breastfeeding is much, much better now that I saw the lactation counselor. in the middle of the night, sometimes I get lazy and the latch isn't the best, or Luca falls asleep early on in the feeding and I worry a bit, but I've learned not to get anxious and focus on things I can measure - wet diapers, poops, etc. I haven't pumped yet, but I definitely will one I have to go back to work - or maybe even just to get a break later on and allow Lu to bottle-feed Luca and bond a little with him.
must-haves for the first weeks
here are the products I could not live without in the first two weeks:
Dock-A-Tot: this is probably my top recommendation - I put Luca in the Dock-a-Tot whenever I need a break and need my hands free (like to use the bathroom, eat, etc.) I'll put it in him only when he's awake and relaxed OR when he's fallen asleep (usually in my arms) and I'm ready for a break. I like to put a blanket down over the Dock-A-Tot to make it extra cozy and then layer over with another blanket for extra warmth. when I'm getting changed to take him out for a stroller walk, I bring the Dock-A-Tot in my bedroom and talk to him while I change and watch him.
Fisher Price Rock n' Play: Luca sleeps really well in this and loves the vibrate, rocking, and white noise. what's great about this version is that it syncs to your phone, so if the music stops or I want to amp up the volume or the rocking speed, I can do it on my phone. what we love most about it is that Luca can join us while we're having dinner - we plug it in near the kitchen table and he can see us (it puts him slightly upright) and we can talk to him and watch him as we scarf down our dinner.
stroller organizer/caddy: when I first started using the stroller, I thought, "I'll just put my purse underneath the stroller and grab it when I need something" and after the first ride with Luca, I realized I needed something that was easier to grab - for grabbing my keys, hand sanitizer, my phone, wallet, etc. AND an extra place for drinks (I already have this sturdy cup holder on my stroller.) I can't recommend this stroller caddy enough!
Lansinoh Soothies gel pads: during the beginning of breastfeeding, I wasn't latching Luca on right, so my nipples paid the price. even showering was painful. I got these gel pads and they soothed like magic - no more pain! they have a nice cooling effect and can be used for up to 72 hours. I bought SO many of these, because they also block leaks.
exercise ball: OH.MY. where would I be without this exercise ball? seriously, it works like MAGIC with Luca. I bounce on it when he's crying and extremely overtired/fussy and he literally goes into a trance and calms down. also, it helps us get him to bed at night - with a little bit of white noise or lullaby music, he starts yawning immediately. it's also great for your posture!
travel white noise machine: a follower on Instagram actually suggested this and I'm so glad she did. it's extremely portable, has a bunch of different white noise and lullaby sounds and has great volume control. we use it when Luca's in the stroller, in the car, and just in between rooms in our apartment. we use it most when trying to get him soothed and to bed at night.
my breast friend nursing pillow: although I have the Boppy, I use that more for when I just need arm support when holding Luca for longer periods of time or just hanging out with him. I found the Boppy elevated the baby too high up and because I have larger breasts, I felt like I was suffocating him with my boob everytime I tried to breastfeed. I find the my breast friend nursing pillow to be better for my big chest and it has a little pocket that I stick a burp cloth in so I always have a burp cloth to grab.
onesies with zips or magnets: the first week of Luca's life, we were putting him in a lot of over-the-head onesies (poor kid) and he would wail and freak out because it would take us so long to get him in them and then clip him in with buttons. we quickly ordered all onesies that have zips or magnets (the magnetic me brand is our favorite) because especially when you're breastfeeding in the middle of the night, the last thing you want to do is have to start all over again because you missed a clasp or button. zips and magnetics all the way!
wipes warmer: I originally saw this on one of those "unnecessary baby products" list so I resisted it at first until I immediately realized that our baby HATES being cold, especially when woke up in the middle of the night for a feeding. SO, the last thing he needs is to be wiped with a cold damp wipe. thus, we got a wipes warmer and it helped tremendously!
water wipes: speaking of wipes, when the baby was super young and we weren't cleared to use baby wipes yet, I didn't want to have to wet a paper towel every time we wiped him down during a diaper change (like they showed us in the hospital), we got Water Wipes which are 99% water. they were great and we still use them, especially when he pees during a diaper change!
halo sleep sack swaddle: another life-saving item, these sleep sack swaddles. from day 1, Luca wanted to use his hands. he would wrestle himself out of every swaddle (even the tightest from the trained nurses in the hospital) and we quickly found that he liked to suck on his thumb, his fingers, his hands and was generally comforted by his hands. SO, we needed another solution- and again, something that was QUICK, especially in the middle of the night for those 2am feedings. we discovered the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddles which use velcro and a zipper to get the baby snug inside and has an option for hands out, in and crossed near their face. works like a charm every time!
ergobaby carrier: towards the middle of week two, we started using the ergo baby. if Luca just doesn't seem to be able to settle down and he's already been fed, changed, burped, and we've tried to soothe him, he's usually just overtired, so I slide him into the Ergobaby and walk around my apartment until he falls asleep. it usually happens with in 5-10 minutes and then I can sit down and let him just sleep on my chest. OR, if I need to get things done, I unsnap him and lay him into the Rock n' Play or Dock-a-Tot. it's usually an easy transition and he doesn't wake up! I can't wait to use it when he's older to take walks outside!