Throughout the first four weeks with Nellie I jotted down random thoughts and ideas on my phone. Usually while nursing or in the middle of the night, rocking a baby that refused to go back to sleep. Please excuse any typos. Lack of sleep will do that to a person.
I never in a million years could have ever fathomed how little sleep we’d get that first night. I guess I just assumed that when they sold bassinets it was because your kid would sleep in them. I never could have pictured the zombie walk Adam and I would be forced to do. Sitting in the dark of night holding and rocking a baby in 1-3 hour increments while the other slept.
All I do is google questions about sleep and questions about nursing. See also texting my friends with kids constantly trying to get any idea of how we can get more sleep or get my nipples to stop hurting.
I know I should be trying to get Nellie used to sleeping in her bassinet during the day, but after feeding her the only place I want her is on my chest. I kiss her little head constantly and listen to the feel of her breath on my chest.
There has got to be a better way to survive the night than passing this baby back and forth…
Nellie has woken up from her first week super slumber. Her eyes are wider, searching and her voice is coming in. That witching hour people speak of, it’s here!
I can’t help but wonder if Nellie cries more than she should. Are babies really this unhappy with life? Is it a phase as some people say or an issue I should be looking into? It can’t be normal for a baby to scream bloody murder at you whenever they aren’t sleeping or eating. Right?
Two chunks of four hours of blissful uninterrupted sleep at night can make you an entirely new person.
When Nellie didn’t regain her birth weight by her two week appointment the pediatrician put me on an every two hour feeding + in the middle pumping schedule with supplemental bottle feeding that has me attached to a baby or a machine every hour and in tears constantly.
Maybe it’s the facial hair, but Nellie does not seem to fuss when her grandfather holds her.
My mother has this baby rock-bounce move down that is a Nellie sleep inducing machine. Neither Adam or I can seem to master it. Can she move in?
I’m constantly googling. Wondering if what I’m doing is setting me up for hell later on. Is having her sleep in her rock’n play going to mean that transitioning her to a crib or to her bassinet will be hell? When should I start the transition? 3 weeks? 6? 8? 12? Is her desire for movement and rocking going to be the demise of us all? Will she need rocking forever? Put her down drowsy but not asleep, or put her down knocked out? When do I stop waking her up at night to eat? Or should you really just let a sleeping baby sleep? She sleeps best in my arms. So when do I begin to try to teach her to nap on or in things other than my person? Work on the training skills now? Or enjoy the good sleeping even if it’s in my arms because it’s better than a baby who’s missed her nap? Eat, play, sleep. Or eat, sleep, play? Why is this so hard?
I definitely don’t feel comfortable out and about with the baby. The only way I’m willing to attempt it is with Adam. I’ve only done one solo trip, 5 minutes from our house to the doctor and Nellie screamed in the car both ways. Even out with Adam I feel like I’m holding my breath for the meltdown. The diaper change with nowhere to change her, the first time I have to feed in public. Eventually I’ll have to cross off these milestones, but for now they terrify me and I’ve managed to continue to keep them at bay.
True love is sobbing at 5 am when the baby is up AGAIN after a really hard night and your husband saying, “Go to bed, I’ve got her,” and not waking you back up for two and a half hours.
Today me, Adam and his folks all went out to run errands with the baby. We tackled Costco and the grocery store and I did it. I changed a diaper in the car, I transferred her from her car seat to a carrier without a meltdown and we made it past the two hour feeding mark without a scene. As I checked out by myself (everyone else was still shopping while I got some lady items) a woman in line asked how old Nellie was. When I said three weeks the woman said, “I bow to you dear being out with a three week old. When I had my first I could hardly leave my bedroom let alone the house. I seriously commend you. You’re doing great.” And you know what? I did feel like I was doing great. This is hard and a lot of times I feel scared or unsure and wonder if I’m doing this all wrong but also some times I need to remember that we’re doing it. We really are. Somehow some way we keep figuring this whole parenting thing out a little more each day. Who would have thought?
We’re having more and more moments of calm baby. Laying in bed with her on our laps cooing, her hanging in her swing looking around calmly while we eat dinner, gone a little more and more the baby who screamed if she wasn’t in our arms, asleep or eating. I can’t help but wonder still sometimes if the times where the crying seems inconsolable if this is just life as a baby, or if she’s suffering from something. Dairy intolerance? Gas? Or do I simply not realize that life with a baby contained this much crying?
You know you’re a new mom when you find yourself googling, “How much crying is normal for a newborn?”.
I swear I hold my breath while she naps. I constantly look over at her wondering if it will be over soon. Each little coo or head flop has me looking over like, “Is this the end? Am I back on duty?”. When do I start actually relaxing during nap time?
I am absolutely shocked that it has already been four weeks. I feel like it has been three days since we brought her home. Although clearly we have figured out quite a bit about living and surviving with a newborn, I also still feel so confused. Everyone says the six week mark is the start of a real change in behavior and I can’t believe that milestone is now only two weeks away.
I knew when we designed/decorated the nursery that we’d spend a lot of time in here, but I didn’t realize how important already the rocker would become. During the day it’s the perfect quiet place to turn on the white noise machine, rock Nellie to sleep and look out the window. At night when she wont be soothed back to sleep by my arms in bed I come in here to rock, and listen to the white noise by the soft blue glow of the nightlight. We have a rocker downstairs as well, but often if things are melting down the nursery is the go-to place for sleep. I’m so glad we put so much thought into this room.
Side lying nursing is the most amazing thing in the world. I don’t do it during night feeds because it would be too hard to transfer Nellie to her bed afterwards, but for the first feed in the morning I love laying there on my side with her, belly to belly. I close my eyes and place my hand on her as she eats. She squirms and kicks, wiggles and nestles while I relax next to her. When she’s done we just lay there. She kicks her little feet and coos her sweet baby coos and we chat. She’s the most content after her first morning feed. This sweet little angel baby I just want to eat up.
The older she gets the more I can see how her little body is programmed to be stuck to mine. How she instinctively curls up against me after nursing. Happy to lay with her head against my chest listening to my familiar heartbeat. How I can calm her three times faster than anyone else. How she instinctively knows that she’s left my loving arms and been set down somewhere. Eyes wide open. Where’s mom? At times I feel so overwhelmed by such need, but mostly I am settling into this role as this tiny, beautiful, amazing person’s mom and whole world as she is mine.
One month old. This morning after nursing I burped her and held her to my chest as I normally do, softly patting her back. When she was really little this would immediately turn into her sleeping on my chest, reclining my chair back so we could both get comfortable. But the last week or so she refused my chest naps. Then this morning she decided to snuggle in like old times for a nap. One arm cupping her bottom, another softly stroking her back. I reclined the chair back and listened as her breathing settled to match mine and as I did, tears welled in my eyes.
There have been moments in this month of new parenthood where I’ve struggled immensely with the task of being “mom”. Where I’ve wondered what we were thinking in taking this journey. Wondering if we’d ever feel even remotely normal again. Asking myself and others, When does this become, fun? But more and more lately the fog of new parenthood that has left me in tears has faded and made more room for the joys of parenthood. As I lay there with her on my chest I just felt so overwhelmed with love.
This past month has been so hard in so many ways, but it also has been filled with love, laughter and joy. As I look at how much we’ve learned in a short month I can’t imagine how different it will be in another month, or in three, six, or even a year from now.
Here’s to another month, another six months, another year, another lifetime my Nellie girl.