It’s been a while since I’ve checked in, but I figured Audrey’s first month of life was a good enough reason to come on and update you!
I’ve been asked similar questions by a lot of folks this month, so I will answer them here as a sort of baby update and postpartum update in FAQ’s.
How is she eating? Audrey is breastfed a majority of the time via pumped milk in a bottle, with the occasional formula supplement. She had problems latching right after birth, so we developed a routine in the hospital of using a nipple shield to attempt breastfeeding, followed by formula to supplement, and I’d pump to initiate healthy production (a routine that was great for those early days in the hospital… not realistic at all when we got home). Audrey had a tongue tie that we did get clipped early on, but it did not help with latching (I’m still glad we did it; tongue ties can lead to speech problems later on in life, along with needing painful and repetitive procedures).
Attempting the breast was stressful, tear-filled and exhausting for both me and Audrey. I finally decided to put away the fight and the feelings of guilt that I wasn’t able to nurse naturally (similar to the guilt I felt needing to have a c-section) — I’ve realized that a huge part of becoming a parent is putting aside your “ideals” and ignoring those voices in your head that tell you that you’re doing it all wrong. Just like with the c-section, the need to pump and supplement was so much easier to accept because I wanted her to be healthy and happy, regardless of what I wanted.
Now, I pump 7-8 times per day to provide her with breast milk for most of her feedings, supplementing with formula every now and then when it is more convenient or if she needs to sleep. The truth is, I feel just as bonded with her on the other side of a bottle as I would if she were directly on my chest. God bless women who can nurse their babies naturally; direct nursing (or my attempt at it anyway) actually brought on resentment, depression, and chaos for me, so bottle feeding (with or without breast milk) is what makes us both happy! (Plus, Alex is able to help out with feedings … a huge blessing for us!)
How is she sleeping? Her stretches of sleep at night are getting longer and longer, where we will only get up once around 2 or 3 am to feed her, then not again until 6 or 7 am. It’s awesome! But, this also means that sleeping during the day is spotty for her. She is easily over-stimulated and distracted so it is hard to put her down for naps. (However, as I type this, she is going on her third hour of sleep in the middle of the day … seems to be the calm before the storm!)
What fun things have happened this month? She is growing so fast! She’s able to hold her head up for a while when we hold her or when she is on the floor for tummy time. She is showing signs of beginning to smile in response to stimuli.
Audrey has already gotten out of the house a few times this month. We brought her to church a couple times (and she slept through the whole service), and she’s been out for trips to see family (my Grandma’s 87th birthday, a lake day at my aunt and uncle’s house).
She has already pooped and thrown up on me, so literally nothing grosses me out anymore.
So many family members and friends have visited us to see her and to just make sure we are fed, which has our cups overflowing with gratitude.
What’s my favorite part of being a mommy? Seeing a sincere curiosity in her eyes is amazing. We have been watching her take everything in as her vision and reflexes / responses get more and more refined every day. It’s pretty cool!
I also have just loved seeing Alex come into being a daddy. It happened right away in the hospital; as I laid on the operating table, waiting to see the baby, Alex was watching her intently, holding her gently, and smiling from ear to ear … which he still does every time he sees her.
How is recovery going for me? Great! I am already below my pre-pregnancy weight (a huge benefit of breastfeeding) and my incision has healed up nicely. I will be back at work in about a month; until then, I’m eating and resting when I can, and soaking up these early weeks with my baby during the day.