Making the most of it

My maternity leave ends next month. I cannot describe how sad this makes me.

I spent the first month of my leave under somewhat self inflicted house arrest. Partly because for two weeks I didn’t have a car (wouldn’t have gone anywhere anyway), partly because I was terrified of taking A out of the house, and partly because I was so freaking exhausted. I’m still pretty exhausted, but I’m determined to make the most of the rest of my leave. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be a stay at home mom (more realistically I’ll be a “working at home mom”) so I want to really enjoy the next month.

Yesterday I took A for a walk in the neighborhood behind our condos. When I was pregnant I said I was going to take her for walks all the time, but this was the maybe the second one we’ve gone on. I love the stroller we got, but getting her in her car seat can be a pain, since she HATES going in it and usually screams, but the weather is finally getting really nice and Fall-ish down here. God only knows how long that will last, so I want to take advantage of it while I can. She whined about being bundled up and put in her seat for a bit, but once we were on the way, she calmed down. I left the canopy of the stroller open so she could look around, and she seemed interested in…whatever she was looking at. Blurry leaves? Blurry trees? Listening to the wind? Who knows.

John had an early day yesterday, so we were able to have some family time. We took A to one of her Daddy’s favorite places: Bass Pro Shop. She slept the entire time we were there, so I’m not sure what her opinion was. I’m sure John will drag her on many a trip there, so she’ll have plenty of time to make up her mind.

When we got home, we took her outside to get some pictures of us with her, since other than the our birth photos taken at the hospital, all of our pictures are just of her. We took several, but this is my favorite:

Even though nothing exciting happened, it was a really nice day. I hope we can have more like it before I go back to work.

 

Hold me, love me, hold me, love me

Mom and Dad, you always said you hoped I had a baby just like me: Needy, fussy, and whiny. Well, your wish came true.

I’ve mentioned several times A does not like to be put down.

Ever.

At all.

When we first came home with her, this wasn’t such a big deal. I had help and visitors the first couple weeks and didn’t notice it much. My maternity leave seemed never ending, and not something I had to worry about. But, now she’s five weeks, and I go back to work in a month, I’m starting to worry a little about her constant need to be in someone’s arms. It’s especially bad in the afternoons and evenings, when she is at her fussiest and literally the only thing that soothes her is being held and nursed.

I love to snuggle with my baby. While I wish I could be a little more productive during the day–I finally did the dishes today after about two weeks of staring at them; I received a Moby wrap from an old friend yesterday, and while I still need to master the basics of actually using it, it seems to work better for long term baby-wearing during the day. She’ll only tolerate being in her sling for short periods of time–I don’t mind holding her all day long. Especially since I know this time next month I won’t be able to anymore. However, I don’t expect our childcare providers will be as willing to hold her all the time (she’ll be watched by family the first month and then probably part-time daycare and part-time family after the new year).

Everyone in my life seems to be telling me I need to break this “habit”. Can newborns even have habits? It seems unnatural to me to let my baby just cry this young. Everything I’ve read says newborns can’t be spoiled or held too much, but everyone I know, it seems, wants to tell me the opposite. I do put her down when she’s napping or settled down, but as soon as she starts to whine, I pick her up again. I just can’t listen to her cry.

Someone tell me I’m not alone in this. I know I can’t hold her forever, so please tell me she’ll outgrow this phase. It breaks my hear to think she’ll be crying when I go back to work because she can’t be held 24/7. Mommies, help me out!

Growth update and stuff

A had her one month well-baby visit with her pediatrician, Dr. Baby. She is weighing in at 8 pounds, 10.5 ounces and is 21 inches long.

 

This puts her in the 30th percentile for weight and the 41st percentile for height. So it’s looking she’s destined to be petite at the moment. I guess she is taking more after me; I come from small genes. John is tall, but most of his family is not, he is literally the tallest person in his family by a long shot, making him kind of an anomaly, so maybe she’s taking after both sides. I guess we’ll find out as she gets older.

At this rate, it’s going to take her awhile to totally fill out her 0-3 month clothes and move up in diapers. We’re still in newborns for both. Not that I’m complaining; I love my little bit.

Dr. Baby says A is doing and growing beautifully. She’s really pleased with her growth, especially after our initial setback with breast-feeding. She even said she was proud how I stuck with it (yay mommy!). We talked briefly about my feeding plans for after I go back to work (boo) and my frustrations with pumping. And other than a minor meltdown right before we left the office, A hardly even fussed at all and was awake for Dr. Baby the entire visit. Such a good, strong girl.

I’m doing my best to post more often, as I’ve figured out how to use the boppy so I can “hold” A and type at the same time. Not really the most comfortable thing in the world, but I really enjoy writing over here, and I want to keep it up.

But, if I go AWOL for a couple days, you can rest assured this is why:

It’s hard to focus on anything else when the cutest thing in the world wants to cuddle. Cuddles always win.

 

Hot Shot Mama’s Essential Newborn Gear

Now that A is one month old, I feel like I can speak with some authority on what has made having a newborn easier. Newborns don’t need a lot in terms of stuff, but there are definitely a few indispensable items. I would classify them as needs, but since all a newborn really “needs” per se is diapers, wipes, clothes, food, and love, I’ll just say they’re things you really, really, REALLY want to have.

1. Infant swing

Oh, infant swing, how do I love thee, let me count the ways…If I didn’t have a swing, most days I wouldn’t be able to eat breakfast. Or lunch. Or use the bathroom. It is literally the only place she will sit for any length of time without crying. This is a great item to pick up second hand from a friend or borrow because they can be kind of pricey. We borrowed ours from my SIL and brother. It’s a Fisher Price cradle swing that has now been used by three babies in our family, originally purchased for my nephew who is almost six, so clearly these things hold up. Worth the investment or storage space, IMO.

2. Wubbanub

A’s Wubbanub in action

A Wubbanub is basically a stuffed animal attached to a pacifier. It’s awesome because the animal gives the paci a little weight so baby can’t eject it out of his/her mouth as easy. I got A one a couple weeks ago, and it’s quickly becoming her favorite thing; it goes with us everywhere. She can keep it in her mouth a lot longer than just a regular binky, which is AWESOME at bed time. Also, the paci on the end is a Soothie pacifier by Avent, which as of right now is the only bink A will take. A Pacimal is similar, but you can get an adapter to attach any type of paci to it.

OBV, this only helps if your baby takes a binky, which, for your sake, I hope they do, at least for the first few months.

3. Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddlers

I admit I only got these at first because all the baby sites and blogs cited them as a celebrity favorite (I know, I know, you can go ahead and judge me, I’m a little ashamed). But they have quickly become our go-to blanket. I am an awful swaddler, A always busts out if I swaddle her, but John is a pro at it, and he thinks these blankets are the bees knees. They’re nice and big and stretchy. We use ours as a car seat cover up and for tummy time, too (the packaging says they can be used as burp clothes or changing pad covers, but at $34.99 for a 4 pack, that’s a little too expensive for me to use to clean up spit up or catch pee/poop). Also they are SUPER light weight, which is great for Southern Louisiana, where it is STILL warm.

4. The Baby Burrito Blanket (AKA the Swaddleme by Summer Infant)

No babies or burritos were harmed while taking this picture

I know I just said the A&A muslin blankets are THE go-to swaddling blankets, but the Swaddleme is a great weapon to have in the parenting arsenal. One word: Velcro. A has been getting pretty fussy in the evenings lately and swaddling really helps. The burrito blanket pretty much makes it so she can’t get out (though our little Houdini has, some how, managed to get an arm free from time to time; determination, even babies have it).

5. A sling (or some sort of baby carrier)

I’ve mentioned before A really loves to be held. My SIL’s mom made me a sling for my baby shower, and it’s been really helpful on those days where she won’t tolerate being put down but I really need to have two hands for something. Also I can take her out to get the mail or go for walks without having to put her in her car seat and stroller. SUPER convenient because she loves going outside. There are tons of brands/types of baby carriers, so find one that works for you.

So, there you have it, my ABSOLUTE ESSENTIAL newborn items. Register for them, buy them, borrow them, steal them (JK! Don’t steal them, but if you do you didn’t get the idea from me).

What items made your newborn days easier? Leave your must haves in the comments!

Dear Amelia {One Month}

Dear Amelia,

Happy one month birthday, baby girl! I can’t believe you’ve already been here for a whole month. It seems like yesterday we were at hospital meeting you for the first time. Then again, it seems like yesterday I was finding out I was pregnant with you, so that should say something about how quickly time passes. I have to be honest, it’s a little bittersweet. It’s so amazing watching you grow and change, but I wish it would take a little longer!

I have so enjoyed getting to know you. You are starting to become a little person, and watching your personality bloom is the biggest joy in my life. Like Mommy, you are nosy! This means you are reluctant to fall asleep because you are afraid you’ll miss something. However, also like Mommy, once you are asleep, you love to stay that way, and you are very slow to wake up, even when hungry. But, like daddy, you have a HUGE appetite. You love to eat, and you don’t care where it comes from, me or a bottle.

You are definitely also like your dad in that you are a morning person. You are so alert and happy in the mornings! I love to just sit with you and listen to all you have to say. On the other hand, you are very cranky in the evening. You take after me in that, I’m afraid, you definitely can fuss! We’re still learning how to settle you down, but most days swaddling you tight then taking the rocking chair for a spin works wonders. And you love your binky, too. You’ve finally learned how to keep it in your mouth.

You are not the biggest fan of bath time, but you are getting used to it. You love to snuggle. In fact, most nights you won’t sleep unless I’m holding you. This doesn’t make it easy for Mommy, but the way you burrow your head into my neck and sigh contentedly makes it worth it. I just keep telling myself these days aren’t going to last long, so I want to treasure each cuddle with you. One day I know you won’t want to cuddle with your Mama, though I pray that day is far far away.

I have a secret, Amelia. When I was pregnant, everyone asked me if I wanted a girl or a boy. I told everyone it didn’t matter, but secretly, I wanted a girl so badly. I would have loved a boy, but I have always dreamed of a daughter. And we got you, a perfect little girl, and for that we are the luckiest parents in the world.

Baby A, the day we had you, the day we brought you home, and everyday since have been dreams come true. You’ve given me the worlds greatest gift: You’ve made me a mother. I will never be able to describe what this means to me, what you mean to me. You are my heart. You are my soul. You are my love personified.

I love, love, love you, to infinity times 100, my sweet baby girl. To the first of many, many months together.

Love,
Mommy

You know you’re a new mom when…

– Baby spits up all over you and his/herself in the middle of the night, and you care enough to change baby’s clothes but not your own.

– It’s been so long since you last wore make up you forget how to apply it.

– You say “This better be worth putting real clothes on for” more than you care to admit.

– You fall asleep in the middle of a conversation.

…Actually, you fall asleep in the middle of doing anything.

– You are no longer right-handed or left-handed, instead you are becoming adept at doing everything one-handed.

– Your once neat house now looks like a tornado hit it.

– You can swaddle in your sleep.

…If you got any sleep at all, that is.

– You sleep three hours in a row and describe it as “a good night.”

– You feel lucky, exhausted, blessed, frustrated, over joyed, overwhelmed, and love all at the same time.

…In the midst of all the emotions, in spite of sheer exhaustion, you can’t help but look down at the little person you GREW in awe and wonder, and find yourself thinking, “OMG, how did you get so freaking cute?!”

Did I leave anything out?