Thursday, April 19, 2012

Top 10 things I've learned in my first 4 weeks as a mom

Dear Elliot,
I can't believe you will be four weeks old tomorrow! It's been a total whirlwind of a month, but I have learned so much about being a mom during these crazy first four weeks. Here are the top ten, in no particular order:

1. Breastfeeding, while awesome, is not easy. I feel like I have to preface this by saying now that we've gotten the hang of things, I really enjoying nursing you. But I want to toss all those books that told me (and this is pretty much an exact quote) "if you experience nipple pain while nursing, you are doing something wrong" in the garbage. I spent the whole first week or so stressed out that I was "doing something wrong" because my nipples were sore. Looking back, that's just silly. Of course they are going to be sore at first. No matter how perfect the latch is, or how great your positioning is, you still have a freaking human being sucking on your boob! That is going to take a bit of getting used to!

2. The laundry is never ending. I think I've spent more time down in the laundry room in the last four weeks than I have in the last four years of my life. The mountain of items you manage to poop, pee, or spit-up through during the course of just one day is quite impressive!

And you know what also feels never ending?

3. The amount of time spent feeding. Like I said earlier, breastfeeding is hard work! When you eat every two hours, for at least 30-40 minutes at a time, it feels like my life pretty much revolves around nursing. Grandma (my mom) calls me everyday and will ask, "what are you doing?" 99% of the time my answer is "feeding Elliot, what else!?" I really don't mind because I love having all that time to bond and be so close to you, but man, you definitely got your dad's crazy appetite, Son! :)

But still...

4. I just can't get enough of you. You'd think with all the time I spend feeding and taking care of you, I'd want a break every now and then. But even when Dad gets home from work and I get to take a shower, I miss you during those 15 minutes of 'me time.' And in the mornings, when Dad takes you downstairs and gives you your one pumped bottle of the day so I can get a couple hours of sleep, I miss being able to roll over and see you sleeping next to me in your bassinet. Dad and I are going to a wedding at the end of next month, and I'm already scared of how badly I'm going to miss you while you're hanging out with Grandma all evening. I just love being around you, little boy!

5. It's all about trial and error. I'm quickly realizing that raising a baby requires trying lots of different things until you find something that works. For example, we started out putting you down to sleep in your bassinet. After noticing you weren't comfortable flat on your back (due to what I think is some mild reflux), we stuck a blanket under the top of the mattress so you'd be on an incline. Then after it became apparent that you really liked falling asleep to movement, like when you're in your vibrating bouncer or driving in the care, we rigged the vibrator box from your Pack N Play to your bassinet. Add a portable white noise machine attached to the side, and I think we may have finally gotten your sleeping area settled! I also swore I wasn't going to do the whole pacifier thing, but a couple crying fits later, and I can't wait to get that thing in your mouth as soon you start screaming (especially in public!)

And speaking of screaming in public...

6. It's a given that you will decide you want to eat at the precise hour I attempt to take you out in public by myself. I swear, Dad and I have taken you to Target like 10 times already and you've always just slept the whole time. But of course the first time I decide to take you there myself, you start screaming your head off five minutes into the trip. And by screaming I mean the blood-curdling screams we call the 'goat cries,' where you sound all shaky like a baby goat. I tried picking you up and dancing around with you in the cereal aisle. Didn't help. Tried popping that pacifier in your mouth. Helped for about four seconds, until you realized it wasn't going to give you milk, at which point you spit it out and continued screaming. I quickly realized you were inconsolable and started booking it to the check-out at the front of the store. On my way there, I got lots of sympathetic looks from strangers, and even a couple sweet, "hang in there, Mamas" from older, more experienced moms. I was so frazzled by the end of the ordeal, that I almost left my bags at the register after paying for them (a big thank you to the woman who called after me, "Ma'am, do you want to take your bags with you?").

7. Things that are really gross, are somehow not so gross when its your own kid doing them. If anyone else in the world sprayed pee in my eye, or threw up all over my hair and down my bra, or pooped on my hand, I'd be pretty upset. But when its you doing these things, its actually weird how little it bothers me. Somehow, even your pukes can be kind of cute :)

8. Boys are just as much fun to dress up as girls. I totally thought I was going to save so much money because there just aren't that many cute boy clothes to be tempted to buy, but that is just not true. Okay, so boys don't get to wear the frilly dresses, but oh my goodness, sweater vests? Old man cardigans? Tiny little hipster skinny jeans? Flannel shirts just like Dad wears? and of course all the hats? Dressing you up is so much fun. I'm getting my fill now, before you grow up and start hating me for it, ha.

9. Everything you do is magical. Really, you are the most entertaining little creature ever. Dad and I are constantly calling each other into the room and saying, "oh my gosh, look at his face right now!" or "hurry, come look at how he's holding onto my finger!" Just the fact that you are here, living and breathing and growing is a miracle to me. And those moments when you look me in the eyes and I know you know I'm your mama? There is simply nothing more magical than that.

10. Motherhood everything I've heard it was, and more. Being a mom is just as exhausting as people said it would be. Just as scary. But it's also just as amazing. There's a Dixie Chicks song I sing to you all the time that says, "life began when I saw your face," and it's so true. I can hardly imagine life before you, Elliot. My life has taken on so much more meaning. I've never been as excited for each new day, for the future, as I am right now. I love you like I never knew I could love another person. Holding you in my arms is worth dealing with all the sore nipples, embarrassing public meltdowns, dirty laundry, pee, poop, and puke in the world, a million times over.

All my love,


Curls O Fred said...

It's a pretty amazing journey you have, and it's lovely to see how things are going with you three. My mantra became, "it will pass" in regards to various difficult phases of baby sounds like you are doing great mama. Keep up the good work!

B. Wilson said...

Your #1 has got to be my #1. I agree with just about all of what you wrote being 4 weeks ahead, but #1 is serious. I mean, think about it. Sucking about 10 hours a day. That has to make anything sore, no? At 8 weeks, they still hurt about 20% of the time for some reason, but I know how to do this well now and it's just because... not because anything's wrong.

About an hour ago I just had a blowout up. to. his. neck and all over him and me. Like, his head, legs, ear, my arms, pants, the sink, etc etc. Massive. And yet, I didn't vomit. I even wiped him with my bare hands!

Love those photos of your sweet boy.

Casie said...

Thank you for the reminder! Our daughter is 15 months and we've been deciding on the timing of a second baby. These reminders of the good things early on are much needed.

Bethany said...

My daughter is a little over two weeks old and I agree 100% with everything you've said. I never dreamed breast feeding could be so hard, but it definitely is!

Meghan1009 said...

My daughter is 18 months old, and you are so right! I wish that everyone who has trouble with #1 would just stick to it though, as it does get easier as time goes on!
This post brought tears to my eyes and made me remember my daughters newborn goes so quickly. And I promise you, every chapter, every phase, every "new thing" is just as magical as they get older. I thought that at some point I'd "get over it" but so far, I haven't! Enjoy the ride mama, so happy for you!

crystal said...

He's beautiful!!!

Ashley said...

It is such an adventure in the beginning. Sounds like you are doing great!

Jessica said...

What a beautiful post! Makes me so anxious to meet my little Logan! Hope he decides to join the world VERY soon! (((hugs))) SO happy for you mama!

belli said...

learning to nurse while standing/walking will save you many times................ :)
Keep up the good work mama!!

Crystal said...

My heart smiled reading this post! My oldest and only living child just turned 4 in February. Ahhh... what I wouldn't give to go back to those early days. He was such an easy baby and I loved every moment of his first year. Of course, now that he is a rowdy, loud preschooler... I miss that time even more. ;-) LOL.

Enjoy every moment, mama!

Leanne said...

This made me get all teary-eyed! I just loved reading about your days/experiences with Elliot. :)

Franchesca said...

Loooooooove this!!!!!!!!!!

Tiffany said...

your list is spot on. everything those little creatures do is magical. and yes BF-ing is SUPER hard work even though it's natural. with Julius i spent about 6 wks in pain, and with little girl it was about 4. i read all of these things that say that BF-ing shouldn't be painful, and i think "BS!!" maybe for some it isn't, but that was not the case for me.

RisenPhoenix said...

Just a quick thing about #1...wait until they get teeth, then your nipples are really sore. I have breastfed my daughter for the last year (she is almost one). Now I am down to two times a day (when she wakes and bedtime) and as much as her tiny teeth hurt, I love the bond it has created.

Laundry will never be done, public meltdowns happen, pee, poop, snot, and spit up get everywhere but it is truly a wonderful experience being a mother. Your story and second chance at motherhood inspires me. I wish you the best of luck!

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