I just HAD to do an UP inspired shoot!! A little Disney/Pixar nod :)
I think the first month with your newborn is like the mom-initiation phase – a hazing to some secret society. I really truly underestimated the amount of work that goes into taking care of a newborn! It’s a 24/7 on call job. I had heard so many moms tell me ‘all newborns do is sleep!’…. I had been fooled. I’d been bamboozled into thinking I could actually do things the first month like take an uninterrupted shower, clean my house, or check and respond to a few emails for work without being interrupted. Honestly, I think that it may go by so fast and blur-like that new moms forget about what that very beginning newborn phase was like. Being a business owner that also happened to be attempting to work while on ‘maternity leave’, it really has been important for me to squeeze as much non-baby tasks into my day, as well as adequate sleep. I also had trouble finding other moms that teleworked while on maternity leave. So, to help other soon to be mommas prepare for what could very well be lurking around the corner after baby arrives – or for those that want to share a laugh (or cry) with me while nodding in agreement, below are some tips for having an easier go at mommyhood with a newborn, and some items that helped me along the way! ….
Items that helped make life a little easier
Boppy to keep baby upright after a feeding, hands free. This has also helped with his gas post-nursing and I’ve supervised him napping on the Boppy. He prefers to sleep upright – I assume he has a little reflux.
an organized, regularly stocked diaper station to make changing quick, especially at night time – our sleep minutes are precious! Having everything within arms reach, including onesies and gowns in the drawers on the changing table, has been amazingly helpful in expediting the changing process… every minute counts!
comfy, cozy nursing chair to make nursing at night relaxing if you don’t co-sleep
co-sleeping keeping a bassinet in your room makes nighttime feedings quicker, so you can get back to sleep faster!
nighttime formula supplement for baby’s that aren’t easily satisfied at night. I’ve had to introduce a supplement type of infant formula at about 10pm to help him relax at night and rest properly on a full belly. Although, I’ve heard this doesn’t work for everyone, and can mess up milk production if b-feeding. So, I pump when he does this supplement feed.
Diapers.com for very fast and free shipping of all baby essentials (two days from ordering to your front door), including auto-ship. Everything from diapers to wipes to formula! I have become an online shopper since Bane was born…. it really helps to avoid extra trips and soak in that rest or sleep time! I’d rather be resting in bed ordering than out shopping.
mamaRoo for hands free swaying/rocking, because let’s face it, you can’t hold them 24/7. This also is great for baby’s that have reflux – as they can sleep safely buckled in if needed.
Swaddling I recommend Sleep Sacks for safe swaddling! Our Houdini broke out of any Fort Knox-like swaddle. The sleep sack reduces the loose blanket scares!
Dohm white noise machine. This also has a lot to do with soothing baby and mimicking the womb. Also helps drown out other sounds in the house so baby naps soundly.
pacifiers for those comfortable with introducing a pacifier, this satisfies their sucking reflex and soothes them. Many times I thought he was hungry, but he simply wanted to suck.
chiropractor after taking Bane to the chiropractor I see and trust, his gas has greatly diminished, and he sleeps heavier — he had a misalignment in his neck and spine from coming through the birth canal. I highly recommend this if you know and trust a chiropractor that regularly adjusts infants. It’s a very gentle process – look into it — it could mean the difference between a happy and a colicky baby!
ring sling (Sakura Bloom) I’m working on using a sling/carrier to help with calming him and getting things done around the house…
My Breast Friend a prop to set baby on while you nurse and answer emails or write on your blog!
scroll down for a few more pieces of advice at the end of all these adorable newborn shots!
This fabric has the quote from Pinnochio ‘star light, star bright, first star I see tonight…’ :) I was trying to stick with the more neutral colored Disney decor
cheap and easy way to have beautiful artwork on your walls = framed puzzles!
Not quite the newborn shots I wanted of us with him, but hey, it’s reality :)
Some other things I wasn’t prepared for…
Don’t have any responsibilities or appointments for at LEAST a week
I wasn’t able to take a legit 6 week maternity leave (the kind where you don’t do anything for work, at all). I did work from home via email and phone, but that was really all I could handle without ripping out my eyeballs! The sleep deprivation, the physical exhaustion of labor (and any healing you may need) will leave you with little else in the way of energy for anything other than feeding, diapering and snuggling your new baby. I had no plans because I had no idea what life with a newborn would be like. It was the right choice!
Read any and everything you can about breastfeeding (if you plan to)
I never realized how many things can go wrong with breastfeeding! I swore I was doing it correctly — how hard can it be? It’s a natural thing for baby to b-feed, so why would there be any problems?! I started to realize in week 2 that Bane was eating a little too regularly, and for very short periods of time. So, of course, I thought he was doing something called ‘cluster feeding’. Well, it turns out that he is actually not doing his part properly (based on some symptoms), and that a simple fix helps him to sleep for longer periods because he’s now getting a proper feeding each time – and it’s also fixed a pretty severe gas issue he was having as well from not enough hindmilk… go figure! So, not only are both Bane and I sleeping better, but he’s not crying in pain from gas most of the day.
Expect that you won’t feel like yourself
I thought that within a few days of delivery, I would be feeling back to my old self – energy wise. This isn’t true. Although I didn’t need a cesarean, I still found myself very achy and very very tired – beyond just sleep deprivation. I felt so tired for the better part of this entire past month. I am just now starting to feel like myself again – and my original self is a very energetic, very go-go-go type of personality. I was shocked that I have been so lazy and tied to my bed this past month!
Expect to feel some sort of cabin fever
Another thing that is possible, because of the time spent indoors/at home and the lack of outings, is to feel a very lonely and bored sense of cabin fever. Visits from my mom, sisters and friends have helped to keep me from feeling like such a vampire!
Venturing out into the world with baby can be a bit scary at first
Becoming a mom has been quite an adjustment for me. Loading up the baby and venturing out into the world hadn’t been my daily top priority the first few weeks. Mainly because of the exhaustion and recovery phase, but also because I hadn’t really needed to. I did, however, make a point to plan an outing with someone that could help me if I got mommy-overwhelmed. Going to the store with such precious cargo is a completely new world for me – remembering to bring the diaper bag, bringing enough changes of clothes for the baby accidents, and actually packing the right size diapers are just some of the rookie mom mistakes I’ve made. The first few times out, you feel like you have a car full of eggs. Having someone with me (my mom) in case I needed a hand has made the transition to having a baby, less intimidating. I now have the confidence to brave the world alone with baby and not worry about ‘well, what to I do if he starts screaming in the middle of the store’. But, those kinds of things really boil down to understanding when it’s due time for baby to eat, or when he’ll probably need a diaper change. This comes with time. Day by day I understand more about his rhythms. I now know he’s super hungry and fussy in the evening, and that mornings/daytime he is easy to please. I try to do errands right after a morning feed. If he happens to get hungry before I make it back home, I just have a relaxing place planned to breastfeed. I’ve learned to time my errands to suit his rhythm (I call it a rhythm because it’s not really a hard and fast schedule) of eat, wake time, diaper, sleep, then probably another diaper, repeat. I’m still trying to figure out the car seat/grocery cart situation…I have no idea how people shop with an infant in a car seat?! These are the weird things nobody warns you about! I’ve gotten an adorable sling from Sakura Bloom, but haven’t used it yet. I’m thinking this is the way to shop with a cart!
Every baby has their own sleep preferences – and there is such thing as ‘the fourth trimester’
Bane loves to sleep in my arms. This is both adorable and exhausting. He’s a cuddler and LOVES to be cozy cozy cozy! He also must suffer from some sort of reflux or belly ache, because sometimes the only way he will fall asleep is by being on my shoulder. After he falls asleep in my arms, I go to lay him in his crib or bassinet and he explodes with crying. It will be his bed/nap time, but he gets woken up so easy that even though I’ve successfully gotten him to sleep in my arms, I ruin it by putting him down. He loves to feel like he’s in a cacoon or on some sort of incline. He will nap for hours (supervised) on his Boppy! I found a few inclined sleepers that resemble the coziness of holding a baby, but only one was motorized to move like when you bounce a baby. I bought him the Mamaroo by 4Moms. It’s a life saver when it’s not tummytime/playtime or time to nurse. It is also a seat they can hang out in while you do dishes or get some other housework done.
I hope this helps — and I wish you lots of sleep!
Photography by Melissa Arlena
Saving for Disney Decal: Etsy, Moose Mountain Decals
Tan crochet outfit: Etsy, Comfy Crochet Boutique
grey crochet outfit: Etsy, Edna Magdelane
white knit outfit: Etsy, Rowans Tree House
sailboat mobile: Pottery Barn
Thomas Kincade Disney Puzzles: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Infant Personalized Mickey Ears: Mouse Gear, Epcot, Walt Disney World
Pirate Ship: Outer Banks
Bane’s Adventure Book: Etsy, Slightly Embellished
Sleeping Beauty Snowglobe: Disney Store
Never Grow Up Pillow: World of Disney Store, Downtown Disney – Orlando, FL
Peter Pan Fabric: Etsy, Piccoli Playhouse
Custom Wood Sign: Etsy, Warehouse Design
Nemo Picture Holder: World of Disney Store, Downtown Disney – Orlando, FL