There is a new Pike among us! It has been awhile since I last posted and that is because we have been busy enjoying and learning all about life with a newborn. I’m so excited to introduce our little baby! He is just the sweetest thing and light of our lives. Here are 10 things I have learned in the first month with a baby as a first-time mom.
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1.) Use A Swaddle
This is my number one because it was our game changer! Our newborn basically sleeps through the night because of a swaddle. We don’t use the normal giant cloth swaddles, although many babies love them, he didn’t. At first, we thought he didn’t like swaddles because he was a ninja and no matter how tight we swaddled him, he’d get out of it and wake up. Once we tried the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle it was game over. He slept 7 hours! He was our alarm, so we didn’t even think to turn one on, but after that night he slept so well we had to start setting an alarm to wake him to eat. The amount of sleep we all got greatly increased! He loves the Sleepsack Swaddle and SwaddleMe Swaddles and we use the regular cloth swaddle blankets during the day.
2.) Breastfeeding Will Be Hard
In all the research I did I never fully grasped that breastfeeding is really difficult or even impossible for some people. I thought you could breastfeed if you wanted to and baby would just latch and if not you’d see a lactation consultant and they’d fix it. They made it look so easy in the birth class videos! Well, in reality, there are about a million different reasons that breastfeeding can difficult for either you or your baby and it takes a lot of time and effort to make breastfeeding happen. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be feeding the baby every 2 hours around the clock. If you want or need to pump, you’ll be pumping between baby’s feedings. In the first month, I easily spent 90% of my day feeding or preparing to feed our son.
3.) You May Need To Supplement
Maybe I didn’t do enough research or maybe I just didn’t think this would happen to us. My milk took almost a week to come in and I apparently had a low supply. This was something I never considered would be an issue and I’ve come to find out it’s an issue for many women! If you need to supplement or maybe you decide breastfeeding is too much for you… It’s okay! You have a few options, you can pump milk, use formula or use donor milk. I was dead set against giving our son formula and guess what, if he needs extra milk after nursing and I don’t have enough milk pumped, I give him formula. I found an organic formula that had the least of “junk” in it and we use that. I’m still working to increase my supply, but until then I will continue to supplement as he needs it. Right now I’m trying a few different things to increase my supply and they seem to be working!! If you want more information let me know!
4.) Cloth Diapers Are Amazing
We LOVE our cloth diapers! I had a small stash of newborn diapers I wanted to try, but I didn’t buy a ton of them since I wasn’t sure how it would go. We didn’t use cloth diapers for a few days, but once we tried them out we haven’t looked back! They are easy to use, easy to clean and he hasn’t had a single case of diaper rash. In the first week, we had a few leaky diapers until we learned the correct way to use the cloth diapers. We had WAY more leaky diapers using the disposables. Hands down I prefer the cloth over the disposables any day and they are just so darn cute! If you are going cloth, get newborn cloth diapers. He doesn’t even come close to fitting into the one size cloth diapers and he’s a month old now. We are using prefolds, covers and some all in ones. I enjoy having a mixture, but I mostly use the all in ones for when we need to do a diaper change outside the house.
5.) Budget For Photography
If you are like me, you will love your little bean so much and want a million photos of them. I think I still take about 20 photos of him a day. Go ahead and find a photographer and budget for photography. We got photos taken at the hospital and then newborn photos of our family taken at 3-4 weeks old by Gretchen Day Photography. All the photos in this post are Gretchen’s amazing work! I’m obsessed with the photos and so glad I got them. Our baby was born at the end of October, so our photos were perfect for both birth announcements and Christmas cards! It was also amazing to see how much he changed in just a few weeks!
6.) Everything Will Take Longer
When you’re in the middle of making dinner and baby is asleep, be ready to drop the spatula when they need a diaper change and then it’s time for them to eat. Now you’ve changed fed the baby it’s been an hour and dinner is half done or cold. Replay that scenario with everything you need to do in a day. A shower, sleep, going to the store, just about everything will take longer than you expect. You can add on about thirty minutes to any task, even more, when you leave the house. If you are breastfeeding, go ahead and get used to the idea you will probably need to either feed in public or in your car. That alone can add over thirty minutes to any trip.
7.) Bring Extra Of EVERYTHING
When our son was circumcised he pooped right when the Rabbi took his diaper off. Being new parents we, of course, forget extra clothes and an extra diaper… Luckily they had an extra diaper for us and he didn’t get anything on his clothes, but seriously you will make this mistake at least one time and be in the situation. Pack double or triple of everything in your diaper bag and make sure you replace the items if you use something! Our diaper bag is stocked with diapers, wipes, clothes, changing pad, burp cloths, a blanket, a car seat cover and face wipes. I normally don’t carry a purse anymore, so I’ve added things for myself like nipple cream, lotion, my wallet and anything else I may need for a specific trip.
8.) Have Multiple Places to Change & Put Down Baby
I was on the fence about registering or buying a baby swing, a pack-n-play, and a newborn lounger. Well, we use each one of these items every single day along with his bassinet and changing table. It doesn’t really matter what you decide to use to put the baby down in, but you will want a few different safe places for the baby. You can’t cook or take a shower while holding the baby and trust me you will want to put them down sometimes. The pack-n-play is something I really didn’t think we needed, but it serves as an additional changing station. At this point, we use it more than the actual changing table. This, of course, depends on your house and set up, but right after I gave birth I was so uncomfortable that going up and down stairs all day to put down the baby or change him wouldn’t have worked.
9.) You Will Need Help
This was something I was prepared for, but I couldn’t have done the first few weeks without help. Right after the baby was born there were many things I couldn’t easily do. Putting on pants was seriously hard at first and I couldn’t drive for two weeks. I was prepared for the pain of birth, but I wasn’t as prepared for the limitations, pain, and bleeding after. My wonderful mom stayed with us for a week and my husband helped out with cooking, cleaning and driving to baby’s doctor appointments until I was back up to snuff. I have them to thank for my transition into motherhood and sanity in that first week. My husband is amazing and still does a lot of the housework since I’m still nursing all the time. Line up some help if you can!
10.) Remember to Enjoy It!
As hard as the newborn stage is, I seriously love it. I would trade the pain, rough time nursing him or any other struggle for just one baby snuggle. The little looks he gives me while I feed him or when he sees me are just adorable. He is starting to smile and it’s the most amazing feeling ever. He is the best gift we’ve ever been given and I try my best to soak up every second of it. It won’t be like this for long! Enjoy every second of it and congratulations!!