• Surviving the first three months with a new baby

    postpartum

    These two images were taken in the hospital 3 days after Henry was born 6 years ago. He was 4 weeks early, born by emergency c-section due to a super rare fetal heart condition called atrial flutter. His otherwise healthy heart spontaneously started to beat dangerously fast at 400+ beats a minute. It was a complete miracle they caught it so fast and that he survived. Immediately after his birth they were able to correct his heart condition by threading electrical chords down his esophagus, stop and and then re-starting his heart back into normal speed.  Jared watched the whole thing while I was in another room recovering. He survived and hasn’t had any heart problems since but he still stayed in the hospital a couple days longer than me.  Luckily we lived close and I would come and try to nurse him in a little dinky supply room multiple times a day. Except he had no interest in nursing and had to be fed intravenously for a while. He wouldn’t even open up his eyes for several days.  I didn’t blame him. I kind of wanted to close my eyes and just wait for the nightmare to be over too.

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    Needless to say, it was rough. Really rough. Even with a traumatic birth I thought I’d be flooded with feelings of love and happiness when Henry was born, but those didn’t come right away. What did come were sleepless nights, lots of tears over nothing- it seemed, panic every time we took his heart rate (with every diaper change),  frustration over his refusal to nurse, and feelings of inadequacy over my new job as a mother that was supposed to be natural and wonderful.

    Looking back I think I was dealing with some mild postpartum depression after a traumatic birth, and a lot of sleep deprivation. I remember after a few sleepless nights someone told me that most babies start to sleep long stretches by 8 weeks. They were trying to cheer me up but all I remember was feeling complete desperation, “There is no way I’m going to make it to 8 weeks. I won’t survive”….

    Fast forward to baby #2 who is now 3 1/2 months old!  Worlds different birth experience. Edie has been a lot easier in so many ways (there is no way I would have been down for a family photoshoot just a week after Henry was born). The biggest thing for me is that she has been sleeping long stretches (4 + hrs) at night, from day one. Also, I was lucky enough to be able to have a relatively quick and easy v-bac delivery (vaginal birth after a c-section) which was worlds easier for a million reasons. Jared was also able to take off a couple months from work to help out as well as my mother staying with us, Edie had a good latch for nursing, and we finally finally! were able to bring another baby into our family after years of dealing with secondary infertility. It’s been happy and joyful, certainly!

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    But, with everything going along as happily and seamless as possible, things were still hard. Fussiness and colic set in at 4 weeks (right when my mother left, of course) and I was feeling overwhelmed again. I found myself crying at night, having a hard time getting myself out of bed some mornings but then by the end of the day found myself being too active for postpartum. I was ordered by my Dr. to stay in bed and snuggle with my baby. I became frustrated with nursing problems like a painful latch,  clogged ducts, mastitis, oversupply, undersupply. Feeling guilty for not spending as much time with Henry and general feelings of inadequacy as a mother.

    “I’m just not good with babies”, I’ve heard myself say over and over. I found that I really need and rely on the support of other woman during this time. I have friends I call for emotional advice (“Henry told me he thinks I like the baby more than him”), friends I term ‘baby whisperers’ for nursing and colic advice (“She knows how to get her food. That’s her one job”, my sister Celeste whose a midwife always tells me), and friends to watch a cheesy movie and get an ice cream cone with at 10 pm when I’m feeling cooped up. Postpartum is  a time I’ve needed to reach out and connect with other women more than any other season in my life.

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    So in the spirit of connecting, I thought it might be fun to collect some advice from other moms of newborns and hear what words of wisdom they have for surviving those first three months:

    I’d love to hear your advice too!

    The first few months with your baby are so hard and exhausting, and yet when I look back on them, even just a few months later, I have almost a reverence for all those sleepless nights and moments of desperation that come with a newborn. There is something so powerful and overwhelming about somebody needing you so wholly, but is it also so BEAUTIFUL. I feel like to survive those first few months you need to safeguard yourself from people (including virtual people), places, and things (for me that thing was my EMAIL!) that add any undue stress, so that you can heal and learn how to enjoy a tiny person needing you so much. Babies don’t keep, everything else does. -Alison of The Alison Show

    I took my doctor to heart when he said ‘You can’t spoil a newborn’.  I would let him nap on my chest and hold him whenever I could.  They grow up too fast to not cherish the first few months.  Now that Knox is 4 months old, we have him on a schedule and he prefers his baby bed to anything else.  I miss those afternoon naps together.  (Which reminds me, try to sleep when they sleep!) -Caroline of House of Harper

    I have four pieces of advice for new moms. The first is something an experienced mother told me when my first son was just a few weeks old – be kind to yourself. This seems simple but is extremely difficult. To me this means not to judge yourself, ask your partner for help, and know your best is enough. Second, seek out other new mothers. The shared comradery and commiseration is priceless. Third, before giving birth treat yourself to a few special postpartum clothing items. I was so sick of my maternity clothes and trying to fit into my regular things was uncomfortable and depressing. Cute pajamas, a mens flannel shirt, and spanx leggings are my favorites. Lastly, have a friend set up a meal train  so you have nutritious meals during your time of healing and adjustment. -Sarah of  Two Blue Lemons

    My sister gave me great advice before I had my baby, “Stay calm and be patient with yourself”. I’ve found this to be my motto, especially during those first few weeks of breastfeeding. As soon as I got frustrated and tense so did my baby (they feed off of your energy I swear!). I’d have to remind myself to stay calm, take a deep breath, and if I needed to… step away and try again later. Motherhood is a process, cut yourself some slack and learn to roll with the punches (because things never go by the book). -Ashley, “Say Yes” fashion editor and blog manager

    Just because leggings and knit tees are the only thing in your closet that fits doesn’t mean you should wear them. Do yourself a favor and buy a neutral button up blouse (I like chambray) that fits. You’ll feel so much better. -Madeline of Über Chic for Cheap

    I loved using a baby app this time around to keep track of eating and sleeping. (I used Total Baby) On that note, I needed to learn to trust my instincts when it came to having a schedule or not having a schedule. I continue to remind myself to trust my parenting style and instincts. -Angie Whittemore

    After struggling with postpartum depression with my first two babies I decided to get on medication right away with my current lil’ babe.  It has made all the difference in the world!  I know this advice won’t be applicable for everyone, but if you think you might be suffering from PPD it’s worth talking to your doctor or medical provider to see if medication would be a good option.  My other survival tactic is doing at least one thing a day that helps you feel more like “you”…listening to your favorite music, eating some quality chocolate, going on a walk, having an impromptu dance party in your kitchen, watching an episode of your favorite show…anything that puts a little spring in your step. -Mignon of  This Little Miggy

    My advice would be: Slow down and savor.  By taking an opportunity to gradually ease into the new shape your family has taken on, you can mindfully set a calm tone in regards to raising little ones.  Spent time at home snuggling as a family, take meals from anyone that will send them, figure out your rhythm together as a unit, and remember that it takes time to fully adjust. -Amanda of It’s the Little Things
    The first time around everything came as such a shock to me.  I kept thinking, why hasn’t anyone told me about this?  But becoming a mom is truly impossible to prepare for.  You will feel insanely happy, insanely tired, insanely crazy, and insanely in love all at the exact same time.  With my second, I’ve been able to enjoy the newborn phase a whole lot more.  Even on the hardest days, the days where I’m bone-crushingly tired, I know just how precious this cuddly time is.
    -Honora of  By Its Own Design
    After just having my third baby, the best advice to give about how to get through the first three months is to just live in the moment. Don’t stress about what that baby book you read says, or what your next door neighbor tells you you “should” be doing, and don’t worry about habits or schedules. Just relax, cuddle, and give your baby everything it wants. Live in the moment and enjoy it because it will be gone quicker than you expect. -Heather of The Coterie Blog
    PS More to come on this topic in upcoming weeks including postpartum fashion, favorite gifts for new moms, and favorite newborn outings in San Francisco.
    Top images taken by Jared. Bottom two images by Rachel Thurston from our newborn shoot
      
  • 47 comments

    1. Emily said… March 21, 2014 11:52 pm

      So sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve had ( secondary infertility, mastitis, colic- all things I’ve experienced ) but so happy for you and your family and your precious baby! Thank you for sharing your story

    2. Amy Ehmann said… March 7, 2014 10:11 pm

      Being a mom at any stage is hard, but mix that with no sleep… Anyone would be a wits end. I remember a friend and wonderful mom saying one time that she wanted to throw her baby out the window. I was completely shocked at her words until I had babies of my own. But no one likes to talk about those moments because that makes you an awful mother, right? Well no it doesn’t. It’s your actions as a mom that counts, not a passing thought in moments complete exhaustion and frustration. I remember sitting my glider with my first son Connor – it was in the middle of the night and I just could not figure out what he wanted. WHAT DO YOU WANT??!!! After struggling for another 30 minutes I yelled out for my husband to come a get him at once, before I threw him on the ground. YIKES! I cringe at those word even now. I think the key is to ask for help when you need it. Don’t go it alone. I have friends say to me all the time. I don’t know how you do it. Well it’s not like I HAVE a choice right? What am I going to do? Lay down and give up?! One foot in front of the other – that’s how I do it. And most of the time it’s not pretty, but that’s okay too. You probably have seen this post floating around but in case you haven’t, here it is – http://yourbestnestindy.com/2014/02/27/mommy-somebody-needs-you/ I found it a great encouragement and I hope you do too.

    3. […] surviving the first three months with a new […]

    4. meg said… March 3, 2014 1:54 pm

      i love this post. i am 22 weeks pregnant with my first baby and it’s so nice to hear such honesty about how difficult things can be in the beginning with a newborn. i feel like there can be so much social pressure to conform to that perfect mom, perfect baby, perfect family ideal. it feels so good to hear an honest account of the things that i am worried about and such wonderful suggestions to help cope with all of it. you have a beautiful family and such a lovely way of writing about your experiences. thank you so much for sharing with us!

      • Liz Stanley said… March 4, 2014 10:06 am

        There is a lot of pressure, I agree. We all need to give each other a break!

    5. Niamh Osborne said… March 2, 2014 12:19 pm

      I didn’t think I would survive the first 8 weeks either!! Nice to know someone else felt this also. Thank you. 8 months later. I SURVIVED!

      • Liz Stanley said… March 4, 2014 10:11 am

        I didn’t mention this in the post, but as it turned out my body adjusted to the new sleep schedule (i.e. no sleep) before my son ever changed his schedule. So it really ends up eventually being okay, but that coupled with recovery from a surgery is really really hard!

    6. Sarah W said… March 1, 2014 10:51 pm

      I didn’t read every comment thoroughly so I hope I’m not repeating what someone else said, but when I think about what I wish someone had told me before I had a baby I think I would want to know that you may not feel the love all the time, and that’s okay! I know you said something similar to this. When my first daughter was born, it was a great delivery, and when they put her on my chest I was overwhelmed with love beyond what you think you can feel. But then when we got home from the hospital and she wasn’t nursing well, and she cried for seemingly no reason, and my nipples hurt so bad I cried every time I tried to feed her, I started to kind of resent this little person who I didn’t even really know, and who had invaded my life and messed up my body.Of course I felt terrible about it because you’re supposed to adore your new baby all the time right? Wrong! Those feelings passed, of course, and after much Dr. Jack’s nipple cream, so did the pain, and we got a rhythm with our nursing and we were fine but those first few weeks were rough! And I just always thought that I would want other moms to know that they might feel that way too, and not to be alarmed by it. Thanks for such an honest post!

      • Liz Stanley said… March 4, 2014 10:13 am

        I love what you wrote and I think it’s important for others to hear. Just because you’re frustrated and annoyed and maybe feeling a little resentful doesn’t mean you don’t love your children. I think we’re all only human after all!

    7. Mamie Patin said… March 1, 2014 9:45 pm

      What a wonderful advice! I have two daughters in law with older babies, 10 months and 14 months and they both are awakening during the night and even though they have allowed them to cry they still wake up twice or three times during the night the following night. They have tried sending them with full tummies, and then the opposite, eating early and waiting for a later bedtime but no success. Any idea what to do?

    8. Abbigail said… February 28, 2014 5:23 pm

      So refreshing and beautiful to read your words. I love a person who can speak truthfully about their experiences. I have never thought of myself as a baby person either. New motherhood was so overwhelming for me. With each subsequent child it has been easy and hard in different ways.

      All I have ever learned is to be kind to yourself. We can only do what we can. I have also learned it is okay to let the baby cry in his/her crib if you need some time. (I even bought noise canceling headphones for #2) It was a lot easier to hold and try to soothe him if I couldn’t hear the squeals.

      Motherhood is the hardest thing and the most precious thing in my life. I hate it at times and I love it a lot of the time. I am so grateful that you shared such an intimate experience with us all. Every family is different, every baby is different, and every day is different.

    9. Emily said… February 28, 2014 10:52 am

      Reading this brings tears to my eyes. I had an emergency c-section with my only child 6 years ago. I was completely asleep for the birth b/c they had to get him out fast and I was not anesthetized. My husband was not in the room. I’m certain I had moderate post partum depression, if not worse, and it is shocking to me that none of my health care providers or family members caught on. The trauma is the reason I only have one child. It’s taken me years and a good therapist to come through to the other side and finally say that I did the best I could, that his birth story is okay even though it was precisely the opposite of what I had longed and planned for. My advice with a newborn is: Let your partner do all the diapering at night when the baby still needs a change after every nursing session. Have your partner bring you water while you nurse. I remember my son’s pediatrician saying to my husband, Emily’s job is to nurse and work hard to establish good nursing. Your job is everything else. This made a huge impact on our family. Also, go easy on yourself. And encourage your partner to make sure all around you know to go easy on you, too. I think people often revere babies while forgetting to revere the mothers. I recall older relatives telling me to relax or that I nursed too much or spent too much time, napping. Knowing what I do now I would have had the fortitude to have my husband gently intervene and tell them that all they should speak to me are encouraging words: You are doing a great job. xo

      • Emily said… February 28, 2014 10:58 am

        by “not anesthetized” I mean my epidural had not taken so they would not let me be awake for the section.

    10. Kirstin said… February 28, 2014 2:37 am

      I know it sounds silly, but my piece of advice (what I wish now-Kirstin could tell then-Kirstin) is that sometimes, none of the advice is useful. Sometimes it’s absolutely frustrating to have a newborn and be a clueless parent (new or otherwise), especially if you’re sleep-deprived and covered in spit-up, and it’s okay to be frustrated, but at those times, the last thing I wanted to hear was how I should love every second of it, or any other piece of advice. Sometimes it just sucks and nothing works and I needed a minute to wallow in my own self-pity before figuring out that it’s not so bad after all and this too shall pass, etc. New parents don’t have the wisdom of hindsight. Sometimes I loved it, sometimes I didn’t, but at least now I can look back and remember the good times, then look at my toddler now and appreciate how much less he resembles a loud houseplant and how much more responsive and fun he is.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 28, 2014 10:16 am

        Love it, just embrace the insanity of it all!

    11. Alice said… February 27, 2014 9:27 pm

      Having babies is hard! Being a mom is hard! I was super depressed after my second and was extremely sleep deprived with 2 children who weren’t sleeping (17mos) apart. Now being 4 and 3 we’re 10 weeks away from our 3rd. I’m just praying that I will have an easier time so I can enjoy more. It’s hard to listen to people who say “enjoy it, it goes by fast.” It does when you look back but in the moment when you feel like you’re awake for 20 of the 24 hrs of the day life seems to go by at a snails pace. I would say, let go. Don’t try to do everything perfectly and follow your instinct. Listen to the people you trust and admire the most and ask for help when you need it. When you look back you’ll realize that you’re stronger and more awesome for having survived! It’s the best feeling:)

    12. Nikkol said… February 27, 2014 8:27 pm

      Well…my oldest will be 12 in a few months and I’m trying to wish him into being 3 1/2 months again :) And, I tell my youngest (5) that I’m going to stop feeding her so she will stop growing! Those baby days are so very long, but they go by so very fast. It’s definitely a time when you (at least, me) are focused on little else other than your babies. And it should be that way! A support system of amazing friends is the only way to do it. I had amazing friends who knew just when I needed dinner help, or when I needed a pair of super-girly earrings to go with my spit-up-all-over t-shirt. I cherish the years of being a new mom because of those hero friends of mine. I feel blessed beyond measure to have forged such deep friendships with some amazingly beautiful mothers. Becoming a mother is the most difficult – yet most absolutely amazing – experience of my life. Every single night I am overwhelmed by the amount of love I feel for my children.

      Anyway…not to go on and on, but three cheers to every mom who is doing the best she can and loving her babies!

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 10:28 pm

        It pains me to think of my kids growing up too, I want these years to last forever. It’s too sweet

    13. Kristin H said… February 27, 2014 8:23 pm

      Oh, those first few weeks are such a roller coaster! With my daughter, my depression got out of control and I ate everything in sight, gaining a ton of weight. I had only a few days of PPD with my son (5 yrs later and after years of secondary infertility), thankfully. I think just knowing that my mommy instinct was right 99.9% of the time with my daughter helped me through that rough time with my newborn son. In a similar vien, I tried really hard no to do anything I felt pressured to do. Formula, disposable diapers, boys wearing pink, etc are not bad for your baby. Its far more important for momma to be operating with in her limits than for the ubequitous “they” to be appeased!

      • Liz Stanley said… March 4, 2014 10:07 am

        I love what you said about not doing anything you feel pressure to do, listening to your instincts. So right on!

    14. Lianne said… February 27, 2014 7:28 pm

      Your post really hit home for me. My first child, who is also 6,had a very traumatic birth and ended up in the hospital for two weeks. I was a mess, a disaster really. I still have night terrors from the seperation anxiety of leaving her in the hospital to get some rest at home. But she is wonderful and super healthy now :) and I also just had our second baby (he is 9 months old) and a completely opposite birth. It was beautiful, easy (easy as in “giving birth easy”, and at home. But yes the first three months were a blur with both. The 6 year age gap made me feel like a new mom all over again. But I kind of love that. I love the fresh start. The first three months should be call “the blur part” of parenting. I look back and wonder how I survived off of no sleep,cracked and engorged boobs, being an emotional basket case, trying to deal with 6 year old emotions on top of sleep deprivation, wondering if I’ll ever want to have sex again, and if I have any friends left. The first three months are complete nonsense. But abosoluteky amazing. Thanks for sharing your post. It made me feel real.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 10:27 pm

        my kids are 6 years apart as well and I definitely feel like a brand new mom too!

    15. lorraine said… February 27, 2014 6:28 pm

      what a touching post. i’m happy you had an easier second go-around – your kids are adorable! i’m a first-time mom and my little guy just turned 1 this week. it’s hard to fathom how much he’s changed in 12 months – and how far my husband & i have come as parents.

      for me, the first 6 weeks were definitely the hardest. it was winter, i felt so cooped up and isolated. i had to remind myself to reach out, and be good to myself. what helped the most was joining a new moms group, and i still attend their meetups once a month or so even now. also in those first few months even though i didn’t see friends often, i would try to chat with them, even over IM. it made such a difference to just have regular conversations about everyday things.

    16. Jackie said… February 27, 2014 6:23 pm

      Love this honest post. I just had my second four weeks ago and it has been night and day difference from my first. I was so anxious and I felt like my life was over…. like I’d never sleep again, go out again, do anything for myself again. To compound my guilt, we struggled with infertility and I felt HORRIBLE for not loving every second of what I waited so long for. While I’m still tired and overwhelmed this time around I understand that everything is just a stage, for good or for bad.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 10:26 pm

        Yeah, I feel guilty about not loving every SECOND with this baby because of the long infertility journey it took to get here too. It’s so hard, that mothers guilt is no joke.

    17. Stacey said… February 27, 2014 4:27 pm

      Wow, thanks for sharing your story. I felt much the same as you as a first time mom, and even though baby #2 is easier, there are still a lot of challenges. My daughter just turned 3 weeks old, and I can totally relate to a lot of the things you mentioned like not feeling like I’m good with babies and all the nursing issues. You are definitely not alone, and its nice to see that I’m not either:)

    18. callie said… February 27, 2014 3:59 pm

      Wow, what an honest and real post! We are two days away from my daughter’s first birthday and those newborn days seem so long ago. It makes me so proud we’ve gotten through them and so sad they are gone at the same time! I remember the main advice that got me through the entire newborn period was “If it isn’t a problem for you, it’s not a problem.” On the back of midwives stressing that by 4-6 weeks the baby should be napping alone in their bed, I felt SO bad and like such a failure that she was still napping in my arms in the day. She napped there because she felt comfortable and warm. She was happy and I was happy but I felt so guilty because it was “wrong.” When my friend finally gave me this advice after listening me stress out because I was “doing the wrong thing,” I finally felt the freedom to do what felt right for me and my sweet girl. Then, when it finally became a problem for me and I wanted more freedom in the day, we made some changes and I felt validated in doing so.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 4:52 pm

        ‘if it isn’t a problem for you, it isn’t a problem’. i love that!

    19. Catey said… February 27, 2014 12:32 pm

      Thank you. I am in my fourth week of postpartum with my first babe. I still don’t really know what I’m doing. Even though I don’t cry every day like I did the first week or so, I still feel so emotionally fragile. I had an emergency induction because of a condition (cholestasis) that could have resulted in still birth. It was so scary. I didn’t achieve any of my original delivery goals so I felt disappointed and like I was off to a bad start. This experience has been more challenging than when I was hit by a truck as a pedestrian but it is also more worth it and I already feel like I would do it again someday. I love this kid so much and it really is fun to hang out with him all of the time. One thing I know is that I can’t be a perfect mom but I can be a good one so I’ve decided not be too hard on myself. That is one piece of other mothers’ advice I think I’ve really been able to use. From my own experience, I have found that it is okay and good to ask for help.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 12:49 pm

        I love that advice about not being too hard on yourself, and I agree not having a delivery go as planned can really throw things off in a big way. Certainly did with my first!

    20. Erica said… February 27, 2014 12:26 pm

      I hardly ever comment on blogs, but this was so moving and honest! Thanks for sharing. Connecting with other others is one of the strongest bonds I’ve ever felt.

    21. Carrie said… February 27, 2014 12:25 pm

      Postpartum really is rough! I feel like it’s the one thing that we aren’t ever adequately prepared for. That being said, I recently shared a post with tips for postpartum self-care: http://www.thecreativesalad.com/2014/02/13/a-smoother-postpartum-recovery-six-essential-steps-for-postnatal-self-care/

    22. Miggy said… February 27, 2014 12:13 pm

      Oh Liz–those top two photos are both beautiful and heartbreakingly raw. I see myself in those pictures. Thanks for having me participate today…I think it’s so important to talk about these things. Just knowing you’re not alone and yes it really is this hard helps a lot of new mama’s or new again mama’s get through these bumpy first months. So glad things are better this time around!

    23. Michaela said… February 27, 2014 11:18 am

      Thank you for this post, Liz. I had no idea that Henry’s birth was so rough. And don’t try to downplay it–that sounds really, really, hard. Way more than most moms have to deal with when their babies are born. No wonder the postpartum period felt so hard. I feel like moms who have birth complications need to take the advice you and others have shared and dial it up about 10 notches. Accept help whenever you can. Do not feel bad for asking someone else to do something for you, ever. I had an easy labor and delivery and even I felt run ragged. I can’t imagine being able to do anything for a while post c-section.

      I second the advice about letting the babe sleep on you and not worrying about sleep habits. Worry about that in the fourth month. I too long for the days when my daughter would fall asleep nursing or be able to sleep with me in my bed. At 6.5 months, that never happens anymore.

      I also felt like I was way too attached to exclusively breastfeeding, even when it made things very difficult for me. My daughter nursed well and I had a good supply, so there was no need for me to feel like a drop of formula couldn’t pass her lips. Sometimes it would have made things easier. I started supplementing with formula during the day after I went back to work because my supply wasn’t up to it, and you know what? Nothing bad happened. She is A-OK. Making every part of parenting into an all-or-nothing game is a recipe for frustration and exhaustion.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 11:30 am

        I second everything you said! I feel like I’m too attached to the idea of breastfeeding exclusively too. I’ve had a lot of challenges with mastitis with Edie as well and I keep thinking, ‘if this happens one more time i’m giving up’. and then I get mastitis again and somehow convince myself to keep going. am i torturing myself because of mothers guilt?

    24. Paige - Constellation, ETC & Come + Take It said… February 27, 2014 10:26 am

      Thanks for this honest take – the first few months were so hard for us, and now that we are bringing #2 into the family any day now, I am anxious for the hard times this time around. Everyone says that first 3 three months with a new baby is tough, but the first nine months were really challenging for us & our family. I just kept telling myself that it took 9 months for this baby to grow and come into the world, it can take 9 months for it to get back to normal and adjust to the new perspectives of parenthood.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 11:33 am

        I love that perspective of the nine months, I’ll try to keep that in mind!

    25. nicole @ I am a Honey Bee said… February 27, 2014 10:23 am

      I am a first time mom with a 3 1/2 month old. She is just amazing. I had a C-section as well as she was born with an omphalocele (picked up at 12 wk scan), which resulted in surgery when she was 24 hours old. She did not take to breastfeeding, I believe as she was born on monday, bottle fed on Thursday and tried the breast on Saturday. Everything was a struggle with her to get her to nurse and I beat myself up over it and I have to say that while some people would say that you should continue to try because it’s amazing and natural, I had to admit defeat and go to bottle feeding her what I pumped. And that is not easy either- basically 2x as much work at times! The thing is that you have to do what is best for you, your baby, and your family. No matter if you breastfeed, or pump and bottle feed, or you formula feed your baby you are still ‘making it work’ and it that is what matters. You are caring for this amazing, beautiful baby and you are ‘making it work’ so don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go to plan and don’t compare yourself to someone else either.

      Liz- Do you think that having your babies in different climates helped this time around? You had them at the same time basically so I can’t say seasons but do you think the cold winter in SLC effected you with Henry? I struggled to to anything outside of the house or be happy when I did go out as Boston had been hard hit this winter with endless freezing temps and snow. I’m so planning for a summer baby next time just so I can enjoy our naps and cuddles with the windows open and sun shining in.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 11:36 am

        It definitely is easier to get out of the house, i’ll say that. And I went on a few lovely walks when Edie was just a few days old which was nice as well and I couldn’t have done that with Henry in the snow. There is something nice and cozy about a snowstorm and an excuse to just stay inside, drink hot cocoa, and cuddle with a new baby that I did love

    26. juli said… February 27, 2014 10:21 am

      You’re right. It’s so hard, and equally so great. Good for you for reaching out to friends – they can grab Henry for playdates, come give you company, and listen as you try to figure it all out. A friend recently said, oh I miss waking up in the middle of the night as weird as that seems. And I was like what??? I’m soo tired! But soon it will pass, our youngest will be Henry’s age and I think we’ll miss it. Now is the time to receive, and one day you’ll know it’s your time to give back.

    27. rachel said… February 27, 2014 10:02 am

      thanks! the first few months are brutal. it sounds like you suffered from post traumatic stress disorder with your first birth, not necessarily postpartum depression. it is something that most people don’t know about and is often confused with depression.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 11:37 am

        Yeah, it’s possible there was some PTSD in there I’d say! I had some anxiety about Edi’s birth because of Henry’s but having a healthy vaginal birth helped a lot in getting over the first.

    28. Liz D. said… February 27, 2014 8:23 am

      Thank you so much for all of the wisdom, insight, and honesty! I am 7 months pregnant with our first baby and while I’ve heard from many, many people how hard the first 3 months are I haven’t heard a lot of advice on ways to “make it through.” This was encouraging, thanks!

    29. Leanne I said… February 27, 2014 8:02 am

      I have a 3 month old too so I have loved reading about little Edie.

      I always hated the advice “sleep while baby is sleeping”…at least during the day. Whenever I tried I’d always wake up feeling worse than before. At night that’s awesome advice. Start putting your baby to bed early and then go to bed yourself! Who is asleep before nine on a Friday? (THIS GIRL!)

      It has also blown my mind how different two kids can be. My daughter needed (and still needs) a regular bed time routine with books and songs. We started that with our son and it just didn’t work. One night our of sheer desperation we plunked him in the crib and closed the door. We didn’t hear a peep out of him all night. That was 6 weeks ago and that has been our “routine” ever since. He just likes to wind himself down.

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 11:40 am

        When we get desperate we just let her scream. Crying never hurt anyone too much, right? :)
        And yes I don’t love the ‘sleep while baby is sleeping’ advice either because it leaves ZERO you time, which I think is super super important in postpartum.

    30. Erin said… February 27, 2014 6:54 am

      Liz, thank you for being so honest about the hard parts of new motherhood. I had my soon 6 weeks early (just a couple weeks before your Henry was born in fact) and I struggled those first couple months. My son, Owen, never took to breastfeeding either, which made me feel like a failure, and I generally believed I just wasn’t doing the mother thing right. It wasn’t until I was able to reach out to other moms for support that I finally found my footing. I’m sure your words will be a great source of comfort to others.
      On a side note, I’d love to hear your thoughts on going back into baby mode after being away from it for so long. My husband and I are on the fence about trying for baby #2 and one of my hesitations is that life seems so easy and manageable with our now 6-year-old. Going back to diapers, midnight feedings and the constant care an infant requires sounds daunting, to say the least!

      • Liz Stanley said… February 27, 2014 11:38 am

        OH, yes! I definitely feel like a first time mom again. I didn’t remember anything about sleep training or milestones. I had to read all the books over again!

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