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Surviving My First Month As A Mom

health-bent-baby

We had a baby!

We’ve survived 2 months now and I thought I’d talk about some of the basic/non-fussy things we’ve found useful. I definitely want to make sure I say that I understand everyone and every experience is different, and I just want to write this for anyone out there that’s like us, and doesn’t know jack sh*t about having a baby. Keep in mind while reading, who this is coming from…

  1. a first time mom
  2. someone who doesn’t like “stuff”
  3. someone who didn’t read any books or blogs (I didn’t want to fall down the rabbit hole of the internet)
  4. someone who was gifted things from experienced mamas
  5. and someone who promised herself to let common sense guide the way (I also promised myself I’d take a shower and put on make-up everyday. I didn’t even do that before I was pregnant. Haha.)

Here’s my very abbreviated and TMI birth story (the faint-hearted and uninterested should look away).

She was born at Palmetto Health Parkridge in Columbia, SC and I HIGHLY recommend that place. The facility is like a spa, it was super quiet, and my nurses were the shittttttttt! I took all the drugs and had the best experience I could have imagined. They rolled a mirror up and I saw the whole thing happen, while Brandon held one leg and my mom held the other. I pushed for 2 hours, but the time flew by. CrossFit prepared me physically and mentally like nothing else could have. The first thing that came out of my mouth when she came out was, “Is she normal?!?! Is she okay?!?!” I asked to see my placenta and holy shit, that thing was incredible. I wanted to pat my body on the back for what it had accomplished. Having her in my arms for the first time felt completely surreal, but she felt like a stranger. It wasn’t quite that instant love that I had expected and that everyone says. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to take care of her, but I feel more bonded to her weeks later than I did at the hospital. I tore, but didn’t feel it or the stitches because I was completely numb from the belly button down. I had the most terrifyingly swollen who-ha (amongst other things), I felt like I was having another baby and ripping my body in half when I went to the bathroom for the first time (and continued to feel that way for about the first week). Breastfeeding was so incredibly painful for the first 3 weeks (I could barely handle taking a shower), and was especially frustrating before my milk came in (about 3 days) because I felt like I was starving my baby. But I stuck with it, and it’s totally fine now.

Anddddd it’s all worth it…hahaha. Seriously though, it is. I’m 30 years old and I’m glad I had her at this age. I really appreciate how quickly time goes by and I know I can better appreciate each day I have with her, and each little milestone she reaches. I feel lucky I get to be a part of watching her grow up.

I prepared myself for the possibility of the ‘baby blues’, but I took her to the gym with me to hang out at 2 weeks because I was starting to feel cooped up and disconnected. I started working out again at 3 weeks post. We go to the gym 3-4 times a week, and I think having a place to “go” and working out has definitely kept any depression or sadness out of my head. We have always been homebodies, but I could definitely see how you’d feel trapped with a new baby. It’s tough to go anywhere without fearing your baby is going to spontaneously combust. And of course, everywhere you go, you now tote along another human. It’s weird.

The baby weight has not been “falling off” with breastfeeding, as I was so joyously expecting, and my body definitely looks different…and jiggly. It’s hard to not feel like I’m being ridiculously vain talking about losing weight and my body image when my body just birthed a perfectly healthy, and happy baby. I feel very lucky. But it’s also hard to look at yourself in the mirror and see such a big change. I know I just need to work hard in the gym, eat right, and be patient. I just wanted to write this in case anyone else was experiencing a complete standstill on the scale and needed someone to commiserate with, because I certainly feel like I’m in the minority.

One last tidbit, I would definitely recommend starting a baby registry at Target because FREE STUFF. I got an awesome swag bag with free Starbucks drink coupons, an Avent bottle, diapers, wipes, diaper cream, a pacifier, vitamins, and tons of coupons.


Postpartum Preparation

Because I didn’t venture out into the world for 2 weeks, here are some things you might consider stocking up on pre-baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding…

post

  • Dermoplast because it keeps the downstairs parts cool, slightly numb, and moisturized. I used this for about 3 weeks.
  • Pads of varying absorbency (because you will bleed for days/weeks)
  • Nursing pads for leaking nips, I’ve tried Johnson & Johnson, and would prefer them, but they have a weird nipple shape that pokes out of your shirt (who wants to look like they’re nippin’?)
  • Lanolin to help heal the nips
  • Seamless nursing tank top (because it’s so easy–a bra and a shirt in one)
  • I’ve tried many Target nursing bras, and this is my favorite (hello seamless!)
  • Snacks! and drinks! (I am always thirsty)

Sleep

We wrap her up in a swaddle (which can also be used as a wearable blanket), turn on the rocker (you can turn it on with your toe which is most excellent when we’ve got both hands wrapped around the booboo) and she’s pretty much lights out. She sleeps from about 9 p.m. until around 3 to 5 a.m. Believe me, I feel freaking lucky.

sleep

Halo SleepSack Swaddle and Summer Infant SwaddleMe /  Fisher Price Automatic Rocker

Clothes and Diapering

E v e r y o n e told us not to buy newborn size clothes or diapers, so we didn’t. And guess what? We needed them. Even at 8lbs, she was swimming in size 1 diapers (hello explosions) and 0-3 month clothes. Most newborn clothes say up to 7lbs, but she was still able to wear them up to 10lbs.

As far as diapers, I’m definitely using disposable diapers. The only big thing for me is to look for diapers with the ‘moisture indicator’, so you know the diaper is dirty and you don’t have to stick your whole face inside the thing. At this point, most brands seem to be similar to me. I’m using Amazon diaper wipes (Seems pretty odd that Amazon makes diaper wipes), most are priced similarly, and they’re fine. Don’t really notice a big difference with those either, except we had some Huggies ones that tore apart when we pulled them out of their container and that was annoying.

There are a bunch of different types of clothes for babies with pros and cons. Who knew. We love Gerber Onesies, and we’ve found that gowns (the ones with cinched bottoms) are so easy to handle during nighttime and early morning nappy changes because you don’t have to spend what feels like 45 minutes trying to properly snap and align the buttons of footed onesies (the ones that have snaps all the way down the chest, and around the diaper and legs). If you can find the ones with little hand covers, that’s super awesome for face scratchers. You also definitely need socks (which can double as hand mittens). I haven’t really found any that stay on.

clothing

Gerber Onesies / Baby Gowns / Amazon Diaper Wipes

Don’t Waste Your Money

There are so many super adorable outfits and shoes…soooooo. hard. to. resist, so I bought a bunch of $20-$35 onesies, pants, and whatnots from Baby Gap. She has already grown out of all of it. I learned a good lesson, and I will not do that again. Gerber onesies, Target, and anything on sale are the only things I’ll spring for.

Feeding

I bought a Boppy pillow, but don’t really use it. I just prop her up on it every so often. Since I have such a flexible schedule, I’m only using a manual breast pump. I keep toying with the idea of getting an electric one. I supplement her with formula every so often (gasp, right?), and she doesn’t have any issues switching between the bottle and the boob. Seems like no one talks about or uses formula. If she’s hungry, and I can’t supply enough food for her, I’m using formula. I don’t feel guilty about it, even though it sure does seem everyone wants you to.

feeding

Medela Manual Breast Pump / Extra Bottles (comes with lids and nipples) / Grass Countertop Drying Rack / Bottle Brush

Feeding Mama

I made a lot of food for the freezer about a month before she was born, and I’m really, really, really happy I did. Brandon has definitely been helping with cooking, but sometimes we don’t have anything in the fridge, and going to the grocery store feels like getting ready for a 3 day expedition into the wilderness. I’d also highly recommend stocking your pantry with snacks. It was hard to get out of bed for the first few weeks and having some stuff you could just grab and consume was really nice. Here’s what’s in the freezer…

  • Apples, chicken sausage, and sweet potatoes roasted with maple syrup and rosemary
  • BBQ mini meatloaves with rosemary roasted potatoes
  • Beef stew
  • Chicken, broccoli, rice meatballs
  • Pulled pork tenderloin with sauerkraut
  • Orzo with puttanesca, beef, and feta
  • 10 minute chicken verde soup
  • 2 Frittatas – I do not recommend this, as I ended up throwing it all away. The air pockets in the fritatta were filled with ice, so when I thawed out the slices they were watery and inedible.

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Courtney F
    January 5, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Holy Moley, so happy for you guys! And glad things seem to be just rolling along … Enjoy being “3” :o)

  • Reply
    MINDY TAYLOR
    January 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    She is beautiful! so happy for you guys!

  • Reply
    Ashly
    January 5, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Congrats! I’ll be delivering at Parkridge too and your post has me relieved/excited…ok more relieved, because…childbirth. I would kill for that orzo and puttanesca recipe. Sounds freaking legit!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    January 5, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    What practical, no BS advice. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Stacy
    January 5, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Sounds like you’re doing great! I was in the same boat as you about a year ago, except I did read all the books and blogs because I’m a researchaholic, but I don’t think I figured out anything more than you did. If you’ve got any kids secondhand stores in your area, they are a great place to get clothes and (later on) toys for a good price. The thing about which clothes fit based on size is just going to keep being a thing. Mine is 12 months now and she has mostly, but not entirely, grown out of 12 month clothes, and even some 18 month is too small, but some of the 24 month/2T things are enormous. So if you get something and it’s too big, just wait. 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicole
    January 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    All the cliches — good and bad — are true, aren’t they? Thanks for the honesty, for some reason no one warns us first timers about the horrors that come with childbirth. Pooping during labor should’ve been the least of our worries… Congrats on your little cutie pie.

    PS – Amazon also has organic onesies that range from $3-6 with pithy little fruit and veggie jokes on them. Search Hudson baby 😉

  • Reply
    Katy
    January 5, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Did you check your insurance a lot of them are providing a breast pump at no charge. We have a 1 wk old and I feel the same way about formula and BM. Just make sure their tummy is full!

  • Reply
    robyn
    January 6, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Hey! Had my little girl Oct 21. feel like I could of written your recommendations myself – the rock n play has been a freaking lifesaver! my girl sleeps in it every night. and seriously, cute little 3 piece newborn outfits – so impractical! we have so many gifted clothes she never wore, including a shit ton of short sleeve onesies – hello, it’s winter here in seattle! mamahood is crazy and amazing, isn’t it. super happy for you.
    btw, just got an instant pot (pressure cooker) for christmas – I see it being amazing with having a little baby

  • Reply
    Sue W
    January 6, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Hi! I couldn’t be happier for you. I love seeing your posts and love all your recipes. I may be one of your “older” (in age) followers and reading your post brought me back over 30 years ago when I had my first. Very similar delivery/recovery experience. Took all the drugs and had an epideral and it was a great experience for me as well! Even the stitches, all of it. And even back then I wasn’t doing all the “natural” things other moms were doing. But we survived as are you and your family! I am glad you’re getting out with her, it’s so good for all of you! Take care and sincere Congratulations!!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    January 6, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I had a baby a year and a half ago. I also breastfed. I came out of the hospital 8 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight. Those 8 pounds would NOT budge, no matter how low my calories went, or how hard I worked out, until my son was about 9 months (I was still breastfeeding). My doctor told me for many women, who are already thin, breastfeeding hormones will cause your body to hang on desperately to those last few pounds, as insurance to keep your baby well fed. Take heart, don’t stress, those pounds WILL come off.

  • Reply
    Lisa Cerretani
    January 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Megan, Congratulations! She is beautiful!
    Love your continued posts. Still enjoy your recipes that we cook on the daily! Much happiness to you and your new addition!

  • Reply
    teajae
    January 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    well blow me down in my best Popeye voice, congratulations to you, she is a precious little gem♥

  • Reply
    Liz N.
    January 6, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Hooray! She’s a beauty. Megan. Thanks for sharing a pic of her. Being a mom was the best thing that ever happened to me and yes, that first year will be a blur. Take lots of pics and good videos…and save them/back them up onto an external hard drive. Trust me (learn from my bad experience)! One of the things I had the hardest time with was stopping nursing at 6 weeks. I felt like a bad mom and the breastfeeding moms of the world made me feel inadequate. However, there will be plenty of other things to feel guilty about in the years to come. As long as she’s gaining weight and developmentally on track, who’s business is it anyway?! So happy to see you posting again. Love to all!

  • Reply
    Aimee O
    January 6, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Love this post and love reading about your journey as new parents! She’s a dolly! Congrats!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    January 9, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Thank you for this! Our first baby arrives in a little over 7 weeks! It’s always good to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly from other mamas!

  • Reply
    Jen
    January 15, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Ahhhhh I’m not pregnant and not looking to be anytime soon but I’m just so happy that you’re back at all. I love your blog and can’t wait to watch you take it wherever you want to. Congratulations on your little one!!!

  • Reply
    Dieanna
    January 15, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Congratulations………she’s beautiful!!

  • Reply
    kimberly ramos
    January 19, 2016 at 9:43 am

    you’re doing a great job, mama. you have to do what feels right FOR YOU. not what feels right for anyone else. and you seem to be doing fine! I, on the other hand, made myself crazy, being fearful of the formula… and we had a challenge trying to get her to drink from the bottle at 13 weeks before I had to go back to work. urk. now I’m a doula and all about empowering women to make the choices that are best for them, not for anyone else, and I get it a lot more now. like last night. trying to get my kid to sleep… screw sleep training, just hold her. I still cried though. anyway… yay motherhood 🙂 and those nursing tanks from target are the bomb. I still wear them.

  • Reply
    Tegan
    January 20, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Thank you for this post and congratulations -she’s a gem!… I’m trying to get pregnant and it’s scary yet very refreshing to read how it really is!! Good luck Megan, you sound like a great mum already. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica Ward
    January 21, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Congrats on the baby!
    I am 8 months postpartum with my 3rd and even this being my third time around it is still hard to be patient with the weight loss! There are plateaus at about 6 weeks, 5 months, 8 months and 1 year where your body has adjusted to your calorie intake and expenditure as well as your baby’s so you quit loosing weight. But then, if you are still nursing, your baby hits their 6, 9, and 1 year growth spurts/starts crawling & walking and they suck the fat right off of you and on to them! You won’t be getting any sleep at those points, and your supply will feel low (because it is since they magically need more food to grow their bodies) but they grow and you shrink! Whahoo!
    And I write all this to encourage you but mostly to remind myself right now to be patient with the process. Bellies are jiggly but they get firmer. Back fat hangs on for dear life but it does go away with breastfeeding, time and workouts. Rhythms in sleeping and feeding get set and then blown. Such is the life of babies and parents!
    Blessings to you and yours!

  • Reply
    Robyn
    January 22, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Ahhh congrats, she is really cute! Try to enjoy every day because it will pass by in a blur, it really will.
    Happy to see you posting again!

  • Reply
    Jen
    January 23, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Very cute baby. I had the same experience of no love at first sight. I think it’s a hormone thing. Glad you’re doing well and posting again.

  • Reply
    Matt
    January 29, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Such great news!

    Very glad that you are back!

  • Reply
    Health-Bent | Food Worth Eating | Really Easy Strawberry Vanilla Crunch Parfaits
    March 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    […] I’ve talked about how I couldn’t lose any weight. It took two months before I saw the scale budge because I didn’t realize I was eating the same way I was while I was pregnant. So, I started with our gym’s nutrition program on January 4, and have since continued. To date, I’ve lost 13 (of the 30) baby pounds. < I’m proud of that. […]

  • Reply
    John
    March 25, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Cherish Every moment of it. Being a parent is the most challenging and rewarding endeavors that a person can pursue. In a world of so much uncertainty, there is one constant; the love you have for your babies. the saddest part is the undeniable fact that God has only loaned them to us. eventually we will have to let them go.

  • Reply
    Anna
    October 5, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Fellow mom here, and I’d love to read more blog posts! I see this one is older, but it’s never to late to start them again! I also love your primal cravings cook book, even though you can get the recipes online, I’m old school. I’m getting ready for #2 to come in the spring and seeing this post made me revisit my own memories from my first, who turns 2 tomorrow!

  • Reply
    Psyletta
    October 25, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    CONGRATS ON YOUR BABY! I’m so glad that you decided to enjoy the experience rather than falling for all of the hype and so called “expert advice”. Each baby is different and the experience is one to cherish. As a mom of two grown sons and a daughter who only has a few years left at home, I didn’t have access to all of the “information” during my young mother days. The internet was not nearly as popular as it is now and I didn’t even have my own computer back then. The only real resource that I knew of was the “what to Expect When You’re Expecting”, and that didn’t interest me much. I’m sure there were others, but I ended up having to rely on my own instincts. I did have support, but for the most part those closest to me had their own lives, so I did what was best for my babies. It was a LOT of trial and error and ups and downs. I wish you all the best! I DO understand how you feel about your body. I think that’s pretty normal. I’m sure you look GREAT!

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