Sleep When the Baby Sleeps, Clean When the Baby Cleans: Things I’ve Learned From the First Month of Motherhood

Well it’s been a little over a month since my sweet baby girl was born. Let me start off by saying that I am still brand spanking new at this whole thing, and I am so NOT an expert. That being said, the first month has taught me many things, and I feel it is important to share them with other new mommies and future mothers.

The first month of your baby’s life is how what I would expect bootcamp to be like. You are up at the crack of dawn (or any other hour your baby is), you are constantly working (feeding, changing, bouncing, laundry), and you follow all commands your tiny adorable general gives you or suffer the consequences of ear piercing screams!

Don’t be scared future mamas, because it is also the most amazing time of your life. Yes it’s tons of work, and you will be exhausted; but, you get to bond with the little human you housed for 10 months. There will be lots of smiling, laughter, and adorable, heart melting moments as well that make everything else so worth it!

So let’s get into all that I have learned this past whirlwind of a month!

There No Holy Bible for Parenting:

(image from http://www.scienceofmom.com)

There is sooooo much information out there about parenting it can be overwhelming. There are so many books out there written by parenting experts that all claim to be the book that will teach you all you need to know. There are so many schools of thought on how to care for your newborn, talk to them, respond to their cries, etc. that it may literally leave your overly tired head spinning.

Wanna know why there are so many? That’s because not one of them is the right one. I recommend reading one or two (because too much can drive you nuts) that you feel you can get on board with, and take what you want from them and leave the rest.

Every baby is different, every mother is different, every family is different. How can one book on parenting work for everyone? Do you! Heck don’t read any if you don’t want to, you’ll figure it out!

Nobody Knows What the F They’re Doing:

Seriously. Even the most put together, calm looking mama is winging it.

The general consensus is that we are all just fumbling around, trying to do the best we can. I don’t know a single mother, whether their children are young or grown, who feels like they have all the answers. We’re all just doing the best we can, and hoping we don’t screw up our kids too much in the process.

Welcome to the Club, You Aren’t Alone:

You may feel like you are detached from the rest of the world the first few weeks. Your husband is back to work, all your friends are going about their normal social schedule and posting pics of it on Instagram, and you’re stuck on your couch all day with your baby attached to your boob. You’re gonna have a LOT of questions, and you may feel weird bothering your friends who have been through it before while they’re busy living life.

Don’t worry mama, you aren’t alone. A big thing I read before having the baby was to join mothers groups to make new mom friends once baby was born. So what are you supposed to do the first two months (especially during cold and flu season) when your pediatrician advises you to keep the baby away from crowds and children until they are vaccinated?

Well, no matter how bad of a reputation social media has these days, there are some amazing things that it has created. Mom groups are all over Facebook, Instagram, and baby apps like the Bump, and Baby Center. You literally just have to search for them and book you found your new mommy group!

My favorite for the past month has been the Mama Said Facebook group. This group is for listeners of the Mama Said podcast (if you haven’t heard of it, and you’re a mom, do yourself a favor and listen to it! Thanks for the tip Lew!). It is a group of women who ask any and all questions you may be thinking of about motherhood: breastfeeding, sleep, how to deal with postpartum, bottle feeding, etc., and also talk all about things like mommy guilt and openly confess our (pardon my French) “shitty mommy” moments. Ask a question or share a story, and within minutes I promise you will have supportive uplifting responses. I’m so glad I found this group!

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps, Clean When the Baby Cleans:

I mean how annoying is the age old advice “sleep when the baby sleeps!” Ok Karen… because that pile of dirty laundry, and that sink full of dishes aren’t giving me agita! You can only sleep so many hours during the day and avoid your chores before you run out of dishes and clean underwear.

Yes your husband should help out around the house now that your full time job is baby care; but, odds are he’s working full time too and is also lacking sleep thanks to baby. I’m not gonna lie the first week or so I took naps when baby was napping. You are gonna feel like a truck ran you over that first week. You’re also gonna have lots of family and friends around bringing you meals, and offering to help clean or hold baby for you while you do some chores. Well folks, that gravy train ends and you better be prepared for it!

My biggest piece of advice and what I think has been the most helpful, is go to bed with the baby, and make sure it’s early. Yeah, it’s hard to imagine getting into bed at 7pm when you’re usually up with your husband watching Netflix til midnight… but trust me.

I accidentally started going to bed with her around 7pm the first week we were home because I was so shot from being in the hospital and giving birth. It happened to be a VERY happy accident. I get in bed with her and nurse her to sleep, so she’s usually out by 8pm, and I turn the nightlight out and fall asleep myself. She wakes up about 3-4 times a night, giving me at least 2 hour stretches and according to my Fitbit (I totally recommend wearing one to bed to see how many hours you’re getting) I usually get between 7-9 hours depending on how she sleeps that night.

Babies tend to be up for the day around 6:30-8am, so if I went to bed any later I would probably get about 6 hours or less. By going to sleep when my daughter does, I no longer require naps during the day. I’m not saying I always feel refreshed, because let’s face it interrupted sleep isn’t the most restful; but, I feel good enough during the day to skip naps and get whatever I can done while she’s sleeping.

If you can, give this a shot. Sure you’re not gonna be able to watch that show you’ve been binging with the hubs, and you’ll have less alone time with him for these weeks, but this is just a season. Once baby is sleeping longer you can go to bed at a normal time.

And there you have it folks; all the most important things I have learned over the past month. Like I said, I am no expert mama by any means, but I figured that if I shared some of the knowledge I picked up over the last 5 weeks. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that moms have to stick together and help each other out, especially during the most trying times.

I hope you find this helpful! Would love to hear what you’ve learned as well in the comments. Don’t forget mama you are not alone, and this is only a for a season: a beautiful, crazy, sleep deprived, love filled season I know we’ll all miss.

Letting Go of Plans: My Birth Story

The past few months have been a whirlwind, but they do not compare to the past two weeks. I have left this passion project of a blog unattended, because I was very pregnant, busy, and far more focused on preparing for the little bundle of joy that was to join us!

You see I am a gal who likes a plan. A nice solid plan. This is something that occasionally drives my husband nuts (like when it’s Saturday we have no plans and I get up at 6 am contemplating things to do, and demand he start planning the day with me as soon as he wakes up). I can’t help it! I like to know what I am doing, and what I need to get done.

Nesting hit early on in my second trimester, which was terrible timing because farm life was still in full swing and the husband and I were both working 7 days a week. Come November I had my husband painting walls and building cribs before he had a chance to think otherwise!

Once that third trimester kicked in, I was sure to finish my Hypnobirthing home course, and assign my husband homework and readings from it as well. I wanted to be thoroughly ready for what lay ahead, and my husband had to be too. My birth plan was written, proofread, and had 3 copies printed and strategically placed in different bags just in case by 36 weeks.

In my head I planned that this baby just wouldn’t make it to 40 weeks! She had dropped by week 34 and was 7mm from my bladder and resting her head on my cervix since 37 weeks.

Well I learned pretty quick that planning was about to fly out the door!

The week before my due date I had a routine check. The doctor examined me, told me I was 80% effaced and 1 cm dilated. “From the looks of it you may not make it to your due date, but just in case go ahead and schedule an appointment for that day.” That comment basically gave me the green light on my plans to have this kid before my EDD.

Well then my due date came, and at that appointment the doctor said “OK. Nothing has changed from last week. I would schedule a sonogram for next Friday, and have you scheduled an induction for the 42 week mark yet? Because I think you should just in case.”

This was the beginning of my plans shattering. I walked out of that office with two new appointment cards: one for a sonogram in case my stubborn baby was too big to wait until 42 weeks, and one for an impending induction. My heart deflated and my ego took a big hit. My plans to be a mother by that evening had flown out the window.

I dramatically texted my family saying “No baby, I am just gonna he pregnant forever.” That was the new plan. I even came home and declared it to my husband. “Well since she doesn’t wanna come out, I’ll be induced on the night of February 18th and she’ll be born on the 19th. It’s ok though because I got to pick who will deliver her.”

Well that night our daughter had other plans. After a delicious eggplant parm dinner (a labor induction suggestion from a friend… who knew!), at 12:30 am on February 9th my water broke.

It wasn’t like a scene out of a movie where I immediately went into labor and we rushed to the hospital. I had been sleeping and was actually terrified that the whole loss of bladder control thing everyone had been telling me would happen, had finally occurred. But nope, my water had definitely broken. I phoned the hospital, they told me to wait til 6 am or until my labor had started and I was having good contractions 5 min apart for 1 hour.

At 7:30 that morning my husband and I were rushing out the door to go have our baby girl! I had been having strong contractions every 4 min for 1 min straight for 2 hours by the time we got to the hospital, so naturally my husband and I thought this was gonna be it! I’d be delivering by noon, just like we’d hoped for the past month! An afternoon baby, and lots of naps for the rest of the day! (Hahaha now I can really laugh at that because I’ve lived the new baby hospital life and know that naps are hard to come by there).

The doctor examined me and informed us that my water had indeed broken and she’d be back in a few to check my cervix.

I was so excited! I must be well on my way right? The contractions although pretty painful, and super close at this point were bad, but my hypnobirthing breathing techniques were really helping! I was about to have the all natural, beautiful, non medicated birth I dreamt of!

The doctor then checked me, and informed me that while I was 95% effaced, I was still only 1cm dilated. My water had been broken for almost 9 hours and if I went much longer, the baby and I would both be put on antibiotics because we would be at risk of infection. She suggested I be put on a pitocin drip (synthetic oxytocin) to speed things up.

My birth plan had entailed no pitocin unless necessary… but starting my baby’s life with antibiotics or risking infection outweighed my desire to naturally progress. I agreed, they started my drip, and things certainly sped up. My husband asked me if I wanted to show the doctor my birth plan… I said no that’s ok, confident that I would get the rest of my natural birth!

The first 4-5 hours my breathing techniques worked wonders… but then we entered the transition period. I was about 7-8 cm dilated and the contractions were coming every minute or less, and due to the pitocin were lasting 120 seconds instead of 60 and were super intense. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t breath or relax my body if I tried.

Enter the drugs. I remember looking at my husband who I told “don’t you let me take the epidural”, and pleading with him not to judge me. I knew that if I didn’t take it, I would not have the energy to push this baby out on my own. That mattered to me more than anything. My husband of course supported my decision. What felt like an eternity later, the anesthesiologist showed up and took all the pain away!

After a brief hour long nap, I started feeling a serious pressure and my contractions once again. The doctor checked me, told me I was at 9.5 cm and that she wanted to wait one more hour so the baby could descend a little further on her own. Whelp then she noticed I was feeling my contractions once again, and that the epidural had snapped out of my back! “Ok time to push!” She announced.

About an hour later my little girl was placed into my arms. Our lives were changed forever… and all plans have gone out the window!

We planned to “get some rest” that first night, but as soon as I’d feed the baby, and change her and shut my eyes a nurse would come in to check one or both of us. So we planned on napping the following day, but we were flooded with excited and happy loved ones who came to wish us well.

(Keeping it real:this picture truly captures how exhausted I was the day after giving birth)

It’s been a week and a half since our baby girl was born, and I can honestly say I have woke up everyday knowing full well there will be no planning happening. I’m ok with this now. The only plans I have every day now are to feed, clothe, and give my baby girl all the love she deserves. That is truly the only plan that matters anymore.

Whoever first told me to “plan to throw your plans out”, you were so right. I am so at peace with this idea of a plan free day, because all I really want to do anyway is spend as much time with my girl as I can.

It’s only been 11 days since the birth of my daughter, and time already seems to be speeding by.

Life is just too short to make plans. Instead I will choose to soak up each and every moment I get with my child, so I can cherish them one day when I’m free to plan away again.

Staying Active and Healthy Avocado Toast… for 2!

Surprise! Nick and I are expecting our first child in February! We found out the first weekend of June and have been ecstatic ever since!

I had fully planned on starting up the blog again once Farm season had begun and I had plenty of resources for my recipes… baby had other plans! I have never experience fatigue like I did the first 2.5 months of pregnancy! I napped in my car at work on my lunch break, when I got home, and was in bed by 8:30, 9 pm latest! Apparently this whole growing a human thing really takes it out of you!

Luckily, that was the only bad symptom I experienced during my first trimester. I am beyond grateful that I missed the whole morning sickness fiasco most women deal with! Fatigue was tough, but it wasn’t unbearable.

I was determined from the beginning of my pregnancy to remain fit and healthy for myself and most importantly for baby K. My morning workouts not only keep me in shape but keep me sane. It’s my only time for myself all day, before my husband gets up, before my workday begins, before that list of chores becomes a reality….. I need that time! Thankfully, the little energy I had during the first trimester was at the very start of my morning, so my workouts never stopped!I’ve continued to workout 6 days a week, but have been following prenatal weight lifting workouts and running on my off days (as cleared by my doctors).

There is so much research saying how important it is for women to continue working out during pregnancy. It helps us prepare to be fit for delivery, it helps maintain a healthy weight gain, and also has been shown to help with brain development for baby!

Fitness hasn’t been difficult to keep up with….. my healthy eating habits however have taken a LOT more discipline.

Apparently all this baby wants is mint chocolate chip ice cream and carbs (not that I blame them). Before pregnancy, my will power around sweets was unbreakable…. somehow this baby has made me crazy for ice cream! This was the first thing that tipped my sister in laws off that I might be expecting.

Although I just want to spend my days shoveling in nachos and ice cream, I really want to give my baby the best nutrition I can. I have been focusing my meals around what nutrients are especially important to baby K’s growth and development… not to say that I don’t occasionally allow myself to indulge in a treat or two or three every week. Everyday I try my best to make sure I am taking in enough Folate, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin c, protein, Omega 3s, etc.

I have personally found it easiest to stick to healthy eating when I begin my day with a healthy breakfast!

Almost everyday since the beginning of July I have had the exact same DELICIOUS and most of all NUTRITIOUS breakfast! I call it 1st Trimester Avocado toast. It is so simple, quick and easy to make plus packs a ton of nutritional value!

All you need for this recipe are the following:

1 tsp coconut oil

2 pasture raised eggs

1 cup spinach

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 avocado

1 toasted Ezekiel bread English muffin (or your bread of choice)

Seasoning of choice (I use Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning)

  • First melt the coconut oil in a large pan. Once you have done this, crack the two eggs into one side of the skillet to fry.
  • Once the eggs are about halfway cooked, add garlic to the opposite side of the pan and allow to sweat for 1 minute. Then add in the spinach and cover pan until it begins to wilt.
  • While the spinach is wilting and your eggs are cooking, mash and spread your half an avocado onto each half of your toast.
  • Remove the pan from heat, layer the spinach onto the avocado toast and top it with your fried eggs… that’s all folks!
  • See how simple that is?! You definitely don’t have to be pregnant to enjoy this, but if you are it has so many benefits. This meal is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-6, E, K, Folic acid, potassium, magnesium, protein and fiber! It is also absolutely scrumptious! I wake up wanting this meal every morning, and it fills me up and keeps me going until lunch time!
  • I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you try it out let me know what you think.
  • Now that I am feeling myself again, I plan to create and post many more recipes this summer to share with you all, as well as more about my pregnancy journey!
  • Until the next one,
  • Rachael Krupski