This post is a bit late (story of my life these days) because I somehow have a six month old now, but I’ve been thinking about what was super duper helpful in those first few months. You know, besides having an incredible partner and supportive friends and people bringing me food.
Also, besides hitting the pool as much as possible. Just like when I was pregnant, I started going to the pool as soon as I was cleared. Even though I wasn’t thrilled about being in a swimsuit, I did love just being in my body and moving in the water. It felt good. Continues to feel good. Oh, you don’t have year round, convenient pool access? I know. This is something we are very fortunate with here.
BUT I promise the rest of these are things you can use for your own fourth trimester or to support the new mamas in your life. In no particular order . . .
Once upon a time, I used huge, statement necklaces to jazz up outfits. This eventually evolved to statement earrings. When the tassel trend happened, I jumped on board SO HARD.
You know what is NOT helpful when you are spending a lot of time laying on the couch or trying to sneak in a few Zzzs or just not really getting dressed? That’s right. Statement earrings.
Enter the delicate necklace. I ended up wearing a necklace 24-7. I know some people do this anyway, but I’ve never been an all-the-time jewelry wearer. I don’t wear my wedding ring at night or in the shower.
But I liked having a little something something. It helped me feel more put together, even when wearing my PJs. It just made whatever I was wearing seem a little bit like I tried. (I got my necklace here, but this one is close. I like the 5 stars for the people in my family.)
Of course, I’m having to rethink this practice now that little man is grabbing EVERYTHING. Sometimes it feels like I have an octopus sitting on my lap. An octopus with surprisingly impressive reach. He actually broke my star necklace, but I haven’t learned and I’m wearing an old one now. If you are looking for something, Etsy is swimming in cuteness for this.
This has been my first baby in podcast world, and they have been clutch. I particularly liked them, especially during those early marathon breastfeeding sessions, because it gave me something to do, but I didn’t have to be holding or looking at my phone. I could still stare lovingly at the baby and not be totally bored. (Truth be told, I still do this sometimes when he’s playing. I can make faces at him and still have background talking.)
My favorites these days are Younghouselove has a podcast, Girls Gone Wod, Happier, Happier in Hollywood, By the Book, and The Mom Hour. (And shout out to Story Pirates which the boys adore, and I enjoy too.) Someone I know was asking on the socials for podcast recommendations with women voices because she noticed her line up was dude heavy. I realized my rotation is exactly the opposite, and I’m not hating it. Apparently podcast time is just bonus girlfriend chat time for me, but I do less talking. (Not no talking, naturally. Just less.)
Even though this was Baby #3 and I thought we’d have that whole boob milk thing in the bag, we had issues. Not the same ones. Maybe not as many. But still not a walk in the park.
About one week in, my generous and wonderful La Leche League friend came over with chocolate and advice on feeding positions. She is a big fan of side lying. I’ve definitely done this one in the past, but it wasn’t my fave both because I found it difficult to cram a newborn’s head on to latch and because I was SO PARANOID about falling asleep with the baby. (Previous Melissa had attempted to follow the prevailing wisdom of the day and was very stressed about co-sleeping.)
But we tried it some more, and especially after Little Man was about a month and could attach himself better, I started to really enjoy it. I think it is great for healing your body. As my wise friend pointed out, even sitting places a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor. Being horizontal when you can is good.
And I remember now that this is what led me to doing more co-sleeping this time around. In the early days, the baby would finish one side, but when I offered him the other he would purse his little lips and use the boob as a pillow. This was, on the one hand, frustrating because I wanted him to get as full as possible, but on the other, heart-meltingly adorable. I would think, well, I couldn’t possibly move you now. So he stayed. And it’s been fine.
These days we do a hybrid. He spends most of the night in his crib, but if he gets up at 4:00 or 5:00 am, I’ll often just leave him in bed. Also, I adore napping with him. This is working for us at the moment. If we attempt to cuddle all night though, I get cranky because my legs and arms fall asleep weird. For now, I’m enjoying the sometimes bonus cuddles.
So I know I’m very basic because these were already the hotness a few years ago. I’m sure for some of you, this is the equivalent of me saying, “GUYS, have you heard about this thing called WATER??” But I only just now jumped on this wagon and now I never want to hop off.
See, for me, it’s not just about the night time wake ups. I usually have a really hard time falling back asleep. Like potentially an hour or so. And there is nothing worse for trying to fall asleep then telling yourself that you really REALLY need to go to sleep because the baby time bomb is ticking so you better sleep when you can. This is a way that James has been clutch at night. He struggles without enough sleep too, but he can usually fall back asleep more quickly so he is frequently a first line of defense.
After a month or so, I was ready to try anything. I already had my sleep mask. My chilly room. My no afternoon caffeine. What else could I do? James got me a weighted blanket for my birthday, and I haven’t looked back. Is it magic? Maybe. Have I also tried to do stuff like minimize getting up and moving around? See supra side lying nursing. But I swear that it helps me get back to sleep in like five minutes a lot of the time. There will actually be times that I want to stay up and read, but I can’t because blanket.
I need to see about getting a duvet for this sucker because I’m not sure you can wash it. (Right now I’ve just kept it on top of my sheet.)
The only downside of the blanket? You miss it when it’s gone. There have been some hotels where I felt naked without blanket. I’m not crazy enough to take this thing on airplanes. Yet.
Now James wants one, and we may get some for the kids. Big fan.
What helped you in the early new baby days? Do you have a go to baby gift? I’m sure I’m forgetting plenty of stuff that has been helpful, but again, sleep deprived baby brain here.
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