life as a new mom

by Ally- Life as I know it, 5:00 AM

Before having Oliver I really didn't know what to expect when it came to being a mom. I mean I saw friends with their kids and I knew how my mom was but when it came to actually being one myself, obviously I had nothing to relate it to besides being a fur mom. The first few weeks were really, really hard. From the moment the baby is born you can kiss your sleep goodbye. I don't think I got more than 4 hours of sleep during that time. So add that into trying to figure out breastfeeding for you and the baby plus your hormones are all out of whack and you find yourself crying at everything. I've never felt so guilty in my life when I stared at my precious newborn at 3 am with tears in my eyes wishing for my old easy life while I was trying to get him to feed with my super sensitive sore nipples. Everyone kept telling me it gets better and now at 6 weeks I can say it does, but at the moment it's hard to see the light.

Breastfeeding is hard. Don't let anyone tell you differently. It takes work but it has awesome benefits. I was lucky that Oliver had a great latch from day 1 but it hurt SO bad. Since being pregnant my nipples were ultra sensitive and anytime he latched on it felt like daggers. The nurses and lactation consultants didn't know what to tell me since there was nothing really wrong so we kind of decided I would pump and feed him through a bottle. Pumping colostrum is kind of a joke because you barely get 1 ml out at a time so I had to supplement with formula as well. Inside I was beating myself up for not being able to breastfeed my new baby who had a fantastic latch. I knew he was getting fed and that was all that mattered but I had my heart set on breastfeeding him and at this time I wasn't sure I would be able to. Luckily the day of our discharge we had a nursery nurse who suggested I try a nipple shield. It didn't block all of the pain from nursing but it helped a good bit and to me that was better than nothing. To this day I still use the shield and I go through spurts where I have total mom guilt over using it. I know, so dumb, he's getting fed and gaining weight what does it matter. I met with a lactation consultant a few weeks ago to try to wean him off the shield and she basically said he has a tongue tie, explains why it hurt, and I can try to wean him off but if I need to keep using the shield no big deal. So I'll probably use it till he stops breastfeeding. It's just easy and now at 6 weeks we've got breastfeeding down pretty well so why rock the boat. 

Growth Spurts/Cluster Feeding
I feel like no one warned me about these two before Oliver was born. Just one day you'll find your sweet baby wanting to eat every hour for hours, sometimes more than that. You basically set yourself up on the couch and plan for a long night of the baby on the boob. Unfortunately babies go through a good 2-3 growth spurts in the first few months so just when you think you're done with an all night eating fest, it starts up again a week later. I've been told once you get past the first 12 weeks the cluster feeding goes away. Hope so!

Sleep Training Books
I had plans of getting Oliver on a strict sleep schedule before he was born. I mean if it was up to me he would of come out of the womb sleeping 12 hours at night and eating every 3 hours during the day! I read Moms on Call, The Baby Whisperer, and Baby Wise and thought I knew what to do. Then he arrived and all my plans went out the window. The problem with these sleep training books is there isn't a one size fits all baby. Oliver prefers to eat on demand rather than every 3 hours on the dot and I can't deny him food so obviously I feed him when he's hungry. For a few weeks there I would start the day with a positive attitude that he would follow Moms on Call's schedule and it never worked out. I've stopped looking at those schedules and decided to let the baby lead. I was told he would eventually start to spread out his feeds from every 1.5/2 hours to 3 hours around 6 weeks and so far this week he has. Maybe eventually we'll follow a schedule but for now I'm feeding him when he's hungry and not looking at a clock. We do a have a night routine and it's actually been working out to my benefit because he's been giving us 5 hour stretches at night!

Bottle Refusal
This is my current struggle of the week, Oliver has decided to boycott bottles. He doesn't discriminate either, he won't take any brand. We've tried Dr. Brown's, Avent, and Tommee Tippee and I refuse to spend any more money on bottles if he's just going to scream and cry when we try to feed from one. When he was first born he would suck on any and everything you stuck in his mouth and now it's like he's forgotten how to! He won't really take a pacifier either. I'm getting nervous because I go back to work in 6 weeks and I don't know what to do if he won't take pumped milk from a bottle. I welcome any suggestions! 

The Wonder Weeks
I can't recommend this app enough. On top of your baby having growth spurts, they also have mind spurts and become super fussy at certain times of their first year. 5 weeks is the first one and for us it was right on track. The app has a calendar that shows you the "stormy periods", where the baby is the fussiest, and the "sunny periods" where your baby should be on their best behavior. After Oliver's first "leap" I could tell a such a difference. He's become so much more alert and will follow me with his eyes when I walk around the room. 

Have you guys ever heard of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library?

It's a non profit organization that promotes reading from a young age and sends your child a FREE book every month till their 5th birthday. Theo signed Oliver up for it and we just got his first book, The Little Engine That Could. You can sign up here and see if they have a branch where you live. Oliver is too little now to enjoy the books but we have started reading to him every night after his bath, between his screams and cries for food. ;)

Being a mom is one hard job and I have a new love and respect for my own mom after having Oliver. It's so much fun and amazing to watch him discover this new world he lives in. No two days are the same and just when you think you've got it figured out, they switch it up on you. I love being a mom to my little boy and feel so lucky and extremely blessed that he was born happy and healthy. 
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  1. I'm sorry to hear that breastfeeding didn't go as you planned, but as long as he's happy and healthy you're doing everything right!! And yay for 5 hour stretches...might as well be gold you got there!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. hang in there!!! you are doing great and things get better!! hug that little guy for me :) xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  3. Oh girl, I feel you on the breastfeeding thing! Everyone tells you, "it's not supposed to hurt!" and I want to get really physical with them!! I teach prepared childbirth classes at our hospital and I tell all the moms--yes it will hurt in the beginning, don't let anyone tell you different! Eventually it shouldn't feel like daggers but it takes time. I feel like people who are 110% about breastfeeding are taken aback at how hard it is when they get right down to it. I even explain it like when you play guitar, your fingers hurt until you build up calluses...unless you've had someone constantly sucking on your nipples before the baby is born (ha!) then it's going to hurt! Add in tongue tie, tongue thrust...and it's just the worst. I cried every feeding, every day for a month with my daughter because of how bad it hurt. Even now, 2 children in, it still hurts when my baby boy (who has an awesome latch) first latches on. You're doing great, momma. :) And that little boy of yours is absolutely adorable!

  4. That picture - oh my word! How beautiful.

    Girl - you are doing awesome. This is NOT an easy job. I feel like as soon as I think I know what I'm doing, a curve ball gets thrown my way and we take a few steps back. And if Oliver is giving you 5 hours at night - whatever your doing during the day is workin like a charm!

  5. I'm sitting here reading this post as I nurse Emma Grace (TMI??!) and just want to give you a big hug! Nursing is incredibly stressful even if your baby latches and you have ample supply. I have her on a (loose) schedule but still have to plan my day around her meals and it's hard to juggle it all. Plus she's so tiny and losing weight due to her reflux so I am constantly stressed that she's not getting enough calories! Even non first time mamas have the same worries as newbies! 😘 I'd chat with your pediatrician about the bottle boycott and see what they suggest. Oh and I love that "book club" but sadly they don't have it in our area (hopefully I can register her when we move in q few months). As long as he's growing and mostly happy I'd say you're doing a great job!

  6. I so appreciate honest posts like this. I know you can never be prepared for being a mother, but I want to be as prepared as possible and that means hearing that it isn't so easy. I'm so sorry breastfeeding didn't go as planned for you, I've heard how painful it can be - it definitely doesn't sound like a walk in the park the way some people would lead you to believe. At least you figured out some kind of solution. I hope you get some good tips for how to get him to take a bottle!

  7. My dear --

    Breastfeeding is an ABSOLUTE B! But once you get through the initial OMG this is the worst pain ever it does get better. I used the shield for 8 weeks and because it was so annoying to clean one day I just eliminated it and never looked back. Those beginning weeks are no joke and I always sympathize with first time moms (as I assumed people also did with me) because it's such an incredibly changing journey. One that not a lot of us are prepared for. Sending hugs!

  8. You are doing great!!! Ss set her own schedule. Eventually. Rando but did you have someone besides you try to do the bottle and with you out of sight? I tried giving Ss her bottle and she basically gave me the finger! She took it seamlessly from Matt. Do you think the tongue tie is preventing him from taking the bottle? Momming is no joke!

  9. Sounds like you're doing a fantastic job, Ally! I know there are some very trying times but sometimes posts like this help so much. Hang in there!

  10. Finding your groove is tough stuff and you're so right about there not being s one size fits all method for caring for your babe! Sounds like you're doing a great job deciding what works for your little guy and your fam and building confidence in that is half the battle, I think! You got this mama!!

  11. I'm so glad you have been able to work with the lactation consultants. My mom is one and I can remember her telling me about all of the new mommies how frustrated they would be in the beginning and then how happy when they would find their groove. I really enjoyed reading this! You are always so real about things and I really appreciate that. Definitely keeping that app in mind for the hopeful someday ;-)

  12. You are doing a fabulous job and I hope each day becomes easier as a routine is able to be created for you and your sweet family! Oliver is lucky to have you as his mom! Xo, Stephanie


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