Wednesday, October 31, 2012

5 Surprising Things About Motherhood

Here we go, more pearls of wisdom from my first month of being a parent ;-P

Seriously though, as much as I thought I was prepared for this whole parenting this there were still a number of things that turned out differently than I expected. Here are my top 5.

1. Breastfeeding in public. I really thought this would be an issue for me, I worried about how to do it discreetly and thought it would make me uncomfortable. I don't know if it's just the lack of sleep but I've found that I could really care less about making other people uncomfortable by breast feeding in public. If other people have a problem with it, then it's, well, their problem. I'll feed my baby when and where I like thank you, there's nothing wrong with it.

2. I know I said this before (and that I am terrifying all my pregnant friends) but it is sooo hard at first! The first two weeks were rough for me. No amount of people telling you how hard it is can prepare you for the long, sleepless nights, it just can't. The other surprise was how quickly things started to improve though, now that Echo is sleeping for up to 6 hours in a row at night I am much better able to handle things that get thrown my way.

3. My body image. I kind of expected pregnancy to ruin my body, but, aside from the odd stretch mark here and there, I really love my post pregnancy figure! I now have amazing curves and I've actually never felt better about how I look. The glow of a new mommy who is completely in love with her little one probably helps too.

4. Money matters. I've always heard how expensive having a baby is. Well, at least so far, having a baby is saving us money. We don't go out to eat as often and also find that we aren't spending money on frivolous things or just because we are bored because we are so busy taking care of our little one. I know she will be more expensive latter on once we start signing her up for ballett and and art classes (or soccer, or whatever) but for now we are enjoying the financial benefits. There are also a ton of free activities to do with kids in our area, Marietta is about as family friendly as it gets so I'm not anticipating a huge financial impact any time soon. September and October have been our lowest spending monthes to date!

5. How the loves grows. This is sooo cheesy sounding but i am amazed at how much more I love her every day. It wasn't instantaneous for me, it took me a while to bond in fact. But the more I spend time with her and get to know her the more head over heels I fall. Just when you think you can't love them any more than you already do they smile at you and you absolutely melt. I am loving my life right now getting to spend so much time with my sweet little girl and it's getting better every day :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Motherly Advice

I know a ton of people who are pregnant right now. It seems like this is the year of the baby, practically every day a new announcement pops up on facebook that someone else is expecting a baby in the near future. That being said here is my advice after surviving the first few weeks with a newborn.

Echo in her cloth diaper, sans the diaper cover
First of all I wanted to share my favorite baby products of all time. The single most important thing I purchased for baby Echo is the boppy pillow. It's a nursing pillow and I seriously don't know what I would do without it. It helps support the baby while you nurse and saves your aching arms and back, those little babies get really heavy really fast! I don't know how my parents generations survived without these, they are the best!

Secondly I want to rave about cloth diapers. I wrote a post about these before and told you I would update you on how we liked them after we started using them. Well we began using them a few days after we got back from the hospital and we love them! I had no idea the sheer quantity of diapers we would go through before having a baby but let me tell you we go through a ton! Using cloth is saving us so much money and we also feel pretty good that we are cutting down on the amount of waste we produce. We love them so much that we also got cloth wipes and are enjoying those as well.

We have found that cloth is so much nicer and softer than disposable and we haven't had any problems with blowouts or leaks. I also want to give a rave review to the snappi diaper fasteners we've been using. You can kind of see it in the picture above, it's the pink thing on her diaper. These things are so much easier to use than pins and have made diaper changing a breeze. We are doing a lot of laundry as a result of cloth diapering (although I should mention we still use disposables overnight) but we would be doing tons of laundry with a newborn anyway and I really feel it is worth the extra effort.

Next on my list of advice is to make yourself take naps. This is sooo hard for me! I've never been a fan of napping, I feel like it is a waste of time. Especially now that I have a newborn I really don't want to nap because I want to take advantage of the time when she is sleeping to get things done like dishes and laundry. However I have noticed that I have a much easier time of it when I force myself to take a nap, I feel so much better and it really is worth the time you take out during the day to do it.

Lastly I would advise new parents to make sure you take some time to yourself and get out of the house. After being stuck at home for the first few weeks (aside from visits to the pediatrician) I was feeling like a basket case. I had such bad cabin fever, I had to get out! See if you can get a family member of friend to watch the baby while you go to the store. Just having some time away can make you feel like a new person, even if it's only for half an hour.

Anyway, that's all I can think of for now but I'm sure I will have many more pearls of wisdom to pass on in the baby department as time goes by. I'm wishing all you mommas to be happy and healthy pregnancies!

Monday, October 8, 2012

I'm a Mommy!

So it's my first post after bringing Echo home from the hospital, the first post of mommyhood. Never have a I felt so simultaneously exhilarated and exhausted. I am finally starting to feel like myself again however, and settling in to some sort of routine and I wanted to share my thoughts on my birth experience and the first few days of being a mom.

First of all I want to let people know that it's really really hard. Not to scare any of you off of having kids but that's just the truth. It's totally worth it, but it's incredibly difficult and I really don't think there is any way to prepare yourself for that. Echo's birth was extremely painful, I chose to go all natural and didn't have any drugs through the entire process and wow did it hurt! I can honestly say it's the worst pain I've ever felt and at times I didn't think I could do it (of course by that time I didn't have any choice but to do it, lol). I can't even begin to describe the emotions you go through after you finally finish pushing that baby out though, it's incredible! The feelings of relief and joy are overwhelming and there is nothing quite as surreal and wonderful as holding your baby for the first time.

I will say this about going the natural route, I feel like my recovery was so much quicker than it would have been otherwise. I was able to go home from the hospital after only spending one night and I was never so happy to be back in my own home. Of course then I had to figure out how to care for this amazing, new little person that I had brought home with me. I have to give major props to single moms after my experiences during the first few days at home. I honestly don't think I could have done it without the support of my amazing husband, not to mention my parents who were there to help every step of the way. Having a support system is so incredibly important when you are going through this difficult time.

There are many reasons that this is the hardest thing I've ever done. First of all, your body is totally wrecked and has literally been ripped apart. Ideally you would have plenty of rest and relaxation after going through something as traumatic and difficult as giving birth. Wrong! Instead you will never get a good night's sleep again! Newborns need to be fed every 2 to 3 hours so there will be no sleeping through the night for you any time soon. In addition to the physical pain and sleep deprivation you are also on an emotional roller coaster and your hormones are going crazy. This all makes you feel moody, irritable and/or depressed. On the plus side you also experience moments of extreme joy and will burst in to tears just looking at your baby because "she's just so beautiful!"

I can also assure you that as hard as it is, it gets better. It gets better relatively fast in fact. After just two weeks my physical pain is far less (although still present) and my emotions are leveling out. I'm starting to be more comfortable taking Echo out with me which has really helped my cabin fever. It also doesn't hurt that people oh, ah and generally carry on over her wherever we go :-)  It's amazing how quickly and how deeply you can fall in love with this strange little person that has come from you and your partner.

Being a mom is incredibly difficult and incredibly amazing. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world though :-)