I can't believe it has already been ONE MONTH since Madeline was born! It seems like we brought her home from the hospital yesterday! I am already getting a sense that the saying, "The days are long but the years are short" is very true!
I have received a lot of questions from you guys on what life is like as a new mom, so I hope this Q & A post provides a little glimpse into what life has been like so far!
How has your recovery been and how are you feeling now?
To be honest, postpartum recovery was one of my biggest fears when it came to pregnancy. I know this may seem silly to some, but having my two sisters go through it pretty recently, I have seen how difficult the "fourth trimester" can be. Everything from the drastic hormone changes, the lack of sleep, adjusting to life with a newborn, recovery, and a lot of physical changes...I wasn't naive to the fact that I was about to undergo a lot of changes all at once.
That being said, I feel like the postpartum period has been much better than I expected! In fact, I expected to be much more sore, tired, stressed, and emotional than I have been, (especially with the delivery I had). I believe that a few things have contributed to an easier recovery for me. One is without a doubt the fact that I have drawn my strength, patience, peace, and grace from the Lord each day. Despite the fact that it has also been one of the busiest times in my life, I have known that I absolutely have to make time to pray and spend time in the Word. I know that if I don't make time for this, I won't have the grace on my life to do what He has called me to do, including being a good mom to Maddie.
The second thing I can contribute to an easier transition into motherhood has been living a healthy lifestyle. I continued to eat healthy and workout right up until my delivery with Madeline, so I went into her delivery feeling good. I was also prepared for when she was born by preparing a few weeks of healthy freezer meals, which honestly have been a lifesaver in this season! I also have been taking walks outside almost everyday since she was about 2 weeks old.
And last but not least, my husband has been a huge support to me in this time. I think it is so important to take all the help you can get if it is available, (which I know is easier said than done for most women, including myself). I strongly believe that these three things combined have helped me recover and feel strong despite all the changes and lack of sleep I am currently facing!
Are you breastfeeding, and if so, how is it going?
Breastfeeding is going really well so far! Madeline did really well latching from the very beginning, and she has continued to do really well. I will say though that breastfeeding has challenges that I never expected, regardless of how well your baby does. For example, I never realized how much time and energy it takes! In fact, I feel that the majority of my days so far has been spent breastfeeding.
I say this not to complain in any way, because I realize that so many women wish that they could breastfeed their babies and can't for a number of reasons... But I say this just to say that it is certainly an investment of time, especially in the beginning when they feed about every 2-3 hours, or on demand. I am sure that things get easier when they reach a point where they feed on a schedule and they are able to go longer in between feedings.
Another thing that has presented as a bit of a challenge is that Maddie still needs a lot of help from me when breastfeeding. This makes it difficult to nurse under a cover in public or around family/friends. I'm sure that this will get easier with time as well as she grows and is able to latch (and stay latched) throughout the entire session on her own.
What does a typical day look like for you with a newborn?
Each day has looked a bit different than the one before with her being so little. This was a bit difficult for me the first week or two, as I am someone who thrives on routine; But, I had to learn pretty quickly that this newborn phase really has no routine to it at all.
The lack of structure has been good for me in some ways, as it has me learning to take in all of the little moments instead of flying through the day checking off my to-do list! I have a feeling that God designed this season in such a way so that you are forced to slow down and really focus on your new baby and family.
That being said, most of my days are filled with a lot of time spent on the couch or in our bedroom nursing Madeline, changing diapers, and doing laundry (who knew a baby could make so much laundry!?!) I also try to take a walk early in the day before it gets to be too hot outside, and do some Dashing Dish work when I can find the time! In between all of the feedings and dirty diapers, I am loving every moment of her being so little and am trying to take it in each and every day!
What do nights look like for you and your husband?
The first few nights we got the least amount of sleep, as she woke up every 15 minutes to 1 hour. In those first days their stomach is so small and it is before your milk comes in, (this is when they are eating colostrum), so they have to feed much more frequent. In addition, Madeline would fall asleep every 15 minutes or so, which made it hard to get a full feeding in, which resulted in her waking up more often.
Week 3 was much better as my husband and I finally got a routine down which helps Madeline wake up fully during night time feedings. Sean will undress her and change her so she is really awake when I feed her. She then eats for about 20-30 minutes total, and I hand her back to Sean who puts her nightgown back on. We then swaddle her and put her back in the bassinet.
She will typically make noises and fuss for a while when we put her down, so we may have to rock her and bounce her for a bit before she falls asleep. As of now, this routine repeats about ever 3 hours, which means we get anywhere from 1.5-2 hours of sleep in between her feedings.
We try to go to bed early most nights and I get out of bed around 7am. One thing I have found to be true with myself is that regardless of how little sleep I get I have a hard time sleeping in and taking naps! I am just an early riser and don't love naps, so I find it easier to get to bed early, (generally around 8 pm) in order to clock in about 4-5 hours of sleep total per night!
How has life changed since becoming a mom?
Since bringing Madeline home, I am amazed at how our lives have changed! Before having her, I never quite understood what it meant when people would tell me that life would change, but now I am beginning to understand! I feel that life has a whole new meaning in so many ways, and I have told Sean many times, I feel like life has just now begun!
One of the biggest changes I have noticed since becoming a mom is my priorities have shifted quite a bit. Many of the things that were once important to me are still important, however they don't seem to hold the same weight and importance that they used to. For example, I still enjoy a clean house, but I don't feel anxious when the dishes are piling in the sink, because I know that they will get done eventually! My husband and I are a pretty good team when it comes to picking up at the end of the day, but I now see that there are more important things than having a perfectly tidy house at all times of the day!
Another thing I have learned since becoming a mom is to have grace with myself. I now know what it means when people talk about mom guilt...It is a very real thing! It seems that I learn countless new things every day that I have been a mom, (and that is only 30 days in), and I know I will continue to learn so much; But with that learning comes mistakes and trial and error sometimes! So, instead of guilt, I have learned that in order to do this thing for the rest of my life, I have to learn to have grace with myself early on. Yes, I will make mistakes, no, I will not be perfect; But only one thing matters, I love this little girl with all my heart and will do the best I possibly can to make her feel safe, secure, and loved each and every day!
How has Sean adjusted to being a dad?
Sean is an amazing dad, but I knew he would be! He is so hands-on, so incredibly sweet, gentle, and helpful; And he loves his little girl more than I could have ever imagined! I can't wait to see him with her as she grows, and watch him teach her how to golf, how to draw and paint, and how to appreciate a good animated movie!
I now know what women mean when they say, "you fall in love with your husband all over again when they hold your little girl"...Oh how very true this is!
In addition to Sean being an amazing father, he has really blessed me as a husband in this season. He has really taken on a role of a protector and provider in a whole new way for our family, and I am so blessed to see him rely on the strength, provision, and protection of the Lord as he looks to care for our family.
What kind of baby is Madeline so far?
Maddie is such a sweet baby so far! She is making us laugh all the time with her noises and faces, and we can't wait to see how her personality continues to unfold!
She is a pretty light sleeper, and startles at just about everything, making it hard to keep her asleep for long...so most of the time she is wide eyed and taking in her new surroundings! People always say, "she is so alert!" Which we love, because we think she is showing off how super smart she already is! ;)
Madeline is calmed the most by worship music (which we played when she was in my belly, and during her delivery). It is almost as if she stops to listen and take it in when we put it on. One of the words that God gave me when I was pregnant with her was "melody", so I am convinced she is already making melodies unto the Lord with her little baby noises! :)
Overall, Madeline is living up to her middle name to the fullest...She brings us SO MUCH JOY!!! All of the hard moments, the continual learning, and the sleepless nights are more than worth the joy that she brings us every day. If we were to describe our lives since she came into our family, we can say without a doubt, it would be THANKFUL!
And that just about wraps up our first month as new parents! Thanks for joining in on our continued journey with our Miracle Maddie friends! xo Katie