The First Two Months with Baby
Having a baby is one of the most exciting, amazing, daunting, tiring, and life-changing events. I had some clue as to what it would be like, and nobody can prepare you for the little ins and outs of what its really like on the day to day. But I'm going to do my best to illustrate the different aspects of sleep, feeding, playing, products I absolutely can't live without, etc with baby in the first two months of life.
If you just want to see cute photos of little miss Adalyn June, scroll to the bottom of the post :)
One thing I was not prepared for and actually was my #1 concern was the amount of sleep me and the baby would get. Now Addie is averaging around 6-7 hours and sleeping through the night (thankfully) but it took a bit to get to this point, and not all babies do at this point. My pediatrician even said, "Don't tell other Moms that." But I'll tell you what we have done that seems to help in this department.
Watch baby's cues: Babies can't talk so they have to communicate through body language and cries. I worked in the hospital for almost a decade as a nurses aid and I've had to sit with older patients for "intensive observation" if they were a risk to themselves for being confused with dementia or other reasons. This has helped me develop a keen eye for the needs of a being who can't use words to express what they need. I can tell if baby is getting tired by the same cues adults do - like yawning and rubbing your eyes and zoning out. When baby stops looking at you and seems to slow down the activity level, then she's probably getting tired.
Make sure she is comfortable: Babies will be very vocal when they aren't comfortable. Making sure she isn't too warm or too cold can be a fine line, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure she is wearing one more layer than what you would wear. A cotton footie and sleep sack in the colder weather tend to be my go-to since she never liked being swaddled. As it gets warmer I've been putting her in a long sleeve onesie and cotton footie and she'll be out for 6 hours or more. It's also not fun being wet from a dirty diaper so make sure she's changed before bed.
Putting them to sleep: At first I would just nurse her to sleep. I'd be up every 2-3 hours at night or every hour if she was going through a growth spurt and cluster feeding. Now that she's getting a little older we've started to incorporate a bedtime routine around 6-7 weeks. I'll feed her around 8-9pm, give her a bath, read to her, and hold her on my chest with her pacifier until she falls asleep or is drowsy before putting her in the pack n' play in our room with the monitor. She'll usually sleep from 1030 - 430 before she wakes up and needs to be fed again.
I'll admit I felt like a milk cow the first month. It feels like baby is CONSTANTLY on the boob, especially going through growth spurts. There will probably be soreness, especially if baby isn't latching well. Coconut oil was my best friend. Here are some tips for feeding that helped me.
Feed on demand: I didn't like the idea of putting my baby on a schedule. She definitely lets me know when she's hungry. Her first cues are lip smacking and rooting, and then she will put her fists in her mouth. Crying is a late signal but sometimes at night that's all you got. Until she reaches her birthweight and is gaining it is recommended to feed at least every 2-3 hours. So at first I would wake her up. Now I just let her sleep and feed her when she waked up/shows signs of hunger.
Give a diaper change in between sides: If your baby is anything like mine, she gets really sleepy at the end of feeding on each side. So much so that she isn't awake to take the second side even with a little jostling. I change her diaper in between in order to wake her up again for the second side and then she'll happily fall back to sleep after the second side. If your little one only takes one side at a time per feeding though, I'd recommend changing them before you start feeding them.
Pumping: I didn't start pumping to save a store for work until after a month to establish supply. The best times to pump for me were right before bed to stave off any discomfort, and early morning where supply is the highest. Now that she is taking one side more often I just pump the other and don't need to pump any extra. And I have about 16-20 3oz bags of mother's milk all stored up already! And I usually keep two bottles of refrigerated milk for the husband to feed to Addie on occasion to get her used to taking the bottle for when I go back to work.
Newborns don't really do much, but since everything is new, the smallest things are fascinating to them. At first they can only see about a foot in front of them. Then they start gaining more head control. From birth we were told that Addie was very strong, and she's proved that further with tummy time. She can now lift her head and roll over!
Tummy time routine: We typically do a routine of sleep eat play sleep. When its playtime Addie goes all smiles! We start her off on her tummy since it is her least favorite and then roll her over onto her back (if she doesn't do it herself) and she loves her mobiles! She can stare at them and kick the side that hold them and watch them jingle jangle all day. Until she wants to nap. She'll tell you this by looking away, or now she eats her hand signaling she wants to comfort such, i.e., her pacifier.
Other ways to play: You don't need a play mat to play with baby. You can put them on your chest so they can look at your face and do tummy time that way. You can dance around the house and sing to them, or walk around and show them things and the words for them, or read them a book. Sometime Addie loves it when I just talk to her.
4. Products I couldn't live without
1. A lounger: This Leachco Podster sling-style infant lounger is probably the most used baby item I own. Someone told me about loungers when I was pregnant, but I didn't really realize how important it was until I realized I needed to put the baby down sometimes.
2. Pack n' Play: We co sleep with Addie and just have the pack n play in our room. It'll be good for 6-12 months and then she can go into the crib, but then it will still get use after the fact to play in when traveling!
3. Pacifier: What did people do before pacifiers were invented? Some babies don't take them, but Addie loves them, and it helps to soothe her during her fussy periods. There is some controversy around pacifiers because it can cause nipple confusion if introduced before month, but my pediatrician told us in the hospital that Addie was a very oral baby, and that her children went home with a pacifier. She sent me home with like 4 soothes (thank the lord!) If they don't use a pacifier, they'll use you. Which is fine for some people. It made sense for me with the combination of the soreness and needing to get other things done.
4. Nursing cover: I got this nursing cover from Pink Blush Maternity that triples as a scarf and car seat cover. I've used it a number of times in public or when people come over and I don't want to go into a different room. It takes a little getting used to when pairing with a nursing tank/bra, even more so if you're not wearing a nursing tank/bra. But I bring this everywhere with me just in case. So much easier than a bottle that would need to be warmed up.
5. A Wrap: There are many different wraps out there, but I got a Solly Baby wrap because it's lighter weight and better in the summer so baby doesn't overheat. It looks complicated but it's really easy once you get the hang of it and there are many tutorials on youtube. I have two hands free and I'm able to get chores done around the house, or take her to the grocery store. It's great for the "4th trimester" where baby is just getting used to being out of the womb. They like hearing your heartbeat and being skin to skin which usually puts them right down to sleep.
Okay there you have it! Some tips that have helped me with baby over the first two months of life! I'm still getting the hang of her and learning and growing along with her every day.
Enough of my blabbering. Here are some cute photos of Addie Behr!
If you can't get enough baby Addie photos, follow her on insta at @addielovesdaddy!