Settling into motherhood

Mabel turns 8 weeks old on Tuesday and I feel like we’re starting to find our groove. Some random thoughts and updates:

  • I still have a low milk supply and we’re supplementing with formula. Though at this point she’s actually drinking more formula than breast milk. I still nurse at night and in the morning. Still give her the boob first for most feedings, but my supply is just not keeping up. I pump when I can ( averaging about 6-8 oz a day), but I’ve decided to not stress about it. I’ve made a conscious choice to just revel in my time with Mabel and not spend my days worrying about how I’m feeding her. If we’re curled up on the couch for an afternoon nap, I don’t walk away in order to pump, I just enjoy the sweet snuggles. The important thing is she’s being fed and growing rapidly.
  • Mabel is babbling and cooing up a storm these days. She’ll make squawking sounds to get our attention if we’re not right next to her. She’ll coo and try to copy our tones when we sing to her. It’s too too cute. 
  • we’ve found a nanny! We’re doing a nanny share with one of my friends/coworkers who has a 2 week old daughter. The nanny starts right after Labor Day and will just watch Mabel until my friend, L, goes back to work at the end of September. Then Nanny M will watch both babies at our house. Excited to have found someone that we had a connection with and who is very qualified. She’s bilingual and will speak Spanish to the girls, which I love. And she had excellent references. We had originally planned on just having a nanny for the first year and then enrolling Mabel in daycare next summer. However, we’re now thinking we might keep Nanny M longer if all goes well this year and the financial aspect of having a nanny isn’t too hard for us (though it definitely eats up a vast majority of our disposable income!).
  • We’re already thinking about Baby #2, if you can believe it. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation, but we’re dreaming of a 2 kid family these days. We weren’t even sure we wanted a second kid until this week. Now we’re putting a timeline to it! If we still want a second kid at the beginning of 2018, we’ll go back to the fertility clinic and start the process again. I’ll have just turned 38 by that point, so I wouldn’t want to put it off much longer than that. Of course this all depends on our financial situation (can we really afford childcare for 2 kids?? Right now the answer is no).
  • Mabel is going through her second developmental leap and her sleep is suffering for it. She starts the night off beautifully and sleeps for 3-4 hours in her bassinet. But then it gets cray. She’ll wake up every hour or hour and a half and take forever to go back to sleep. This morning she just decided to start the day at 4:30am. Wide awake and giving me huge smiles, she was ready to go! Thankfully, S took over at that point so I could get a few hours of sleep. I hit the jackpot with my wife, I tell you.
  • I’m already nostalgic for the newborn she was 6 weeks ago. We went to visit my friend L and her brand new baby this past week. He baby had just turned 2 weeks old and I got all sappy thinking of Mabel at that age. I think it’s way too early to feel nostalgic but man, hearing those little newborn grunts just tugged at my heart strings. Hence the renewed talk of possibly having a second kid. 
  • Having said that, I am loving the new interactive Mabel. She really looks at us now, studies her toys and it feels like we’re having a conversation when she coos at us and we coo back. She responds to rattles now and will turn her head towards sounds. Practically overnight she transformed from a little blob to a tiny human that engages with us. It’s wonderful!
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A Day in the Life

Mabel is 6 weeks old today. Crazy. I feel like we just brought her home from the hospital. How can my maternity leave already be halfway over??!?!?

I wanted to capture a snapshot of our typical day. Both for myself and so others with newborns know their hectic days are totally normal.

6:30am – Mabel gets restless in her bassinet. I pick her up and bring her into bed with us to nurse. After 5 minutes, she gets fussy again, pulling on my nipple and smacking my boob. I realize my boobs are oddly light and empty feeling this morning, which is unusual as the mornings are typically when they’re heaviest with milk. Cue 30 seconds of mental panic as I wonder if my milk is already drying up. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

6:36am – I go to the kitchen to prepare her a bottle and take it back to the bed. She gobbles up 2 oz in no time and I keep her in bed with us for a family cuddle session before S has to get ready for work.

7:30am – S nudges me awake to let me know the bottles on the drying rack have been sterilized and she offers me a hot mug of coffee. Ahhhhh. I take one delicious sip. S leaves for work and I fall back asleep with Mabel on my chest.

8:30am – Mabel starts stirring. I try to lull her back to sleep. Just a few more minutes? Mama is super sleepy. She’s not having it. Our day has started. 

8:35am – I take her to the nursery to change her and put on a fresh onesie. I swing by our bedroom to grab my now cold mug of coffee and we head to the living room. I place Mabel in her swing and once I see she’s entertained by the hanging toys, I scurry to the kitchen to microwave my coffee. We enjoy about 10 minutes of her swinging and me relaxing on the couch watching her and drinking the elixir of life (coffee). 

8:45am – she starts crying. We move to the rocking recliner and I start to nurse her. After a quick try at hand expressing to make sure there’s milk, I see that NO milk is coming out. Cue another quick panic session. Fuuuuck. Must make sure I pump this morning.

8:55am – a bottle is made and she sucks it down. I love that she makes eye contact now when I feed her. We just stare at each other the whole time. I think her eyes will end up a lovely chocolate brown. They seem to get darker every day. 

9:15am – after an impressive burp, she dozes off in my arms.

9:20am – I begin the never ending task of cleaning damp lint out from between her fingers. This child’s clenched fists collect a lot of lint. It’s a slightly gross, yet satisfying job.

9:35am – I wonder if I should place her in her bassinet for naps. I’m sure someone would advise that. After a few minutes though, I think “fuck it.” Her days of being this tiny are numbered, so I enjoy the cozy weight of her in my arms and read the news on my phone. 

9:50am – After exactly two news articles, I realize the world is going to shit and spend the next half hour worrying about the kind of world I’m leaving Mabel with.

10:30am – realize I have to pee and start pondering how to move her and keep her asleep. Ahhhh, this is why they advise you to place the baby in their bassinet for naps.

10:35am – she’s in her bassinet and still asleep- success! I pee and swing by the kitchen to refill my coffee. 

10:40am – I check to make sure she’s still breathing. 

10:45am – I check to make sure she’s still breathing.

10:50am – I check to make sure she’s still breathing. 

10:55am – Realize I should be pumping while she’s asleep! Put on my hands-free pumping bra, get everything hooked up and am just about to turn on the pump when Mabel starts crying. Unhook everything and hurry to our bedroom. 

11:05am – we’re back in the living room. Tummy time! She lasts about 5 minutes before the crying starts. But she DOES raise her head and look around. 

11:10am – I place her on her back on the playmat and nudge the hanging toys so they rattle. If I can keep her entertained for 10 minutes, I can squeeze a pumping session in. 

11:15am – I bring the pump over to the mat so I can pump right next to her. I hook everything up and turn it on.

11:17am – Mabel starts crying. I try to soothe her by rubbing her chest, kissing her forehead. She’s not having it. I pick her up and hold her next to my side – to avoid the pumping bottles connected to my boobs. She’s not having it.

11:20am – I turn off the pump and detach myself from the pumping accroutrements. Place Mabel on my chest and she’s finally satisfied. 

11:30am – she starts rooting around and sucking on her fist, so I place her on the boob, hoping there’s something for her. She lasts about 15 minutes on each boob and I see some milk drip from her mouth. Relief. 

12:00pm – she’s totally awake and alert.  I carry her around the house, bouncing her and letting her look at everything. 

12:15pm – I realize I haven’t eaten anything yet. I place her in her bouncy chair in the kitchen while I heat up some oatmeal. Carry her to the living room and place her in her swing. Go back to the kitchen and grab my oatmeal and take it to the living room.

12:30pm – Am just about to eat the oatmeal when I hear one of our cats start to puke. I jump up and carry him off the rug and onto the hardwoods (easier to clean). He proceeds to walk to another rug and pukes on it. Mabel starts crying (I swear her and the cats coordinate this). I try to reassure her with my voice while I quickly clean up the puke. I pick her up and see she has a heavy diaper. We go to the nursery to change into a new one.

12:50pm – we go back to the living room to see that my oatmeal has congealed into a cold mush. No thanks. I grab a Luna bar instead and inhale it. 

1:00pm – we hang out on the coach and have a conversation. She’s just starting to make some babbling sounds. I love talking to her and holding her hands for a few Patty Cake sessions. 

1:20pm – she gets a little cranky. I offer her a boob and after 5 minutes she starts to doze off.

1:30pm – I set her down on a blanket and grab the pumping equipment for the 3rd time that day. Strap everything on and try it again.

1:40pm – get 5 minutes into pumping and Mabel gets antsy. I arrange us so she’s on my lap while I pump. 

1:50pm – complete a whole pumping session!

2:00pm – sorta trapped under Mabel, as I don’t want to risk waking her up. She rarely naps for long in the afternoon and I want her to sleep as much as possible.

2:15pm – wish I had made sure the tv remotes were within reach before I started pumping with her on my lap

2:30pm – have to pee again so I ever so gently place her in her swing, turn on the lullabies and quickly run to the bathroom. 

2:35pm – swing by the kitchen to heat up some food for myself. Hear Mabel start to stir. In desperation I grab a handful of Doritos and stuff them in my mouth. 

2:37pm – in the living room, Mabel is already back asleep. I hear the FedEx guy drop a package off on our porch. The diapers I ordered online! I open the door and grab the package from our porch. And remember I’m still wearing the hands-free pumping bra with the flanges and bottles still attached to each boob. Oh well. Hopefully no one saw that.

2:40pm  – remove the bra and bottles just as Mabel wakes up. Offer her a boob, but she gets frustrated after a few minutes. Offer her the other side and the same thing happens. End up giving her a bottle of the freshly pumped stuff.

3:00pm – realize I haven’t brushed my teeth yet. Place Mabel on our bed, surrounded by pillows, so I can try to brush my teeth and hair, wash my face and throw on some deodorant.

3:10pm – successfully feel human again. Try to change from my PJs into real clothes.

3:15pm – manage to get pants on before Mabel wants to be held. Decide it’s ok to keep wearing the nursing tank top I slept in.

3:30pm – turn on some Robyn and dance around the house with Mabel. 

3:45pm – the other cat starts puking. Again?!? 

3:50pm – Mabel cries if I set her down, so the puke stays on the floor for now. 

4:00pm – we gently bounce on the birth ball and I turn on a rerun of the West Wing.

4:45pm – I see she’s dozed off again. I place her in her swing and go to the kitchen and grab an apple and string cheese. Consider drinking more coffee, but reluctantly choose water instead. Almost step in the cat puke that I had forgotten about and realize I need to clean that up soon.

5:00pm – super fast cat nap, as Mabel is up again. I decide to take her on a walk around the neighborhood now that the day has cooled off a bit.

5:10pm – get the ergo on and place her in it. We’re out the door. The carrier blocks anyone from seeing that I’m not wearing a bra.

5:40pm – return home and she’s passed out – having fallen asleep about 2 minutes into the walk. Gently place her on the bed and curl up next to her, hoping for a dual nap.

6:00pm – She’s awake! Another nursing session, followed by a little formula.

6:30pm – S gets home from work. I immediately hand Mabel to her while I clean up the cat puke from earlier, wash bottles and start dinner. (To clarify, I like this arrangement. I want S to get as much bonding time with the baby as she can after work. And I like being able to do chores unencumbered. I’m sure this will change when I go back to work and we both need bonding time in the evenings. We’ll eat a lot of take-out and have a dirty house, i guess)

And that, my friends, is what a typical day looks like for me. I won’t go into the details of a typical evening. Mostly because this post is already way too long. Needless to say, most evenings involve me trying to squeeze in a few pumping sessions and us taking turns on who gets to eat a hot dinner while the other one bounces Mabel around.

It’s hectic and I don’t wash my hair nearly as much as I had hoped, but I still love it and know I’ll miss these days of it being just the two of us when I return to work.