This baby boy has turned our lives upside down, in the best possible way.
Gideon is six weeks in a few days, but it still feels like I’ve barely begun to figure out this new mama life!
I went into this, thinking that I knew a lot about babies, but there have been so many things that have surprised me in the past month and a half! For example, before I had a baby, I thought I would have lots of extra time in those early newborn days. I figured that newborns slept 18-20 hours a day, so I’d have tons of time to fill! What on earth would keep me so busy?
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Fast-forward to bringing this little guy home, and I realized just how busy I would be just in taking care of his needs. The last six weeks have flown by in a blur of sweet baby snuggles, sleepless nights, and cold cups of coffee. My time is mostly filled with feeding G, changing diapers, playing with G, and (sometimes) sleeping. The days go by so fast!
Just like my assumption that I’d have lots of extra time, there have been many things about this new life that have surprised me! Here are just a few of them.
What Has Surprised Me About Motherhood in the First Month
How little I would get done every day
I have only just begun to start dipping my toe into trying to get more done every day than just keep G and myself alive. After weeks of c-section recovery, days of sleeping every few hours to recover from sleepless nights, and lots of baby cuddles–I am longing for a bit of a routine every day. I can’t predict when G will sleep, but I am trying to introduce just a few things that I do every single day to help me feel a bit more normal. So far, that has looked like finally getting my kitchen clean, and purposing to keep it clean every day, starting to make meals every day (even if it is just meat thrown in the crock pot), doing my virtual assistant work, and going on a daily walk. I am starting with these four tasks for now, and I hope to add even more.
What a game changer co-sleeping would be!
We were severely sleep-deprived for weeks due to trying to get G to sleep in his rock-n-play every night. Since I had a c-section, I couldn’t handle climbing into or out of our bed (and I couldn’t sit up on my own) so I slept for weeks in our recliner. G slept either on Saia or in his rock-n-play. He would wake up every few hours to eat, and I would feed him while I sat on the recliner, and then wait 10-15 minutes while he slept, praying that he was in a deep enough sleep to transfer, and then I would carefully set him in his little bed. Half the time he would wake up, and I would need to start all over again. I started timing these nursing sessions, and realized that every time he woke up, it would take 1-1.5 hours to get him sleeping in his little space again. I was unhappy, so tired, and dreaming about bottle-feeding. I figured if we switched to bottles then at least Saia could get up half the time to feed him, and give me a break. And yet, I really loved breastfeeding, and didn’t want to give it up. Finally, I talked to my Mom about it, and she strongly suggested co-sleeping. I was finally able to handle sleeping in our bed again, and we switched to c0-sleeping. Ever since we started co-sleeping everything has gone SO much better! I nurse him to sleep lying down, and he can just stay asleep and not have to be transferred. It has cut down on the amount of time that I have to be awake in the middle of the night, and I no longer dread night any longer! Huzzah!
That I wouldn’t be into baby-wearing for many weeks
My sis-in-law leant me a Moby wrap, and I just received a Lillebaby carrier in the mail! I have just started to baby-wear. I thought that I would be wearing G from the first week home, and was excited to join the throngs of mothers I have watched for years with babies snuggled up in a carrier or wrap. But the truth is that the pain from the c-section precluded me from doing that up to this point. Even now, my stomach is still sore enough that I can only carry G around for a short amount of time.
That I’d switch to drinking decaf coffee
I thought that motherhood would give me an excuse to drink full-leaded coffee, and lots of it! But the truth of the matter is, by the time baby and I roll out of bed it might be mid-morning, and I will already be hoping for a nap. Since baby sleeps every couple of hours, when I drink coffee it keeps me up. So I switched to decaf, so I could have my coffee and a nap too.
How generous people are to new mothers.
I went on my very first grocery-shopping trip with Little G this past week. I was a hot mess! I made the mistake of going through the self-checkout with my large amount of groceries, and I was the poor sap that was desperately trying to bag up all her groceries, appease the mechanical voice that kept telling her that she had an extra thing in her dratted bagging area, and rock baby while he was beginning to fuss. As I tried to load everything back into my cart, a woman walked by, and made eye contact with me as she left the store. Her eyes were full of warmth, humor, and empathy. When I got to my car, and was snapping G’s carseat back into the car, she came over and asked if she could help me load my groceries, which I accepted gladly, she told me that she had five kids of her own and understood the struggle, and she even asked if I had someone at home to help me unload. She was so sweet.
Everyone has been so helpful, and sweet to help me in the past few weeks–from coming over to clean, drop off food, or visit. taking G so I could shower, asking if I need any groceries, and texting or calling to check up on me. People have been so kind, and I am very grateful!
How much extra laundry a little 6-8 lb person could produce.
I didn’t expect to have to do extra laundry because of this little guy, at least not at first. I figured his tiny socks, little onesies, and minuscule pants would just fill in the cracks of the loads of laundry I was already doing! What I didn’t factor in, was the amount of bodily fluids that he would have, and their effect on the rest of the household. His diaper will leak on me, or a blanket, or Hubs or a pillow–and in to the wash it will go. He will spit up or throw up on me or a blanket or Hubs or a pillow–and in to the wash it will go. We have so much more laundry now!
How many books I would read, and podcasts I would listen to
You can only watch so much Netflix, before you start scraping the bottom of the barrel. After a few weeks of TV watching, I switched to book reading, and I haven’t looked back. It was fun to get so much Netflix in, but there comes a point when there is nothing left to watch except for weird shows like Buy Herself (the slogan they emphasize in every show is: “She might not be buying a house alone, but she will be purchasing it buy herself“, which makes no sense). I’ve been really enjoying getting caught up on all my reading and podcasts!
How important a daily walk would become
Those first few weeks of recovery, I clung to that daily walk like a lifeline. It was the only way I was leaving the house, and it helped me not feel as stir-crazy. It, also, lessened my pain considerably! I felt so much better after I shuffled around the block than I did before. These days, the pain isn’t so much of an issue, but I still need that walk for my emotional health. Some days, I need it because G is extra fussy and a walk will lull him to sleep. Other days, I just need some human contact so we will walk to the local coffee shop, Goodwill store, grocery store or library.
What Hasn’t Surprised Me
What a great Papa my husband is
Even when we were just dating, I knew that this guy would be a great daddy some day. He loves kids so much, and has such a good heart. I have loved every minute of watching him bond with baby G. It has been so much fun having TWO Lotulelei men in the house, and I consider myself very blessed indeed!
How much fun he is to dress, and photograph.
For years, I’ve glanced longingly at all the sweet little onesies, outfits, and accessories for babies at garage sales and stores. Everything is so much cuter when it is little! I love dressing him every day. I delight in his tiny clothes, and I have found boy clothing to be A LOT cuter than I would have imagined! I thought just girl clothing would be cute, but little boy clothing with all of its little dinosaurs, fire engines, and cars is sweet as well!
How much I love him
As I write this, he is sleeping in my lillebaby carrier on my chest. It never ceases to amaze me how I will have a long wakeful night with him, and will feel so discouraged, and then in the morning he will flash me a smile–and I will completely forget about the misery of the night before. He laughs in his sleep, has started smiling at us, and makes the funniest facial expressions. He has a noise for everything, and makes the cutest little boy grunts and growls. I was completely unprepared for how much I would love being a boy mom, but it is a pretty great gig.