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The first 2 weeks

Wow – I can’t believe that Riese is already 2 weeks old today! (If you missed it, check out Riese’s C section birth story – I added some additional details to the post yesterday, too… there are so many things that I wanted to get down now while I still remember them!)

new baby christmas

We’ve been home from the hospital for a week and a half now and on any given day I cry at least once about how she’s going to grow up so quickly and not be tiny and cuddly anymore – and then in the next minute I’m crying because this stage is hard and overwhelming and feels like it will last forever. And then, I have times where I feel like my normal, much less emotional self, too, and where I feel like we’re doing pretty well at this whole parenthood thing. I’m realizing from talking to friends that this emotional whiplash is very normal for new moms – and that it’s okay to have conflicting feelings like this. It’s a wonderful and very special time and I’m doing my best to be in the moment and enjoy it while it lasts, but it’s also hard and tiring. So much has changed, after all!

baby girl

I’m insanely grateful that I have Matt home with me for 6 more weeks – the fact that he was able to take a full 2 months of paid paternity leave is incredible. I seriously cannot imagine how I would do this by myself all day if he were going back to work on Monday… I know that 1 to 2 weeks off (or even less) is much more standard for men and it just does not seem like enough! I’m so glad we have some extra time for Matt to bond with Riese and for our little family to adjust to our new normal. It has also been really helpful for me to keep up a tiny bit of work (which was the whole reason he got 8 weeks – he was able to claim primary caregiver since I’m self-employed and don’t get any paid leave of my own) – don’t worry, I’m not overdoing it, but writing these blog posts and staying up on emails has helped me to feel a little more like “myself” – and writing things down is a good way for me to process them! I’m glad we’ll have these posts to look back on later when this time is a distant memory and the details have all started to fade.

1 week old

We spent the first 3 and a half days of Riese’s life at the hospital! Especially for the first couple days this was so necessary because I was completely helpless basically – I couldn’t get out of bed until my legs were no longer numb at all, obviously, which took until about the middle of the night on the first night we were there. And then for the next day or two I needed a lot of help to get up and move around (and to go to the bathroom once they took my catheter out). They would have me sit up on the edge of the bed reeeeeally slowly because it often made me super nauseous to sit up, and my incision was really tender when I tried to stand. I think the nausea was due to the morphine they had in my IV during the surgery – and then also due to the percocet I was taking post-delivery. I ended up having them switch me just to the high dose motrin because being nauseated was not ideal, obviously, and the percocet really didn’t agree with me.

MY OTHER RECIPES
 

The first night nurse we had at the hospital was my favorite, probably because she was the one who helped me when I was a total mess – it was so weird to be completely dependent but she didn’t make me feel embarrassed at all, even as she was changing my catheter bag or swapping out the pad I was sitting on (and bleeding all over).

A tip for those of you who will be staying at the hospital in the future, either for baby-related reasons or otherwise: bring Christmas lights! Our doula brought these for us and Matt strung them up in both our pre-operation room and our post-delivery room where we were for the rest of the stay. It was so nice to have the soft twinkling light vs. the full on bright florescent overhead lighting, especially in the middle of the night.

hospital room christmas lights

Being in the hospital was nice because we had lots of help and people checking on us, but it was also hard because we had so many people checking on us! It felt like people were in and out every few minutes, although everyone we encountered was really lovely and helpful so it was hard to complain. I encourage those of you who are expecting to take advantage of all the resources at your disposal while in the hospital post-delivery. On nights 2 and 3 we took advantage of the nursery option and sent Riese there for 3 hours so we could get a little bit of sleep – basically the only sleep we got. The first night we sent her I felt so guilty and sad that I started crying. It was so hard to let them wheel her out of the room – I remember saying to Matt “We’ve never been away from each other before!” in between tears. But, it was definitely a good call – even a few hours of uninterrupted sleep was really crucial, because when she was in the room we were both pretty much awake (or very lightly dozing) the whole time, and we knew once we got back home there would be no more night nurses waiting to take care of our baby in the middle of the night! (If only, right?!)

newborn milk drunk

I think the most helpful part of the hospital stay, besides obviously the hands-on assistance from the nurses as I was recovering from surgery and needing physical help to take care of myself, was the lactation consultants! We had 3 lactation consultants come by – one each day – and each of them was really helpful. As I mentioned in Riese’s birth story, our doula had us start working on breastfeeding and getting Riese to latch immediately after surgery, which was awesome because I really think it helped stimulate milk production ASAP. Having the lactation consultants around in the days that followed was amazing, though, because Riese was such an eager feeder (and I had no idea what I was doing solo) that she would often latch on quickly and too shallow, which resulted in a lot of pain for me. We were able to figure out better positioning with the LC’s help which was great – and they also gave me some gel pads to soothe my nipples in the meantime. I wore those nonstop anytime I wasn’t feeding her until just a couple days ago, and I have more to use later just in case. Sidenote – a nursing nightgown was amazing for the hospital so I wasn’t wearing their awkward robe with the butt flap open anymore, and also so I had some support for my breasts and structure that could hold the gel pads in there. It was basically the only thing in my hospital bag I actually used, besides my toiletries and the going home outfits (for me and Riese)!

By the time Monday rolled around, after 3 nights in the hospital, Matt and I were nervous to leave but also very ready to get back to our own space – and to have more than one room to work with! It was time to go home. The days that have followed have been a blur, and most of my time has been spent like this:

feeding baby with dog helping

As you can see, our dog Freyja has been keeping me company while I feed Riese – and so has our cat Zara! When we got home, Zara noticed we had someone new with us right away and was VERY curious and pretty wary. She kind of followed us around (nearby but not TOO close) for the whole first day, and then eventually moved on to giving Riese cautious smells. She now seems pretty okay with the situation if a bit annoyed that she’s getting less play time. :) You can see her supervising the action (far right) along with Freyja in the photo below!

feeding baby

We left Freyja at my parent’s house on Thanksgiving and they kept her while we were in the hospital, and then for the first few days we were home just so we could get our bearings. We sent them home with various blankets and outfits Riese had worn so Freyja could smell them and get used to her scent. She has done well since coming home – Matt met her outside on her arrival and immediately took her on a run to get out energy before she met the baby. She has been curious but gentle with Riese – she likes sniffing her and tries to lick her when she cries, which is cute. :) At first I think the crying and squeaks (babies are so loud!) made her nervous but she seems to be used to it now!

introducing dog and baby

As for how I’m doing physically post C-section surgery, I’m getting better by the day. At first it was really hard because I wasn’t able to get up/carry the baby around much on my own, so Matt had to be up with me pretty much all the time to help carry Riese to/from me for feedings, and to change her. For the first 5 nights, this meant that both of us were basically getting no sleep and up all night with her. Since I’m feeling stronger and able to handle a few hours solo with Riese now, we have now started doing shifts. Riese will cry unless someone is holding her – she won’t sleep in her bassinet or stay in any of the baby swings/rockers for more than a few minutes, which is tough. So, Matt and I will alternate during the evening – one of us will take her for 2 to 4 hours while the other sleeps, then we’ll switch. The timing depends on her – if Matt has her and she gets really fussy and seems like she wants to eat, he’ll wake me. If she’s snoozing happily, he’ll let her go a little longer. My shift lengths are usually 3 or 4 hours, depending on the feeding timing – I try to pass her off to Matt right after I feed her to buy myself some extra time (and to make sure she’s snoozy for him)!

newborn life2

This is working for now, and is way better than both of us just being up all the time, but obviously we are hopeful we can get her to the point where she will snooze on her own a bit so all of us can sleep at the same time! Any tips?! For now, I’m just writing blog posts at 3 a.m. while she snoozes in my lap. :)

newborn life

I will leave you with a few things that have helped me a lot right now:

  1. Showering every single day. This is CRUCIAL to feeling like a human, and I also put on cozy but presentable clothes that I can leave the house in/have visitors see me in and not feel like a hot mess. I’ve basically been living in maternity leggings and nursing tanks.
  2. Having presentable hair. Some of you have commented on Instagram about my hair being curled/done – I only wash my hair twice a week when I’m not working out/getting sweaty, so on the day I wash it I let it air dry and then spend 5 minutes to quickly curl it. It makes me feel better to not look like a mess, and I don’t have to do it again for a few days!
  3. Getting fresh air once per day in the form of a walk. At first, I was only able to make it a block or so, but now we are up to about a slow mile. Some days we use the stroller and other days I try wearing Riese in a wrap (I’m experimenting with different ones and will report back on my faves), although the wraps are better for shorter walks right now as I’m still working on healing and she’s a bit heavy. :) The weather has been LOVELY here since we got home, although I believe it’s turning a bit now as a cold front moves in. Bummer!

post c section walking

Things I need to work on are: staying on top of my hunger. It’s hard when Riese is crying and hungry because I’ll put her needs above mine and then get too hungry and then I’m much more likely to have a meltdown myself. I need to make sure to always have lots of snacks around! I’ll share more about what we’ve been eating since coming home soon. Stay tuned, and have a great weekend!

Comments

  1. 1

    So glad you;re doing well. The first few months were so hard for me and I was so grateful to have the extra support of my husband who took extra time off too. Praying for you to have a continued smooth recovery and praying for you both as you navigate those super hard first few months. I’m here if you need someone to chat with…my daughter’s 6 months so I just went through this and its still very fresh in my mind.

  2. 3

    No sleep unless held = wow! Hard for you guys.

    Things that might help:
    – swaddling pretty firmly (miracle blanket worked best for mine in the early phase)
    – slightly cushy surface – like the rock n play. It gave both of my kids (temporarily) flat heads so don’t overuse, but both immensely preferred it to a flatter surface.
    – pacifiers :) they did not interfere with breastfeeding abilities for us with either kid and definitely helped calm both.

    As we had due dates 2 wks apart I can’t believe mine is still inside!!!! Aghhhhhhhh can’t wait even as your post reminds me of how challenging the early days are.

    • 4

      I agree completely with the Miracle Blanket! My son screamed unless he was being held, but as soon as we wrapped him in the Miracle Blanket he was at peace. It was the only way that we were able to get some sleep.

  3. 5

    Those first few weeks are so rough! It is like having a new job with a boss that only screams and speaks a different language. The only thing my son would sleep in was the Rock N Play- if you don’t have one I highly recommend, it’s a lifesaver and he slept in it until he was almost 8 weeks old.

  4. 7
    Whitney S says:

    First of all, 2 months paid paternity leave is AMAZING! Husband was able to take disability (?) time with our first for 4 weeks and our 2nd was born at the beginning of summer, so as a professor, he had the summer off.

    You guys are doing great! The emotions are a roller coaster and I’m not sure when you will be ‘good’ at putting your needs first. Mine are 4 and 18 months and I fail miserably at taking care of myself most of the time. Oh well ;) Dare I say, enjoy the cuddles with baby R. It’s ok she wants to be close while she sleeps – it’s all she know.s All too soon, she’ll be content in her swing and you’ll have your hands back. I promise. But never your heart – it’s long gone! But seriously. When she’s ready, she’ll let you know.

  5. 9

    I’ve become a bit fanatic about early breastfeeding support since I had so much trouble. My biggest thing is (and this applies to general life with a newborn): get everything ready before you sit down because you don’t know how long you’ll be there. So pee, get a drink, snacks, and something to read/watch. Even if the baby is losing it, they can wait 2 minutes while you get organized.

    It’s funny how newborn amnesia works. I remember being miserable and bawling and thinking I couldn’t do it. But now? I would pay literally any amount of money for a chance to just snuggle and stare at my tiny newborn again. She’s 7 months now and so much fun, but I miss the snuggles. I won’t say enjoy it because it goes so fast (because that is so unhelpful), just know that this too shall pass and you’re doing a great job.

  6. 10

    I love reading your posts. Congrats on a beautiful daughter; you already seem like a wonderful mother! My daughter will be one next month, and it’s been an incredible journey. Just keeps getting better :) She also did not sleep unless being held, so we did a lot of rotating between myself, husband, and grandmas. We tried swaddling after about 2 weeks and it helped a lot! I will say though that I miss having those cuddle sessions because now she just wants to have help with walking around. Having a supportive partner makes all the difference and it sounds like your husband is amazing! And don’t worry, I don’t feel like it went by “too fast” like everyone says. Soaking in the moments, journaling, and being mindful helps a lot :)

  7. 11

    Congratulations, Anne! Your blog has really hit home for me the past 10 months- we just welcomed our baby boy on Nov 14, 3 weeks ago. Your sentiments are right on. It’s been a tough 3 weeks…I find it comforting to know that all these feelings and emotions are totally normal! I can’t speak from experience, yet, but I’ve been told it just keeps getting better – everything is just a phase. I 100% agree with showering daily and having presentable hair. It makes such a difference. Our little guy is sleeping a few hours a night in his bassinet but this is a more recent development. Swaddling helps! I put a couple folded up blankets under the bassinet mattress to elevate the head of the bassinet about 10-15 degrees. I think this helps with any reflux after eating. I also try to feed more frequently right before bedtime and sometimes “top him off” right before placing him in the bassinet. I try to capitalize on his “milk drunk” state :) and to be clear- he doesn’t have an actual “bedtime” – this is basically when we both want to try to get some sleep. We use a ton of white noise! This “shusher” (http://babyshusher.com) has been a great portable option which he seems to like.

    Keep up the good work, mama! You got this.

  8. 13
    Kim Brooks says:

    Hi! I’ve never commented before but have been following your journey for quite some time. Just wanted to say congrats, mama! I had my first baby girl on 10/23, so this whole parenthood thing is new to me as well. I can relate to so much in this post! Especially the crying every day in the first couple weeks because she has to get older/bigger. I was the exact same way. Also, the new mama hunger is REAL. I remember out of nowhere i would be just ravenous during the first few weeks, and you can’t get up to get food while you are BF-ing, which is basically all the time. Those soothie gel pads are AMAZING by the way- total life saver. Anyway, it looks and sounds like you and Matt are doing such a great job. Keep it up and enjoy those baby snuggles. xx

  9. 15

    I had PB&J sandwiches at the ready when my son was a newborn! Breastfeeding made me ravenous and they were a perfect, substantial snack. Also, graham crackers. So many graham crackers.
    I know you have sooo much free time for reading these days, but I highly recommend Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child to learn how to get your baby to sleep in the bassinet/crib/not on you. You can skip to the chapter that applies to your baby’s age instead of reading the entire thing. It was seriously a lifesaver for us.
    Walks and fresh air are so necessary for mama and baby. And I always found that mine would fall right asleep if I had in in the wrap or carrier walking around. Win win.
    Good luck!!! You’re doing great already!

  10. 17

    Congratulations Anne! As a non-mom (not quite yet) I wanted to pop in and thank you for keeping it real. Having an honest look at what things are like early on the other side – physically, emotionally – is fascinating and refreshing. Especially all the parts that aren’t perfect. You guys look like you’re doing great. Thanks for sharing this crazy and wonderful time with your readers.

  11. 19

    Thank you for sharing, Anne! You look so beautiful, and Riese is adorable! I know that if I couldn’t shower daily and fix my hair, it would honestly bother me. I think it’s important to note this is not about simply worrying about appearance as it is feeling our best. I love that you mentioned this. Self-care is so important. I hope you all fall into a great routine and that she is able to sleep a bit better soon. I appreicate your openess about the emotions and your personal experience. Wishing you all the best as you continue to heal.

  12. 20

    Thanks for sharing! That first month or so can be really tough and it’s nice to hear you be so honest about things. We went through the same issues with our son, who refused to sleep anywhere, but on top of us. He even refused the rock n play, which a lot of my friends kids mainly slept in those at first. Our lifesaver was the dockatot. It’s certainly a bit pricey, but we would swaddle him and put him in that inside of his bassinet and it was life changing for us. It also made for a smooth transition when we moved him into his room since we just stuck it in his crib. Hopefully you guys will get lucky like we did since our son was such a bad sleeper the first month or so and has been so great ever since!! Hang in there though…it’ll definitely go by fast!

    Sidenote: join the Tubby Todd Mamas facebook group. It’s a great place to ask other moms questions and the community is so wonderful and judgement free!

  13. 22

    I’m glad that Matt gets 2 months of maternity leave! Especially since you don’t have paid leave. My husband will get 2 weeks but the company I work for just changed their policy and all parents get 16 weeks regardless of whether they are the primary care giver! It will be interesting to see if the men in our office actually take advantage of it. I work in the finance industry so I can see men not taking their full leave because they think it might ding their reputation (which is sad). But it’s awesome that my company is recognizing that men and women need time at home with their babies!

    You look so happy in all these photos! And Riese is just so beautiful. I am impressed with your hair because it looks better than mine does any day and I don’t have a newborn. But I am TERRIBLE at doing my hair. And I find I have to wash it every day or it gets greasy (I’m a brunette). It’s great that you guys have found a routine that is working for you, though!

    • 23

      That’s awesome your company is so progressive! More companies need to be like that… we are so behind in the US in terms of maternity leave policies.

  14. 24

    You guys sound like you’re doing great!! My little girl is now 9 weeks and those earliest weeks already seem like so long ago. Things change so fast!!

    My little one would also only sleep ON me or my husband. I was so distressed because I didn’t think it was safe (I would conk out too), but I realize now that it was natural and just what she needed at the time. When they are so small, I think they just want our body heat and heartbeat.

    Things that helped us transition to her sleeper (we use the rock n play because she loves the motion and still hates being totally flat):
    —white noise. We blast it. During the day, we use this portable thing called a shusher which is magic.
    —heating pad. We have these small, rice-filled sacks that go in the microwave. We put it with her to help her go to sleep. It probably feels like our hands/body.
    —pacifier. We waited a while to intro this because we were afraid of “nipple confusion,” but once we did introduce it (3-4 weeks), it was a game changer. It took her a few tries to realize what it was, but then she loved it. Some kids don’t… our LC predicted she would because she would always try to suck her fingers. I recommend the mam pacifiers because they stay in better than others.

    Ours didn’t like the swing at first either, but loves it for naps now. We still swaddle for all sleeping times because her arms flail a lot.

    Things really do change so fast. Hang in there with the sleeping situation. It gets so much better. Again, you guys are doing great!!

    • 25

      Thank you Kim! I appreciate these tips… we are going to ask our pediatrician about introducing the pacifier at our appointment next week. I think she’ll be one who really likes it because she’s also always sucking on her hands/fingers! We’ll see!

  15. 26

    Hi Anne, Congratulations, she’s beautiful! I’ve loved following along on your journey; our first was born just one day before Riese, on Thanksgiving! I am right there with you… our son will not sleep unless it’s on my chest. He hates the bassinet. We’re trying to get him used to the bassinet while he naps during the day, but it’s hard, I love the snuggles!!! I agree with the showering everyday. It just makes you feel more like yourself. My husband saved up Jo’s vacation and took two weeks to be home with us. I am so thankful, but a little nervous as he goes back to work Monday. Eight weeks would be amazing! I looks forward to reading more updates; it’s like listening to a friend that’s in the same boat as I am right now.

  16. 28

    Oh, and I started toting around a Tupperware container full of snacks (mostly bars and nuts) so I wouldn’t get hungry. I still have it next to my bed…just in case!

  17. 30

    The big thing I remember our Peditrician telling us with our first is that you’re getting your baby on a normal schedule. When you’re pregnant they sleeps during the day and party at night! Once they come into the world we have to change it. Try making sure she gets sunshine during the day, even if it’s just opening the blinds and having her lay there. It is definitely a gradual shift but you’ll get there. The postpartum hormones are not fun. With my second I’d start randomly crying but then start laughing when my husband would ask if I was ok because I knew it was just hormones.

  18. 31

    Thanks so much for sharing. I’m 16 weeks with my first so I really love getting tips that might be helpful in the future. It really helps clam my nerves, so thanks! Wishing you all the best.

  19. 32

    The first month is definitely tough as you work through sleep deprivation and hormonal changes. How lucky for you to have Matt to help out for 8 weeks! My husband stopped teaching to stay home with our kids and it was wonderful to be able to trade off with him throughout the day and night during my leave since neither of us had to try to get sleep before heading off to work. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water and keeping food/snacks nearby while you’re breastfeeding so you’re more comfortable and ensure you’re keeping up your supply.

  20. 33
    Stephanie S. says:

    Wow– cannot even imagine having two parents home for 8 weeks. Enjoy it, that is VERY lucky.

  21. 35
    Maggie Krzywicki says:

    My second child is now 3 months old. Man i remember very vividly how hard those first few weeks are. My son wouldn’t let me put him down for weeks. I remember crying to my husband at work because i just wanted to go to the bathroom without him crying or I was so hungry but couldn’t make anything without him crying. A helpful tip is to make a breakfast casserole to keep on hand. Just scoop and microwave and you have some filling protein. It does get easier. Once he could really focus his vision it was better to put him down under a mobile to look at. Or I would sit him down in his chair facing me while i fold clothes and keep talking to him and keep his attention. Keep up the good work!

  22. 37

    Love reading this! Sounds like you all are doing very well. And YES to the shower thing, it’s so so so necessary!

  23. 38

    Keeping it reeeeal—I love this. I also immediately searched “nursing nightgown.” :) Hope to get in a few more visits soon, and get you guys out of the house for a little fiesta down the street next weekend! xoxo

  24. 40
    Veronique Goyette says:

    Congratulations Anne on your beautiful daughter! I just welcomed my first baby (a boy) 3 weeks ago so I can relate to pretty much everything you’ve mentionned, especially the no sleeping anywhere except our arms. I am also very lucky that my boyfriend has taken 6 weeks of paternity leave so we too work in shifts. Sometimes our baby will sleep in his bed (which is right next to ours). Here is what worked for us, with varying success: white noise/lullaby app, letting him fall asleep for about 20 minutes in our arms before putting him to bed, cosleeping in our bed in the morning (while respecting UNICEF’s recommandations on cosleeping), giving him a bath then breastfeeding in our bed right after in the dark then bed. And what really helped putting everything in perspective is reading about the 4th trimester and realizing that it is normal for now that he is only sleeping in our arms most of the time. Here is a link to an article about it: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/sarahockwell-smith.com/2012/11/04/the-fourth-trimester-aka-why-your-newborn-baby-is-only-happy-in-your-arms/amp/

  25. 42

    Have you guys tried letting her snooze in the Fisher Price rock n play? both of mine slept amazingly in it (we used it instead of a crib / bassinet for my second for awhile), and it was clutch when grabbing showers or a quick meal!

    • 43

      We have one and are using it some during the day… today she actually was in it for about an hour, which is amazing! Previously it was usually 10 minutes max. So, progress!!

  26. 44

    Wonderful post-those first few days/weeks/months are so hard and un-relenting. I was the same way about showering and doing my hair. It made me feel like I had some semblance of control over what is mainly an uncontrollable part of your life right now. No matter how little sleep I got, I always started the day ‘anew’ with a shower and getting myself cleaned up and ‘ready’ for the day ahead, even if it was just spent at home. Fake it until I make it was my mantra. Hang in there momma, you are doing great and remember, you do what is best for you and your little girl. You’ll get a ton of advice, some of it un-solicited, and no one knows your situation better than YOU. Hugs.

  27. 46

    Our first was a terrible sleeper! We never let her cry, even when she was older. It went against every maternal instinct I had. When she was new, swaddling her pretty tightly and rocking her until she was completely limp helped. I confess I co-slept with her often at night, (accidentally) because I’d drift off while nursing her in bed. Once she was a little older, we still had to rock her until she was totally limp before putting her in her crib. Even when she moved to a big bed, we used to lie down with her until she fell asleep. I don’t regret one minute of that time. Our younger daughter was a sleeping champ from day one and had no interest in being rocked. I was so sad!

  28. 47

    I literally had to keep a bucket full of snacks and a full jug of water (the sweet 32 oz plastic jug that I got at the hospital hehe) next to my primary breastfeeding spot because I would get SO hungry and thirsty when nursing her, and then be basically trapped for half an hour or more, and then I’d work myself up about it.

    You’re doing an amazing job! I know it doesn’t seem this way right now, but this stage really will be over before you know it. As you know, Penny’s not THAT much older than Riese and she is consistently sleeping in 4 – 6 hour chunks during the night — the night before last she even went EIGHT hours in her bassinet! There is light at the end of the tunnel! I’m going to text you to find out when’s a good time for us to come visit :D :D

    • 48

      SO TRUE on the snacks/water/etc – I’m still using my huge hospital one, too! The straw is perfect. :) Also, eight hours… ahh!!! Amazing! Can’t wait to see you soon :)

  29. 49

    I was especially interested in your dog introduction as I am a huge dog person. GREAT JOB MATT for taking her for a run first! I’m reading Cesar’s second book and that’s EXACTLY what is recommended! I’m enjoying ‘experiencing’ being a first-time mom through you!

  30. 51

    This was so nice to read Anne. Thanks for posting. I’m currenting enjoying the early morning post feeding snuggles with my 3 week old, Annie. It’s an amazing time but seriously the most challenging 3 weeks of my life. The one thing that helped us get Annie to sleep in her bassinet was to warm her bed with a hot water bottle before transferring her once she was swaddled and asleep. We got that tip from the hospital midwifes. All the best for this special time with your little family.

  31. 52

    You are doing such an amazing job and you and Riese are gorgeous! It’s so completely normal to cry over everything, so I appreciate you sharing that with your readers. I remember crying and not knowing if it were sad tears or happy tears, or a mixture of both. I fully agree with showering, getting dressed (though I need to take this advice more as a SAHM with a four month old), and getting out during the day. It’s really crucial to your sanity.

    Enjoy the snuggles and know that when she’s ready, she’ll sleep in her bassinet/crib/swing.

  32. 53

    Two suggestions on the sleeping only while being held (so tough!). Try feeding her while side lying. That way when she falls asleep while nursing she will not be on you and may be easier to move to another spot. Also, the halo sleep swaddles with Velcro wings are amazing! They keep the baby all cozy and you don’t have to mess with a blanket which is easy for diaper changes.

    Hang in there, you are doing great!

  33. 54

    Swaddle and be OK with a little crying! I know it is hard to let a baby that small cry but we noticed with both of ours that after 5 minutes they calmed down in the crib or Rock N Play. You are doing great!!

  34. 55

    What happened to Ashe, the dog you adopted?

    • 56

      I wrote about that in this blog post (as well as a few prior to that while we were struggling with the situation). :( We found out right before going in for the C section that she has officially found a new home, though, and one that is a way better fit for her (and is aware of her territorial aggression, which we were not when we got her) – it’s out in the country, no kids, not many visitors, they have lots of land for her to run around on (so she won’t need to be walked all the time with a billion people around), and two dog siblings, too! They sent photos of her playing and snuggling on the couch with them and we are so, so glad she is happy. We miss her, though!

  35. 57

    I agree with the Rock n play for sleep. Our babies wouldn’t sleep in the flat bassinet for about the first month. Also try to not let her do long heavy sleeps in the evening, keep it to little naps and some stimulation, so she’s tired at night.

  36. 58

    My daughter is almost 3 now, but reading your post brings me right back to the newborn days — they felt so endless, but they are truly fleeting! As other readers have mentioned, we also had great success with the miracle wrap in those very early weeks, and the Rock-n-Play was a lifesaver!!
    Congratulations on your new addition! Sending wishes for health and sleep for all of you!

  37. 59

    Try the rock n play with a swaddle blanket folded up underneath her to make it a bit softer. Newborns can’t really move at all yet (at least ours couldn’t) so I think the risk of sids is greatly exaggerated at least for something like putting a blanket underneath baby but if you’re nervous one of you could keep an eye on her while she’s in there. Also, the only bassinet that worked for us was our stroller bassinet. We had the bugaboo but the uppababy vista is similar. Those bassinets are dark and cozy. I also had to shower every day otherwise I would have suffered so much more! Good luck to you guys, you gotta get her sleeping out of your arms!

    • 60

      Our baby is four months old now but he slept in the uppababy bassinet every night for the first eight weeks. We’ve had to move shortly after he was born and didn’t want to buy a larger bassinet. I was nervous initially about this plan but it actually worked well. I dragged that stroller bassinet all around our house, even the bathroom when I took a shower.. good luck Anne! No sleep is hard!

  38. 61

    Congrats! Beautiful family.

    1. Can you please link this “nursing nightgown ”
    2. How did you pick her name???

    xo

  39. 63

    Love, love, love this update! Went to BodyMass today and Virginia and Chase both asked how you’re doing. I missed you a ton! And there was no one to get coffee with me after either! Can’t wait to come meet the little princess. Let Kathleen and me know when is a good time to come over!

  40. 65
    Anne Taylor says:

    Our baby Sophie is 16 weeks. I can tell you it just gets better and better. We are still sleep deprived, but we don’t care!

  41. 66

    Those first few weeks are HARD! I very much remember having moments where I just burst into sobs…reminding myself that it was my hormones and that I would go back to “normal” helped me get through those moments. As for getting her to sleep on her own, swaddles have been our best friend. We had multiple SwaddleMes and she was always in one at night when we needed her to do a bit more sleeping. We have graduated to bigger swaddles where she can wiggle her arms out more easily, but we still put her down with arms in because it’s the only way she’ll sleep. The Rock n Play was also super helpful because it helped to make her feel snuggled. We stuck a SnuggleMe co-sleeping bed in her co-sleeper bassinet and used tightly rolled up blankets to imitate a dockatot (which my sister swore by for her youngest one) and that helped too. And all the snacks! My Matt got me a special water bottle to keep by my pumping/nursing station in the nursery and always made sure it was full. I ate a ton of eggs at the beginning because protein helped to keep me full, plus lots of yogurt…I should probably get back to those choices! All the feeding seems hard now, but she is learning along with you. For us, it took about 4 months for it all to just click and now she’s a super efficient feeder, doesn’t need a nipple shield, etc. It amazed me how much easier everything was after that. Good luck with everything…and tell Dickinson she was born, they send you a bib!

  42. 68

    Congrats Anne!!

    Just wanted to say you’re doing a wonderful a wonderful job. Two things to try to help with getting some sleep are Co sleeping/bedsharing and swaddling in a rock n play. An awesome book with tips on Co sleeping safely and comfortably is ‘Swet Sleep’. Co sleeping was an absolute life saver when I had my first as she would t sleep on her own at all.

    Best wishes!!

    • 69

      I will check out that book! Thank you! I have been doing some lying down breastfeeding and then dozing a bit with her right next to me (with the pillows and sheets all out of the way/not near her)… I definitely don’t sleep soundly at all but she does, which is good. :) It works as an in-between step for now!

  43. 70

    Co-sleeping! Totally safe and will benefit you both

  44. 71

    As others have said, white noise and swaddling were essential to helping our little boy sleep. We had an issue of transferring him from our arms into his bassinet at the beginning. Our pediatrician told us to hold him for at least ten, if not twenty minutes before trying to put him down and it helped a lot! This ensured that he was fully asleep and was less likely to wake up when we put him down. I have also heard about pre-heating the baby’s bassinet with one of those microwave bean bags, a hot water bag or a heating pad. Remove those things before you put her down and she will be less likely to notice a change in temperature from her warm parents to a cold bed. Best of luck! You’re doing great!

  45. 73

    Congratulations! She’s so beautiful. Mine is 8 months, and I’m missing all the newborn snuggles. They grow out of it so quickly! We did the same round the clock holding, etc the first month. In fact, Willa would not nap without being held until she was 4 months old. I would hold her every afternoon for 2-3 hours. It was great bonding and now she doesn’t sleep anywhere but her crib, and it makes me so sad. (but also YAY because I can clean the house and eat food).

    Some things that worked for us to transition her out of arm sleeping only (which, it really won’t last that long!)

    Swaddle! I used nested bean and halo velcro swaddles and they were the best. I started them around a month. You could do it earlier, obviously.
    Rock n play. I went back and forth on this, but she slept in a rock n play until she was about 3 months. It was the only way I was going to get sleep so I gave in.
    Routine. I would start putting her down every night around 10. Once they start going longer stretches, you will find it needs to be 7-8 but that worked for us.

    Honestly, trust your instinct and what works for you and her. No kid ever went to kindergarten being held all night to sleep, so it sorts itself out. You know your baby better than anyone and you will learn her more and more, especially spending all that time soaking up her newborn cuddles.

  46. 75

    Cute cute cute!

  47. 76

    A white noise machine! With the volume louder than you’d think to put it, the uterus is a very loud place and the babies are used to that. You can even find videos on youtube of 5+ hours of nonstop white noise if you don’t want to buy a machine. It really helped my daughter when she was born.

  48. 78

    Your little girl is beautiful! We have an 8 week old little girl! Its crazy how fast it goes and it definitely gets easier! We use the love to dream swaddle because it has a zipper which makes it super easy, allows her to have her hands by her face since before she spent her time after being swaddled trying to get her hands out, and the zipper also goes up from the bottom allowing diaper changes without taking her arms out (we skip a diaper change during one of her middle of the night feeds every night). We have had her sleep in her crib since day 4 to avoid any head shape issues and she got used to sleeping in there after a couple of days (we alternate who sleeps with her at night so that at least one of us is getting some quiet sleep without her). She does nap in her rock and play during the day.

    I agree getting out once a day even if just to walk to grab some food at the WF Arlington Pub or a quick morning run has been my saving grace! Good luck with everything!

  49. 79

    I cried like, nonstop for 3 weeks. I went to a book club after 2 weeks (or 1, can’t remember) and I cried when I left because I missed my freedom and old life so much. Like, no matter how cute and perfect my kid was, I wasn’t really sure if I was cut out to be a mom. It was TOUGH. I feel like the transition to motherhood took a whole year but now that my kid is almost two, toddlers are my jam! THEY ARE THE BEST THINGS EVER! I remember early on though, at like, 4 weeks, reading that around 10-12 weeks, babies can start sleeping all night (we did Babywise so 9-12 weeks is commonly when they start going 11-12 hour stretches at night) and another 6 weeks literally felt like a lifetime. I would just cry while feeding my son at night because I was just so tired. Ugh, it’s so hard! But these toddlers- man, they are worth it ;)

  50. 81

    Hang in there! The first two weeks are so tough but you’re doing great. My 7 week old loves white noise, being swaddled, and his rock n play (he sleeps in it for now because he does way better with his head slightly elevated). He has changed so much already but once he started to wake up and smile things got sooo much easier.

  51. 82

    Thanks for sharing! This is so helpful, I am 28 weeks allong now and trying to get prepared. I noticed you had two different nursing pillows. Are they the boppy and brestfriend? I have both on my registry and i am curious about your thoughts on them?

    • 83

      They are! The brestfriend provides a bit more structured support since it has the back part, and I like it best for my nursing chair. But if I’m on the couch or somewhere where after she eats I want to move into a more reclined/cozy position, then I like the boppy because it doesn’t have the back in the way! I think it’s worth having both, but I got one as a hand me down so that made it easier. :)

  52. 84

    I just had my first baby in August and can definitely relate! Those first few weeks are rough and the sleep deprivation is no joke! Swaddling and the dockatot saved us! It actually wasn’t even difficult to drop those things when she got too big for them – she simply let us know. 😊

  53. 85

    My baby was the same exact way re: hating the bassinet, rockers, swings. I was so frustrated because it seemed like every other baby loved these devices while i was up all night having to hold my baby. So just wanted to let you know that its not just you! It really took about 6 weeks for my babe to like the swing, but he did! And at 8 weeks he loved the rock n play! She will get there. Also tip on bassinet. I never used mine since he hated it and hated being on his back. Doctor recommended the dockatot and it changed our lives. He loves sleeping in the dockatot. Ive put it in the bassinet, on top of a pack n play next to our bed, on the couch, or just on the bed with us. I think the sides make him feel cozy. Life saver.

  54. 87

    Keep doing what works for y’all! Sleep has always been rough for our 1 year old and we’ve tried “all” the things. But showering is a must and just sleep whenever you can, i was never a mapper until I became a mon

  55. 88

    Mine was the same way as far as sleep goes. No swing, no being alone in her crib/bassinet. Finally a friend lent me her Fisher Price Rock N Play sleeper. It has a incline… I realized, she did better on her own when she wasn’t flat on her back. Obviously she preferred us, but this got us through a lot of nights without me having to hold her. You can kind of rock it with your foot too.. Might be worth a try. I remember those nights!

    • 89

      She actually was in the rock n play for an hour yesterday during the day – progress!! No luck at night yet, but we will get there. :)

  56. 90

    So cool to hear your update, well done! I love your hair strategy too, it seriously looks amazing :)

  57. 91

    Congratulations!! I don’t have any kids, but I’ve watched my sisters and friends become moms and you’re doing great! Your hair does look amazing :) do you highlight it? I’m a blonde and always have a hard time getting the highlights right, but yours looks natural.

    • 92

      I do! My girl does the “balayage” technique – find someone who does that! Comes out way more natural because they hand paint it on so it looks a lot less “highlighted.” If you’re in DC, it’s Mary Beth Wood at PR at Partners in Metro Center!

  58. 93

    You’ve gotten a ton of advice and I’m sure you’ll find a way for all of you to get a good night’s sleep. I’ll add in my two cents though. Both my children are still super good at hearing and noticing details; we just couldn’t tell when they were newborns. Our second child had a new solid wooden cradle with a firm (safe) cotton mattress. We also learned that the “swooping” process of laying him down was enough to wake him, so it was slowly, gently put him down while still keeping him just as warm with a blanket that stayed over him as I moved him to the cradle. Our first child had a beautiful antique bassinet with a standard plastic covered mattress: not a good choice for a person who is acutely aware of sound, light changes, textures, etc.

    I remember the shock of the change from an active, highly accomplished professional to a mom to a newborn. One day, I moved a laundry basket from the dryer to the kitchen table. Other than that, I just kept everyone fed, clean and safe. It does get better!

  59. 95

    That baby is gorgeous. I keep saying the same thing but man your posts are just getting me SO excited to have my baby! Your little girl sounds just like my first. He absolutely would not have being put down at all. Screaming and crying like his world was ending. We tried every tip out there and honestly time was the only thing that helped. It definitely felt like it lasted forever in the moment but he really did grow out of it quickly. I was lucky as well that my husband had 6 weeks of leave so we could alternate as you guys are. I was beside myself thinking I was “setting bad habits” holding him every time he slept and…guess what now he’s 3 and I’m lucky if I get a kiss and a goodnight mommy before he hops into his bed. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job and she’s lucky to have such devoted parents. I’m sure you don’t believe me but she really will sleep on her own when she is ready (and probably sooner than you think!).

  60. 98

    She is absolutely beautiful, Anne! Those first few weeks are rough, adjusting to having someone else to care for, it isn’t easy! I’m so glad Matt can have a good chunk of time off, how awesome for all three of you!!
    PS, you look AMAZING!! Love the glow you have!

  61. 99
    Allison d says:

    As for emotions – that should mellow from here. My doctor told me the hormone swing in your body creates the “baby blues” that peaks at 2 weeks. She was totally right – I cried easily during that time and was not my normal self. I was so happy she had warned me.. Shortly thereafter I felt so much more like myself and in control of my emotions. And I know it is hard to imagine, but you will sleep again! I went to support group when I had a baby and the leader always said, looking back this is such a small portion of your life – parenting a baby, breastfeeding, being up in the night with your child. This perspective really helped not get overwhelmed in that phase.

    • 100

      Very true. I am already starting to feel much more stable emotionally… especially compared to the first week. It’s nice to feel more like myself!

  62. 101

    i am bursting with happiness for you guys! this journey has been so fun to read, and i’m so glad everyone is doing well. i feel like my blog reads are my virtual friends :) congrats!!!

  63. 103
    Elisabeth says:

    Riese is just precious – she looks a lot like Matt! And as an Elisabeth myself, I love her name (and I’m actually Elisabeth Anne) ;) Congratulations to you & your family on your beautiful arrival!

  64. 105

    like everyone else says. ROCK AND PLAY my infant slept in either that or an incline pack and play until 6 weeks when we transitioned to the crib. Try a couple times a day in a very very tight swaddle. Having a baby that only wants to be held is going to be a tough habit to break! once she gets to about 10-12 lbs she will get into longer stretches of sleep as she will have more food. always keep kind bars and water within arms reach good luck!

  65. 106
    Roadrunner says:

    A wonderful, open, candid post, Anne, thanks. Love the photos!

  66. 107

    Hi Anne! Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. I just wanted to comment that I really enjoy your honesty about how the first two weeks have gone for you. From sharing how your emotions have been intense, to sharing about your physical recovery, it is really nice to read such an open post. Your photos are so sweet!

  67. 109
    Sara Wagner says:

    Both of my girls slept 12 hours at 8 weeks. Here’s how: wake them every 3 hours to feed during the day, but let them wake you at night. Try to keep them up for 10-30 minutes after they eat. Put them down for some of their naps if you can. At 2 weeks old we would feed at 6pm and then hold out until 9pm. Starting about 830 we would do bath, lotion, pjs and then they eat. They eat a lot at this last feeding because they are hungry from all of the activity. I put my kids in bed awake but drowsy in a dark room with white noise on LOUD. sometimes they coo for a few minutes, but neither of my girls has “cried it out” for longer than 5 minutes.

  68. 111

    Hi Ann, I feel you, my baby wouldn’t sleep anywhere but our chests either for the first week. We also did “shifts”! Rough but you gotta do what you gotta do. What actually solved it for us (may not for you, but you never know) was buying this zip up swaddle suit thing. Absolute lifesaver – as soon as he was zipped in that he slept in the crib. Also, time will help – they’re SO unsettled in the early days and I certainly wasn’t prepared for that! You could also try warming her crib/bassinet with a hot water bottle, or put rolled up towels in there then (gently) remove them once she’s asleep (so that the towels are touching her sides and she feels snug). Good luck!!

  69. 112

    We totally relate to this in a completely different way- being in the hospital for a while, the difference showering makes for making you feel human, etc ;) Glad Matt can be home for 6 more weeks and you guys can all bond together as a family :) Hugs!

  70. 114
    Laura Swanson says:

    One thing we did with Emma was not pick her up the moment she cried. We’d pause and wait 60 seconds or so to see if she’d start to self settle. It worked pretty well. Also, swaddling helped a ton!

  71. 115

    My (now 7 year old) slept for almost the first 8 months of her life in a vibrating bouncy chair. Swaddled. At the time I felt like a parenting disaster, now of course she sleeps like a normal human being and I am able to look back and laugh.

    Biggest takeaway – experiment till you find something that works, then don’t worry about it, “this too shall pass” and someday it will even be funny. :-)

  72. 117

    I am so glad Matt gets to be home with you. It is a sore spot for me that society doesn’t allow for both parents to have the time they need with children and that parents often feel pressure from their jobs because of maternity/paternity leave. At the federal level, they are now required to allow men to have off a full 6 weeks, as well, and I feel like it’s long overdue. However, I also would be in 100% full support of both parents also getting ADDITIONAL leave for a new birth.

  73. 118
    Sarah Schupp says:

    This will probably get buried but:
    Two things from my experience with two boys ages 14 months and 6 1/2 (and these are meant for when she is a little older): 1) try a swing. Put it next to the crib, turn the lights off, put baby in and crank it up to 11. Also helps if you have some white noise – we used a clock radio turned to static. As she gets older, set the swing slower until it isn’t needed anymore. Then you can transfer to crib sleeping.
    2)Since you had a c-section be very careful of your back. Again, this is for a month or two down the road. Start firing your abs when you’re able – when lifting baby, a plate, whatever. I didn’t and I suffered a disc bulge 6 months after my second was born. I’m still suffering after physical therapy, SI Joint injection and an epidural. If you don’t fire your abs your back muscles over compensate and get weaker and are susceptible to bulging or worse herniating. See a physical therapist about teaching you to use your abs again. You don’t want a back injury.
    You will have a lot of self-doubt over the next year, especially her first year. Don’t worry, you’re doing just fine. I enjoy your blog – thanks for writing it.

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