Jun 1, 2013

one month with Luca Byrd: reflections

They said it would happen, and it did. It is. Time is flying by.

We've had our baby for one month. It seems like yesterday I found out I was pregnant. And the day before that we got married. But- I feel like I've known Luca Byrd my whole life. Time demands consciousness; take in every single moment, for they're fleeting and happen just once. We've been listening to John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy," and it's so relevant.
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better
...
I can hardly wait
To see you come of age
But I guess we'll both just have to be patient
'Cause it's a long way to go
Before Luca was born, a friend (and new mom) tried to describe the feeling of having a baby. "It's like falling in love. You think it can't get any better, but time passes and it does. You just keep falling in love. Having a baby is like that, only way better." How awesome is that? I can't wait for my other friends to have babies of their own just so they can experience that feeling.

  

The first ten days seemed to go by slowly. You're so in awe of this new little being (that you created!) and in shock. You're trying to figure this whole thing out, all while balancing visitors, housework, your physical recovery, hormones, worries, sleep-deprivation. In those first days, I would cry while feeding Luca because I'd think, "you'll never be this small again." People tell you it gets better and better - and it does - but this time is so precious that part of you wants it to last forever.

 

Luca Byrd is so amazing. My baby baby. She has a headful of hair that I love to comb while I nurse her after her nightly bath. It seems to get lighter every day; it's almost blonde now. Her skin is so soft and she's such a cuddly baby with that delicious baby smell. She's lost most of the fuzzy newborn hair that covered her body at birth, and her skin no longer peels. I could stare at her forever. The nurses at the hospital said she was one of the most alert babies; she can hold your gaze for long spans with those big blue eyes, which also seem to be getting lighter. We have black and white pictures of birds behind our couch that hold her attention while she's nursing. Our family golf cart rides almost always lull her to sleep. In those early days, we'd try to leave the house at least once. Easy meals, her pediatrician, Lee's house, golf cart rides, Target. And now, like most babies, she is a great car-rider. I've figured out the totally-intimidating carseat, and have nursed her in public lots. (no one cares, by the way.) Music calms her. Jim and Ellis have formed a bluegrass home band; daddy does the singing and Ellis keeps the beat. Jim is awesome with lyrics and rhyming; I tend to hum "Hey Jude." She's a noisy sleeper, and people can't resist touching her feet. Breastfeeding is one of the best things in life; can you believe that she's so perfectly nourished by my body, that she's so calmed by my touch and smell?

In that first month...

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Let your mom come stay with you if she wants to (she does). Cry when you need to (on your mom's shoulder, preferably :). Take walks when you feel ready. Get out of the house. Find music that calms both you and the baby. Let her big brother help, and encourage daddy to hold and sing to her. Nourish yourself. Sleep when you can. Showers make you feel like a new person. 

We haven't needed much gear or toys yet, but these few things have been invaluable:
  • Moms on Call- Not everyone supports putting babies on a schedule this early. But for us, this has been a lifesaver. Luca now sleeps at least 6 hours straight at night, and takes regular (predictable!) naps during the day. I can't recommend it enough.
  • Carseat - Luca sleeps in hers every night. at least it's in her crib? :)
  • Medela hand pump- Though people warned me away from the hand pump (too much work, they said), I love it's simplicity and functionality. 
  • Cotton nursing pads-  These keep my shirts and our bed sheets dry, and I love that they're reusable. That "let-down reflex" is a powerful thing!
  • Nursing cami from Target- I want to buy one of these for every nursing mom I know. It makes nursing so easy, and provides lots of modesty for mama. It's the best thing I bought myself; I've literally worn it every single day since Luca was born.
  • Adain + Anais changing pad covers & swaddle blankets- Luca gets swaddled every night and for most naps. These are so soft and no matter how dirty they get, always come clean when washed.
  • California Baby calming body wash & shampoo- In the Moms on Call routine, Luca gets a bath every night. This soap is super gentle and makes her smell yummy. 
  • diapers, wipes, A&D ointment- Lots and lots and lots...
  • Coconut Oil- I love to rub this on her before bedtime. It's part of her nightly routine that, according to Moms on Call, she'll begin associating with nights and good sleep. Plus it makes skin super soft!
  • Music- for nursing and bedtime, we're fans of Beautiful Boy, Hushabye Baby Lullaby Renditions (Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline), Song for Zula. and for playtime, we love Woodie Guthrie. We listen to these daily.
  • Rocking Chair (for nursing), white noise machine, baby monitor
  • Baby Bjorn- Luca isn't a fussy baby. But when nothing else will calm her during the "witching hour," she'll always fall asleep when being worn on my chest. I've also started walking with her in the bjorn - she LOVES it. (I thought I'd be a moby wrap mama for sure. But it's timely to put on and that nine feet of fabric gets HOT.)
  • Hot meals that friends and family bring- I still haven't gotten back into cooking.
  • and your camera, of course, for taking all those adorable pictures!

On her blog The Littlest, Elizabeth Antonio writes about the first month: the first few weeks is a wonderful time to discover each other through the senses. lay together in bed, skin-to-skin, decide what their song might be ... let your baby smell you, hear you, feel you. explore your little one. learn every inch of them. there is no need for toys or stimulation. you are your little one's universe. enjoy knowing that you are enough. (Mamas, read her series "As They Grow" if you haven't already.)

"Enjoy knowing you are enough." Remember this when you feel overwhelmed. It's the most beautiful thing in the world.

1 comment:

  1. Love this, little Luca, and all those adorable pictures of her. I'm so happy that you're so happy :)

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