Every day in every wayBefore 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.
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
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.
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.