Yesterday marked 6 months with Charlie. How did that happen? Oh my gosh do I love this little boy.
I was reflecting on the motherhood posts I wrote here, here and here and how hard it was in the beginning adjusting to life as a new mom. Thinking I was prepared but then feeling completely out of control. The past six months have been the most amazing, the hardest, the most rewarding, the most physically, emotionally and mentally challenging and the most magical months of my life. I look at life in a different way since becoming a mom and I feel so blessed that he is mine. If anything makes you take a step back and declutter any negativity from your life, it is a child. They are pure magic. Here is what happened those first 6 months…
The first couple of months were tough. I mentioned before that I had a hard time letting go of the things I couldn’t control (which was everything) and it was an adjustment to completely give in to this tiny human. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade those really difficult days for the world and sometimes even wish I could relive them because I’ll never get those “first time mom moments” back. For those of you going through it now or who are about to become first time parents, know that the exhaustion will subside, day by day you figure each other out and eventually you don’t feel like a new mom anymore. I still have a really hard time balancing working full time and being a mom full time. My mom babysits one day a week and I’m currently looking for a nanny 1-2 days a week so I can get back on track with things. One day at a time!
At around three months we noticed that Charlie seemed pretty uncomfortable after his feedings (I was still nursing full time). He would arch his back in pain and spit up almost all of my milk. I didn’t know what to think because he loved to be nursed, he never got frustrated but the outcome after nursing was never good. At his 4 month doctors appointment the spit up and obvious pain hadn’t gotten better and sure enough he barely gained any weight between 3 and 4 months. His charts had significantly decreased and they called it “failure to thrive” which I assure you is the worst thing you will ever hear as a new mother feeding her child. Charlie was diagnosed with acid reflux, put on medication and the doctor recommended that we supplement with formula (Enfamil AR). I went from nursing him 6-8 times per day to pumping and maybe physically feeding him once a day. It was really hard but within a week he was a new baby. With breastfeeding, as great as pumping can be it definitely doesn’t have the same reaction compared to directly feeding your baby. The let down wasn’t the same so my milk started to dry up and I was an emotional wreck. The hormone drop was worse than after delivering Charlie (I mentioned this here) and I had a really hard time letting go. However, I will say that knowing the exact amount of ounces Charlie was receiving each feeding was a big game changer for his mood, his sleep schedule and general happiness. After two weeks, I moved to two full nursings a day and the rest of the time he was bottle fed (for about a month) and finally, the week before we left for vacation, I breastfed him for the last time. In the end, I feel like I have a bit of myself back and Charlie is fat and happy which is good for both of us. Charlie is still on medication for his acid reflux which makes a world of difference. He still spits up but definitely not as often or as much.
Charlie has been consistently sleeping through the night for about 3 weeks now with no feedings from 7pm-6:30am. We usually give him a few more ounces of formula before bed to hold him over until the morning. He also started eating solids two weeks ago after we noticed that every time we put a fork to our mouths he would be opening his mouth. We decided to give it a try and he is a CHAMP. He loves green beans, sweet potatoes and butternut squash so far. I think that this has also helped with his sleeping.
Charlie loves music, dancing in the mirror, being tickled, hearing us laugh, going on walks, standing up, hearing his name and Webster. Charlie does not love to roll over, he gets frustrated during tummy time and just collapses to the floor rather than pushing himself out of it, he doesn’t like to hear the word “no” and has some separation anxiety. He has also learned how to completely manipulate me with his dramatic cries and quick smiles once I react. He has me wrapped around his finger so tightly; I’m in trouble.
If I’ve realized anything as a new mom it is to take advantage of the products that can make your job a little easier. I can’t be there for him 100% of the time but I never want him to feel like I don’t want to be. When I do have to sit down and get some work done, I want to make sure that Charlie is playing and learning at the same time. Charlie loves his Fisher Price Bandstand Play Gym and it is the only thing that will distract him and motivate him while I check a few emails. I love that the Bandstand plays music that is initiated by your child’s movement. Charlie gets so excited when he realizes that his hand made a drum noise or that his little feet started a new song. It doesn’t feel like just another play mat, it gets him thinking and moving and I don’t feel as guilty when I am not able to directly interact with him.
My friend’s at Fisher Price want to help make it easier for new mom’s, too! We are giving away one Fisher Price Bandstand Play Gym to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment telling me about yourself and life as a new mom. Have you experienced similar challenges? What stage are you in? Etc. I’d love to hear!
A winner will be announced on my Facebook page on Friday, April 1. Good luck and thanks so much for entering!
In collaboration with Fisher Price.