Yeah…Immaeatthat

Dec 11

Our weekend: first time pumping, sleep deprivation and more!

I pumped Saturday morning for the first time.  It was what a lot of you had told me…not super pleasant.  But it’ll be nice because it’ll give me some more flexibility and freedom! That said I haven’t pumped since because I’m struggling to find the time to do it. 

After polling my mom friends we are planning to have Andrew give Joanna a bottle around 9-10pm and then have him get her to sleep so I can get a bit more sleep earlier in the evening and be less sleep deprived when I get up with Jo for her night time snacks.  As I’m typing this out I’m not even sure I’ve communicated this plan to Andrew lol.  So much of this last month has just been “keep going.  she won’t always be this unpredictable.  it will get easier.  she is so freaking cute. just keep going.” 

Okay so that’s what we were trying to do with pumping in theory.…

In practice this is how it went: Andrew gave Joanna a bottle at 9pm.  And then she spit up the entire thing 15 minutes later.

This was her very first bottle and we probably should’ve checked with Google (or our pediatrician lol) on how to give it to her.  I think we’re gonna try to give her a smaller amount from the bottle, like 1/2 an ounce, and/or give her milk from the bottle over a 20 minutes period instead of her drinking it in like 3 minutes.  I think it just went in too fast. And I’m realizing that I don’t think my plan to have me go to sleep from 10-midnight will work because Jo tends to cluster feed in that time…which is fine with me (now that I realized what she wants when she’s screaming/clingy at this time) because after she eats like 3 times in 2 hours she’ll usually give me a pretty solid 3 to 4 hour stretch of sleep.  Any advice on bottle-feeding and/or pumping is welcome here!

Sunday evening while Jo was sleeping I was able to take a bath (first bath since she was born! YAY!)…

and do a facemask, which was nice and refreshing…

But after that Andrew and I both hit a bit of a breaking point.  I pretty much just gave him a screaming Joanna and went and tried to fall asleep.  It was the first time I’ve felt really overwhelmed since having her.  Something that was helpful for the past month was that Andrew’s cousin mentioned before Jo was born that it’s “very normal to feel overwhelmed/isolated/like ahhh this is too much responsibility while adjusting to life with baby.” Definitely was feeling all that.

I have a really hard time falling asleep/relaxing unless Jo is asleep right by me.  Even if Andrew or another family member is holding her in another room and I know she’s safe and cared for and not hungry…it’s really hard for me to relax and fall asleep.  I’m sure that’s a normal mom thing.  I told Andrew recently that… “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to relax again.” 

So Sunday night Jo was crying with Andrew in the other room and I knew she probably needed to eat again, even though I had feed her within the hour, but I just laid in bed and cried for awhile before I got up and took over baby duty for the night.  She always does fall asleep.  The unpredictability of her sleep schedule is just so tough!

Even when I do get a break these days it’s hard to enjoy it.  It’s hard to have a specific window of freedom and I know in that window I should be sleeping, but I want some me time instead of just sleeping.  Has anyone seen that part in one of the Madea movies where her adult daughter Cora says she needs some “me-time” and Madea goes into this rant about “what is me-time? Do you think I got any me-time when I was…”  I always quote that line when I’m feeling overwhelmed and it makes me laugh lol.  Anyways, I’m still figuring out how to adjust to mom life and think that’ll be a non-stop discovery process for the next 20 or so years.

Other weekend things…after church Sunday Jo and I went on a nice walk.  The weather was gorgeous this weekend.

We found a nice tree to sit by and I listened to a podcast and fed baby.

For snacks I’m still loving those monster balls and have made a batch weekly since Jo was born.

And for another snack I’m loving apples with PB + cookie butter.

Sunday evening Andrew and I tag teamed the below meal of stuffed salmon + veggies + ciabatta.

And Saturday night we went over to my parents to celebrate my dad’s bday.  My mom made a tasty three course meal…

And there was angel food cake with fresh whipped cream!

I’m feeling really grateful for family.  I don’t know how people have kiddos without family near.  That’d be so tough! This morning I met Sally at a nail salon and she treated me to a pedicure while she watched Jo.  Of course Jo was a perfect angel and didn’t cry once.  I have a friend who says her children make her into a liar because they always do the opposite of what she tells people they do lol.

For the rest of today I’m hoping to make a recipe that I’ve been wanting to make for ages! More on that in my next post.

38 comments on “Our weekend: first time pumping, sleep deprivation and more!”

  1. Thanks for sharing and for your honesty. I am a first time mom of a six week old and have had similar feelings. The first time my husband tried to Be on Dad duty didn’t go well either. I woke up to a screaming baby because he was so overwhelmed. Speaking of overwhelmed, yup that pretty much sums up the past six weeks. And I dont have much help from family so it is tough. I am like I knew a baby was hard work, but no one ever was brutally honest with me. I wish they would have been. I love my baby so much, but no one talks enough about life w a newborn and the roller coaster of emotions for Mom. So thanks for talking about it so I don’t feel so alone!

    • Ps. I exclusively pump for baby bc she was in nicu and didn’t get a good start to breastfeeding. So ask me anything! I don’t mind pumping bc I am just so happy to give her breastmilk.

  2. I’m not even ready to think about having babies yet but I am loving hearing about your journey with motherhood :). I love her name and she could not be cuter!

  3. I found the best time to pump was right after the first morning feeding. But I didn’t start doing that regularly until my daughter was 2 months old. It just felt way too overwhelming for me before that. We just used supplementation formula for the occasional bottles she needed before I started pumping.

    I can’t remember Joanna’s exact birthdate, but weeks 6-8 were extra crazy for our girl and for a lot of my friend’s kids, and I feel like you might be in that window? I definitely remember feeling like I would never relax again. And also like my breaks were stressful because there were so many things I needed/wanted to do and it was literally impossible to do all of them in the amount of time I would have (and I never knew exactly how much time I would have–really hard for a Type A planner, ha). So I guess what I’m saying is thanks for sharing, hang in there, and you’re doing awesome.

  4. Hi! I just found your blog and I’m loving it. I live in Houston too and just had a baby girl in the beginning of November. Your posts are great to read since I am going through similar stuff 😊

  5. I have heard a lot of new moms say how overwhelmed they feel, so you are definitely not alone! You can do this! Glad you got some time for a bath + facemask :)

  6. Have you ever tried Paced Bottle-Feeding? I taught this method during my DI community rotation with WIC, it works wonders!

  7. ugh, those first few months are just so hard and I know what you mean, I couldn’t relax when my son was doing his quick version of sleep and I couldn’t relax if someone else was holding him in another room because I knew that once I allowed myself to sleep/relax, he would be screaming/looking for me to nurse again. good luck with the pump! I never got very far with it because I just didn’t have the time to pump the bottles because my son was always nursing. the problem is, then I missed that critical window of developing the bottle habit so no one else could feed him. ah well, it all works out eventually and they all sleep eventually but it takes time to get through to that point. wishing you guys a good week with sleep!

  8. Congratulations on baby Jo! I’ve been following your blog for awhile and have enjoyed your pregnancy journey! Thank You for sharing! I have two kids and they are much older now ( 8 & 11) but boy do I remember their baby days!!! I completely understand and get how you must be feeling…and there were several times I’ve broken down and just cried! But please know that it does get better! She will have longer stretches of sleep! As far as pumping goes, I exclusively pumped for my second baby and I must say it is extra work! You have to wake up earlier as well which I didn’t enjoy! But once your milk supply is up and you have reserve it helps! Congratulations once again!

  9. I am loving your updates! New baby sleep is so hard. I am not an expert but what worked for us was I would breastfeed our son right before I went to bed (probably 9ish) and then my husband would give him a bottle the next time he needed to get eat. Even though he would cluster feeding with me, he was fine with the bottle. Around 3 months or so, he started going to bed earlier, so I would feed him at bedtime and my husband would do a bottle the first time he woke up at night. After a few months, I stopped pumping because it wasn’t worth the trouble anymore. I hope you get some sleep soon!!

  10. I vividly remember this period with both my babies. I validate every single one of your feelings!💛💛💛
    I felt like the hardest window of time(with both) was around 4-6 weeks, the confluence of 1.) sleep deprivation effects catching up 2.) hormones crashing 3.) family and friends visits/help tapering off 4.) baby going through a leap 5.) neither me nor baby yet having any predictable rhythms. It’s like all those things kind of hit at the same time and it was so, so, so hard and emotional and my neck was constantly stiff from the tension of never being able to fully relax. I was blindsided by how ‘On’ I constantly was.
    I know it’s controversial with a lot of people, but what *saved* my sanity was…nursing naps. It took some figuring, but I would lay down on the bed and situate baby to nurse while I dozed. It was sooo comfortable for both of us; she relaxed a lot better too(we had lip/tongue tie related latching issues that made normal nursing pretty tense and painful) and didn’t spit up as much. Even if I got 15-20 minute snoozes, it helped me so much. I would unlatch her after she was finished and scoot her up onto a little co-sleeper pad.
    We had an arms reach bassinet that facilitated this arrangement at night. I was always very aware of baby, even in deep sleep. Being able to hear her breathing throughout the night allowed me to (intermittently) relax enough to sleep. Eventually, I did this with my son too.
    It was what worked for us. I don’t think I could have survived otherwise.

    RE: pumping…it never worked very well for me, but getting larger flanges helped w/ the discomfort aspect!
    For babies’ bottle needs I did eventually find ComoTomo bottles which were excellent! They have vented, variable-flow nipples for different age ranges, and were ideal for babies that feed both from breast and bottle.
    Worth a shot! (Got mine on amazon)
    Your self-kindness will go a long way in figuring out your new rhythms & things DO eventually get in a reasonably predictable groove. I promise.

  11. Ahhh! It’s all so normal. Granted, I had postpartum depression. But all of those hormones and life adjustments can lead to some gigantic feels. Glad you’re taking it all in stride and seeing the wonderful things in this life stage. I still sleep better with my daughter near! The struggle is real. I think deciding what to do with free time as a mom is really an art. Sometimes you just know it’s time for a nap and other times you know it’s an opportune time to do something you like to do.

  12. Just want to drop and and say a couple of things! First, you are doing a fabulous job with this Mom gig, and I love your perspective and real-ness on your experience. Second, you can feed a little, burp, and repeat to extend the bottle feeding cycle and prevent spitting up. It’s SO sweet to see you two working together with feedings. All the best!

  13. You’ve probably gotten so much advice and so many helpful tips so forgive me if you’ve heard this before but white noise was a LIFESAVER for me, with both babies but especially my son Jonah who literally never slept more than 45 minutes a time when he was born. I’m not sure if you’ve tried it or not and if its been helpful or not, but I thought i’d throw it out there :) It’s so tough to figure everything out in the beginning…you all will get there! ! i promise it DOES get better. I know you know how to give yourself grace through all of this :) and you’re right–you’re never going to relax again for the rest of your life :) haha. Miss you Kylie and I love seeing all your updates and your precious Jo! She’s adorable XOXOXO

  14. I totally empathize with the no-time-for-pumping thing!! I managed with my first, but my second babe is now 1 and never took a bottle… mostly because I could never find time to pump and wash parts with a needy toddler AND newborn! Ha. We have no family closer than five hours away… needless to say, our sweet second baby that had reflux as a newborn nearly killed me;) and yet, here we are one year later! You are doing awesome! I would literally say out loud to myself “you’re doing the best you can” on the daily. It helped :)

  15. Look up “paced bottle-feeding”. It is a way to feed from a bottle that mimics breastfeeding and it allows her to take her time eating so that she can recognize her hunger cues more easily instead of scarfing a bottle down lol.

    • It works super well, I’ve seen it in action and taught it to clients! It’s actually that it keeps the bottle from basically pouring too fast into baby’s mouth. Holding the baby upright allows her to suck, pause, suck etc. much more instinctively, and helps her be more able to stop feeding when she’s done!

      • Yes! Sorry, I misspoke. It does help the baby recognize their fullness cues more easily because the milk isn’t pouring too quickly in their mouth. I work for WIC too and I wish more doctors would teach moms about it

  16. As someone who is very far from having kids, I have to say this post was really refreshing! I’ve been so curious to keep up with your life as a mom, mostly because I am just amazed by anyone who seems near to me in age that is having kids. That probably makes me sound crazy. Anyways, I’ve loved all of your cute pictures and cheerful updates, but I also appreciate you sharing how hard it is. In some ways, that confirms my fears of being a mom but it also just seems very real to hear the struggles. I feel like I would be crying all the time from feeling overwhelmed. So thank you for sharing that it isn’t always easy!

  17. Hi Kylie,
    I have an almost 5 month old. I had a really rough first month with her as far as sleep goes. Do you swaddle? My husband and I weren’t good at swaddling so I went and bought a velcro swaddle blanket- my baby started sleeping 5-6 hour stretches after we started using that. I will say, the first 6-8 weeks are by far the hardest. It WILL get easier, just get through these next few weeks and Joanna will start sleeping through the night. I know it’s hard to imagine that right now but she will start sleeping better, just hang in there. I have a lot more sleep advice but don’t want to get too wordy, feel free to email me :)

  18. You are doing an awesome job! I just wanted to say that Incase you needed to hear it today. It’s so, so, so hard, but you are doing it mama! It is hard to pump when you nurse around the clock. I find that it’s best to try pumping just once a day (and if you can’t every day that’s okay!) I found the best time to pump was right after the first morning nursing session. The baby is usually content to be put down at that time. I promise you that things will get easier and you will be able to sleep again (like 8-9 hours a night!!) Give yourself grace and know it’s okay to break down. It’s okay to not love the hard stuff. It’s okay to let the baby cry. She loves you and needs you to be okay as much as you want her to be okay. Thanks for sharing this journey with us readers. We are all here for you!

  19. Ugh I remember those early days – I always felt like the moment my son fell asleep at night the clock started ticking. I would be like AH I HAVE TO FALL ASLEEP RIGHT AWAY TO MAXIMIZE THE AMOUNT OF SLEEP I CAN GET AT ONCE! It’s not a fun feeling. And I cried many times because he would cry for no reason at night and I just felt plain overwhelmed. But you’re doing an amazing job. You’re doing the best you can and that’s all the matters.

    I wish I had a bunch of tips when it comes to the bottle situation… but my only thought is to ask whether you’re using the slow flow nipples? I had no idea there were different nipples for different stages at first, and my son was drowning in milk when my husband gave him a bottle a couple weeks in because I was using one for a 6+ month old 😂. Also, if she’s used to cluster feeding then maybe she isn’t getting a ton of milk at once like she would with a bottle? You’re smart to just try a little bit at once! But in terms of sleeping, I was the exact same way about naps. Whenever he would sleep during the day I didn’t want to sleep because I wanted that time to do things I wanted to do, haha. I totally get that. Do whatever feels good to you- everything will get better and a little bit easier every day!

  20. There are already so many great ideas, so I will keep it very brief.
    I pumped a lot with baby 1 and found it best to feed on one side, then when I swithed to the other side I pumped the first boob while the baby was nursing on the other one. That always gave me the best “flow”. (after that I emptied the second one).
    I used Medela Calma bottles because my baby (at 2 weeks) was drowning with the other ones. I second the person above to check if the “funnels” on the pump fit you. Otherwise its very painful.
    And …. this is something that probably a lot of people will recommend against… both of my babies slept in my bed, next to me (I tucked in the duvet blanket on the bottom of the matress, so it could never get higher then my belly) and slept topless. My kids learned to “feed themselves” and I hardly woke up. Every few hours I just turned around, and flipped the baby to the other side. My second one had that figured out at 3 weeks and between having skin contact with me and drinking whenever he wanted we both slept really good. I realize that sounds very weird, but I always had a solid 8 hours of almost uninterrupted sleep and I would always do that again. – but I realize a lot of people would not feel comfortable with that.

  21. I ended up using preemie flow nipples (these are distinct from “first flow nipples”) on a Dr. Brown’s vented bottle. Breastfed babies are used to a slower flow, so regular bottle nipples can be a bit much for them, especially at first. Good luck!

  22. Hang in there, lady. I love that you’re being so transparent and showing us both the up’s and down’s of new parenthood. I think feeling overwhelmed is totally normal, but I’m not a mother yet so I can’t speak much on the topic. However, I already KNOW that I would feel that way! One of my mottos in life has been to give any new change at least 6 months to just feel like its part of your life now and at least a year to feely like you actually know how to handle the change. This has been a good motto for me during grief, job changes, etc. You’re doing great!

  23. Thank you again for all that you share! I know it’s so helpful for many including myself, despite not being in that stage of wanting a child yet. As everyone has said, you are doing an incredible job. Just keep taking it day-by-day or hour-by-hour as best you can. You express so much self-compassion and love. You are such an inspiration.

  24. I love hearing all about your life as a new baby & seeing pictures of your curt new little!! For me the manual breast pump worked so much better & wasn’t painful. And when I would feed my baby first feeding in the morning I would pump at the same time. Pumping while feeding kills 2 birds with one stone & having the baby naturally getting the milk flowing makes the process so much easier. Also my daughter hated when I would eat chocolate she was so much more content at night when I didn’t have any. When I read about your plans to have your husband take on the bedtime shift I remembered the bad fussy nights when I was so tired & just NEEDED her to be sleeping so I could sleep too & thought about the chocolate (:

  25. Yes to all of this! Being a mom to a newborn is SO HARD. I totally resonate with having difficulty falling asleep unless baby is right next to me sleeping and with an unpredictable sleep schedule that can make it hard to get enough rest! I found it easier if family/friends took my baby for a walk or somehow got out of the house while I slept at home. My babe is now 8 months old and I will say it does get more predictable. The first three months were definitely the hardest, after that things started to get easier. For bottles, we used a premie nipple for a long time and that worked for our babe. Not all brands have a premie nipple but I know dr browns and avent naturals do. Maybe something to try!

  26. IT GETS BETTER. Really. Truly. Those first weeks are just HARD. With my 3 babies i noticed marked improvement at 6 weeks and 8 weeks. Then at 12 weeks we knew we would all survive and things were good. She will fall into a predictable nursing and sleeping schedule that will allow you to plan your life much better. You are doing a FABULOUS job! Just keep going like you’re going. You’ve got this.

  27. my little one (now 9 months) didn’t take a bottle until she was 6 months old (and that as after MONTHS of trying and a month of holding out all day at day care!!), so you guys are way ahead of our curve! Pumping got WAY easier with time… it’s just so awkward!
    As far as sleeping… we saw improvements at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, after the 4 month regression passed, and now, finally, she’ll sleep from 7:30pm-6:30 am without needing to eat. Getting her out for a walk every morning in the daylight seemed to help, and creating a calming night routine helped too (and, not being OCD about sleep schedules helped also!).

    I’m sure you already have it, but the book The Wonder Weeks really helped to de-mythologize this time period!

    Keep it up mama, you’re doing amazing!

  28. So relatable! The first time pumping was really strange. I was grateful to have my mom and sister there for support. For pumping, I also pump after the first morning feed (which still
    Changes often) I try to pump again later in the day but also don’t beat myself up if I can’t get it in. I did notice when I was able to pump around the same time the volume increased. I definitely recommend the hands free pumping bra. I got it on amazon. Relaxing does get easier. I made it to a few yoga classes in the last two weeks and that was very helpful, physically, mentally and emotionally. I found the late night cluster feeding very tough. My daughter, Poppy, was very fussing and eating a lot until about 11:00. She did recently stop doing that, and started sleeping more at night. She’s 9 weeks. But now her naps during the day are shorter so it’s hard to get things done. It’s ever changing. You are not alone and I finally feel like it has gotten a little easier and a little more predictable. Keep being gentle with yourself.

  29. I love reading all the comments of support/validation on this! I have a 5 week old and a 2yr old right now. Sleep is so hard because the little one is more awake now and fights sleep sometimes and my toddler doesn’t like to sleep because of course he’d rather play. So nap time in the day is sometimes me rocking my toddler while beside the swing my baby is in and praying she does start crying and wake my toddler. Then usually I get the toddler in bed and change/feed the baby and hope she sleeps even 30 mins so I can squeeze one in too.

    I’m with you completely on how on you are. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. And it’s okay to admit that this is everything you wanted and you’re thrilled but that it’s really hard at times. No shame. Mothers are amazing for going months(let’s be real, years) without good sleep and still nurture their littles. I don’t have a lot of advice, just saying “solidarity, sister!” I love these insights in your life, it’s very encouraging for us 💜

  30. I am of no help because I don’t have kids yet, sorry! But I am watching that exact episode of Gilmore Girls as I type/read this. Ha. Gilmore Girls always and forever :)

  31. Joanna is SO CUTE. So glad you have help and support in this challenging time and that you are being conscious about giving yourself grace and love and accepting you cannot be on top of everything at all times. You’re doing wonderful and are an inspiration to us all :)

  32. Mom of an almost 4 mo old here :) Hang in there! It gets easier by 2-3months when they get a schedule and start smiling at you so much!! Still really hard though … lol.

    Early on, I only pumped 1x per day and I did it in the AM – you have much more supply then than at night. You can use the bottle whenever – we use it for the next am when I pump. I get 2-4x as much as when I pump later in the day. Helpful for a larger stockpile.

    Also have your husband research paced feeding and make sure he keeps the bottle mostly perpendicular to baby’s mouth so she has to work hard and will slow down getting the milk :) Less spitting up and less chance that she’ll get frustrated on the boob (for being slower than the bottle) Hang in there mama, good job!

  33. I love reading your blog! I loved it before you were pregnant and then shortly after you announced your pregnancy I found out that I was pregnant, so it has been super helpful to me to read all of your pregnancy/mom life updates. Please keep them coming :) We are expecting our baby boy to arrive in March and I’m still in a very excited phase, but the nerves are starting to come!

  34. Kylie,
    You’re doing a great job. Being a first time Mom is hard! I’m someone who thrives on schedule and routines. I found The Baby Whisperer by Miranda Hogg to be my bible. Everything from breast to bottle to solid food feeding. EAT, wake, sleep routines. Honestly my doula recommendaed it and it saved my sanity. All 3 of my littles slept through the night at 9 weeks old. It’s definitely worth a read girl! Chin up you’re doing awesome.

  35. I have a 7 mo old and I had so many similar feelings and experiences the 1st few months postpartum. Right down to buying a dress then realizing I couldn’t nurse in it ha!!!

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