19 weeks as a mom.
Hey guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Today I’m gonna give you an update on some mom things and tomorrow my travel lovers will want to check in! But for now…
My body (from a healing perspective) feels 100% back to normal now. It feels really good to be able to move again. Most of my movement these days are stroller walks with Jo (gonna miss these once Houston summer heat sets in and it’s pretty much impossible to walk outside after 7am) and kickboxing or dumbbell circuit-esque Fitness Blender videos. If you’re sensitive to calorie counts, most Fitness Blender videos aren’t for you. It took me until 2 weeks ago to be able to make it all the way through any Fitness Blender video because Jo always would end up waking up/needing me and I’d stop lol. When I made it through an entire one without her waking up I was like FINALLY!!!!
(also, yay for azalea blooming season….)
Recently I was thinking about the difference between the level of movement needed to be physically healthy vs the level of movement needed to change your body. I mean, do we really need hour long cycling classes?! I really don’t think we do. If you enjoy that…awesome! But that’s not right for me and Jo. In postpartum my goal has been physical health, not to see how toned x can get. I like moving. It feels good. I don’t take it to extremes. I’ve come a long way with exercise and it feels so effortless now to be kind to my body and not try to change it through exercise. If you’re looking for some first steps to take to get to a better place with rigid exercise, any of those posts in the above link or course module 6 would be a good fit for you.
With Jojo we decided to do Ferber Method. The idea of letting her cry it out (CIO) was so tough for me (as I imagine it is for any first time parent). Just thinking about doing it was one of the big things that pushed me to go to therapy because I couldn’t handle even thinking about it without feeling SO overwhelmed and emotional. I just figured Jo was a bad sleeper and nothing would help. The CIO method seemed awful and the opposite of nurturing, but now having done it I disagree. Jojo is way better rested + less fussy overall since doing it and it’s been SUCH A GAME CHANGER for my sleep hygiene as well.
A lot of the feedback I got about having trouble getting Jo to sleep more was that she was overtired. I hated that advice because I was like I HAVE NO CLUE HOW TO GET HER TO SLEEP MORE! I feel like we were stuck in this cycle of Jo being overly tired and couldn’t get out of it. Plus, the “witching hour” from 7pm-10pm every night was especially awful for us and Jo would pretty much cry that entire time or only take 10 minute naps during those 3 hours. It was so daunting going into nighttime knowing 3 hours of her being upset was ahead of us. I also now think she was a colicky baby. And if she wasn’t a colicky baby then I don’t wanna see a baby who is because it’s hard for me to imagine a baby crying anymore than Jo did some evenings.
Out of desperation (so tired.) we started co-sleeping around 2 1/2 months and anytime Jo would wake up I’d just stick a boob in her mouth and let her fall asleep on the boob. I loved cosleeping, even though our pediatrician was like yikessss and tried to talk me out of it twice. I thought co-sleeping was so sweet. I loved cuddling with her and a lot of night I miss it. But for a lot of reasons having her in her crib is better for us.
I have two mom friends who had sleep training success stories and really encouraged me that Ferber/CIO would work for Jo and it would help her be able to self soothe and it would help me get more sleep. The first night we did CIO I texted both of those friends for support. I don’t think I could’ve done it without them.
Here’s how Jojo did at bedtime (naps are still rough sometimes, but she’s figuring out how to put herself to sleep during the day too):
1st night – cried an hour (I took a LONG shower and then sat in our garage with music on while Andrew did the checks).
2nd night – cried 40 minutes
3rd night – cried 30 minutes
4th night – cried 5 minutes
5th thru 9th nights – cried zero to 15 minutes
Then she stayed asleep for at least 3 hours before she’d need to eat again. Some nights she gave me a 7 hours stretch. SO DIFFERENT than her 2 weeks prior. One of the biggest changes has really been seen in the middle of the night. Before when Jo would wake up to eat, she’d have to be rocked/bobbed for an hour before she’d drift off to sleep and then when I’d try to transfer to her crib she’d wake up. SO ROUGH (one of the reasons why we started co-sleeping). But now when Jo wakes up in the middle of the night to eat (currently she’s doing 1-3 wake-ups/night) I feed her and place her back in her crib and she’s asleep within 30 seconds. I was so sure sleep training would not work for us. I still can’t believe how great it’s been.
Also, Jo has decided she wants to sleep on her belly…so we’re going with it. She rolled over onto her belly a couple times to sleep and she seems to sleep better like that so now we put her down at night on her belly.
In the morning when it’s time to wake her up I scoop her up and we cuddle/play in my bed for as long as we can before our day starts. I do miss co-sleeping with her, but my friends reminded me that this doesn’t mean I can never cuddle with her in bed again. For our family her sleeping in our bed longterm wasn’t what we wanted, so I’m glad she’s in her crib for now.
Still going good and I’m really enjoying it. Sometimes I already feel sad thinking about when it’s going to be time to stop nursing. I follow some lactation consultants on IG and did you know that if you adopt a baby (I believe after you have already nursed another baby) you can nurse that baby!? Like your body will remember how to produce milk if you start pumping before you get the baby + I think you may also take some med/hormone to stimulate milk production. Adoption isn’t on our hearts at this time, but I think it’d be such a cool bonding thing for you moms who wanna adopt.
Currently Jojo is back to a i-hate-the-bottle-again phase so I’m coming home or our nanny is bringing her to me on days I work so I can feed her. I think there may be a part of me that doesn’t want the bottle to work that bad so I’m not consistent with it because 1) I enjoy nursing and 2) I don’t love pumping. I really think if the bottle had to work Jojo could make it work. When she gets hungry enough she will take the bottle and she randomly held her bottle herself last Wednesday when Andrew was keeping her. Usually when someone tries to give her a bottle she gets ANGRY. Really angry. She’s all like this isn’t a boob, I hate this, I hate you, boohoohoo, scream.
I do think if you’re someone who struggles with accepting your postpartum body that nursing could be tough because there are many times when I just feel exposed. When I’m feeding Jo I’m always sitting, so my belly folds into rolls (as a belly of a person who is sitting does) and sometimes I’m not wearing a shirt if we’re at home and it’s just different. I just mention this to say if you are in postpartum (or just a human being) and your belly has rolls…that’s okay. That’s just how belly’s work sometimes.
I feel like Andrew and me are finding our stride more with marriage + a baby. At my request, we are starting to trade off on bath time duty each night so Jo doesn’t get used to just me doing it. One night a week I see a late client or two and Andrew stays with Jo, which I really enjoy because I get to shower, put on real clothes, and leave the house after a day of being covered in baby bodily fluids lol.
(Jojo in my vintage 1990 baby dress from when I was a baby…)
I feel like the learning curve of baby things was steeper for me, but Andrew is catching up now. There are so many things that Andrew works so hard at for us (including some changes I’ll be sharing soon that I’m excited about), but I needed more support with Jojo. So now Andrew cooks dinners for us at least half the week (among the other things he does, but that’s just a new change). It’s been hard and wonderful to have to care for a baby when we each have different ways of going about things, but I think this is exactly how this whole marriage with kids thing goes. You can’t practice this until ya got the kid haha. There’s just so much more communication that has to happen now. Andrew and I didn’t need each other before like we need each other now, which sometimes I think is so awesome…and other times I think is really annoying lol. Overall I feel we’re getting more and more on the same page each month and that feels really good.
And just gonna leave this one here…having Jojo out of the bed has been good for some aspects of marriage in particular. ;)
Living in fear
For the first 4 1/2 months of Jojo’s life (up until we sleep trained), I felt like I was constantly living in fear of her waking up when she had fallen asleep. Occasionally I still feel that feeling when I go to bed later in the evening and I can feel myself getting overwhelmed with the idea that Jo is gonna wake up as soon as I fall asleep and then I’m not gonna get to sleep blah blah blah. Just last week was the first week I could feel that sense of living in fear of her waking up weakening a tiny bit and that feels so healthy for me! That living in fear feeling could also be described as never being able to relax.
Getting easier and then again…
There are still times things don’t go as planned. Like when I have to put on the Ergobaby and walk around while eating my dinner because Joanna is having a meltdown at the table (see below), but overall I’m adjusting to being a mom and Jo is adjusting to being in the world and because I’m getting more sleep life seems a lot less hard.
It’s been really helpful. Should’ve gone sooner.