After a 40 week pregnancy and a healthy happy baby, I thought it was time to fill you in on how Marina and myself are doing, and share with you some of our favorite things! The postpartum journey is a long one, so I will be writing updates like this every 4 weeks or so until things start to stabilize, so please let me know what questions you would like answered in these postpartum updates!
How big is Marina?
My little peanut was born at 5 lbs 12 oz, which is less than the doctors originally thought based on the weekly ultrasounds. She lost 6 oz before we left the hospital and it was a challenge to get her back up to birth weight, but now she is probably somewhere around 6.5 lbs. She is a very healthy baby, but definitely tiny. She was born at 40 weeks and 2 days so although I didn’t feel great about the induction process, I don’t think she was gaining any more weight in utero, and it was the right time to take her out.
What is her sleep schedule like?
Every day/night is a little bit different and we definitely have NOT found a schedule that works for us yet. The first week she slept almost all day, and woke 3-4 times at night. It was rough for us because she makes so much noise while she sleeps (passing gas, moving around, etc.) that it would keep us more awake than her. Weeks 2-3 she was awake a little bit more, with growth spurts at the beginning of week 2 and end of week 3, that would cause her to cluster feed at terrible times, like 5am. This past week she has started to be awake a bit more during the day, allowing us to get one 3 hour chunk of sleep in-between feeds at night… followed by 2 hour bits. We tried introducing a ‘dream feed’ at around 10:30 pm given by my husband, so I am able to sleep from 9pm to 2am most nights, and then is able to sleep from 11pm to around 5am, but that hasn’t worked great for us since she won’t go back to sleep after the 5am feed. Now we are trying to give her the bottle at 8pm (while I pump) in order to fill her up, so that I can do one breastfeed session at 12 and one bottle feed around 3:30 to get her through the night. I’ll let you know how that goes!
What is her demeanor/personality like?
At first she was so quiet that I thought I had a perfect little angel on my hands! But as the days went by I realized that she does cry, but it’s usually just when she wants to eat more. She doesn’t seem inconsolable in any way, but tends to want to eat a lot (hey- she does have a lot of growing to do!). Probably also due to her small size, she has a lot of gas and tends to spit up after every meal, which means she makes a lot of noise as the milk is moving through her GI tract. She can see about 8-12 inches in front of her and definitely stares at high contrast books and blankets (like the black and white sheets I made her) which seem to catch her attention. She loves tummy time and can actually move her head back and forth… after a few minutes. Although she is tiny, she is one strong little lady!
How is breastfeeding going?
Breastfeeding was initially our biggest postpartum hiccup. I produce enough milk, but I have small/flat nipples which means her tiny mouth has a hard time latching. We ended up with several lactation and pediatrician appointments to make sure she was getting enough milk and growing, which ended up in trying out several feeding techniques. In addition to nursing with a nipple shield (a plastic cover that acts as an artificial nipple), I am pumping 2x a day so that Mr. R could feed her initially with a syringe as she sucked on his finger, and now with a our Como Tomo bottles. The idea was that we weren’t sure if she was getting enough from my breast, so we wanted to keep my supply up through pumping and measure her intake via my husband’s feeds. However, by week 3 she learned how to take one of my nipples on her own (yay no more nipple shield!- Seriously- they are invisible and hard to find and clean in the middle of the night!) which makes feeding on the go a lot easier. Overall, we are happy with her weight gain which seems to be the best guardrail for how much she is eating. Now if we can get her to eat enough to last 4 hours at night!
Baby Burrito in The Ollie World Swaddle
How am I feeling mentally?
This is a tricky question because I feel like it depends on the day. Mostly, I feel great. I had a few postpartum crying spells and hormonal outbursts, but those can easily be chalked up to lack of sleep. I am proud at how well Mr. R and I seem to have acclimated to parenthood already, even though by no means do we have it figured out. Now that Marina is sleeping less during the day it’s getting harder for me to get anything done around the house, which is sort of why those first few weeks when Mr. R was home were great, but not indicative of real life. I am still grappling with how I will actually get any work done. While we will definitely get child care eventually, this career doesn’t afford, or make sense since I work from home, for me to have full-time care. So I will need to look into nannies for 2-3 days a week.
I honestly was prepared to be a bigger basket case than I am, but I think most of it can be chalked up to expectations. Since my expectations were low, I have been proud of every simple accomplishment that I make, whether it’s taking a shower, writing a blog post, or getting outside for a walk. I think even the smallest steps you take from the beginning, start to build your confidence for taking even bigger steps. One small 20 minute walk turned into a 60 minute lunch, which turned into 2 hours of errands and then a full-on drive to Tahoe this past weekend. Every little thing I have done has made me feel more confident taking on a little more next time. That, and having a prepped bottle at all times. At this age, she really only cries when she’s hungry, so making sure I always have some milk ready for her (since I don’t love feeding in public yet) makes both of us happy!
Marina loving her Dockatot
How am I feeling physically?
I am still healing, but I am truly amazed at how much I healed during the first week postpartum. I felt like I would never use the bathroom again normally when I waddled out of the hospital. I began doing easy 10 minute walks almost right away, as my back and neck were sore from sitting in bed and breastfeeding all day and it was the best remedy. I have not done any more intense physical activity yet, as my doctor recommended that I wait until 6 weeks postpartum to ensure that my abdominal muscles heal back together correctly.
I have lost 20 pounds already, but the reality is that my body shape will never be the same. While my stomach continues to deflate, my breasts are the most noticeable and significant change in my body. I cannot fit into my bras and most of my tops, and I feel as if I am spilling out or over even my new nursing bras. I don’t like having a large chest, and these newfound DD’s are weighing me down in more ways than one! As for my tummy, I bought a cheap postpartum girdle but have barely been wearing it, as I think it is noticeable under everything I wear except sweatpants which I try not to stay in all day. My stomach skin is hard to describe, it’s not loose enough yet where it’s saggy, but its definitely jiggly. I don’t really know what that tightening process looks like yet, but I will definitely share more as I go through it and try out some exercises!
Marina and the Zoli Baby Electric Nail Trimmer
What products are our baby saviors right now?
So many! There are so many products that have made the transition to having Marina so much easier that I am thrilled to share with you. Here goes:
Dockatot: Enough can’t be said about how much Mr. R and I love this. We put it in almost every room we’re in and let Marina sleep or look around, and it allows us the peace of mind that she is safe even if we take our eyes off her to do some work. I even put it in the floor in the bathroom while I shower so that I can keep my eye on her. We are obsessed!
Zoli Baby electric nail file: Everyone told us that trimming baby’s nails was frightening, so thank goodness we had this electric nail file, which Marina seems to love. Marina was born with crazy long nails that cut up her face, so the first thing I did when I got home from the hospital was whip out this file to easily trim and soften the edges. It’s amazing- should be on every new mom’s registry.
The Ollie World Swaddle: Based on anecdotes from my friends, I never really tried to swaddle Marina as I knew she would Houdini herself right out of anything I tried to fold her into. We use the Ollie Swaddle at night which uses heavy duty velcro (it’s a little straight jacket-esque) and turns her into the cutest baby burrito. The first night I wasn’t sure she loved it so much because she wiggled in it non-stop, but now it’s part of our nighttime routine and I think she likes it!
Milky Mama Nursing Cover: Admittedly, I didn’t know how to put this on the car seat at first, but now we don’t go anywhere without it! Especially since Marina hasn’t had most of her vaccinations yet, we try to keep her covered in public to keep her free from germs. You never realize how much people want to look at your baby until you have one so THANK GOODNESS we have one of these!
Magnetic Me Onesies and Gowns: We received a few of these as gifts and I am fairly obsessed with them. The fabric quality is fantastic, and the magnetic closures make for easy (dad-friendly) middle of the night diaper changes. I think Marina really loves her gown and hat set that we put her in to sleep… again just the perfect thing to get her in that nighttime routine!
Como Tomo Bottles: These are the bottles that my friends recommended, and they have been a lifesaver for us because there is no ‘nipple confusion’ as my husband and I switch off feeds. The small bottles come with a slow flow nipple so that Marina doesn’t chug too much milk at once, and the bottles are easy to clean (dishwasher safe!) which is imperative because I feel like we do an insane amount of disinfecting these days!