19 In motherhood

The First Month of Motherhood

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First outing with Jack—shopping, of course! (Anthropologie hat / J.Crew jacket)

I honestly cannot believe a month has already gone by. Where does the time go? My pregnancy felt painstakingly long, but now that I’m in the motherhood game, the days feel shorter than ever! It’s so cliche, but I find myself wishing I could stop time and keep my little guy a newborn forever. With a full month of mama life under my belt, I figured it would be fun to do some reflection on how life has changed, as well as some of the joys and challenges that come with the territory.

BIGGEST CHANGES

Sleep // The most obvious change, of course, is my sleep patterns. Jack started in a good routine of eating around 9:30pm, then sleeping until 1 or 2am when I feed him, and then again until 5 or 6am when I would just wake up. It was great to get those nice night stretches from the start! Around 3 weeks old, he started waking up every 3 hours, which is a bit of a bummer, but thankfully right when babies get into a routine that you are used to, they change it. So I know that won’t last forever!

Eating Habits // While pregnant, I hated all healthy food and nothing ever really tasted that good (except for ice cream!). Now, I’m back to my old eating habits and enjoying lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as strong black coffee :) Also, weirdly, I have no desire to eat ice cream anymore, which I consider both a good thing and a sad thing.

My Body Image // I was SO WORRIED about how my body would be postpartum, and now I just feel silly for caring so much. First of all, I’m so distracted (in a good way) by Jack, that I hardly even look in the mirror and really couldn’t care less about what I look like. Secondly, the postpartum body—or mine, I suppose—isn’t anything like I thought it would be. Yes, my belly is softer than before, and of course I still have some extra weight from my pregnancy, but I can confidently say that I’ve experienced higher self-esteem and a better body image in this first postpartum month than I have in the past 10 years. (I’m sure I’ll write more on this in the future.)

JOYS

Nursing // Nothing shocks me more than telling you that I truly enjoy feeding Jack. I thought I would hate it immensely, but it’s proven to be such a sweet time of bonding and snuggling that I love! Plus, it feels great to meet such a basic need of Jack’s (and to have at least 20 minutes of guaranteed peace and quiet while doing so, haha).

Feeling of Purpose // While I’ve always had a sense of purpose in my day through my work, this has given me purpose in an entirely new way. I actually delight in the responsibility of caring for this little human, and love waking up each day with a clear mission: feed him, change him, snuggle him, love him. It’s wonderful.

Babywearing // Both Solly Baby and Happy Baby sent me wraps to try when Jack arrived and I’ve been using them nonstop. It’s so nice having him wrapped up close to my body so much during the day—in fact, that’s exactly where he is as I’m writing this post!—and it’s amazing how content he is to sleep in the wrap. Of course, I also love being able to write, eat, and get things done around the house with two hands free. Baby wrap = life changing.

Getting to Know Jack // Yes, he’s still a super small baby, but I swear each day I learn a bit more about who he is. I love the way he stretches before we change his diaper, the “milk smile” he gets when he’s done eating, and that adoring look he has in his eye when he’s staring me in the face. He seems very mellow and easy going like his dad, and I really hope that doesn’t change! I can pretty much guarantee Brian was an easier child to raise than I was, haha.

CHALLENGES

Less Time with Brian // I knew the first few months would be an adjustment period, but it definitely makes me sad that Brian and I have less time together than we did before Jack. I know that will change down the line as Jack gets into more of a schedule and we can enjoy both more sleep and more evening time together, but for now this is definitely a challenge.

Physical Recovery // My life this first month has been shockingly even more sedentary than my pregnancy. After pushing myself a bit too hard during the first two weeks postpartum, my doctor basically ordered me to sit on the couch for the rest of the month. I’m only allowed to take the stairs in my house twice a day, and walks and errands are off limits. I was super disappointed that life needed to be on hold for even longer, but it’s also been nice to be home and totally focused on Jack for the first month of his life. That being said, I’m ready to get out and move around!

Living Life in 2 Hour Increments // Though Jack sleeps well at night, he eats every one and a half to two hours during the day. I’ve never been so aware of the time on the clock! While it’s not that big of a burden while I’m stuck at home recovering, I can see how timing my outings will be a bit of a challenge once I get out of the house. My goal is to learn how to nurse in the baby wrap, but at the very least, I for sure will always have a nursing poncho on hand to keep this kid well-fed while we’re out.

Pumping // We started introducing a bottle to Jack recently so he’ll be used to it when, down the road, his grandparents watch him or he has a sitter. As a result, I obviously have had to start pumping to store up milk in the freezer, and let me just say—I hate it. There is nothing more awkward nor inconvenient than extracting milk from your own body. I’m thankful to have a really good pump, but really dread the 15-20 minutes I spent each day attached to it.

Mamas: what were your surprises, joys and challenges when you first became a mom? Non-mamas: what do you think you’ll love and what do you think will be challenging if/when you have babies in your life?

19 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan Horne
    October 24, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Great post … and, yes, I’m sure Brian was more easy going than you as a child (HA!) but I loved every minute of my life as a mother watching you grow up. And now it’s so heartwarming to see you as a mom caring so much for my “little prince”.

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      October 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks Mom! I imagine I was quite the strong-willed child :)

  • Reply
    Madison
    October 24, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Love this post! It’s so interesting to hear the good and bad of the first month of motherhood or the first few months, since usually moms seem to only talk about the things they love. I’m so happy you’re adjusting well to your new routine and life as a mom. I have absolutely no idea what I’ll love vs. dislike, but I have a feeling when I go back to work that pumping will be high on the list of things I don’t really care for!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      October 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Haha, yes, pumping is so odd and awkward. I don’t think anyone enjoys doing it—though having milk to use for bottles is pretty amazing, so it’s worth the time and effort for sure! Can’t wait to hear your motherhood reflections once baby H enters the world. Despite those challenges I shared, it truly is so much fun being a mom! You’re going to be great at it :)

  • Reply
    AshleyL
    October 24, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I totally agree with you about nursing I love it. I didn’t at first though. I hate that she was so tied to me and it hurt. But now I love that we have this little quiet snuggle time built into every day. I have also been shocked at how much I worry about her. Someone once told me that having a child was like having your heart walk around outside your body and it’s true. I’ve never been a worrier but I think about her constantly. I also love watching her sleep. My mom always loved to watch us sleep and I never understood it until now. Enjoy the first few months of cuddling and constant sleeping!
    Ps I hate pumping too it’s the worst!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      October 24, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Yes! Nursing is totally like bonus snuggle time. I love it. I definitely see how worrying is easy to do as a mom, as well. For the first two weeks, I was obsessed with watching him sleep to make sure he was breathing!

  • Reply
    Jessaca
    October 24, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Wonderful post. I really struggled feeling confident and making good decisions that weren’t made in a panic for sleep. I had bad postpartum that I didn’t realize until much after the fact and didn’t treat until my son was 2. I think that was the most challenging thing: feeling so inundated with advice and who’s advice to take. Finally I stopped listening and reading the baby/toddler books and have become a much more confident parent. I think the joy is all those snuggles and knowing that this is what I want to do with my time. Babies are extremely hard, especially when you’re only on a 6 week maternity leave. When I talk to new moms, they’re always surprised how not rainbows and flowers it really is. I tell them: this is your new hobby now. Some parts are dreadful, but at the end of the day, you LOVE it and you can’t imagine your life any differently. I’m 36 weeks today with my second and I’ve really had to prepare myself this time…maybe too much so…for everything I didn’t feel confident about the first time, nursing and pumping being one of them and how it impacted my marriage (didn’t give ourselves the time we needed and put priority on it). I saw where I went wrong and I putting plans in place so I don’t feel so much like a failure/overwhelmed/depressed this time around. Please take every day to enjoy and embrace motherhood. Don’t hide your struggles. Listen to your body…especially for breastfeeding. You need to eat way more than you think you do and you need to drink the same amount of water as you did when you were pregnant. I wish you the sweetest, happiest, most wonderful year+ with your baby.

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      October 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      I bet your experience with baby number two will be so different than the first time around since you’ve had time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Excited to hear how it goes for you!

  • Reply
    Steph Sack
    October 24, 2014 at 11:29 am

    LOVE THIS!! Thanks for sharing!!!! So excited for you:)

  • Reply
    Bethany
    October 24, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I was surprised by my oily skin all of a sudden becoming dry skin!! So flaky! It’s actually terrible and itchy. I think it’s a combo of hormone changes and weather. eck.

    I agree, nursing is way sweeter than I expected. So thankful for a great way to unwind and reconnect with baby after a day at work. :)

  • Reply
    Ashey
    October 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    What a lovely post. I love how honest and realistic it is. Love your blog and your positive attitude! xoxo

  • Reply
    SCM (SocialCafe Magazine)
    October 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I hate pumping lol avoiding it at all costs :) but in reality with 6 month old I just have to have some back up for unexpected days.

    For me this second time around has been much easier even though it’s 9 years between my two, but this time my hormones did a number on my hair. It’s falling so much I don’t know what to do with it.

  • Reply
    Marie-Sophie
    October 25, 2014 at 2:02 am

    I am 40 weeks pregnant as of today (and the little lady does not seem to plan to make her appearance today ;-)) – and, to be honest, I really haven’t thought too much about what I will like and what I won’t like once she’s here. Yes, I worry a little bit about the “less sleep” bit (I usually don’t function well on little sleep and get severe headaches and migraines if I can’t catch up). And in some moments I am overwhelmed by the responsibility that I will have for the rest of my life (because I know that I still need my mom … only in other ways now). But generally I am honestly just looking forward to everything. And yes, I might be “blocking out” a few things. like the birthing process ;-) (but last night I actually worried that my body might not know how to have contractions on its own since I haven’t really felt any during pregnancy … partly because I had a LOT of growing pains nonstop). Oh well …

  • Reply
    Susy
    October 28, 2014 at 2:18 am

    My baby boy is approaching 8 months and yes, the first weeks were a wonderful, special time which went so quickly – but there are also new discoveries and new adventures to look forward to each day! This poem just about sums it up for me:

    “My baby boy and me”
    It’s three am, they’re all asleep, and no one is here to see.
    As we rock slowly back and forth, my baby boy and me.
    His little hand is feather light tucked up against my chin.
    I hold his tiny hand in mine, and stroke his baby skin.
    The house about us creaks and groans, the clock hands creep around.
    He snuggles closer to me still, and makes his baby sounds.
    I love these quiet hours so much, and cherish every one.
    Store memories up inside my heart for lonely nights to come.
    All too soon he’ll be grown up, his need for Mama gone.
    But until then I still have time for kisses and for song.
    Time for quiet hours like this with him cuddled in my arms.
    Where I wish he’d always stay protected, safe and warm.
    And yet I know the day will come when his tiny little hand,
    will be bigger than my own. He’ll grow to be a man.
    But until then he’s mine to love with no one here to see.
    As we rock slowly back and forth, my baby boy and me.
    Author: Unknown

  • Reply
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet
    October 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I am only a week and a half in but can completely relate to this post! Especially (surprisingly) the part about not worrying about my body. Also, with a c-section I can’t drive so can sympathize with being home for a few weeks. At least it’s nice to have an excuse to just “be” with the new baby!

  • Reply
    Katie McC
    October 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I love hearing your view on mommy-hood so far! The body image definitely hits home! I am not even married, but I know it’s right around the corner and with that comes babies. I think what really triggered these fears of “ruining my body” is because we have a foster baby living with my family ( I still live at home with my parents and sister) and I have been imagining what it would be like to physically have and care for a baby. I let fear creep in- not good- and I’m not even close to having a baby! It’s great to hear your positive thinking on your self-esteem! Our foster baby is 14 months old and we got her when she was just 4 months and only weighed 9 pounds, so she was basically newborn size. My mom cares for her but we’ve been able to watch her grow from infant to almost a toddler and it’s so fun! Lots of work but her cuteness deff outweighs all. She is starting to talk and it’s adorable and shes been walking for almost 4 months. We can take her to the playground and she loves being outside! I remember her sleeping so much in the beginning and now, she won’t stop. It’s hard to even remember her that little. Her laugh is probably the cutest thing ever too! I can’t wait to hear more about Jack and what it’s like to raise a little one. You are a great mom! And those wraps, I will totally be using those when I have kids!

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