photos by Kristin Wood Photography
It felt a little surreal celebrating my first Mother’s Day recently. Vivienne is growing so fast that February 24 (the day she was born) feels like ages ago. Our lives are completely different now and every day feels like we’re learning something new from one another. I love that her personality is starting to blossom and she’s becoming more and more alert and aware of her surroundings. She’s also not afraid to let us know what she likes! She’s quick to share if she’s happy or not, which is a doozy sometimes but I can’t blame a girl for being strong-willed.
Since Vivienne turns three months today, I thought it was about time I shared how things are going and what our little girl has been up to. I’m also sharing some newborn essentials that helped us get through the early days when we had very little clue what we were doing.
Is Vivienne sleeping through the night?
This is the first question I get from strangers, family, and friends – and I totally get it. I’m curious too when I chat with new parents (mostly because I want tips if their newborn is sleeping well!).
I would love to share that Vivienne is sleeping through the night and we’re no longer members of #TeamNoSleep but that’s not the case. At most, she’s given us a 5-hour stretch so we’ve really been working on creating a nighttime routine for her. I think a big reason for this is her weight. Babies don’t normally sleep through the night until they weigh about 12 to 13 pounds because they get hungry and wake up to feed. At her last appointment, she was almost 12 lbs. so I’m pretty sure she’s well past that now. For now, we’re trying to catch naps whenever we can and slowly but surely get a routine we’re all happy with.
Was labor what you expected?
I also get this question a lot. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on all the possibilities, even if you don’t think it will happen to you. Things will probably not go according to the idea you had in your mind (just read my birth story here) so you’ve got to mentally, physically and emotionally prepare yourself. It’s good to have an idea of things that could happen and decisions you might be faced with but don’t overwhelm yourself. Educate yourself and move on. Enjoy the final days of just you and your spouse (if this is your first child) and let what will be, be.
How has it been adjusting to your new normal?
Vivienne is our dream come true but that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and flowers 24/7. We have our rough days but it’s true what they say: it’s all worth it, especially when she gives us one of her beautiful, big smiles. The biggest adjustment has been time management for me (and no sleep). I had all the time in the world before baby girl but now I’ve had to become a schedule person. In a way, it’s actually made me better at being on time and getting things done because I’m limited with my personal free time. I’m still working on this though and I’m not quite sure I’ll ever really master it 😉
What’s been the biggest struggle so far?
New “struggles” come up on the weekly whether they’re big or small. Every day is about learning and adapting. But one of the biggest struggles is not feeling guilty when I’m away from her or if I make time to do things for myself. I think this is a lot of mom’s biggest struggle #momguilt. I’m lucky I have a husband who constantly reminds me that this “me time” is necessary and encourages me to get out and do the things that make me happy.
We also always want to do right by her. It’s definitely trial and error trying to figure out what she likes and doesn’t and you want to feel like you’re making good decisions. It’s tough for sure and very challenging.
Another struggle is finding time for just my husband and I. Who knows when our next date night will be but we’re working on carving time and checking in on each other to see how we’re doing.
What’s your favorite part about being a mom?
I can start with the everyday special moments like her falling asleep on me, her big smiles, when she lays her little hand on my chest, the list goes on and on but truly the best part is how quickly she’s changed me and made me want to be the best version of myself for her. Every single thing I do and every decision I make is now connected to what’s best for her well-being and my perspective on life is completely different. Kudos to all the single mamas doing this on their own because it’s not easy.
Now for our newborn favorites! There are products you obviously need (like a car seat, stroller, etc) so I won’t dive into those just yet. This list is a list of little things that made all the difference in Vivienne’s day-to-day and in turn made our lives easier too!
We pretty much all get our best sleep when it’s dark and that includes babies. We have two big windows in our room so we knew blackout curtains were necessary They’ve made a big difference in the mornings and now in the afternoons when it’s still light out and it’s her bedtime.
Like blackout curtains, a sound machine really helps babies sleep better. I don’t know why I resisted using one but I wish I would have started earlier. It helps drown out any noise we make in the living room while she sleeps and now that we’re working on a nighttime routine, it helps her associate us turning the sound machine on with bedtime.
The Boppy is a nursing pillow and essential for every mama. I took mine to the hospital and it made feedings so much easier – especially while recovering. I still use it from time to time and I love that it grows with the baby and can be used for tummy time and to sit them up once they get older.
I wish we used this swaddle from the start. Vivienne DID NOT like being swaddled even after giving it a good try for like a month. This swaddle keeps baby’s arms up over their head when they sleep instead of by their side or on their belly. Her sleep changed drastically (for the better) when we switched her over to this swaddle and helped keep her snug and comfy.
This is another “toy” I wish we registered for or bought ourselves from the beginning. Vivienne loved her Rock ‘n’ Play until it was recalled earlier this year so it left a void in a swing-type soothing device. My sister and brother-in-law were kind enough to give us theirs and Vivienne really loves it! We have an older model but I believe the newer ones have Bluetooth and 5 different motions and speeds. This is great because all babies are different and take to different motions. With the Mamaroo you can really customize to your baby’s likes and it makes all the difference.
I bought Vivienne a pack of MAM pacifiers on a whim and she really took to them. If you’re breastfeeding, these work really well because the nipple is meant to feel like the mother’s breast. Highly recommend along with their bottles.
We were gifted this cushion for bath time and it’s been great. It’s soft and snug for Vivienne and it fits in our bathroom sink perfectly.
Without a mini portable heater, bath time would be a disaster for us. Vivienne HATES being cold so this is a must. We place it on our counter when we give her a bath and it keeps the bathroom nice and cozy for her. I wouldn’t recommend this particular one for heating up an entire room (because it won’t) but for bathtime, it works great.
We used the shusher SO MUCH during the early days. It’s basically a human voice “shushing” for 15 or 30 minutes – depending on the timer you choose. Sounds creepy but it worked to calm Vivienne down and we didn’t have to do the shushing ourselves which was great! My only gripe is that it shuts off after the timer you set which sometimes would wake her. We had to keep an eye on the clock to go back in and re-set before it went off so this wouldn’t happen.
This is a soft flexible silicone brush that you use to apply diaper rash cream on your baby’s bum. Sounds like an “extra” that’s not really necessary but let me tell you, it’s awesome! No diaper cream on your fingers (or under your nails) and it gets the job done quickly when you’re trying to change a diaper in the middle of the night.
I know lots of people are on the fence about getting a diaper pail and honestly, just get one! No need to stink up the place with all the poopy diapers you’ll be changing. They really work (at least I know for a fact the Ubbi does) and it makes all the difference.
I think this is another newborn essential some parents skip but for us, it’s been a must! Even now that she’s sleeping in her crib (but still in our bedroom) I use our monitor to quickly glance at her if she makes a crazy noise. I know for some parents this would drive them nuts but I wouldn’t be able to have peace of mind without one.
Thanks for reading today’s post and continuing to share in our journey as new parents. I’ve loved documenting all our milestones and now that Vivienne is here, it’s been great to go back and read my previous posts when we were expecting.
See you in my next one! Make sure you leave any comments or questions below!