In this post I’m sharing the top 15 lessons I’ve leaned as a first time mom and a two month baby and postpartum update.
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I gave birth to my first baby, Allison, just seven weeks ago at our quick and natural home birth. (Read the full story here!)
I am someone who does lots of research before doing new things. So, I have read many books on pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn babies. Hey, I wanted to be prepared. I can “swing it” when it comes to a vacation or day adventure, but not so much motherhood and parenthood.
But even with all the books I read and people I talked to, there were still some things that caught me off guard.
So during the last 7 weeks, every time I had an “aha” moment, I wrote it down in the notes app of my phone to share in a blog post and video.
This is just scratching the surface of knowledge you’ll need as a first time mom. I wrote more about how to prepare for natural pregnancy and birth in these posts:
#1 – Bring on the Towels
If this is your first baby you may not know that you and the baby will both be super leaky right after birth.
Babies are kind of like water bottles, you fill them up with milk and if you tip them over too quickly they spit up. They also soak through diapers, or maybe just pee right as you are changing their diaper.
Plus, right after you give birth, you will be leaky from various places at night (sorry, TMI).
So load up towels. Small hand towels are the best. Keep them by the bed, downstairs in the kitchen, just go ahead and put a couple in every room. Trust me, you won’t regret it 🙂
You can also get these large washable pads. We use these in our bed, for changing her, for play time, for everything and they are amazing.
#2 – Breastfeeding takes practice on both sides
I knew that I would want to breastfeed right away after birth, and that’s exactly what we did. It was amazing! But then.. ouch! I didn’t realize that breastfeeding was going to hurt so bad. Why does it hurt? Because the baby (and you) aren’t used to it yet.
Lock down a good midwife as soon as you’re pregnant, because she’ll help you get a good latch after birth. Once the baby knows how to latch and you get used to feeding, it’s smooth sailing. But don’t expect it to happen right away! It took us a few weeks to feel like it was “easy”. Now I just whip it out and all is well 🙂
#3 – After breastfeeding… there’s more?
Yes! Now you have to burp the baby. You may have heard of this before or maybe you babysit and know the deal with burping. You’re a lucky one then.
Once you finish feeding then you have another job and that is to get them to burp. It can take anywhere from 1 minute to 10, and even then, it may not be enough.
So just be OK with some spit up, lots of bouncing, holding, etc. Fun stuff right? 🙂
#4 – But I used to be so fast!
Okay, for all my type A personalities out there. Having a baby will make you slow way down. And this is a good thing!
Whether you’re breast feeding, holding, burping, or just snuggling, just know that you are doing exactly what you need to be doing. You can’t rush a baby. They are your new boss (and a cute one at that!)
So don’t sweat the small stuff. Slow down and enjoy those baby cuddles 🙂
#5 – Do you want to eat?
This is a really important one.
Have someone cook and clean for you for at least 2 weeks. This is absolutely necessary! You will have a lot of recovery after birth and between that and the newborn, you’ll need help.
One time my confidence/ego got the best of me, and i told John to just go ahead and go to the grocery store in the morning and I’ll take care of breakfast. Well, i ate at noon that day. So just make some food ahead of time or at least have family/friends come help you. Assume those first couple weeks that you basically can’t do anything. Recovering is most important!
#6 – Buy lots of pads… lots
This is a postpartum tip but make sure to purchase more pads than you think. Even if you have minimal damage after birth, you’ll go through them quickly and for several weeks. I had to reorder pads at least 5 times, and even called my mom up one day to buy some that day.
Just… buy the pads.
#7 – Have two sets of diaper gear
Set up a “to go” set of diapers and an “at home” set of diapers.
We are cloth diapering and this is something I wish I would have done when pregnant. Get your diaper bag packed with everything you need for a day of diapering. Then have your regular set of diapers at home. This way if you have to leave the house you don’t have to pack, unpack, repack, etc.
#8 – Keep up the Pregnancy Diet
I was really strict about my diet during pregnancy. Lots of water, protein, teas, fermented foods, pure food, bone broth, etc.
Keep this up after your birth! Your body is still working hard to recover from birth, plus breastfeed. So load up on the good foods and keep it up.
#9 – Load up.. for lots of loads!
Whether you make or buy your laundry detergent, load up on it now!
I used to do about 1 load of laundry per day for just my husband and myself.
Now I do 2-4 loads per day. Part of this is we are cloth diapering, but again like I said in #1, it’s the towels. We also bought these amazing washable pads that we use for sleeping and for changing.
The day I gave birth I had planned to make more laundry, but obviously that didn’t happen. Big mistake.
So make enough detergent to last you.. as long as possible 🙂
#10 – Never set a newborn down on…
This one makes me laugh because my husband and I learned this lesson several times until we finally figured it out.
Just don’t set a newborn down on anything that can’t get wet.
That goes back to my previous points on towels, washable pads, etc. Newborns are leaky!
#11 – Those first 2 weeks
I talked about this one a little bit above but for those first 2 weeks, make sure you have someone to cook and clean for you. Assume you won’t be able to do much of anything during that time.
You might feel like you can get back to laundry, cooking, etc., but it’s really important to let your body heal as naturally as possible. Give yourself so much time!
#12 – Sitting versus being active
Again, type A personality here, so I totally get it.
But learn to love sitting with your baby. You’ll be sitting for nursing, snuggling, holding, basically everything.
So listen to your podcasts, or get a book on audible, and get used to it!
#13 – Worry about cleanliness
I’ve learned to stop worrying about certain things. For example if Allison spits up, I used to think I had to clean her and wash her outfit right away. But now I just wipe it and let it happen a couple more times before actually changing her outfit. That goes for you and your clothes too. Trust me, you and the baby will be fine!
#14 – Wear a wrap (but buy 2)
A wrap is the best way to use your hands with your baby. It’s not exactly the same as being baby-free, but it’s your closest option.
Babies just don’t like to be put down.
#15 – Coconut oil solves everything
Coconut oil might just become your best friend.
I use organic fractionated coconut oil on Allison for dry skin, flakey skin, after a bath, or during a diaper change to prevent a diaper rash.
I haven’t used a single commercial product on Allison yet which i’m proud of! I even made homemade diaper cream but I’ve used it maybe one time. Because coconut oil solves everything!
2 Month baby + Postpartum Update
I can’t believe it’s already been 7 weeks since our birth! They say, “the days are slow but the years are fast” and I’m feeling the weight of that statement now.
In terms of postpartum, I’d say everything has gone basically how I expected it. There was only one day I had where I felt like “I can’t do this” and it was only for a few minutes and then it went away.
Here’s what I’ve learned about babies from the newborn stage up until 7 weeks:
Our Daily routine
As a newborn, our routine was feed, change, sleep, about every 1 to 2 hours. This lasted a couple of weeks and then the time started stretching out.
Now at seven weeks, we got into a routine like this:
Wake up, do several feeds and some play time until about 11am. In that time, John goes for a run and cooks breakfast.
At 11am when she falls asleep, we put her in the wrap and my husband takes her. So I have 1-2 hours to do my own workout (more on that below), clean the kitchen, do chores, shower etc.
Then we repeat that in the afternoon, and again in the early evening.
Now currently I’m writing this post with Allison in my wrap because John went to the grocery store. So sometimes this is different. But I’m really happy John can put her in the wrap too, so that gives me a couple hours to do other stuff.
Not so much, LOL. One time I read on the internet that you should create a sleep schedule for your baby. I do not understand this at all.
Our schedule is feed whenever she’s hungry, and let her sleep when she wants to sleep.
And she is definitely starting to understand the daily schedule. She sleeps lightly during the day and then a heavier sleep at night. So I can’t really complain!
Also now at 7 weeks, she has slept a full 6 hours stretch (twice actually!). But this doesn’t happen every night. It helps to have a really active day so she’s nice and tired 🙂
I am doing exclusive breastfeeding and on demand. For whatever reason, everyone I talked to said that pumping was a great idea so that John could bottle feed her and I could get a break.
But I love breastfeeding! And that’s not a problem for me. Like I said, if John can hold her in the wrap for 2 hours while she sleeps, I’m still getting time to myself. This is successful for us partly because we both are on parental leave right now. But even when we go back to work, we are lucky to work from home. So obviously, if I had to leave the house for work, then pumping would be a great idea.
We saw a pediatrician and a naturopath and interviewed both.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while you know that I’m very natural minded. I set out to approach all things pregnancy, birth, and parenthood in the most natural way.
We luckily found a naturopath that is covered as a primary care in our state. So it’s covered by insurance.
A naturopath will help cure the root cause of a health issue instead of just prescribing something, so that’s why we went with an ND. Also we can call her at anytime for advice, as opposed to scheduling an appointment an MD. So I’m very happy with this!
My Postpartum Recovery
Now that I’m at week 7, I’m basically 100% back to normal. In fact, I was basically there at 6 weeks.
It’s amazing how that healing worked. Because at 4 and 5 weeks, I really was worried that my recovery wasn’t going well. It just takes a long time (I did have a tear after birth) so patience is really important. Up until week 5 I basically didn’t feel like I was healing at all (even though I was).
I started working out again around 5 or 6 weeks, and I took it really slow at first. I’m glad I did, because now I’m back to full speed and it feels amazing!
This was a big blog post.. let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Is this how your postpartum recovery went? How was your baby doing at 2 months?
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