how we survived our first month with a newborn + toddler.

IMG_6298.JPG

Well hello, friends! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a post, but as I’m sure you can guess (or know), it’s because we had a baby! On September 15th at 12:57am, we welcomed our sweet Joey Rae to the world and life has forever changed for the better. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was planning to be induced, but when I couldn’t into into the hospital due to overflow of patients, she decided to make her appearance on her own, and boy was it a fast one! I will write up an entire birth story post soon, but until then, I wanted to share how we are adjusting to our new life as four.

THE ADJUSTMENT

I’m an only child, so for me I was most excited about the fact that Tayler would be getting a sibling - a sister to be in fact and I couldn’t wait to see her reaction. When she first came to the hospital to see us and meet Joey, her reaction was less than thrilled. She didn’t know what to think honestly. She is three and is very wise for her age (of course every parent thinks that), so I made sure to communicate to her that a baby was in my belly and she would be a big sister from the very beginning. While she comprehended that part of it, she didn’t realize how much attention would be taken away from her and that was really tough. Honestly, the first month of Joey being here was a lot harder on Tayler than anyone else. She was extra fussy, needy and emotional. She didn’t act out on Joey thankfully, but she did long for our attention in a way that I had never seen before (she is typically a very independent child). If Wes took her to school, she would cry for me to take her. And not in a whiny toddler way, but in a sobbing, can’t live without you kind of way which absolutely broke my heart. Then there was the bedtime debacle … She would scream “Lay with me Mommy”, “Don’t leave my Daddy”, “I want you to tuck me in!” (when one of us was feeding the baby and couldn’t do it), we couldn’t seem to please her.

But everyday it got a bit easier and she started to understand that we needed to divide our time between her and Joey. I think the biggest turning point was when she realized that being a big sister meant she got to help out. So we let her put in Joey’s pacifier when she cried, or grab me a diaper when I was changing her. Things that like really made her feel proud and like she was a big part of our new family dynamic. As for Joey, she has been the best baby I could ever ask for (I’m pretty sure I just jinxed myself saying that). She has the sweetest temperament and literally only cries if she is hungry. Otherwise, she is content to just lay on you (her favorite is on daddy’s chest) and chill. She is also a great sleeper and eater which we are extremely grateful for.

BEING PREPARED + ASKING FOR HELP

I’ll be honest, as I’m writing this it’s been 6 weeks since Joey came into this world and it’s been a bit of a blur. But I will say, the second baby is SO MUCH EASIER! You know what to expect and a lot of the anxiety you have about bringing home a newborn goes out the window. We had all the right supplies, like sleeping methods, bottles, formula just in case, newborn jammies and anything else we realized we needed with Tayler when it was too late. As for the lack of sleep, that actually wasn’t as rough as I thought it would be and for the record, I was a million times more tired when I was pregnant, taking care of Tayler than I am right now. From the day we brought her home from the hospital, she has pretty much only woken up once in the night to eat. This meant I would get up around 1 or 2 to nurse her, and then Wes would do the 5 or 6am feeding. I was pumping and we were giving her formula to help supplement my low supply so it was nice that we could share the responsbility. This was a game changer as it meant I got to sleep in a bit in the mornings on the days that Wes was taking Tayler to school and Joey would go back to sleep until about 8 or 9am. We also had help from my Mom who stayed with us the first few weeks after she was born, along with my Dad who came to visit for a week from from the East Coast. This was a HUGE help as they helped look after Tayler or made meals so I could get some extra rest. That being said, if you are a new Mom or expecting another baby, ask for help! I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband and parents.

RECOVERY + GETTING OUT

The recovery was similar to my first, but the cramping and pain was a lot worse this time around (they say with every baby, the pain gets worse as your uterus shrinks back to size). Breast feeding was just as terrible as I remember the first time. While my supply was a lot better than it was with Tayler (this had a lot to do with me pumping from day 1), it still hurt like hell. Pumping was super painful also, but the more I did it, the less it hurt and I knew that would be my primary method of feeding so that Wes could be involved, too. And because my body had done this before, I was out and about after a week of having her. We celebrated a friends bday by going to dinner and I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to put on jeans for the first time and actually get dressed up.

Joey also went on her first outing to a restaurant and walk along the beach after just a week with some family that was visiting. My biggest advice for new Mom’s who are anxious about getting out is just do it! The more you do it, the more you’ll continue to do it, because if you don’t, you will set yourself up to never want to go anywhere. You have to learn how to cope with a crying baby and either be comfortable breast feeding in public (something I was no longer ashamed of) or bringing bottles. This is also a way for baby to get accustomed to being in the car seat for long periods of time and in my experience, that is when mine slept the longest! They love being cozy and warm in there and the motion of the car always put them to sleep (it still does with Tayler and she is 3)!

All in all, the adjustment from 3 to 4 really hasn’t been much different. Sure, there are times when I can’t do a lot of my self-care that I was doing during the day, like go get an eyebrow wax or even make a dentist appointment, but I make adjustments and luckily, Wes has a flexible schedule that can allow me those luxuries with a little bit of planning. We are also home a lot more, because going out to dinner requires a little more planning and a lot more shit to bring! But, that hasn’t stopped us from already taking two weekends away and both the girls did amazing. Right now, I’m just relishing in all the baby snuggles because I know they won’t last forever. And this time around, I’m really trying to stay present and not set too many unrealistic expectations. It can be a shock when you realize you have to slow down and do less than you did before, but I know it’s just a season of life and right now, I’m embracing the change because damn, it goes by fast!

Stay tuned for more Joey updates coming soon! I’ll be sharing her 6 month schedule (and how we already experienced our first 9 hour sleep stretch) as well as newborn baby essentials (all the tools we use and love for a happy baby (and mama).