A one-month update on Fox seems kind of silly. He's been on this planet a little over 4 weeks, guys — he really can't do much of anything. He doesn't have "favorite" things or any milestones besides finally opening his eyes. He poops, cries, sleeps, or makes a face that looks like he's smiling when he's really pooping. He's great a peeing all over the wall next to his changing table. His eyes look blue but probably won't stay that way.
But, here's the thing: we're effing obsessed with him. Tyler and I literally just stare at this little dude like he's the most entertaining thing we've ever seen. And well, he is. He's beautiful and adorable and interesting and he looks different every day. We love every silly noise and every facial expression. We gush over his arm movements and say ridiculous things like "You are the coolest dude on the planet" and "You are so effing cute I can't even stand it." We are full throttle parenting nerds. And yeah, we get it now — we get why other parents are this way, too.
This post contains affiliate links. The views expressed are my own and do not cost my readers anything. I will receive a small percentage off of purchases you make from these links — thanks for helping to support our family!
Here are the things that I want to (or will) remember from this month:
- Listening to Tyler sing a made-up "baby burrito" song to Fox as he swaddled him
- Changing four diapers in under 5 minutes while trying to leave the house to make an appointment because of one explosive poop after another. This is Fox's current record, which I hope he never beats
- The bath Tyler poured for me when Fox was six days old and I finally got him to latch correctly and feed without a fight and without a nipple shield. He lit tea lights all around the bathtub and put my favorite bubble bath in to celebrate this huge victory after so many days of struggling to breast feed
- My mom singing him song after song after song and finally realizing all the songs she sang to me and how much she loved me and how overwhelming that feeling of love is. And also subsequently feeling bad for ever being a dick to her
- Watching Tyler's mom hold and meet Fox for the first time and calling her "granny," the name we use for her mother and watching those names being passed down
- Listening to Tyler rave about watching me give birth and how impressed he was with me — this made me feel so proud and natural and feminine and womanly
- Calling Fox "squirm," our current nickname for him because of his silly karate/punching arm and leg movements
- The look Tyler and I gave each other the first time Fox latched correctly without any fight — instant pride and excitement
- Watching Fox relax in the bath and watching his cute little face look around while he cleaned him (and also rushing from the bedroom to the bathroom with him diaperless and hoping not to get pooped on)
- Crying in the hospital alone with Fox, who was also crying, because he wouldn't latch on my breast and the nurses coming into console both of us
- The absolutely amazing nurses and midwives at San Bortolo. I loved listening to them console him in Italian and all the beautiful nicknames they used for him
- The feeling I felt the first time I thought something was wrong with Fox and how absolutely horrified and terrible I felt and how much my stomach just sank. And then thinking about all the times my mother and father probably felt like that and all the other mothers and fathers out there who have felt that feeling so many times. And that leading to thinking about people I know who have lost children and how I can't imagine that incredibly awful ache that I'm sure never, ever goes away
This month has been the fastest marathon ever. As people say, the days are long and the years are short. It is absolutely the longest, shortest time. We've struggled a lot — with breastfeeding, with figuring out why he's crying, with figuring out how to leave the house (holy shit it's hard), with not being nice to each other. Tyler and I have a pact that only one of us can lose it at a time, and we also regularly check in with each other to make sure that we're practicing self-care, because I firmly believe that we cannot give ourselves to this baby if we are not taking care of ourselves. We regularly look at each other and say things like "I've got this, go take a nap," or "You need to take a break. I'll run you a bath." I'm really glad we've figured this out early because it's easy to get burned out and sometimes you need someone to take care of you, especially when you're taking care of someone else so thoroughly.
It's been a beautiful and ugly month. My hormones were insane in the first few weeks. I cried so, so much, often without knowing why. I bled. I leaked. I felt like my body was drained of energy and nutrients and that I was literally giving everything I could to this baby. It's been hard, but it's also so amazing to see how you just push through it and do what you have to do and how dedicated you are because you just love this human so much it's scary and everything else is just second nature and you don't even think about how much you are giving. It's just instinctual.
I've learned why every mother I know is always perpetually late to everything and felt bad for ever being frustrated with them. I've figured out why people love babies so much after having one and now know how you can be so obsessed with a human — a feeling that has always been so foreign to me. I smelled that "new baby" smell and got drunk off of it.
I didn't really prepare for motherhood in many ways, and this was totally fine. I didn't read the books. I didn't search on the internet. And you don't have to prepare yourself either, and hopefully your instincts and natural ways will just take over and your body will just lead you in a flow state through all these experiences. And when they don't, there are lactation consultants and grandmothers and doctors and midwives and doulas and friends who are parents and people to tell you "You're not awful, this is normal." And you will question them and yourself but you will just push forward and do everything the best way you know how.
But also there is buying stuff for the baby, which can feed your nesting instincts. And for that, I give you this list of the items that have made our lives easier this first month. Do you have to buy anything? No. Your baby needs something to poop in, something to keep him warm and food. But buying stuff gives you a false sense that you're prepared for this, so it'll make you feel better. So here we go:
- Velcro swaddles: Hands down my favorite baby item, which I'm so glad I put on my registry (thanks, cousin Julia!). I love the muslin swaddles still, because they're great for so many different purposes, but in the middle of the night, the velcro ones are perfect when you're a zombie. Fox sleeps in them every night, and it's part of our bedtime routine, and he sleeps ~so well~ in them. They're also great because it keeps his little scratchy hands from clawing my boob while we're breastfeeding at night — a win in my book.
- Footed pajamas with mittens and zippers: Here was my grave, first-time mom mistake — wasting any money on adorable pajamas with 18 effing snaps up the back. Why do these exist, people? Zippered pjs are where it's at — we have six pairs that we use in heavy rotation and cry when they're all dirty. They're amazing for diaper changes. Fox essentially lives in these are home, and when we're feeling lazy, yeah, he leaves the house in them — who cares, he's a baby. The mittens also keep his little talons off his own face and my boobs. Carter's makes a great set, but my favorites are from Cloud Island because they zip from the foot up, meaning you only have to half-undress your baby for diaper changes at 4 a.m.
- Boppy nursing pillow: We didn't buy a glider or rocking chair because we'll be moving so soon, so the Boppy was great because it helped me breast comfortably anywhere in our house. Fox also likes to be held all the time, and when I'm not wearing him (mostly because he runs so hot and makes me sweat), I will just sit the Boppy on my lap and lay him on it in front of me. This is often how we eat dinner — in peace!
- Auto Rock-N-Play: We joke about how this is Fox's robot mom. It's a little bed that literally rocks him by itself. It also plays music and all that, but we don't use that feature much. It's great for when we need to set him down to do human things like shower or go to the bathroom or write blog posts on the internet. I know a lot of people who actually use it as their newborn's bed if they're short on space. Make sure you get the auto rocking feature!
- A baby carrying wrap: The first few days home with Fox were kind of rough because I felt like he always wanted to be held and I needed to have the use of both my hands, for human reasons like making dinner, or putting on make-up. A friend casually told me how the only way her daughter would sleep was in her Moby carrying wrap, and this basically saved my life (thanks, Emma!). I had been ~super~ intimidated by the Moby wrap up until then, and was too scared to practice putting Fox in it — but like, I had nothing but free time now. So after plenty of YouTube tutorial videos and a lot of trial and error, I got Fox in the Moby wrap successfully and my new, two-handed life was reborn. It was also way easier than I thought it would be. I'm also really in love with my ring sling (I have a gorgeous Wild Bird wrap that Theresa bought me, with the ultra millennial rose gold ring) and just recently starting using it — I really like it because it's easy to nurse Fox in it in its regular position, while I have to move him to a nursing position in the Moby (and haven't been brave enough to try it yet). If you want to save a parent's life, a baby-wearing wrap is a fantastic gift, and I love both the styles I have.
- A really good water bottle: Listen, I have said this before — when you get pregnant, you are thirsty all the time. And breastfeeding isn't any different. And once you become a mom, whether you're nursing or not, you better say hello to that one-handed life. I bought this Contigo water bottle on a whim and I'm in love with it. I can drink from it one-handed, which is ideal. It has a clip so I can hook it onto my diaper bag, which is fantastic. And it's easy to clean, which is something that is really hard to find in water bottles, weirdly. I loved it so much I bought a second one that's stainless steel that I can't wait to get in the mail! If you have a new pregnant person in your life, this is a fantastic gift because they will use if their entire pregnancy and even after.
- My Fawn Design diaper bag: This was my most splurgiest purchase out of all our baby items. I had registered for a few other diaper bags, because I thought it was too ridiculous to ask for a $160 diaper bag, but the Fawn Design's Black Friday sale rolled around and I bought it for myself on a whim and as a Christmas gift and honestly, I'm so happy. The Fawn bags can be worn as a backpack or a crossbody bag and they're so cute — I would use it even if I didn't have a baby. It's so easy to get stuff in and out of and has a million pockets. The only drawbacks, to me, are there is no handle on top, and it's vegan leather, which doesn't wear nicely (forgive me, I live in Italy, the land of inexpensive leather bags). I'm so glad I broke down and bought this bag and I haven't regretted it one day since.
- A traveling white noise machine: We didn't register for this, but one of my ~pro mom friends~ (hi, Victoria!) bought this cute owl white noise machine for us and it's been a lifesaver. We have a plug-in white noise machine, but this is great because we don't have to plug it in, so it can go with us in his car seat or when we're traveling. White noise is part of our bedtime routine, and we turn it on every night. Honestly, I don't even know if Fox loves it, but Tyler and I have been wondering how we lived for so long without one, as we have a lot of street noise where we live — it's definitely helped us sleep better
- Nursing tank tops and sleep bras: So, I live in these now. I wear a nursing tank top literally every day, under everything I own. You'll want one because if you're wearing a normal sweater or shirt, it's not super fun to show off your stomach while you're breastfeeding, so this helps for that easy access. And I wore these sleep bras even before I was nursing because they're so comfy — but they're a staple around the house, especially when I'm sleeping, and hell, when I'm out of the house and feeling lazy, too. My favorite nursing tanks are these from H&M, and I really like this set of sleep nursing bras that I bought at Target.
- RÅSKOG IKEA cart: This isn't a must, but we are short on space in our house. Because we don't have closets (just wardrobes), a lot of our clothing is stored in our dresser, and we had a really tough time giving up some of those drawers. We give Fox one large drawer for all his baby clothing, and another one for blankets and odds and ends, and were seriously out of space for diapers, wipes, and other catch-alls like creams, bottles, pump supplies — you name it. I luckily snagged this rolling RÅSKOG cart on a Black Friday sale for $35, and it's been super great to have near our "changing table" station.
- Puj bath tub: We actually shipped our bathtub to America because we wanted to have it there and didn't think we'd need one in the first few months. We just have a pedestal sink in our bathroom and bath times were difficult and slippery. A friend loaned us her Puj bath tub, which fits inside our incredibly small sink, and it's been a lifesaver. It also stores flat and is magnetic so it doesn't take up a lot of space in our bathroom — a huge plus. It's definitely something we would register for if we did it all again.
- Also, I've talked about this before, but if you're building your baby registry, I highly recommend going with Babylist. We loved Babylist because I could register for items at any store, instead of just one place, which is great if you want specific brands or artisan items from places like Etsy. I still refer back to my registry all the time, either to send links to friends, write thank you notes or buy things that weren't purchased.
Photos and text © Katie Currid, 2018. All rights reserved. This post contains affiliate links. The views expressed are my own and do not cost my readers anything. I will receive a small percentage off of purchases you make from these links — thanks for helping to support our family!