Ainsley2Month

Likes and Dislikes: This month has been so much fun because her little personality is really emerging more and more every day. Joe and I say every day that she is more fun than the day before.

Ainsley Loves: having people sing to her, smiling at friends and family, eating, playing on her baby gym, playing with her daddy and practicing rolling over, hanging out in the Ergo and dancing around the house with mom while music is playing in the background.

Ainsley Dislikes: This little girl has a super short fuse when it comes to eating and we joke that she gets hangry like her momma. If you wait too long to give her a bottle she pretty much loses it and the only way to get her to take her bottle is to sing to her – strange but true. She is starting to like tummy time more, but it still isn’t her favorite, and she really dislikes having her clothes changed.

Daytime Schedule: Still waking up at 6:30 each morning, give or take 1/2 an hour. We’re still sticking to a 3 hour eat, play, sleep cycle during the day, but her wake times are getting longer, around an hour and a half at a time, and her naps range anywhere from 1 hour to 2 1/2 hours; her morning naps are on the shorter side and she usually takes a long nap in the early afternoon, followed by another short cat nap before bed.

Eating: Her eating hasn’t changed all that much from last month. She is eating 4 to 5 ounces during the day and then takes more of a cluster feed approach closer to bed time. Once in a while she will eat a 6 ounce bottle. Lately she seems to be going through a growth spurt because she is eating much more than usual. We are still feeding primarily breast milk in bottles but have also started to introduce some formula each day, mixing it half and half with breast milk because I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to pump.

Sleep: We started to have a lot of trouble with Ainsley taking forever (we’re talking 1 1/2 to 2 hours) to go to bed at night, meaning most of our night consisted of putting her down, soothing her, going back in to rock her and start the process over and over again. Instead of keeping her awake until 9 or 9:30 we have started putting her to bed earlier, around 7 and it’s made a huge difference. She goes to sleep at 6:30 or 7 and wakes up around 12 and then again around 3 or 3:30 with a morning wake time between 5:30 and 6:30 each morning.

Family Transition: Now that Ainsley is getting more predictable and I’m starting to understand her and her schedule a little better, it’s making the transition into parenthood much easier! I am really starting to enjoy my days with Ainsley and a lot of times when Joe gets home I’ll tell him how much FUN she is and how much I love being her mom. Additionally, since she is going to bed earlier and easier, it leaves a little more time for Joe and I to eat a peaceful dinner together and have some time just the two of us, which is great. It’s also incredibly gratifying to walk into her room after naps and be greeted with a huge smile. Those smiles really do make it all worth it! Overall, I’m enjoying being a mommy so much more this month than last month, which was pretty rough to be really honest.

Mommy Body Update: I went in for my 6 week postpartum check up and was surprised that I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Things are certainly not as toned and firm as before I got pregnant, but I’m trying to be patient and take it a day at a time. Honestly, finding time to get to the gym has been minimal, especially since I’m still battling sleep depravation, but we’re going on lots of long walks and I’m doing plenty of squats and lunges in the Ergo since Ainsley loves to be worn in that thing every day. Despite the fact that I’m not in the shape I used to be, I’m really feeling better in my body than ever and have found that I care a lot less about the little vanities in life now that I’m a mom. If I’m healthy and active and eating fairly well the other little imperfections can just slide.

Resources: Still using Babywise and Moms on Call as my main resources. My mom also gifted me What to Expect: Baby’s First Year, which I really love because it gives plenty of information on developmental milestones and activities to do with your baby by age.

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If you follow me on Instagram (and I hope you do, since I’m much more consistent with my posting there these days!) you’ve probably seen all my posts about the surgery Ainsley had on Tuesday. I’ve been pretty consumed this last week and a half with getting over this big hurdle and moving forward, and any momma who has had to send their little one into surgery can probably attest to the emotional toll it takes on everyone.

When Ainsley was born one of the first things I noticed was that she had little skin tags on her ears. I think one of the first things I said was, “Are her ears funny?!” They were, indeed, funny. Actually most people who saw her little ear tags said they were pretty cute. We called them her “martian ears” and joked that they gave her super powers. We also noticed that she had a small gap in the corner of her mouth between her top and bottom lip on the right side of her face.

Ainsley earned herself a trip to the NICU at 4 days old because she was running a low temp; thankfully everything checked out just fine, she was just tiny and having a hard time regulating her body temperature. But one of the big benefits of our time there was that we had Ainsley looked at by the amazing ENT/Facial Plastic Surgery team at Children’s in Minneapolis. They suggested surgery to repair/reconnect the muscle in her mouth and remove the ear tags all at the same time and we opted to pursue the surgery earlier rather than later. Unfortunately, the surgery required them to put her fully under for a couple hours, meaning I was one nervous momma!

We have been so thankful for the amazing ENT team at Children’s in Minneapolis and couldn’t have had more confidence in trusting our little baby to them. The first few days after surgery were pretty hard on all of us, especially when her sleep was disrupted because of the surgery. She slept almost the entire day after surgery and then was awake for somewhere around 27 hours that second day, only sleeping about 6 of those 27 hours. Needless to say it was rough on everyone! I have never been more thankful for my mom and my mother-in-law who came to help get us through the worst of it.

Sorry that I continue to be so spotty with posting! Maybe someday I’ll quit saying that. As you can see, we’ve just had so many other things on our mind lately. I’m really, really hoping that life will settle a bit and I can resume more regular posting in the weeks to come! A few other things I’m loving lately:

1. Shakeology! Okay, I’m totally jumping on this bandwagon, and I’ll admit that I didn’t really want to love the product, but I’m totally hooked. I’ve been having a chocolate or vanilla shake for breakfast or lunch almost every day (my favorite combo is almond milk, chocolate Shakeology, peanut butter and a frozen banana with ice) and it’s been so filling, easy and satisfying. It totally works with my busy momma schedule and lifestyle right now.

2. Babywearing. I have a few different carriers, but my favorite by far is the Ergo 360. It’s the most comfortable carrier I own and the carrier that Miss Ainsley loves and enjoys the most, from what I can tell. I also have a Solly Baby Wrap that we use occasionally (and used a lot when she was itty bitty) but the Ergo is just so dang comfortable and Ainsley is so secure in it. I’ve taken a babywearing-friendly barre class while wearing her and we go on at least one walk a day in the Ergo, usually in the afternoon during her fussy periods. It’s a lifesaver!

3. Our Keekaroo Peanut Changer. If there is one must-have baby item, this is it! Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wiped this thing down when Ainsley has gotten a mess on it. SO Much better than having to wash a changing table cover, especially in the middle of the night. It’s worth the extra money!

4. Stitch Fix. Still loving my monthly fixes! It’s been especially helpful post-baby when I just haven’t had the time to get out and shop. I love my stylist and have had some great fixes over the past couple of months. They’ve been great about providing me with plenty of new mom-friendly items.

Happy Friday!
Madison

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The first six weeks of life with a baby have been eventful, to say the least, and those weeks have thrown my eating for a loop! I had grand visions of eating a huge meal after delivery, but surprisingly I found myself barely able to eat for a day after delivery and, in fact, my appetite was dampened for a good part of the first week postpartum. Pair that with the fact that I got a horrible case of stomach flu when Ainsley was 4 weeks old that took away my appetite for a week and a half and my eating has been sporadic at best since she arrived.

I started to get a little worried about maintaining my milk supply after getting hit hard with the flu. The dehydration took a big toll on my body and I realized there was no way I was getting enough nutrients in my system to make up for the calories lost during breastfeeding. So when my sister-in-law, Amber, posted this healthy recipe for Protein Balls on her Instagram page, I thought it would be a great recipe to tweak in hopes of boosting lactation. I mean I love Lactation Cookies but I was looking for something a little healthier for frequent consumption. An added bonus? These bites are super quick to whip up and much faster than baking a batch of cookies.

I’ve kept a double batch of these babies in our freezer for snacks throughout the week when I only have one hand and a couple minutes to spare, which happens more often than I would have ever imagined pre-baby!

Protein Lactation Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup chocolate protein powder
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon brewer's yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine all the above ingredients together in a food processor and process until mixture starts to come together. Roll into balls. Store in the refrigerator or covered in a plastic container.

 

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Before I had a baby, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to talk about how hard motherhood is. I had heard so many other women tell me that motherhood was the most difficult/wonderful thing they had ever done, but quite honestly I was discouraged by those stories because they made me dread, rather than anticipate, what was to come for our little family. But now that I’ve been doing this motherhood thing for about six long and incredibly short weeks I can safely say that motherhood is every bit as hard as others told me it would be but for reasons I never anticipated.

You see, I knew that taking care of a baby was going to be challenging. I had babysat for years and had enough experience around babies that I wasn’t totally naive about how consuming childcare can be. But it’s not the baby care that’s so challenging. No, it’s the fact that caring for a little one and giving yourself to your infant exposes you and every single one of your selfish desires and there is no place to hide. Being a momma and loving our little girl has brought me face to face with just how selfish I really am, even though I never thought of myself as an overly selfish person to begin with.

Over the past number of weeks I heard that little voice in my head saying, “What about ME?” about a thousand times. When Ainsley is awake from her nap 30 minutes ahead of schedule and is crying for her bottle just as I’m getting out of the shower, dripping wet. Or when I’m starving and sit down to finally eat dinner, but Little Miss wants to be bounced and swayed and cuddled. Or when I’m laying in bed, desperate for a couple of consecutive hours of sleep but the paci fell out of her mouth and she needs to be soothed back to sleep for the tenth time that night.

When I write these things down, they seem incredibly trite. I mean, what’s the big deal on missing out of a little sleep, being a little hungry, or not having the time to blow dry your hair or put on a little makeup? But I think I seriously underestimated how much I cherished those basic things in life: sleep, food, exercise, a hot shower.

At church yesterday, Easter Sunday, I was feeling like the ugliest version of myself. I had on a pretty dress and my hair was curled and our family looked photo-ready. (See evidence above) But inside, my heart was anything but pretty. Ainsley had spent the better part of the night crying inconsolably and being incredibly fussy, leading us to believe that she had an ear infection. After a middle of the night call to the pediatrician, they suggested we go downtown to the children’s ER since all things related to your kiddo are bound to happen on a Sunday, aren’t they?! We trekked to the ER at 4 am, sleepy and weary and a little worried only to find out that Ainsley was just fine and most likely just going through a developmental leap leading to increased fussiness.

On the way home I felt relieved but more than a little agitated. I was grumbling to myself about how tired I was, how little sleep I had gotten, how much we were going to have to pay for our trip to the ER, etc. My pre-baby self was throwing a fit inside about not getting what I wanted. In short, I was acting a lot like Ainsley. Totally acceptable when you’re a 6 week old baby, a lot uglier when you’re a 27-year-old momma of a newborn.

So when I sat down at church and sang those songs about the sacrifice our Savior made for us two thousand years ago, the ultimate sacrifice, it put my little tantrum into perspective. I thought about how diligently we, and many others, prayed for this sweet little baby of ours and how I’ve spent the better part of the last couple of weeks complaining about the very blessing I wanted so desperately.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been so thankful for Ainsley and for our new life as a family of three, but it hasn’t been without significant growing pains. The very real and very difficult process of dying to yourself and your desires often gets lost in the sea of stories about how blissful new motherhood is. And it is blissful, most certainly, when your little one sleeps on your chest all curled up or starts to show signs of their very first smile. But it’s also difficult, and that’s okay, too.

So, if you’re a new momma, or about to become one, I want to let you know that it’s okay to struggle a bit, to miss your old life, and to struggle with your selfish desires. As my own mom affirmed to me yesterday, the transformation into motherhood is a process and something that takes a little time. Expecting that transformation to occur completely the minute you have your baby is holding yourself to an unrealistic standard. So let’s all vow to give ourselves a little grace in the process, shall we? I know that I, for one, have never needed more grace than I do now that I’m a mom!

Madison

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I can’t believe that our little baby is 1 month old today! The last month seems to have been the longest, shortest, best, hardest month of our lives; motherhood is such a study in contrasts, isn’t it? I’m tempted to say that I want to go back and do it all over again, this last month, but that wouldn’t be true. Although the last month has been wonderful, adjusting to life with a new little person is a huge learning curve and I’m thankful that we have a month under our belts! The more we learn about her, the more we are able to enjoy her!

So, let’s talk about this little lady, shall we? (Side note: I’m not looking for a debate on parenting styles, since I know the topic is very polarizing. I’m simply sharing what works for us.)

Likes and Dislikes: She loves bath time more than anything! We give her a bath every night before bed time and I swear she would stay in there forever if we let her. She also loves eating, sleeping, cuddling with mom and dad and having people sing to her. Every time someone breaks into song she falls into a trance. It’s so cute! She dislikes having her diaper/clothes changed, being cold and having to wait for food. Don’t we all?!

Daytime Schedule: During the day, Ainsley is on a 3 hour eat-play-sleep cycle. She wakes up at 6:30 every morning and eats every three hours until she goes to bed around 9:30/9:45. In the last week her “play/awake” time has been getting a bit longer as she has been more alert, which is so much fun. It’s great to see her little personality more and more. Little lady loves to nap and takes most of her naps in her crib, although I’ll take all the naps she wants to take on my chest, too, since I know those days are limited and her cuddles are just so sweet!

Eating: She eats like a champ! We had some issues with breastfeeding from the start, so about a week in we switched to bottle feeding breast milk while I exclusively pump. It made all the difference in the world! She is eating 4 to 5 ounces every three hours during the day with the occasional 6 ounce bottle thrown in there when she is really hungry.

Sleep: As I mentioned above Ainsley is pretty predictable in terms of schedule. She sleeps 2 to 2 1/2 hour stretches during her daytime naps. Around 6:30 she has her dinner bottle and then we keep her awake as long as possible with a little cat nap thrown in before her last bottle of the evening, around 9 or 9:30, depending on how long we can hold her off.

She has been waking up once around 1:30 for another feeding and then sleeping again until 6 or 6:30 when we begin the day again! Lately she has been waking up around 4 or 4:30, which we are trying to drop, since she only eats about an ounce before she dozes off again, making me think she isn’t actually that hungry. If we can get her to consistently only wake once a night, I will be one happy (and well-rested) momma!

Puppy Update: A lot of people have wondered how Nutmeg and Pippa are doing with the transition, and honestly they are doing really well! Nutmeg is the perfect dog, of course, and has transitioned so well to having another little creature in the house to share the attention with. Pippa is having a slightly harder time since she was the one who always needed to be in my lap and now that lap is occupied with a baby! But both dogs are very interested and curious about Ainsley rather than threatened or aggressive, which is an answered prayer. Our biggest challenge is keeping Pippa from licking Ainsley’s mouth all the time!

Family Transition: I think I could write an entire post on the transition that takes place when you go from being a couple to a family of three with a little human that seems to be guiding and directing your days. I don’t think I was quite ready for how challenging that aspect of parenthood would be! Especially since I’m home all day with Ainsley right now, I crave time with Joe more than anything and the time we have together when he comes home from work feels so short. It seems most of our night is spent trying to cram as much as possible into a short few hours, and once Ainsley goes to bed we are ready to fall asleep because we are so darn exhausted! Right now there seems to be very little time for just the two of us, but I’m anticipating that it will get better as Ainsley gets a little older and starts going to bed earlier, sleeping longer, etc.

I had a minor breakdown last weekend because I wasn’t doing a great job at voicing what I needed from Joe in terms of support in this whole parenting gig. Sometimes I have the tendency to not voice anything that’s bothering me until I reach the meltdown stage. Not healthy, for sure! What came out of the meltdown and ensuing conversation was that I needed a couple days a week where I got an hour or so to myself after Joe gets home from work. So we settled on three days a week being gym days for Joe after work and two days a week being “me” days, whatever that means. Sometimes that is a walk outside when the weather is nice, a trip out to run errands by myself, going to the gym to sit in the sauna, etc. Craving out even a little time sans-baby has been so good for my mental health!

Mommy Body Update: I think I’m going to do an entire series on postpartum body image and transition, so I’ll keep this short. I’m feeling really good now that I’m a month out from labor and delivery! I think I’ve healed really well for the most part and I’m feeling more like myself every day. I’m trying to be patient with my body and give myself plenty of time to get back to really feeling and looking like my old self, which is challenging, but I keep reminding myself that it took me 9 months to grow this baby, so if it takes 9 months to get back in pre-baby shape, that’s totally fine! I’ve been getting out and being more and more active – lots of long walks and a few light jogs as well. It’s felt great to sweat a little bit and get my body moving every day!

Resources: For those of you who are curious, we are using Babywise and Moms on Call as our resources for scheduling and general baby/newborn care. They are very similar in approach, but I found the Moms on Call a bit easier to understand and digest while I was pregnant. Now that I actually have a baby, Babywise makes a lot more sense than it did before.

Madison

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