Baby Talk: Dear New Mom

Happy Thursday. This has been on my heart so I wanted to get it out.

Jackie Beachy Photography

Dear New Mom,

First of all, congratulations! Secondly, how are you? Welcome to what I would describe as the hardest month/six weeks of your life. I am 7 months and 3 weeks into this parenting thing and, admittedly, we both have a long way to go… but there’s a massive difference between where you’re at and where I’m at, so I wanted to give you some encouragement.

Let’s get this out of the way: there is nothing wrong with you.

If you want to do laundry and organize the pantry while baby sleeps, do it. If you want to hold your baby while she sleeps, do it. If you want to take a nap while he’s snoozing, do it. There isn’t a wrong way and you shouldn’t feel guilty. Listen to your body and your brain.

But also… tell your brain to can it. You’re going to feel guilt. Guilt over a dirty house. Guilt over “spoiling” your baby (<< impossible.) Guilt over wanting to hand baby off to a visitor while you do dishes/nap/shower(/cry).

Stop that. Guilt only sucks whatever energy and stamina you have left. There is no wrong way to survive the first month as long as you’re taking care of your brain and body.

But let’s talk about your body. Girlfriend… it’s straight up broken– whether you pushed baby out or underwent a cesarean. (And if you adopted you’re STILL not running at 100% because babies suck the life out of you no matter what.) I know it takes all your energy to stand or roll out of bed for the 100th time to feed a crying baby. I know you pee when you sneeze… or cough… or move. I know there are stretch marks and swelling and ouchies everywhere. I know your boobs hurt.
Not to mention your brain and your hormones and your insides…

The six week gap between birth and your first appointment is B U L L S H I T . If you need to see the doctor sooner, do it. (I went twice- once for PPD and once for an infection.) Give your body what it needs- antidepressants, sleep, Tylenol, etc. Even if you’re breastfeeding, the doctors can work with you and figure out how to help. Talk to them.

And now for the most important part: accept the help (& do so without feeling guilty!).

If you have a spouse, let them raise that baby, too. They’re not helping you or watching the kid, they’re raising their child. If you have family nearby that you trust and love, accept their help. Let them spend the night or drive you to your doctor appointment or pick up the groceries for you. If you have a trusted neighbor let them come over and rock the baby to sleep while you shower. Say YES when you need the help or want the break. I was bad about this & I regret it.

I know you’ve heard this before & I hope it’s not coming across as unsolicited advice.

Please know that sometimes these are not the golden days… Sometimes these are the make-it-or-break-it days. You’re tired and sore; it’s tough to truly enjoy anything in those moments. But the days will get better and better. Motherhood will start to feel more natural over time. Your baby will recognize you and smile at you. You will figure out how to squeeze in sleep and brushing your teeth and maybe even a shower.

It doesn’t get easier necessarily, but you get much much better at it. And you’ll realize that all things end- good or bad. The crying, the sleepless nights, the snuggles, the helplessness… it will all end eventually and you’ll come out on the other side.

For the new moms in my life, if you want to reach out I am available. You can vent, ask me to mask-up and hold your baby, or run to the grocery store with a long list.

You will get through this. Your baby will thrive. You are doing a fantastic job. ❤️

Baby Talk: It Didn’t Work Out

In my opinion, admitting one’s failures is humbling. I think it also shatters the perfect image that’s so easily fronted online. I will never ever claim to be perfect (although I’m plenty arrogant… cue the humbling).

Before M was born, I had a plan. Then we brought our fresh baby home and realized plans are meant to be ditched. Back up plans are also good for ditching 🤷

If you’re a parent and you find yourself having to alter your course, I’m just here to tell ya you’re not alone or a failure or wrong. That’s just how life goes sometimes.

And here are some things that just didn’t work out…

B R E A S T F E E D I N G
We tried. We went all in and registered for the pillows and bags and pads and creams. We got a pump from our insurance company and we spent $$$ on a lactation consultant both before and after M’s arrival.

And you know what? It just didn’t work out.

It took me a week to make that decisions and I struggled HARD for those 7 days (and I wrote about it), but once the decision was made I never looked back.

C O – S L E E P I N G
According to the internet, co-sleeping and bed-sharing are different. Regardless, I mean sleeping in the same room.

We started M in the bassinet in our bedroom for her first 3 weeks. During week four we put her in her crib to start, then brought her into our room after her first middle-of-the-night bottle. Then we did it after the second feeding. Eventually she just stayed in her crib all night.

We HATED sharing a room. Every time M made a noise I woke up. I laid there terrified that K or the dogs would make a noise and wake M. We had to keep our room warmer than we typically would’ve. And truly, I just needed “my space” back in some part of my life. So we kicked her out.

Listen… we have a video monitor, I check her often, and we’ve done all the other steps to reduce SIDS. I am a paranoid momma and I wouldn’t put my child at risk. Also… from the start she slept (and sleeps) SO DAMN WELL on her own in her room. We’ve noticed she’s got a slight independent flare to her (holla ‘atcha girl!) and she does very well by herself.

D A Y C A R E
Once I headed back to work we thought M would spend half her time with family and half her time at daycare. Two things derailed this plan. First of all, we have almost NO daycares around us… and the ones that do exist have 3 out of 5 stars. I wouldn’t send the dogs to a daycare with that rating.
Also, turns out I am TERRIFIED of M getting RSV or Hand Foot & Mouth Disease soooo….. sticking her in a room with a bunch of other children is a hard no from me right now. I’m fine with parks and family and all that, but I know people send their sick kids to daycare and I’m not all about that. She’ll learn to share and socialize some other way for now.

*(I am very grateful that I have the privilege to make this call- our family is AWESOME for keeping M during my work days.)

N O   S C R E E N T I M E
Hahahahahahahahahaha. I’ll just go ahead and see myself out.

M loves Mickey & The Roadsters, Puppy Dog Pals, & Sesame Street. She typically only gets an hour or less of TV when we’re home, but I imagine that will change over time, too.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say this will not affect her likelihood of graduating high school. I think we’re safe.


Parenting is effing hard. When things don’t work out, don’t beat yourself up- spend that valuable time with your kid(s) and find an alternative.

Fortunately, we’ve had some things work out beautifully. M is on a pretty decent (sleep) schedule. We’ve had much success with cloth diapers. We’re about to start baby led weaning & I can tell M is excited about food.

I struggled with quitting breastfeeding and I cried the first few nights M wasn’t in our room… but things pan out how they’re supposed to and you’ve got to go with the flow sometimes. I’m proud of us for the things we’ve stuck to- those decisions have shaped our parenting journey.

Baby Talk: Recommendations (0-5 Months)

I know not all of you have kids/want kids/plan to raise any more small humans. BUT chances are you know someone who’s pregnant. Or someone who might get pregnant some day. Or maybe you do, in fact have small babies or are expecting one. Regardless, this post is for you.

Use it as advice, use it as a gift guide. Whatevs.

These items have been the BEST & I would 100% recommend them to any new
mom or dad!

M is a swaddle-loving baby. We were all sad when she started rolling and we had to leave her arms out. We still haven’t switched to a sleep sack yet because she likes the swaddle around her chest. Fortunately the Ollie Swaddle is versatile. It can wrap both arms, one arm (for the transition), or no arms. It’s a little pricey, but M sleeps the BEST with this swaddle- and trust me, we’ve tried others.
*here’s a referral link so you get 10% off and I earn $5

We were blessed with a verrrrry sleepy newborn. She would snooze at home, in the car, at restaurants, etc. Our portable Hushh sound machine was SO handy when we were on the go. (She has a sound machine in her bedroom, too.) Now Moo tries to fight sleep so we don’t get as many naps in public, but this was a life saver during the first few months. Now it goes with her to the baby sitters’ houses for nap time.

Finding things for babies to play with is hard. Fortunately, they just sleep & eat (& sometimes cry) most of the time. We found this play mat for M early on and it’s been a hit. From the start she loved the black and white images & mirror. Now she chews on the crinkly raccoon and kicks at the melodic porcupine. And it washes up so well! (Ask me how I know, lol… #spitupQueen)

These blinds have completely changed the game. We have cute striped curtains (as seen here) but they didn’t block the light for crap. I had a dark towel hanging in the window 🤦🏼‍♀️ These are paper & you cut them to the width of the window. They block ALL the light.

I wash a lot of bottles. I wish someone had thought to gift me latex gloves, lol. They cost $2. (I bought myself some finally.)

So far we’ve found two teethers that M absolutely loves. This strawberry teether is great because she’s able to grab on a very basic level and she can hold into this and bring it to her mouth. She can’t hold her Teething Egg yet, but it brings her SUCH relief when we hold it for her to rub her gums on. They actually have a grippie stick that I might buy so she can hold it herself.

(Not So) Pro Tip: SNAPS vs. ZIPPER Sleepers
People feel very strongly about this- mostly claiming zippers are best. I don’t completely agree. If you have a baby that HATES being cold, snaps are lovely because they allow you to open the bottom half of the outfit without freezing the baby. And they don’t bunch up like zippers sometimes to do… (A double zipper that unzips from the top AND bottom is the creme de la creme IMO.)


So right now, with the first five months under our belt, I can confidently and enthusiastically recommend these items! Did you have something that saved your sanity in the early stages of parenthood? Did I convince you to gift an expecting mama any of these things?

Baby Talk: Nursery Tour

Yay! It’s finally here! 😊

M’s nursery was not finished before she arrived. Everyone told us it’d be fine because she wouldn’t use it right away. They were right…

…but we DID end up moving her in around week 3 or 4. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends moving baby to his/her own room between 6 months and one year. Turns out 3 weeks was the magic number for us. I mean, who wouldn’t want to sleep in this room? It’s the best decorated space in our house! (We have a video monitor so I can see her at all times & our pediatrician was a-ok with the decision. Ok, I’m done justifying this now.)

A few important notes…
My pictures are not professional by any means- lol.
I’m going to link the stuff pictured but nothing is affiliated.

We went with navy blue paint & one “wooden” wall. It’s actually laminate flooring. A family friend/contractor did it. We wanted a very subtle outdoorsy vibe in the nursery.

The dog pictures were taken during our maternity photo shoot by Jackie Beachy Photography. Obviously we’re in love with them. Our name art is from Hickory Hollow Designs!

The curtains aren’t blackout (I got these blinds to go behind them) but they matched the room so well and were so cheap, I didn’t care…

Curtains | Glider

I love her little crib set up. Simple and clean but very personalized.

Crib | Sound Machine | Clock | Artwork

I’m also so so so in love with her changing table gallery wall. She loves it, too. She looks up at the wall and smiles while I change her. I love that.

We have two trash cans because we cloth diaper. The large one is for diapers, the small one is for trash, and then a laundry basket on the right.

Art from different places | Changing Table *we replaced the knobs
Video monitor *we only have a single camera

The frog is a humidifier but it’s old and not great after 6+ years of hard water and minimal maintenance. We just purchased this humidifier for her room and I love it already!

This was a splurge gift from my in-laws. It was way too much money for a bookshelf but I’m so glad they got it for us. I love it.

Bookshelf | Bear Basket

Some day, before I start selling/packing up the too-small outfits and toys, I’m going to count how many fox items M has…

I love M’s room. I love that it’s slightly feminine but with dark colors- especially the orange & blue together.

I realized I forgot to photograph the closet after I took the pictures & started editing. It’s very neat and organized in there… so I think it might get a post of its own. I’m strangely proud of that space. Haha.

 

Baby Talk: Introduction

I want Life as Louise to reflect my day to day life, but right now that’s primarily work or M, and I don’t want LaL to become a full-fledged baby blog. So today I’m rolling out Talk Baby 2 Me.

Once a month or so I’m going to put on the mom blogger hat & write about something baby for this series. At 12 weeks a mom I’m not an expert, but we’ve found some things that really work for us & I want to share. I don’t plan to focus on M in this series, but on life as a mom.

A small sampling of topics I’ll cover include ppd, formula feeding, M’s nursery reveal (finally), items that have saved our life these first few weeks, & more.

Nothing groundbreaking, just my little contribution to the mom world. We’ll see where this goes in the future.