Hello friends! As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s been a blur of a month, well, actually five weeks. Just like adjusting to being a new parent, adjusting to being a parent of two comes with its own set of beautiful experiences and crazy challenges.
I shared A LOT about my recovery and fourth trimester with KJ :
- The BIG Fourth Trimester Wrap Up
- The Fourth Trimester Week 11
- The Fourth Trimester Week 10
- The Fourth Trimester Week 9
- The Fourth Trimester Week 8
- The Fourth Trimester Week 7
- The Fourth Trimester Weeks 5 & 6
- The Fourth Trimester Week 4
- The Fourth Trimester Week 3
- The Fourth Trimester Weeks 1-2
So I wanted to make sure I hop on here for some check-ins this time as well, plus share some more of our newborn photos! They will probably be longer but less frequent check-ins than last time, but at least it’s something! And if you aren’t into the baby-related posts, feel free to skip this one. I’ll be back to new recipes as soon as possible!
Plus, my VA has been putting together some awesome recipe round-ups in the meantime so feel free to skip this one!
KJ and I had a ton of challenges with breastfeeding – initial separation in the hospital, poor latch, thrush, food sensitivities, and low milk supply, to name a few. This time around seems to be going better, but I’m being very proactive and keeping a close eye on things. KD lost about 5% of his birth weight initially but then started to climb back up by the end of the first week. I visited a lactation consultant who checked his latch; it was good and discussed strategies for boosting milk supply.
Namely lots and lots of pumping with the thought process that it’s easier to establish a good or slight oversupply now than go back after the six-week mark and try to increase my supply (since supply is usually established in the first six weeks.) So for the last 3 weeks, I’ve been pumping about 10 minutes or so after almost every feed 8-12 times a day. Initially, I wasn’t pumping at night, but it became necessary when the baby started to sleep longer. (I’ve bought an Elvie and have LOVED it. I use it 75% of the time and the motif duo at night or during naps when I don’t have a toddler to tend to.) I don’t get very much per pumping session, half to a one-ounce TOTAL, but it’s adding up, and I’ve got a decent stash now.
The LC also helped me determine the correct flange size. I had been using one that was way too big. In his one-month appointment, he gained an average of .75 ounces per day, so the pediatrician was pleased with that. I requested a weight check in two weeks to keep an eye on things because initially, KJ’s weight looked good, but he stopped gaining enough in the second month. I’m also on the lookout for food sensitivities, but so far, no blood or major indicators. So overall, we’re trucking along. The weeks of all-day cluster feeds seem behind us, and now he cluster feeds mostly in the evenings, which is great because Mr. Hungry is home at that point to help take care of his brother.
Right out the gate, KD was a much better sleeper than I could have ever imagined a newborn would be. KJ required us to hold him for his eyes to be closed during the night, so he constantly slept on us, and we worked in shifts. All but a few rough nights, KD has slept in 2-3 hour shifts, and recently his first stretch of the night is getting longer and longer, up to six hours! Adding in pumping AFTER night feedings has been a little brutal, but I’m hoping it pays off, and I’m hoping I can taper that down after the six-week mark.
Initially, KD could sleep despite his brother’s constant noise, but recently he needs to be moved out of the noise zone to get a good nap. In the last week, he sometimes takes his first nap of the day in the bassinet. The second nap is generally in the car seat because we’re too and from swim lessons, and then he takes a longer 1-2 hour nap generally while his brother sleeps too. I joke he thinks he’s on a toddler schedule. And for the life of me, I can’t get him to take a real nap in the afternoon, so from 3-8, he catnaps while cluster feeding.
He usually goes down to bed around 7-830, but I’m trying to push that earlier. He’s not super into putting himself to sleep. He usually likes to nurse to sleep. I tried to change that up, but it’s so much faster to nurse him to sleep, and then he sleeps 5-6 hours, so I’m kind of in the thought pattern of don’t break what’s not broken. And I fully expect that to backfire on me at some point, but in the meantime, it works.
I’m thankful for a decent sleeper because there isn’t much time for me to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” I knew that having two kids would be busy, but I never equated that to not having any time to nap during the day till I was in it, alone home with two kids.
While initially, I felt great, with minimal swelling and pain compared to my first birth, the last couple of weeks have been a bit brutal. I had been feeling good, so I started walking Nala about 30 minutes around 6 am, and apparently, my body was not ready for that because I ended up with crippling pain in my low back, like almost the tailbone area. I was hobbling around the house for days before I finally went in to see Dr. K at Trimotus.
That definitely helped, but the recovery has been slow, and I’m frustrated by my lack of exercise. Especially when I compare myself to what I was doing at this point after Kal’s birth (aka walking like 4 miles a day.) I saw Dr. K again and had made huge strides, so we added some exercises to build on the previous week. I’m hoping I can start getting some walks in and maybe even light workouts sooner than later because the lack of activity has been the biggest strain on my mental health up until the injury had been pretty steady and smooth.
I hadn’t done a lot of crying or feeling overwhelmed until my back started hurting. Then everything came crashing down, but as it improves, I’m getting better and looking forward to more activity. I’m down about 23lbs and have 25 ish more to go, you do the math – let’s just say pregnant during the holidays while your mom stays with you = faster than expected weight gain. However, my highest weight wasn’t any higher than it was with KJ so there is that.
I’m also looking forward to joining the family in the pool. My bleeding is tapering off so hopefully after my six-week check at my OB’s I’ll be cleared to join in the summer pool fun.
New Family Dynamics
While initially, KJ seemed a little shocked that we actually brought home a baby (we had been talking about it for months), he’s really done a great job adjusting. He loves to bring baby his “moose” wubbanub whenever he cries. KJ keeps better track of that moose than anything else in the house because the minute KD starts crying, he comes running in with it. He loves to lay on the floor with him during tummy time and tell me to change his diaper or feed him when he cries. He loves to give him kisses and touch him but isn’t super into holding him (which I prefer anyway.)
I knew two kids would be a lot of “work,” but, still there are so many things that surprised me. First was the realization there would be no naps (for me) during the day. The second was the number of things I’d have to do to care for my toddler while breastfeeding the baby.
Babies (or at least mine) breastfeed a LOT and for a LONG time initially, and he always seems to need to nurse at the most inconvenient times – like when trying to feed KJ lunch and get him down for a nap. Oh, and most importantly, no one told me I wouldn’t be able to or shouldn’t lift my toddler for at least two weeks, but four is better. I mean, I know it’s obvious, but, so ya, we weren’t prepared for that.
Thankfully, Mr. Hungry was able to get a couple of weeks off and then work from home for an extra week, so he could help lift KJ when needed (like into the crib at naptime.) Luckily I also had some help from family, but the first few weeks felt like kind of a shit show (one time, KJ when potty and then played on the floor and got poop everywhere, so that was an ACTUAL shitshow.) It’s nice to know that it will pass, though. Soon KD will get faster at nursing, need less cluster feeding, and things will continue to change and evolve.
Lack of time to yourself is huge with two kids. I mean, I haven’t showered alone in weeks, KD hangs out in the bouncer while I shower, but the bonus is I never hear phantom baby cries, haha. As a mom, I feel like the workload is more even with two kids. I don’t resent Mr. Hungry when I’m breastfeeding for hours on end during the day or night because Mr. Hungry is constantly tending to KJ both day and night.
He has just as much to do as I do, like a divide and conquer type situation. And he’s great at immediately stepping up when he walks in the door from work. So I don’t look over while I’m breastfeeding in the middle of the night and resent him for snoozing away as I did with KJ because I know he’s about to wake up at 430AM so he can fit in a workout and get KJ from his crib at by 6 AM. I’m not saying it’s all sunshine and rainbows because the lack of downtime has been a challenge for Mr. Hungry, who has a more laid-back personality than me. But, personally, I find this dynamic (of multiple children) a bit fairer and less challenging mentally for me.
In addition to my go-to items from my must-haves post for new moms and newborns we added a few products that have been HUGE winners in this first month:
- Elvie Breast Pump
- Snuggleme Pillow
- Hal0 Bassinet with newborn insert
- Ollie Swaddles
- Hatch Rest + (gifted to us)
Would highly recommend each one of those products and I’ll do a full review on them at the end of my fourth trimester so I can share the full newborn experience with them.
Photos by Nerissa Lowicki @nlowphoto (IG)