Tips From a New Mom, part 2

I don’t know how many of these I’ll do – I guess its a new series I’ll be doing for the next little while (#TFANM!) – but as Penny gets older, and I become more and more confident with being her mom, there are always new things I’m learning that I want to share with everyone!

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SLEEPY VIBES

When Penny was a newborn, she could nap anywhere! In the living room in complete brightness, while I was wearing her unloading the dishwasher – nothing could keep her awake. Now as she’s getting older, she’s realizing that the experiencing the world is WAY more exciting than napping. I noticed that we were having a really hard time with naps – she wouldn’t settle down in her room and didn’t want to sleep which leads to a very overtired (and cranky) little babe. After doing a lot of research, I realized something: now that her days and nights aren’t mixed up anymore, she knows that light = awake, dark = night. And her bedroom was actually really bright – we only had blinds, no curtains. So I hopped online and purchased blackout curtains (these pink ones from Bouclair) and Pete hung them up. I have noticed a HUGE improvement in the darkness of her room – they eliminate all the daylight!! Her naps are still a bit of a struggle (around this time, a lot of babies have this issue of not having long naps), but it takes a lot less time to wind her down for naps since her room is so dark. Highly recommend getting blackout curtains for babe’s room!

PLAY, PLAY, PLAY

Penny’s getting older and more active, and needs more stimulation. She used to be okay laying on her play mat, looking at the animals and lights for a LONG time. Now that she’s getting older and her brain development is really increasing, she doesn’t love to be in one place too long – so we’ve learned to switch it up! It helps keep her entertained (and happy), it helps keep her brain working hard AND it helps tire her out – so many toys, not enough time in the day! We switch between her play mat (back and tummy time), her Finding Nemo activity centre, her Jolly Jumper, going for walks and hanging out with us on the couch practicing sitting and standing and making funny faces with us.

NIGHT & NAP ROUTINES

Keeping a consistent nighttime and nap routines are key in helping Penelope learn to wind down for sleepy time. We started with a nighttime routine which she seems to really love! Bath, fresh diaper & PJ’s, nighttime lotion, bottle, book & bed – every night, no matter how the day went. Our nap routine is similar to her nighttime routine, just a LOT shorter: fresh diaper, book & bed. We try and stretch out each routine a bit (bedtime takes ~45mins, nap time is ~10mins) so it’s more enjoyable and less rushed – I want her to have ample wind down time. No one wants to be in the middle of doing something and get told “GO TO SLEEP” – everyone needs time to wind down.

GET OUT OF THE HOUSE

Do you know how easy it is to spend a week inside and not even realize it? For me, it was VERY easy. You fall into a pattern of feeding, changing and playing with the baby, and when they’re napping you try and get as much housework done as humanly possible (or have a nap yourself, I did that a LOT). I was feeling so incredibly lousy one day and realized I hadn’t left the house in FIVE DAYS. Like didn’t even go outside for a breath of fresh air. And do you know how awful that made me feel? VERY awful. Once the weather started to improve, Pete and I made a promise that we would get out and go for walks as often as we can – now we aim for walks once a day! It honestly makes me feel like a brand new woman. It’s amazing what an hour or two of fresh air can do for you! If you can’t do walks, honestly even getting into the car and going to grab a coffee makes a difference. It’s a change of scenery and some fresh air – you will THANK ME for this seemingly obvious advice.

BABY CARRIER

“Penny is pretty fussy today and doesn’t really want to be left alone – but I need to get stuff done…” BAM enter the baby carrier!!! Potentially one of the greatest inventions ever. We have 2 – the Ergobaby 360 and the Wildbird ‘Elapaio Double. We first bought the Ergobaby and I actually won the Wildbird in an Instagram giveaway and my verdict is in: I am OBSESSED with the Wildbird. They are expensive ($114 US), but honestly, SO much easier to put on than the Ergobaby and Penny just looks so much comfier. The fabric is super thick so it will support her when she’s bigger, and it’s just perfection. I actually might buy another one – I’m THAT obsessed. Any baby carrier works for helping you get stuff done around the house, or if you know you’ll be walking around for a while and want to skip the stroller. It’s the perfect combo of being handsfree but also being able to soak up baby snuggles!!

CHORE HOUR

Chores can really start to pile up in a house when you have a baby – even in just one day, let alone a week or month. And time has this new magic ability where it just seems to disappear. One minute, it’s Monday and the next minute it’s Sunday night and you’re wondering where your week went and how did the house become such a mess!! To combat this, we’ve recently started implementing “chore hour”. Once Penelope goes to bed (which is around 7p), we spend the next hour doing chores. Could be things like tidying up her toys, doing a load of laundry, loading/emptying the dishwasher, taking out the garbage and recycling, wipe down the counters etc. It honestly makes a HUGE difference. Because now, instead of waiting until the house is a disaster and it you feel like you can never catch up, we are able to stay on top of things better and even better – wake up to a tidy house which is a big YES PLEASE in our house!

YOU DO YOU

I will be the first to admit that I look up EVERYTHING – I seriously googled “do babies need to wear socks” once. I look up anything from why is she eating so much in a day, to why babies drool so much, to what the reasoning could be for her change in mood. Why? I am guilty of constantly looking for a solution – something I didn’t realize about myself before I had Penelope. Anytime something comes up with her (good day, bad day), I research it. I read articles on blogs and medical sites, moms talking about their babies in forums, and Facebook groups I’m apart of. I am always in search of a solution to any problem we’re currently faced with. Bad sleep, short naps, ate a lot more than normal and fussier than yesterday and I am instantly wondering why did it happen, did it happen to any other moms, do any baby experts have explanations, and how do I fix it?? I have started to try and just do me – go with my gut. I’m Penny’s mom, NO ONE knows her better than I do – so why do I think Regina Phalange in the Facebook group would have the answer to my problem? Not that research is a bad thing, or looking to other mom’s for guidance is the worst thing ever, but I want to try and let my instincts guide me day to day. I know this basically contradicts this series of blog posts, but just take every opinion and blog post with a grain of salt and remember – no one knows your babe like you do, so go with your mom instincts!!

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0-3 Month Newborn Favourites

Penny is 3 months old. Let me just let that sink in before I get started on this post… I can’t believe it! Time is FLYING by and I wish I could slow it down! She’s now in 3-6 month clothing (we started transitioning her over around 9 weeks), we get a TON of smiles and coos, and she’s really starting to show her personality.

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Penny’s Three Month Update

Our little Penelope is THREE MONTHS OLD. I have no idea how and when that happened. Some days I feel like she just got here, and then I look back at photos and am amazed it’s only been three months. She’s grown soo much in the past few months and we love watching her learn and grow everyday.

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Her sleep has been INCREDIBLE, we are sooo lucky. In Penelope’s One Month Update, I shared that she had started sleeping 2-4 hour chunks at night which was amazing. Now at three months, she sleeps 8p-8a (with a little snack/diaper change between 3-5a) with a couple naps during the day! She mainly sleeps in her bassinet with the occasional snooze in her DockATot or Rockaroo. I have told everyone – if her love of sleep at night is the only thing she inherited from me, that is a-okay because we are loving it! That 4 month regression is going to really be a shock for us (any tips would be so welcomed).

She loves playing so much nowadays! We still use her activity mat, but we also use her Finding Nemo activity centre because her head and neck control is really good! She likes interacting with the toys and gives them super big smiles. Next up will be the Jolly Jumper when her head and neck control gets a bit better.

Penny also is starting to fall into a routine – eating, playing, napping, repeat – and has responded really well to her nighttime routine (you can read more about that here, How We Got Penny to Sleep Through the Night!). And now she loves bath time – so do we because she’s starting to splash around and really loves kicking her arms and legs in the warm water! It’s a great way to end the day and get her ready for bed.

She’s getting a LOT more vocal and we are obsessed with all her little noises she makes. Cooing, giggling, blowing spit bubbles – we love it all! She also gives the entire family biiiiig smiles when she sees us! It’s so cute watching her recognize us and get this big smile on her face. UGH she kills me.

We are loving life with our little big girl, and I can’t wait to share more with the blog as she gets older! Instagram is the best place to keep up to date with our lives, be sure to check it out!

— Rachel

How We Got Penny to Sleep Through the Night!

I wanted to create a blogpost for any new parents (and for us to look back on) looking to try and create a routine to help their babe get a good night sleep. Penny has blessed us with sleeping through the night, and I really think our routines helped us!

As soon as I got pregnant, everyone said “ohhhh be sure to get as much sleep as you can now – once baby comes, it’ll be a long time before you’ll get a full night’s rest!” (Do these people not realize that when you’re pregnant you pee like 4,000 times at night??)

So Pete and I were pretty anxious about our soon-to-be upside down sleep schedule. I LOVE sleep. I would go to bed at 9p and wake up at 6a – like, really I love sleep. Obviously the first couple weeks were tough for us. Adapting to life with a new baby, not getting a lot of sleep due to middle of the night feedings and diaper changes, taking care of my healing body – it’s hard to adjust! Pete and I decided to try and create some routines throughout the day and evening to help Penny adjust her nights and days and try and get a general rhythm going on to help all of us sleep better at night.

Penny is now almost 12 weeks old, and has been sleeping from 8p-8a for several weeks now (with a little diaper and snack in the middle of the night between 3-6a)!! Below is what worked for us.

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Sleepy Penny when she was just a couple days old!

Continue reading “How We Got Penny to Sleep Through the Night!”

My Recovery & Postpartum Necessities

I felt like when I got pregnant, everyone talked about what pregnancy is like for all 3 trimesters and what delivery is like (the good, bad and ugly) – but not a lot of people talked about what postpartum was like on their bodies. And surprise surprise, it was one of the biggest parts about having Penelope that I was scared of.

As my pregnancy progressed from the first to the second to the third trimester, my sense of fear of what my life would be like in the 4-6 weeks after I gave birth to Penny was growing. How bad does everything hurt? How long does it hurt for? How could I possibly take care of her if I was going to be such a mess? What can I do to make it less painful?

Now that I’ve healed, and Penny is 9 weeks old (um can time slow down please???) I wanted to share the knowledge I received from friends, YouTube, blog posts and website articles and what worked and didn’t work for me! (I’m spilling some details, so if you think that might gross you out – you might wanna skip these.) Also, if you’d like to read about my labour & delivery, click here! Continue reading “My Recovery & Postpartum Necessities”

My Labour & Delivery Story

I wanted to document my labour and delivery story for other mom’s to be, but also for me to look back on since I know I’ll forget a lot of this! While I was in the hospital, Pete took down notes so we could recount exactly what happened, and I’m SO glad we did.

Before I get into my labour and delivery, I should share that in December I went into preterm labour – I was 34 and a half weeks and woke up with really bad stomach pains. I went to triage, and learned that I was having contractions and was already 2-3cm dilated. The OB on call admitted me to labour and delivery (at which point Pete and I were like “ummm are we having our baby 6 weeks early?!”) to try and stop the labour. I spent 36 hours in the hospital getting steroid injections and magnesium drips to slow down the contractions and keep her in me for a few more weeks. ALL the doctors and nurses told us we’d be lucky if we could keep her in for just a few more weeks – and then my due date came and went. Penny did NOT want to come out anymore!!

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Induction day – February 10!

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Penelope’s One Month Update

I have no idea how a month has passed already, but here we are – Penny is officially one month old!! This has been the craziest and most fulfilling month of our entire life. I wanted to share a little update on how our first month as a family of 3 has been – read on!

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Penelope doll from Cuddle & Kind, onesie from Carter’s, bow from Three & Me Accessories

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Nursery Tour

Welcome to Penelope’s nursery!! If you didn’t already know, I gave birth to our baby girl Penelope on February 10 – you can check out my quick post here and check out my Instagram for updates.

We had such a fun time planning and designing her nursery while we waited for her to arrive. Our main goal was to keep it gender neutral with pops of colour here and there – we didn’t want a hot pink nursery just because she’s a girl, it’s just not our thing! After a lot of planning & hard work (on Pete’s part), we have the nursery of our dreams!!

Right now, the chair, change pad/diapers, bassinet and my pumping stuff is in our living room. It’s more practical than me having to walk up and down a full flight of stairs 100 times a day! We’ll transition things back upstairs soon once we have a bit of a routine!

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Meet Penelope Jean!

Just wanted to pop on here really quick to announce the arrival of our sweet baby girl – Penelope Jean!! She was born February 10 at 4:22pm, weighing 8lbs, 13oz.

We are SO in love, and can’t get enough of this little peach. We’ve been taking our time soaking up all the Penny time we can before Pete goes back to work and loving every second of it.

We’ll be back soon with more updates on how life is now with our little bundle – stay tuned!! Follow along our journey on my Instagram too, I’ll be posting a LOT on there!

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