Reflections on The First Week As A Mother


It has been one week since Bo and I became parents. In some ways it feels like just a few hours has passed while other moments it feels like an eternity. It has truly taken a village this week to help us through the process of adjusting to life with a newborn and navigating challenges, including keeping her healthy and growing.

While I have shared a great deal on Instagram and Instastories, I wanted to share a few highlights and reflections on our adventures during the first week of parenthood. I do not expect that I will maintain this as a series, sharing weekly reflections, but for now, as I sit here hooked up to a pump, I thought it would be a great way to share some honest, raw thoughts on what we’ve experienced as well as some laughs along the way.

Week One of Parenthood

I have so many thoughts regarding this first week of childhood. While it definitely doesn’t come with an instruction manual, I am thankful that Bo and I spent time in advance reading about soothing techniques, habits and what to expect during the first few weeks. However, no book could prepare us for the emotions that come with the week’s events.  I have cried more this week than I ever imagined, due in part to the raging hormones as well as some of our challenges.

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What are some of the challenges you all faced this week? While Katie’s delivery was smooth and quick, unfortunately she lost a significant amount of weight between the 24 and 72 hour mark, surpassing the 11% guidelines. Her weight decreased from birth by 13% while she also dealt with jaundice. This combination resulted in multiple pediatrician visits, a chance of being readmitted to the NICU and an overall feeling of failure and helplessness on my part.

Weight During the Week:

  • Birth: 7 lbs 7 oz
  • 6/21: 7 lbs
  • 6/22: 6 lbs 10 oz
  • 6/23: 6 lbs 7 oz
  • 6/24: 6 lbs 9 oz
  • 6/26: 6 lbs 15 oz

There are so many discussions that we’ve had this week that we never expected to have during week 1. Her weight loss was caused in part to the fact that my milk has not come in at a normal rate. As of now, I am only producing a very small amount, not nearly enough to satiate her hunger during any of the eight feedings. We had to discuss the pros and cons of formula, stock up on bottles, and discuss alternatives to breast milk. As soon as we began supplementing with formula, our daughter became a different person. She was more alert, slept better and begin filling out again as her color also improved. However, adding these steps means that I dedicate more time to feeding than I ever realized possible. A typical feeding session right now is as follows:

    • Massage breasts
    • Have Katie feed/enjoy skin to skin for an average of 10 minutes per breast
    • Have Bo or one of my parents give Katie 2 ounces of formula via bottle   
    • Warm compress and pump

The above process happens 3-4 times per day while the other 4-5 times per day I skip the pumping for my current sanity.

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How is mom’s recovery thus far from labor & delivery? I am lucky that my labor and delivery was shorter than most, with only 12 hours of labor from induction to delivery. My final stage of labor was 10 minutes, including about 20 bursts of pushes which were very efficient and only resulted in a one degree tear. I attribute the quick labor in part to the prenatal pilates classes I took during pregnancy, which focused on proper breathing, as well as my lack of epidural, which meant I could feel every contraction as it came and push exactly as it arrived. While this form of delivery was not what I expected and will be explained further in her birth story, it turns out that it also allowed for faster reduction in fluid retention and faster recovery. As of now I am still taking things easy, limiting my walks to 1-2 miles a day in total but spread across a few separate walks. I have no plans to return to more intense exercise than walking until I see my doctor for my six week appointment.

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Number of Diaper Changes: 55

Number of Pediatrician Visits: 4

Average number of hours Ashley has slept per day: 4.25


Number of days Bo was on paternity leave: One week

Number of diaper changing stations now set up throughout the house: We quickly realized that having multiple changing stations made our life FAR easier. Our  dresser in our master bedroom is the evening and nighttime changing table while during the day we are using this great, portable changing pad that I received in last month’s BumpBox for changing diapers downstairs during the day.


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What were a few of the memorable firsts?

    • Holding her in my arms after the delivery.
    • Calling our parents and siblings from the delivery room to let them know they’d officially become grandparents.
    • Waking up as a family of three for the first time, while enjoying the incredible sunrise over the East River from our hospital room.
    • Katie peeing all over Bo during her first day of life.
    • My mom giving Katie her first bath while still in the hospital.
    • My mom drawing Katie’s blood for the billirubin test when the office’s phlebotomist was having a tough time.
    • Watching my dad tickle her tiny feet.
    • The first night of cluster feeding, when I felt so helpless and clueless but was quickly supported by so many Instagram followers.
    • Seeing my ankles for the first time in months, thanks to decreased swelling.


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  1. katie June 28, 2017 / 3:01 am

    One of the best 1 week posts i’ve read! keep up the good work, get some good rest and recovery.

  2. Kristen June 28, 2017 / 7:11 am

    I personally found breastfeeding harder than giving birth. Whatever works. In my case I had one twin with significant health challenges (congenital heart defect) and had to add powdered formula to my breast milk to make it higher calorie and help him gain weight. I will say that renting a hospital grade pump was SO helpful, both in effectiveness and in time saved.

  3. Courtney June 28, 2017 / 9:04 am

    Hi Ashley – I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but this is my first time commenting! I also had similar challenges with weight gain and milk production, and so I just wanted to remind you to be kind to yourself in this rough time. For a while, I came close to measuring my value as a mother in the number of ounces I produced, and now that I’m out of the newborn haze I know how absurd that was. I hope you’re taking time to enjoy your precious addition!

  4. Christina @ June 28, 2017 / 10:58 am

    We had similar challenges after our little guy was born – he had jaundice, he was losing weight and then not gaining enough weight despite me feeding him constantly. My milk took six days to come in and then I think his latch wasn’t very good so my supply wasn’t high enough – I did just what you’re doing, supplemented, pumped, and kept at it, and now he’s 9 months, exclusively breastfeeding and a really big baby! Having a lactation consultant come to our house was also a game changer because she really helped with his latch.
    That said, I really wish I had put less pressure on myself to make breastfeeding work because it really was stressful and upsetting, I feel for you and know that can be so challenging, emotionally and physically. You’re doing a great job!!!

  5. Annie June 28, 2017 / 11:48 am

    As someone who is not yet a mother, I really enjoyed reading your honest first week post! 🙂 You, your new baby girl, and the rest of your family look wonderful. Looking forward to following your journey!

  6. A June 28, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    Hello! From one Brooklyn mommy to another, I just want to say you are doing a great job! Breastfeeding is REALLY hard and exhausting but it will get better. I spent so much time stressing and crying over it. One thing that really helped me when I had production issues was getting a massage…since it mechanically relaxes the muscles in my body, it really helped me get things going. Good luck to you. See you around the ‘hood!

  7. Katie D. June 28, 2017 / 12:49 pm

    Those nights of cluster feedings were so intense. I went from crying due to frustration and exhaustion to crying out of love and the intense release of oxytocin.

    Most baby posts make me want a newborn again due to the glossing over of the hard parts, but yours are so honest that they remind me of the struggles I faced too. Thank you!!!

    (But I am INSANELY jealous of your speedy induction – mine was much slower!!)

  8. Jessica June 28, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    Ashley! You are doing such an amazing job. Way to go, mama! I’m happy for you that you have such a great support team AND that you are recognizing that you have to take care of yourself/your sanity. The fourth trimester is so intense for all of the reasons you wrote about. Hang in there and enjoy the squishy newborn cuddles with your beautiful little one. All of the struggles will pass and you will just remember that sweet little head on your chest.

    Now you’ll have to excuse me while I wipe away these nostalgic tears… 🙂

  9. Megan June 28, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    First, you’re doing a great job! I’ve never commented before, but I think it’s important for moms to share experiences – you’re not alone with the feeding difficulties! I had the same trouble with my first born – she was so tiny and lost so much weight while I was trying to breastfeed. The lactation consultant had me on a schedule that would actually allow me to sleep about 5 minutes every two hours, which, in my exhausted state, seemed perfectly reasonable (the things we do to mothers around here. . . ). Turns out, I only make milk from one breast, and not much at that. She was getting mere grams of milk in 20 minute feeds. Pumping yielded about an ounce a day with 8 pumps. I would literally have a panic attack every time it was time to feed her! I managed to pump the teeny, tiny amount I could and feed her that with formula for about 3 months, until I had to go back to work, when she became formula-fed exclusively. I felt terrible, like I was failing this tiny human. But she started to thrive and put on weight and was just a dream baby.

    When my second was born, I decided I wasn’t going to go through that again – it took me forever to bond with my girl because I was so distraught. I told people that unless my breasts decided to perk up and literally shoot milk, I wasn’t going to do it. Once again, my milk never really came in. I’ve never been engorged, never leaked, none of it. I saw the same lactation consultants in the hospital (who were wonderful – remembered my issues before and tried a few new things), managed to get him some drops of colostrum, pumped a teeny, tiny amount before I went back to work, and put him on formula without looking back.

    I really wanted to breastfeed. I think it’s great for babies. I believe in the benefits of breastfeeding. But you know what else kids need, that’s more important? Sane moms, who don’t cry when handed their babies (except happy tears marveling at how wonderful and miraculous they are.)

    Sorry for the huge comment, but you’re doing great! Whatever you choose to do is the right call for you and your family. Good luck with that beautiful baby!

  10. Laura June 28, 2017 / 5:17 pm

    Congratulations, she is soooo cute! I’m glad you had a healthy delivery! Don’t feel bad about supplementing with formula, fed is best! I exclusively did formula with my daughter and she thrived on it!

  11. Kasandra Raux June 29, 2017 / 12:05 am

    First off, congratulations again. The first two weeks are so so hard. Cluster feeding is so intense! With A, she came 5 weeks early and had to pump to get my milk in. We had some issues at first, with poor latch (nipple shield for 5 weeks) and jaundice. We eventually were on the road to breastfeeding success when A had to have heart surgery on her (initially undiagnosed) CHDs. From there on, we never got back on track. We still nursed but she was incredibly fussy (aka hungry). Around 7 months eventually had to turn to formula because a) I went back to work and my supply dropped and b) she wasn’t gaining a lot and became failure to thrive/borderline needed to be hospitalized. I felt like such a failure and cried making the first bottle of formula. By 9 months she was exclusively formula fed. I am still learning to make my peace with it but her needing to almost be hospitalized again due to our feeding issues was a wake up call. So much pressure is put on us as parents. We must be kind to ourselves. Formula isn’t evil; so many of us were raised on formula and turned out to be pretty decent human beings, right? I’m thankful for formula. I hope with future kids, we will have better luck at nursing. Please remember to be kind to yourself. You’re doing a great job.

    I also love that meme of Steve Carrell – I totally remember relating to that and wanting to (jokingly) smother my husband while nursing at some crazy hour!!!

  12. Errign June 29, 2017 / 1:19 am

    Hang in there! If you haven’t, have Katie checked for a tongue tie by someone well-verses in identify ties. It took 6 months for my sons to be diagnosed and because of that, I had low milk supply, he didn’t nurse and I spent a year hooked up to the pump.

    You are doing a wonderful job!!

  13. Kate June 29, 2017 / 5:04 am

    You are doing a great job and she is gorgeous!

    Go easy on yourself. Fed is best. As is a sane mummy 🙂

    I wasn’t able to breastfeed and my baby is a year old, perfectly healthy, and very alert and active. If you have to give more formula that’s completely ok. If you are worried you’ll be judged (which no one should!!!) just don’t tell anyone.

  14. Bri June 29, 2017 / 1:31 pm

    Congratulations! Welcome to the world Katie!! Those first two weeks of breastfeeding are TOUGH, but it gets much easier after that! Sending all the good vibes your way. <3

  15. Nicole June 29, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    congratulations!!! you both look beautiful!!

  16. Katherine Johnston June 30, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Check out The Nursing Mother’s Companion if you haven’t already. It is a phenomenal resource and the only reason I kept nursing after the first week with W. We went on to have two happy nursing years.

    • ashleyd July 6, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      Thank you so much!

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