A Day In The Life–Newborn Edition

 

As of Wednesday, Bo and I were on our own with Katie, ready to embark on our life as a family of three. While we loved having so many friends and family members come visit the past two weeks, it has been nice to start finding our groove together. While everyday brings new adventures and a child means that nothing in life is predictable, we are loving every moment even on the most sleep deprived of days.

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While I have a few longer posts drafted in my head, this afternoon I wanted to check in quickly for a Day in the Life post. Things are a lot different around here these days, so I thought it would be fun to share what a “typical” day looks like. I laughed as I typed the word “typical” as there is no such thing as typical with a newborn. Instead, let’s call this a glimpse at what my life looked like today.

Keep in mind, Bo and I have chosen to follow the Moms On Call schedule and method as of week 2 and therefore we have a schedule that we do our best to stick to each day, realizing that sometimes the baby or day’s activities will require some flexibility.

1:45 AM – My alarm goes off and I quickly head downstairs to warm a bottle of formula. The goal at this point is for each feeding session, especially the nighttime feeds, to take no more than 30 minutes. Based on my milk production, right now I am giving Katie 10 minutes on each breast before giving her 2.5-3 ounces of formula via bottle.

2:34 AM – She is milk drunk in no time and after changing diapers twice during the feeding session, she is sound asleep when I set her back in ther bassinet.

5:45 AM – My alarm goes off and this time Bo wakes up to head downstairs to get the bottle warmed and ready while I immediately start feeding Katie. Bo has been a champ these past two weeks, since going back to work, and wakes up so he can squeeze in time with Katie before going to work. After I feed her, Bo takes her and gives her the bottle and changes her diapers before doing 10-15 minutes of skin to skin time on his chest while I go back to sleep for a bit.

7:00 AM – When Bo heads to the shower he wakes me up so I can watch Katie and start my day. I swear that extra hour of sleep is sometimes the most quality sleep I have all day. While Bo is in the shower I take the monitor downstairs and make coffee, prepare his breakfast and snacks and make my own breakfast. I’ve been having oatmeal most mornings since oats are a lactation power food. This morning’s oats were paired with fresh berries, flax seed and a drizzle of almond butter.

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7:15- 9 AM – Since Katie tends to nap like a champ in the morning, I front load my to-do list. This morning that included running a few loads of wash, emptying the dishwasher, making the bed, and writing thank you notes.

9 AM – I wake Katie for her mid-morning feed which also includes 15 minutes of playtime. Since she’s in a good mood, I decide to read to her while she relaxes in her Boppy lounger.  During each of the daytime feeding sessions, we spend 15-20 minutes playing together, enjoying skin to skin or rocking depending on what she seems to enjoy most at that point in the day.

9:45 – 10 AM – I hook myself up to the pump, which I have a love-hate relationship with thus far. I love it because it’s helping me with my milk production and can be used hands-free but for my sanity, I am only pumping 3-4 times per day.

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10 AM – 12 PM – I spend time downstairs baking Gina’s Lactation Cookies before heading back upstairs to shower, change clothes and put on some makeup. So far, I have stuck with my goal of showering every single day and changing clothes each day. It’s amazing what these two simple acts, even when squeezed into a five minute period, can do for me mentally. I have a few spare minutes before my alarm goes off and indluge by curling up in my favorite chair to read for a few minutes.

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12-1:15pm – This feeding doesn’t go quite as smoothly as Katie puts up a fight when I change her diaper and then proceeds to explode her way through three diapers during the change. She finally calms down enough to enjoy a quick Facetime session with my mom before a bit of tummy time.

1:30pm – Hear my stomach growl and quickly dash downstairs to grab lunch from the fridge. Today’s lunch is leftover Sweetgreen salad which my friend Colleen brought over when she came to visit last night. So thankful for an easy lunch as this tends to be the witching hour most days, so I have no idea how long Katie will nap.

1:45 – 2:55 My friend Elizabeth, who has an eight-week old, texts to see if I want to join her for a walk. I quickly move Katie downstairs, attaching her basinet to the stroller, and head out the door. We spend the next hour chatting and running a few errands around the neighborhood, including a stop at the library as well as mailing a pile of thank you notes. Katie sleeps peacefully during our entire walk, enjoying the bumps in the sidewalk and the fresh air.

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3pm – 4pm Time for the late afternoon feeding. I go into this feeding each day mentally prepared for lots of fussiness as babies tend to get fussier in the afternoon. Katie feeds quickly and is clearly hungry but is still wide awake when we finish the entire routine. I try putting her down in the bassinet, hoping that she’ll go to sleep even though her eyes are open.  Since she starts crying when I put her down, I spend the next five minutes soothing her while she’s in the bassinet.  A little bit of rocking, rubbing the stomach and shhhing goes a long way and by the four minute mark she’s asleep. IMG_4281

4pm – I head downstairs to make a quick smoothie snack since my stomach is roaring. Our kitchen is quite bare since I haven’t been to the grocery store and therefore have to rely on what is in our cabinet and freezer. I put frozen raspberries, protein powder, flax seed, water, milk and one tablespoon of almond butter together and blend for a delicious and filling smoothie.

4:15 pm – I sit down to check email and write a post. I hope to have time this weekend, while Bo is home, to write the birth story post as well as my two week reflection post. For today, I decide that sharing a day in the life post is interesting and a lot quicker than either of those two options.

4:55 pm – Push publish on this post and then head downstairs to pour myself a glass of wine and read for a few minutes before heading back upstairs for the 6pm feeding.

It’s been a really good day overall, though I’m looking forward to having Bo around this weekend. At this point in maternity leave I definitely feel a bit isolated. It’s helpful to have friends nearby who are also on maternity leave and I’ve made it a goal to enjoy at least a few dates each week with them whether it’s breakfast, lunch, play date or a walk around the neighborhood. Thank you again to everyone who has sent text messages, Insta messages, comments and emails with tips and tricks for making it through this first month.

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33 Comments

  1. Kathryn July 8, 2017 / 1:01 am

    Congratulations to you and Bo on the new baby! She is just precious! I would strongly caution against the Moms on Call schedule, especially if you are still struggling with breastmilk production. With my first (I have four now), I looked into it, and my pediatrician, MIL who is a neonatologist, and postpartum doula were all horrified at how much it damages your milk supply, because it forces stretched/scheduled feedings, not feeding on demand, which is recommended with newborns, especially teeny tiny gals like yours who are not gaining weight properly. In addition, many of the recommendation, which I noticed you seem to be following, force you to cry-it-out with newborns, which is also very strongly not recommended. You seem to be putting far too much pressure on yourself to have a structure to your days that do not exist with newborns, but I hope that you’re getting to relax a bit and enjoy your little girl!

    • Megan July 9, 2017 / 5:50 am

      I 100% agree with Kathryn!! Just feed her when she’s hungry, sleep when she sleeps, and stop stressing.

      • ashleyd July 9, 2017 / 6:49 pm

        Thank you Megan. Honestly, if she is crying for a reason other than wet/dirty diaper and isn’t calmed when I soothe her, then we are feeding her but that hasn’t happend much at all other than a few of the night time feed sessions.

  2. Katie @ Live Half Full July 8, 2017 / 2:07 am

    You’re doing a great job! I was a bit obsessive about the schedule in the beginning and it helped a lot. Over time I’ve learned to be more flexible but our routines helped me to do that!

  3. Alyssa July 8, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    Hi Ashley – I sent you a rather long email from a fellow new mom 🙂

  4. Ashley July 8, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing! Katie is beautiful and you are doing a fantastic job! I’m pregnant with our first- due in November- and I’m trying to learn all I can 🙂 thank you for all the tips and thoughts!

    • Betsy July 9, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Hi Ashley,

      As a somewhat veteran mom (3 grown boys and 7 young grandkids) and pediatric nurse, I want to caution you strongly about following this type of schedule – it is not in the baby’s best interest. Please do your own research and do not rely on what bloggers are doing to guide you as a new parent. This type of schedule for a newborn is frankly alarming to me and if my patient were being put on it, I would strongly advise them to stop immediately for both mother and child’s sake.

      • ashleyd July 9, 2017 / 6:47 pm

        Thank you Betsy for your thoughts and input. Trust me, I am not doing what bloggers are doing. Instead, we did a lot of research and chose Moms on Call as it was developed by two pediatric nurses. Our pediatrician supports it and so far it has been very helpful in having Katie gain weight. Thank you though.

  5. Lisa July 8, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    Newborns do not self soothe. Period. If your baby is crying, pick her up.

    • Liz July 10, 2017 / 3:07 am

      Yes! I agree. It breaks my heart to think that a baby under 3 months is left to “self soothe.” I’m all for teaching them this skill when they’re older, but definitely not in the first month!

      Great job on the pumping. I’d encourage you though to allow the baby to feed on your breast for longer if you’re truly hoping to increase your supply. With my 3 kids, I let them have unlimited time on the breast on demand for the first 2-3 weeks (and then moved toward a schedule), and I truly believe that set the foundation for a good supply!

      The beginning is so much trial and error. It goes by really quickly even the days are long so try to enjoy as much as possible!

      • ashleyd July 10, 2017 / 12:54 pm

        I should change the verbiage to soothing. We are soothing her by rubbing her stomach, shhhing, etc. She is only self soothing if she is just “cooing” or wimpering versus crying. Thanks for the feedback regarding having her on me longer. It’s interesting as the pediatrician, lactation consultant and others have not recommended this as feeding on breast + feeding bottle + pumping would take way too long if I just let her feed at length.

        • Lisa July 10, 2017 / 2:25 pm

          First of all babies don’t coo at this age. If they are making sound it’s because they want something. Rubbing her stomach is not a substitute for holding. Pick up your newborn. You cannot spoil a baby. You can cause attachment issues if you don’t respond to their needs though.

        • Liz July 10, 2017 / 2:59 pm

          It’s crazy because with my first I distinctly remember my pediatrician saying only to leave my daughter on the breast for 10-15 min per breast, and I tried this at first. However, it absolutely did not work (so much crying!). There was no way my daughter could have gotten enough milk in 20-30 min per feeding at first–she pretty much needed to cluster feed for the first two weeks of her life. At the time, it felt rough, but it actually was a sweet time, perfect for bonding. And, after those weeks, I feel like I had (and still have with my most recent baby) a wonderful breastfeeding experience.

          This is ultimately to say that while it’s great to get people’s advice (even doctors!), sometimes trusting your gut is best. I’d say do not be afraid of a little trial and error and figure out what works best for the two of you. Most importantly though don’t forget you only get this tiny newborn time once, and there is lots and lots of time for schedule setting down the road.

  6. Helen July 8, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    Congratulations, she is so gorgeous!
    Just wanted to say, I don’t know anything about moms on call, and I’m sure you’re doing an amazing job, but if your goal is exclusive breastfeeding then the best advice is to feed on demand and watch the baby not the clock. (Although if you’re worried about her weight then I’d consider waking her to feed every three hours.) Babies tend to naturally find their own schedule soon enough once you get past the crazy newborn days.

    • ashleyd July 9, 2017 / 6:50 pm

      Thank you Helen! Unfortunately, at this point feeding exclusively with breastfeeding isn’t an option as I’m still not producing enough even though I’m stimulating with her 8 times a day and pumping as well. She is gaining weight right now and has surpassed the 8 lb mark already. If she cries while sleeping/napping and it isn’t due to dirty diaper, wet diaper and soothing doesn’t work then we are of coures giving her a bit more time on the breast or formula but so far this hasn’t happend much.

  7. Becky July 9, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    I say this as a mom with 2 kids who BFed both beyond a year. It doesn’t matter if you BF or FF, but when is the baby just being held? Let baby sleep on you (no newborns do not create habits) let baby cluster feed etc. a schedule comes later and it’s great, but enjoy these days more. It’s not blog fodder

    • ashleyd July 10, 2017 / 12:53 pm

      Becky I so agree with you and I should probably update this post a bit to better explain things. For example, after feeding during the day I hold her or Bo holds her if he is home. We are doing skin to skin time as well as just cuddling. Trust me, she is being loved and during the “witching hour” after the 9pm feeding, most nights she’s spending at least 30 minutes being cuddled and loved.

  8. Becky July 9, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    Hi Ashley,

    Trust your instincts and you know what works for you guys.
    I hear you on feeling isolated in the early days of maternity leave, especially when everyone has left and it’s just the two of you during the day. It does get easier and once Katie is out of the ‘newborn stage’ you can join some local baby classes and meet other mums.

  9. Kate July 10, 2017 / 10:15 am

    I fed on demand with my son and it went ok. Was up for hours each night though. Definitely took him a while to snap out of the day night reversal. I do wish I had tried a schedule to see if that helped.

    I personally don’t like the cry it out method, but that’s just me. Different things will work with different families!

    Anything anyone can tell how much you love your baby. As long as baby is loved, fed, and clothed she’ll be fine. Good work mummy!

    • ashleyd July 10, 2017 / 12:55 pm

      We aren’t using the cry it out method at this age but instead trying to help her get on a schedule. If she is crying or fussy we soothe her for five minutes at a time in hopes of calming her. Right now she isn’t really crying for more food but when she is clearly cooing or showing signs of needing more, we are giving it to her whether bottle or breast.

      • Kate July 11, 2017 / 7:45 am

        Every mum is an expert on being a mum hey 😉 just keep trusting your gut regardless of what anyone says. It drives me nuts how Mums are so quick to judge others. You are doing a good job!!

  10. nr July 10, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    Hi! I also had breastfeeding supply issues with both my babies and did all the stuff you’re doing — herbs, cookies, pumping around the clock, supplementing with formula, etc., etc. It’s really hard, and you’re not alone. I know everyone has advice, but I wanted to say that with baby #2, I gave up on watching the clock and it made life so much easier. For example, I did X number of minutes per breast with my first baby (whether she liked it or not, haha) and with #2, I just fed until he seemed happy, and sometimes that was longer, but sometimes it was not. Also, when in doubt, I stuck a boob in his mouth. This is so much nicer than being hooked to the pump. I still needed to supplement with formula — and he was majority formula fed — but it was just way less stressful. (Can you tell I hate the pump?) Good luck. BFing is so natural, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Also, there are low supply BF support groups on FB and they can be helpful.

  11. Laura July 10, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    Isn’t it fun being a mom blogger and have everyone weigh in on what you’re doing and dissect every word you right and be alarmed at what you’re doing? 😉 You shouldn’t have to defend yourself. We didn’t do Mom’s on call and that worked for us. If doing Mom’s on call works for you then you do you. You and Bo are smart people who obviously aren’t going to jeopardize your daughter’s health.

  12. Holly July 10, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    Hi Ashley – i also had low milk supply and I found basil and fennel essential oils helpful in increasing it. Just throwing it out there if you have the time/inclination to research it. What I also found helpful (for me) was offering breast frequently throughout the day. You’re doing great! The first month is the hardest!

  13. Shelly July 10, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    Im curious as to why you aren’t offering unlimited time at the breasts first before supplementing or pumping? The lactation consultant I used referenced this web site a lot.
    http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/newborn-nursing/

  14. Adriane July 11, 2017 / 12:38 am

    Hi Ashley,

    I struggled with baby blues pretty badly for the first 6 weeks after my son was born. Joining a new mom and breastfeeding support group was the best decision I made. I met wonderful, supportive women and the leader of the group was welcoming of all parenting methods. It honestly got me through a really tough time. The group was in Astoria (Momally) but I am sure there are some closer to you. Take care of yourself!

    • Adriane July 11, 2017 / 12:39 am

      Not to indicate you are struggling, just sharing my experience.

  15. Kelsey July 13, 2017 / 6:05 am

    I saw in your Insta stories today that you posted about missing “car dance parties” on the way to your friend’s mom’s funeral. Was live Instragramming on the way to your FRIEND’S MOM FUNERAL really the appropriate thing to do? Was posting about missing car dance parties – on the way to your FRIEND’S MOM FUNERAL – really appropriate? A friend who is active on social media? A friend who has other friends who are active on social media and very likely to see your post, even if she does not? I can’t tell you how many people are truly offended by your choices today. You must be lucky. Those of us who lost a parent at a relatively young age would know better. But you know everything, right? Everything is perfect and easy for you, right? You’re an expert on parenting and being a friend and going to funerals and everything, right? You’re always right.

    • ashleyd July 14, 2017 / 12:53 pm

      Kelsey, Thank you for these words and for sharing your thoughts with me. I will be the first to admit that no, I do not know everything at all. I have not suffered the loss that Theodora suffered this week and has dealt with over the past two years while her mom fought this horrible disease. I also never say that I am an expert on parenting, being a friend or life in general. Like most of us, I am just trying to make it through one day at a time. You are 100% right that some of the choices I made in sharing on social media were most likely not the best in the moment and for that I will apologize to Theodora directly and to you and anyone else. The only decision I made those two days that I know was the right one was having Bo work from home so I could go to New Jersey for the wake and funeral. Leaving Katie at 3 weeks was harder than I thought it would be and one of my outlets is music and laughter so maybe I was trying to find a little bit of sunshine on a gray day. Regardless, thank you for your thoughts.

  16. Jenn Dong July 14, 2017 / 8:53 am

    Bo is so sweet for getting up early and doing skin to skin! Such a supportive husband 🙂 I’m sorry you feel a bit isolated…but you’re doing a fantastic job! I am so impressed you managed to post a couple of blog posts during this crazy and sleep deprived time! Be sure to be good to yourself (mentally and physically)….let things go and know this is only a moment’s time. Order FreshDirect or Amazon Fresh…seamless…UberEats…hiring a cleaning service…whatever it takes to make you feel good. Newborn phase is so precious and you deserve all the extra treats and help you can get. It’s too bad you live in Brooklyn! I would love to meet up with you now/once my little one arrives in August. Anyway, keep up the great work!

    • ashleyd July 14, 2017 / 12:48 pm

      Thank you so much! We have a cleaning service that comes every other week and I am LOVING Foodkick and Fresh Direct to help out as well! Since I’m only a few stops on the F hopefully in a few weeks time we can meet up. Once I’m able to wear her things will be A LOT easier! Praying for you over these next few weeks!

  17. Jenn Dong July 14, 2017 / 8:54 am

    One more note….oats are a great lactation food, yes! But I found out through my OBGYN that protein is THE #1 source for amazing supply….fatty fish like salmon. Whenever I eat a filling protein heavy meal, my supply goes WAY up! 🙂

    • ashleyd July 14, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      Oooh that is GREAT to know! I am going to have a protein-filled lunch and this morning I am having protein via Greek yogurt!

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