Today marks four months since this little chunky tub of cuteness came into our lives and flipped everything upside down. Let me just start by saying that, for all the mamas out there struggling in the early months, it does get better. I hated everyone who told me that when I was struggling with breastfeeding pain or Nez was screaming her head off from 4-7pm every night, but it really does. So hang in there. Anyways, I figured this would be a good time to give a little update on where we are as a family and my experience with these first four months of being a mom.
Months one and two were a shit show, for lack of a better term, and at that stage, it’s really all about survival. As much as I loved Nez from day one, the first month was honestly the worst month of my life. I’m still working up the courage to share my experience with breastfeeding/formula, and I’ll get there eventually, but let’s just say it was brutal. Once I did switch to formula, the clouds began to clear and I felt so much more like myself. Even though Nez was still waking up constantly throughout the night, I wasn’t in pain and it made all the difference in my sanity. I’ve had a few moms talk about wanting to switch to formula and being uncertain about the choice, and while it’s absolutely a personal decision, for me it was unquestionably the right move and ultimately allowed me to enjoy motherhood in a way I don’t think I could have otherwise.
At about 3 months, Nez started to become far more interactive, smiling at us and tracking things with her eyes. That made all the difference in feeling like I wasn’t just in maintenance mode and going through the motions of nap, feed, diaper, play, repeat. Once she engaged with me in some capacity, even just a random smile here and there, she became so much more human in my eyes and oddly I felt less isolated.
The three month mark also became the point in our journey when I decided to be extremely proactive about fixing things that weren’t working for us. For example, Nez screamed bloody murder every time we got in the car. At first I figured this might just be her personality and there was little I could do about it. So I basically stopped leaving the house and developed a deep anxiety. No. That’s not how this should work. I want her to adapt to our lifestyle (within reason of course), not the other way around. So I hauled ass to Target and bought the most over the top, bigger than you can imagine carseat I could find; one of those behemoths that works for babies all the way up to 10 year-olds. I had read that some babies don’t like the bucket style seat that typically attached to a stroller, and prefer a different silhouette. Not a peep since we switched her over. Now we get out of the house every day without any drama.
The other major shift has been with formula. She started getting really fussy and gassy nearly every day, and again, the thought crossed my mind that it could just be her personality, but I figured it would be worth trying to solve the problem. We switched her to a new formula and it fixed that issue but ultimately created a new issue. Yesterday we started a new one again, so the jury is still out, but I know we will get there. The moral of the story is that I’ve learned you have to be proactive about fixing issues to make your life work. Yes, the little ones are the center of our universe, but we still have to take care of ourselves and put ourselves first in order to serve them. Happy parents, happy babies.
Honestly, the biggest game changer and by far the most important win for us was sleep. At 3 months, Nez started sleeping through the night. And when I say sleeping through the night, I mean she goes to bed at around 6:30pm and wakes up between 6:30-7am. I know, don’t kill me. It’s a miracle and has given me my sanity back and made all of the long days far more manageable. I think it’s a mix of nature and nurture that this happened as it did. I need 8-9 hours of sleep a night to be mildly nice, so it’s no surprise that my daughter might’ve inherited my love for bedtime. But I also started getting her on a schedule and routine really early. We moved her into her nursery at 5 or 6 weeks because I just couldn’t take her loud sleeping anymore, and again, happy parents, happy babies. She took to her crib better than she did the Snoo (anyone in the market for a like-new Snoo?!) and Tommy and I switched off on night feedings since she was being bottle fed. I started following the Baby Wise Sleep Schedule, and ultimately right around 10 weeks, hired on a sleep consultant to give us the tools we needed to get to that finish line of a good night sleep. Totally worth it.
I wouldn’t say every day is rainbows and sunshine, but we are getting closer. I’m prioritizing myself now in a way that I had given up on for 3 months. I’m starting to work again, get out of the house more with Nez (and without her), and feel more confident in my abilities to take care of her and give her what she needs.
Yesterday she laughed for the first time and it was a good reminder that every stage is going to be better than the last. It was also a good reminder that I’ve made it through the worst of it and I’m doing better than okay.