I’m honestly in disbelief that it has already been 6 months since Harper’s arrival into the world. I guess it’s true what people say about the days being long and the years being short (although, I don’t have a year under my belt…). TJ and I were chatting just the other night and reminiscing on the evening before she was born. It was the last evening we had together with zero responsibility other than to ourselves and each other. Yet, it was one filled with eager anticipation…. as I was supposed to be induced 24 hours later…. although little miss had plans to come on her own in the wee hours of the morning. All that being said, I thought I would share a little about this month’s journey, as well as the parenthood transition of the past 6 months overall.
General Thoughts + Feelings: Whereas last month was a more difficult one for me, this past month has probably been my favorite thus far. I’m not sure if it was the trip to Hawaii, or the few weekend trips we have taken since then, but I started to feel as though we were falling into a groove again. Or, more likely, her personality has developed so much that there is a level of reciprocal engagement that just melts my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I have my days. Days where I want to pull my hair out… where the spit up and demands of working and being a mom are overwhelming… yet, overall, its been a good month.
Something I have struggled with a little this month is balancing the demands of being a work-at-home mom. It’s far more difficult than I thought it would be. While I work 25-30 hours a week on the blog, I am also her primary caregiver… and that can get overwhelming balancing it all. There are evenings where TJ walks through the door and I just need 15 minutes by myself… and there have been days where I have sent him text messages just needing to vent. While I feel incredibly blessed to be able to work from home and take care of Harper, finding the balance is something I am working on. Something I keep promising myself I am going to do, but haven’t yet, is enroll Harper and me in a class together. I know I said this last month…. again, I’m working on finding all the balance here!
Sleep + Feeding: Just this past week we transitioned Harper out of her bassinet in our room to her crib (in her room). With the exception of a couple rough naps, she made the move pretty seamlessly. She continues to sleep from 7:30pm-7/7:30am, which I continue to feel incredibly blessed about. I make sure she gets at least two solid naps during the day (around 9ish and 3ish) with a couple of cat naps as needed… sometimes during the evening catnap, TJ and I try to head out for an hour or so (that’s been a recent development….). Having transitioned her out of her bassinet, I worry about her getting cold, so I recently purchased these adorable little sleepers for her, and they appear to keep her at a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Also, this monitor has been working great! It allows me to hear her, yet at the same time get a very nice evening of sleep (can I get an Amen here?!).
I think one of the changes I have loved the most this month has been in the feeding arena. We recently introduced solid foods into the mix and I think it is so fun to see what her tastebuds like. So far, she is loving this quinoa cereal mixed with breastmilk in the mornings, and loves her some sweet potatoes, carrots, and avocados (she’s her mother’s daughter in this arena!). She’s warming up to peas, and I’m planning on introducing green beans over the weekend…. and then some fruits. I’ve been adding those items to her 1:30 and 4:30 feedings, and she seems to enjoy sitting in the high chair and being part of the mix. By the way, I have two high chairs, but this one is by far and away my favorite.
I am still nursing. Yet, I always struggle when people say “good for you,” as if I am making a conscious choice to continue. In all honesty, I have guilt. Knowing that I can nurse makes me feel like I can’t stop. Being a therapist, I see all the problems with this line of thinking, but it’s my struggle, all moms have one, and I thought I would share it with you. I don’t see myself as a selfless woman, who loves nursing… I do it because I know the benefits, and would feel guilty if I stopped. It’s another area I am trying to work on over the next few months…. I’m not sure how it will end up, but I am just letting the process unfold.
Harper doesn’t detest the bottle like she used to, and with the addition of solid foods, I can get out a little more…. she still refuses to take it at night though…. so we’re working on that one. The como tomo bottles are by far her favorites, and if I can give any advice to you soon to be mommas out there, it’s to get a portable pump. I got one that had to be plugged in to work, and it makes pumping a hassle.
Body/Fitness: Last month this was a rough spot for me…. yet, once I decided that I needed to get back to what I love (more about that here) I started feeling stronger, both physically and emotionally. Getting up and running in the morning has done wonders for clarity of mind, as well as providing me with a fulfilling workout. I am finding that tying my fitness goals to an event, like the half marathon, as opposed to a physical outcome, is much more fulfilling… and fun. I’m also finding that the more I try to focus on the parts I am happy with, the more I start to not worry about the parts that I think could still use some work.
My hair continues to fall out… but I’ve been assured it will stop…. I just wouldn’t mind if it stopped sooner rather than later. I opted to get a keratin treatment (similar to a brazillian blowout) in an attempt to reduce the amount of heat I apply to my hair on a daily basis. I’ve started taking these vitamins, and think they might be having an impact given that they contain biotin.
The Best Moments: There were a lot of great moments this past month! Our trip to Hawaii was one of them. I loved taking her to a place that my family and I have loved so much over the years. It was also a great confidence booster for TJ and me in our efforts to continue traveling…. so much so that I am going to attempt a solo flight to New York with her in August (well, we’re 95% certain this will happen…. the other 5% is my apprehension).
I’ve loved watching her little personality flourish. Her facial expressions, curiosity, and little voice make my heart melt. I love watching her relationship with TJ develop as well. I think a strong father in a little girl’s life is so crucial, and the love he shows her is amazing. After a long day of work, he changes his clothes and gets down on the ground and plays with her… and can make her laugh like no one else… straight from the belly laughs.
Introducing her to solid foods has been surprisingly fun for me. My girlfriend put it perfectly. She said that you are witnessing their very first time trying something… and I thought that was pretty cool. I love watching her initial reactions, and it’s a way that we are able to engage reciprocally with one another…. as opposed to her just kinda hanging out and sucking (sorry if that’s a little graphic…. but….).
I also love our morning routine together. We read a couple of stories, sing a few songs (new favorite is 5 Little Monkeys Swinging In A Tree….. complete with my own made up hand motions….), do a little tummy and floor time… and just giggle and cuddle. It’s our time and I love it so much!
Marriage: I haven’t had this in the previous updates, but have received a few questions about adapting as a couple post-baby, so I thought I would briefly address it here. The bottom line is that it isn’t easy, and I think it’s a continual process over the years. TJ and I were married for 6 years before Harper was born, and so we had to reflect and make shifts to the way we operated. I am so happy that we spent those 6 years together traveling, being spontaneous, and just focusing on the two of us, as it has enabled us to effectively navigate this journey. We have our days. Who doesn’t? Yet, what I appreciate and love is that we talk about it. He knows how I feel, I know how he feels, and then we come up with a solution and move on. We are intentional about our time together…. Friday nights are our guaranteed evening together. We unwind from the work week, unplug (typically we don’t watch TV), listen to some music, and chat about what’s on our mind. It’s something I look forward to all week long. Lately, with Harper getting a little older , we’ve been incorporating a short mid-week outing… which I’ve also come to look forward to as well.
I also try to be very intentional about thanking TJ for all that he does to help. While I’ve always felt it was important to split parenting duties, I also feel it is essential to express gratitude and appreciation to the other for all they are doing. I appreciate it when he thanks me, and I know he appreciates it too.
Favorite Products From The Last 6 Months: Having kept a child alive for 6 months with all me senses (well, I guess that’s debatable), I thought I would share the products that helped me along the way. They’re the ones I would buy all over again, won’t be giving away, and thank God I had in the beginning….
2. Swaddle: Having read Happiest Baby On The Block, TJ and I knew we were going to be doing a lot of swaddling. What we didn’t realize was how much we would actually rely on it. When we were using traditional swaddle blankets, we were finding that she would get out of them and that would interrupt her sleeping cycles. When we found this one, our world changed! It kept her swaddled, and that’s when she started sleeping for longer duration in the evening.
3. Owl Sound Machine: Nature noises where incredibly helpful in the first few months (okay, we still use it) in helping Harper sleep. We still use the nature noises during her naps and at bedtime.
4. Rock + Play: When I was first pregnant, I wanted a beautiful little bassinet…. yet all my friends recommended this option. It was a lifesaver, as Harper did not like laying flat on her back. She slept in this, next to my side the bed, for the first 5 months of her life… until she started flipping over. At that point we transitioned her to a flat surface.
5. Baby Carrier: I loved this one, as well as this solly wrap. It really just depended on what kind of mood Harper was in (I reviewed both here). These wraps helped me get my you know what together every morning. I was able to wear her while I did my hair or make-up… or while I cooked breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It was so nice to hold her close, all while being hands free.
6. Post-partum leggings (that can be worn during pregnancy): I loved these leggings postpartum and pretty much lived in them. They are comfortable, and very giving to that post pregnancy belly.
7. Nursing Bra: I bought several of these babies… they’re excellent quality, comfortable, and not too granny looking.
8. Owlet Monitor: I wrote a review of the product here, but this is an excellent product to provide peace of mind to any new parents. It’s also been great as we have transitioned her out of our room and into her own room.
10. Bumbo Seat: We loved this as an option for Harper because it let her hang out in a seated position…. and when I would put the tray in front of her with some toys, she was able to entertain herself for a little while. I also liked that it was an alternative to laying flat.
11. Diaper Backpack: While I love my shoulder diaper bag, this option was a lifesaver on those days where we had so many items and no shoulder or free hands to carry another thing! TJ loves to carry it as well… and it made navigating the airport so much easier!