Hello to the craziest adventure of my life. I'm 7 weeks post giving birth to my sweet little man Addison James, and it has been a journey I'll never forget. From the day he entered the world our lives were changed forever. Did you catch my birth story on the blog? If not, it's totally worth the read because it was the most insane day of my life. It went nothing like we planned. Which in full honesty, you really can't prepare for much after birth (or during birth). You can have all the right gadgets, clothes, and have gone to all the best birth or baby classes out there. You still have no idea what's on the other side. I'm excited to share my 7 week postpartum update with you to give you a glimpse at life with Addison James + how I'm doing!
All About Mama
Swelling & Weight Gain/Loss
It's insane to look back at my pregnancy body (photo below is from 39 weeks). I gained 60 pounds. Like, what? I was so swollen at the end that when my ankles came back I was in love with my legs (LOL). My swelling didn't go down until about 2 weeks or even more after having Addison. My hands are still a bit swollen from having carpal tunnel syndrome, but my wedding ring does fit!
I am happy to announce that I am already down half the weight! Its crazy to even think of having those 30lbs on my body. Pregnancy does a number on a woman's body no matter how much weight you gain. I have a lot of work to go with toning and continuing to lose weight, but I know I can do it.
With having an emergency c-section I was so not ready for what my body went through. No one can prepare you for that especially if it's not in your birth plan. Having a big scar and being in pain while being responsible for taking care of a newborn is insane. As moms we truly do it all for our babies and I learned that really quick when I had no other choice. Kirby obviously was a huge help and constantly made me sit down to rest. My incision doesn't hurt anymore, but my lower belly is still a bit numb which is a weird feeling. My midwife pushed on everything to feel how it was going at my 6 week appointment and it was refreshing to not be in pain when that happened. It does itch, but that's expected with healing/new skin.
My mindset is that an active body heals quicker than one thats not. I don't recommend running a week after surgery, but don't just sit in your home either. I made sure to start walking around the hospital as soon as I could and kept that going at home. I read so many places on other blogs to just really take it easy and walk around the house a bit. I was doing 30 minute walks week 2. Everyone is different, but if your body can handle it I fully think you should do it. Listening to your body is key. I just made sure not to push anything.
The c-section pooch has been a tough one to get my mind around. The swelling from scar tissue and surgery is insane. Mine has gone down so much now, but I still feel like I look 4 months pregnant. I was bummed because I had plans to wear body wraps and compression leggings right after having him, but was in pain. My abs were no existent (still are) and I initially couldn't even use them to sit up in bed. This whole experience was just so insane for me. I'm happy to finally be wearing herbal wraps daily and compression leggings to help with shaping my waist.
I remind myself that everything takes time. It took 9 months to grow that little man and I can't expect things to change overnight. I didn't get stretch marks until the very end of my pregnancy. It's been hard looking at them everyday. I continue to use my stretch mark cream (here) and will share more about the remedies I use to heal them in the future.
My boobs are bigger than they've ever been and I totally hate it. It's amazing that they can feed my child (obviously), but I'm not a fan of how they make my body look. Who knows if they'll stick around or not! Overall, I do feel lucky to be healthy and will continue to grow into this new mama body with love.
What I'm Eating & Doing to Stay Healthy
Like I mention above, I fully believe that because I started being active immediately my body healed a lot quicker than most. I made sure to keep moving and to only not do the things that I absolutely couldn't. Long walks felt so dang good and squatting while holding Addison (when needed - not just squatting to work out) was helpful I think too. Other than that I really haven't done a whole lot. I just got the okay to work out and will continue to share my journey with that as it comes. I have done a lot of bouncing on the pregnancy ball (more about this below) so that has probably helped a bit as well!
With breastfeeding and pumping, a diet is not in the picture. I am so hungry all the time! The biggest thing for me was making sure to have quick and healthy things on hand at all times. There are some days with Addison that I truly have no time to eat because he always wants to be held. Here's a list a few of my favorite:
- Instant oatmeal
- Booby balls (receipt here)
- Lara Bars
- PB&J sandwiches
- Nuts & trail mixes
- Squeeze fruit pouches
I've focused on having whole grains to help fill me up, but also help with digestion. Oatmeal is awesome too because it supposedly helps with milk supply. I'm trying to fit salads back in, but don't totally have the time to prepare them with being home alone with Addison. Kirby and I prepped a ton of freezer meals and got a ton from family that have been great for dinners. Meatloaf, pastas with spinach & chicken, quinoa casseroles, etc. I recommend doing that for sure and making them filled with carbs + healthy goodies to help with being so hungry while breastfeeding.
Relationship with Kirby
Kirby said the sweetest thing when we were driving home from the hospital. We were chatting about how crazy the past 5 days had been and he looked at me and said, "I have fallen in love with you all over again after going through this experience". Um, hello tears! It is so true though. He saw me go through so much and was scared out of his mind when I was rushed into a c-section. He took care of me when I couldn't even sit on the toilet because I was in so much pain and helped put my pads in when I couldn't bend over. He made sure to be there helping me get out of bed or any chairs and he helped self express my boobs when we were trying to get Addison to latch.
He saw me at the lowest and I saw him at his highest. We worked as team with Addison from day one. So many emotions went into him being in the special care unit and that alone brought us closer then ever. We would pray out load together every night in the hospital that our baby boy would get healthy enough to come home or to come up to our room with us. Kirby was also the first one who got to whole our little boy after I went through surgery. It's insane to think of how much I loved Kirby before this adventure and how much that love has grown in 7 weeks. It's a whole new kind of love and it's one that has no words to describe the deepness.
We haven't had a ton of time to go out on date nights yet, but we are planning to make that a thing at least once a month starting this month. Wish us luck! Focusing on each other is important for us and important for Addison.
All About Baby
With Addison in the special care unit right away I had to start pumping day one. Giving him my own breast milk was key. Luckily, I've been gifted with producing a ton of milk. I was nervous about him being confused with latching as he was fed by bottle right away, but he did amazing! I have always been so thankful for that. He feeds like a champ!
When we first got home I was pumping 3-4 times a day on top of breastfeeding because that's all I knew from the hospital. My boobs were constantly engorged and in pain. I was told immediately to slow down on the pumping to once a day and that solved my problem. I pumped once at night because Addi's day routine was so out of whack that I wasn't able to fit it in with Kirby at work.
Now that I have been able to get him down for naps I started pumping in the AM. Your supply is better in the morning so it's a big benefit to do that. I don't want to pump when he's awake (& I'm home alone) because you just never know what's going to happen. Being all strapped up would be a total hassle if he started screaming.
In the beginning I was feeding every 2-3 hours. We would wake Addison in the middle of the night to fit feedings in which was real exhausting. Once we went to his 2.5 week appointment and he had gained enough weight the pediatrician told us we could let him sleep. I usually still feed every 2-3 hours because that's simple when he is hungry. However, he does nap sometimes for 4 hours or sleep through the night for 6-7 hours so there are times I go much longer without feeding.
I'm sure as he gets older I will plan feedings out more, but right now I feed him whenever he's hungry which surprisingly is pretty scheduled out on its own.
Nipple cream is a huge thing that has saved me! I know a lot of people deal with pain, cracking or sometimes even bleeding and luckily I haven't dealt too much with that. Pain obviously can happen because our nipples aren't use to a baby feeding off of them constantly, but using Mother Love Cream (here) after each feeding makes a huge difference.
Why I Pump & Breastfeed
Like I stated above, Addison was bottle fed immediately and I needed to pump right away to give him my milk. I have continue pumping because I want to have a bunch of milk on hand when we begin to ween him off breastfeeding. I would rather be able to give him my milk instead of formula. I have no idea how long I'll want to breastfeed so having a ton stocked up is awesome.
I love having the option to give him a bottle while at an event, or out instead of having to breastfeed. Breastfeeding can be a really long process and being able to quickly feed him, but still have it be my breast milk was key for me. It's also really nice to be able to leave him with family for an hour or two as well. Without the bottles we wouldn't be able to do that.
Everyone has their preference and you need to do what works for you. I personally didn't want to have to give formula and since I was already pumping from my time in the hospital it just made sense to keep going. Yes, it can be exhausting and something I hate having to do sometimes, but it will be worth it. I love having the connection of breastfeeding my baby and I love already having a freezer full of breast milk for the future! Again, do what works for you! A fed baby is THE most important thing no matter how that happens.
After about 3 weeks I started trying to get Addison on some type of sleep schedule. No, it doesn't work every day and I totally do things on random when I need to. He's still so young that some days I feel as though I have him figured out and other days are a total shit show (excuse me language haha). I usually try to get him to go back down for a nap every 1.5-2 hours. I've noticed when I miss that point he begins to get really crabby and will just cry for no reason. Missing the mark does seem to make it more difficult in the end to get him down.
7 week old babies should still be sleeping for about 15 hours total (or so I read). He loves movement so we are constantly bouncing him on the ball to get him to fall asleep. It's basically the only thing that works right now. We also had to stop using the bassinet and switch him to the rock n play. Once we did that he began sleeping longer over night and taking longer naps during the day.
I work hard at keeping him on somewhat of a sleeping schedule. Again, you never really know what's going to happen so being ready for anything is important. Anytime I'm trying to put him down for sleep I put myself in a quiet dark or dim room with a white noise machine going. He will stare sometimes where I almost wonder if he's not tired, but mom's know their own kids best. Eventually he gets heavy eyes and passes out. All that time is spent on the bounce pregnancy ball. I will then switch him into the moving rock n play or the moving swing. I've found that he stays sleeping (most of the time) if the movement never stops.
If its bath day, I like to do it after his "dinner" feeding and before his late night feeding. His dinner feeding is usually about 7-9 pm and his late night feeding is 10:30-11:30.
He's is just now being able to be left a bit when he starts fussing. He will fuss, fall back asleep, fuss, fall back asleep, etc. for 20-40 minutes sometimes. I just watch him on the monitor and then when he is really awake I'll go grab him. In the next week or two I am going to start trying to get him to go to sleep on his own. Not fully "sleep training" and letting him cry it out, but just trying to make it so he can put himself down instead of always needing us to bounce him to sleep.
Addison James Details
It's hard to believe that this little baby is already 7 weeks old! He is growing like crazy and changing every single day. He see's much further now and totally know's the difference between mine and Kirby's voice compared to anyone else. It's amazing watching your baby being held by someone and then swinging their head to stare at you when you speak. He has been cracking huge smiles basically from day one and it kills me every time.
He's now communicating more than ever with his cute little voice. I can't wait to hear him talk and giggle. He is a very strong little man and holds his neck up all the time when we're burping him on our shoulders. It's freaky because he can't fully hold it up and is still really wobbly. We work on tummy time every day and it's amazing to see him use his arms to hold his neck and chest up. We give him one dose of Vitamin D a day and read to him constantly.
He's grabbing for things now and constantly gets my hair when I go in for kisses. It's almost like he knows it too because he always lets out a huge grin when I say, "Ouch!" He still hates being put into his car seat, but usually falls asleep once in it. Constant movement is a necessity for him and he's still a big fan of being held as much as possible, but slowly starting to be able to sit on his own. His facial expressions are amazing and I seriously want to eat his toes. We have his 2 month appointment on 11/14 so I'll make sure to update you on all of the specifics once that hits.