Baby's First Month: The Happiest and Hardest Month of My Life / by Erin Baynham

first month with baby My first month as a mother was by far the happiest and most difficult time of my life. All of a sudden, that little baby that you've been carrying in your tummy for all those months is in your arms, looking into your eyes. It's the greatest thrill, and the highest honor. Every moment is precious. And on the flip side, you're thrown right into the night feedings, diaper changes and the balance between your old life and new life. As I said in Cam's one week update, you can read all the books and listen to as many people as you want, your experience will be your own, and nothing can prepare you for this.

I think I was honestly a little delusional about what the first few weeks would be like. I thought I'd feed him, change him and let him sleep just like I read in Baby Wise. I thought he'd easily sleep in his bassinet, and I'd be able to cook, blog, clean and scrapbook as much as I needed to. Nope, not for me. I felt like I was holding him constantly for hours a day, keeping me from handling what I need to get done. The hours would pass and I'd accomplish nothing but caring for my baby boy. It took me almost five weeks, but I'm putting him down much more and handling business.

As you can imagine, the hardest part is waking up in the middle of the night to take care of baby. I'm delirious for the first few minutes, but I eventually snap out of it to change and feed baby. One thing that has helped is packing snacks to have by the night stand. My faves are Dole fruit, Ritz crackers and iced tea. I use this bottle warmer, which has a super convenient cooler that holds two bottles. No more running up and down the stairs while I'm half asleep with a screaming baby on my chest! I usually keep the TV on all night so I have a form of constant light. It's usually on mute, and I'll play white noise on the Spotify app.

It takes awhile to get into a groove. Trust me, there were some bad days. My lowest moment came when Cameron got a cold, which I'm pretty sure he caught from his dad and I. To hear your baby constantly cough and seem miserable, and to know there's no medicine that you can give him--it's torture. I cried and cried. It broke my heart. During that time, Cameron went five days without a BM. He would strain and his tummy was rock hard. More crying from me. I was seriously going crazy. But as the days went on, we all felt better, and then I became a much happier mom.

I lost twenty pounds during pregnancy, and for some funny reason, I thought I'd have it back right after pregnancy. Wrong! Breastfeeding definitely isn't helping me pack on the pounds, either. I'm not into my new body at all. I honestly avoid mirrors because the hips, thighs and butt that I used to have are completely gone. I barely recognize myself. When I start work again, I have no idea what I'll wear because my pre-pregnancy wardrobe literally hangs off my body. But the only way to snap back is to take action. I'll be incorporating as many calories as I can to get me back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 150-155 pounds. I also have to get on track with a better diet, because my sugary latte and obsession with chocolate chip cookies shouldn't be huge parts of Cam's diet.

You also have to remember that it truly takes a village. There's no way I could do this alone. My husband seems to always swoop in at the right time, taking the baby and making him feel like a piece of gold. He even surprised me by contacting my bestie and telling her I needed a break desperately, so she showed up at my door and we went out for a few hours. (That was one of the sweetest things he's done for me in our marriage. He had no idea how badly I needed that. I shed a few happy tears that night.) I also spend a lot of time at my moms house, and she's been a colossal help. I've been able to take naps, run errands and have personal time. Text messages with Brittany of Clumps of Mascara got me over some serious hurdles too.

And while I've tried to be honest in this post and tell you about a lot of ups and downs, I love every single thing about my baby boy. Every ringlet, every cry, every boogie, every fidget and stank diaper. He has absolutely changed my life, making me rethink the little things and strive for more forever.

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