138 days ago I looked into the eyes of my son for the first time. He was a few seconds old. The youngest he will ever be. The moment you meet your first child is feeling unique from all others. It is a moment that changes your life. A moment, which changes YOU. It is a moment you will only experience once.
It has taken me awhile to write this post. 7 months, in fact. I wanted to write about my experience with postpartum for sometime now, but each time I attempted, I was overwhelmed with emotion, sometimes negativity, and I often felt ashamed. Postpartum depression is something that is not talked about enough. It is hidden. Covered up. It leaves mothers all over the world feeling lonely, weak, and helpless. It is a shame really, because the more we understand about the postpartum period, the more we can prepare ourselves, work through the sadness, and use our community of mothers as a backbone for the journey through it.
Not all mothers experience postpartum depression. But, I do believe all mothers transition through a period of what I like to think of as “Postpartum Discomfort“. My journey with postpartum depression was dark, painful, and lonely, but what was interesting is that it occurred during the happiest, most beautiful months of my life. Here are my 5 truths about my experience with postpartum.
Baby Led Weaning– giving your child the opportunity to feed themselves whole foods.
Key words: feed themselves. Baby led weaning is a great way to allow your child to explore different flavors and textures of food. We began this type of feeding when Luca was about 5 ½ months old. He was showing a lot of interest in food, reaching for food on our plates, and was able to grasp objects in his hand and bring them to his mouth.
Stretching. It promotes flexibility. Reduces stress. Causes changes in the body and the mind. Improves quality of life. Stretching. I’m not referring to touching your toes and stretching your hamstrings. But rather, the stretching that occurs when you face challenges head on. When you take a deep breath and allow yourself to truly experience hardship. The simultaneous feelings of tension and release when you allow yourself to surrender to the stretch. “The Stretch”. A practice that I have embraced in many aspects of my life, but an experience that I somehow have forgotten to seize during motherhood.
I had big plans. I had a vision of who I would be as a mother. I also had big ideas for how my baby would be. I thought I’d be a Pinterest-crafting, Montessori-educating, schedule-adhering, well-rested mother. My son was going to be a cloth-diaper-wearing, independent-sleeping, self-soothing infant. To put it simply, I was wrong.
As an American mom, married to a spaniard, international travel with a child will always be a part of our family’s life. Our first international trip with Luca was when he was seven weeks old. We flew from Spain to California to celebrate the Christmas holidays with my family. We stayed in the states for five weeks and returned when Luca was 12 weeks old. Needless to say, we learned a lot!
Traveling in and of itself is often stressful and unpredictable. Air travel with an infant can intensify feelings of stress and worry. Flying internationally with an infant is a whole different ballgame. However, traveling with a baby does not need to be a traumatic experience. It requires extra preparation, a lot of patience, and quite a bit more cargo, but it can be done! Here are a few tips for flying internationally with babies.
Moms are always wondering what they really need for their new baby. We often register for all the shiniest new toys and gadgets and end up using the three things that were handed down to us from a more experienced mama. It is difficult not to buy everything. We want to feel prepared. We want our baby to be happy and well taken care of. We want to head into motherhood ahead of the game and ready for anything.
With that said, here are my recommendations for the 10 must-have products for a new mom. These are the things that were crucial during Luca’s first three months. They helped keep mom and dad sane and kept baby happy during “the fourth trimester“.
Some of my favorite moments
Developmental milestones. Every mom anxiously waits for them. Every other mom checks in and asks if your baby is reaching them. Pediatricians test for them. The books describe them. And when they happen, we cheer! We breathe a sigh of relief. We document them through photos and “Baby’s Firsts” journals and calendars. The first time she sleeps through the night. The first smile. The first time he rolls over. Her first time babbling.
There are many things I have learned the past 5 1/2 weeks as a newborn mom. Much of this newfound knowledge has stemmed from talking with other mothers, endless google searches, a few great parenting books, and a bit of trial and error. However, some of the greatest lessons I have learned have come from the greatest teacher of all- my newborn son.