Traveling with an Infant: Tips from True First Timers

traveling with kids, traveling with an infant, travel tips, baby tips, infant tips, infant travel tips, kids travel tips


Traveling with an Infant:Tips from True First Timers

Okay so a couple things before I start

1. I'm FULLY aware that all kids are different.

I don't wanna guarantee you that all of this will work with your peanut.
BUT some of the planning & logistical pieces I'm offering up will help.. I hope.. as you prepare for your own adventures!

2. We're first timers like this title says!

So hear me when I say that I'm not claiming to be an expert or know it all. We've simply gone on both a LONG road trip & have flown out of the country with our little one and I want to share our experiences with y'all.

Here we go.
*and if you got shade to throw my way for any reason - time to close your browser, pal!*

Let's start with the ROAD TRIP!

In December of 2017, we made the drive from Florida to North Carolina for Christmas with Nate's family. This was roughly an 11ish hour drive, without factoring in any stops. I had SO much anxiety leading up to this trip - like WAY more than just a pit in my stomach. I'm talking skin breakouts, dreams & anxious sweats.

A little back story first to fully understand where I'm coming from: Raegan has NEVER been a fan of the car. But at this particular time, she would legit scream until her face was bright red or was "foaming" at the mouth even running for a quick trip to the grocery store. Yeah. So you could understand why I wondered how the HECK we'd make it that far.

To ATTEMPT to make this happen, we made a decision.
To drive through the night.

Womp womp womp.

But we also came to an important agreement.
We agreed that doing what was best for Raegan was priority numero uno.
And if that meant turning around at the 2 hour mark because she wouldn't stop screaming - that's exactly what we'd do. Knowing that & being on the same page made both of us feel a little at ease going into this trip. Because as much Nate wanted to see his family, we wanted peace & comfort for our sweet six month old more.

Okay.
Moving on..

Like I said, the first thing we decided to do was drive through the night.
We simply figured that the more she slept, the quicker we'd travel.
For safety reasons though, we decided to split the drive as much as possible.
And we packed plenty of caffeine!

The day of our trip, I kept Rae's schedule as routine as possible - both for feedings & naps. When bedtime rolled around, we had the car completely packed & ready to go.

I fed her half way (aka boob #1) in her room & then moved to the back seat of our car to finish nursing. I put her in the carseat with the sound machine running & lavender diffusing (yep, I even bought a car diffuser from amazon).



She fussed pretty good for about 30 minutes and then went to sleep.
We ended up stopping about every 3 hours to get her out (she would typically wake up every 2.5 hours wanting to be held), feed her, change diapers, let her stretch her legs & give some reassuring snuggles.

The next morning was the hardest part when she was awake in daylight & ready to play. That last hour was r o u g h trying to distract her.
But all in all, it went better than we anticipated.. 


Driving was not necessarily the easy route but it did, however, make things easier in regards to packing. We weren't limited so much by weight & space - although Nate would have LOVED to limit us to ONE family bag. HA. #MEN

 So I might have brought a little more than I probably needed to..
But as the mom of a precious, but unpredictable 6 month old on our FIRST trip, I wanted to be prepared.

Here's what our packing list for Raegan looked like!

- Pack N Play + Sheet
- Blanket & Rae's lovie
- Sound Machine
- Nursing pillow
- Monitor
- Changing pad, wipes, diapers
- Essential oils & toiletries
- Clothes, Jammies & Sleep Sack
- Jacket, mittens & hats
- Play Mat, toys, books
- Portable high chair, cup, bibs, utensils
- Breast pump & milk bags
- Cooler with refrigerated foods
- Ring sling & happy baby carrier
- Nursing Cover & burp cloths
- Fully loaded diaper bag
- Tummy calm & infant tylenol JUST incase
- Charged iPad with Curious George downloaded
(we hadn't allowed real screen time for Rae up to this point but decided we should have options incase we got desperate. No shame!)

A couple of helpful tips:

1. We kept the car COLD since she was in her footed jammies & snuggled up with a blanket. Also because I built a "tent" around her carseat to keep too much light from coming in & waking her up.

Nate & I were FREEZING - even with hoodies & blankets.
I'm sure part of this was also because it was winter time, but mostly because the air was BLASTING the entire time.

So, regardless of the season, remember to dress for the car ride! ha

2. The car "tent" that I mentioned above was mega helpful! I used dark blankets  & tucked them from head rest to head rest. BUT, I constantly checked on Rae to make sure it wasn't stuffy in there for her & to verify she was good! One of us actually sat in the back seat next to her 95% of the time.


3. Load the car down with diapers/wipes or anything you don't want to have to dig through the diaper bag for! Trust me, you do NOT want to have to do that every time. On a regular basis, we actually keep a little tote on the floor in front of her carseat. We even keep a few toys, a pair of socks, a carrier, a back up shirt for me & spare clothes for her in there! Super helpful!

4. Pack food for yourself so that you can limit your stops to gas & baby breaks. No explanation needed.

5. Try to stick with your routine as much as possible.
For us, this meant staying somewhere else (on our own) so we had our own space.
It also meant taking the pack n play when we made daily visits to see Nate's family so Rae could have a real nap. Yes, it took more work BUT we had a happier baby & no sleep regression.

I've learned that babies will be flexible if you help them by keeping certain things consistent! Don't let anyone make you feel bad for this.

6. Don't have expectations..
I'm not telling you to be a negative nancy & anticipate the worst.
I'm just telling you to have no expectations so that you're pleasantly surprised by each victory. Remember that your immediate family's peace is the most important. Everything else is second. Accepting that is freeing!


The ONE thing I actually forgot on this specific trip was a thermometer - which, go figure, we needed for our girl the day we left to return home. So Nate ran to the drug store & now we keep one in each diaper bag! Our drive home is actually an INSANE (slightly awful experience that didn't become disastrous) story, but that's a WHOLE other post! Me made it though & all of this helped immensely!

Now let's talk about our first FLIGHT & trip out of the country!

Last week, we took our first family vacation.. first family flight.. first family trip out of the country!! It was a BIG ordeal that I was MOSTLY excited about. But anything new is a little nerve-wracking, right?

How will the baby do on the plane?
Will she clear her/his ears?
Will I have to change a diaper on the plane?
What will we do during our layover?
Do we need to hire a car?
Will they have a carseat?
..loads of unknowns!

But the truth is, you make it work no matter what.
So prep as much as you can & the rest you'll figure out!

When we booked our flights for Mexico, we went for the CHEAPEST flights.
We didn't consider at all the timing because I'm #FrugalFelicia & figured the travel day was going to be whack anyways so it didn't matter.

We got Rae up at 3:45am & left the house at 4am for our 6am international flight. YIKES! But, like normal, she woke up in a great mood! I kept her in her footie PJs for comfort + to have her feet covered at the airport if she wanted to stand up at all.


As for me, I made sure to wear something that I could EASILY breastfeed in.
This is always on my mind while choosing (or shopping for) clothes, but this time I was also trying to consider being semi cute & dressing for frigid airports + warm tropics. Romper it was!

HOWEVER, I would probably opt for something a little different next time because although it was EASY easy to nurse in discreetly without a cover, it was a pain to pull down for bathroom breaks because it meant I had to take Reagan (in her carrier) off of me. Normally, if I just wear a top + bottom, I can keep her strapped to me for easy bathroom breaks. So I'd go some variation of that!
Might be TMI, but these things MATTER - right, mamas? HA!


Being that she's a TOTAL people watcher, Rae was 100% entertained the entire time at the airport. I wore her in my happy baby carrier (which contains no metal) & was able to keep her on me while we went thru security! If you're planning to baby wear, keep that in mind. We opted for no stroller because I didn't want to lug it around AND she is much happier being worn + will take solid naps that way!

Fortunately, I got RaeRae to nurse after we boarded & she slept the entire 37 minute flight to ATL. Our first victory!

OH.. and PS, I kept a pack of travel sized lysol wipes in the top of the diaper bag & when we boarded early, I wiped our seats/area DOWN before we got situated!

 

In regards to airport FOOD - this is what I found to work for us!

Keep in mind, my 10 month old eats solids 3x a day plus snacks AND nurses 4-5x a day. We also used the Baby Led Weaning approach so she is NOT picky & will nearly eat anything we eat.

For her breakfast, I snagged a plain greek yogurt & berry parfait from Starbucks. I trashed the granola because #SUGAR & fed this to her easily while we waited for our flight. A few hours later, I got a burrito bowl from Qdoba & fed her basically all the contents - we even laid some out on our Gathre mat since it's leather & SO easy to clean up! On our way home, she had some of our chicken wraps & her own grilled chicken patty + half a wheat bun from a Chick Fil A grilled chicken sandwich (SUPER simple since she could hold each piece with two hands)


In between meals, she would nurse a little (although I tried to save it for take off/landings though so she would clear her ears) & have some dried fruit, a sip or two of a squeezie pack for fruits & veggies, yogurt melts, puffs or bites of our clean chocolate cherry almond beach bars.

She was a champ, as always!

Now.
I had TWO packing lists for this trip.

One for everything we would need at the resort, which would go into a checked suitcase.

And the other list for her diaper bag & part of Nate's carry on - which would contain items for the plane and our 3-5 hour airport layovers.

In our diaper bag & carry on..

- diapers/wipes
(like 14 diapers, don't play, I was SO nervous!)
- change of clothes for Rae
- thermometer
- changing pad
- nursing cover
- snacks for airport & plane
(puffs, yogurt bites & a squeezie pack of "baby food")
- a medium sized Gather mat (for her to play on the floor during lay overs.. LOVE!)
- a few toys that she hadn't seen before or in a while
- charged iPad
- teethers because #DUH she started cutting her first tooth two days prior


In our checked suitcase..

- Pack N Play + Sheet
- Light blanket & Rae's lovie
- Sound machine
- Changing pad, wipes, diapers
- Swim diapers & swimsuits
- Sunscreen & pool hat
- Pool float
- Essential oils & toiletries
- Clothes, jammies & muslin sleep Sack
- Lightweight toys, 2 books & her leapfrog dog "violet"
- Portable high chair, cup, 2 bibs, spoon/fork
- Hand held breast pump
- Non perishable snacks (puffs, yogurt melt, granola bars & "baby food" squeezie packs)
- Water ring sling (was already wearing/using my happy baby carrier)
- Tummy calm & infant tylenol.. just incase
- More Lysol wipes for the hotel room - brought 3 packs - NO SHAME
- Black trash bags & masking tape

Thoughts & Tips:

Alright, once we arrived at the airport in Mexico - we had to board a shuttle bus for an hour ride to the resort. We had ordered a carseat but we quickly realized that it was NOT protocol for them to use them, as they had no clue how to install it properly in those types of seats. After trying ourselves for 20 minutes, we decided that I would just continue wear her. Although, this was definitely NOT our preference - we went with it since it was a GIANT greyhound-sized bus. So I sanitized, settled in, quickly nursed her & we were off.


Once we got to the resort, I wiped down our room & unpacked while Nate let little Rae stretch out for some playtime. We situated her sleeping area, which we decided the bathroom would be best for since it could be completely closed. We set up her pack N play + sound machine then used the masking tape & black trash bags I had packed to close off any places that light would come in - there were permanent semi-open shutters between the bathroom & bedroom + a glass panel in a dual sided shelf. She sleeps in a blacked out room at home, so keeping as much the SAME as possible was crucial to keeping her sleeping all night.


I'm not sure how your dynamic is with your fella, but between Nate & I, he is definitely more laid back when it comes to germs. So we agreed as a way to keep the peace (aka NOT get annoyed with each other) that being 100% paranoid during our trip was totally okay. He knew that my psychotic actions were definitely helpful measures & agreed to embrace them for me for a few days. We also used lots of our essential oils & made sure that Raegan had her daily elderberry syrup to keep our girl from coming down with anything.


I think it goes without saying that we followed the same protocol on our journey home AND I washed ERRRRRTHING upon our return.

*Yes, I was definitely this paranoid in disgusting airports & a mexican resort. NO, I'm not this bad at home! We want our girl to build a solid immune system, but didn't want to risk too much on vacation. No apologizes when it comes to protecting our babes!*

And in regards to her routine, we definitely shifted things a bit when we were out to dinner at night, BUT her wake up time + her naps were mostly the same! We thought we'd try for only one nap while we were away so we'd have more flexibility for activities, but she really needed two & we listened. She actually ended up sleeping for 2 hours at a time because being in the pool and on the beach wore her out so much!!

So bring some activities to do in your room - we used that time to exercise using the sliders & resistance loops we brought, brought two decks of cards, used the iPad for Netflix & had a nice patio to sit on as well!


And as for expectations? Same rule!! Don't have any.
Our ONLY expectation was to enjoy & make memories..
which we absolutely did!

LAST THING.

My two favorite travel items!!

1. Without a DOUBT - a carrier of some sort.

My Wildbird ring slings are definitely the most streamlined carrier I own, BUT they have metal rings & I wanted my best shot at wearing Raegan through security. Also, a bit more of a carrier structure was going to be easier for all of the moving around we were going to be doing. So, I opted for my Happy Baby Carrier - which is EASY to pack, light weight & the perfect material for warm weather!



2. Our portable "Inglesina" chair - snagged via Amazon!

It was a little more than I wanted to spend initially but we have absolutely gotten our moneys worth out of it. We use this thing EVERY time we go out to eat, have hooked it onto the island at my parent's house & took it on this trip since it's compact + only weighs 5 pounds!


Alright - I know that was WAY more than a simple packing list with a few pointers. But this is the kind of stuff I wanted to know before we left.

I hope it helps, y'all!
Happy travels.

PS: stay tuned for "Traveling with a TODDLER" when we fly to GUAM this fall..
T W E N T Y hours of air time with a then 17 month old.


Things I Didn't Know Before: Life with a Newborn

postpartum tips, postpartum life, taking back postpartum, life with a newborn, pregnancy, breastfeeding, postpartum


You anticipate for what feels like days & months on end.
You do absolutely everything you can to prepare - to the point of seriously running out of a to do list.
You soak up each moment with your spouse, but you've both never been so ready for the next chapter.
You know life as you know it will soon change forever.
But you're dying to meet that baby.

Then, in an instant (well, labor surely isn't an instant.. but that moment RIGHT before the doctor hands you the baby & you lift your eyes to look) EVERYTHING changes.

Welcome to parenthood.
But more specifically, welcome to life with a newborn.

The next couple of months are going to be like nothing
you could have ever fully imagined.

You'll laugh.
You'll cry.
You'll laugh & cry.
You'll feel in love.
You'll feel delusional.
You'll feel clueless.
You'll feel elated.
You'll feel sadness.
You'll feel, well, everything.
And sometimes, you won't even know WHAT you're feeling.

..in a day. HA!

That's because this season of life is ALL consuming.
Of mind, body & spirit.

It's like the hardest test or training you'll ever endure.. at least it is, as far as I've come!

Growing a human was intense.
And pretty darn amazing.

But raising that human & keeping them alive.
Now THAT'S some work!!

So whether you've been there done that.
Or it's coming up soon..

I hope you can read this & laugh a little.
Remember what you freaking survived.
Or catch a glimpse of what you're gearing up for.

It's time to talk about:
Things I Didn't know Before.. Life with a NEWBORN

__________________________________________

Welcome to being a ROOKIE!

You'd think that I wouldn't have felt so clueless since I was a nanny for YEARS, have two little sisters & read a ton of books, right?

..WRONG.
*moms around the world reading this laugh in my virtual face.. HA*

Never in my life have I felt more like a rookie than when I was handed my sweet little bundle & was left to figure out how to keep her alive, breast feed & somehow take care of myself.

What's more..

The feeling of "S*** just got REAL" when you leave the hospital & walk in your front door with an infant car seat is almost enough to make you laugh & cry.

How can I explain it..

It's like that thought when had you brought a puppy home & listened to it cry (more like WAIL) the whole first night.. except times a million.

Just me with our pointer, Tannyn?

Okay - I'm only part serious.

Take heart though!

It really IS amazing - because you DO figure it out!
.. and seriously don't feel bad for feeling like a clueless, guessing chump wether it's your first kid or not (I mean seriously - EVERY child is different!).

Let me STOP you now so you can add something to your mile long to do list!
If you've never watched the show "Life in Pieces," imma need you to go find episode 1 & wait for the short segment on new parents Greg & Jenn. Jenn is seriously my spirit animal & basically EVERYTHING they go through the whole first season is true as a first time parent.

Prepare to laugh your booty off.

You've never googled like this before..

You MIGHT be a new parent if in the same day you google normal sleep noises of babies, tips on removing poop stains from your bedding & what to do with raw or bloody nipples. You also might be a new parent if you pop over to youtube for some techniques on infant fart freeing or baby burrito wrapping tutorials.

The google machine is both a blessing & a curse - but mostly a blessing.

And let me just say.. our parents are the real MVPs for raising babies without probably HALF or more of what we have these days!! Talk about taking a shot in the dark every day.

Honestly, SO much of newborn parenting is guess work + intuition anyways, but having the internet to validate your feelings or at least not feel so alone is incredibly valuable.

Holy night sweats, batman.

Fortunately, I wasn't shocked by this because I had a friend who warned me. But I still remember our first night in the hospital, waking up with INSANE sweat all over my body. I had gone to sleep cold just a few hours before, but woke up later feeling like I IMMEDIATELY needed every piece of clothing off my body!

My night sweats continued for only another week or so, then disappeared. However, that crazy hormone change you go through in the "fourth trimester" definitely makes you generally WARMER than you were before.

You've never wished for gas so hard.

During those first few weeks of life, your sweet babe is going through some MAJOR adjustments & changes (okay.. this never really stops BUT this part is a big deal!).
I feel like aside from working through some intense reflux for several weeks, the HARDEST thing with Rae was the newborn gas!

Their poor little digestive systems are so immature & are trying to digest the milk we're giving them. You take for granted as an adult the ability to let it rip. But those poor little babes will squirm, kick & cry their hardest when those bubbles are trapped.

We wished & PRAYED for that gas to pass.
We tried drops.
We tried massages.
We tried leg pumps/circles.
We tried the windi sticks (which Nate went to 3 stores for at 10pm).
We tried the thermometer technique.
.. we were DESPERATE to figure out how to provide relief.

That is the worst feeling as a parent.
Not being able to help your child.

But like everything else, it eventually passes.. literally. HA!

Hang in there!!

Near narcolepsy?

In my years PB (pre-baby), I wasn't a napper.
I mean - during my first trimester of pregnancy, I most DEFINITELY was.
But typically, I just have never been a big sleeper!
Even falling asleep when being tired was an issue for me at times.

I remember wondering if I'd be able to catch up on sleep occasionally by taking naps after Reagan arrived.

If you're like me - have NO fear.
It's like God gave me this incredible ability for the first month or so to fall asleep INSTANTLY when I got horizontal or closed my eyes.

I'm not even kidding.
SO. FAST.

This trick comes in HANDY when you are trying to squeeze in Z's to break your record of 2 hours at a time.

I think this is probably the closest you ever get to experiencing narcolepsy.. 

It's amazing what you can do half asleep!

Speaking of "sleep."
It's seriously incredible what you can do when you're half asleep from constant exhaustion & living in your new zombie state of existence.

Literally.. all the things.

Feeding.
Eating.
Pumping.
Changing diapers.
Changing clothes.
Rocking.
Washing bottles.
Showering.
..you name it.

Just be careful because ALTHOUGH you're miraculously getting things done, you might accidentally put socks in your refrigerator or body soap in your hair (& forget to rinse it.. true story).

What's a full or warm meal anyways?

Remember when you used to pick up a warm plate & watch the steam come off it in front of you. You'd occasionally even burn your tongue because you weren't patient enough to blow on it..

Well, your taste buds are pretty much safe for the next 3 months because warm meals are a thing of the past - full meals are too, unless you have prepared something in advance or go & pick one up.

Contrary to popular belief, it is PERFECTLY acceptable in the fourth trimester to consider trail mix a balanced meal. Also, a spoonful of Ben & Jerry's each night to lift your dampened yet joy-filled spirit is also okay for at least the first 6 weeks..

Make the switch to cold coffee.

Remember that last blurb about hot food?

Yep, the same applies to your coffee - which is likely decaf or in half doses now if you're breastfeeding anyways.

I'm going to go ahead & save you about 20 trips to the microwave.. a day.

While there's just nothing like a warm cup o joe when you're exhausted & needing a pick me up, you might wanna make the switch for a few months to a delicious cold brew.

Or maybe save that nice, hot mug for the weekends when you & the baby daddy are home together & you've got some extra hands around!

"Sleep when the baby sleeps".. so they say.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard this - but I think I maybe took a nap twice when Rae slept.. like EVER.

Sure, sleep is SO important.
But in those teeny windows of dual hand/mental freedom, you have a choice..

1) Close your eyes and CRASH
2) Try to knock out basic tasks like dishes, laundry or tidying up
3) General self care like a shower or you know.. eating

Usually, one of the latter options won out.
I just couldn't handle feeling like I was swamped & behind in my household - but I also needed the sanity & nourishment of basic self care.

So naps were scarce for us - but you better BELIEVE we learned to cut out nighttime netflix & started to go to bed EARLY.

Because you also just NEVER know those first several weeks what nighttime will bring; whether you'll get a 2-3 or 4-5 hour stretch of sleep.. OR if the baby will somehow know the INSTANT your head hits the pillow & wake up to "rage" for the next 3 hours.

You will sleep when the baby sleeps - at night - in a few weeks.
It'll come!

Witching Hours

*I actually edited this blog post to add this part in. Mom brain is real & so is the newborn life amnesia, because this was a SIGNIFICANT piece of our first two months with Raegan that I WISH I had been more "prepared" for.*

I had literally NEVER heard of this term until after Rae was born. I posted on Facebook that we were having the same, ROUGH few hours every single night & got several responses telling me it was probably some variation of something people call a baby's witching hours.

A HUGE huge part of this was the reflux our poor, sweet girl fought for WEEKS. But MAN, those 3-5 hours every night were so brutal, y'all.

I remember when she would start to get fussy around dinner time & our stomachs would sink, anticipating what was possibly.. and likely coming.

Rocking, bouncing, singing, rubs, baths, talking, swaying, praying - we tried everything. And it took every ounce of our mental & emotional energy each night to make it through. But we did - we made it through as a TEAM.

Lean in to each other! Try not to lose it on your partner when you're at your whits end. It's going to be okay. Take deep breaths. Cry if you need to. Hold that baby tight. Step away & trade off as needed. You're not alone..

A day isn't complete until you're wearing bodily fluids.

In the early days, this applies to everyone in the household..
errrbody's fair game!

Later on this seems to only be a daily mom "perk."
Because somehow, Nate always gets SO lucky & misses those moments.

I remember in my first week or two of breastfeeding, shooting myself, Nate & Raegan in the face with milk one sleepy night when we were working on a latch improvement technique.

It was actually kind of hilarious.

Breast milk (from unexpected or torrential let downs) & spit up will be like your motherhood war paint. Don't fight it.

So stick to nursing bras/tanks & your cute but COMFY lounge wear that you're not super attached to for a while.

OH - and huge tip!

Don't just pack extra clothes for baby in your car or diaper bag. Definitely pack at least an extra top for yourself in each bag/car. You seriously NEVER know when you're going to need it!

Get comfy in the back seat of your car!

Can I just say that I NEVER realized how much time I'd spend in the back seat of our vehicles with a newborn?!

I'm not even kidding - like an HOUR at a time!

I'm guessing it's not quite as long if you aren't breastfeeding, but nonetheless it's a chunk of time.

Yes - I know some of you are picking up your jaw or shaking your head - It took me every bit of an HOUR to nurse + burp Rae on both sides with a diaper change in between. I'm aware that's not ideal, but that's what we did for MONTHS.

So put some water bottles, snacks & sun shades in the back seat.
Make sure you're filled up on gas too..

And if you really wanna get crazy - toss your nursing pillow in the car when you know you're going to be out for a while!

The quickest showers of your life.

Motherhood is the catalyst for a new level of efficiency.
You'll forget everything because #MomBrain, BUT you're multitasking abilities & overall SPEED is about to sky rocket.

Let's talk about the shower..

It's been what feels like 12 days, but is "only" 4, since your last shower..
You feel RACHET & are itching for just a few minutes to RELAX & enjoy warm water against your skin.

You know you're only going to stay clean for about 30 seconds after your shower exit, but you don't care. It's going to change your LIFE for 30 seconds & renew your soul!

So you hop in..

And 30 seconds later, you hear crying.
You pick up speed.
You try to relax, but you hear your husband outside the door shushing the baby.
You know it's a matter of time.
You just need to wash your hair real quick.
Is there time?
Sure there is.. you'll be fast.
You lather up.. finish rinsing off your body & step out.
You go to dry your hair..
CRAP, you forgot to rinse it.
Wait a sec - what did I put in my hair.
Did I ever grab the shampoo bottle?
You realize you used body soap on your hair.
Whatever.. you rinse & get out.
You go to dry your legs.
CRAP, you only shaved one leg.
Whatever.. your baby is losing it & your husband is hinting to see when you're going to be done.
You look at the clock & somehow you only spend 4.5 minutes in the shower attempting a full groom & mental rejuvenation.
Gosh - you're good.
A walking disaster, but good!

Beware of middle of the night feeds shopping.

What's a girl to do when you're up every 2-4 hours in the middle of the night for an hour at a time & trying your hardest to stay awake.

Well - you could FB scroll - nah..
You could try to watch something on the food network - the noise is too risky!

Or, you could just peek instead at one of your favorite stores.. like target.
Or maybe check out amazon - I'm SURE you need a quick prime fix.
OR you could just check some deal sites like JANE or groopdealz to see if there's anything sweet for the baby. It doesn't count as crazy spending if it's "for the baby.." right?

Might be a good idea not to have your wallet close to the bedroom for a bit..

That way you can fill your cart at night - then think about it during the day for a bit to decide if you still need 2 more teethers & another crinkling animal book.

Don't.Look.Down.There.

All I'm going to say is to listen to your midwife or OB when they tell you to let the "area" HEAL for at least 6 weeks.

I made the mistake of peeking around week 3 - not just out of curiosity, but I could tell something was off (I have pelvic floor damage that I had PT for). Generally speaking though, there's NO reason to look early unless you're wanting to be in shock at the aftermath of the miracle your body just performed.

You HAVE to remember - you just went through something MAJOR.
Totally natural, yes, but major nonetheless. 

You must give yourself time to recover.
Our bodies are incredible & they WILL bounce back - but it's going to take longer than you think.

So just.. don't look down there for a while.
And maybe have hubby switch the "you can look but you can't touch" mentality for a couple of months until you're feeling more like yourself!

That's right - don't avoid the touching, mama!!
You need to stay connected to your dude.
But yeah - eyes up HERE.

Write down the milestones because you will NOT remember them.

Write everything down.
Because your best intention of remembering is just not good enough.

You'll think you figured out a way to lock it away in what used to be your steel trap, but a few weeks later you will be completely blank over the matter!

So even if it's on sticky notes on the top of your baby book or even slapped on the fridge temporarily - document them now so you can copy it later into whatever keepsake you've chosen.

You might get a smidgen jealous & really miss your man!

Jealous?
Of the baby?

Hear me out..

You absolutely LOVE the way your man looks at that baby - the way he loves & cares for both of y'all makes you hot & weepy all at once.

But having to start sharing your best friend & other half is NOT an easy adjustment for some, like myself.

I remember watching Nate & Rae together - thinking that they were the cutest duo I had ever seen.

But I also remember thinking - does he notice me anymore? Do I captivate him in the same way? When am I going to get alone time with him??

Gosh I hope I'm encouraging someone else out there.
YES - I think it's perfectly normal to get a little jealous.

Your PERSON is starting to share mental/emotional space + their precious TIME with your sweet little bundle.

You're so glad about it & wouldn't have it any other way, but you're also a bit envious.

Just hang in there - let them bond.
I promise you'll find you rhythm again soon if you make a consistent effort!!!

Do NOT feel guilty for having ALL the feels.

Girl, your body is on a roller coaster ride of a life time as your hormones change, your body is adjusting, your emotions are sky rocketing & your mind is trying to function despite exhaustion.

Sometimes you might feel like you're losing it or crazy from going from being overjoyed to sobbing in minutes.. or even for feeling both at the same time.

It's normal
BUT keep an eye on yourself & make sure you're talking to your partner or a friend and being HONEST about how you feel! Because..

Baby blues are r e a l.

PPD, PTSD, anxiety & baby blues.
They are ALL real & every women is susceptible.

I actually was a little skeptical before having Reagan of whether or not the baby blues were really as intense as some had told me they were.

But a couple of days after coming home - for a couple of WEEKS after having Rae - I would catch myself absolutely SOBBING & feeling down for "no reason." I say no reason with that virtual tone because although I couldn't explain why I felt the way I did, it's no surprise you feel like you're about to break with everything you're trying to process/learn/recover from in a short time.

I still, nearly 10 months postpartum, even deal with extreme anxiety on a daily basis - doing my very best to conceal it from people around me to avoid judgment or skepticism. It flares up with things having to do with Reagan (that you'd probably expect) like leaving her, trusting her with others, safety, driving, exposure to illness, medical decisions, something happening to us - but also down to the SMALLEST daily things (that you may not expect) like feeding, interaction with our dogs or even sleep. 

I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it doesn't matter how strong you feel like you are or how amazing your support system is. None of us are "beyond" being susceptible to dealing with one or more of these conditions.

Please be sure to reach out to someone if you need to talk!

Get yourself a postpartum buddy

Speaking of support - it is SO important to have.
So you KNOW you've got the option to confide in someone when you need it.

Find a friend you can text at the most random time (hello, nighttime nursing hours) who is either in the trenches with you or has gone through the same season of life recently.

Being able to talk, ask questions, bounce ideas off another brain or even vent is more therapeutic than you realize. Empathy & a listening ear is everything!

Your dear friends who haven't gone through life with a newborn are so special & you do need them.. BUT, when you barely have time to talk & it's pretty much always about your life in the trenches - there's just nothing like having a postpartum buddy!

Shout out to the girls who got me through - my sister Lauren, Kinsey, Ali, Brittany & Uli. Love y'all!
__________________________________________

That's all for today!

Writing this post flooded my heart & mind with so many memories and feelings from the hardest season of my life. A season that made Nate & I so much stronger as a couple. A season that taught us sacrificial love. A season that started a bond with our little girl that words cannot describe.

 Life with a newborn is certainly a wild ride - but I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat for the love I've found as a mother!

If you missed my first post in my "Things I Didn't Know Before" series, click here! If you have a suggestion for my next post - be sure to drop it in the comments.

Until next time..
Thanks for reading,