two weeks in: 10 things i’ve learned as a new mom

What a whirlwind two weeks it has been! In case you haven’t seen over on Instagram, we welcomed our bundle of joy, Mariana Beatrice, just over two weeks ago. While I know there is a lifetime of learning ahead with this little girl, I’ve learned a few things over the past few weeks that I wanted to share with new/upcoming moms as you approach labor, delivery, and those first few weeks at home as a new parent.

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  1. Go ahead and get your pump. I know not everyone produces breast milk, but if you find yourself in a situation like mine, you’ll be grateful to already have a pump on hand. Once the milk came in, it was downright painful how full they kept getting! Rather than wake baby in between feedings, I could easily pump & freeze milk – an immediate benefit for my boobs & also a benefit for my freezer stock when I return to work in a month. A win-win! Just remember not to drain completely, in case baby wakes up and wants to eat. We had a very comical evening where I was pumping one painfully full boob while my husband held the baby to my other boob to eat – I 100% felt like a dairy cow, but it was a hilarious moment that we shared as a new family trying to learn our new dynamic. Talk to your insurance company & see what online stores are covered by your plan, so you get a pump for free! Mine came from Don’t forget the storage bags & nursing pads!
  2. If your water breaks, it will keep on flowing. I woke up to my water breaking and it didn’t stop – it basically feels like your peeing your pants uncontrollably. Walking through the hospital parking lot was a comical experience. You can’t do much but laugh & go with the flow (literally). Pack towels for the car ride.
  3. You can’t eat or drink all day, but have a stash ready for post-delivery. You can have ice chips, but the epidural made me nauseous so any time I had ice chips I threw up. It was not fun and I was so thirsty all day long. I was in labor for a long time (almost 24 hours) and I was RAVENOUS once the baby was born. I sent my husband out for a milkshake, Gatorade, Sprite, Ginger Ale, and water. I think I chugged everything in a matter of 30 minutes. This also benefits you because before you can move to a recovery room, you have to pee. If you can’t pee, you get a catheter put back in… do yourself a favor and chug liquids to help your bladder get it together.
  4. Pack a no-nonsense hospital bag. I packed clothes for baby, but also a really comfortable kimono style robe for me. Every nurse commented on how cute it was & it made me feel instantly more put together to get out of the generic cloth robe that everyone is given at hospital check-in. I also packed fuzzy socks, sheet masks for my face, chapstick, and a camera. Everything else the hospital will be able to provide! I did have my brother bring my body wash & a loofah for the shower… that first shower after birth (once you’re cleared to take one) is the best shower you will ever take in your life. I forgot an outfit for leaving the hospital, so I had to send my husband to the mall across the street. I’d recommend a loose maxi dress. I also had my mom bring big fluffy pillows & a cozy blanket.
  5. Breastfeeding? Stock up on nipple cream. And toss it into your hospital bag just in case your baby is like mine. Our daughter was born with an insatiable appetite, and since breast milk doesn’t come in right away, she spent hours trying to eat – doing a number on me in the process. I’m talking bleeding and cracking and full blown discomfort. Things instantly changed when I sent my husband to the store to buy nipple cream. I literally used it 15 times a day. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and pick up a bottle or two!
  6. Breastfed baby diapers are not pretty. I mean, I didn’t expect a dirty diaper to be a pretty scene – but I also didn’t expect them to be so… orange. I joke that the diapers are of the pumpkin spice variety. You may never look at anything pumpkin spice the same way again. Hah! On the plus side, they are unscented. So that helps.
  7. Prepare for growth spurts. You’ll get the hang of breastfeeding and then your baby will go crazy and want to eat every hour again. It’s a phase (thank heavens), so just have a Netflix show on queue and relax on the couch while your little pig gets their fill. You will also be extra hungry and thirsty during this time – making milk is hard work! Remember to eat balanced meals and drink a lot of water every day, but even more so during these all-you-can-eat times.
  8. Going to the bathroom in the beginning is scary. There’s no other way to explain it. You’ll have your medications from the hospital if you choose to take them, including a stool softener (glamorous I know), but still… going to the bathroom will remind you of being in labor, and it will be slightly traumatizing. Try to relax as much as you can. Use your peri bottle & steal a few of your baby’s Water Wipes. Labor and delivery is likely the hardest thing you will do in your life – you’ll survive this, too.
  9. You will get pooped on, peed on, and spit up on. Don’t wear your cute pajamas, and use all those extra baby blankets as burp cloths (I took all of the hospital ones for this purpose). In a few short weeks I’ve been pooped on a handful of times. She pees on our hands while we change her diapers, and she spits up lovely puddles of milk after eating. Breastmilk stains your clothes. So does nipple cream, in fact. Dress accordingly.
  10. Remember to breathe. Having a newborn baby at home (alone!) is no small feat. I call mine a tiny dictator. She screams when she’s hungry, when her diaper is dirty, when she has gas, when she’s tired, and when she wants attention. It’s easy to lose your cool – but more important to keep in mind that this is a fleeting moment in time. Soon she will be bigger, more independent, talking… walking. Cherish these moments in your tired & milk-crusted haze and know that she’s crying for a reason – you just have to be patient and figure out what that reason is.

…And just like that, baby is crying. More experiential insight to come soon.

Mamas, what do you think? Anything I left out? Share your tips in the comments below!


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  • Reply Wendy Anderson 2017/09/29 at 11:16 am

    Comical blog post! Great writing and bit hug to Mariana and you! Welcome to motherhood! The hardest job you will ever love!

  • Reply Brooke svoboda 2017/09/29 at 12:11 pm

    You can eat and drink during labor!!!

    • Reply Erika Thomas 2017/09/29 at 12:16 pm

      I was told the opposite! Just ice chips!

    • Reply Kyrie 2017/09/30 at 9:57 pm

      Most hospitals will not recommend you eat or drink during labor, in case of emergency c-section. Pretty standard.

  • Reply Michelle Tanner 2017/09/29 at 1:04 pm

    I call mine tiny dictator too! Ha ha
    A mix of dawn, peroxide and baking soda gets out spit up stains. I have stained a few of my shirts with oil/ cream that I haven’t been able to get out.

  • Reply Martha 2017/09/29 at 1:28 pm

    Lol!! Peri bottle was my best friend!!! ???
    Thankfully they did change the “standard” in allowing moms to eat/drink but I think not all hospitals have embraced it.
    Soon, I hope.
    Welcome to the club, mama!!
    It’s a fun ride so hold on!!!

    • Reply Erika Thomas 2017/09/30 at 8:16 pm

      For some reason I still wasn’t allowed to eat or drink? I’m really thrown by this news!

  • Reply Peyt 2017/09/29 at 3:23 pm

    Great list! The first few weeks are so weird, unlike any other phase of life. I blogged quite a bit after Sadie was born and was SO grateful I had all those details saved for the second time around. It’s hard to believe, but you really do forget so many things, important stuff included. I had to rack my brain for her birth time the other day. Seriously! Keep up the posts, if for no one else than yourself!

    • Reply Erika Thomas 2017/09/30 at 8:16 pm

      Weird but nice… but weird! Haha! It’s like a sleep deprived alternate universe. Just walking around the block is a treat!

  • Reply Marea 2017/09/30 at 9:34 pm

    Everyday it gets better! Once the baby starts to sleep longer you will be too. And it does help to at least sleep 5 straight hours. Talking about the breastfeeding and the pumping I did this too to help stimulate the breast that was not producing much. I will get Matteo on the “good one” and pump on the other one at the same time and it worked wonders! .. don’t worry if your milk production lowers when you get your period back… just keep on pumping and drink lots lots of water! 🙂 congrats!!

    • Reply Erika Thomas 2017/10/24 at 10:25 am

      Thanks Marea! It seems I was engorged the past few weeks and things have finally leveled off to normal amounts… thank goodness! Much more comfortable! Thanks for sharing your tips 🙂

  • Reply Natalie Aplin 2017/09/30 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks for the tips and insights! Where did you find your robe? I’m working on getting my hospital bag ready since we’re 37 weeks now. Also, curious on how your fur baby has adjusted? Did you have family stay with him while you were athe the hospital?

    • Reply Erika Thomas 2017/10/24 at 10:23 am

      AMAZON! I looked up kimono robe and ordered up a size. It was about $20! Fur baby was a little spooked at first, mainly because we were on the run from a hurricane and we were spending days on the interstate. He stayed at my mom’s house, we came home with the baby, he smelled her feet, then realized she was coming with us when we packed up to drive back south! Hehe… the hardest part is them getting used to sharing attention. It’s hard to balance (esp when breastfeeding and having your hands full), but try to shower them with attention, give them food/treats when baby is eating, and share attention with them. Whatever you do, don’t ignore them until baby is asleep & then shift attention. GOOD LUCK AND CONGRATULATIONS!!

  • Reply Kyrie 2017/09/30 at 10:10 pm

    Great job girly! I second Peyt’s response! It’s amazing how much you forget and how quickly it comes back when reading it. (Lol aghhh). I commend and encourage you to continue to take time to do the things you love (blog and whatever else YOU enjoy) and to connect back to the real world. Those first few weeks are such a whirlwind. Enjoy those walks in the park, because before you know it, she’ll be smiling, then sitting up, then saying mama and running away lol. Every stage comes and goes so quickly from here on out. It may not feel that way now, but when you start looking back you realize as soon as you feel you’re in control of one stage, they’re on to the next chapter. ?? Congratulations pretty on your new Blessing! They’re the most amazing, frustrating, loveable little boogers you could ever wish for. It just keeps getting better, I promise you that!! ?

    • Reply Erika Thomas 2017/10/24 at 10:18 am

      Thanks girl! It is amazing and also heartbreaking how fast the time goes. Even the sleepless nights, I try to appreciate it all and soak it all up and know that these moments are fleeting. 🙂 <3

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