Baby’s First Year: Expectations vs. Reality

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in BABY, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience

           expecvsreal

We’ve all been there.

Daydreaming about what life with a baby would be like, without truly knowing what to expect. Thinking we “know” how things will turn out, but in the back of our minds knowing that it will be different. Now that Lexi is 1 YEAR OLD, i can look back at the year of babyhood and see things for what they were.

I don’t think Andrew and I were off base when imagining what life with a baby would be like. I think it’s that we couldn’t FEEL that difference until said baby came along.

All the negative “just you waits” from bitter moms were met with an eye roll. All the good-hearted ones were a drop in a bucket of the attempt to imagine our life with the baby.

I don’t think you can know what it is going to be like. No matter how hard you try. I think you can picture it, but you cannot FEEL it. So here’s what WE thought life with a baby would be like. And here is how we were wrong (or right).

Keep in mind that our experience will most likely NOT be yours. Your baby might sleep 16 hours a day and be the newborn you read in all the books about, nurse like a champ from day 1, fall asleep in your sling or contently stare at the mobile while you go around your business. That was not our experience. Nor was it the experience of millions of other parents. Because every baby is UNIQUE!


LABOR & BIRTH

Expectations:

I had hoped that Hypnobabies would help me get through labor but I was prepared for it to go whatever way it would, since I had read/heard how unpredictable it is.

Reality:

This is a great example of the importance of being prepared for ANYTHING ( as long as you know what anything is…sometimes you don’t know what to prepare for). I didn’t blink an eye or had any regrets as to how my labor went. I was surprisingly happy for every single step of it, from epidural to pitocin (even though I had been gearing up for natural labor). I would do the same thing all over again if I had to, not just because it gave me Miss Lexi but because it was a really great and positive experience, as far as labors are concerned.

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RECOVERY

Expectations:

Horrible bleeding, not being able to move for days, hurt all over, body looking like crap, postpartum hormones all over the place.

Reality: I had mentioned before that my recovery was a piece of cake. I had minimal bleeding that subsided on day 2 to a normal period bleeding and went away within a week. I felt pretty good physically overall. My butt did hurt for about a week, but that was probably the worst of it. My belly shrunk to normal size within 2 weeks, though I was still 5 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. I was not that emotional, either. I mean I had slightly heightened emotions, connected with struggles with breastfeeding and lack of sleep, but nothing out of the ordinary ( same was with pregnancy, I never had the pregnancy emotions). But like my friends joke, karma did get me in the butt by having my regular period (and all the awesome side effects) return at 3 months post partum while EBFing :) lol


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Expectations:

Newborns cry a lot, sometimes for no reason.

Reality:

I am not sure if we were lucky, or if the fact that I eliminated dairy out of my diet 3 week prior to giving birth and then continued eliminating potentially offensive foods helped, or the fact that we answered her every cry and need immediately so she didn’t really need to cry much to get her needs met, but aside from specific “I want food, I need a diaper change, I want cuddles” cries, she was a calm baby. One exception was when she would experience a  particularly painful bout of reflux.

 


Speaking of reflux,

TUMMY PAINS/REFLUX

Expectations:

We expected gas pains and  tummy problems, since that’s what everyone we have ever heard complained about when it came to newborns. We knew NOTHING about reflux.

Reality:

She had absolutely NO tummy or gas troubles. Ok, that might be an exaggeration. I seem to remember two times when she was crying and pulling her legs up and we needed to massage her tummy to help her poop. But other than that, tummy pain was just NOT an issue.  Again, I suspect it might have something to do with lack of cow’s milk proteins in my diet since it’s a common culprit of gas pains in newborns, however my diary-free diet did not prevent her from having reflux, which made her and us more miserable than we liked it. Luckily, it wasn’t so bad that we had to medicate and thankfully she grew out of most of it by 4 months, but we could have definitely done without that grief.


SLEEP:

Expectation:

As per baby books, a typical newborn will sleep around the clock only to wake up to feed and for active alert time. After the first two weeks of such behavior, he/she will then continue sleeping 14-16 hours a day. We never thought we’d get a good sleeper. But we did  think we would get the typical 2 hour stretch of sleep between breastfeeding sessions at night and considered that to be pretty reasonable.

Reality:

Whoa! This was SO OFF for us and a few other people I know. I think the reality of HOW little some newborns sleep hits you hard. Two hours of sleep would have been a God sent for us back then. We would be lucky if we got 40 minutes once every 3 hours. You expect this sleepy little thing and you get this alert little bundle who will not close her eyes regardless of how many hours you rock and nurse her. I think even with the standard sleeper of a newborn (aside from a few “lucky” people who couldn’t wake up their baby to feed her), you just don’t realize how much “needing” happens in between. In our case, Alexis wouldn’t sleep for more than 10-15 minutes without waking up until we figured certain things out.

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FREE TIME

Expectation:

I would get so much done during the day in the first few months, because babies’ awake time is limited, so naps would be my “free time” as a stay at home mom to cook, clean, do crafts, blog, read, etc.

Reality:

This is probably the one and only expectation that I outright LAUGH AT! It has not been true even for a second, not then, not now. Granted, I had a baby who is particularly hard to put to sleep and keep asleep, but from what I can tell many parents struggle with this one, too. Many parents realize that their baby likes to be held. That’s completely normal and natural, and depending on your baby’s temperament, he will most likely let you know in no uncertain terms that he is to be held 24/7. That was Lexi. Naps – in my arms, night sleep – on our chest (or later next to us in bed). It took a few month to come to terms with the fact that I am NOT going to get anything done, but with that attitude adjustment came much more peace.


NAPS

Expectation:

2 hour naps. I don’t know remember where I got it from but I was convinced babies nap for 1.5-2 hrs.

Reality:

This couldn’t be further from the truth for us. Lexi was a classic 1 cycle sleeper, which meant she’d wake up from a nap every 30-40 minutes. Thankfully, as she got older she got better at putting herself back to sleep, but occasionally during times when she is working on a milestone, she will still wake up after 30 minutes and proceed to work on whatever it is she is trying to perfect.

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SCHEDULE

Expectations:

Mornings- ugh! Waking up at 6-6:30 will be absolutely awful.

Reality:

It’s really not that bad. And I am NOT a morning person, so that is a lot coming from me ( I am also a very positive person, so I expect many people would feel differently lol) As long as you get a decent amount of sleep at night, 6-7 am wake ups is something you get used to. It’s actually kind of nice, because unlike waking up at noon which is what I used to do, such early wake-ups mean getting a lot more done during the day.


PREPAREDNESS

Expectations:

I thought that knowing the techniques, being prepared, having memorized The Happiest Baby on the Block, etc would mean that all of that would magically work and we would have a completely calm perfect baby who falls asleep on cue.

Reality:

While every single bit of reading you can accomplish during pregnancy to prepare for the little one is extremely important, and has helped me immensely, I was not prepared for HOW DIFFERENT babies are and how what works for one (according to the book author) will not work for the other. Everything I’ve read and done made a big difference in my level of confidence and how we cared for Alexis, but it definitely was not a magic pill. So read everything, memorize everything, but when it comes to books telling you EXACTLY how you should do things, take it with a grain of salt, because every baby is an individual and the best thing is to follow your mommy intuition while being armed with facts and knowledge.

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SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Expectation:

It would be absolutely horrible, I would be a walking zombie and would be tempted to sleep train my baby by 6 months.

Reality:

Everyone is different in how they handle sleep deprivation and the first few months were rough as hell, but I was lucky to have a great support system for that time. However, after the newborn period , even though Alexis was still waking up 4-6 times a night and sometimes every hour, I felt ok. I could manage and eventually got completely used to frequent wake ups. At this point, she still wakes up 1-3  times on a good night and 6 times on a rough night and I am ok with that. It helps that we bedshare, so I don’t have to fully wake up to tend to her (unless she’s doing one of those 2 am “fully awake playtime” nights)


BREASTFEEDING:

I was on such a high from the idea of breastfeeding that I would have dreams about breastfeeding and the joy it brought to me and connection I had with Alexis. I had read 3 different breastfeeding books and was as ready as one can be. I had even practiced latching a baby on and had studied the technique. I was CONVINCED that  if you properly latch a baby, there will be no pain. All the materials I’ve read said that painful breastfeeding IS NOT normal and it most likely means that the latch is wrong, so all you have to do is fix the latch. So I was confident that I would do just that, given that breastfeeding is such a natural thing, surely the baby is born knowing what to do and we, mothers, have a brain to figure it out quickly, as well.

Reality:

Holy crap! How can “experts” be SO WRONG? Did they themselves tried breastfeeding? Or did they talk to more than 2 women when writing them? And what the hell are they doing misleading the women into thinking it’s all blissfull all the time or you’re doing it wrong? If my breastfeeding experience was one in a million, then I’d be like “Ok, shit happens“. But I have had countless women comment, email, facebook me about their first 6-8 weeks of painful breastfeeding. How can it be NOT normal if, dare I say, more than 50% experience that?

Yes, the latch is usually the issue here, BUT I KNEW how to latch a baby on, I knew all the facts and techniques and yet my baby simply would have a shallow latch. Boom!

Nothing I could do about it! No matter how hard I tried through tears to get her to latch on with her mouth open wide, she JUST wouldn’t do it. Until the magical 6-8 weeks . I am convinced that it JUST takes this long for the baby to learn how to effectively breastfeed. Some babies are born with a perfect latch, others don’t get why their mother keeps unlatching them when they are hungry, and  latch them on again while chanting “open wide open wide“. I would not have known, had it not been for my friend and neighbor who had the same exact experience. All I needed to do is to just get through it.

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MILK SUPPLY

Expectation:

I had read many blogs and books about breastfeeding and the common theme there was that so many moms falsly believe that they have low milk supply because of the baby’s behavior. I educated myself and was adamant not to worry about my supply.

Reality:

When my baby arrived and started crying at the breast around week 4, I was sure that I didn’t have enough milk for her. I couldn’t pump that much, I was using a nipple shield so I worried that it reduced my supply, she breastfed constantly- all signs of low supply, right? Wrong! Despite the fact that Alexis had 10-12 wet diapers and 10 poopy diapers a day, despite all the knowledge I had and facts I was armed with, I still second guessed myself.


LIFE WITH A BABY

Expectation:

The baby can be put down in a chair or on a blanket and I can do other things while it calmly plays with its hands.

Reality:

Again, some babies like to be held 24/7 and most babies like to be near their mommies even if they are not held. I couldn’t do anything for months, because she would cry the second she is put down, or the second I left the room (when she was a bit older). Only at 7-8 months she started being  ok with me leaving for a few minutes as long as she was occupied with other things. But most of the time she still likes me nearby when she plays.

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Expectations:

I’d carry her in a sling to places and events while she sleeps in it peacefully. I would wear her everywhere and carry her in a carrier till she is 2 or 3.

Reality:

When I thought that, I always had this thing in the back of my mind “… if she is an easy going baby, but I doubt she will be”. So I sort of expected not to be able to take her places, but I had hoped I somehow would. Well, let’s see, she would NEVER fall asleep in a carrier, hated slings. I was able to take her out ONCE in a Moby when she actually slept in it, but it was not long lived. She hated her car seat with a passion, didn’t like the stroller, so we simply had to become hermits for the first 4 months of her life to make sure she is comfortable and not too stressed.

Looking back at it now, Alexis has been very consistent with what she didn’t like. She hates being restrained. Period. Now that she is older, she will tolerate it for a period of time, but then she JUST WANTS TO BE OUT!

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LOVE

Expectations:

From the moment they are born you heart expands.

Realty:

My heart didn’t magically expand at birth. I loved her very much from the very first moment of conception. I would have done ANYTHING to protect her. Instead it slowly grew and grew and grew, as I spent more time with Alexis. It’s like you cannot imagine loving someone more and yet the next month comes and magically you do. From the moment of her birth, I continued to fall deeper and deeper in love with Alexis.

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PARENTING DUTIES

Expectations:

My husband would help me and share all the duties. I have very high expectations of people I love (it really sucks for them lol), so I expected my husband to be there for everything and do everything alongside with me. And be proud and strong and a leader.

Reality:

He did everything I thought he would. He woke up at night, rocked her to sleep, took shifts, let her sleep on his chest, was the best breastfeeding cheerleader (this is something I AM SOOOO grateful for). He was a rockstar!

BUT, oh man, did he complain about the sleep deprivation. Hahaha! It makes me laugh because he still complains even when he gets 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep while I have to wake up hourly (on a bad night) to calm/feed the baby. He always says “It’s not a contest. You got less sleep than I did, but I still didn’t get perfect sleep, so I can complain”. No, damn it! You had it better than me, so you forfeit your right to complain for not having a boob so that you could share in the wake-ups :) lol


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SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS

Expectations:

While I was planning on doing mostly attachment parenting, I wanted to stay away from bedsharing, because of the safety issue.  I bought a co-sleeper and was planning on having Little Lexi next to my bed in a nice and cosy co-sleeper.

Reality:

That was all turned upside down when Alexis WOULD NOT SLEEP the first 5 nights. On night 5 we tried to put her down on our bed (with all the safety precautions) and see if she’d do better. That’s when she gave us her FIRST two hour sleep stretch ( rather than 15-40 minutes). We were sold! Since that day, bed-sharing has worked great for us. We have tried a million other methods numerous times and the ONLY way we can get any sleep is when we sleep together. We are now dedicated bed-sharers and have completely given up on having a crib until she moves into her toddler bed.

 


BABY VS TODDLER

Expectations:

I hadn’t thought much about this part prior to pregnancy, but I always had the idea that babies are easy and once they become toddlers, you will never have peace.]

Reality:

I cannot stress enough how untrue this was for us. Baby Alexis was easy but difficult at the same time, she didn’t behave the way babies are traditionally “expected” to behave, she was uncomfortable and unhappy about not being able to move and do things she wanted to do. Once toddlerhood arrived and she started walking, OH MY WHAT A CHANGE!

It has been the best thing that ever happened to her. She moves non-stop, doesn’t sit down, except to read books, but she is so happy doing it.  She babbles, talks, squeals, hugs toys, kisses mama, runs around, gets excited and is just being the most adorable self. She does get frustrated when something doesn’t work out the way she wants, but that’s to be expected. Using sign language has really helped her communicate efficiently. So all-in-all toddlerhood is the SHIT, I am telling ya!

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So this is all I can remember. It was really fun to write to see how different our ideas were from the reality in some cases.

Want to read what other moms thought was a complete shock to them when their baby arrived? Read this discussion on our Facebook Page

 

 

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Comments (49)

  • Sarah

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    It’s funny. I had a really similar experience with my first baby. Even a lot of the same expectations and reality checks (except I had the baby that will. not. wake up. to eat), and considered myself properly scolded by the universe for thinking I knew what I was doing. Then it happened again with the second baby. As much as I knew better, I still walked into that one thinking I knew what to expect, and once again I was very wrong in a lot of ways. I wonder if I’ll ever learn.
    And I agree, toddlerhood has been awesome. They’re so much fun now, and so much happier now that they’ve found some independence.

    Reply

  • Verna

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    I agree with the breastfeeding pain thing 100%!! EVERYTHING I read said you shouldn’t have any pain if the baby was latched correctly. I was very diligent about learning everything I could ahead of time to ensure breastfeeding worked out for us. I made sure the baby was latched correctly every time and it still hurt. With my 1st for 6 weeks, with my 2nd 4 weeks and only really badly for the first two weeks. Breastfeeding was super important to me so we pushed through but I wish more people would give accurate information.

    Reply

  • Jacki

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    So, I’m confused. Did she never cry or did she cry every time you put her down?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      She never cried without a good reason. She was taken care of immediately when she cried, so she’d calm down. So basically she never cried AND she cried every time :) lol

      Reply

  • Amanda

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    Oh I agree so much! I never expected to have a baby that screamed every time he was laid down. The only thing that was different for us was that the sleepless nights have not gotten easier to deal with. My body is getting used to being without sleep but my mind most definitely is not. The days are just so long (alone 6 days a week) without a single person to talk to or interact is a lot when you’re so incredibly tired. Not to mention I have never gotten any help during the nights. It’s funny how having a baby can just mentally kick your ass sometimes. Your family rocks and have gotten through such a tough phase and stayed so positive the entire time!

    Reply

    • Amanda

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      Ahhhh the pic is following me around everywhere hahahahahahaha

      Reply

  • Christina

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    I think all babies cry for a reason. My first was like Alexis. She cried often but stopped when fed, held, etc. My youngest is totally different, she hardly ever cries and is not as needy.

    Reply

  • Mon

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    I am interested to know, did Lexi lose weight in those first weeks before you mastered breast feeding? My baby (now 7 months) lost 15% of her birth weight and I was advised to breast feed her, give her expressed milk and then formula – a three course meal. It is not what I expected or wanted but I felt pressured to because of her weight loss. Looking back now and reading your post I wonder if we had struggled on could I have breastfed 100%…?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      She was back at her birthweight within 2 days and had only lost a few ounces and then was gain gain gain from there on.
      All she did was breastfeed. Every 30 minutes. So no wonder.
      You did what you had to do at the time. I don’t know whether I myself would be able to resist formula faced with a baby who’s losing weight.

      Reply

  • Sarah

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    The whole “breastfeeding won’t hurt if you’re doing it right” nonsense annoys me too! Both of my daughters had excellent latch from day one, wowing the lactation consultants…and yet I STILL had pain for the first 6-8 weeks, both times. Even with a great latch, it takes a while for sensitive nipple tissue to get accustomed to being vigorously sucked on for like 20 hours per day!

    My youngest daughter sounds like she had a similar daytime sleep schedule as Lexi! She seemed to believe that 10-15 minutes counted as a “nap”. Lucky for me, she was quite content to be carried in a baby carrier (thank GOD), so I could spend time with my other daughter, but it wasn’t until she was around 8 months old that she started taking “normal baby” naps of an hour or more.

    Reply

  • Jen

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    I’m pregnant with my second and plan to cut of dairy. I read about it on another blog and see here that you did that. Did you cut out dairy by not drinking milk, eating cheese, etc. or did you go all the way by eating dairy free bread and reading every ingredient in pasta and all produts to make sure milk and its derivitives weren’t present. Just wondering how far I should take it. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I did not worry about trace amounts of dairy like in breads ( i didn’t really eat much bread or processed foods that would have dairy as a filler).

      The best advice I can give you is read the Baby Bond book. It goes in detail about getting rid of dairy and is an awesome resource.

      Cutting out dairy is the best thing I did in those first few months! I am back to occasional cheese on a pizza now, because of pure laziness and lack of time (when you’re stresses you want bad foods lol), but it mde a huge difference back then in my opinion.

      Reply

  • Samantha

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    What car seat do you use? I think I saw an instagram photo of you with a new one? I am shopping around and looking for a recommendation! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Right now I am trying out the new Clek seat right now, so that’s what we use for the time being. Both seats are really awesome and I’ll probably write a comparison between two. Which one is best will truly depend on your particular situation!

      Reply

  • Krista

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    I love the picture of her at the end, walking. She looks SO happy. It’s amazing how, as soon as they start walking, the baby chubbiness starts to go away. It’s kind of sad–I love the baby chub!! My daughter was what you’d call an “easy baby”. But she was similar to Alexis in that, as soon as she learned how to walk and talk, she was even more thrilled–with herself and with the world. She is more fun every single day (She’s 2.5 now).

    Reply

  • Lovely Light

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    Seeing as I’ll be a FTM when I give birth in two weeks, this post was really helpful to re-set some of my expectations. Thanks so much.

    Reply

  • Sally

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    Thank you Elena, that was so much fun reading! When my son (11month) was born i was hoping this newborn stage would never end but then i like everyday more than the one before. Yesterday he took his first independent steps and i can’t wait to explore the world with him!
    Your blog is so nice to read and full of inspirations.

    And Lexi looks so “grown-up” in that last picture-whoa!

    Reply

  • Corinne

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    I’d love to hear about how your relationship as husband and wife has changed since Alexis. It doesn’t sound like you’d have time for intimacy or just each other, so I’m curious about that.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      There’s not much to say honestly. We have both been focused on getting through the first year and on Alexis. Working as a team on pretty much everything.
      The only alone time is usually in the evening when we sit elbow to elbow working on our computers or snuggled up on the coach watching Vampire Diaries.
      We try to have meals together and an evening playtime with Lexi.
      Our situation of working from home is very different from others…

      Reply

  • Liz

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    I had to laugh at your comments about Andrew’s sleep. My husband is exactly the same and complains about a bad nights sleep if he has to get up once in the night to pee! (he is totally my rock though).

    I also totally agree about your pain and breastfeeding comments. My babies both had an awesome deep, wide open mouth latch and yep, it still hurt for a good month or so. Maybe it’s men that write those books!

    Loving seeing Alexis grow into such a cute, happy toddler. The fun is just starting!

    Reply

  • Sarabeth

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    How did you practice latching a baby before she was born?

    Reply

  • Jess

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    Great post! I love how much time & effort you put into making sure these posts are full of great info (and photos) for your readers :-)

    Some Snapshots Blog
    Jess

    Reply

  • bryanna

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    I’ve commented on this before, but yup, alexis sounds a LOT like my older kiddo. the first year was so challenging, because she hated being a baby. she couldn’t move and communicate and she just wanted to be big dammit! once she learned baby signs and to walk? SO MUCH EASIER.

    I will say though, 3 has been insanely difficult. Once she got ever being excited about being a big girl? she got mad about not being an adult. oh the power struggles! So watch out for that. 1 and 2 were my favorite… I LOVED 1.5. now she’s almost 4 and I’m looking forward to more brain growth so she can start using some logical thinking. She is smart as all hell, but she’s still only 3 you know? It creates a lot of problems because it means she can seriously argue the hell out of things but her logic is often flawed.

    so yeah… enjoy big girl alexis… you might have some major trouble come 3. ‘terrible twos’ is a lie… it’s three you gotta watch out for! I envision a little mouth telling you ‘NO I MAKE THE RULES!’ and other similar lines 😉

    I have a 2mo now though and she’s SO much easier than my big girl was. She sleeps in her crib every night now, including being able to put her down awake rather than nursing her to sleep. She’s still similar to her big sister, but so much less intense. I can put her down sometimes. She is content with being a baby although I don’t think it’s her favorite. She’s happy and fairly calm and getting quite smiley. She does like to be held a lot of course, but it’s so much more manageable. I think you guys are planning on another eventually? Don’t stress too much that the experience will be the same as far as the challenging bits go… pregnancy was different for me too (although I loved it the first time and didn’t the second… I know you didn’t like pregnancy so maybe it’ll be better next time?) things are a lot less challenging but all the easy stuff is still easy this time around. and big sister is SUPER proud… going to two kids scared me but it’s been insanely easy adding another kid.

    Reply

  • Becca

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    Elena, regarding your comments on your postpartum body changes and how quickly you snapped back, I think you aren’t exactly being 100% honest, and I think that’s unfair to other women. There’s such a pressure in our society to get back to our regular size within weeks of birth. You wrote that your stomach was back to normal and you had lost all pregnancy weight except 5 pounds within 2 weeks of giving birth. This can’t be true – just a few months ago you wrote a post about your weight and said you weigh 141 lbs, which is still 10 lb above your pre-pregnancy weight, and you’re 1 year postpartum. I think it’s OKAY to not go back to pre-pregnancy size right away, and it would be nice to see someone who has a modeling background/obviously cares about appearance address this issue honestly. You look great now, obviously, but your body isn’t the way it was before you had a baby – you had ripped abs and were really thin back then. Not that you’re not thin now, but you aren’t the way you were, and pretending you were within 5 lbs of your normal weight so quickly after giving birth is just misleading to your readers!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Becca, I AM being honest, i think you might have misunderstood me!
      I feel it is completely ok to NOT go back to pre-pregnancy shape/weight soon after birth and I didn’t. What i said/meant was that in 2 weeks my stomach “looked” normal. It didn’t look like it was before pregnancy (it still doesn’t because i haven’t had the time to work out), but it didn’t look like a pregnant stomach ( you can view the pictures from before).
      Also my pre-pregnancy weight was 136, if I am not mistaken. I wanted to gain a few pounds before I got pregnant, so I went from 134(??? i don’t remember my exact weight at that point) to 136 right before pregnancy. S0 141 would put me at 5 pounds pre-pregnancy, where I hung for what seemed like forever. I am pretty sure that loss happened within the first two weeks, but I didn’t go to double check that. I do remember thinking that I am NOT losing weight fast and that the scale kept showing the same darn number for days!

      I have absolutely no reason to NOT be honest. I have no problems with my weight or looks now or before. My body definitely doesn’t look like it did before, but that’s mostly my own fault since I haven’t been able to work out lately.

      I think pregnancy and first year kicks butt and changes people, so coming out of it with a different body, looks and attitude is absolutely normal.

      Sorry if you got the wrong idea from that section. I definitely didn’t mean to imply that I somehow got my ripped abs back or my skinny legs and arms or that it is not ok not to get back to shape after pregnancy.

      I’ll re-read that section to see if it reads differently than what I intended on saying…

      Reply

    • Corinne

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      It can happen. And it happened with me too. I was back to my ore-pregnancy weight within 2 weeks except the same 5lbs Elena spoke of (which I swear was all in my chest from the milk coming in) . If you don’t gain a crazy about of weight during pregnancy, a lot of it is lost during delivery and if you breast feed, it can really just disappear and very quickly.

      Reply

      • Kiera

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        Agreed it can happen. Didn’t with my first, but my second? I was 3 lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight at 3 weeks, already back in my jeans, and I’m not 9 weeks post pregnancy and I’m 10 lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight.

        Does it HAVE to all fall off? No. Took 9 months to put on, and it can take time to comes off. CAN it all fall off quickly? Yes.

        Reply

      • Renee

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        I agree, and I wish women would stop thinking this is even an interesting topic, really. I was at my pre-pregnancy weight within 2-3 weeks after giving birth and now, 7 months later, I am 10 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight, at my lowest weight since high school. This is due to the demands of full-time pumping in my case. That doesn’t mean that my body is the same, of course. I carry weight differently, and I am definitely not back in shape yet. But everyone is different when it comes to losing the weight.

        Reply

        • Simone

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          I have had the same experience Renee, I was feeding then expressing with a pump for the first 5.5 months and my weight was dropping continuously no matter what I ate.

          It actually upset me when people said “you don’t even look like you have had a baby” or “it is easy for you” or “you must starve yourself”. The truth is my body was working SUPER hard and I could not keep up with the nutritional intake that I needed to support it.

          Reply

  • Carolyn

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    My 3 month old had a stubbornly shallow latch as well – eventually my nips toughened up and her mouth got bigger and we made it through, but now I’m worried about when she cuts teeth because I think her latch is still on the shallow side – did you have any trouble when Lexi started teething/cutting teeth?

    Thanks! :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Her latch has always been shallow too. with teeth coming in they’d rub the skin a bit but nothing too crazy.
      Biting is normal and occurs mostly while teething or after she’s done. You just gotta watch for the signs.

      Only recently her latch has become wider but she still has moments of shallow latch.
      Trust me the rest of BFing is easy compared to the first few weeks.

      Reply

      • Carolyn

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        I’m relieved to know you didn’t have too much trouble with her teeth. Thank you for the quick reply!

        Reply

  • Olivia

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    You seem to forget a bit of what you wrote right after birth… These comments are taken directly from your blog regarding your child’s sleep.

    Now: “I felt ok. I could manage and eventually got completely used to frequent wake ups”

    Then: “The first week was rough. Not normal newborn rough or “adjusting to lack of sleep” rough but “what is going on” rough…we literally had zero sleep. When people say “oh I’ve had no sleep because of my newborn baby” rarely do they mean literally no sleep. When I say zero sleep I mean I was able to close my eyes for 0-30 minutes each night for two nights. I love when people say “Well what did you expect? That it was going to be easy”?
    Oh darling, you can’t compare a baby that gives you an hour or two at a time to sleep to a baby that wakes up every time you put her down.”

    There’s nothing wrong with feeling differently about things now, but how about you address what you previously wrote?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I guess I don’t exactly understand what needs to be addressed?

      In the first few months it was incredibly rough ( read the part about SLEEP in this post), like really rough (even though i am slowly forgetting how bad it really was).
      After that newborn period, things got better and I felt like it was manageable which is what I feel like right now. No more wake ups every 30 minutes.

      My exact quote from this post is ” However, after the newborn period , even though Alexis was still waking up 4-6 times a night and sometimes every hour, I felt ok.”

      Reply

  • Anna

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    Very interesting post! I have been thinking about it recently, more on the parenting aspect than the practical side, but that’s interesting, too. If you had a couple bloggers write the same kind of post, I think it would be damm helpful to future moms. Not “you just wait” attitude, nor “having a baby is a breeze”, just facts and honest feelings.
    Maybe a topic for Daily Mom? :)

    Reply

  • Lara

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    We have had so many similar experiences. I, too, had a great labor and delivery despite an unplanned epidural late in the game. It was the experience of my life and had one thing been different it might not have been so wonderful.

    With sleep we have also had a lot of similarities. We never had that konked-out-newborn stage. I never had to wake my baby up to feed. That was laughable. At 6.5 months, G is still sleeping a lot like he did as a newborn…mostly 1-2 hour stretches, sometimes up every sleep cycle. I’m trying to power through despite the severe sleep deprivation and just hope he grows out of it soon. It feels very far away!

    Lexi is just beautiful!

    Reply

  • Jamie

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    I am experiencing this all right now. I definitely knew what I was getting myself into, but at the same time had NO IDEA. My daughter is almost 11 weeks old and I learn something new every day.

    Reply

  • Claire

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    Oh, I have tears! Thanks for writing this. I know that many readers were very unkind to you about your expectations, so this is a very brave post to write. I know that for me personally, my expectations vs reality were different in every aspect! I was about as experienced with newborns, babies and toddlers as one person could be before I had my son, but the reality of having your own child? Hugely different. Learning to go with the flow – after having such a set idea of “how things WILL be” – was quite possibly one of the largest challenges for me.

    Welcome to toddlerhood. It’s quite a trip :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Aaawww thank you!

      It’s funny because now I make it my mission to tell everyone who’s expecting (when they ask) that they need to ignore the just you waits and the negative moms who get pissed even at the slightest thought that someone thinks life with a baby will be different than what they experienced, and that having a baby is amazing but challenging and different, beyond your expectations.

      Reply

      • Claire

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        Good advice, I say! At the end of the day, no two babies are the same. And no two mothers will deal with each new situation in the same way. And it’s the unsolicited and often unkind advice that can really mess with a new (tired, stressed, confused) mom’s head.

        Reply

  • Ana O

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    I’ve been following your blog since your pregnancy and before I got pregnant, which as been incredibly helpful insight on expectations and reality checks for me. My baby is 5wks old now and thanks to you, I haven’t set ridiculous expectations for myself. I just keep saying, “What happens, happens and that’s the way it’s meant to be.” I appreciate your honesty and rawness of your life. It’s been great! Good job and can’t wait to read more. Oh also, your baby item posts have been awesome!

    Reply

  • Debby

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    Thanks for sharing your experience of your beautiful family. We’re expecting our first baby in December after trying to conceive for 2 years. It’s good to see that everyone’s experience is different and to the best advice is to adjust to what works for you when things turn out differently than expected.

    Reply

  • Danielle

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    Hi Elena, I have to say that your blog has been truly fantastic (I only started reading it in January, when my baby girl (also Alexis) was 1 month old) it has been a life saver on so many days when I didn’t know what to do with my baby girl or understand her. You have helped us so much, thank you.
    I wanted to ask, did you ever have days when Alexis wouldn’t sleep at all ( I mean naps)? Our Alexis is a great little night time sleeper, but Naps!!! Oh my word. She has gone 3 days now without a single nap and becomes the fussiest little girl. It breaks my heart and I feel terrible, because everything I do doesn’t work. I just hold her and cry and she cries, and we both just cry.
    Did you ever have this happen?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Oh girl, our sleeping journey has been terrible. I really struggled with lack of naps or long naps because I like to be productive. With hindsight being 20/20 if you can afford (meaning you don’t have to work or have other obligations), don’t stress out about her daytime sleep. Just do your best to put her down when she is drowsy but if you have to rock her or nurse her the whole time or hold her, just do it. Everything else will wait. I would make attempts to get her used to a bed or swing or somewhere but when it doesn’t work, just get your iphone and do some reading while you can ( i loved reading parenting books during those times on my nook app. I actually have some good recommendations for that)

      Reply

  • Danielle

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    Thanks so much for the reply!!!
    Would you have done anything differently looking back? you never followed a routine?
    I have bought a lot of your book recommendations, they have all been great. Busy reading baby led weaning and we cant wait for our Alexis to turn 6 months and have a go at it.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      For the most part, I would have done everything the same as hard as it was. I followed her cues and did what she needed and while the progress has been slow, it has been at her pace, not forced. She is such an amazing well adjusted kid, and I believe it is in part because of our support.

      Reply

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