I cannot believe Olivia is 6 months old. I was just looking at pictures of her and it’s hard to believe she was so tiny. Sometimes it’s difficult to think back on the first 6 months, we have come so far and she has only gotten stronger and stronger and for that I’m so thankful. Many different things and people have helped us tremendously in these first 6 months as parents. Here are some things I have learned about being a mama during the first 6 months.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When we brought Olivia home, I wanted to try and do everything. I had pretty much recovered from my C section, unlike most moms, so I wanted to do more. I started to burn myself out pretty quickly and wasn’t using the resources of my mom and husband. Finally I admitted I needed help and I felt a lift off my shoulders and heart. My in-laws also saw a big need for us which was to clean our apartment. When they walked me around and showed me everything, I was so in awe what they had done to get my apartment ready for Oliva’s homecoming. My mom couldn’t have been more helpful the first week Olivia was home (and still is to this day) and Myke does more than I could have ever hoped and dreamed. I hit the jackpot with my help.
Bottle vs Breastfeeding. Even before I had Olivia, I decided I was going to keep an open mind about feeding her. I was going to try breastfeeding, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down if something were to happen. I will note here that my experience was a tad different from the average mom. I was not able to feed Olivia for the first few weeks of her life, so pumping was my only option. Even when she was off the ventilator, we weren’t able to breastfeed her, so it had to be done by bottle. This ended up working out well because Myke was able to feed her and it has become one of his favorite things to do. When we came home, we did breastfeed for about a month and she did great. I had some issues and eventually I couldn’t breastfeed. I did continue to pump until she was a little over 4 months and for that I am extremely proud. I had been continuously pumping since she was born, then exclusively pumped and I’m proud to say that was my journey. Given our entire situation, I wouldn’t change anything I did. We had unforeseen circumstances come about and I did my best to handle them, unfortunately they got the best of me most of the time. New moms, please allow yourself grace in your feeding situations. Doctors told me one thing, if she is getting my milk, who cares how she gets it. I still bonded with my daughter and once I stopped stressing out over what I “had” to do, I was a much better mom for it.
Talk to your baby. I always talk to Olivia. I tell her everything that I’m doing and then when I went back to work, I would come home and tell her about my day. The way I look at it, she is going to be learning how to talk even if she isn’t fully talking herself. I also figured she heard my voice so much while in the womb and in the hospital, I better keep it up. I also sing to her and when we are in the car, I still talk to her and sing to her. I ask her what she would like to hear and sing along with it.
Have a mama community. I had two of my best friends be pregnant with me at the same time, one was having her first and the other, her third. Their texts, hugs, and talks got me through so much. I also had my cousin, who was on her second baby and she was due 2 weeks after me. I also had a co worker, another cousin, and my pastor who are done having kids, but gave me so many little nuggets of advice and words of wisdom. I still go to all these women today!
I’m also going to share Olivia’s story with you next week. It has taken a very long time for me to write it, but I figured 6 months is a great time to share how she came into this world, her long road home, and above all else God’s goodness to us in the process. Stay tuned for the posts all next week.