Hi my friends! Wow, it’s taken me FOR.EVER. to get you this blog post. I realize it probably only serves a small portion of my audience but, hey ho. I know these posts can be helpful for those who are in this same season or are about to embark on it soon. I divided up this post based on the questions you sent in a few weeks ago. So, let’s jump in to what is new with Louie!
Louie is still currently on a 3-hour schedule which, technically, goes against what app’s like Moms On Call and some sleep coaches would recommend. Usually, at four months, it is recommended that infants be moved to a four hour schedule but, I felt like we had some catching up to do. We wanted to get him sleeping in his own room first [note: that’s not what the AAP recommends but was the best choice for us, personally; do what makes the most sense for you and your family] as well as moving his bedtime up to 7:30pm, which took some time. So, once we moved into our flat [from our home in London] we got those two balls rolling. My sleep coach, Ashley, said once we are seeing him consistently sleeping through the night and taking really good naps. When he turned four months old, she said that she didn’t necessarily care how long his naps were but to pay attention to when the naps start to lengthen and when you’re having to wake him up for his next 3 hour cycle. We started seeing these two things come together over the last two weeks so, with that said, we will likely move him over to a 4-hour schedule very soon which is great because she really wanted him switched at the 6-months, at the absolute latest.
So, here is his current schedule – roughly. I loooove my sleep and I’m NOT a morning person so, even though I know we probably should, we don’t always start at the exact same time every morning. Right now, Louie wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30 but I’ll just start the day at 7:00am just for ease.
7:00am – wake / 7oz bottle / play
8:30/9:00 – nap
10:00 – wake / 6oz bottle / play
11:30/12:00 – nap
1:00pm – wake / 6oz bottle / play
2:30/3:00 – nap
4:00 – wake / 6oz bottle / play
5:30 – cat nap [I only let him sleep for about 30 minutes]
6:00 – wake / 7oz bottle [yes, feed again 🙂 don’t worry] / bedtime routine
6:45/7:00 – dressed for bed, lights out, sound machine on, rock him and feed him a small bottle [usually 4oz or so; he doesn’t always finish it], kiss him goodnight & lay him down
How is he sleeping [naps & night time]?
Naps – His naps vary. I’d say he usually sleeps anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and a half depending on time of day. My sleep coach says that’s very normal for this age and is totally fine. We will transition him to longer naps in his crib at six months.
Night – He sleeps anywhere between 11-12 hours at night at this point. It might always be this way so trying to enjoy it being that it hasn’t always been like this.
I know baby sleep is such a tough thing. It’s truly a science so please know I completely empathize if this isn’t your reality and your baby is a similar age to Louie. I can’t recommend consulting with a sleep coach enough. Like I said, it really is like a science and I definitely would be lost without her help and direction.
Did you experience regression?
No, we didn’t. We have struggled a little bit around that 4 month mark but I can’t really classify it as regression because we hardly had a solid nights’ sleep prior to 4 months. We’d get a six hour stretch but that was about as good as we would get until he got into his own room.
Does he go down awake or asleep?
I put him down drowsy but awake. It took awhile for me to truly adopt this. I’d try to rock him until he was basically asleep but would ALWAYS accidentally wake him when I put him down trying to get my arm from underneath his neck/head. I’d always feel bad walking out of the room with him looking at me but, eventually I was like ‘I KNOW he’s tired’ so let’s just see if he drifts off on his own. After a few nights of seeing that he does [and it doesn’t usually take more than 5 minutes], I felt better about feeding him that small bottle, giving him a little goodnight kiss, laying him down and then walking out. He isn’t distressed by it at all so it’s made me feel better and, like I said, he drifts off so quickly.
Where does he take his naps?
I lay him on me to signal ‘okay time for a nap’ and he usually drifts off and then I will wiggle my way out from under him. I usually put him on the Snuggle Me lounger. It’s weird – with daytime sleep, I feel like he drifts off so much quicker than nighttime … like within a minute or so. So, if I do wake him when i’m getting up – I can usually stroke his forehead or in between his eyes and he’ll drift right back off, no problem.
Does he take a pacifier to bed with him?
Yes, he is obsessed with this one by Ryan and Rose [made of silicone so super safe; very durable, as well; i think it feels really good on his gums because he used to not like these until he started drooling more] and it’s attached to this little bear. It’s his little comfort.
What formula are you using for Louie? Does he like it?
Before answering, I just need to underline that it’s best that you consult with your pediatrician over what formula you should try for your baby. I am simply a new Mom just doing her best and using what felt right for us and has worked well for Louie. Every baby is different so please weigh your pediatrician’s recommendation over mine.
We use HIPP Combiotic Stage 1 at the moment and Louie LOVES it. It’s pretty pricey over in the States as it’s a European formula and, therefore, has a healthier formulation due to food standards here. I was looking at prices and I’m thinking about having him try Holle, which is goat milk based, while we are visiting my parents in Maine just to cut down on cost while also not veering from what he has become accustomed to. I’m hoping he likes it.
How are you liking the BabyBrezza?
We LOVE it. Absolutely love it. I cannot recommend it enough. I’ve heard some pediatricians say it doesn’t provide an accurate ratio of water to formula but Louie’s weight hasn’t suffered in any way since we’ve started him on formula using the BabyBrezza.
How many ounces does he take per bottle?
So, we’re right on the verge of that 7oz bottle mark, I believe. He has taken 6oz for a while and he’s usually satisfied but, last week, I noticed he had a bit more expectation on his face when he was done so, we are doing 7oz in the morning and evening to start and then we’ll work more in over the next week or so.
Louie and I leave a week from today and I am so excited and, yeah, a little nervous but trying to focus on how great the trip will be overall! I do wish it was going to be a direct flight but am just going to try to keep my expectations low and prepare as much as I can without going too crazy.
One question I’d love any insight on is whether or not to get the Doona? My current stroller system doesn’t need a base so bringing what I have could potentially be fine [and I’d have more storage space if I did bring that] but everyone raves about how easy the Doona made travel so I’m like … should I just go for it? There are also NO videos on YouTube for how to install my carseat in a vehicle without the base, which is mind-boggling to me. We found one that’s similar and that’s what we used when we put him in John’s mom’s car but, still … I’m kind of crazy when it comes to details. I like seeing the EXACT one being put in not a similar one. hah, anyone else like this?
How are you timing things? did you time the flight based on his nap schedule?
Nope! When you have limited flight options, you just book what makes the most sense and I went with what would give us the shortest layover [2 hours versus 4]. We leave around midday UK time so I’ll follow his normal schedule and try and extend his bedtime a little bit and then try to put him down for bed closer to East Coast time but, we’ll see how it goes. I need to consult with my sleep coach this week and see if she has any tips.
How do you manage naps and feeding while you’re out with Louie?
I feed him every three hours [or a little early if we’re going to be walking somewhere, like the train station, at the time he should be eating; he’s only ever off by like 15 minutes or so] and then he does tend to drop off when he’s in the stroller but movement is key. I do feel like if he’s tired and I’m at a restaurant, I need to snuggle him to get him to doze off then I put him in the stroller and put a blanket over the opening to give him some darkness. But, naps on the go are tough. He doesn’t usually sleep as long if we’re at a restaurant but he does do pretty well if we’re walking around. I want him to be flexible so I try not to stress too much about the schedule when we’re out. Maybe that’s not ‘the best’ mindset to have but, it’s worked fine for us so far! And, we don’t keep him out ALL day to the point that he gets crap naps all day. He’d be miserable. So, I think it’s important to point out … we do make sure he gets one to two REALLY good, solid naps when we do have stuff planned and that’s either before or after we go out.
Things We Love & Use Everyday
Okay, so aside from the BabyBrezza, we have a few other favorites!
He plays under the Lovevery Play Gym for playtime and tummy time. I put together this graphic of the play gym along with some of the toys I put on the mat and / or bring with us in his diaper bag when we go out. He loves so many of these, especially the mirror when he’s doing tummy time. He gets such a kick out of seeing himself but all of these toys have been really fun for him at this age. I do think I’m going to order these blocks for him next because, as he starts to be able to sit up on his own and gain more intentional, active control of his arms, I think they would be fun for him.
Also, we are using these Philips Avent bottles as opposed to the Dr. Brown bottles. We tried those out because, I swear, I see them everywhere on Instagram from new mom’s. We just did not like them! It seemed like Louie had a harder time getting the milk out – it took him longer to drink his meal through them. So, yeah, I’m sure that’s not everyone’s experience but, for us, they weren’t our faves!
Also, this is somewhat random but we are in looove with these burp cloths. They are so soft and always super gentle on Louie’s skin.
New Things We’re Trying Out / Starting to Look Into
• We ordered the Bumbo seat and he absolutely loves it! He is getting less and less patient with being laid down. He wants to sit up more but, of course, at his age, he needs that support and I can’t always sit and support him so this seat has been nice for him to sit up and see what’s going on and allows me to tend to putting things away, getting myself ready, etc.
• Louie isn’t showing all the signs of readiness to start eating yet but I ordered this book to get some additional insight into Baby Led Weaning. I think we will do a mix of puree’s and BLW but, as a new mom, the concept was completely foreign to me. This book and the Instagram account called Solid Starts has gotten me so excited for when he is fully ready.
• When he does start to eat, we have this high-chair ready to go. We got it in white. I went with this one because it’s ergonomic and will grow with him as the footrest is adjustable. It’s super simple to put together and completely tool-free. You can also throw the tray into the dishwasher.
• We’ve gotten quite a bit of use out of the travel crib we purchased about a month ago. We love It. It’s super easy to assemble and breakdown. It packs up beautifully every time making it easy to store at home and pack in the car when you’re on the go.
• I am obsessed with his little Nike shoes. He wears them all the time and I bought them in the two next sizes up.
• Once Louie transitioned out of swaddles, I ordered a Woolino sleep sack [although I did prefer to order the Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit but was unable to order one here in the UK] and he’s absolutely loving it! I will say … I think I still would have preferred the Sleep Suit being that Louie still technically had his moro reflex intact when we transitioned him out of the swaddle and the weight of the Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit would have made it easier for him to not startle himself at night if he did happen to wake up. He has done well in the sleep sack though. It keeps him comfortable at night without posing a safety risk to him.
Can we get an update on how YOU are doing? How do you feel you’re handling motherhood?
I’m okay … not the best I’ve ever been, but okay! I have my good days and not-so-good days. This all might be a lot and seem all over the place but my hope is that, through just spilling out how I’m feeling … all the different layers of how I’m feeling … it could potentially resonate with someone who has been feeling even slightly similar.
If I’m honest, it’s not the motherhood aspect of life that I’ve been struggling with lately. It’s so many other aspects that make the day to day feel heavier to navigate. It’s where we live although I’m so thankful to have this little flat to have been able to fall back on but we’re all in each others’ pockets a lot and I’m so used to having space. It’s the news. The world feels so heavy right now. It’s not being able to travel, at least not far, until we find a new place. [My trip to the States IS happening, though. Thank goodness!] It’s the new sense of identity and getting to know her and also trying to find the confidence to truly step into this identity shamelessly and openly.
And sometimes I think maybe this isn’t hormones or anything pertaining to postpartum… maybe this is me just having a hard time adjusting to how life is unfolding? But it’s hard to know because it’s unfolding at a time that can be a hard one to navigate for many women, not just women, like me going through additional life changes or upheavals. But it wouldn’t surprise me, I guess, if adding change to the postpartum period could make it even harder. I don’t know. So, I drive myself crazy wondering if this is all because of postpartum or is this an adjustment problem due to an intense amount of change and being without a lot of things that typically bring me comfort?
Did any of you feel like you had a harder time digging yourself out of your emotions after pregnancy?
Did you ever feel lost?
Did you feel like a completely different person, and not just as a mother, but as a woman?
Was It hard for you to adjust to this new chapter?
Sometimes I wake up, take care of Louie, and just feel so unmotivated to get myself ready for the day because I don’t have any plans. I don’t know what I should be doing that day [other than being Louie’s mom]. I don’t have any sense of direction.
I know routine would be good but I also am afraid to put too many work commitments on the calendar so as not to disappoint myself. Taking care of a baby is a full time job and you never know what kind of day they’re going to have and, in turn, what kind of day you’re going to have. I know that pouring myself into work even in small doses would be good for me but then I also know that the amount of focused time I have at my computer [or to share something] is so limited. And, in order to commit time to some of the things I’d like to plan, the time I have with John or the time I have to sleep or spend time with friends or go for a walk by myself would be what gets sacrificed. Truth is, I don’t want to sacrifice any of it – my work or time with my loved ones. I’d love to have help with Louie and be able to have that dedicated time to work but, when I’m honest with myself, those other things weigh a little heavier than showing up on social media, even though I realize that is the catalyst for my business. After the last 18 months full of change, those other things [and maintaining those] matter a little more to me. They are my life force during a season where I feel so unsettled and outside of myself. I need to feel settled before I can put my mind on things like finding help for Louie or getting back to work full-time. And, I have to remind myself that while I do need to go back to work, I have worked incessantly over the last decade to afford myself this time when I truly need to take a step back and take care of me. And it’s a position of privilege I’m so aware of to the point that it makes me angry that it’s not something all women are able to have access to. I feel like the world is waking up to the importance of mental health and yet it isn’t prioritized by the industries and companies to ensure that their employees get it in the capacities that are needed. And if it isn’t the mental health debate … it’s the childcare struggle. We could go on but let’s digress for now.
And, even though I know this … being so accustomed to being busy all the time has made this season harder. I’ve adopted and subscribed to this achieve-achieve-achieve, do-do-do, go-go-go mindset [that I think a lot of millennials have] for YEARS. And so many incredible things come out of seasons of hustle, including mine, so this isn’t me trying to hate on that mindset but it can be dangerous when it’s sustained for too long. We all deserve to embrace slower seasons and not let society put unnecessary pressure on you or let the pressure you’re used to putting on yourself win. If you’re struggling, prioritize your mental health. It matters and we need to start acting like it does. I am desperately trying to unlearn this idea that we have to keep going, never stop … and the not give in to the shame that we feel when we feel like we’re letting that idea down. And I’m finding that when life challenges / forces you to really slow it down, almost to a halt, it’s for a reason. I do very much believe there is a purpose behind this season – where it’s not so much about doing as it is about being. Where it’s not so much about saying your piece but learning your truth. Where it’s not about clinging so tight to the way you’ve always done it as it is about having open hands to what life might have in store for you next.
I feel like that would have been a nice little end to my soliloquy but, no, I’m not done, hah! How I’m doing and what I’m feeling day to day is so layered.
In addition to that – or on top of that, I don’t know – there’s a loss of identity aspect to it that makes me sad, as well. They say ‘when you birth a baby, you also birth a whole new you’. I feel that so deeply. I feel so disconnected from the person I was before Louie and yet miss her so much at the same time. But, then I think … I’m just shedding the aspects of that girl that were never really her but, rather, who it was acceptable to be. In a weird way, I feel like this new identity is really who I’ve been the whole time but have been afraid to be. It’s almost like I’m experiencing some sort of awakening in myself.
And, with this new me, I’ve discovered quite a bit of anger and that’s scary in and of itself. I find myself getting angry about things that never really made me angry before. [Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt myself or others due to this anger but maybe I should describe it as being ‘bothered’. Ha, I’m ‘bothered’ or ‘triggered’ by a lot of things]. Things I’ve never raised any concern or expressed any opinion over before. And I want to share some of these things but then I’m like ‘this is “too deep” or “too much”‘ for Instagram. Ha, and then I get angry about how influencers can only be themselves to the point that it makes people comfortable and happy. And that we’re essentially abandoning or tabling anything within ourselves that, if shared, could stir up any sort of uncomfortability in someone else. Maybe this doesn’t bother some influencers because, it could very well be a part of the business model, who knows. But, it bothers me. We are conditioned to keep it light, keep it happy, appease, be who they want you to be but … what kind of influence does that have? It only perpetuates this idea that women shouldn’t ruffle anyone’s feathers or be true to herself and say what’s on her mind or stand up for what she believes in. She shouldn’t take up space. But, we freaking should! Ha, y’all .. I could go on about this but, basically, that is not the influence I want to have on other women! I want to influence people to not abandon themselves just to be liked. I want to influence people to be open-minded, loving, respectful but be confident in their own power, in their own knowing, to say what’s on their heart. Be shamelessly you. It’s a quality I admire most in women and yet a quality I’m still working on owning myself. I sit in my own conditioning to not voice my opinion because, I’ve been made to believe it doesn’t matter. So, all that to say, I’m really getting to know my inner knowing and trying to honor her better. I think you may start to see that as I break down that conditioning over time.
I feel so pulled around by so many things that sometimes I just cry because I can’t exactly pinpoint what is making me sad or mad. It’s everything! And then I feel crazy. Because SO MUCH feels new [and also I am living inside of so many blessings!! I’m sooo not naive to that so it almost feels like I shouldn’t have all of these feelings] … I don’t know how else to explain how I feel other than to say I feel like a feather being blown around in the wind. I feel like I have no anchor. And it’s so scary to feel like that and to have nothing around you that feels familiar. It has scared me so much that I’ve gone looking for things that could either explain it or help me feel better. So, I’ve become intrigued by concepts like misaligned chakras, energy healing, grounding, meditation, and things like that because I feel so all over the place. My energy is depleted all the time and just want so badly to feel more balanced. [Wow, it’s so scary to admit all of this.] And, since these are new concepts to me, I feel equally as skeptical about them because some are esoteric in nature and we’re conditioned to think they’re ‘bad’. Well, I guess moreso if you have a Christian background. Ultimately, though, I know God is with me in this season and I see His winks everywhere.
Wow. That was a lot. So, now you know what the heck I’ve been doing lately — while I’ve not been showing up on Instagram as much because I’ve been mulling over all of this. I’m in a hard season where I’m asking myself hard questions and coming to hard realizations. But … these seasons of shedding are GOOD. It’ll just take some time to really see that and appreciate it for what it’s doing FOR me, not to me. And, maybe I’m struggling more than I thought. Maybe it’s PPD and I’ve been in denial or maybe I’m just really freakin’ scared of all the new and who this new girl is that I birthed with Louie. She’s got some things she wants to say but she’s so scared. I’m emotional about it a lot, if I’m honest, because I feel so alone. No one talks about this, at least not while they’re in it. Plus, the state of the world. Ugh. Y’all, it’s all very heavy and the last thing I want is to scroll my feed. It makes it so much worse. I hope I feel lighter soon, to be honest, and, if you’re struggling as a new mom, too, even if it looks different than what I just described, you are not alone!
Does this resonate with any of you?
What has been the easiest part? Hardest?
The easiest part is loving him. I just look at him and melt. I miss him when he’s sleeping. I’m so thankful he’s mine.
The hardest is trying to find a new rhythm and new routine that makes sense for you and your family. This comes easily for some, but can be hard for others.
I’d love for you guys to answer this question in the comments below for any future mom’s looking for insight into what could be on the horizon.
What week / month did things feel easier?
I feel like, after each week, you experience amnesia as to the week prior hah! I’m like … uhhhhh what week was that?
For me, I think things felt easier once I was honest with myself about how angry I felt when I pumped and how unhealthy that was for me to continue even with the knowledge of how it made me feel. It’s normal to have those feelings of rage. It’s scientifically proven that you can experience that when you pump but, for me, it didn’t sit well with me to continue doing something that made me feel like that. There are so many hard aspects to postpartum that you can’t control so I couldn’t continue doing that was actually my choice. I wanted to enjoy this season and Louie wasn’t gaining a lot of weight so, it seemed like a no brainer that the best way forward for us was to say ‘we gave it our best shot’ to breastfeeding / pumping. I truly hope my experience is different with our next one [God willing] but, things felt a million times easier after making that decision.
That was week 3? or 4? I can’t remember exactly but it felt like way longer than that, to be honest. Time crawled and it was sooo unenjoyable and difficult but, ever since then, if it’s been hard … it hasn’t phased me.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Many women have incredible breastfeeding experiences, and some even start off rocky, so this is not me saying don’t breastfeed or that it will definitely be hard for you. I will say … there is a learning curve so definitely utilize a lactation consultant in the hospital!
What’s something you’d tell yourself five months ago?
You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. And you have the best dang partner by your side when it gets hard.
Alright, I think that’s a pretty comprehensive update on how things have been going but if I missed anything or there’s anything you’re curious about or want me to include in the next one, please do let me know in the comments below! Thanks for checking in on us! xo.