by Jenna Kutcher
To see our home videos and the day she was born, click “play” below.
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src gen: https://player.vimeo.com/video/311535471?dnt=1Actual comparison
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How can you sum up a month of figuring out life as a mom? It’s nearly impossible and I’ve been trying to remember all those little, tiny moments by typing letters to my baby girl and writing down one thing a day, and filling my camera roll with photos and videos so I’ll never forget her in her tiniest state with the funniest grunts and the eyes that sometimes cross. I know that soon I’ll be way late on these or probably stop them all together but since I want a gold star as a mom, I figured if I don’t start now, I probably never will. So here’s what one month with Conley Kate has been like…
How We’re Really Doing…
It’s easy to see staged photos and short video clips on Instagram and wonder, “How are they realllly doing?” and I’ve honestly been a little nervous to share this but for the sake of being authentic and honest, I’m going to say it…. we’re doing SO good. Every day we are counting our blessings because there is zero facade here, we are loving parenting life. We really lucked out because Conley is a super easy, super happy, super good at sleeping/eating/being cute baby, beyond all that, she’s healthy and we thank God for that. I think because we waited three long years and had so much time to dream and prepare, we entered this season with our eyes wide opened and were as ready as people could ever be for such a colossal change.
We also prepared intentionally with our businesses so that we could be present and parent together. I’m so beyond grateful that Drew doesn’t have to “go back to work” and that we get to be home together, tackling this as a team. We laugh a lot, we take turns so we get a break, and we’re enjoying this chapter after a few not-so fun ones. I had a lot of fears surrounding becoming a mom and if I’m being honest, they were lies. I can be a good mom and a good businesswoman, I can love my body post-baby, I can still sleep at night, and I can love a tiny human more than I could have comprehended.
This first month went so fast, we’re preparing for one full month in Hawaii with baby girl and we can’t wait to keep sharing her life, updates, and how we’re doing online and hopefully with a monthly round-up post so we have these fun reminders when life gets a little too blurry for us. Thank you so much for your love and support, Conley is loved and adored by so many and for that, we’re so thankful.
What’s surprised us…
Okay, please don’t kill me right now… we literally have a very easy baby. Honestly, I hate to even say this because I both want to knock on wood but I also feel guilty but I can say that our transition to parenthood has been less hard/scary/challenging than we believed it would be. We have a baby who barely cries, who sleeps in stretches, and who makes us laugh a lot. We are also wildly blessed that we get to be home together and so neither of us are solo-parenting, so we realize our situation is different than most. I’m just shocked at how naturally parenthood has come upon us and we’re thanking our lucky stars for a happy, healthy baby, and for a partnership that is making this transition mostly seamless. Even our pediatrician said, “Either you guys are really good at faking it, or you’re doing really well.”
The adverse side that’s surprised us is how opinionated people are about parenting and how vocal people share their opinions. I knew that entering the world of mom-guilt would likely stop me in my tracks but it’s crazy how much unsolicited advice we are getting and how people can be so overly critical to others. It kind of makes me want to not show up on the internet some days and it also can be one of those “grin and bear it” things in public when people tell you how to parent your child or what’s to come. It makes me sad how everyone wants to instill fear into parenting and share horror stories or the “Well, just wait until…” Thank you so much, but we’re enjoying the right now and we’re really happy!
Do we sleep?
Why yes, I am starting with sleep because it’s like… the most important thing to me. There, I said it. As a girl who got a solid 10 hours every night pre-baby, I was definitely so stressed about the idea of living on no sleep and being up at all hours of the night. While we’ve definitely had a few nights where we were up almost every hour, for the most part, Conley is an incredible sleeper. We usually feed her at 11PM, put her down, she sleeps for 3ish hours, wake up and do one night feed, then she gets up around 6AM, we do a feed, and then we sleep until about 8AM.
So really she’s getting in 3-hour stretches that are close to becoming 4-hour stretches and we’ve had to wake her up to feed her almost nightly. We’ve gotten her on a schedule for the most part and the most incredible thing is that she doesn’t really cry, nighttime has become a special time in our house and beyond a few stressful nights, they’ve been pretty sweet. Knowing a general schedule has helped us plan out travel or when we’re getting out of the house around when she’s most likely to be asleep and it’s helped us so much!
Things that we love for sleep
- The SNOO bassinet: Yes, the bassinet that swaddles, rocks, and adjusts to your baby’s movements. Let me start with: it was a splurge and we spent our money on it instead of getting it for free because we wanted to make sure we really thought it worked and be able to give our actual feedback and the verdict is in: we LOVE it…. so much so, we’re renting one when we’re in Hawaii for February. It helps her sleep longer, Conley loves it, and we truly do believe it’s gotten us more sleep.
- Taking Cara Babies sleep course: Before we had her, we took a sleep course from Taking Cara Babies (so many of our friends swore by it) and it was so helpful and I seriously think it helped set us up for success and helped us find an early groove with her. It’s not like rigid sleep training but more tips, tricks, and schedules to help you create good sleep habits from day one and to help you transition into life with a newborn. Now that she’s 1 month we get to really implement Cara’s tools but we loved watching the online course together and have told just about everyone about it!
- DockATot: We just did our first overnight away from home and we were a little nervous about it but we brought our DockATot (another splurge), the same swaddle she sleeps in with the SNOO, and this noise machine for white noise and she kept the same exact schedule as at home. It gave us such confidence that we can do overnights without stress or worry.
How’s breastfeeding going?
I had really high hopes for nursing, like it was one of those things that I prayed would work for us and thankfully, it has. Conley came out of my womb with little blisters on her hands from sucking on them while she was inside my belly, so we knew off the bat that she was a latcher. It took us a few days to get the swing of things and a few days for my milk to come in but since then, we’ve been pretty smooth sailing. I know breastfeeding can be a really emotional thing for women and I truly, wholeheartedly believe that fed is best, I am just thankful that nursing for me has worked well and come relatively easy for us.
At the beginning, she wasn’t gaining weight as fast as they had hoped and so it was a little stressful waiting for my milk to come in and feeling like she was constantly eating but I wasn’t sure how much she was getting. After our second appointment, our pediatrician encouraged me to breastfeed and then to pump and use a bottle to make sure she was getting an extra ounce or two each time!
On top of nursing, I’ve been pumping a few times a day. I have a pretty big milk supply (hoping to donate some) and so we’ve been able to bag and freeze quite a bit of milk… in fact, enough to need to order a chest freezer for our garage because we’re running out of room. I’ve been doing about 80/20 when it comes to feeding, so 80% of the time she’s eating on the boob and 20% is bottle which has been a huge help so that Drew can take one of the nighttime shifts or we can have my mama come over and babysit so we can get out of the house for a few hours. I honestly really enjoy breastfeeding and that time we get together and I’m just so wildly amazed at my bodies ability to keep a child alive.
Things I love for nursing
- The Haaka: This was by far the best $20 I ever spent in my life, sounds dramatic, right? It’s basically a silicone handpump that you can put on the boob that you aren’t nursing on and it will catch and collect extra milk. This little silicone thing has collected ounces upon ounces of milk that might have just been wasted! Seriously, if you plan on breastfeeding, this is a must.
- Boppy Pillow: This is nice to just have a good surface to feed on and can fit whatever way you’re breastfeeding. Drew also loves to use this to prop her up on his lap while bottle feeding her and it’s just a nice little pillow to have around (also, the removable covers are great for quick laundry!)
- Nursing Friendly Shirts: I’m alllll for normalizing breastfeeding and I’m honestly not one to cover up too much but these nursing friendly tops are awesome and still stylish. I ordered this one in two colors and love wearing it out and about for easy access and to not flash the general public.
Products We Love…
So many of you have heard of my obsession with Primally Pure. I swapped to their non-toxic, all natural products when we were experiencing our fertility issues and have since stayed with their line. They also have an incredible baby line and so when they sent us the sweetest care package for Conley, we were stoked! We’ve been using Primally Pure religiously in our household (and if you want to try and save, use JK10 to save 10% off your first purchase!)
- Baby Balm: this stays in our diaper bag and we also keep one up in the nursery. We’ve not just used this on her dry skin but I’ve also used it on my nipples for breastfeeding and for chapped lips etc. This balm is our go to for just about any need and I love that it’s safe for baby girl.
- Baby Oil:I had to giggle when I read the reviews on this product because I had to agree, while they sent it for Conley, I’ve been using it a ton too! This is safe for babies and we’ve used it on her tiny feet or when her skin was a little dry but I’ve also used it on my own skin, post-shower, when I pretend like I’ve escaped to the spa.
- Charcoal Deodorant: This one is for me, but literally no one told me how much you can expect to sweat while nursing and while your hormones are settling. Oh my goodness, talk about shock when I woke up soaked a few nights in a row. Since showers don’t happen every day, I’m so thankful for my favorite non-toxic deodorant.
- Everything Spray: One other thing that snuck up on me was the hormonal breakouts that would happen on my skin after giving birth. With my hormones going a little wacky, I noticed that I was breaking out more than I did while pregnancy and the “everything spray” has been a beautiful toner (not to mention that it smells divine) and it’s been my go to. It lives on my night stand, I even spray my face in the middle of the night to wake up for feedings!
What’s up with my body?
I know, I know, this is all about Conley but guess what? She wouldn’t be here without me and I want to remember this part of my story, too. I am so amazed by my body, like actually, it’s insane. A day or two after labor and delivery with her, I told Drew I was excited to do that again someday, which says a lot since it wasn’t totally smooth or without hiccups. I’m blown away by how great I feel, how much I appreciate my body, and how quickly it “bounced back.”
I did my best to workout throughout my entire pregnancy even if it was just going on walks but I believe that partnered with nursing is helping my body look and feel close to what it did pre-pregnancy. I just started working out again and I am so excited to move my body and regain strength but right now I am just focusing on eating healthy, keeping moving, and nourishing myself so that I can take care of Conley. I gained about 30lbs total in pregnancy and I have about 8-10 to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I am in no rush and not fixating on the weight but focusing on how incredible my body is. Embracing my new shape has come naturally to me because of the admiration I have for what my body has done and continues to do.
Clothing Our Babe…
This was actually one of our biggest struggles because everyone told us not to buy newborn stuff but then Conley was only 7lbs and we found ourselves without anything that fit her. She was literally swimming in the clothes I brought to bring her home from the hospital in. I’m a huge fan of plain, simple, more neutral clothes and she’s basically been living in the same four outfits for the last month, but it’s all good because we love them. We’ve found a few favorite brands that she’s basically lived in. Our favorites: Quincy Mae, LovedBaby, and Shop Plain Jane.
Month One Can Be Summarized…
As the biggest, most beautiful whirlwind of our lives. Like we blinked and all of a sudden our babe is growing out of her newborn clothes, she’s alert, smiling, and enriching our lives in ways we didn’t know possible. We had a lot of hopes and dreams for parenthood and so far, we’re loving being parents to our miracle babe. After waiting three long years to old our baby in our arms, it’s clear that there was a plan for us and that plan included Conley Kate, the baby we love with all of our beings. We have been so loved and supported in this process and can’t wait to continue sharing as our girl grows.