The first month

Mara is one month old today! Pinch me. It can’t already have been that long.

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She has been a wonderful baby and that has, I’m sure, helped our transition to two kids go pretty smoothly.

Everything seems easier the second time. Maybe it’s Mara; maybe it’s me. Actually, I’m sure it’s a combination of the two.

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I’m much more confident in my own intuition this time and much more comfortable just going by Mara’s cues rather than what the books or Internet tell me is what a baby needs. So if she’s acting hungry 30 minutes after her last feeding, I just feed her instead of thinking there’s no way she can be hungry again and then wondering why I can’t soothe her. That was a particular struggle for me with Corban since he seemed to be hungry all the time and nurse much longer than “normal.” Now I realize that’s ok. Just go with it.

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Breastfeeding has been going really well and Mara has been a great nurser from the start. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I escaped the same excruciating pain I experienced when first nursing Corban. Oh no. The first few weeks hurt a LOT. I was able to get through it without using a nipple shield this time though, and now we are all good. Mara has been good at latching from the start, so that helped.

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She spends her days eating every two to three hours (sometimes more) and sleeping in my arms, in the Moby wrap or on the Boppy newborn napper. She is such a peaceful baby and has rarely cried this first month.

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At night, we try to have her sleep in the baby bunk attached to our bed, but usually in the middle of the night after a feeding she doesn’t want to settle back to sleep in there, so she snuggles up in bed with us. I am much more comfortable with co-sleeping this time around and that makes nights a lot easier. She eats before we go to bed (around 10:30 p.m. or so), then again around 1 or 2 a.m. and once more in the wee hours of the morning usually. Honestly, I’ve gotten used to the wake-ups already and am no longer exhausted during the day (usually!). We do try to sleep in on mornings when we don’t have an early activity planned. Corban will play in our bed or entertain himself while Peter gets ready until I get up.

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We’ve been pretty active with getting out and doing fun activities since the very start. In fact, Mara went to her first cookout the day we came home from the hospital! We came home early afternoon, visited with all four grandparents and three aunts and uncles, then after they left headed to a Labor Day barbecue for dinner.

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I admit, it was a little ambitious and my emotional state was fragile that day, but it was sweet to show little Mara to our friends on her second day of life.

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The rest of that first week, I focused completely on Mara. I think that helped me recover physically and not get too overwhelmed mentally. My mom was here to take care of the house and Corban so I tried to rest as much as possible.

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After one week, I felt really good (though exhausted). I was ready to get out of the house and was feeling comfortable in my post-partem body (week one I didn’t want to wear anything but loose pajamas). Since then, it’s rare that we have a day when we don’t leave the house (at the very least to go to the park in our neighborhood). Play dates, walks, Bible study, church events, hosting visitors, meeting up with friends… we like to get out and about, and still find we have plenty of time at home.

Here are some highlights of Mara’s first month:

First doctor visit. 6 pounds, 8 ounces at four days old.

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First bath at home.

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Visit with great-grandparents.

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Daddy’s surprise 30th birthday party and first tailgate and baseball game at Miller Park.

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Playing with big brother.

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Napping with big brother.

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First cloth diaper (I used cloth for a couple weeks, but am going to take a break until they fit her better since they are just so bulky right now).

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Playing (snoozing in the Moby) at the park.

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Boat ride on Lake Geneva.

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Apple picking.

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It’s been a fun month! Having a toddler has forced us to get out and about, which I don’t mind at all. And I’m glad I haven’t become one of those moms who is desperate for adult company. It takes a bit of work to be active in the first month, but to me it’s worth it.

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