My how time flies! Our little guy is already four months old! Actually…as I write this, he’s 4.5 months old now (ah!). We’ve been busy bees over here with Jude. He’s rolling over, discovered his hands (and he would tell you they’re delicious), has graduated from the Solly wrap and we’re not onto our Ergo carrier (…and my back is thanking me for this haha), and he’s got a new sleep routine! As for me, motherhood has gotten significantly better than since I last wrote about it (in this post) – the baby blues are long gone (though I still have my cry-from-stress moments at times…Jude continues to hate the car…!), I’m more confident in living by my “mother’s intuition” and have been embracing that voice in my head and feeling in my gut, and overall just feel like I’m “out of the fog” so-to-speak as our new normal has set in and is here to stay – and it’s been so much fun!
Last week I asked my Instagram readers what questions they’d like for me to answer about motherhood, postpartum, and our journey with Jude over the last 4-months…so here we go!
What’s your daily schedule like?
Overall, every day is different over here, but of course there are some constants at Jude’s age. He wakes up around 730am and then takes two long naps: one around 8:30am and the next around 1030am. He’ll generally sleep until 1 or 2pm and then we start our day! In the afternoons, he tends to be awake for about two hour stretches and then needs a 20-30 minute catnap, then he’s up again and so on. From around 2-6pm the current routine is: wake up, eat, play, quick nap, wake up, eat, play, etc. As for activities during awake time, he’ll play with toys (more on that later in this post), we’ll visit my mom or sister (they both live 10 minutes away, thankfully!) or we’ll run errands together or try to spend time at the pool. Sometime between 6-7pm I’ll get him in the bathtub (I get in with him, we don’t use a baby tub) and I’ll nurse him a bit while in the tub so he’s nice and full and relaxed, then when we’re out of the tub he gets his nightly spa treatment (that’s what I call it when I lotion him up haha), we put on his cozy jammies and then he hangs with us until about 8:30ish. Once we feel like he’s got his energy out, we turn down the lights, play a lullaby on the iPad, I’ll nurse then walk him a bit and once he’s drowsy I lay him down to sleep with me.
Big developments for Jude?
As mentioned above, Jude is rolling over now! We have had the same two ladies (they’re sisters, ages 32 and 29) come to clean our house for over three years (before we even had Watson!). They have become good friends of mine and I always look forward to their visits. Charlotte has four (!) kiddos and Veronica is currently trying to get pregnant. Thus, we talk about kids a LOT together. Jude was on the bed with me while Veronica and I were talking, and all of a sudden he began trying to roll with all his little might. Veronica shouted for Charlotte to come quick and the three of us got on all sides of the bed cheering him on. Once he finally rolled on his own we jumped up and down cheering…all with tears in our eyes!! It was so special and such a fun memory I’ll never forget!
Last week Jude tried banana for the first time and LOVED it. I chewed a bit up and mixed it with some breastmilk, then fed it to him on a spoon. His reaction was priceless, he kept opening his mouth for more! Blake and I laughed the whole time…trying new foods will be so much fun!
Have you sleep trained and what is Jude’s sleep routine?
Sleep training was a BIG discussion between Blake and I and weighed heavily on me for a few weeks. Not going to lie, I cried a lot as we considered it…even a gentle method! When Jude stirs at night, there is no in between – he is either sound asleep or his eyes are WIDE open. The thought of having him cry throughout the night during each wake period really did rip my heart out. Blake was sleep trained as a baby, while my siblings and I co-slept with our parents. In my head (and heart), I just assumed he’d eventually sleep in the bed with us. As I dug deeper on the Internet and Instagram, I realized sleep training is very common in the US – but it’s also not a must. I think this is where my mother’s intuition hit hard…I felt like I was being forced to sleep train, even though I felt sick thinking about it! Thus, after more chats with Blake, we decided together that what we feel 100% good and confident doing is having Jude in the bed with us.
All that said, Jude slept in his crib in our room until he could roll over, so at right about 4 months. He woke up a TON every night. I was a total zombie because as I mentioned before, when he stirs, he is wide awake! I’d hear him move and before I could get out of bed to grab him, he’d already be rolled over on his tummy just hanging out and eating his hands, ha! SO! Now that he’s in bed next to me, he wakes up 1-2x to feed and I have been able to soothe him quickly back to sleep when he stirs. It has honestly been so nice for both of us and makes those nightly feedings so much easier and enjoyable! We haven’t started him on eating solids regularly just yet, but once we do I have a feeling he’ll wake less and less as that tummy stays full for longer. Overall, I can tell his sleep and my own has improved. Hooray!
Though sleep training is best for some families, I am so happy we are co-sleeping, it feels completely natural for us and honestly has been a huge weight off my mind. His snuggles are the best thing ever (and ohh that wonderful baby smell aaaall night long!) and getting him to sleep has been much easier…as soon as he lays down with me, he snuggles up and I rub his back and kiss his head until he’s sound asleep.
How are you and Blake balancing your relationship + baby?
I feel like Blake and I are more in sync with each other than ever before. We have made a point to be super transparent about our feelings towards parenting things (sleeping, etc.) and have become such a good team – making sure neither of us feels overwhelmed and we are each carrying our load as mom and dad. We also try to make sure we give each other some “me time” throughout the day…even 20 minutes around the block can give you a mental boost when you’ve been in baby-mode all day. Also, none of our friends have kids yet, so we have been relying on each other even more for social support, too…which has been really fun! When we run errands and Jude falls asleep, that’s our “date” time. We’ll hold hands and stroll the aisles of Target or wherever we are, ha – or we’ll go grab coffee somewhere with Jude in tow. Taking care of Jude is our priority and we both agree on that…so the rest just seems to flow. Not to mention, Jude is at such a fun age! We get a kick out of everything new he does and are constantly shouting for each other to “come see this!” from the next room, ha. I think our respect for one another has grown so much in the last 4 months, as we are both juggling a baby, jobs, tending to the house/dogs, trying to stay active for our health (and sanity!), maintaining a sense of self, etc. We’re giving the most we can give in every aspect of life at the moment, so we’re gentle and understanding with one another. I am so grateful for him!
Don’t get me wrong – we definitely have our disagreements or sometimes snarky comments will come out (umm…tired parents, ya feel me?), but we’re quick to forgive…which is so important! Giving ourselves and each other grace is a must!
All things feeding! Are you still breastfeeding? Pumping? If so, what type of pump?
I am exclusively breastfeeding still but I did buy a pump and LOVE it! We have some travel plans at the end of July, so we’re trying to get Jude used to a bottle for our time in the airport, etc. (Jude is SUCH a wiggly eater…it takes both hands, so feeding in public is not enjoyable for me…I get really anxious and much prefer a private room, the car, etc. The few times I’ve fed in public, I literally ended up just putting the nursing cover completely over my head/body and fed him that way haha!! He moves a LOT!). We’ve only tried the bottle twice because it’s just easier for me to breastfeed and I’m only ever away from Jude for 1-2 hours at a time, so nursing is simply more convenient. However, I’ve been pumping on the weekends so I have a supply stocked in our freezer, just in case we need it. This is the pump we bought and it’s SO awesome. Easy to use and gentle! Also this is my favorite nursing bra for those interested.
My goal is to nurse for an entire year (if I can!). We shall see…
How do you steer clear of feelings of isolation while staying home with Jude?
I think given that I worked from home by myself for so many years prior to having Jude, I got used to being alone. I have mentioned before how I’d talk to Watson & Lulu (our dogs) all day long, ha! Now I talk to Jude and the dogs, haha. I am also really lucky to have my mom and sister a short drive away. I will go over to my moms’ house 3x a week, just to have a change of scenery – or I’ll meet up with Kimberlee or my mom and we’ll go to lunch or run errands together. They make me feel really confident when I go on outings because they’re baby experts! If Jude starts fussing, I’ve got my army of mamas to help!
Also – Blake recently started working from home two days a week. He’ll watch Jude in the morning while I tend to blog/work stuff, then I take Jude for the afternoon so he can get his work done. It has made SUCH a difference for me to be able to have some designated time to devote to my blog again – and of course it helps that he’s home so I have someone to hang out with!
One thing I want to push myself to do is meet more mamas! My sister in law has mentioned the Emler swim school and how that’s a great place to meet moms with babies around the same age. I just need to muster the courage! …I am definitely the type to stay in my comfort bubble.
How are you balancing social media and baby?
My thoughts on social media have evolved over time, and now that I’m a mom I am even more adamant about separating “self” from “blogger.” I’ve always maintained that blogging is my job and a creative outlet, but not my identity. Being a mom has only reinforced that mindset. I know how damaging social media can be with that highlight reel of the perfect life, but motherhood is SO MESSY (…like, haven’t-brushed-my-teeth-and-it’s-2pm-messy), so I try and spend less time on Instagram getting mind-warped (that’s what I call it haha) with all the perfection hoopla. I am on social media for my job and to connect with my readers and fellow mamas (honestly, y’all have been amazing and so helpful…!!), but I know my limits and don’t let it infiltrate into my daily life. Truth be told, I’ve been putting my phone down more and picking up a book instead…there’s no comparison bubble, the internet isn’t there to sway my thoughts (…back to the mother’s intuition thing…TRUST yourself! Everyone has an opinion but you know what’s best for your baby…the internet can be a black hole if you let it!), and reading is a nice escape from the fact that I’m still wearing last nights milk pads (ohh #thestruggle). I am present when I’m with Jude, I get on social media when it’s time to work or I want that connection with you guys, but I don’t take it as seriously as I used to. Being a mom comes first these days and I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m a hot mess 98% of the time…it’s exhausting trying to act otherwise!
What are some activities you’re doing with Jude at four months?
Well…we have tried swimming twice and that’s been a bust haha. Big tears both times! Not like actual swimming, basically just bouncing in the water. He’s not a fan of cooler water…we’re working on it! Aside from that, lots of tummy time now that he’s rolling over. I’ll move our coffee table and put down a big blanket over our rug, disperse toys around and he’ll roll over to grab them. I’ll move him from the blanket to under his activity set with all the little dangly toys so he can grab onto them. He also just started sitting his Skip Hop Activity Center and LOVES it! I can do the dishes or brush my teeth (ha) while he sits in that for a bit.
When mama needs a break, I’ll take him with me to a coffeehouse and we’ll sit outside together. It’s actually been really fun haha! I will bring him in his car seat and unbuckle him while I sip my coffee, or put him in his carrier and take him out to sit with me, depending on where I go. I bring toys for him to chew on so he stays preoccupied. It’s a nice change of scenery for both of us and I feel proud that I’ve conquered an outing on my own (…and got myself a good cup of coffee – y’all know that’s my happy place!).
Any new favorite toys you swear by at this age?
A full post is coming on this one, but these are his favorites:
1. His absolute favorite is this ladybug that we snap onto his car seat. We refer to it as his “best friend” haha, it goes everywhere with us!
2. Skip Hop Activity Center
3. Baby Einstein everything – he LOVES anything that lights up and sings to him!
4. This Dazzle Dots soft book that crinkles and he can grab onto.
5. We hooked this car seat toy onto the bars of his crib and it holds his attention for about 10 minutes. Which is perfect while I put away groceries or put on some makeup, etc.
What are some registry items you found out you actually didn’t use/need?
Three that come to mind are the Boppy Pillow (I know some mamas love it, but I didn’t use it like I thought I would…plus, you can save $50 and use a regular pillow IMO), the 4moms mamaroo Swing (which is so expensive and I let the blogosphere sway me on needing this one…when in reality Jude loved the more colorful and significantly less expensive versions) and a baby bathtub that we only used once…(I have found that getting in the tub with Jude is a lot easier for me…good skin to skin contact, too! I love that relaxing time together as we wind down before bedtime. He’ll only be this little for so long and then he’ll be in the tub by himself while I sit on the side…gotta soak it up!).
Are you still doing BBG? What’s your postpartum workout?
I’m loosely doing BBG and have added more running into my workout repertoire. My body still feels jiggly when I run but it’s getting better each week. Pregnancy really does a doozy on your insides, ha! I am very much looking forward to buying a jogging stroller once Jude hits six months and taking him to the Hike & Bike Trail downtown. It’ll be fall in Austin by then so hopefully this deathly heat will be gone haha. Mostly I’ve just stopped obsessing over getting back in shape (I’ll admit, I really was obsessed when I first hit 6 weeks postpartum and got the green light to exercise), and it’s been the best thing for me mentally to just let body expectations go. I can actually enjoy working out again and be proud of myself for doing something as simple as a quick run around the block. I’ve stopped putting so much pressure on myself – embracing this body of mine feels amazing, extra baby weight and all!
What have you learned since your last update?
As mentioned before, as time goes on, I am feeling more confident in my role as a mom. I feel much more in tune with Jude and his needs and it’s getting easier to drown out the noise from parenting books, online opinions and so on. Of course, I am thankful for those resources, but I’m learning that Blake and I will do things that feel best for us and not necessarily go by the chapters in a book. It’s been awesome and freeing! Every baby is different and there’s no one-size-fits-all way of parenting.
Also – it’s GOOD to ask for help! Two weeks ago I was having a really rough day and my mom happened to call at juuust the right time. I nearly had a breakdown and she immediately came to help out. I needed to get out of the house (it’s been so hot lately, it’s tough to be outdoors with a young baby), so we went to Barnes & Noble and got coffee and pastries, and she held Jude while I took some deep breaths. Seriously….ASK for help. She totally saved the day…I just needed a few moments to myself and a change of scenery to feel whole again. Phone a friend, a fellow mama, your family…it helps! A happy mama = a happy baby.
Thanks so much to everyone who sent me questions! I am working hard behind the scenes to get motherhood posts up more often, these have been so therapeutic and fun to write! Feel free to leave any questions in the comments section…as always, thanks for stopping by, XO.