I’m currently on my so-called “Baby Moon.” While this term can mean a trip you take BEFORE baby comes (dammit, I really should’ve squeezed in that one), it can also describe the period of time after baby is born in which you swoon over your brand new infant child all day, every day until you have to (at some point, ugh) start assimilating back into the real world. It could take weeks or months until you feel ready and I’m sure it varies from one postpartum mama to the next. But personally, I decided to take my second postpartum stint as slow as humanly possible, soak in the “babymooning” and just be easy with myself.
This is important primarily for two reasons. 1) I have no idea what else to do and really can’t handle much more than the swoon fests (in between nursings and burpings and diaper blowouts and being generally ill-rested) and 2) I really do like my new baby a whole, whole lot. Most of these days look the same and they are kind of starting to blend together. And while I am certainly loving up this new person as much as I possibly can, I can’t help but think the term “baby moon” doesn’t always seem to fit with the intensity of the nonstopness that is taking care of a newborn baby human.
Here is what my baby-moon looks like on any given day.
5:33 AM- Jolt awake as if there’s an earthquake at baby’s first hungry cry. Pull his tiny body into bed and attempt to nurse side-lying so I don’t have to sit up because it’s too damn early and wasn’t I like… JUST awake?
5:35 AM- Baby is frustrated and struggling to latch. Search frantically for the boppy pillow.
5:38 AM- Find boppy pillow under my legs since I’ve been sleeping with it, pregnancy-style because my body still feels just a little bit pregnant. Sit up and attempt to sleep-nurse.
5:54 AM- Realize baby is asleep and breathe a sigh of relief. High-five myself in celebration and attempt to gently move him off my chest so I can catch a few more nods.
5:55 AM- Baby immediately wakes the second we are not making full body contact, fusses and wants to nurse again. Attempt sleep-nursing once more.
6:02 AM- Baby is milk-drunk. Hug and roll. Cuddle and rest while making sure I don’t suffocate baby with my huge nursing breasts but let’s face it, I won’t because I’m not really sleeping since I know big sis is coming in any….
6:03 AM- Annnnd there she is. Big sissy’s door slams open and she’s in the bed in four seconds flat. Baby is asleep. Big sis is not.
6:10 AM- Try to be super sweet and snuggly to big sis who is in the midst of a huge life adjustment, but mostly be annoyed that her feet are pressed up against my legs so hard I’m practically falling off the bed.
6:17 AM- Beg my husband to take big sis downstairs and put on JUST ONE show on netflix for her so I can sleep for 22 more glorious minutes.
7:01 AM- Wake briefly to hear the intro to “Strawberry Shortcake” for the third time. Feel guilty for 30 seconds before falling back asleep.
7:23 AM- Baby wakes at precisely the same time as big sis is climbing back in the bed. Nurse the baby while a four year old who suddenly seems MONSTROUS climbs on my shoulders and beg her 47 times to be gentle before using my frantic, exhausted please-for-the-love-of-God-let-me-nurse-the-baby-in-peace voice (which is pretty much now just my regular voice).
7:40 AM- Husband leaves. COFFEE.
7:43 AM- Diaper blow-out. Change the baby while big sis “helps” aka throws wipes at me, gets poop in her hair, insists on getting in the tub and taking a bath. Realize it’s actually a pretty damn good idea because ‘um, did we even bathe her this week? Did anyone bathe this week?’
8:13 AM- Reheat coffee.
8:14 AM-10:45 AM- Cluster-feed baby while throwing out distractions to big sis that get more and more desperate like “hey! where’s that new book from the library? Hey, how about you be the pirate! HEY… want to go paint your nails? Sure, you can use the grown up kind! HEY!!! The halloween candy is hidden on the top shelf, go for it!!”
11:18 AM- Baby is snoozing hard in his swing. Maybe this one won’t be a cat nap. Splash water on my face, look in the mirror and promise to give big sis my undivided attention until baby wakes.
11:22 AM- Fully commit to playing “doctor”. Lie down to be the patient and promptly fall asleep for 18 seconds until I am once again jolted awake by “MAMA, you’re playing it wrong!” Apologize profusely for being “just a little sleepy” and vow to do better.
11:23 AM- Hear giant fart sounds coming from the baby swing and watch a poop stream run onto the super new, super awesome rug that was really, really stupid to buy before the kids turned like 13 and 17. Think we really need to invest in some smaller, newborn-sized diapers.
11:48 AM- Make PB&Js, one-handed, obv. Stuff my face over the sink while doing the “baby needs to be constantly moving to chill the fuck out” dance and think about how cliche it is to be another mom eating over the sink but it really just makes so much fucking sense.
12:00 PM- Nurse baby while big sissy takes a poop. No less than two minutes in hear “HELP! I NEED A WIPE!” Promptly pull baby off my nip remembering what happened last time when I asked her to wait a minute and the bathroom became a literal SHITSTORM. Baby is screaming bloody murder, but it’s definitely the lesser of two evils.
12:12 PM- Baby is fed and snoozing in the freshly cleaned swing. VICTORY. This is DEFINITELY going to be the long nap. Snap instagram pic and add a witty caption before everything goes apeshit.
12:14 PM- Play dress-up with big sissy for approximately six minutes before leaking breast milk all over her “fancy princess scarf.” Promise to buy her a new one and a pony, too and bake her a cake, take her to the zoo and to Disney world and anything else she asks because my guilt at being such a shit attention-giver is now BEYOND.
12:26 PM- HOW THE FUCK IS THE BABY AWAKE!?
12:50 PM- Start sending mildly desperate sounding texts to my husband implying he should probably just come home from work early.
1:33 PM- Stick the baby in the moby wrap even though we are both DRENCHED in sweat and head down to the park for a good old walk and swing sesh. Big sis is happy. Baby is sweaty, but happy. I’m exhausted, soaked to the bone in sweat, milk, MAYBE pee running down my postpartum belly, but hell, as long as nobody’s screaming…
1:43 PM- Big sissy trips over a root, skins her knee and is crying to go home. Feel proud we got out for ten SOLID minutes and trek back to the house. My boobs are pouring milk anyway and there’s a tiny man buried somewhere in there who’s starving because it’s been a whole TWENTY MINUTES SINCE HIS LAST MEAL.
2:18 PM- Nurse baby for the gazillionth time and find myself in a pretty irreversible daze and know it’s going to last the rest of the day and probably worsen by.the.minute.
3:08 PM- Pour big sissy a bowl of popcorn and watch as it gets smashed into the floor in ten seconds flat. Get mad because the spillage almost seems intentional but bite my tongue and try to make using the dust-buster sound really super fun.
3:14 PM- Wonder what happened for the past hour and give in WAY too quickly when big sissy asks if she can watch a show. Say “just one, we’ve really been watching too much TV since baby bro got here, k?” She say’s “okay! Thanks, Mama!” and totally knows I’m full of it. Put on ridiculously obnoxious children’s show and promptly fall asleep.
4:13 PM- Jolt awake once more when baby cries and realize netflix is still on! Man, I’m really failing at this two kid shit.
4:31 PM- Get nervous because it’s almost the witching hour which means I’ll be strapped to my nursing chair, chugging water and otherwise completely and totally worthless until it’s dark.
5:04 PM- Daddy is home. Hooray! Quickly hand off fussy baby with a line like “oh, he’s crying cause he really misses you! Why don’t you spend a little quality time together like out on the porch” (or somewhere else equally out of earshot).
5:06 PM- Realize we have to eat dinner tonight and wonder what we will have. Realize there is not a speck of food in the house except the popcorn that’s still crunched into the rug because the grocery store is a terrifying place that I’ve yet to venture in with two children and two leaky boobs.
5:15 PM- Order pizza.
5:32 PM- Eat pizza over the sink with both boobs out while beginning the evening cluster-nursing cycle but stand-up nursing is the WORST. Abandon my pizza and search for the boppy pillow.
5:35 PM- Hole up on the couch and get good and comfy cause I know Ima be there for a whiiiile.
7:25 PM- Hand off the baby so I can tuck big sissy in. Snuggle. Talk about penguins. Hug a whole bunch and tell her she’s the best big sister in the whole wide world and genuinely mean it even though I’m borderline terrified she’s going to break the baby each and every moment of every day.
7:28 PM- Tuck big sis in bed again after she gets out.
7:33 PM- And again.
7:40 PM- And again.
7:48 PM- And again.
8:04 PM- She’s down for the count. Baby is definitely crying. Return to cluster-feeds.
8:17 PM- Beg for wine.
8:20 PM- Realize I’m way too dehydrated from being the nonstop-drink-till-ya-drop-all-you-can-eat-buffet-that-never-ever-closes-ever to drink wine. Pound four glasses of water then take pleasure in a few sips of my old friend, CabSav.
8:45 PM- Put on the same movie that my husband and I have started every night since last weekend but never come close to finishing (or even getting mildly interested in).
8:46 PM- Baby cries. Nurse baby, soothe baby, change baby’s diaper, break out the white noise, try the “colic hold,” bicycle the legs, burp and eventually, nurse baby again. Repeat this process until pure and utter exhaustion are a mere memory and cracked-out zombie mode is my current status.
11:08 PM- Decide it’s bedtime, wander upstairs and pass out the fuck out for some extremely small amount of time before the baby fusses for a feeding or nonstop body contact or a poop or… actually, who am I kidding? I have no fucking idea why he is crying.
Sometime around midnight- Everyone is down for the count.
1:28 AM- Jolt awake and for a brief moment wonder what that desperate sound is. Quickly remember that I’m 29, have a baby and a small child and will likely never sleep through the night again. Feed said baby, snuggle, wake my sound sleeping husband and ask him to change the baby’s diaper. Try not to sound irritated.
3:21 AM- WAKE. FEED. SNUGGLE.
5:18 AM- REPEAT from the top with more patience, deep breaths and hopefully, one of these days… more wine.
Oh, and of course, take lots of time time to swoon. After all, I’m on my baby moon!