Pregnancy/Newborn Q&A

Art by Brooke Costello

Good morning, friends! I hope you are more well-rested than I am. 😉 We are getting in our little routine over here as Paul is back at his office. I know I’m quite behind on e-mails and DMs so last Saturday, I asked on Instagram if you had any pregnancy or newborn questions. I’m happy to help share what works for us as I get so many wonderful tips from you all. It takes a village! Today, I’m answering the top pregnancy/newborn questions you all had. I hope it helps!

Were you able to workout while pregnant?

Just a little bit! I wasn’t able to workout most of my pregnancy. I had to stop after 17 weeks due to placenta issues and then I hemorrhaged on and off my whole pregnancy so there were a few times the first trimester I couldn’t work out. But for the workouts I did, I did pilates or pilates on obé classes at home.

Worst part of labor?

I had a very textbook delivery with Maxi. My water broke and I got an epidural and thought it was the best thing ever! haha. You can read my birth story here. With Harry, it was a little different with COVID-19 and family not being able to be there. With Maxi, my mom and MIL were there the whole time in the room while I labored. With Harry, it was of course, just me and Paul. I got induced at 39 weeks with Harry due to my placenta issues. This past labor, I was really anxious the whole time, just because we didn’t know everything that was wrong until I delivered. I went in and was 3 centimeters, got a round of Pitocin, and then requested my epidural. My epidural didn’t fully take, and we tried another round of Pitocin and then the Anesthesiologist thankfully gave me more meds! haha. I only had to push like 3 times with Harry, which I was very grateful for!

Did you have a c-section?

I didn’t! I had asked about c-sections on Insta Stories because from 22 weeks to like 35 weeks that was the plan and then it changed. C-section mamas are rockstars and watching my friends recover from them, I’m always in awe! It’s major surgery and then you have to take care of a newborn.

Are you breastfeeding?

I am and even though I prepared a little section of breastfeeding-friendly clothing, I still forget how like 90% of your closet doesn’t work for it! I’ve ordered quite a few oversized tops online in the middle of the night feeding him.

How did you tell your family/friends you were expecting?

Maxi wore this “Big Sister” dress to meet people, or I’d send a picture of her in it to family and friends. Most everyone knew we had been trying for a bit, so I pretty much immediately told. The day after I found out I was pregnant, I was supposed to have that fertility appointment where they check your tubes, etc. My girlfriends were asking how it went and I’m a horrible liar, so I just told them!

How’s 1 to 2 REALLY going for you?

I’m just speaking in newborn terms, because I think the real test will be when he is mobile and busy and work is in full force, etc. Truthfully, the transition has been such a gift! Our family feels so whole and sweet. I personally felt like being on and off bedrest and pregnancy was WAY harder with a toddler.

My friend Mary just had her second. She said her nurse told her that when you go from 0-1 you go from being a wife and husband to a mother and father. When you go from 1-2 you go from being a mom and dad to a mom and dad again!

I loved that saying, because I think it helps describe why the lifestyle “shock” hasn’t been there. But again, ask me when he is like 12 months and BUSY, BUSY, BUSY. I will probably have a totally different opinion. But speaking in this moment, our family feels far more whole with our 2 little ones! Maxi has also made this transition wonderful, she’s such a helper. She does everything from get me food and water while I feed to help change diapers. She is so obsessed with him!

But this is not to say I’m not exhausted. I am! And I am already daydreaming of the first time he sleeps through the night and mama gets good rest. I’m just trying to have really low expectations for myself in terms of what all I can do outside of caring for the kids.

What kind of pump do you recommend?

I have the Spectra 1 and Elvie. Both are wonderful!! I use the Spectra if I’m sitting in bed {and in pajamas not wearing a bra} and the Elvie if I’m busy with Maxi. I get the same amount with each pump. I had a Medela with Maxi and both of these work better for me.

What’s the best baby product you would recommend?

On my Q&A I said: Snuggle Me Organic, Solly, Medela Gel Pads, Boppy. I’ve had a bit more time to think as I type so here is what we’ve used the most the first three weeks.

Did you do any postpartum meal prepping?

I didn’t. We had friends set up a meal train for us and then we get our Home Chef deliveries! With Home Chef you can select how many servings or if you want a grill-ready or oven-ready meal or even how long it takes to cook. It’s been easy for Paul to do in the evenings and we don’t have to think about meal prepping or grocery shopping. I do have a code if you want to try Home Chef, it’s good through this weekend for a 4th of July sale. It is KATEY80 at checkout.

I did do some pantry prep. On the bottom shelf, I added paper plates and a lot of “self-serve” snacks for Maxi. She’s able to go in and grab herself whatever she needs if I’m nursing or changing a diaper. You can see our pantry here.

My friend, Skylar, told me to also meal prep breakfast {like egg muffins, overnight oats, etc.} and lunch at night. That way you can just grab your toddler’s meal the second they are hungry.

What maternity leggings or jeans did you wear?

I don’t love maternity leggings or jeans that have the band that goes all the way to your ribs. I think pregnancy gives enough rib pain and that just adds added discomfort. My favorite maternity jeans are these by Paige. My favorite leggings are these from Amazon. Get your pre-pregnancy size and they work for before, during, and after!

Was it hard for you to conceive?

This can be such a relative question and I would never want my response to dictate a person comparing their journey. So just to be an open book, I can share timelines. With Maxi, I had endometriosis surgery in November and got pregnant in May. I say the surgery date because we started trying after. Then with Harry, it took over a year to get pregnant.

Best survival tips for a FTM with a newborn?

There’s a ton of practical tips that far more seasoned mothers could share. I could tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps {but do we ever?!} ha. I could tell you to ask people to help. I could tell you to prioritize a shower for mama every day- I swear it makes a huge difference! But I’ll share what I would have wanted someone to tell me back when I was pregnant with Maxi.

First off, mama, remember everything is a season and life WILL feel normal again. I remember Maxi having her days and nights mixed up and as I held that tiny little newborn as a new mom, I was terrified. Had I done something wrong? Did I feed her too late that last feeding? Did I not read enough to her during the day? Would I ever sleep again? 

I saw a post on Instagram that said, “The problem with recipes for babies is that babies aren’t food.” So if your baby isn’t following one particular schedule but following another, don’t stress. If your baby does something different one day, you didn’t do anything wrong, mama. You do what you know is best for your baby, and I promise the sleepless seasons will eventually pass. {Not to diminish the work in figuring out what routine your baby likes best, but just to highlight these are seasons.} As your newborn grows into a baby and toddler, so do you grow into a new woman. And while I’m different than I was 4-5 years ago and have made many mistakes along the way, I like this version of me better. I’m more patient, less stressed, and more selfless. Molding can be hard and take time, but you will mold into this new family unit and won’t be able to imagine the old.

Boy names are so hard for me! Any others you considered?

Goerge, Henry, William, Bo, Harrison

I laugh to myself as I type those names because they are the names of my best friends’ sons. What can I say? They have good taste! haha.

What books did you read before Maxi was born?

I read the usual:

Bringing Up Bébé– very cute and enjoyable read!

I read Moms on Call and Babywise– we didn’t do Babywise, but I wanted to read it!

But I would say my absolute favorites are Cribsheet and Parenting by Paul David Tripp.

For toddlers, I love The Whole-Brain Child

How does he sleep during the night? Do you wake to feed?

After his 2-week appointment, we got the clear to not wake to feed since we was gaining weight well. I find he’s kind of put himself on an “every other night” type of schedule. He’ll eat at 9 pm, I’ll shower and get ready for bed. Then he’ll eat at 11 pm. Some nights he’ll wake 3-4 am, 6 am, the 8 am. The opposite nights he’ll go to 1-2 am, 4 am, 7 am, 9 am.

Best part of having two kiddos?

Seeing how much Maxi loves him and I know he will grow up absolutely enamored with her. She is so obsessed with him and wants to hold him or rock him 18 times a day. She has slept in our bed 2 or 3 nights since he has been born. Each time I say, “Maxi, I don’t want him waking up to wake you.” And she says, “No, mommy. It’s okay, I help you.” She sleeps through it every single time {thankfully!}, but it’s so sweet she *wants* to help.

How far apart are Maxi and Harry in age?

Almost 3.5 years.

How are y’all handling visitors with COVID?

This is such a tricky time to have a baby. Just in my third trimester so many rules and hospital policies changed. The silver lining is that giving birth during this time you see your OB/Pedi SO often, that you’re able to ask questions. You’re also in a hospital where you can ask so many medical professionals questions, so that was really a positive in giving birth during all of this. With things changing weekly, it’s provided comfort that I can frequently ask for guidance.

Our pediatrician and OB basically told us to create a circle of those helping {certain family members, etc.} and that was our circle. They don’t work out of the home or go places, so they can hold Harry. My MIL and FIL work from home, but even my MIL hasn’t wanted to hold Harry yet just because of it all.

Everyone has been so understanding during this time and dropped meals on the porch. Many of our best friends have come by to “meet him” while they stand on our lawn and we stand on our porch. It feels different, but I saw this video and it made me emotional. It’s a special bond to have with your children going through this together.

How was delivery during COVID?

I took my COVID test the day before and tested negative and for anyone pregnant having to take the test I didn’t think it hurt at all! It just felt weird. It was different that family couldn’t be there and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I really, really missed my mom during labor. That part was hard. I labored in a mask, but my OB let me take it off to push. But, I’d say postpartum was really great. With no visitors, you truly get to sleep in between feeding and staff coming in the room. I came home from the hospital far more rested with Harry than I did Maxi!

Any nursing clothing that you’re loving?

Yes! I did this blog post with Walmart finds and then I love these tunics by BuddyLove. These nursing tanks from Amazon are amazing and I have been living in this oversized cropped sweatshirt. It’s shorter, so I can pair it with biker shorts and pull it up easily to nurse. I also loved this cropped sweatshirt from Target- I got an xl to make it oversized. I wore these Hatch Gal tees while pregnant and still wear them with leggings now. Also check out this blog post I did for your postpartum wardrobe.

Did you end up getting a double stroller? If so, which one?

We didn’t! Maxi won’t sit in a stroller anymore. We’ve tried tiring her out on walks and the girl can walk 6 miles with no complaints. I’d love a BOB double stroller, but just can’t justify buying it yet {when we have so many strollers!} if I know she won’t sit in it. My friend has one that I’m going to borrow and see if she will sit in it before we try it.

What stroller are you using?

For strollers, we have a Nuna for Paul’s car, UPPAbaby Cruz for neighborhood walks, and then a Doona in my car. The Doona is not used as our car seat {I know, I know, that sounds crazy, right?!} So the reason for that is we didn’t ever decide on an SUV for me. I had chatted about researching a larger SUV {I have a midsize SUV right now} around December. In March, we were going to test drive, then COVID hit. About two weeks before I delivered we test drove the car I really thought I’d get off that list, and didn’t love it. I want a lot of clearance behind the driver/passenger seat and the car seats. I don’t have that in mine, to the point my Nuna car seat wouldn’t even fit well, so that’s in Paul’s car. This car I test drove {and a lot of others on the list} had minimal clearance. I also have some driving anxiety with overpasses and so a Suburban or similar is off the table for now. Because of that whole deal, my mom got the Doona for her car, but let me use it as my stroller in the trunk as it’s so compact it fits great there to take up less space in what I currently have. My sweet friend Bekah got a custom cover made for it and it’s just precious! I adore it! But the reason I’m not using it as a car seat right now is that I have my UPPAbaby car seat and it’s lighter. I’ll use the Doona as a car seat for travel {if that ever happens- ha!}

What was the biggest difference between your pregnancies?

Maxi’s was a textbook pregnancy and this pregnancy was high-risk, but just to speak in terms of symptoms, they were similar just different in intensities.

With a girl, my nausea came on later but had more intense moments. With a boy, my nausea came immediately and was just kind of always there. I didn’t have as many running to the bathroom and puking moments as I did with Maxi. With both pregnancies, I could only handle carbs first trimester. But with Maxi, I wanted watermelon and fruit ALL the time. I also couldn’t eat any meat first trimester with a girl. With Harry, I wanted tomato soup and sandwiches. With a boy, my skin was amazing third trimester, and with a girl it wasn’t. I was far more miserable at the end with Harry. I think from 35-39 weeks I did nothing but stay on the sofa. Recovery wise, I healed a lot faster with Harry than with Maxi. But those postpartum contractions the second time around. OH MY WORD. Those were intense. haha.

What does your schedule look like and how do you manage time with a newborn?

I really don’t have much of a schedule for myself until they are 6 weeks, but with Paul being back at the office working, I try to have more of a routine.

Once we get more on a routine, I’ll do an updated post! But for managing time, the Solly wrap is the biggest help! It’s how I’m able to check in with work {most of these posts were written prior to maternity leave}, pick up the house, get ready, etc. I have really low expectations of myself 4th trimester because I know it’s all about me healing and Harry adapting to life outside the womb. But I do try to get ready 3 days a week and I do that in the morning! I have about a 30 minute-hour crossover period where Harry naps and before Maxi wakes up for the day. I’ll pump and get ready and it makes the biggest difference on how my day will go! But in terms of accomplishing things, this post took me 6 days to write and I just did about 20 minutes a day here and there.

What is he sleeping in/on during the night?

Harry is sleeping in this bassinet from Restoration Hardware. Paul and I take shifts after feeds. So I’ll feed once and then rock him for 15 minutes and put him down, then Paul will alternate. So I guess truthfully his favorite sleep is in our arms while we rock him.

Will you write a blog post/share why you were on bedrest and how you handled it with a toddler?

Yes! I will share my pregnancy/birth story soon.

I’ll be honest, I think another reason this transition from 1-2 has been better than I worried about in my mind is that I found bedrest with a toddler far more difficult. Maxi was amazing and so mature throughout it all, but I had major mom guilt and the weeks in which I couldn’t carry her, made me feel horrible. My mom was the biggest help and would come over daily when I was hemorrhaging and couldn’t do anything. And I ordered a LOT of puzzles and toys on Amazon and we watched 800 things on Netflix. It was just kind of survival mode for parenting.

Where is your necklace from with your kids’ names?

Lola James Jewelry

What’s the most unexpected part of postpartum recovery?

The first time, I was just in shock at the process of it all. You do one of the most physically strenuous things a human body can do and then it’s like, “Okay nurse every 2 hours and no time for you to rest!” The second time, I was in shock at the postpartum contractions.

How many weeks along did you announce to family and close friends?

This is so personal for everyone and I think really depends on your preference. I tell family and friends quickly just because I’m anxious during the first trimester and it helps me to talk to them about it. I Facetimed my sister and Ashley before I even told Paul because I wanted them to confirm they saw a second line on the stick. ha.

So nervous about labor! How do you calm the fears?

Remind yourself that your body was made to do this! Also, remind yourself that labor is a {relatively} short period in which you get the greatest gift after! And while I might be in the minority here, if it is any consolation, after two pregnancies and deliveries, I find pregnancy to be worse than labor itself. It’s longer! I also find researching to be really helpful. @labor.nurse.mama is my favorite to follow on Instagram! Equipping yourself with knowledge can sometimes be the most calming thing! We can’t necessarily be in control of our labor, but we can be in control of how we mentally prepare.

What baby carrier and stroller do you have?

In my car, we have the UPPAbaby car seat and the Doona stroller in the trunk. I also have the UPPAbaby Cruz stroller. In Paul’s car, we have the Nuna Pipa Lite car seat and the Nuna stroller.

For carriers and wraps, I have the Solly baby wrap and the Artipoppe wrap.

What week did you get your first ultrasound for both pregnancies?

With Maxi, I think I was 9 weeks. Truthfully, I can’t remember. This pregnancy, I was 8 weeks but went in at that point because I was bleeding.

Not-so-obvious things you wish you would have done before baby?

With COVID, it’s a little tricky. I strictly quarantined before baby since I would be tested at the hospital. But if COVID wasn’t a thing, I would go on a TON of date nights before baby! Nesting, cleaning, and organizing make you feel better. But, I think “me time” is just as important. Give yourself a manicure, stay in bed until noon on a Saturday, read a great novel. You’ll still be cleaning once baby arrives, but you may not have “me time” for a bit.

But for your nesting fix, here is my guide to organization!

What meals do you eat while pregnant?

First trimester, it’s carb city and anything I can keep down! Second trimester, I can manage to eat more healthy and try to get in a big smoothie in the morning. Here is my favorite morning smoothie. Third trimester, I tend to eat really small, simple meals because there’s just no room. Lots of peanut butter sandwiches! I actually gain weight in the same manner. In both pregnancies, I gained the most first trimester, because I have to constantly eat so I don’t get sick. Then I gained the least in the third trimester.

I just listen to my body with what I’m wanting to eat and I really feel like your body will do what it needs.

What did he wear home from the hospital?

He wore a smocked pajama gown from Babies on the Boulevard. I get a ton of his clothing there! It was very similar to this.

Do you sterilize bottles or hand wash?

We hand wash bottles with this bottle soap. I hand wash pump parts but sterilize my pump parts every few days in this sterilizer.

How often are you pumping?

Once or twice a day! I pump in the morning while I get ready and then pump in the afternoon while playing with Maxi or before bed. For now, I’m just trying to get a good stash built, but I truly believe however you feed your baby is best. If breastfeeding is going well for mama and baby, do it. If formula does well, do that! Maxi was breastfed for months and then formula fed and she’s happy and healthy! 🙂 For now, I’m really enjoying nursing.

Favorite shops for a baby boy?

Babies on the Boulevard is where I get most of his clothing in person. For online, I love Smocked Auctions, Beaufort Bonnet Co, Kissy Kissy Pajamas, Cygnet Living, Ruth and Ralph, The Smocked Bear, Etsy, Roller Rabbit, Rachel Riley, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some!

How is it going juggling work and two kids?

I’m not back fully just yet, so I’m not really sure what it will be like. However, I did do my first shoot for work Tuesday and both kids were awake so I got a good taste! It felt good to be able to do what I love for the blog while being with them. I know I’ll have my limits and have to do less, but for now I’m just grateful y’all read the blog and allow me to do this!

Do you want more kids?

After a complicated and scary pregnancy with Harry, we feel so grateful to have two healthy children! Right now, we feel whole as a family. We aren’t really thinking 3 years down the road at this moment, but as I hold my two babies, I feel like it is more than I could ever hope for.

How to handle the sleep deprivation?

My husband and I tag team! Right now, Harry is still in the phase he needs to be comforted after feeds before he falls asleep. I’ll feed, rock him for 15 minutes, and then put him down. The next feed, I’ll feed, and then Paul will rock him and put him down. We just alternate throughout the night and it is so helpful! I also take a nap a few times a week when both kids nap at the same time. I’m BIG on getting in a nap if you can! But don’t let my concealer, I have major dark circles and am exhausted. Last night he ate at 11, midnight, 1:11, 3:30, and 5:50! Whew! He doesn’t love the paci like Maxi did, so I’m his paci and I am tired. haha.

I’m sure I missed some things, but I hope this helps answer any questions or DMs you may have sent! Slowly but surely we are getting in our groove and I can’t wait to share him more with you all. Thank you for all your love and support!

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1 Comment

  1. I’m not a parent so most of these questions don’t apply to me, but I really appreciate how detailed your answers are. I’m sure they’re super helpful! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Published 02 Jul 20Reply