We try to be really frugal, so for sleepers, we just love Carter’s. We also use the Nested Bean sleep sack, which is just a little bit of weight on their chest. We use the Hatch sound machine, which I think just about every parent does.
After that, I pump because I’m still breastfeeding.
We want to make sure she’s got a lot of milk for bottles. Pump-wise, I use Spectra. I’ve tried a couple other ones, but for me, the sturdy hospital-grade pumps just always work the best. They’re a pain to carry around when I travel, so for that I use Sarah Wells pumping bags. She’s also got suitcases that are amazing for pumping moms that are traveling, so I would highly recommend those as well.
While I’m pumping upstairs, my husband pours me a bath. I love Epsom salts—a lot of times I’ll just get Dr. Teal’s at Target. So I’ll go and get into my bath, take a little bit of time, come out, and make some tea. And then that’s the time that I have with my husband at the end of the day, our quality time to either put on a movie and relax together or just talk and catch up.
We go to bed really early because I wake up at 4:45 A.M. every morning to get an extra pump session in and work out before she wakes up.
My whole life—with swimming—has been waking up early. I have to get my workout out of the way and I have to move my body every day, it just sets me up so well. So we go to bed really early, at like 8:30 or 9 P.M. We don’t have a whole lot of time together after we put her down at 7:30 P.M., and so you learn to really make the most of the time that you do have because it definitely gets condensed after you have a baby—but I feel like it’s been working really well for us. I’ve learned to speak up about what I need and finding those ways to take care of myself, like having that bath every single night, as my moment of, “All right, you did it. You made it through another day. The baby’s happy and asleep, and your husband’s happy and on the couch, and you’re happy and in a bath, and we’re all good.”
It took me a while to get into that routine, and I have absolutely no shame in admitting that the first six months were hard for me.
I love my daughter more than words will ever be able to say, but that transition of becoming a new mom—and going to a full-time stay-at-home mom—was definitely jarring on my system. I’m very type A to begin with, I’ve struggled with anxiety in the past. I’m a very empathetic person, so every time she cried, I would cry. I wanted everything to be perfect for her. And I think a lot of new moms feel that way. It’s just a lot of pressure that you put on yourself.
It was probably at least seven or eight months before I really started figuring out what I also needed.
It’s really hard as a new mom, because people are telling you, “Take care of yourself, take care of yourself, take care of yourself,” but no one tells you how. Even if you feel like you know yourself very well, so much is new and you are taking on a new role that you have zero experience in. I only have this much amount of time during the day, so do I work out or do I rest? Do I sleep or do I do laundry? Because if I don’t do stuff it’s not going to get done and then I’m going to get stressed about that. It’s a learning process that you have to be so patient during, and trust that you are going to come out on the other side. But it’s hard when you’re in it, because you don’t always know that you are going to come out on the other side.
My husband and I always ask each other: How are you doing? What are you feeling? What do you need? Do you feel overwhelmed? What can I do? What do you need to hear? I think a lot of times that’s a really powerful question to ask your partner: “What do you need to hear right now?” A lot of times my husband will ask me that and I’m like, “Can you just acknowledge that it’s hard?” So ever since I asked, because I voiced that this was something that I needed, he’s like, “You are the best mom in the world, this is the hardest job, I don’t know how you cook, and do the laundry, and clean, and play with her all day, and make her so happy.” He acknowledges all the things that I do and how hard it is and it makes me feel so good, and so appreciated, and so loved that my cup is always overflowing, which I feel so grateful for.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.