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Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle Is 1 Month Old!

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Wow. My little baby girl is already a month old. I’m all kinds of emotional about it. I’m so excited that she’s growing and thriving and becoming even more amazing each day. But I’m sad because well, she’s almost a big girl. Kind of.

I know folx are like, “Come on, B. She’s only a month old.” But I feel like I was just pregnant yesterday. I never understand why parents got so weepy over their kids going to kindergarten but yeah, now I get it. Speaking of ‘Dumb Things Those Who Aren’t Parents Say’, I was that non-parent that talked a lot of trash about what I WOULDN’T do when I had kids. I’d say stuff like…

“I would never co-sleep. That’s so unsafe.”
“Breastfeeding is the ONLY option for me. I will never give my baby formula.”
“I’m letting my baby cry it out. Otherwise they’ll get spoiled if I ALWAYS pick them up.”

Lies. Lies. Lies.

I proudly co-sleep. Due to latching issues, I had to give Elle formula three times. And I have yet to let her ‘cry it out’. Parenthood does turn you into a different person. I’ve been caught staring at her while she sleeps. Because I just don’t understand what I’ve done in this life to get granted the opportunity to be her mommy. Why did God select me?

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The first few weeks after her birth were emotional and rough. It’s true what people say – you really do get used to being sleep deprived. Elle is a great baby in that she actually sleeps through the night. She wakes up to eat and goes right back to sleep. However, she seems to only really want to go back to sleep while laying on someone’s chest. Which I wouldn’t mind if it weren’t so uncomfortable to me. Neither Esposo and I sleep well with her sleeping on our chests but we succumb to it because some sleep is better than no sleep. And Elle the Belle is a cranky something sleeping in her cradle.

My Mom and sister’s help the first 2 weeks were invaluable. And so were the love and support from my friends. I tried so hard to do everything by myself but it was impossible. I NEEDED the help.

Physically, after a week or so I felt just fine. Due to Elle being born early, we had to do a lot of running around with her to and from doctor’s appointments. My body had no choice but to bounce back quickly. My appetite is out of control. I am foreverrrrr starving and snacking around the clock.

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Breastfeeding is not going well. I feel like I’m on an episode of True Life: You Thought Breastfeeding Was Going To Be Easy. I should have known better. There’s a reason why there are so many support groups for breastfeeding women. It IS that difficult. A baby doesn’t always just latch on a boob and go to town. There are so many situations that make it difficult for mom and baby. In Elle’s case, the lactation consultant said she may have some oral motor issues. Latching her brings tears to my eyes but I try daily because I am confident that one day she will do it. I’m going to a La Leche League meeting soon and have joined several “Exclusive Pumpers” groups because you soooo need support during a time like this. In the meantime, I’ve been pumping every 2 hours (every 3 hours at night) to ensure that I have enough milk to feed Elle via bottle. It’s exhausting.

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Pumping and bottle preparation is time consuming. I have to pump, prepare the bottle, clean pumping equipment, feed baby and repeat. And I’m screwed if she’s starving WHILE I’m pumping because then I have to feed her while I pump. And if I leave the house, I HAVE to be back within 2 hours or else my boobs become engorged and painful. Everyday I want to quit but my dedication to giving Elle the BEST is what keeps me going. How this will work when I have to go back to work is beyond me. I’ve been freezing my expressed milk so that she can continue to have my milk even when I can’t pump as much. The breastfeeding thing put me in a depressive hole for weeks. I felt like a horrible mother for not being able to do it and I hated that it couldn’t be easier for me. Each day gets better. I wish I would have done more research about breastfeeding during my pregnancy. I just knew I wouldn’t have any problems and had I been more informed, I would not have been so stressed out. But you can’t have it all, right? I had a great pregnancy and great labor and delivery. To be honest, I would have traded a longer labor for an easier breastfeeding experience but ah well…

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So yeah, we’re truckin’ along. I am not looking forward to going back to work. Work from home mom? Um yeah. Would love to. At least for a year. It’s isn’t an option for us so having to drop her off at daycare is going to kill my soul. But let’s stick with the important things. Elle is healthy, happy , adorable and she’s got so many people that adore her. Esposo and I are doing the best we can as first time parents and we couldn’t be more happier to have her in our lives.

Elle Stats:

Weight - Around 7 lbs
Cool Tricks - Opens mouth wide when you kiss her chin, holds head, attempts to hold bottle, smiles/laughs while sleeping.
Favorite Spots - On Mommy or Daddy’s chest, in a baby carrier, her Boppy and bouncy chair.

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  • http://tsaunde.com Trecia

    Hey B, I’m way late, Congrats on such a precious little girl!!! You already sound like an amazing mom, don’t feel the need to be so hard on yourself..This is definitely a challenge you and hubby will master!

    • Brittany

      Thanks lovely!

  • Lisa

    How is it possible that she gets cuter with each pic. And, there is something about baby feet that makes my heart melt. Love the little feet-feet :-)

    B, please try not to stress over not being able to breast feed. It IS difficult and you’re not alone. You are still expressing your milk, so that’s great. But guess what, if you had to use formula exclusively, that would be OK too.

    (((HUGS)))

    • Brittany

      Aren’t baby feet the best? I can’t get over it. And you’re right…formula is okay too. I had to tell myself that the first night I gave it to her. Talk about breakdown….woo sahhhh.

  • http://mangoandfudge.blogspot.co.uk/ Mango

    Oh my, she is so adorable :) !!

    … breastfeeding sounds really … difficult. I hope it gets better for you. I’m not a parent but I’m a aunty who can testify that they grow up fast, so enjoy all these baby moments. Good Bless x

    • Brittany

      They do grow up fast….*tears*

  • http://www.mjfangirl.com mjfangirl

    Wow she is absolutely beautiful!
    I never knew that breastfeeding was so difficult.
    I am not a parent yet but, I’ve really enjoyed your posts about Baby Clumps so far. It’s so refreshing to hear about both the ups and sometimes downs of motherhood.

    Love your blog!

    • Brittany

      Thanks so much. I loved reading about baby stories way before I was ready to have a baby. It always helped put things into perspective a bit. :)

  • http://www.fabellis.com FabEllis

    Awww! She is beautiful! Congratulations again.

  • http://www.brikasia.com Brianna G.

    She’s beautiful, Brittany! You have been blessed with such a precious little girl! xo

    • Brittany

      Thanks Bri!

  • Elle

    Congratulations on the gorgeous little girl.

    Breastfeeding is hard, and so is pumping and storing, I know just how you feel. And I admire your dedication. Definitely try to find support and stay relaxed about it (as relaxed as you can). The last thing you need is more stress and more guilt. Please don’t do that to yourself. I had some of the same anxieties you had and worked myself into such a tizzy that my supply started going down. But then…everything just worked out fine. My son had some formula sometimes and he didn’t turn green. He slept with us and was okay. I still pick him up too much, but we’re working on it.

    Peace and blessings to the whole Clumps family.

    • Brittany

      What a gorgeous name you have there. ;) You’re right…stress does nothing for the supply. That and lack of sleep and I’m struggling with both. HA!

  • http://www.project-swatch.com Emi at Project Swatch

    She’s such a cutie! I’m sorry you’re having a rough time with the breastfeeding – I hope you have a breakthrough soon!

    • Brittany

      Thanks lovely!

  • kazari

    aw, congrats!! She is so cute! I’ve been following your blog and love it, not least because you have an awesome personality and there aren’t that many good beauty blogs by women of color.

    Also, don’t let anyone tell you what you should or should not do for your baby! You’re the one who knows her best. I had my son 5 months ago, and it makes me happy to see someone else going through the same joys of this journey….

    Also, if in the end breastfeeding winds up not working out, don’t feel guilty. My son had some issues when he was born so they fed him formula in the hospital, so then he got used to the bottle and refused to latch, and then cried so much when breastfeeding we were afraid of traumatizing him (and also, were afraid of him starving), so now I pump and give him breastmilk in a bottle, with the occasional bottle of formula. There is NO right way to do anything, though the breastfeeding brigade tries to make women feel bad for not being successful.

    (Also, there’s a LOT of stuff they don’t tell you before giving birth that you don’t find out until it happens. Yup.)

    • Brittany

      You’re so right. I was beating myself up sooooo much at the the ought of giving her formula but dude, the girl has to eat and her getting food is my first priority. No matter how she gets it. And yes, I can attest to the “babe crying at the boob” bit. That’s So Elle. Every time I try to nurse, we both end up in tears. It’s such a traumatic experience for all involved.

  • http://www.beautybykrystal.com Beauty By Krystal

    Oh my, she’s so precious!!! I’m loving your mommy posts, makes me feel happy to see someone embracing their motherhood choices even if they are different than the “norm”. oxoxo

    • Brittany

      So glad to hear that!

  • Joanna

    She is so adorably gorgeous!

    • Brittany

      XOXO

  • Shawness

    B! I love her, she is amazing! Congrats to you on your sweetest gift. Enjoy her because the time will pass quickly.

  • http://www.undereyetreatmentreviews.com/ Faye

    I salute you for being a best mom to your baby. I hope that in this blog you inspire others. I hope that you will cherish every single day.

  • OSHH

    Ahhhh what a doll baby, so cute Britt, may she continue to thrive and be blessed!!!!

  • Janet

    Ohhh, bless my soul, she is BEAUTIFUL. Those lips! Those wee tiny baby FEETS!

    I had a hard time breastfeeding and producing milk, so I know how you feel right now. It’s hard, but you will make it through this, and both you and Elle the Belle will thrive. Whatever decision you make is the right one, in the end, so long as Elle has a mommy and daddy who love her – and that part’s already taken care of! She’s clearly well-loved!!!

  • http://www.crystaliciousss.blogspot.com Crystal

    she has the cutest smile and she already has a pout going on, before you know it daddy will have to chase the boys away :) enjoy this as much as you can, they grow up so fast.

    big hug

  • Ms Angie

    Talkin’ bout America’s next top model? Elle is too too cute…they grow up so fast. I have a 16 year old son and I really don’t want him to grow up…believe me, with ACT testing, Driver license(insurance) and prepping for High School Graduation, this brings me to the true meaning of reality..Enjoy every moment, it’s worth a lifetime…Blessing to you, Elle and your entire family!

    Ms Angie

  • http://shirayukisbeauty.blogspot.com Lys, from Shirayuki’s Beauty

    Wooow, she’s SUUUUPER cute <3. Congrats!

  • http://www.cultoftaupe.com Crystal

    I commend you for your dedication breastfeeding. With my first it was so hard, I wanted to give up daily. He was a bad latcher and I am a buxom lady so that made it even tougher. I felt alone, up at night while everyone slept, struggling to feed my baby. We eventually figured it out and then breast feeding was a joy. When he self weaned at 7 months I cried and cried I missed it so much.

    With my second she was 3 weeks early with a planned c-section, done so my mom, who was terminally ill could meet her. She was an awesome latcher, but she was so little she couldn’t stay awake to eat. So I would try for 45 mins to feed her, I’d have to stuff wet wash cloths in her armpits to wake her up. After that I would pump for thirty mins. Sleep for 15 mins then start all over. Eventually between her small size and dealing with grief I finally stopped trying to breast feed and went to pumping only…that was a struggle too and soon my supply was so low that when she finally started to strengthen I could not satisfy her.

    I tried for months, I was getting maybe a tablespoon a day, but I kept at it. Breast feeding was the hardest and most rewarding part of being a new Mom.

    Don’t give up! Good for you for going to the groups and staying dedicated. Keep your supply up and eventually Elle with catch up with latching skills.

    And don’t sweat the bottle. At the end of the day, her health is top priority. Every baby is unique and our plans and expectations are usually the first thing out the window.

    And as for cry it out..that always felt cruel. There is a time when it is helpful to help your child self soothe, but it is waaaaaaay down the road. Babies cry because they have a need they want met..if your baby is crying out because they want to feel close to mommy or be loved and they are left to “cry it out” what does that say about us as parents? It’s a baby, not a toddler throwing a tantrum.

    Elle could not be in better hands. It is obvious her Mommy and Daddy love her and would do anything for her. #teamelle

    • Brittany

      Thank youuuuuuu!

  • http://www.ivoryandolive.com Kim Carroll

    I had twins and was trying to breastfeed and pump. I was waking up, feeding two and then pumping. I swear my breast pump talked to me at night. Straight up conversations. I was that tired. I did it as long as I could….not as long as I would have liked. It’s funny because everything that I said, pre-mom, new-mom, being a judge-y McJudger mom…..I have gotten 10-fold with my two! I won’t even THINK in my head “my kids will NEVER……” because it’s just a precursor to showing up at my door! :)

  • Danielle Wilson

    Im so happy for you!! =)Shes ADORABLE!!!!! Hope all is well and congrats on being a new mommy! I just know shes gonna be a little guru like you <3

  • http://www.chicbeautytips.com Marisa Anderson

    Awwwe… your baby is sooo adorable! Congrats!

  • Xero

    I’m not quite sure, but I do think that they make special baby bottle teats that simulate actual breastfeeding, so that the baby doesn’t get used to the artificial one.

  • http://themakeuptrain.com Chris

    Omg, she’s a beautiful little girl! Congrats! :)

  • http://skincleansingreviews.com/ Tina Knight

    Your baby is so adorable, Brittany! Don’t be too hard on yourself since you’re a first time parent, all of these will fall into its own place, it is really going to be difficult at first but you just have to make a sacrifice for your little angel, after several weeks/months, your life will be back the way it used to be. At this point of your life, it is good to know that you have your family and friends who are always at your side, supporting you and helping you with Baby Elle. I wish you good health, and happiness. You are an amazing mom. :)