I think the last time I used an alarm was 8 months ago, right before Reva was born. The thing about babies is that they completely remove the need for setting alarms. Convenient- right! One less thing to worry about.
Before I became a mother, I thought I could conceptualize what the day-to-day would be like, but man was I wrong. I remember listening to a lovely podcast where they interviewed an OB-GYN about how she prepared for maternity leave, and she said she was planning to read 4-5 books while she was home with the baby. This is a woman who delivers babies people! And even she didn’t know!!
So, if you’re curious about the day-to-day life of a new mom, I’m going to give you an in-depth, behind the scenes look. Keep in mind that my daughter is 8 months old, and as they say, the only thing constant is change. Our schedule looked wildly different from this at 2 months, 4 months, etc, but it will still help to paint a picture.
Before I dive in, I want to add that in the early days, the very early days, there is no schedule. There is no routine, there is little freedom, and you’re just in triage over and over again. Despite how much you won’t believe me in that moment, I promise that IT DOES GET BETTER. It gets easier, it gets less confusing, and you will fade out of the fog. Ok, here we go!
Daily Schedule with 8-Month Old baby
6-7am: Wake up-time. I keep a baby monitor near my bedside and usually wake up to Reva crying or now saying Mama (woah). Despite all of the incredible technology out there, I opted for an audio-only monitor to save my sanity. I knew that otherwise, I’d watch the camera 24/7, particularly when we weren’t home. No bueno para mi.
I nurse her first thing, often times in my own bed vs. in the chair in her room so I can get a few extra moments of time under the covers. The best thing I have for nursing is the handheld Haakaa pump, which you attach to the breast you are not currently feeding on. It collects extra milk for you without you lifting a finger. This pump allowed me to create a freezer stash without spending extra-time pumping! It’s incredible.
After I nurse her, I change her diaper (we’re currently using Hello Bello) and then we play for a while until she gets fussy. Play has meant different things at every age, but right now it means sitting on the floor together and playing with little blocks, a baby piano, or other toys. When Reva was younger, she was better at laying/playing/entertaining herself, but this is the age of separation anxiety, so I have to be near her all of the time. ALL of the time.
Once she gets tired of playing, we move to her high chair for some solid food. I have the stokke high chair, which I love everything about, except that you can’t remove the straps to clean them. The chair converts at every stage and lasts for 10+ years. I’ve heard good things about the Lalo chair too. My parents bought this Joovy chair (you can’t beat the price) and it’s actually very comfy, just not super pretty.
When I asked my doctor about baby-led weaning, she said that in truth most people do some combo of BLW and traditional baby food aka mush. They give solids and mushes vs. just one or the other. For us, I feel comfortable with a blend of the two, but I don’t give Reva large chunks or strips of food yet. Usually in the morning I will give her scrambled egg, oatmeal, yogurt, or banana with nut butter. If she mostly plays with her food, I follow up with a pack of fruit mush that she loves to slurp. I buy Plum Organics or Happy Baby, and I also like Once Upon A Farm, though it’s the priciest of the 3.
Once you have a baby, you’ll learn all about wake windows. For Reva, her morning wake window is 2.5 hours before she starts to lose her cool, so I put her down for a nap between 8:30-9:00 AM. At this point, she naps 2x during the day. Basically your baby will continuously “drop a nap”. Usually by a year and change, they nap once during the day (vs. 4 naps daily at 4 months old). The best resource I found regarding sleep is Taking Cara Babies. I didn’t do her paid course, but her blog posts are so informative and helped answer a lot of questions for me.
Nap time is sacred for all new moms. It is our chance to shower, eat something, take a breath, do some work, etc. If you’re hanging out with your mom friend and she puts her baby down for a nap, it might be your sign to go. Politely asking if she wants to use the time to catch up on life is super considerate and appreciated.
Nap length varies and can be anywhere from 30 minutes (ouch) to 2.5 hours. Cara says naps longer than 2 hours are too long and you should wake your baby at that point, but I let her go to 2.5 if need be. It’s pretty rare though. Usually our naps are 1-2 hours.
Once she’s up, I nurse her again and then we go outside. Every single day (unless it’s raining) we get outside. This is non-negotiable because it helps you clear your head and break up the day, and it’s good for the baby too. If you live next to a park, scoot your butt in there (even if it’s for 10 minutes) daily!
We walk for an hour, then come home and eat lunch. Reva eats little bites of avocado, chicken, roasted vegetables, rice, all sorts of delicious things. You can get creative with what you give your child, and be sure to expose them to lots of different flavors and textures. Even if they don’t love the food at first, it can grow on them. I also chose to give Reva some of the top allergens at an early age, but speak to your pediatrician and see what they think is best for your baby.
Back to playtime, we like this bouncer and this sit-to-stand walker right now. The bouncer is great because it keeps her contained (lol) and buys me a few moments to myself. After a 3.5-4 hour wake window (total, so usually around 2PM), it’s nap-time again.
While the baby naps I work, tidy, enjoy a second of my hair not being pulled, you know, the usual. Once she wakes up around +- 3:30, I nurse her, then we go on another stroll with Maui. If we’re not strolling then we’re playing at home. I have a whole list of toys I like here, in case you’re in the market.
The late afternoon until bedtime is the hardest part of the day and usually when she is crankiest. It takes a lot of snacks, and basically holding her until bed. When we come back from our walk (~4:30) Reva will eat again, and then I’ll let her have a treat like peanut puffs. At first, I gave her Bamba, which is really common as a baby snack in Israel. Then I realized they contained a lot of salt, and palm oil (not great for you and unsustainable) so I wondered if there was a better alternative. I remember learning about Puffworks (they participated in the Chobani Incubator) during our time building Scraps. They make snacks like Bamba, but the only ingredients are organic peanuts and salt. Plus, they have a line just for babies! Yay!
Around 5:30, we’re in the bath. When Reva was really little, we used the Puj tub, and then around 3-4 months we upgraded to one that actually goes into the bathtub. She loves the water and I let her play for as long as she is willing (usually 20-30 minutes).
Out of the bath and into our PJs! Now it’s really just about making it to the finish line. We read together, play, and then at 6:30 I nurse her again, and we do our bedtime routine. I don’t nurse or rock the baby to sleep since we sleep trained her. We used the Ferber method and found it extremely effective in a short period of time so now she sleeps in her own bed, 12 hours every night. This is not a suggestion that you should follow my lead. Truly, there are so many methods out there. Find what works for your family. Zero judgement (but sleeping is really nice so do try something that allows you to get some shut-eye).
And that’s the day! Once she goes to bed, I am usually pretty zonked and just want wine, dinner, and an episode of the Marvelous Mrs.Maisel or Downton Abbey.
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