Rhett is our third baby and as I think many parents of multiples would agree, our confidence is higher this time. The little things like learning how to swaddle or use a breast pump feel like second nature and alleviate some of the “I don’t know what I’m doing” stress that comes along with a newborn in the beginning… And yet every baby is different and brings about different challenges and I’m realizing that’s basically motherhood in nutshell. You finally hit your groove and things feel smooth with your children and BAM something new pops up and it’s back to doing your best to figure out what will work for your kids. But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let’s break this one-month update into sections because my brain feels like it’s in a bit of a haze and I’m admittedly feeling foggy at the moment so an organized one month update is right up my alley.
Rhett: One Month In
First, let’s start on a high note. Our sweet baby boy! Rhett is the snuggliest little baby. His happy place is in our arms and watching him fall asleep on my chest and seeing his tiny little mouth fall open as he drifts into a deep sleep will never, ever get old.
He seems to like tummy time and with every week that passes, he becomes increasingly alert. He loves being outside and does well when we walk around with him in a baby carrier. Rhett also handles his big brothers’ attention like a champ, even when Ryder plops a toy on his face or Chase takes sweet brother cuddles to the extreme and opts for a full-body cuddle session. When we prop him up and let him watch Ryder and Chase play, he seems to enjoy observing them and I have a feeling this will only continue until he joins in the craziness!
My favorite moments with Rhett often occur right before bedtime. I nurse him from a side-lying position and he snuggles right up into me and eats and eats until he falls into a deep sleep. I often talk to Ryan or read on my Kindle until I know he’s really out and I think I have at least 100 pictures of him on my phone that I snap right after I carefully get up off the bed because his little body looks so peaceful and content.
As far as the moments after our sweet pre-bedtime ritual… That’s when things seem to kick into high gear and get a little intense.
About two weeks after Rhett’s arrival, we began to notice spit up after feedings with increasing regularity. He also seemed more and more bothered by gas and our nighttime sleep got worse and worse. While Rhett happily snoozed away in our arms, within 5 minutes of transferring him to his bassinet, he would wake up and fuss until he cried and we scooped him up again. Night after night of this took its toll on us and sleep for long stretches didn’t happen. I should probably update that last sentence to reflect the present tense because long stretches of sleep still aren’t happening and a two-hour stretch of sleep without interruption is good for us right now.
We’re learning how to best handle life on little sleep which is no joke when you have three kids to care for all day long. Chase was not a good sleeper but resting with him on my chest in the day after a bad night of sleep was an option whereas that is simply not reality right now. It’s a struggle but we’re managing and while I’m still basically the point person for Rhett thanks to nursing (my choice, I know, as I don’t love pumping), Ryan is really good about taking him out of our bedroom or walking around with him to calm him to give me stretches of sleep where I’m not holding Rhett or half-sleeping on high-alert as I listen for Rhett to need comforting. Weekends also often serve as chill time for me when Ryan can take Chase and Ryder off on some Dad-only adventures and I can rest at home with Rhett.
At Rhett’s one month pediatric visit, our pediatrician said Rhett’s weight gain is great (he actually jumped up from the 8th percentile to the 18th) and since Rhett doesn’t scream and cry when he spits up (it more or less rolls out of his mouth unless it comes out of his nose which obviously bothers him), he didn’t think medication was necessary. He recommended beginning a probiotic, keeping Rhett upright for 30 minutes after every feeding and propping up his bassinet so he could sleep on a slight incline. While this trifecta seems to be helping a little bit, it’s far from the answer to our struggles, though a couple of nights we managed to get a three-hour stretch of sleep which felt like a huge victory. Rhett still really, really wants to be held or snuggled up right next to me in bed which is so draining.
I know this is a phase and will come and go eventually and we’re doing okay on the lack of sleep, all things considered. I’m also a couple of days into cutting dairy out of my diet and I am curious to see if that makes a difference, though based on Rhett’s diapers, my pediatrician doesn’t think this is an issue for Rhett at the moment. We’ll see! Until then, Rhett will be getting a lot of cuddle time 24/7 and lots of time in the baby carrier and swing during the day!
I know postpartum recovery varies so much and I feel incredibly lucky because my labor and delivery and postpartum recovery this time around has been my easiest. Rhett was a small baby (5 lbs. 13 ounces), which I’m sure helped recovery from his vaginal birth since I was fortunate to not need any stitches at all. Bleeding has dropped off dramatically and I have my 6-week postpartum checkup next week.
As far as my activity level is concerned, this is the most sedentary I’ve been after the arrival of a baby and that’s mostly because of a stress fracture in my right foot. (It’s thankfully healing well and I’m now able to be out of the boot here and there.) I REALLY miss walking and have such wonderful memories of walking with Chase and Ryder when they were newborn babies but I told Ryan that perhaps this stress fracture is some kind of a blessing in disguise because it has forced me to do a lot of sitting and step back from activities I might have otherwise embraced. Every single weekend and on many weeknights Ryan takes the big boys off on outdoor adventures that I wish I could be a part of… and yet another part of me cherishes the solo snuggle time with Rhett and knows my body can only benefit from increased rest right now. I know I have years of family adventures ahead of me but only a few short months of time when Rhett will fall asleep on my chest and I’m cherishing couch snuggles while Ryan has some quality dad time with our big boys.
In terms of postpartum fitness plans, I haven’t thought about it too much. In the past I’ve shuffled between my own workouts at the YMCA and Burn Boot Camp workouts but with the pandemic, I’m not currently comfortable bringing our kids to childcare yet so I have a feeling that short 20-minute garage workouts may be my focus, though I can also see fitness taking a bit of a backseat for a while, especially since our nighttime sleep is pretty awful at the moment. Without childcare in place for any of our kids beyond preschool (a decision that could change, if necessary), finding pockets of time to work out and juggle working from home overwhelms me as it is, so I am giving myself grace as I navigate postpartum life.
As far as food is concerned, the past month has looked like a lot of sugar and treats and not a ton of vegetables. Dinners have thankfully been mostly “real food” thanks to my mom’s help, meals from friends and a little extra effort on my part to get at least one decent meal in my belly, but breakfast and lunch often looked more like tons of one-handed snacks consumed all morning and afternoon as intense nursing hunger surfaced. As of last week, I started to feel a little more motivation to change this and a desire to get back in the kitchen (something I genuinely enjoy) and notice that the days when I take the time to really feed myself wholesome foods, I feel better and more energetic which is great motivation to prioritize healthy eating.
Rhett, Ryder, Chase and Sadie
From the moment we brought Rhett home, Chase and Ryder became two very enthusiastic members of the Baby Rhett Fan Club. They love holding him, bringing him toys, playing with him on his play mat, talking to him in high-pitched baby voices (even higher than their already very high little voices!) and I could not be more pleased with the way they’ve fully embraced the newest member of their brother tribe.
I was admittedly worried about jealousy and resentment and while I know that can and likely will still surface at some point, right now we’re in a good spot. Most of the sibling struggles over here center around Chase and Ryder and don’t involve the baby and are just typical brother battles (sharing, who gets to do something first, etc.).
The times I’ve found myself most overwhelmed with three children occur when Rhett is crying or fussy and Ryder is also feeling needy or something happens when I need to discipline the boys and I cannot tend to everything at once. These are the moments when mom guilt surfaces because I cannot go to all of my children simultaneously and give them undivided attention or handle immediate discipline with Chase and Ryder in the way I typically would when I’m not soothing a baby. While sometimes these moments feel like they escalate quickly, I can typically calm Rhett to the point where I can hold him while addressing any disciplinary actions with Chase and Ryder or showing them love to the point that they calm down enough for me to settle Rhett before returning to the big boys.
As far as how Sadie is adjusting to our newest addition, it’s basically been a non-event for her. She struggled the most when we brought Chase home from the hospital because things like us playing on the floor with the baby or talking in high-pitched baby voices used to be things reserved exclusively for her and I’m sure that was all a bit confusing. Now she totally gets the baby thing and seems to realize they’re not going anywhere so she just rolls with the punches.
Sadie still likes to put her butt on me when I’m nursing and definitely doesn’t shy away from seeking cuddles in while I’m on the couch with Rhett. There’s no doubt about it — she’s still the princess of this house!
Embracing Help + Daily Life
I feel like this is a section that needs to be amplified because my stress level likely would’ve skyrocketed early on had I not said yes to my mom’s generous offer to come stay with our family for the first few weeks of Rhett’s life. If I looked like I had everything together on the blog at some point over the course of the past month, it’s because of my mom. Ryan didn’t take any structured paternity leave (the pandemic and working from home really blurred these lines) and while his days were a little flexible in the first week or two after we brought Rhett home, my mom really helped both of us a TON during the day, especially with Chase and Ryder. So many people encouraged me to embrace the help of others and when the moms of 3+ kids I spoke with before we had Rhett told me in no uncertain terms that having three kids is a game changer and kicks the crazy up about 10 notches, I took their words seriously and tried my best to heed their advice and said YES when help is offered.
When friends offer to bring us dinner, I say yes. When we found out our preschool would be opening in the fall and offer a place for Chase and Ryder to go (5 mornings a week for Chase, 2 for Ryder), I said yes. I’ve embraced services like Instacart, Blue Apron, Target curbside pickup and Amazon Prime like never before. Anything that can streamline my life and make things easier, I’m all for right now.
In terms of how daily life is going over here, I truly feel incredibly happy every single day, despite bags under my eyes and many back-to-back sleepless nights. There are moments that feel overwhelming and days that drain me but, for the most part, life with three kids is wonderful. As Ryan says, we’re “currently living life at the intersection of crazy and blessed” and I could not agree more. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel incredibly grateful for our three children and Ryan and the family we’ve built. Newborn days have their challenges and going from two kids to three naturally takes some adjusting but we’re figuring things out little by little and I’m enjoying the process so much. I love our three boys and being their mom brings me so much joy, even on the challenging days.
In terms of baby updates, moving forward, I’m not planning on sharing monthly updates but, much like I did after Ryder was born, I’m planning to check in here and there and give updates when I feel compelled to share or when big changes happen that feel worth noting on the blog. In the meantime, as always I want to thank you guys so much for following my life and our family and for the support I feel from you every time I open up and share a little bit more about what life really looks like behind quick snapshots and a few smiling photos. Your encouragement lifts me up more than you know and I appreciate it so much!
Newborn Baby Favorites
On the Go
- Doona Car Seat Stroller (a car seat + stroller in one — our big splurge and worth every penny!)
- Colugo Carrier (new to me with baby #3 and without a doubt my favorite carrier I’ve ever used as it’s very supportive and incredibly easy to use.)
- Baby K’Tan (love this carrier for the early months because it’s so snuggly)
Around the House