It’s been awhile since I did a lifestyle journal post and with experiencing my biggest life event so far (the birth of my baby boy), I thought I would share an update. I cannot summarize life with a newborn in a single word. It’s so many amazing and sometimes challenging emotions all wrapped up in one.
When I got pregnant and created my @laurengleisberglately Instagram account, I recall sharing that I vowed to be real about the good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly when it came to pregnancy and motherhood. I’ll continue keeping things authentic here with this post.
more photos at the bottom of this post
LET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING…
On Wednesday, June 21st at 12:24 AM, Leo Anthony Lococo made his way into the world, changing my life for the better in every way. I was having contractions all weekend but nothing was regular or progressing. On Tuesday, I went to my 40 week OB appointment. I was there for all of 3 minutes when my OB said “oh sweetie… you’re 6 cm dilated. This baby is coming today! Let’s get you to the hospital… I’ll call so they know to expect you.”
Anthony and I locked eyes with the deepest love and excitement. We made a few quick calls to our family and headed to the hospital. I’ll quickly sum up the birth story because I could probably write a book on it (and I want to for myself haha). Very soon, I want to jot down all I can remember from that day because it was nothing short of a miracle.
I’m not sure what else to share on the actual birth other than my most vivid memory was seeing our sweet baby boy for the first time. My first words to him were: “Leo, it’s Mommy. I love you so much. I am so proud of you.” Of course, my husband seemed to pull his phone out at the perfect time and captured this moment. That short video clip will make me cry for the rest of my life.
THE FIRST WEEK
The first week absolutely flew by and I hate to say it, but thinking back on it… it all feels like one amazing blur. Prior to giving birth, I heard so many people say, “the first few weeks are not entirely blissful but you’ll love it.” I’m so happy I heard and remembered that because for me, the first week was a mixture of mostly bliss but definitely some overwhelm. Our first week was tears of absolute joy and love every time I looked at Leo’s face followed by a wave of “oh my gosh, I’m so tired… how can I keep this up.” I’ve learned that in those moments of overwhelm, I need to squeeze my sweet baby a little tighter and soak up the moment because they go by way too fast.
I am so thankful for my amazing husband and mom who made the first week so much easier. My mom stayed with us the first 4 nights and having an extra set of hands was more helpful than I could have ever imagined. My husband stepped up in every way possible as a parent. I just adore watching him with Leo aka “his mini.” My favorite line from Anthony is “trust your mommy instincts” which he tells me every time I doubt myself. A supportive, encouraging partner makes parenting so much easier and I’m grateful I have Anthony to be with on this journey.
Well, babies don’t exactly have a schedule, but I try to provide some routine and structure to our days. One of the few baby books I read prior to Leo was Baby Wise. One of the biggest takeaways from that book was the feed, wake, sleep cycle. When the baby wakes up, you feed while he is most alert, have some wake time then put him to sleep and repeat. Leo is pretty good at following this schedule with a few of his own deviations like an extra alert AM with no nap, which I roll with.
We also just started a nightly bed time routine… bath, PJs, snuggle, feed, bed. When Leo naps during the day, I allow light in the room, but I try to keep it as dark as possible at night. He completely has his days and nights figured out! I’m not sure if it’s this routine or what but I’m happy with that because when he feeds at night, he almost always goes right back down to sleep.
Anthony and I trade off at night. We quickly learned that two sleepy parents was not the way we could go on, so our team effort involves Anthony taking the early night shifts… I feed and then go to sleep in our guest bedroom while Anthony does diapers, settles the baby, gets him down and then sleeps next to him. Between 1:30-3, we switch roles and Anthony goes to another room to sleep until the AM while I do the feedings, diapers and sleep roles. It works really well for us. Once we figured this out, we both still felt a bit tired but not at all exhausted, which is amazing!
WHAT LEO LOVES
Leo’s little personality is coming out more and more every day. He is a very content baby. When he cries, it’s because something is wrong and once we identify it, he settles very easily. Since day 1, he has been incredibly alert and sometimes what I call nosy because he’s always poking his head around my shoulder to see what’s going on (he get’s that from his daddy lol).
He loves being swaddled… like loves it! He loves his DockATot for naps and his Stokke Sleepi Mini Crib has been perfect for wheeling around our first floor for him to snooze. Burpring puts him right to sleep as do car rides. He loves tummy time… we mostly do it on our chest but Daddy has put him on the floor a few times. Leo rolled from tummy to back at his first tummy time session (I shared that video here). He loves being outside and looking out the windows. He’s a sweetie. I like to say he’s a bit of a mama’s boy who adores his daddy.
OUR BEAUTIFUL BABY: the highest of highs is just having our baby boy in our arms. He’s sleeping right now but as I’m typing this, happy tears are rolling down my face and I’m literally missing him. I can’t say much more on this other than my life has become better in every way because of Leo and I am just so happy he is here.
BREASTFEEDING: from the moment he was born, Leo has been a champion feeder. I was warned that breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally but it did for us. He latched great. My milk supply was strong (too strong lol and I’ve learned how to manage that). I did call the lactation specialist 3-4 times while in the hospital and I would suggest that to everyone wanting to breastfeed. They have the absolute best tips. My mom is a former NICU nurse and now is immersed in the breastfeeding world so between her and her co-workers, I’m in the absolute best hands for breastfeeding help. Now that Leo is 3 weeks, I just began pumping once per day in the AM and we plan on introducing a bottle relatively soon (boy am I looking forward to that!)
FAMILY + FRIENDS: watching our family and friends love on Leo brings an enormous amount of happiness to my heart. He is such a loved baby! His grandparents just adore him. His aunts and uncle are constantly kissing on him when they’re here and calling/texting about him when they’re away (Anthony’s family lives in Wisconsin while my immediate family lives here in Texas). I just love the love for Leo.
BONDING WITH PARENTS: I wanted to add how much becoming a parent makes you appreciate your own. I have an entirely deeper bond with my parents and Anthony too has a deeper appreciation and love for his too. The love you have for your child is absolutely indescribable.
BREASTFEEDING: yes, this is both a high and a low. While Leo is an amazing feeder and I’m so thankful for my great milk supply, exclusively breastfeeding is probably the most challenging part of caring for my newborn baby. I say this because I feed Leo a minimum of 8 times per day. By the time I set up, feed, burp and clean up, each feed can take about an hour… 8 hours of my day spent breastfeeding is a huge commitment. It’s also a challenge because no one can help me with this. I am solely responsible for feeding that sweet peanut. On top of the time involved, I’ve slept at most 2.5 hours straight because of the need to feed. Still, I see breastfeeding as a gift I’m giving my baby and it’s the ultimate bonding time.
HOME-BOUND: I am such a go-er and do-er and I was up until the very last day of my pregnancy. Making the transition from that to being at home for several straight days had me a little (or a lotta bit) stir crazy the first few weeks. I am not against breastfeeding in public, but that seems like a skill and one I haven’t attempted quite yet. So even if we take Leo with us, I can only be out for 2-2.5 hours before we have to get home and feed again. He is still feeding every 3-ish hours during the day and a little further apart at night. When I get out on my own, it’s the same time frame and feels like a race against the clock until I need to be home. However, this is getting better each week.
HUBBY TIME: this is something I was not expecting at all, but one of the challenges for me in the first few weeks was missing the quality time I was used to spending with my husband. He could be in the same room and I was missing him because it just didn’t feel the same. Our lunch dates, days spent working side by side, workouts together and cooking dinner with each other every night just don’t happen right now. I’ve embraced this transition and learned to love the time we spend together while he naps. We’ve ben able to get out for a few dates while my mom watches Leo which is helps a lot too.
Leo is 3 weeks old now. Like I mentioned, I just began pumping and we will be introducing a bottle within the next week or so. I am looking forward to this eventually freeing up one of my night time feeds on occasion and being able to be out of the house a little bit longer.
I look forward to doing a bit more outside of the house with Leo. Things like grocery shopping, Target runs, mall shopping get me excited these days.
I also cannot wait for him to smile and begin cooing. He just began looking at us in the eyes where you really feel like he’s seeing you. The other day, there were 2x in a few minutes where when I talked, he turned his head to look at me. I just live for those little moments that are seemingly small but mean so much to you as a mommy.
On a personal note, I’m really looking forward to getting back to the gym soon. It’s not about “getting my body back” or “losing baby weight.” I crave that 1 hour of time when all thoughts escape my mind and when I focus on a workout and myself. Then, I come back to my world as a happier, more positive person. Along those lines, I also can’t wait to begin working on new projects. Obviously, right now, my priority is Leo as it should be (even though I am still working a few hours per day) but I do look forward to doing a bit more.
I cannot say thank you enough. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each of you. I never expected the amount of baby love and support I’ve received. It means more than I can express. I look forward to continuing sharing our sweet baby Leo with you. #LGBaby
Photography by Jennifer Mathews Photography