Joyous Blog

Joyous Baby: Vienna's First Month

Oct 10, 2015 BY Joy McCarthy

I thought it would be fun to post a monthly update about life with our sweet Vienna with the highlights and things Walker and I have learned. If you want to start at the beginning, I wrote a post about her birthing story which you can read here .

This past week our gentle soul Vivi turned 4 weeks old. I can't believe how the time flies by and as I look back I'm feeling teary-eyed because it's been a life-changing amazing experience. I'm doing my best to cherish every moment in between burps, smiles, cries, feeds, diaper changes and moments, yes moments...of sleep.

The first 10 days were tough for me because I had a lot of pain with breastfeeding which I learned quickly is extremely common. Basically, my nips were being butchered because Vienna and I hadn't figured out a good latch and she had tightness in her jaw (my chiro helped her with that). I did my research because I wanted to get it right so I met with two lactation consultants, watched countless Youtube videos, read online forums and studied numerous photos of proper latching. Before turning into a crazy person trying to figure this out, I realized that her latch doesn't have to "look" perfect and that Vivi and I need to figure out what works for us. This changed everything!

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During those first 10 days I was also on a mission to get some fat on her lean body because although she was born at a healthy 7lbs, she dropped to 6lbs 7oz when I was going through my breastfeeding challenges. My midwife advised me to top up with formula. At the time, I felt like a complete failure and was upset that my milk wasn't helping her gain weight. Once I got over the fact I felt like I was giving McDonald's to Vienna, we topped up an ounce or two in the evening with organic formula. I realize looking back this isn't a big deal.

I was just trying to be the perfect mom and perfection is just not reality.

The most important thing is her health and gaining a healthy amount of weight. Which we've achieved! 

Here are the things I've learned and the highlights of the past 4 weeks with Vienna:

  • No matter what kind of day I'm having as soon as she smiles everything is joyous again. 
  • She prefers pop music to classical. How do I know this? She cries when I put 96.3 (classical radio) on in the car and either falls asleep or just chills out when I play Beyonce or Swifty!
  • It's A OKAY to give her a soother.. any judgmental people can go fly a kite! People are very opinionated about this. Do what's right for you and your babe.
  • I love gazing into her pretty eyes. I think she wins every staring contest we have though. 
  • No matter how much she cries or fusses (and she's a pretty good babe), I have a mountain of patience. Maybe that will change in time and I will pull my hair out but I honestly I didn't know I had it in me to be this patient with another human being.
  • I've put on mascara once and I've only washed my hair 3 times in 5 weeks and yet... I'm okay with this! Don't worry, I do take baths. But I did manage to get my bangs trimmed AND get a manicure WOOT WOOT!
  • It is possible to still eat healthy nourishing food. Walker has been in a HUGE help in this department. We've made and posted these DELICIOUS recipes since Vivi arrived: Kale Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing, Chickpea Savoury Pancakesand No Bake Pumpkin Pie. 
  • Oh and learned the hard way: DO NOT read online forums about breastfeeding. You'll end up feeling like a failure -- again, do what is right for you and your babe.

I asked Walker what he's learned about being a dad to V and here's what he said:

  • Vienna has adopted my love for animals at an early age, so much so that she likes a baby goat
  • Where did all this laundry come from?? Either the washer or dryer is running at all times of the day. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some evil plan by big corporations to impregnate more women in an effort to sell more detergent
  • It's amazing what you can do when you have no other choice. No sleep? No problem! Wipe soiled bums numerous times/day? No problem! Carry someone around all day and have them vomit on your shoulder? No problem! Under any other circumstance I think most of us would say a polite (or not so polite) "no thank you", but in the case of your littel bean, you happily do it without thinking twice.
  • I wrote a post a few months ago on "3 Things I Learned Becoming a Dad (Before actually becoming a dad)" – turns out I was bang-on about points #1 & #3!

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    Do you have any stories or experiences to share about your first month with your little one?
Oct 10, 2015 BY Joy McCarthy
victoria   •   October 10, 2015

I usually am so bored when people write about bringing home baby because they only say "its so amazing" or "changed my life". Not that there isn't positive things to say about the experience but I appreciate the balance of this post on the ups and downs of having a baby. I think too often people have kids and dont realize how hard it can really be. Great and honest post.

Joy McCarthy   •   October 13, 2015

Thanks for reading Victoria! There have definitely been some challenging times, particularly with breastfeeding but I just remind myself that nothing is ever permanent. Even when Vienna is crying and I can't seem to soothe her immediately, I just remember that in 5 minutes she's probably going to be happy again :)

Samantha   •   October 10, 2015

I love this post Joy (& Walker!). It will be such a nice way to chronicle Baby V's first few months and a great way to look back and see where she and both of you have come. I really resonate with letting go of the need to be a perfectionist because it truly is a losing battle and only makes you miserable (and miss out on all the tiny joyous moments you could be having with your family). I also wanted to say good for you for giving you PERMISSION to do what's right for you and Vienna. THERE IS NO ONE WAY (or RIGHT way for that matter) to care for your child. You are her parents and know what is best for her. So glad you are enjoying Momma-hood and I'm looking forward to more family posts soon! xo Sam

Joy McCarthy   •   October 13, 2015

Hey Sam! Agree completely.. there is no right or wrong way, just that way that is best for you. I've received lots of advice from people and when it comes down to it, you do what you feel intuitively is best for you and your little one.

Mel   •   October 10, 2015

Glad you are more confident with the breast-feeding now. While this is not an area that I had too many issues with mostly because Levi knew exactly what to do, just know that even when there's a good latch your nips hurt in the beginning anyways. It took no time at all for mine to adjust and now I use the nipple butter I bought from Earth Mama Angel baby as lipgloss ha ha

Joy McCarthy   •   October 13, 2015

SUCH A GREAT IDEA!! I've got like 5 different brands of nipple butters and Earth Mama one is definitely perfect as a lip balm. Thanks for the idea :)

NJH   •   October 11, 2015

Great post! Our lo is just 2 weeks old and we're looking into organic formulas to supplement as well... any suggestions and where to find in TO?

Joy McCarthy   •   October 13, 2015

The only brand I know of is Earth's Best. As I mentioned to the other reader, I recommend breast milk unless you have absolutely no other choice. :)

Ludivine   •   October 12, 2015

Love the post! Thank you for sharing your experience, parenthood is tough but so rewarding and there is no one way to do things. I appreciate your honesty! Any suggestions on picking an organic baby formula?

Joy McCarthy   •   October 13, 2015

There really isn't much selection -- the only brand in Canada I could find was Earth's Best. Of course I recommend breast milk above all else. I only had to top up for a short period and now Vienna is 100% breastmilk.

Kristen   •   October 15, 2015

Awww, this post made my day Joy. I gave birth to a little boy in May and share the same challenges with breastfeeding. The pain associated with a poor latch was like nothing I had experienced before and when you know that you need to push through for the sake of that little one getting the nourishment it needs, it adds a whole other level of awesome to all of the other adjustments (ie: no sleep, post partum body pain, loss of independence). So amazing that you are using your platform to share your experience and that you are being so honest about it. I can honestly say that getting through the first few months with a baby is one of the greatest, most challenging experiences, but it makes those tough days better when you hear about how other women are experiencing the same things. I send you positive fellow new Mama vibes from Vancouver Island and look forward to reading more about your journey


Martha   •   October 15, 2015

My then physician-husband told me that even formula-fed newborns lose weight in their first week. Some is normal as all babes are born with some extra fluid on board. Sounds like you sought good guidance in those first weeks. She is beautiful!!!


Joanne Goodman   •   October 15, 2015

Allo Joy, Walker, et bébé Vienna, Absolutely love your updates!! Reminds me of my baby years, wow, 24 yrs ago.....makes me smile & tear up! Good tears! There will always be critics as to how we do things with our precious little treasures!! It's what suits & works best for your family!


Erin   •   October 18, 2015

I am someone who is not at all confident that I could be a parent (it is a VERY intimidating and overwhelming thought), but reading Walker's portion, especially this point: "It’s amazing what you can do when you have no other choice. No sleep? No problem! Wipe soiled bums numerous times/day? No problem! Carry someone around all day and have them vomit on your shoulder? No Problem!! Under any other circumstance I think most of us would say a polite (or not so polite) “no thank you”, but in the case of your little bean, you happily do it without thinking twice." made me feel better and even calm about parenthood. Thank you.


Liza   •   October 19, 2015

Thank you so so much for sharing this! Establishing a healthy breastfeeding relationship was the most difficult thing when my daughter was born!! I feel that if more women were honest with the reality of breastfeeding then it wouldn't be such a major hurdle for new moms to overcome. It's almost treated like something you don't talk about bc it's "unpleasant" or "TMI". Which is unfortunate because it's such a beautiful thing! So thanks for sharing your experience. I remember sitting in my rocking chair and thinking "What would I do if I was cow in a pasture or a monkey in the jungle with a new baby?" They definitely wouldn't be panicking over online breastfeeding forums. Hahaha. Anyways, enjoy baby Vienna and all the miracles that come. Xo

Joy McCarthy   •   October 19, 2015

That's so funny you thought about that because I thought about the exact same thing!! What if I lived in a tribe in the jungle and didn't have an LC I could call.. I would just figure it out. Thanks for your comment :)

Kim   •   October 29, 2015

Thank you for your story. It is nice to know that other mothers have the same experiences. I am on my third child and you would think I have breastfeeding down pat. I just returned from a 3 month appointment and was told my baby was not gaining enough weight. I'm torn. I am not ready to give formula at this point. Is there a way to increase my milk supply? I have heard there are vitamins that will help. Any suggestions? Thanks


toni   •   October 30, 2015

I love your blog! I am 36 weeks pregnant and although I plan to breastfeed I cannot help but stress that I may need to top up with formula until I get the hang of things. I have done so much research and feel so overwhelmed as to the best organic formula in Canada.. any recommendations? I would like to have something on hand so I am not in a situation to use something non organic!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 31, 2015

Congrats on your pregnancy! Earth's Best is the brand you can get in Canada and it's certified organic.

Diane   •   March 9, 2016

Hi Joy! Thanks for sharing your story, my LO and I are having issues BF as well and getting a deep latch during his feedings. A lactation consultant suggested cranial sacral therapy, you mentioned that this worked for Vivi. Would you recommend it, what is involved? I am a little nervous about doing this. Baby has had his tongue tie released, so now we think it is tightness in his jaw! I also like your message about finding "what's right for us", which is important... because everyone else has their way but I have to figure out what's best for me and baby!

Joy McCarthy   •   March 9, 2016

Hi Diane! Congrats on having a baby! The first several weeks are so precious. Yes cranial sacral therapy is extremely gentle and very very safe for baby. This dramatically improved Vienna's latch because it enabled her to open her mouth much wider. I couldn't believe the difference after just one session. I think we did 4 or 5 sessions with my chiro Aliya. Birth (even if it's uneventful) is extremely traumatic for both mom and baby. Babies are coming into this world through a very narrow canal so they get pretty squished up which means tightness in their body. Cranial sacral adjustments help release tension in baby's body and can definitely assist with nursing. Not sure where you live, but I highly recommend reaching out to Dr. Aliya -- you can ask her lots of questions before she does any adjusting :) She is at RESTORE clinic in Leslieville, Toronto. All the best!

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