Ashley Melone tells us all about her baby's first year!
Name Ashley Melone
Occupation Co Founder Madri Collection - amazing nursing wear you should check out!
Babies Marlowe, 11 months; Ava, almost 3yo
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Describe your feeling the moment you just came back home with your newborn.
I was excited and nervous to introduce my new son Marlowe to my daughter, Ava Rose. Ava was only 22 months when he was born and she was still nursing. Of course, as soon as I got home from the hospital, she wanted to nurse because she hadn’t seen me in about 24 hours. It was the first time I nursed both of my babies at the same time. Tandem nursing a newborn and a toddler is not easy. It was a beautiful moment but it wasn’t comfortable for me to nurse them at the same time. I went on to nurse both of them for the next 11 months, but it was never simultaneously.
What & when was the first time you did something just for yourself again?
With my second baby, I got better at doing things for myself with my youngest in tow. I went and got a manicure and pedicure while he was sleeping on me in the carrier sometime in the first few weeks of being home. Having my hair and nails done made me feel a little more like myself in those early days.
Name the thing your partner is the best at doing with your child.
My husband is great at everything with our kids. He and I are equal partners in parenting for sure. One of the first things that comes to mind though is playing! My husband is an actor and thus he makes believe for a living. He is so great at playing with the kids, imagining creative worlds, singing, playing guitar, dancing, making voices for their stuffed animals etc. He is also the primary cook in our house. He is great at making their meals.
Did you nurse your baby? How did that go for you in the first weeks & months?
Yes. When my second was born, I had already been nursing for the better part of two years so I didn’t have any issues with pain that time around. My son had trouble latching at first, so we took him to see a craniosacral therapist when he was 9 days old. She helped release his jaw and things got easier from there.
Tandem nursing was very hard for us at first. Newborns need to nurse all of the time and it was really hard to find time to nurse my daughter as well. She was definitely adjusting to the fact that there was a new baby who needed the majority of my attention and she all of a sudden wanted to nurse much more than she did before he was born. It settled down after the first few months but we struggled in the beginning. My daughter just weaned herself this week; she is 2.5 years old. It was bittersweet but it is a relief to only be nursing one baby now after having done two for the better part of a year.
Or how did (or do) you deal with sleep in the first few months? Did you sleep train?
We are definitely still dealing with sleep at 11 months. I got better at napping this time around, whenever I had the chance. With multiple kids, you don’t always get the luxury of sleeping when the baby sleeps. My husband generally gets up with the kids first thing in the morning and lets me sleep in for as long as I need to/is possible. My son still wakes up every 2-3 hours at night. He starts the night with him in his crib but then we co-sleep starting with his first wake up. I didn’t sleep train either of my children. We moved my daughter into her own room and night weaned at 16 months, which I plan to do with my son as well.
How did you deal with the first time you left her for the day? one tip for new moms?
I’ve still only left my son for about 4-5 hours at a time. Pumping is really hard for me. I can’t get much milk while pumping and my son stopped taking a bottle at 7 months. Thankfully, because I work for myself, I’m able to make it work by being home every few hours to nurse him and put him down for naps. With my daughter, I first left her for an entire day around 18 months, when we had a full day shoot for Madri. It definitely gets so much easier after the first year, on so many fronts. The most important thing for me is to make sure we are both comfortable with whoever I am leaving the kids with. Sometimes it takes a few times for both you and the kids to get adjusted to a new person so my tip would be to be patient; young kids are changing so quickly and are very adaptable!
How/when did you start on solids? Do you have a fun story about first meals
We started solids at 6 months. My son loves everything! He definitely is not picky and we have given him many foods earlier than we did with our daughter.
What makes her/him laugh the most?
His sister! Now that she is 2.5 years and he is 11 months, they are really starting to engage with one another. They are so loving to one another and she makes him laugh all of the time. It is the sweetest!
What's your favorite game to play currently?
We love to sing the song “Open and Shut Them”. Marlowe loves to open and close his hands, and clap, and tap his head. It is so amazing to watch the call and response they are capable of at this age.
What was her/his first word? How did it make you feel?
It seems wild but he does seem to be saying a few words already! I’m not sure if he really knows what he is saying but the first word we heard him say was “hot” -after we told him that the oven was hot.
Name one thing that you did as a parent, you thought you would never do!
No shame, we all did something crazy :)
It all seems crazy! Becoming a parent is the wildest ride there is. Hold on tight; it goes fast!