The Fashion Magpie MiniMagpie 3 Months

Slices of Joy: MiniMagpie at 3 Months.

Mini turned three months old on the fifth, and I am loving this age.  I’ve loved all of her stages (my thoughts on mini at seven weeks), but this one is especially fun because she’s doing something new every day — making bubbles, forming new sounds, giggling, beginning to support her neck a little better, interacting with us a lot more.  I’m trying my hardest to jot down the dates when I first notice these things but time is moving in hyperspeed, and to hell with a camera and notepad when you can just take it all in in real-time.  You know–living in the present.  Mr. Magpie and I would love to eventually have another babe, but I am also always aware that mini could, for whatever reason, be our one and only.  And I am trying to drink up all this goodness as much as I can.

The Fashion Magpie MiniMagpie 3 Months

The Fashion Magpie MiniMagpie 3 Months

The Fashion Magpie MiniMagpie 3 Months

{Mini is wearing her signature mohawk and a one-piece from Janie + Jack.}

Within bounds, of course.

I have learned that I simply cannot be obsessing over everything she’s doing 100% of the time and be a functioning adult.  And that’s OK.  I have to tell myself this all the time because I occasionally (OK, more than occasionally) and irrationally struggle with a sense of guilt when I’m not interacting with her and she’s awake and alert.  You know–I’m cleaning the kitchen or responding to emails or running an errand, and she’s just chilling in her Boppy/rocker/stroller, and this silly mom guilt creeps in and whispers in a nagging voice: “Hey!  You should be interacting with mini!  She might be bored!  Or you might be missing something!”  (Do any other new moms grapple with this?)  I then have to counter that voice with the words of wisdom of two mamas I deeply respect:

+My mom, aka the best mom in the world, who told me early on: “Never feel that you need to entertain your baby all the time.”  She added: “I had a friend who had just had a baby and she told me, ‘Elaine, I am so exhausted.’  And I said, ‘Of course you are–you have a newborn!  You’re up all night?’  And she responded: ‘No, it’s not so much that I’m not sleeping as it is that I’m entertaining the baby all day long.  And I’m worn out!'”  My mom looked at me knowingly.  “You need to make time for yourself.  The baby will be fine just taking it all in from her rocker.”

+My friend SK, a mama to two babies whom I deeply admire for her parenting style, as she always strikes this perfect balance between joy and elation over her babies and also practicality and down-to-earth-ness (“babies will be babies!”), who, in response to a text about this sensation of mom guilt, replied: “Yes yes yes. Totally.  But babies need downtime, too, and they’re still learning and soaking up everything even when we’re not actively engaging them.”

I’m learning from the best.  And while I try to channel the sense of perspective both of these moms have, I’ll also share a few recent slices of joy I’ve experienced while caring for mini:

+The time she first laughed — just after her bath, eyes bright and cheeks pink — and she saw herself in the mirror and broke into the sweetest giggle.  Am I being overly precious to say that I hope this is a good omen for her self-image?  May she always looks at herself in the mirror with such glee!

+The way Mr. Magpie is constantly, shamelessly, un-self-consciously trying to make her laugh now that he knows it’s possible with weird noises and goofy dances.  He is such a natural dad.

+The way she kicks her legs vigorously when she is either happy or upset.  Mr. Magpie and I call her legs “those kickin jambons!”  (Yes, we know jambon = ham in French — my sister once accidentally referred to her legs (jambes) as hams (jambons) while in Paris, and the malapropism stuck.)

+The way she sometimes pauses while nursing to look up and smile at me.

+The fact that I’ve made it to three months breastfeeding her (partially — I almost always need to supplement with formula), especially when I thought I might not be able to nurse her much at all.  Nursing is such a thing. I really did.not.get.it (nor could I have) before mini was born–what was the big deal about nursing?  I remember that we ran into a neighbor and friend of Mr. Magpie’s when I was about six months pregnant.  He and his wife had a three-month-old and he said, very seriously: “My wife’s cousin is a lactation consultant, so if you ever need anything — just let me know.”  We were gracious but both puzzled over this on our walk home, asking, “What is the deal?  Lactation consultants?  What is this?”  But the truth is — it’s an emotional experience (you’re feeding your CHILD!) and a lot can be complex and frustrating about it.  Add to this the fact that there are all these social norms and pressures and opinions around it.  (Someone recently asked me, “Can you talk to my friend about formula?  She pretty much thinks she’s going to poison her baby by giving it to her.”  This made me both sad and annoyed–not to mention not particularly inclined to cozy up to said mom–oh mama mia.  The pressure we put on ourselves.)  And then there’s the whole fact that feeding an infant literally takes up half your day, so how can you NOT get emotionally involved in what’s going on just by virtue of the proportion of your waking hours it consumes?   At any rate, hooray for three months of breastfeeding!  This was the goal I set for myself with my mom–“if I can just make it to three months…”  But now that we’re here, I’m going to try to go for another few.  We shall see…

+The way Tilly licks mini’s toes and fingers and rests her head next to mini’s during storytime.

+The long walks we take with the whole family in tow.  I can’t tell you how many years I have looked on longingly at little families doing just this.  And now it’s my turn!  I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

+The dark tuft of hair on the top of mini’s head — it sort of looks like a mohawk when she comes out of the bath, until I’ve wrangled it down and affixed a bow to it.  But it gives her this cool, devil-may-care, I-do-me-and-you-do-you vibe.  One time Mr. Magpie looked at mini (he’s going to be so annoyed with me for sharing this) and said: “I just think she has a cool girl vibe.  Like, she’s going to be cool.”  HAHA!  But I know what he means. #proudparents

+The gurgles and “guh” sounds she’s making.

+Curling up in bed with her when she needs some extra soothing.  She is pretty flexible about falling asleep–she doesn’t always need to be rocked, or always need her sound machine, or always need a pacifier–but sometimes, when she’s a little over-tired and fussy, I lay down with her and snuggle her to sleep.  The best.

Our Favorite Baby Products at 3 Months

Finally, I thought I’d conclude by sharing our favorite baby products at three months:

+Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor ($166).  We put mini down for naps in her crib a few times each day, so we’ve been getting mileage out of her monitor lately, which I spent hours researching.  It’s great.  I’m surprised at the signal’s range — we are often eating outside an entire floor down and we are still covered — and the quality of the picture is decent.  It also has nighttime vision and enables you to speak to the baby, intercom-style, from afar.  It’s one of those gadgets that just works well.

+4Moms Rockaroo Swing ($121).  While the Boppy was clutch for the first few weeks (and we still use it daily — I like to read to her while she’s in it, and sometimes give my weary arm a break and bottle feed her from it, and also plop her in it while we’re watching a movie/TV at night), the swing is now our go-to “baby container” because the mobile is endlessly delightful for her (she literally stares at it and babbles happily away), and the rocking motion keeps her snoozing when she drifts off to sleep.  The rocking is smooth and quiet — it seems very well-constructed — and I like that the button you use to turn it on can be tapped on with a foot.  My only complaint is that the mobile doesn’t really move around.  You have to manually spin it to put it into motion, which seems odd for such a high-end, techie-looking product.  We call it her rocket ship.  For now, we seem to be getting by just fine with just the Boppy, her swing, and her playmat.  I know a lot of other moms also own rock n plays and love those, too.

+Wubbanub pacifier ($14).   We didn’t give mini a pacifier for the first two months or so–she didn’t seem to need it!–but now it can come in handy when she’s over-tired herself or is resisting sleep, though we try not to offer it to her proactively in the hopes that she never becomes too dependent on any one thing to get to sleep!  The stuffed animal attached to the Wubbanub seems to keep it in place a bit better than the ones without them.  Plus, they’re freaking cute!

+Infantino Discover + Play Activity Mirror ($11).  You can put this in the category of hideous children toys, but mini likes to look at herself in the mirror and we find this little doo-dad helpful to prop up while she’s doing tummy time.  She loves to look at the turtle’s face for some reason (that big black eye, maybe?  the contrast?) and the toy itself has lots of different textures for baby to listen to as well as fasteners so that you can position in it a million ways (hanging from something, tied to a crib, etc.)  I actually think it’s genius in the sense that you can instantly turn any old surface into a playmat/tummy time situation, and it packs flat/does not take up a lot of space.  We packed it for our trip to DC (as you’re reading this, we’re probably mid-air!)  Finally, I actually read a lot of reviews on play mirrors like this and a lot of them got low marks for distorting the baby’s image too much (for example, I initially gravitated towards this cuter Skip Hop one, but a lot of the reviewers commented that it’s sort of like a fun house mirror!)–but this one did not.

+Bugaboo Cameleon stroller ($1,219).  We’ve loved this stroller from day one but are REALLY getting a lot of use out of it these days, as, for the last week or so, we’ve gotten up early and taken the whole family out for an hour long walk each day in this gorgeous weather, and then often another long walk in the evenings.  I’ve extolled its virtues many times, but the Cameleon is super lightweight and slim compared to the Uppababy, folds up easily, and glides like a dream thanks to some sort of fancy suspension situation.  I also dig its extended sun canopy, which I use constantly when mini drifts off to sleep/when we’re facing the wrong direction and sun is blaring into her eyes.  And so many of the features were extremely thoughtfully designed.  Examples: you can reposition the handle bar completely, i.e., move it from being in the forward-facing position to the rear-facing position, with a simple click.  This is mainly helpful when I am trying to lift mini out of the stroller at a weird angle, or when we’ve parked her next to us at a table for lunch and want unimpeded access to her.  You can also unclip the bar that goes across the top of the bassinet attachment from either side to get her in or out, or take it completely off (which also is helpful because sometimes she wants to look up at me and it blocks her line of sight).  We also got two cupholder attachments which, I know, seems frivolous, but are SO helpful when we’re out as a family with our coffees in the morning.  And you can easily clip them on or off the side so they’re out of the way when you don’t need ’em.  We just keep them in the basket underneath.

+Related: these stroller hooks (2 for $12) are also pretty clutch.  They’re minimalist and repositionable, and they easily hold my baby bag or grocery bag or whatever else I’m toting.

+Sophie the Giraffe ($24).  Pretty much mini’s only toy.  We have a few others but she’s not particularly interested in them yet.  Meanwhile, baby girl loves Sophie.  Something about the shape (interesting profile, with lots of bits to grab onto that are the perfect width for her little hands — Sophie’s legs are sort of the width of a finger, so perhaps that’s something?) and texture (she instinctually wants to chew on it) and pattern (high-contrast) are extremely appealing to her.  I also think the big smile on Sophie’s face is attractive to her.  She also loves this Sophie book, which has big, colorful pictures, lots of peekaboo flaps, and different textures.  She smiles at all the pages and kicks her legs vigorously when we read it to her.

+Speaking of books, this peekaboo book has been a favorite of hers since she was a few weeks old.  It’s simple, short, colorful, and that mirror at the end gave rise to her first smile.  (PS – More great books for babies.)

+Crib mobile ($132).  This was absolutely one of the best purchases I made for mini.  She has loved to look up at it since she was a micro-mini.  It is so exquisitely well-made (handmade!), too–I just love it.

+I get a lot of use out of plain white Gerber onesies — they’re great for layering underneath outfits or as backups while out and about for the occasional spitup/blow-out situation, or when I have her in some sort of fancy outfit and want her to take a little snooze in comfort.  I also snagged these Petit Bateau onesies in a cami style to put underneath some of her sleeveless dresses.  For some reason, I just feel better when there’s soft cotton against her skin.  That said: my bestie gifted mini one of these fancy onesies from organic infant clothing line 1212, and the quality is insane.  Literally THE SOFTEST cotton in the world.  Now when I put her in one of her Gerbers, it feels rough to the touch!  HA!  So, I’ll be snapping up a few of these in a few different sizes and styles.

+Lastly, I just snagged a bunch of new Kissy Kissy pajamas in the 3-6 month size, and they are just the softest, best-made jams.  (More of my favorite jammies here.)  You can find some good ones on sale at Saks right now, like these cute elephant ones!

P.S.  More thoughts on parenting a newborn.

 

12 Comments

  1. Definitely loving your Mini Magpie posts! I’m feeling the same mommy guilt – I don’t want the baby just staring off into space, but nor can I entertain her all the time. But, babies do need quiet time where they can process things. (And, my graduate degrees are in child development – but practice is so different from theory!) Meanwhile, I’m eagerly awaiting my baby’s first laugh – the social smiles have been too too adorable!

    Re: baby books – I actually liked “Baby 411” – it’s based on research and written in an accessible manner, but not preachy. (I found the “Happiest Baby on the Block” to be rather annoying, both in writing style and in its one-size-fits-all approach). I still find myself consulting “Baby 411” when I have questions.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I’m so glad to hear I’m not alone in this / not crazy. It’s really a tough trade-off. Even though I wrote about it logically here, I still struggle with pangs of guilt! Hadn’t heard of Baby 411, but it sounds like we’re on a similar wavelength and will need to check it out. Thanks for reading and especially for sharing your thoughts! xoxo

  2. Hi Jen, What an absolutely beautiful post. I can certainly relate to the “mommy guilt” you described above. I am constantly torn between wanting to do a few things for myself yet always feeling like Im going to miss out on quality time with my little one (4.5 month old baby boy Dean :)) Yet I have to keep reminding myself that happy mom = happy baby!

    About 2 months ago I went back to work (part time, only two days a week). And yet every day Im at work I dearly miss my little one, its been a breath of fresh air to get out of the house an interact with others!

    Cant wait for your next mommy post. Xoxoxoxo

    Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah and Baby Dean! Totally — I need to repeat that “happy mom, happy baby” adage to myself! I wonder where we get this guilt from / if moms a generation back from us had the same feelings. I do think in part it might be the new mommy culture we live in. But anyway — I’m right there with you! And good for you for recognizing the pros of being back in the workforce — I think that’s the way to do it. Focus on the positives of the tradeoff!! xoxo

  3. Seriously– I thought I was the only one who struggled with the whole “constant entertainment” guilt! Love these posts where you open up about parenthood- so, so relatable.

    Re: formula– interestingly, from a purely scientific point of view, it’s now coming out (in retrospect) that a lot of the studies showing inferiority to breast milk were: a) not controlling for socio-economic factors (and thus hugely confounded), and b) using OLD (i.e. Not as good as modern) formula types. There is increasingly more thought that formula is comparable to breastfeeding! (Except cost, which certainly can be prohibitive.)

    1. Love this – thanks for sharing. I will have to tuck these tidbits away the next time I hear someone talk about formula as though it’s poison! Glad you can relate, too, to the entertainment piece. Reading this back to myself I kept thinking of Russell Crowe in Gladiator — “am I here to entertain you??” Hahaha!

  4. Adding lots of these to my registry! And thank you for another glimpse of the joys to come 🙂

  5. Ahh the first baby giggle is the best ever. It’s one of those feelings you wish you could bottle up and save for a rainy day!

    Congrats on making it to 3 months breastfeeding! That definitely deserves a large glass of champagne! I remember getting to 3 months and thinking, I can do 3 more. Now I’m almost to 5 months and I still tell myself weekly “just another month and we’ll re-evaluate”.

    Keep sharing your tidbits and pics of mini magpie. She is so adorable and such a good mix of both you and the Mr.!

    1. Thanks, Kelsey!! I was thinking of you the other day because you had told me tat the wedding how amazing the laughs are!! Thanks for this sweet note! I hear you on the constant reassessing of the breastfeeding situation. My friend SK, referenced in this post, texted me to say “always remember it’s not an all or nothing situation — you can choose to breastfeed a few times a day and then use formula for the rest and life will go on.” I’m keeping this in mind too! It made me feel like the next few months are manageable!

  6. jen – love your minimagpie posts!

    if you’ve covered this before, i apologize – but did you read any parenting books while you were expecting, or are you reading any now? i’m 17 weeks along and despite being an avid reader, haven’t picked up a single one – am almost hesitant to for a few different reasons – but curious to know your thoughts. xo

    1. Hi Jenna! Congrats!!! Yay — such an exciting time for you. Hope pregnancy is treating you well. I did not read any books though dozens were recommended to me. I, like you, it seems, knew they would overwhelm me and cause more anxiety than anything else. I did not want to overclutter my mind and instead made the conscious decision to lean on the advice of a few moms I trusted. Of course, it’s whatever makes you feel most empowered and confident as a mom — I have several dear friends who feel much more in control having surveyed the literature. For them, information is power! I do have a motherhood almanac by Marguerite Kelly my mom gave me that I reference every now and then for specific tips, i.e. “What do I do for a congested infant nose?”, but that one is more of a “it’s 2 am and I need an answer I can trust while my mom tribe is sleeping, and I don’t want to filter through online forums.” (The book almost sounds like it was written by my mom! Very practical. I think it may be out of print but you can find used copies inn amazon. Though, heads up, some stuff is a little out of date, like babies are now meant to sleep on their backs and this book was written when the norm was stomach sleeping.) Anyway — the short answer is no. But Mr Magpie and I did have many conversations about things we had observed in our own lives that we felt strongly about when it came to parenting which was helpful and made us both feel prepared and on the same page. If you are looking for books, i will say that mannnnyyyyyy people recommended “happiest baby on the block” and another friend swears by “mothers on call” especially for sleep training. Xoxox

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