Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trying Times

I had a fairly easy pregnancy, and a pretty straight-forward delivery, but I have to admit, those first few weeks with a newborn at home were definitely a challenge! And adjusting to life with a baby isn't made easier by the whacked-out hormones and serious sleep deprivation. Of course, we've all heard the advice "sleep when the baby sleeps." Which sounds fine, but what about everything else?... Eat when the baby eats (I've tried it, it's tough), change when the baby changes (not really an option), cry when the baby cries (okay I'll admit I've done this on several occasions). Eventually I just had to accept that sleepless nights are only temporary and no one (except for maybe my husband) expects full meals, a clean house and a completely made-up and fully dressed mama for those first few weeks.
Speaking of clothes, I never planned to be one of those sweatpants and slippers type moms, but really, nothing else works when you're a walking zombie and who wants sour spit-up milk on any of their nice clothes? My new lifestyle has only made dinner out and trips to the mall that much more special - especially since it now takes at least twice as long to get ready.
Thankfully, I have a great husband who's willing to pick up a vacuum, do the dishes and change one diaper a day, :) Jack spent the first two weeks in our room where we would both take turns comforting him in the wee hours of the morning. But when Jon went back to work, and back to waking up at 4:30am, he gave Jack the boot. So while this was nice for Jon, who now gets a full night of uninterrupted sleep, it also means mom spends long hours half-sleeping in the rocking chair or standing by the crib waiting for Jack to fall asleep.
I soon learned that, while the baby-world focuses on how many hours at night the baby will sleep, my first goal was just getting Jack to sleep in the first place. First, it took some time to switch Jack's days and nights around. He would sleep like a rock all day, and required extensive measures to wake for feeding time - like diaper changes, cold washcoths and total strip-downs - but wanted to hang out all night (in mommy's arms). Going 3-4 hours between feedings at night doesn't mean much to me when it takes 1.5-2 hours just to get him to sleep. And getting him to sleep while holding him isn't very helpful when he just wakes up as soon as I put him in his bed. Thankfully it's getting better, at 4 weeks Jack was going 5 hours between feedings at night and just this week he's been contentedly falling asleep on his own in the crib. Let's just say mom feels like a new woman!

Jon and I are adjusting more and more to the life of a parent, including several initiations at the "poop deck." Despite sleepless nights, sour milk sweatshirts and battles at the changing table, we're both so thankful for our beautiful son, who never fails to make us smile no matter what time of day.


Ocean's Page said...

I notice you have, "The Baby Whisperer" as a book you were reading. I Live and breathe by her advice. My Ocean NEVER slept for the first 5 weeks of his life. Then I got that book and everything changed. Thanks to Tracey Hogg he even started sleeping from 7 pm to 8 am at about 16 weeks. Do you ever swaddle Jack up nice and tight? Also, once I made Ocean's room very dark for sleeping he napped and slept a thousand times better.

Sorry if I'm offering unsolicited advice! After reading this post I remembered how tired I was and how much I just wanted some sleep.

J9 said...

Oh yeah, I love the Baby Whisperer. Jack slept 6 hours last night so I'm hoping we're on a roll! We used to swaddle him in the beginning, but now that he's bigger it doesn't seem to make a difference.

Ocean's Page said...

That's so nice! YAY! I have a spirited baby....I had to swaddle him every sleeping until he figured out his hands at about 4 months.

6 hours! were you panicked when you woke up and saw how long it had been? Or did he wake you first?

J9 said...

Haha I was out!! He woke me first with his little horsey-grunt noise, but I've been waiting for this night for the past 5 1/2 weeks!

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