Newborn parenting this time around

Parenting a newborn is difficult.  Even the second time around.  I’m up early this morning.  I’ve been up since about 1:30 a.m. off and on… I had the stomach flu on Wednesday and have been recovering.  For the last 4 hours, I’ve been hot and cold, tossing and turning with an icky stomach and achey breasts.  The achey breasts is because I made the decision not to wake up Abby at 10:00 p.m. to feed her.  She had a bit of a fever around 7:00 p.m., and I couldn’t bear the idea of disturbing her good sleep.  Well, 10 1/2 hours into not feeding her, and I’m paying for it.  For those of you that know what a “dreamfeed” is, I gave her one of those a few minutes ago and gave up on sleep for myself…  (I thought about pumping, but I fear mastitis.  In 3 months time, I’ve had 7 plugged ducts and 1 round of mastitis… Oh, and Abby won’t take a bottle…)

Parenting is hard, no matter how you look at it.  The second time around I have so much more confidence but still so many questions.  I have confidence that I can read Abby’s signs/cries.  I’m not always bewildered when she’s fussy with questions of “Is she hungry?” or “Is she tired?” But, I am still bewildered with questions like “Why won’t she go to sleep right now when she’s so, so tired?” and  “Why does she keep waking up at 4:30 a.m. when she used to sleep ’til 6:00?”

I’ve been reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, and it has helped me the most.  He makes me feel like what’s going on with my baby is normal and that there are steps we can take to help her get more rest.  Only I still have some residual Babywise scars.  I say that because I followed the Babywise model pretty strictly with Sophia, and I found much success.  She slept through the night very early and up to 12 hours well before my breasts needed her to.  I followed Babywise, and I got her on a schedule.  I expected her to sleep when it was time, and I clocked her feeding times.  It worked out well at night, but during the days there was a LOT of crying… and some days not much napping.  That’s just not going to work when I’ve got a 22 month-old to also be parenting.

We got back from a trip to Arkansas nearly 2 weeks ago and Abby was off her “schedule.”  That is, she no longer wanted to nap for more than 45 minutes, and she no longer slept through the night.  She also had 3 evenings straight of crying between 3-6 hours… what one might mistake for colick… I had to take action.  Poor Da-da was coming home to a chaotic household and had to rescue a frazzled Mama by rocking a screaming baby all evening.  We all needed rest and peace of mind in our household.  The action I took was following Dr. Weissbluth’s idea that an overtired baby won’t sleep well, but a well-rested baby will sleep well.  He says that a baby her age cannot be up for more than 2 hours without getting overtired.  I decided to watch her like a hawk for signs of drowsiness and put her down immediately.  What I absolutely couldn’t believe was that after a night of sleeping 14 hours (waking up for 2 feedings), she was tired and ready to go to bed 45 minutes after she woke up in the morning; that is, 20 minutes after she finished breakfast!  Isn’t that counterintuitive? Even to a “seasoned” mother… Ha!  Seasoned. So, I’m struggling with this scenario every morning at 8:15.  She’s only been up 45 minutes, but she’s yawning… put her down?  Is it too early?  I don’t want her to cry too much.

We’ve had so much success.  She finally took a two-hour nap on Tuesday!  I attribute this to 1) my constant evaluation of her sleepy-state and 2) a new, innovate swaddling cocoon called a woombie.  I’m not sure if it’s a miracle blanket, but I am sure that it helps.  Abby hates being traditionally swaddled, but she can’t sleep without it.  Her startle reflex is too great and she waves her arms all around.  The woombie lets her have movement inside the swaddle while still keeping her from waking herself up.  She can still chew on her hands through the blanket, since she can’t get them out.  The first time I put her in it, she giggled and cooed at me!  She went down that evening without crying, and I was choked up with joy.  She’s gone down a few times without any crying and has taken a few 2 hour naps… I’m in love with the woombie, mostly because Abby is happier in it, and I’m going to order another one.  However, that all being said I believe the continued success is a little more about timing than it is about a miracle blanket.  If I put her down overtired and fussy, it doesn’t matter if she’s wrapped in a cloud, she’s gonna cry when I leave her.  I’ll say, though, the protest crying before naptime has been significantly shorter than pre-woombie, sometimes not even more than a minute or two.

Okay, it’s 6:30 now.  I’m going to go make some coffee for my hubby.

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One Response

  1. Your revelation sounds similar to the “90-Minute Baby Sleep Program,” which is what we did with Anna. Same concept, an over-tired baby won’t go to sleep, and once babies wake up, they are ready to go to sleep again in 90 minutes. (As they get older, it stretches to 3 hours, then 4 1/2 hours, etc.) I couldn’t believe the difference the day we started it! She still wasn’t a good night sleeper for months, but at least we got the daytime under control.

    I’ve been wondering about Babywise. It seems that people who use that method have babies that sleep through the night early. If we have another one, the second one is going to HAVE to be a better night sleeper than the first one!

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