Now back to the original purpose of this blog…
My intention is to create a space where I can share my experiences as a first-time mom. I have found that there’s nothing quite like the advice that you receive from those women around you that are going through the same challenges. Your mother is no doubt the best source of moral support and love during this time, but let’s face it, it’s been quite a while since she’s had a newborn day-in and day-out…and to add insult to injury…YOUR newborn is HER grandchild. There is nothing on this Earth that will stop the woman from spoiling that baby rotten…With that in mind, I present you with my take on the first few weeks of mommyhood:
My child spent the first 10 days of her life in the NICU for reasons far too intricate for me to go into. Thankfully she is healthy and thriving. When we were finally able to bring her home, she came to us with a feeding and sleeping schedule already established. I thought I’d hit the jackpot, as she would eat approximately 3 – 4 ounces of formula and then sleep for 4 hours or so…I will pause here to address the ever-taboo subject of breastfeeding: I will merely say this; breastfeed if your body and your baby allow you to, otherwise, give your child formula. It’s not the end of the world. And f*ck you TIME magazine, just ‘cause my child won’t be clinging to my boob ‘til the age of 3 doesn’t mean I’m not “mom enough”. Ok, now that that’s out the way…I’ll revert to the subject at hand by saying that I was wrong, boy, was I ever wrong. Matilda’s so-called schedule lasted about a day. There’s something about bringing your baby home that triggers an “I’m going to do whatever the hell I want with these people that are gawking at me all day” reaction in them. This, in turn, incites an “I’m going to hover over my child while she sleeps and panic at any sign of waking up” response in parents that renders the whole situation moot. Needless to say, our baby’s sleeping schedule is not what we’d like it to be. She fights sleep in the midday and early afternoon, and if I can’t get her to do one long, good nap during the day she gets so cranky and inconsolable by the evening that it throws her off for the rest of the night. Which means neither baby nor mommy get any sleep, and we spend the next 3 days trying to get back on track. So here are some of the many tactics we’ve resorted to in trying to get her to go to sleep…
Things that work, but I wouldn’t recommend:
- Transforming your pack-n-play into a rocking crib by standing over your baby as she sleeps and swaying the entire apparatus back n’ forth. Sure, this will lull your baby to sleep in no time, but I’m pretty certain I’ve reduced the lifespan of the brand spanking new porta-crib by at least half. This particular method is so successful we have considered putting wheels on the very large and very heavy all-wood crib in the nursery; as we have already tried to rock it back n’ forth to no avail.
- Paci-warfare: the act of purchasing a large array of pacifiers and proceeding to sequentially stick one of each brand into your baby’s mouth while she is hollering at the top of her lungs until you come across the one brand she takes to and quiets down. Once you have rendered all other pacis useless, you proceed to send your husband out to the nearest pharmacy or baby store to deplete them of all the victor brand of pacis. You must assure that you will never be without said paci for the rest of your life.
- As soon as your baby starts to cry you take her into her your arms and rock her back to sleep, or gently tap her on her chest, or caress her until she is peacefully snoozing. If you have a rocking chair, this can become a dangerous habit. It is undeniably one of the best sensations in the world to have your baby sprawled across your chest while you rock away, until you’re doing this at 2am and you’re so groggy from lack of sleep you don’t even know what your name is. I have implemented this method twice already while writing this blog post.
- I kid you not:
Yes, that is Mariachi music blasting. No, we’re not Mexican. The neighbors probably think we’ve lost our minds…or are habitual tequila drinkers.
And I know we’re not alone. I know of someone who would stick their newborn in their car, get on the freeway and drive around in circles until he fell asleep. I have another friend that would have to put the baby in his stroller and parade around the streets of South Beach. And yet another that put her twins on the washing machine in their bouncy chairs and stood by ‘til they were out cold. I by no means condone this kind of behavior, nor do I think that parents should become slaves to their baby’s sleep patterns, but I do empathize with all of you out there trying to get a good night’s rest. So, I have purchased a book that emphasizes the importance of creating good sleeping habits for your baby. The Complete Sleep Guide for Contented Babies and Toddlers by Gina Ford is meant to be replete with guidelines on how to make sure your baby sleeps soundly. I will be putting such suggestions into practice over the next week…stay tuned.