The things you hear about exhaustion and sleep deprivation with a new baby really don’t ring true. You don’t really start to get exhausted and frustrated until the new baby smell starts to wear off – when they’re transitioning from newborn to infant. Within the first few months to changes come on fast – from growth spurts to Wonder Weeks and developmental milestones and sleep regression. In my case, I think we’ve got some teething thrown in too!
It’s funny how much I forgot in 2 short years since my first son was born. Now that I’m deep in the trenches of this transition time, I’m remembering this was the most trying time with my oldest son. But I don’t remember my oldest son teething at this same time also! I’m pretty sure teething is to blame for the random excess fussiness that my son is having but more significantly, the buckets of drool coming out of his mouth!
Right now he is 11.5 weeks old just short of 3 months. Since about a month old, he’s slowly been becoming less and less accepting of napping anywhere but on me. Around a month old he went through his first developmental leap (Wonder Weeks) which was a little challenging, and required some extra momma snuggled naps. Then we got on the other side of it and things went back to relatively normal. Slowly he was sleeping less and less places but I could still get him some decent naps at least in the swing.
Then the second leap rolled around at 2 months not to mention we were out of state on vacation for Christmas and he pretty much would only nap on me or someone for any extended period of time. Then we returned from the trip and he was still the same. I could set him down in the swing but he would only sleep there for about 30-45 minutes. Ever since 6-7 weeks I try setting him down a couple times a day for a nap and now I will only get those short naps that way. And I’ve tried everything and everywhere – swaddled, unswaddled, rock n play, bassinet, swing, even tried laying him in my bed thinking he would like the warmth and my smell and that worked – once.
After a couple of tries a day though I give in and I just let him sleep on me and I’ll get 2-3 hours. I’ve started wearing him too and that helps sometimes so I can at least get stuff done or go outside. But having him not sleep on me is not working him not getting a good nap in so I give in to the nap on me. I’m worried I’m creating a bad habit. Mostly I’ve been okay with it thinking it was just a phase but the longer it goes on the more I think it’s not a phase and the more what other people say about it gets to me – that I shouldn’t let him, I should let him cry, etc.
Everything I’ve read though on sleep habits, development, and fourth trimester tells me that’s all wrong though. I can’t let my baby cry if he needs me. With my older son, I never let him cry ever. I have read the impact that has on the brain, their development and independence and I see it now in him. He’s very confident and independent. Also sleep begets sleep which is why crappy naps aren’t worth it just to have him not sleep on me. Same with my older son he is a great sleeper and always has been and I think that started with a focus on him getting good naps. My little one sleeps great at night though so I can’t complain too much. So if I have to subject myself to some baby snuggles (aww darn!) for one nap a day, for now, I think it’s worth it.
Besides, it all goes by SO FAST. I remember being in the thick of this stage last time, and thinking it felt like it went on FOREVER. And then before I knew it, it was over, and he was rolling… Then crawling… Then standing…. Then walking. I need to just relax, trust myself as a mom that I’m doing the right thing and enjoy my baby snuggles. Soon he won’t want to snuggle anymore…
The other part of it is dealing with the developmental changes. Some of them are so awesome! Seeing him making eye contact, smiling, almost giggling, exploring using his arms and legs, wanting to stand and sit. And some are baffling such as his change in soothing preference. I had it nailed down. I knew exactly how to soothe this kid – side laying, swaddled, paci, shooshing and swaying back and forth – basically the 5s’s. Now, just the last week or so (Wonder Week?) it’s like I’m a big kid now mom I wanna be upright I don’t wanna lay like a baby. So I have to hold him upright to try to soothe him. Big kids also don’t want to suck on pacis either. So with tired arms and legs I hold him upright and bounce and sway and pray something in that combo works.
There’s no magical combo anymore, I don’t nail it. Eventually he stops crying, but I’m not sure there are many worse feelings in the world than as a mother not being able to stop your kids crying. It breaks my heart every time and gets me frustrated with myself. Funny though because I remember his older brother doing this exact same thing to me at this similar age. Damn! Why don’t I write stuff down so I can remember what helped me through this last time?!? Oh well, I’m writing now I guess!
So I hope and pray that I haven’t created any bad habits and that I’m just going through some crazy superstorm of development growth and teething or something that is making one day good and the next day nuts. I also hope and pray that I continue to write this stuff down, when I find the time (ha!) so that maybe I can have it to refer back to next time I have a baby and I’m struggling through this time. Until the next challenge…