It became such a frustrating time of trying to maintain what we thought was “best” for Tyler and trying to maintain our sanity. Sleep deprivation usually only allows for one challenge at a time.
When we were about 4 months away from the due date, my husband and I sat down and talked about the kind of baby we were going to raise. We were going to plan now so there would be no surprises:
Our baby would NOT sleep in our bed. He would sleep in his crib, from day one, forever.
Our baby would NOT be a baby that would have to be held all the time.
Our baby would NOT run the show. He would be on a schedule.
Our baby WOULD sleep through the night.
Our baby WOULD go to sleep on his own, just by laying him in his crib.
Our baby WOULD do great in the car. We couldn’t wait to take him places.
Well, Tyler thought he should nurse every 30-60 minutes, fall asleep while nursing, in bed with me, in my arms, and would wake up to scream for more. This was day one.
I began to realize, slowly and painfully, that our plans might just have to be thrown out the window.
My labor should have been the indicator that things do not always go as we hope. I wanted a pain-free childbirth. I wanted it to be peaceful and relaxing.
My birth plan requested that the nurses didn’t even ask me my pain levels so that the idea of medication would be as far from my mind as possible. I ended up with Demerol, an epidural, and a c-section.
Thankfully, a couple of hours after Tyler was born, he latched on on the first try (but never wanted to let go).
We went into survival mode those first 3 months of Tyler’s life. We began doing anything and everything just to get more than an hour of sleep at a time.
This meant that, for three weeks straight, I slept in the recliner with Tyler in my arms, basically nursing him back to sleep anytime he woke up. Then we moved to our bed and Tyler slept in between us.
Tyler ate when he wanted, we carried him nonstop, and he still hates the car at 6 months.
I will never forget that night that Tyler finally, finally, fell asleep, (after crying for four hours straight), at midnight.
When Tyler started stirring around in my arms, I nervously turned my head to look at the clock, it was 8AM! I felt so good that day. It is amazing what sleep does to an exhausted mommy.
Fussy babies are hard to cope with, and they tend to drain all the energy out of already sleepy parents.
Sometimes, any sleep at all is more important than where the sleep occurs.
Sometimes, we have to give up the “rules” we so foolishly think our fussy babies will follow.
And sometimes, surrendering to a fussy baby is better than butting heads with one.
Nichelle is a stay at home mom, finishing her degree online in social science with an emphasis on early childhood education. She enjoy gardening and cooking, and reaching out to offer support and encouragement to families of fussy babies in her community.
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