A mum told me recently - Does it have an end? I am exhausted, on the verge of a breakdown. This sleep deprivation... How can I train him. I will not cope for longer.
I remembered myself as a new mum with my first boy. I was so excited to have him. I use to wake up on my own a million times every night to check if he is breathing, is he hot, cold, are there any insects I didn't notice earlier. You name it. Not sure I've slept at all. The second one came rather quick. Just 17 months after my son. Here it began to get really frustrating. My daughter was a terrible sleeper, suffering severe colics. She would nurse very little, fall asleep for 15 minutes, than her belly starts hurting and she is awake again. The only way to settle her was breastfeed again. And so on. Day and night. Honestly this became quickly unbearable. One breast constantly out, demanding toddler, screaming baby and a total mess in the whole house. I wanted to sleep, sleep, sleep. I wanted to get my baby in bed with me but I though it is vital to stick to a strict routine and be persistent. I believed if I take her with me at night will spoil her and revert everything achieved. Toddler was rather good and settled well in his sleep but my little girl was different story. I wish I could turn the clock back. It gave results eventually after good year and a half but at the price of my sanity and my baby needs. I wish I trusted my instincts more than all those books, talks and advices. I know no one meant harm but this is what a strict routine does. More harm than good.
However I must admit experience changes such situation a lot. As new mum I had this awful worries that my baby may suffocate, or get too hot, or catch a virus, of fall from the bed, or eat something nasty from the floor. I was constantly sterilising, cleaning, washing, checking. This is more exhausting that looking after the baby itself. Trying to be perfect in everything. But I was doing it for my babies, the love of my life and everything has to be the best of the best. With 2 in my hands I must have been on autopilot most of the time. I wanted them to grow, have teeth, start walking, talking, read. Where did I rush to. No, it doesn't need to be like that. It all comes when they are ready. The precious moments must be noticed, remembered, enjoyed, seen. I am only grateful we took tons and tons of photos to go back to now. At least I can enjoy moments overlooked than. Wouldn't believe I will be this mum today if someone have told me than.
My second son, baby number 3 came 7 years after number 2. What a huge difference. I knew then that I won't suffocate my child if he sleeps by my side. I knew it is not so bad for him to crawl on the floor and meet some bacteria. I knew that fussy eater now he will eat everything in few months time. Seems like my husband realised the same. He was much more laid back dad and we actually enjoyed having a baby. With the first 2 we were so worried and respectively tired constantly. Didn't had time to relax and just be parents and love the time we have when they are so little. How fast they grow, wow.
Now I sit and watch him be, and cuddle him at night and let him drink as much milk as he wants as often as he please. Cosleeping is not the end of the world. Than the energy I need comes from just loving my time with him. Not dreading the moment he wakes up. I don't need to look at his chubby cheeks to get going again. The feeling in my heart, the knowing he needs me most, not the polished bathroom. This is what drives me ahead. If I only knew all this 11 years ago.
Have to give some credit to this fabulous read by L.R.Knost http://www.littleheartsbooks.com/2011/11/20/10-steps-to-surviving-the-first-three-months-with-a-newborn/. She is so right.
So mums don't get over worried and overstressed. Listen to your guts and your baby needs. They won't sleep in your bed forever. Go easy on yourself and love the baby moments no matter how messy it gets. It DOES end, but I don't want it to now.
A baby boy
A baby boy was created
by the hand of God above
to give the world the sweetest touch
of tenderness and love.
With the softness of a whisper,
God made a baby's skin
and then designed two trusting eyes
to put the starlight in.
With giggles from a waterfall
and breezes passing by,
God made a baby's laughter
and a tiny, sleepy sigh.
God made the world a precious gift
more dear and pure than gold,
with little toes to play with
and tiny hands to hold
then brought into the sunshine
a precious baby boy
All wrapped up in a rainbow
of wonder, hope, and joy.
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