Sunday, March 29, 2009

Always a first time mom

How can it be that after babysitting for over a decade, working exclusively with moms and babies for 4 years (and teaching them about their babies and development of children), having a child of my own, and practically memorizing my favorite sleep book, when Jamie comes along I forget it all? Jamie is so different than Anne. I still would say he's an easy baby...he's easily comforted, by my breast and only my breast. No really though, I do think he's an easy baby, just a bit more difficult than Anne and that's hard to deal with. It seems to John and I that unless he is sleeping or nursing he is crying. That is hard to deal with. It's hard when he's just woken up, eaten to his heart's content and come off from eating he instantly starts to cry. As a mother, I wonder "What can I possibly do? I just fed you. You have slept. What other tricks do I have in my bag as the mother of a one month old to soothe you?" I feel at a loss. Anne's babyhood did not prepare us for a normally fussy baby. At all. And so we struggle through-although it really isn't a struggle. That makes it sound like everyday, every moment is challenging and it's not. It's just different. And harder. I nurse him. I get him to sleep. And when he's fussy I wear him. He fights it and then falls asleep within half an hour. I am grateful for outings during the day when he mostly sleeps and I get a break from the fussing and taking care of. It's when the day is over and I've given most of what I have that it gets hard. Jamie fusses from 6 pm to 10 pm. This is where we struggle through. I feed him. He fusses. John holds him and every 10 minutes or so he fusses. Pacifiers. Fingers. Rocking. Shushing. Each gives some relief and comfort but every few minutes, unless sleep comes, he fusses. And I get frustrated with him. I am grateful my husband understands I have already spent 12 hours with him and every single meal Jamie has had every moment of his life has been given by me and so John takes him during that night time. Does his best to quiet him while we watch TV and eat dinner. And John does a great job. Thank you.

This morning I read my favorite sleep book, trying to figure out when this would get better, what to expect when. (Again, after at least 15 years experience with children, how do I forget these things?) I found such comfort in my book. Jamie is completely normal. He is a newborn still. His brain is immature and it's not his fault that he fusses. In a few weeks he will start to be a bit more organized and we can expect more reliable sleep in the night. We can expect the fussiness to start to decrease. And best of all, our favorite sleep book gives us permission to start "sleep training" (a fancy word for crying it out) at 6 weeks old. I don't think Jamie will need this much, but he seems to think it's party time from 1 am to 4 am every single night. Neither of us are night time parents, so it will be a relief to finally have some sort of tool we can use to help him learn to sleep during the night when he's supposed to. Don't get me wrong, I know he will be waking up several times to eat during the next year. I don't expect him to sleep through the night. At all. I have no expectation of that. But I do expect him to sleep when it's night and right now he doesn't get that. So we count the days to 6 weeks when we might start to see improvement. More organized sleep. Less fussiness. Sleep training. Earlier bedtime. Only 12 more days.

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