I’ve been thinking for awhile about sharing my experiences as a first time mom. Not only a first time mother, but one of a preemie. Also, one who hasn’t read squat, on the whole motherhood thing. Sometimes people are too scared to ask questions, or embarrassed, and I just felt like sharing certain obstacles I’ve faced as a new mom, and also how we overcame, and/or are overcoming them still might be nice. Feel free to comment, disagree, agree, share, it’s all relative, this is just to hopefully help even one person, and I’ll be happy. I’m going to write a series of posts when I have the time, hello motherhood and full time radio DJ, and I decided to start right off the bat with the topic of SLEEP. Something “most” new parents lack…
My son was born two months early, so sleep was HELL for us for quite some time. In the NICU, they wake the babies up every three hours to check on vitals/feed/change, etc. THAT is a hard habit to break. Right off the bat, my baby was born into a world where he was woken up, so by the time we got him home, that was his “norma”l sleep routine. In fact, at times, it felt like three hours would’ve been HEAVEN compared to the 1-2 hours I faced in the beginning, as a nursing mother.
Let me also start by telling you, I never thought I’d sleep again. My days were cloudy, I felt hungover, but happy. I would look forward to the days and seeing friends or family, but when the night time reared it’s ugly face, I felt like I had the Sunday night blues, daily. It scared the crap out of me.
Parker was breastfed until he was 8 months old. He still got breast milk until he was one, but I stopped nursing at about 8 months because all I was doing was pumping at this point. We had our own interesting journey with that, which is a WHOLE OTHER post, but lets just say I think that was also a major factor with sleep. To this day, if he wakes up at night, it’s to eat. And my kid is STUBBORN. He will NOT go to bed unless that bottle has been given to him. As a mother to a preemie?? I have always given him milk when he wakes up at night (my husband does actually, that became his shift after some time of me losing my brain). Call me a neurotic preemie mom who loves when her kids eat, but I’m telling you, he will NOT go back to sleep until he eats. The “cry it out” method has never worked for us.
In the same respect, we never did do the “cry it out method”. We simply let our kid figure it out all on his own time. There is no right way, or wrong way. You, as the parent, will ALWAYS know what’s best for you and your child. Personally, because he was a preemie, I had my own set of issues, and when he whimpered, I let him, but when he cried, we went in. I’ll tell you what, it didn’t happen overnight, but it DID happen. All babies have their own timelines, and for us, letting our baby guide his own way into becoming a better sleeper was the best choice for us. It took some time, but I truly think that he became a rocking sleeper when he 1.ate more food, and solid food 2. became mobile.
In fact, I used to have to rock/sway him to sleep for the day time naps and it was HARD. My husband had the night shift since I was at work, and thank god he did, because he started to put my son down to bed at night awake…..I don’t know if I could’ve done it…but when I started to during the day it was LIBERATING. I literally give him his “nap” bottle, then stick him in his crib and he laughs watching me turn his monitor on, then I kiss his head and talk to him as I leave the room. It’s our nap routine, and my god we have come a long way, thanks to my husband for taking the lead on that one…..I began to put him down during the day awake I think around 9-10 months…legit it took me that long….To each their own! (but as a preemie he was only 7-8 months old)
And lets not forget the room transition/cradle/bassinet/ME to crib. This was a HARD one. My son would nurse in the middle of the night, then if we tried to put him back down in his cradle, in our room, he would CRY HIS HEAD OFF. It was torturous. Even to this day, sometimes he still pulls it! For awhile, he’d think it was time to party whether it was in our room, or even his crib in his own room. Getting him back down for us was HELL. So eventually I gave in. I would nurse him, then lightly and quietly just let him sleep on my chest. Yup, what the NICU told us not to do of course. BUT, we were desperate. He had started in a cradle in our room but was soooo tiny he kept rolling all over it. Then we put him in his own cosleeper between us, but even that was HELL. So for what felt like eternity, I’d place him on my chest, semi sit up, and just sort of sleep…….I didn’t think it would ever end, but I was in survival mode.
To sum all of it up, because there was truly a lot……Everything felt like an eternity with Parker, especially because his newborn stage was extended as a preemie. There were times I didn’t think I’d ever sleep again, but I also remember in those times trying to embrace the moments. You never remember the nights you got sleep in the end, you remember the times you didn’t. They may be hard, heck it’s still hard at times for me, but man we have come a LONG way. YOUR baby will figure it out, and so will YOU. Give yourself some credit and remember mother’s instinct is there for a reason! It’s HUGE! It’s everything, and it’s yours. Snuggle your baby if you need to, cosleep if you need to, cry it out if that’s your thing, at the end of the day, do whatever keeps you sane, but also gives you the most memories.
Namaste, and Rock On!