Posted in Infant, Parenting

What Do You Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed?

Because that’s how I’m feeling right now.

I don’t know how to go about writing this.  I don’t want this post to seem like I’m wallowing in self-pity, but something needs to come out and this is one of the only ways I know how.

I just got off the phone with my partner who announced that he’d be home around 7.  I wasn’t even able to finish the conversation in a civilized manner; I hung up quickly and burst into tears.  I don’t remember ever being so emotional, but these past few days (or weeks, or months – honestly, I don’t know) have been trying.

I feel as though I can’t catch a break.  When my son was a newborn, I was nursing for hours at a time, then he hit a growth spurt, then we started having problems with gas, after that we entered the “wonderful” world of wonder weeks.  Then came sleep deprivation due to prop dependency (where I was getting up 10+ times a night for a month just to put the pacifier back in) followed by sleep training, a tendonitis for me, teething, a growth spurt/wonder week combo and now, teething again.

I feel like all I do all day is try to function.  My son has taken to screaming at different moments; I never know when it’s going to happen.  Sometimes it’ll be for naps, or at bedtime or when he wakes up in the middle of the night.  Other times it’ll be when I sit him down on the floor or when I change his diaper.  It’s maddening because it just goes on and on and on.  And then, I have people around me asking me how are things.  All I can say is “good” (that *is* the correct answer, right?).  What do you want me to say?  I have no idea what an easy baby and what a difficult baby are like.

I’ve never had so many headaches in my life.  I’ve never cried so much in so few days.  My home is a mess – even by my standards – and I feel so alone – and feel guilty about it.

I’m lucky enough to be on paid maternity leave, I gave birth in November and am only going back to work in August.  My partner tries to help with a lot of things, but I think he’s feeling a little overwhelmed with how to manage work (he’s been having to put in extra hours), house chores, and this little human that’s taking up so much room in our lives.  I go out because otherwise I’d go crazy, but while I’m going out, I’m not taking care of the house and I’m not resting.  I love my son to death and I wouldn’t go back to my pre-baby life; he brings too much joy in my life.  But sometimes, like right now, I just feel like I’m losing it.

How do you stay at home moms/dads do it?  How do you working moms/dads do it?  How do you single parents do it?  Please tell me that I am not the only one.

I never thought that becoming would be easy.  But I also never thought that 6 months in, I would become an emotional mess at times.

There.  I said it.  I feel somewhat better.  I think.

Posted in Parenting

The Secret To Baby Sleep!

Reblogged from http://starcrossedkayla.tumblr.com

I went on amazon and bought all the top books on baby sleep and development. I read through them all, as well as several blogs and sleep websites. I gathered lots of advice.

You shouldn’t sleep train at all, before a year, before 6 months, or before 4 months, but if you wait too late, your baby will never be able to sleep without you. College-aged children never need to be nursed, rocked, helped to sleep, so don’t worry about any bad habits. Nursing, rocking, singing, swaddling, etc to sleep are all bad habits and should be stopped immediately. White noise will help them fall asleep. White noise, heartbeart sounds, etc, don’t work. Naps should only be taken in the bed, never in a swing, carseat, stroller, or when worn. Letting them sleep in the carseat or swing will damage their skulls. If your baby has trouble falling asleep in the bed, put them in a swing, carseat, stroller, or wear them.

Put the baby in a nursery, bed in your room, in your bed. Cosleeping is the best way to get sleep, except that it can kill your baby, so never, ever do it. If your baby doesn’t die, you will need to bedshare until college.

Use the same cues as night: cut lights, keep the house quiet and still. Differentiate naps from nightly sleep by leaving the lights on and making a regular amount of noise. Keep the room warm, but not too warm. Swaddle the baby tightly, but not too tightly. Put them on their back to sleep, but don’t let them be on their backs too long or they will be developmentally delayed. Give them a pacifier to reduce SIDS. Be careful about pacifiers because they can cause nursing problems and stop your baby from sleeping soundly. If your baby sleeps too soundly, they’ll die of SIDS.

Don’t let your baby sleep too long, except when they’ve been napping too much, then you should wake them. Never wake a sleeping baby. Any baby problem can be solved by putting them to bed earlier, even if they are waking up too early. If your baby wakes up too early, put them to bed later or cut out a nap. Don’t let them nap after 5 pm. Sleep begets sleep, so try to get your child to sleep as much as possible. Put the baby to bed awake but drowsy. Don’t wake the baby if it fell asleep while nursing.

You should start a routine and keep track of everything. Not just when they sleep and how long, but how long it has been between sleep, how many naps they’ve had per day, and what you were doing before they slept. Have a set time per day that you put them to bed. Don’t watch the clock. Put them on a schedule. Scheduling will make your life impossible because they will constantly be thrown off of it and you will become a prisoner in your home.

Using CIO will make them think they’ve been abandoned and will be eaten by a lion shortly. It also causes brain damage. Not getting enough sleep will cause behavior and mental problems, so be sure to put them to sleep by any means necessary, especially CIO, which is the most effective form. Extinction CIO is cruel beyond belief and the only thing that truly works because parents are a distraction. The Sleep Lady Shuffle and Ferber method are really CIO in disguise or Controlled Crying and so much better than Extinction. All three of these will prevent your child from ever bonding with you in a healthy way. Bedsharing and gentler forms of settling will cause your child to become too dependent on you.

Topping the baby off before bed will help prevent night wakings. When babies wake at night, it isn’t because they are hungry. If the baby wants to nurse to sleep, press on the baby’s chin to close its mouth. Don’t stop the baby from nursing when asleep because that doesn’t cause a bad habit. Be wary of night feeds. If you respond too quickly with food or comfort, your baby is manipulating you. Babies can’t manipulate. Babies older than six months can manipulate.
Sleep when the baby sleeps. Clean when the baby cleans. Don’t worry. Stress causes your baby stress and a stressed baby won’t sleep.

Well, that clears things up!  Not that we have any problems with sleep around here… *whistles innocently*.

Posted in Newborn, Uncategorized

I may be a Supermom but I am no Superwoman!

I’ve discovered over the past month that through the rough bits of motherhood, I’ve developed what I’ve come to regard as superpowers.  Yup, motherhood is funny that way, one day you’re normal little ol’ you and the next you discover a new ability.  Actually, my superpowers started coming in even before giving birth.  Here are the five that I’ve discovered so far.

  • Olfactory genius: Ok, moment of truth: I can’t remember ever having a good sense of smell.  My nose always seems to be perpetually and irrevocably partially clogged to a point at which my charming boyfriend has joked about buying some stocks from the kleenex company.  Yeah, very funny…  Point is, though, that when I became pregnant, my sense of smell flourished.  I mean, I felt like a Beagle.  I could smell things that people around me couldn’t even dream of picking up on.  I could tell what my boyfriend had eaten for lunch just by crossing the doorway to my home.  I would become overcome by odors that were hardly perceptible to people around me.  Supposedly, this is normal.  It would seem that it is a method for the pregnant body to ensure that nothing harmful is consumed by the mother.  It was annoying as heck though.  Luckily, this skill has turned off now that I am no longer pregnant.
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    My parents’ dog Big: sniffer extraordinaire!
    • Supersonic hearing: Ok, I’ve been a musician for half of my life now, so my hearing’s actually pretty good to begin with, but that’s when I’m awake.  When I’m sleeping, don’t even try to wake me up.  My boyfriend used to joke when I was pregnant that he would be the one waking me up when our child would stir in his crib during the night because he is so tuned in to the little noises around the house, it’s scary.  I mean, sometimes he will be sleeping really soundly (and I will be awake, obviously, because he’s snoring his heart out and I’m an insomniac) and he will awake with a start if something falls in another room of our house.  Well, it turns out that we were both wrong in thinking that I’d have trouble waking up to the chirps of my child.  Usually, at night, I am awoken by the sound of my son stirring in his bed.  Sometimes, he’ll even be chirping about a bit.  I was only very rarely woken up by outright cries.  You know what the funny part is?  Sometimes, when I have to change his diaper during the night, my son wails out at the top of his lungs.  I mean, I’m sure all the dogs in the neighborhood start barking about when he cries because he’s so loud.  Despite the significant volume his little lungs can produce, there’s always one person that sleeps right through the night as though nothing had happened: my boyfriend.
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      It took about two weeks before my son stopped crying his heart out EVERY time we changed him.
      • Multitasker extraordinaire: I’ve always been pretty good at multitasking, but now, I’ve taken that skill to a whole other level.  I mean, who thought that I could nurse, talk on the phone and navigate on the web all at the same time!
      • Accidental ambidexterity:  Those who know me well, know that I am totally dependent on my left arm.  I mean, I am a PURE lefty!  But because of that, I usually end up holding my son in my left arm which leaves (yup, you guessed it) my right arm for doing what needs to be done when I’m holding my attention-seeking-suck-up.  To my great surprise, I’ve even gotten good at using my right arm (I dare you to try to eat a whole meal with a baby cradled in your dominant arm as you eat with your non-dominant hand WITHOUT making any mess!).
      • Human pacifier: Besides the obvious reference to the fact that my son loves to be latched on to his mommy’s breasts, he also prefers sucking on my pinkies to calm down than on an actual pacifier (though why that is, I have no idea).  However, I also seem to have a power to calm the boy when he is irritably cranky.  Sometimes, when his father is holding him, or when he is in his crib or moses basket, he’ll start to fuss.  And sometimes all he needs to stop fussing, is to be in my arms.  Of course, there are times during which he is fussy even in my arms and I am at the end of my rope (that would be when he is cluster-feeding and overtired from fighting off sleep for five straight hours in the evening).  During those moments, he is better off being fussy in his father’s arms than in mine as he seems to become even more agitated when I am distressed.

Now, you may be wondering where I’m getting at with all of this.  Simply put, Christmas is right around the corner and my world has been turned so upside-down in the past month that I have scarcely had time to even think about that time of year.  What you need to know about me is that I hate Christmas.  Well, rather, I hate what Christmas has become – a spending competition of overconsumption.  A while back, I started looking at the lists my little sister and brother would write up and find something that wasn’t on it.  I wanted to surprise them and really make an effort to find something that would be catered to their tastes on my own.  After that, I decided that instead of purchasing my gifts, I would craft them and so I took up scrapbooking and offered baked goods for my loved ones.  This year though, I’ve had no time to reflect on what the people around me would like, nor have I had time to shop and you can FORGET scrapbooking and baking.  Point is, I guess the kiddo’s going to be the present this year.

I mean, after all, I may be a Supermom, but I am no Superwoman!