As a first time mom I thought I did it right. I breastfed my daughter every 30-60 minutes for weeks and sometimes the sessions lasted up to two hours. She often fell asleep for a couple of minutes here, but I wouldn’t dare moving her. I just met her demands I thought.
Then a couple of months goes by and the phrases “she should be eating less frequently now” & “she should be sleeping in her own bed by now” etc. I started to think I was doing something wrong.
She didn’t really sleep much, only for 30-60 minutes at a time night and day, and only if I breastfed her to sleep. (Which was a no-no according to every soul around me except my husband). She could be awake for hours. I could not lay her down anywhere. She needed physical contact all the time.
Exhaustion, lack of sleep, depression and desperation knocked on the door. I could barely function. After three months we found a rhythm that worked for us. It will get better.
Me and the baby sleep in our own room. We sleep when we can. If I can't fall asleep, I lie on the side and breastfeed anyway.
We wake up, cuddle and nurse, then we have a good mood window where I get the dishes done while I entertain her in a rocking chair, usually in 5 minutes. Then we’re back in the couch nursing and cuddling, often without any napping, but fussiness. Then I take her outside in a carrier having a little walk & talk, or inside the house if the weather is bad, until she gets enough.
And then we’re back on the couch nursing and cuddling and some napping for 5-20 minutes. We repeat this until it’s bath time.
Baths drains her energy so much she sleeps for AN HOUR! After nursing and cuddling on the couch of course.
Then the longer naps comes towards the night. But if she wakes up and I’ve moved it’s hell on earth. She also usually wake up if I move at all. So we’re lying there both of us all evening. These naps is around an hour and she comfort nurses herself back to sleep.
She refuses both bottle and pacifier. I’ve tried and failed so much that this is the way for us. But she is mostly a very happy baby if her needs are met when she cries for them. She is almost 5 months now. She cries as if she’s dying when something’s wrong.
How did I manage to shower? Rarely, but with a husband and a crying baby walking the hallway waiting for me to be done.
My husband is doing all the cooking. I clean as much as I can with one hand and the baby on the hip, if she’s in the mood.
We do small steps at a time. One day at a time. She gets exhausted fast and I’ve learned to read her cues. We practice on things like her waking up with me sitting besides her instead of lying, her on the floor and me walking around her instead of holding her etc.
We try and fail, and try again until we find something that works. We walk a lot. We play a lot. And we nurse a lot. But this is a small piece of our lives, and if you feel insanity isn’t far away, ask anyone for help. I felt free if someone else held the baby for a few minutes if possible. Anything helps and every second counts for mother and child. You’re the most important person in someone’s life, and follow what your heart says.
Love to all mothers.
~ Emily ~
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