Day seems relatively easy compared to night with a newborn. Just imagine, you’ve gotten though the day with your baby, maybe you got to shower and do some dishes, and now you just want to get a good night’s rest. You lie down, with a sigh of relief, and just about the second you start to doze off, you hear the all-too familiar whimpering of your newborn. NOOOOO!!!!!!!
I have 4 children, so I’ve tried a lot of different products and methods for helping my babies sleep. I’ve tried co-sleeping, swaddling, baby in a moses basket, in the crib, in a bassinet, etc. I think if you’re nursing, the closest you can keep your newborn (safely of course), the better. It helps you bond, AND think of the convenience factor. It’s so much easier to roll over and have the baby near, than have to run down the hall. Obviously it’s a personal choice, but that really worked for me. It only took me 3 kids to figure that out.
Another selfless sacrifice I made starting with number 3, was sending my husband upstairs to sleep. He had to go to work in the morning, and I was nursing, so why should both of us be groggy? I’d pump, go to bed and he’d do the 10pm feeding. That way I’d get a good 2-3 hours of sleep (truly blissful in the beginning). I was lucky enough to stay home, so I made that sacrifice so that he could be happier, and certainly productive. It also worked in my favor because he was more apt to take the baby when he got home.
My husband was the swaddling king, I just could never get the hang of it. Inevitably, a foot would escape – I could never get it tight enough (maybe my claustrophobia took over). I was constantly asking him to redo it, then I just gave up and bought one of those swaddleme blankets. Here’s the link below in case you have no idea what I’m talking about. They definitely work and are so much easier. Problem solved! http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dbaby-products&field-keywords=swaddleme&sprefix=swaddleme%2Caps%2C186
Also, please don’t overdress your baby! I see so many babies with like 5 blankets over them. Unless you’re stuck out in an Arctic storm, this is 4 blankets too many. The rule (at least 4 years ago) was 1 more layer than yourself. Especially in the house, the car, and most stores in the winter, it is hot. If you’re hot, think of your poor baby in a snowsuit (really, are they playing in the snow?) with a heavy fleece blanket over them. No wonder why their cheeks are bright red – they’re boiling hot! It’s really common sense. Also, remember in summer, when it’s hot outside, it’s freezing in the stores (especially the grocery stores). Your baby does not to be in short-shorts (they can’t wear sunscreen until 6 months and should be kept out of direct sunlight so PLEASE put on lightweight, breathable clothing – think cotton). Keep a lightweight blanket in your diaper bag. I think I also learned that unless you don’t have AC, long sleeve pajamas can work all year long.
I’m totally digressing. Back to the sleep issue. Honestly, the first 6 weeks just stink. I call it the “newborn fog” because you’re exhausted and feel groggy ALL THE TIME. Swaddling helps, as does soothing music, the sound of your voice, a breast. Let your husband/significant other/family member help in any way possible at night. No matter how you feed your baby, if possible, go to bed early, and let anyone do that last feeding so you can get a longer stretch of sleep.
There are no miracle solutions, just know it will get better. Remember your hormones are all crazy around 6 weeks post-birth too, so if you feel super-emotional, it’s normal. Reach out to close friends/family though, if you feel like you can’t get out of a funk, or feel angry towards your baby. You’re not a failure, and you shouldn’t be judged, if you have conflicting feelings about your baby. It’s a huge life adjustment, especially for a mom. Don’t forget that help is available, no matter the situation.