Monday, March 16, 2015

Newborn Parenting is Not for the Faint of Heart

This first-time newborn parenting thing is not for the faint of heart, my friends. Last week was tough. I'd cry, but even my tear ducts are exhausted. Countless people advised that the first two weeks are the most difficult, but "it will get better!" Now I'm not one to point fingers, but those people a) lied straight to my face, b) were under the influence of illegal substances when speaking to me, or c) have never lived under the same roof as an infant. Lies, I tell you. The third week of parenting robbed me of my sanity under the cloak of night.

I started breastfeeding Presley when she was about ten minutes old, and she's been a nursing champ ever since. I exclusively breastfeed her. Since I nurse on demand and she's a growing bitty one, there really is no routine or schedule. (Plus, routines can't effectively be implemented until about three or four months old anyway.) Whenever she starts getting fussy, we check her diaper. If that's not the problem, I see if she's ready to be fed. If that's not it, we assume it's gas and apply all techniques we've learned: belly massage, move her legs in bicycle movements, and tummy time. Despite those things, she has been inconsolable some nights, and I really mean inconsolable. We've been able to calm her, but just when we think she's ready to go down for sleep, she goes from zero to sixty in 2.2 seconds.

On Saturday night we were up with her from 12:20 AM to 3:15 AM trying everything we could to keep her from screaming her sweet little vocal chords out. She finally slept for about three hours, and then bing! She was upset again at 6:30 AM. I took her into the guest room to try to nurse and rock her to sleep so that S could sleep. I suspected I'd need to do the hand-off with him later in the morning so I could get some shut-eye. When S woke up at 9:30 AM, I couldn't even muster a greeting. "Help me. I don't know what else to do for her. This must be so frustrating for her!"

We spent the morning searching the internet for advice about fussiness, digestive issues, and colic. Also, I'm a member of a two Facebook mom groups (one for breastfeeding, one for general parenting) which are great for crowd-sourcing. (Both groups were extremely helpful throughout pregnancy as well!) Presley has never taken a pacifier, so I asked for recommendations for newborns. My hope is that a pacifier might help her self-soothe.

Following discussion with my sister and Darby, I decided two things. First, we would start Presley on probiotic drops which helped my nephew early on. Second, I'll cut dairy, spicy foods, chocolate, and caffeine from my diet -- the only big change being chocolate, although I did have frozen custard twice last week. It will take one week for those things to clear from my breast milk, but I'm hopeful that this will help Presley's digestive issues. Do you hear me? I'm cutting out chocolate. Oh, the things I do for this child!

I made a quick run to the store to buy MAM pacifiers, Mommy's Bliss gripe water, and BioGaia probiotic drops.

I'm down to my last week of true maternity leave. After this week, I'll be working from home for two weeks to transition back to the office. I hope I can sleep for more than three hours a night by then. Lord, help me. I feel like I've lost my mind. Pardon me while I go look for my glasses.

Never mind. They're right where I left them.

On my face.

Happy Monday!

** In all seriousness, we are so grateful for this child, and we knew that days/nights like this would come. This too shall pass! This stage is helping us to grow into the best parents we can be for her.


Louise, Travel the Unbeaten Path said...

Oh mama, hang in there. I tell my child-free friends that childbirth is not for the faint of heart, but you are so right. And same here, weeks 2 and 3 were the worse. But it did get better, those people weren't lying about that - maybe they should've omitted the timeline, since every baby is different. My little guy has never wanted anything to do with any of the 5 different types of pacis we bought, but I did find that my diet with no doubt affected how my newborn felt (I took probiotics too!). I just now am reintroducing a leeetle bit of cheese, coffee and the gas-inducing family of greens (kale, broccoli etc) and my son just turned 6 months. You're doing a great job. We're all just ridiculously sleep deprived!


Unknown said...

Oh friend! Love you... No advice (100 percent because I have NONE!) Just love :) love you and that sweet little love!

Princess Burlap said...

You know, this may be the first honest post about things new baby that I've ever read. Also, cutting out chocolate?! Ok this is even bigger than gagging on the lemon poundcake. Mom of the year right there.

Devon said...

Always appreciate your honesty! I have absolutely no advice seeing as I have zero experience, but just know I am thinking of you and rooting you guys on. Also, not sure if this would help, but my friend who has a baby recommended this funny little baby shusher to me:
"Baby Shusher - The Soothing Sleep Miracle for Babies". Again, I have no history with it, but just thought I'd pass it on in case.

Heather @ The WholeHearted Wife said...

Aww, friend, so hard. and every baby is so different, I feel like advice is just so hard to offer at times like these! Hang in there friend, cling to the Lord, and trust your husband. Lol, those things I suppose translate to any baby situation :) love you!

Kristen Danielle said...

Oh, Lindsay! I'm right there with ya girlfriend. Those first few weeks were hellish yet so amazing at the same time. I'm here to tell you that it DOES get easier. Charlotte started sleeping 5 hours at night at 1 month and now she's doing 6-7 hour stretches. Sleep isn't too far away!! I know all babies are different, but I'm sure she'll be an angel for you and husband. :)

Giving up chocolate, caffeine, dairy... YOU ARE DEDICATED!!! It's all for the best, right?

So proud of you. Motherhood is the best, isn't it?

Take care!


Brita Long said...

*hugs* I am not a mother, and the youngest baby I baby-sat was already a month old. I can't imagine how challenging this must be. I hope the dietary changes help. Good luck!

Caitlin Cavallaro said...

Reading this completely brought me back to those first few weeks and months of Colt's birth. Now, at 18 months, I have almost forgotten about how difficult life was back then. Not only was I dealing with the death of my mom, I had a brand new 2 week old baby who needed my undivided attention. We suffered through feeding issues, gas, digestive problems, and extreme colic. We finally found out at about a month that he had a milk allergy. So, we switched formulas and that helped somewhat. But, the constant screaming, crying, and unhappiness absolutely broke my heart. It was then that I realized how incredibly difficult and draining parenthood really is. There were days when it took all I had to not break down and bawl right along with him. Unfortunately, for us, the colic never actually went away. Around 8 months we realized it was just his personality and he was just a high needs "spirited" child. That was a whole toonnn of days [MONTHS] of incessent unhappiness that I never thought we would be able to get through without going crazy. But, I sit here now, with an almost 1 1/2 year old and I can honestly say that it gets better. It gets easier and you find your rhythm and things that work for you and your family. They aren't always what everyone else would do or what is "cool" in parenthood right now, but you figure out what works best for your sweet little baby. [and even then the things that work, may not work a few weeks, months, down the road.] Keep pushing and trucking along! Allow yourself those breakdowns and those days - it's natural and EVERYONE feels that way [more than once!] Having a close knit mommy's group is helpful - especially at 4am when you're up consoling your child and it just so happens that one of your mommy friends is doing the same thing! :)

Hugs! You're doing wonderful! Message me if you have any questions or want to vent - I think we have literally been through everything now with precious Colton!