Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Uncertainty of a Newborn

mom and Lamp in the hospital

Just yesterday I was talking to a friend about baby Lamp.  I told her that so far Lamp seems to be a pretty easy least not fussy.  Sometimes it takes a while for her to settle when sleeping, but she can actually be awake without fussing or crying.  Our first baby was not like this, so this was new for us.  However, I then said, But there's still something about having a newborn--a totally unpredictable little baby--that makes me feel like I'm teetering on the edge and everything could come crashing down at any minute.  

Yeah.  That's how I feel.  

I love our sweet little Lamp.  Postpartum so far has been pretty good.  But the past couple of nights have been a little tough and I already find myself thumbing nervously though Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child for answers and reassurance, and I find myself once again questioning Is she an easy baby?  I thought she was an easy baby....could she still be colicky?  I like schedules, lists and least when it comes to things like babies and sleep.  I know that this stage is temporary, and that eventually we'll have a baby with a more predictable schedule.  I know that before I know it she'll be a jumping, talking, sassy little toddler who I fall in love with in a whole new way.  I know the uncertainty is part of the package, but not the whole story.  I know that I did this before and I can do it again....but still.  What is it about newborns--these teeny, innocent, helpless people--that seem have the ability to instill a foreign sense of instability and helplessness in myself?  I know she's not even 2 weeks old and I'm probably jumping the gun a little in trying to figure this all out, but I can't help it.  

Fortunately my friend, who is pregnant with her fourth, confided that even though it's her 4th baby, she's still scared.  I would think that by number 4 it's old hat.  I guess not.  At least not for everyone.  
Good to know.   

So friends any words of wisdom?  Any newborn advice?  Mantra's, sayings, books, food, things that get you through these crazy newborn days?    


  1. When my newborns babies would cry I would always go through a mental checklist --


    And it would be in that order. If they were fussing it was most always one of those things and I ran through that checklist a billion times with each baby.

    I have also learned not to compare with other babies. That makes things hard. And I only listen to books and advice so much because they say things like don't sleep with your babies and I sleep with my babies.

    Some babies are feisty because THEY are Feisty, meaning their personality. See:Oliver. seriously. that kid is as demanding as ever. cried and fussed as a baby and still does! ha ha...

    It is hard when they are in this un-scheduled stage. But I always try and tune in to their rhythms instead of forcing mine on them at the beginning. the poor little dears are scared and nervous and don't need to be scheduled right away. tune in is always my advice.

    love you!

  2. One of my problems is that I start to really worry about the other things like keeping the house clean! I let it stress me out. I think I would've been less of a wreck with my last newborn if I talked with my husband about how much help I'll need with housework and if we worked out chores for the older kids. The newborn stage is so hard for me. The lack of sleep is the worst. Just don't put too much pressure on yourself is my advice. If you have to have loungy days because you had a rough night, don't stress it.

  3. Do anything you need to in order to survive the first three months and don't feel guilty because it's not going to last forever. I don't like listening to other people's advice because my babies are not other peoples and I think everyone has different experiences. And when/if things get crappy, just remember that it really does go pretty fast. Aubrey ended up watching ALOT of t.v. when I was on my own and had a very cranky baby on my hands. I just thought,"oh well. It's survival."

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  5. I don't have any advice, I just wanted to say that pic of you guys is soo cute.

  6. I'm not sure I'm in a position to be dispensing newborn advice since mine is two months old and I still feel like you do--that I'm teetering on that unpredictable edge. However, I'd have gone completely berserk if someone hadn't recommended the book Happiest Baby on the Block. Maybe you're already familiar with it. I found it very interesting and helpful.

  7. Sweet picture...and Congratulations!

    I've been wanting to check out "The Happiest Baby on the Block"...for my 4 and 6 year olds. :) Heard lots of great things about it.

    Can't believe how big sistery and mature Beanie is looking in that past post. Just beautiful.

  8. The best advice I ever got with newborns and recovery after birth, is to not expect anything close to normal living for the first 6 weeks. It takes that long just to get your blood count back up again. Predictable, schedule...those words have to wait a few weeks.

  9. I found myself watching 'Enchanted' on repeat those first few weeks! Any time I felt on the edge of anything, or feeling not myself, I put on a DVD in the background that took me out of the anxiety and into somewhere happy!

  10. nothing during the first six weeks "counts". and just remember this too shall pass...this too shall pass...this too shall pass....
    BEAUTIFUL picture btw!

  11. I have no idea if this helps or not, but I've heard it said that the first three months of a newborns life can be thought of as a 4th trimester... meaning don't worry about sleep training, don't worry about schedules, don't worry about spoiling them with too much holding or cuddling or nursing etc.

    It helps me because it takes away any pressure (self-imposed, especially) and I can just enjoy it, not worrying about how my baby "should" be acting at this point in her new life.

    I've been surviving by not taking on anything I don't feel like i can do- i even turned down the yoga job because it was stressing me out already before it even began. If you're in a place where you can really simplify your life, i say do it. im a list girl too and these days my list looks like this:

    -shower (maybe)

    good luck- you'll do beautifully!!
    yea for babies!!!

    p.s. hows beanie doing w all this???

  12. when i was a baby my mom would put her hand on my cheek and i liked that and she'd feed me and i liked that and she'd love me and i liked that.

  13. All I can say is hang in there! I agree with what the others have said about the first 6 weeks and especially the first 3 months! After 3 months was when I finally STARTED to feel like "myself" again. :) Maybe because I was sleeping for longer than 3 hour stretches at a time. Sleep does wonders, as anyone knows. (This goes for you and for the baby!)

    Don't be hard on yourself and don't push yourself too much. I was careful to wait the ENTIRE 6 weeks before I went back to running so that my body could take time to heal. You'll need longer because you had a big incision made into your belly! :)

    Right now everything feels like slow motion but in no time she'll be 9 months old and you'll think, holy cow! You've been here as long as I was pregnant with you! Where did that time go!? (That's how I'm feeling now with Brian).

  14. Thanks for all the love and comments everyone. I should clarify that I don't actually expect or try to get a her on a schedule, it's just how I like to operate in general...thus the reason newborns are a little tricky for me. And I should add that I think a big part of being able to manage a newborn is the baby itself....if the baby is easy, you'll have an easier time. If the baby is difficult, you'll have a more difficult time (in general, of course). I can now say this with certainty as my babies have been on the opposite sides of this spectrum.

    Thanks again for the love.

  15. I just wanted someone or something to tell me exactly what to do in every situation, especially naptime. If the babies had a hard time going down a few naps in a row, I would pull out all the sleep books - Happiest Baby on the Block; Baby Wise; Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins - and frantically look for the protocol, which of course was never specific enough. (Where's the chapter on what to do when one baby cries for a half hour, and then falls asleep when the other wakes up?) At the very least, it gave me a way to channel my anxiety. We got there eventually.

  16. PS I wish I had just asked Andrea. Her advice is the best. :)

  17. Wow, took the words right out of my mouth. I wish I could've read that post even a few months ago with Finn. I've read Healthy Sleep Habits happy child cover to cover many times looking for answers. It's so hard taking confidence in everything you are doing. I love having Finn on a schedule. He sleeps well at night but napping seems to still be a daily battle. He hates sleeping in his crib during the day.

    With the second one coming I'm already feeling like I need this perfect plan right out of the gates but Finn isn't that old that I've forgotten that perfect plans and newborns don't mix.

    So happy to see that someone strong, confident, and totally together still second guesses themselves too sometimes. Fragility - something I'm not used to feeling - but can't deny feeling delving through new waters with kids.

  18. Miggy,

    I totally felt the way you did. I was like, "Uh, I have to lose sleep. I forgot and then I was like, "Uhhhh, I have to lose sleep, but be up at the same time everyday with my toddler." It sucks. You become this mom zombie and then you just kind of get used to it. This may sound a little nuts, but I sleep with my kids, because I get way more sleep that way. If you're the type of person who feels to scared to do it, then it's not for you. I just found that a sleep schedule doesn't kick in until three or four months, unless you want to CIO it early.

    Other things that worked were the Bjorn. Walking around with the little one close to your body worked like magic.

  19. I never felt uncertain about newborns. I just always felt crazy. Looking back, I'm not sure how we survived it. How did we do it while getting so little sleep?! ... If you ever just need a nap, call me and I'll come watch the kids so you can sleep. No joke. Everyone needs at least 1 person willing to do that.