The first few weeks of your first baby’s life ranges from being the best time of your life, to the most exhausting, the most stressful, the most emotional and all the way back to the most happy time – and those emotions you can feel just in the first hour of the day. No matter what you read or hear, nothing can prepare you for those first few weeks or what’s to come. The only certain thing is you don’t really know what you are doing and each minute of the day is spent figuring stuff out, learning but mostly guessing.
I was fortunate enough to have an excellent support system around me - my amazing husband, my mom, my sister, my helper and supportive friends, all of whom pitched in their 2 cents. Some advice I took and other advice I just listened to in shock and thought silently “I am definitely not doing that”.
What became abundantly clear is that no books can tell you how to be a parent or how YOUR angel will be, what type of cry means they are hangry (yes, hungry + angry = hangry), or when they just want the loving touch of mom (not dad, but mom – mom who has had 2 hours of sleep, is fighting off the Rottweiler puppies who also want attention (this is another story altogether), trying to be a good wife, good homemaker, patient mom and also look semi-presentable while doing so).
After the haze of the first few weeks passed and I realized that I could actually keep another human alive – yay – I started to remember all the pearls of wisdom that people shared throughout my pregnancy. One piece which stood out the most for me during the first few weeks was something my mom had shared with me but which seemed to soon to start…. a routine. And then I remembered how my colleague is still fighting her 19 month old son every night to get him to sleep just for 3 hours straight. This colleague is an amazing mom but had typical second child syndrome and thought “he’s my last baby so I can spoil him”. She had sent me the most amazing article about sleep training and establishing a routine which she herself did not listen to but hoped that her money had not been a waste and that someone could benefit from it. So I tried it in the fear that I would go back to work and still be sleep deprived 2 years later – and actually also ended up listening to my mom (which I had forgotten learnt the hard way with a 2 year old and new born baby premmie twins).
While I knew full well that my 6 week old bundle would not be sleeping 9 straight hours immediately, I nevertheless tried to make sure her bedtime routine and wake up routine was at the same time every day and eventually by the time she grew into the phase where babies typical are now old enough to “learn a routine” – she was already in a routine (no one actually knows the exact date they pick up on a routine so in my view and my experience of being a mom for 7 months J its best to start as early as possible for both your sanity and bubba’s structure). With a bit of effort and some consistency (I would wake her up at the same time every morning), she picked up a routine, which I am so thankful for, as from about 8 weeks until now (she is 7 months old this week) – my little mouse sleeps 7pm to 5.30am every day. She has her bad nights (my poor angel) but mostly she sticks with her routine.
I may be lucky, or it may be my OCD bed time routine that starts every night at 6.15pm with supper, a nice warm bath, story time with dad, bottle to top up the tummy, kiss good night (little declaration of my love in the ear) and bubba goes in her cot awake… but not without our trusty soft Ellie cuddle blanket to sooth (great for sleep association).
And that’s my 2 cents worth…