My little man decided to surprise me the day after he turned 1 month old.
Suddenly from an almost-predictable routine of feeding & sleeping in the first month came a combination of all sorts. There would be a night when he would wake up almost every other hour and refuse to settle quickly, and then a day when all he did was sleep regardless of all tactics or efforts to wake him (which led the night waking).
It was a vicious cycle, and one that my energy couldn’t keep up with. There were mornings I would wake up feeling all irritable from the lack of sleep and then guilty that I had indirectly unleashed these frustrations on Liam by not being able to be a good sport when it came to play time.
And while I definitely improved in parenting duties such as reading Liam’s sleep & feed cues better, differentiating his frets between a feed (“neh”) and a burp (“eh”) (as picked up from Dunstan Baby Language), along with getting him to enjoy bath time, diaper changing and entertaining the little man; I wanted more. I wanted to work towards a one feed/night vs. the 2 feeds or more/night I was currently doing. I yearned for my little one to sleep through most of the night. I wanted him to be a contented little baby in every aspect.
I’ve always known that I wanted to do a parent-led parenting as much as possible after seeing how contented my nephew was during his eat/sleep/play, when my cousin executed this style of parenting 2 years & counting, in her bid to regain back her sanity after her confinement lady left & husband resumed back to work full time. Left alone to manage her then newborn and diving in and out of mild postpartum depression, she needed a system amidst all the chaos.
To cut the long story short, she got desperate at a point till she was barely sleeping 2 hours in an entire day. And that’s when she decided to seek help in the books and discovered parent-led parenting. She wasn’t alone in this as another relative of mine adopted this style when she had to manage her newborn alone as well.
The outcome of both were extremely positive & encouraging. Eventually I was witnessing both couples enjoying their evenings relaxing and catching up over dinners properly, having personal me-time & their kids enjoying their play time without being overtired etc.
And so I jumped on the bandwagon. Except that I might have been too ambitious when I tried to implement it during Liam’s first week; amidst managing my own hormones, breastfeeding challenges etc. :\ What was I thinking?!
And while I’ve been blessed with Liam falling into his natural rhythm of a routine in the first 3 weeks because he was basically eating-sleeping a lot, which meant that I could consistently anticipate his next feed & wake… and put him into the naps he was supposed to be taking without fuss (and feeling like a peacock that I was able to establish something so quickly), this system soon failed miserably in his 4th week.
The little man was becoming more awake & aware to his surroundings, and was becoming less of the sleepy baby he used to be. I had to be careful in managing his day time sleep and awake time, because it was becoming apparent that he was confusing day & night when he started becoming more alert for 2 nights in a row. And it all started because I let him oversleep by 30 minutes for each nap, thinking it wasn’t going to make much of a difference.
Oh how wrong I was!
Thankfully I had the cousin to turn to and get by-the-hour advice & encouragement. Apparently going through these initial frustrations to achieve the final outcome was a common rite of passage. She even showed me her “reference book” to assure me that I was doing way better than she was then with my nephew at the same age. And slowly day by day, nap by nap, I worked on achieving one constant every few days.
The first I did was to ensure that Liam would wake and sleep at about the same time everyday. Not being an early bird, I had quite the struggle trying to get myself & him up at 730am every morning. But despite that, Liam managed to fit into the routine for the rest of the day though, what a champ! 🙂
I was finally getting to somewhere in the beginning of the 5th week when the husband asked if I wanted to go out with him for a bit over the weekend. He suggested leaving Liam in my mil’s care since it was only going to be a few hours. Well, turns out I shouldn’t have gone out and should have stuck to the routine myself because later that afternoon, instead of playing with him, she coaxed him to sleep through the entire afternoon citing she wasn’t good at playing with him.
I was annoyed, and the Bo thought I overreacted. Not thinking much of the knock-on effect, he volunteered to help out with the night feed since it was the weekend…only to give up at 2am in the morning because he lost his cool at the little man’s refusal to sleep (I volunteered to take back the night duty of course). Bo sure felt bad when he was greeted by Liam’s adorable face later that morning, apologized to his son, and then told his mom how her actions did affected the night indirectly. I wished we didn’t have to go through that episode but at least through that, the Bo was more aware of how important being consistent to the routine was. :p On my part, I decided that I wouldn’t go out and leave Liam in the hands of someone who couldn’t follow my routine. At least not for now.
It was only after 2 days that I managed to get back into the swing of the routine. And with much blessing, yesterday was the first night Liam “slept through” managing only one feed at 4.15am after his 10:30/11:30 dream feed. Hooray! This morning, lunchtime & afternoon nap have also been good so far, with the little one actually waking on the spot and waiting patiently for me to pick him up for his feed. 🙂
I actually have 2 proper naps without interruptions today!
And so begins my groundhog days with the little one. Well, at least I know when to allocate time for online shopping, internet surfing & blogging ;p