The Sleep Schedule of a Newborn

First off: Sleep Schedule….Baaaahhhaaahahaaaaa. What a funny idea. So by “sleep schedule” I should clarify this in no way implies regularity or predictability. In fact you should know the exact opposite is true. There was one thing I’ve read in the past month that has really stuck with me. It said something to the effect of “your baby doesn’t have a sleep problem, they are getting exactly what they need, you are the one with the sleep problem”. So true smart person, so true. Okay so I should go back and tell you that I think I have it a little bit better than some people. I have read horror stories of babies waking up every hour all night long and those that won’t go back to sleep. So I should thank my lucky stars and say that, so far, Nugget has been a pretty good baby. But you should also know that the notion of “sleeping through the night” is lost in this household. I have read lots about breastfed babies waking up more often because they digest the milk more quickly and they know the supply is nearby.
So here is what our “sleep schedule” typically looks like…..FYI if you are bored to crap by this subject apologies. I am a boring person these days. I promise it will (probably) get better.

  • 8pmish (meaning anywhere from 7:30-9:30pm) Jack lets me know he is “done” for the day. From weeks 3-5 this meant “I am going to scream uncontrollably for an hour or two and you can’t fix it in any way”. The first night that happened I thought he was just really hungry and he ended up trying to nurse off and on for about two hours. This meant that the next day my boobs about exploded! Insane. So for those unfamiliar, basically these first few weeks of nursing is teaching your boobs how much milk to make. When your baby eats regularly then your boobs get regulated on how much to make. But when you have random days where your baby goes on an “eating-fest” your boobs think “oh shit we’re not making enough milk! GO GO GO!” and they overproduce. This “engorgment” results in your boobs feeling like rocks….painful rocks. But the plus side is I have a freezer full of milk stocked up for when I go back to work. Thanks engorged boobs!
    Anyway, the “hours” of crying have subsided and I smartened up to the fact that this “melt down” is his signal that he needs to be out of a stimulating environment and that I need to put him to bed. Basically these first few weeks of motherhood are all about your baby teaching you shit and have nothing to do with you controlling anything about your life. The less you try to control things and just say “fuck it, let’s go with the flow” the better off you will be. And my best advice is, if your baby is screaming uncontrollably, don’t panic. They will live through it and so will you. Try to detach yourself from the situation and pretend you are just an outside observer instead of their mother. It is easy to feel like you should be doing something to fix them, this will just overwhelm you when you can’t fix them. So stay calm. This to shall pass and shit.
  • 10pmish (you get that these aren’t that exact right?) Nugget goes to sleep. Usually by nursing. I have started to try some techniques from the “no-cry” book I am reading on extending your baby’s sleep. These techniques include things like detaching your baby before they are fully asleep so they get used to falling asleep without nursing. This is fun stuff and almost always results in me giving in and nursing him completely to sleep. Some other techniques I am implementing are moving him into his co-sleeper. Usually this is only accomplished by the third try. Third times the charm. I will move him, he’ll wake up and I put him back on my boob. Move again. Nope not gonna cooperate just yet. Third time: okay fine, I will stay here. You may think I am moving him too early, but I assure you I have been doing the 20-minute wait period and the limp arm test. Where you see if they are really awake by lifting their arm to see if it is really floppy. My midwife told me something at our day 2 appointment and it has stuck with me “babies do things six times slower than we’d like them to”. Again, relax and go with it.
  • 12amish Nugget wakes up to eat. Usually my eyes pop open at his first movement noises, but sometimes he starts fussing a little before I wake up. I grab him, pull out my boob and let him go to town. Now at this point I should try to stay awake and move him back into the co-sleeper when he is done…..this has happened maybe once in the last 6 weeks. Usually once he has achieved nipple-latch I promptly fall back asleep. This is our golden time. Nugget gives mom and dad the gift of a 3-4.5 hour nap. Score! Again I say usually because every once in a while he will pop his eyes open at 1:30-2pm and start eating again. If when he is still beside me in bed I do the whole “grab, roll and switch”. This is where I grab Jack, roll him over the top of me to the other boob and he latches on there….and you guessed it, I fall back asleep.
  • 4amish Nugget wakes up to eat again. Most of the time we just switch sides and fall back asleep, but usually this is when his diaper has met its limit. BTW we are cloth diapering during the day now and doing disposables at night and when we go places. I will most likely tell you all about this later (hold onto that excitement peeps!). SO if I don’t wake up enough to change his diaper it often spells disaster because I will wake up at 5 or 6 when I feel warm pee on my stomach. So I try my darndest to get to his diaper at 4, which makes him super mad that I don’t let him eat first, then I put him back on my boob and pass out. Sometimes Jack decides he is up for the day at this point, but most of the time he will go back to sleep until at least 5:30 and sometimes until 7am! Go Jack!
  • 5:30amish. If Jack wakes up at 5:30, like he did this morning, then it is usually because he needs to poop. Today, as an example, this process was not fun. He was having trouble and I was exhausted, so I am trying to hold him up in the standing position (his best pooping position, let gravity work for you) but I was also having trouble keeping my eyes open. He was mad from 5:30-7am. When I gave up and let Andy take over the “pooping coaching” and I snuck in another hour nap. I think I have been eating too much salad lately and he has bad gas. In my own expert opinion I guage what his bowels are doing by what mine have been doing….this could be total crap by the way, I am not an expert. That is just what i think….and I have been gasy. Sorry little dude.
  • 7ish. Again sometimes Jack will make it until 7 without waking up and then I feed him and either get up for the day or we sneak in another nap. Last week I was so exhausted, from what I beieve was too much crazy grandma time, and we repeated these steps until almost 10am. It was glorious and I was so well rested. But then I realized that starting May 9th I am going to be getting up at 5:30am again and need to not get too used to sleeping until 10 everyday. So since then we have tried to get on a schedule…..hahahaha. I still make myself laugh with that word.
  • Since the impending “going back to work” is approaching I have been setting the alarm and trying to see if that will regulate Jack to nurse at 5am everyday. The idea being that it will be his last nursing before I leave the house. But so far…..well it needs some work.

I think when it comes to going back to work, this is what I dread the most. Thank goodness my boss is super flexible so if I show up at 8am instead of 7:30 because Jack can’t be bothered to nurse right when I wake up, we should be okay. I haven’t figured out yet if I will try to pump before I leave for work, so Andy has a warm bottle ready to feed him or if we’ll be pulling it out of the fridge……so many unknowns. My stance “play it by ear”. You can only control so much and babies aren’t one of the things you can control. I will keep you all posted how the rest of this week and next goes. Maybe I will surprise myself and by May 9th he’ll be waking up at 5am, nursing and going back to sleep for dad. Maybe I will be going into work at 9am on my first day after a dramatic morning of crazy unpredictability. One things for sure, I am going to look ridiculously tired on May 9th. Goodbye luxurious days of sleeping in with nothing to do….I will miss you. For those on Maternity leave or soon/someday to be on maternity leave: don’t plan anything before 11am when you are on leave. Let yourself sleep in if you can and don’t feel bad about it. If it’s your first baby too, we will probably never be able to do that again. So take advantage.

Eeek

Seriously peeps! I am so sorry. I am still alive and I decided I better fire up this ancient machine that may not make it through the post, to let you all know I am still alive and well. I have like a gagillion ideas for new posts: traveling with an infant, trying to get out of the house with an infant in a timely manner, first bottlefeeding, remembering to put food in your mouth, gearing up to go back to work, etc. The ideas are endless, the problem is lack of computer. Andy is almost done with school, but unfortunately that means I go back to work, boo. But I did want to check in and let you know I am still here. And to keep you semi-satisfied, here are some pictures.

At the airport for our first flight!
 What are you looking at?
“AHHH!” Going for a ride in the MOBY wrap. Hahaha.

And now we’re off to our 6-week appointment….which just reminds me what a blogging slacker I have been.

Unexpected First Flight

Wish me luck peeps. Tomorrow I am taking Jack on his first flight….and it wasn’t a planned one. We weren’t supposed to be doing this until next weekend when we fly down to Albuquerque with Crazy Grandma and Big Butter for my cousin’s wedding. But on Monday we received a call that Grandpa Gumbo passed away. I am not sure of all the details, but I think it was a heart attack.

As you may recall, Big Butter and I flew out in December to visit him before I couldn’t travel anymore. I had this strange desire at the time to go see him…and it turns out it was a good thing. I am so glad that we made that trip. I am so glad I was able to capture these moments with him. Stand in the kitchen watching him mix up a batch of cornbread. Sitting at the table we had sat at every year since I can remember. Kissing the top of his bald head as he rested in his chair.
I knew that he wasn’t feeling well. He hasn’t felt well for years. He had cancer in his spine and since they removed it, about 7 years ago, he’s been in pain. He’s had numerous surgeries to try to help with the pain and nothing has really worked. So despite the fact that tears were rolling down my cheeks as I pulled Jack in closely after hearing the news, I think this was better for Grandpa Gumbo. I selfishly wish he had been able to meet Jack and hold him and I selfishly hate that we won’t be making another trip to Lousiana with him in November. But in my heart I know this is better for Grandpa Gumbo. He is no longer in pain and I am just so lucky to have known this man.
It is amazing to learn about where you come from. This man was an orphan who taught himself how to read; he only completed the 6th grade. He supported his wife through her bachelors and masters degrees; meanwhile he was content being a grounds keeper and driving a school bus. He made a mean BBQ sauce and everyone begged him for the recipe. He was proud of all of us and he wasn’t afraid to say it. I am so honored to be his grand-daughter and I can’t wait to tell Jack all about him.


Who am I?

Sorry it has been so long since I posted. It isn’t that I haven’t had time, it is my lack of computer. Apparently my husband needs to take his laptop to school and shit and when he gets home he has like homework. I know, total B.S. I do have a computer of my own, but it is an 8 year old laptop that runs on diesel. It has to be plugged into the wall (forcing me to sit 4 inches away from an outlet. Apparently no one knew how to design convenient cords 8 years ago) and it overheats, which means it randomly dies at the most inopportune times. Thus, this is the first opportunity that I have had to commandeer Andy’s laptop and check-in. He is being all manly and cutting down the dead trees between us and our neighbors house. Score laptop time for me!
Life is totally different right now. Not in a bad way. Not in a like ‘what the hell has happened to my life?’ kind of way. It is more of a ‘I don’t even remember what my life was like before this’ kind of thing. It feels like this is exactly how it is supposed to be. When I look at Jack sleeping away and every once in a while doing his “shocked arms” where he flails his hands out above his head (hilarious!) I obviously realize how new he is and that these experiences all feel new, but at the same time it feels like he was meant to be here. Like I was meant to have him; meant to be his momma. So part of me feels like he has always been here. 
I am actually kind of surprised at myself. I would have thought that when Jack turns red and practically stops breathing from crying so hard (mostly during diaper changes and baths, he hates nakedness, apparently he is a WASP) that I would flip my shit and go into a freakish panic-mode. It isn’t that I don’t feel some sort of helplessness when this happens. I do. But there is some deep calm that washes over me and I am able to just soothe him and know this is only a temporary state of being for him. Honestly the only anxiety I have felt these past two and a half weeks have been because I hate to have Jack wake Andy up. I don’t have to be anywhere in the mornings, so I am able to just snuggle in bed with Nugget and get a few extra minutes of naps in. But I know Andy has to get up early and go function somewhere away from the house. So when it is 2am and Nugget is mad that I can’t get my boob in his mouth fast enough, I feel a little anxiety that I can’t keep him from waking Andy up. But honestly that only lasted the first week or so. Now I am like ‘fuck it!’ Andy will be just fine. If I can survive on a few hours of sleep and still be happy and functioning so can he. And he is a smart smart man, he doesn’t complain. Someone must be feeding him this information because honestly he has been absolutely the most wonderful dad and spouse. Maybe he is feeling the same things I am about this little man fitting just right into our lives. 
I do have a funny story to tell you about something he almost said during the birth though…..I would wait until the end, but I have already sidetracked you so I might as well go for it now. So  because Nugget’s head was so low and since my water had broken, he had formed a little bump on his head where a portion had swelled out into my open cervix. Yeah there is a technical name for this and shit, but I don’t know it. So hopefully you can picture what I am saying. Anyway. This little bump was obviously what came out first. And from how it looked Andy thought that was how big his head was. 
Basically when I would push his head would come out a little bit and then when my contraction would stop I would rest and he would slide back inside….or at least this is what happened until I figured out how to “hold” him in place between contractions. This was infinitely frustrating. Because I could feel the progress during my pushes, but then to feel him go back in after I was working so hard….it was awful. But then again I had a sort of warped view of the time. According to everyone else in the room, I only pushed for about 30 minutes, but to me it felt like the pushing would never end. Like he would never come out. Anyhoodles. So imagine Andy’s point of view. He is seeing this little bump come out and then go back in. He said he thought that was the extent of the head. So he ALMOST said ‘just push it out, it isn’t that big’. Luckily he was a smart smart man and didn’t let those words escape his mouth. Because as out of it as I was, I definitely had the fortitude to rip his arm off and beat him with it….yes I would have beat him with his own arm…..I am a viking and shit. He said he was so glad that he didn’t say it because a few minutes later when the whole head started coming out he said his reaction was ‘holy shit!’. Anyway, 150 points to Andy for being smart enough to keep his mouth shut and an additional 100 points for not complaining about lack of sleep from Nugget. 
I am sure he feels the deprivation, but he also seems to be aware that he does very little of the nighttime “work” and by “very little” I mean none. All you feminists out there, cool your shit. Let me explain somethin’. Caroline came over to do our two-week check-up last Tuesday (Karen had a cold so didn’t want to get us sick) we were chatting about getting help from the dad (she has a 7 month old) and something she said was so right on. She said ‘as a nursing mother you soon realize that you have to do most of the work…..it just isn’t possible for things to be equal….and someone told me ‘the sooner you can get over the resentment you start to feel towards your spouse the happier you will be”. But then she also pointed out ‘but you probably have realized by now that you are the most important person in the world to Jack…..if you don’t feel like that yet, you soon will. There is no one that he wants more than you and that is such an amazing feeling.’ She’s right. It isn’t equal. Sure Andy could wake up and change his diaper in the middle of the night, but in the time it would take him to gain enough consciousness to get out of bed, walk around to my side where the diapers and wipes are, I could have changed his diaper four times. Plus I usually change him right before I feed him. So what would be the point for both of us to be awake? None. So no, parenting at this phase of Jack’s life is not equal. But then again, as Caroline said, the relationship with Jack isn’t equal either. He does want me 9 times out of 10…..okay I think actually he wants me 10 times out of 10. If I could be the only one to hold him and take care of him, that would be a-okay with him. But Andy seems to be as at peace with this arrangement as I am. 
A guy friend at work told me that it took him a good 3 months to really bond with his baby. He said that he felt “put-out” by here for the first 3 months. She came into his life and stole his sleep and stole his wife and he just really didn’t like her very much. But then all of a sudden he warmed up to her and loved her and couldn’t imagine life without her. I was thankful that he shared this with me because I, in turn, came home and shared it with Andy (this was while I was preggers still). I thought it would be wise if we were both prepared if something like this happened. I promised Andy that I would be patient with him if this was how he felt. That it would be okay if he didn’t bond with our baby right away. 
But that didn’t happen. Andy fell for this little guy faster than dropping a brick off a building (by the way, don’t drop bricks off of buildings unless you are sure there is no one below you….you’re daily public service announcement). He put him to his chest while I went to the bathroom and took a shower. He cuddled and soothed him while he got his vitamin K shot and he laughed when we realized Jack pooped on him. Like father like son. Apparently Andy pooped on his dad when he was born too. A few nights after he was born, Andy asked if I was ever going to put him in the co-sleeper (note to self, before having Nugget I always told myself that our kids would never sleep in bed with us. I would put him in the co-sleeper next to the bed, but we needed to establish some separation….HAHAHA….I was so funny back then). In my defense I had tried putting him in the co-sleeper a couple hours before Andy came down. But he quickly woke-up and got upset, so I pulled him onto my chest where he passed out. I told Andy he should try putting him down. Maybe Nugget could tell that I was the one putting him down and would be more apt to staying asleep if someone else did it. So Andy picked him up and held him for a while, then laid him in the co-sleeper. 14 second later Jack woke up and started crying. Andy picked him right back up, crawled into bed, and put him on his chest. And he slept there until it was time for a feeding. 
Basically he is a goner for this little guy and it is super duper cute. It makes me want to jump his bones……I know that might be shocking to you ladies out there thinking about the state of my vajayjay. But I feel the need to tell you, yes it has only been 3 weeks, but the “lady” feels completely normal…..Okay maybe I am not ready to try sex just yet. Mostly because 6 weeks will be here soon enough and why chance it and experience any discomfort. But seriously, I thought I would never feel normal again. I was worried I would never feel like having sex again and that it would mean relationship doom for Andy and me. So you can imagine my shock when I get all tingly feeling just days after popping Nugget out. Stupid happy mom hormones and stupid sexy husband with a baby. Hahaha. It is like seeing that picture of the greasy topless fireman holding a baby. Swoon! Okay putting my libido back in check, sorry y’all. 
Andy himself even told me the day after Jack was born that he was surprised at how quickly he bonded with him. He said he wasn’t expecting it. OH and the biggest revelation is that Andy has changed his mind about the Circumcision. You all might recall my own problems with this decision, but after struggling with the issue, I decided to go with my initial instinct which was to let Andy decide what to do with our kid’s junk. Andy decided we would circumcise Jack and I even found a pediatrician who would be willing to do it at his office. I told Andy that I would not go into the office with them. He would have to take him and I would wait in the car. He was fine with that…..until Jack arrived. The day after he was born I told Andy he should call the pediatrician to schedule Jack’s appointment. To my utter shock and pleasant surprise he said ‘how long do we have to make the decision?’…..say what?. Jack was laying on his chest at that time and he said ‘well I just don’t think I want anyone cutting my boy….and the more I think about it, it isn’t really necessary. If he wants it in the future, I will take him in, but it seems kind of unnecessary’. Of course I was swooning all over again. How cute that he changed his mind because he didn’t want someone cutting his baby. 
For the record, Jack probably wouldn’t have noticed. He didn’t notice the vitamin K shot, he didn’t notice the two times he’s had his foot pricked….he seems extremely upset about diaper changes, but not about stuff that should actually hurt. Such a strange little man. 
One thing I do find strange is how many people have asked about Jack’s junk…..hahaha. That’s fun to say. Okay I realize I have now told all of you about his junk, but that is because I am a blabber mouth. But I am surprised that Andy’s friends have all asked if we are “getting him cut” and his stepdad seems to be interested in it. I guess I just find it strange because I wouldn’t call them up and be like ‘are you circumcising your kid?’. I just think it is weird to ask about that. It isn’t like they will ever see his penis…..or at least I can’t imagine a scenario where they would. So why do they care? Weird. 
So there isn’t really a clear point to this post. I am mostly just blabbering on and on, but Nugget is stirring so it looks like it is lunch time for him…I should probably eat something too. I always forget about that part. I hope to catch up on everyone’s posts soon! I have missed you all.  More pictures coming soon! gotta run