In Discussions, Life, Parenting

Round Four: Observations from a new mother and parent

I CAN’T READ OR HEAR ANYTHING BAD REGARDING BABIES

Not that I could accept it before, but it has gotten much worse now.

I hear the word baby, and anything following it that is sad and I can’t bring myself to read it or to hear about it.

It’s not that I’m blocking it out completely but now my heart actually hurts. I physically feel the effects of hearing bad news surrounding babies and other babies and I can’t help but picture Baby Bun in that situation.

SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE THE WORST PARENT AT 3 AM

… at 3 a.m. in the morning, when you’re tired and you’ve been trying to get some solid night’s sleep that is longer than 6 hours, it can be hard not to feel stressed out and frustrated when your baby wakes up and you can’t figure out what is wrong.

Baby Bun has been waking up screaming, crying and basically totally losing it at 3 a.m. in the morning.

I know he’s hungry. He knows he’s hungry. BUT HE WON’T EAT.

I have to pick him up and cuddle him, but even that doesn’t stop him from screaming because he is hungry and HE WON’T EAT.

Then I change his diaper thinking he pooed or is uncomfortable but that it just escalates the screaming to another level because he is hungry and HE WON’T EAT.

It wasn’t until one night when I was going through this ritual again of 15 minutes of screaming that I finally said: I don’t know what the #*%#*@&%# you want!!!  in a very angry, frustrated voice.

I was on the verge of screaming, to be honest.


(I may have sworn quite a number of times, actually….)

He totally stopped crying and calmed down.

It stopped me in my tracks because in that instant I realized that maybe, he thought I was a stranger coming to shove some random bottle in his mouth and he didn’t know it was his Mommy so he was crying to alert everyone within waking distance that he wasn’t sure who I was.

…so if he does this again, I am going to pick him up, hold him and talk to him while taking him around the apartment to point out how everything, including the table and chairs are “sleeping” and he should sleep too.

So after knowing all of that, I feel terrible.

I feel SO BAD for having gotten mad at him.

I still feel terrible now, thinking about it. I shouldn’t have sworn or yelled at him because he’s just a tiny, innocent baby who doesn’t know and isn’t doing anything wrong, but…

I was just SO TIRED, and that night, I was in a particularly deep and restful sleep for the first time in a long time before he woke up crying.

I haven’t slept a full night’s sleep in months.

I keep waking up in short spurts. I can’t really go into a deep restful sleep because I subconsciously keep waiting to hear him cry or whine and then I am up like a lightning bolt. I can’t turn my brain off.

Tell me I am not the only parent who has done this.

I am trying my best to take advice from other parents and “enjoy” these 3 a.m. wakings but when you’re working full-time, it can be hard to “enjoy” these wakings in the middle of the night when you know you have to be up in 3 hours to get to work, act like an adult and then come home to do it all over again.

HAVING A BABY SLEEP ON YOU IS THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD

I pat him to sleep while he is on my chest. He is going through some new clingy stage where he wants Mommy to cuddle him while screaming / crying to sleep, otherwise he won’t sleep even though he NEEDS to.

otter-mother-family-kisses

Kind of like this.

Anyway, the feeling and weight of your sweet little baby on your chest, breathing in and out, totally calm, feeling secure and knowing that they 100% trust you to take care of them is incomparable.

He smells amazing to me, I love patting his little head while he sleeps and holding him. It reminds me of when he was a newborn and he fell asleep on my chest when he was 2 days old. I was overwhelmed with everything and was super tired after giving birth a day ago, but couldn’t sleep because I was marveling at him sleeping on me.

PARENTAL OLYMPICS SHOULD BE A SPORT

Since having a baby, I am starting to come up with these special parental challenges, like..

How to change a squirming baby with a bum covered in poo in the fastest amount of time possible

How to get a wet onesie off a baby and a new one on, at 3 a.m. in the morning on 2 hours of sleep

How to put a diaper on a baby who won’t stay on his back and wants to be on his front, crawling and touching everything

How to get a baby to nap when he doesn’t seem to want to but desperately needs one

How to feed a baby puree without getting it up his nose or in his ear

How to stop a baby from trying to punch or headbutt you in the face or neck each time he leaps on you or when you’re holding him

How to get anything done with only one hand (the other, holding a wiggling baby)

BABY POO NO LONGER GROSSES ME OUT

I’ve never owned a pet or taken care of a baby in my entire life before Baby Bun, and I thought I would be SO GROSSED OUT by baby poo and pee that I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Turns out, not so much.

I’m totally de-sensitized to the poo situation now. It doesn’t deter my appetite, it’s now just part and parcel of having a bouncing, healthy Baby Bun.

I am completely fine, even worried if I don’t see poo in his diaper.

BABIES HAVE THE ATTENTION SPAN OF A KITTEN

Honestly.

Anything shiny, shaking in front of his face or blinky is very interesting.

He’s like a kitten.

I just shake things in front of his face and he’s intrigued.

I WANT TO RE-ITERATE HOW MUCH I LOVE CLOTH DIAPERS

The work involved with cloth diapering is so minimal.

It’s negligible, having to scrape poo off (2-4 times a day or less), separate the cloth insert or prefold from the cover to put it in the laundry basket to wash….

*shrug*

I prefer it and am a total convert even though I was on the fence about it to begin with due to the work I thought was involved with cloth diapering.

Quebec even has a program that gives you $100 back for using cloth diapers. I was too late to the game for this.

I AM LOVING THAT DADDY IS STAYING AT HOME WITH HIM

I know it isn’t easy to do or even feasible but.. at least for one weekend, Mommy should leave for the day and let Daddy take over.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for my partner to be with his son for such a long period of time. I seriously think that every father should consider spending at least a month at home with their child without the crutch of having Mommy around to be the default parent.

I really really think it is important that men experience at least one day a week staying at home full-time with a baby, as the ONLY parent around.


It wasn’t until my partner did it the first week I went back to work that he finally understood what I meant when I said: Who has time to do anything with a baby?

He totally, 100% got it. A baby is 24/7 and you only get a break when they nap, and ours only naps for about half an hour to an hour at a time.

The other benefit is that he is able to get Baby Bun to nap during the day even if I am around but busy. This has been a huge help because sometimes you feel rather resentful being the only one defaulted as the go-to parent for everything.

He bonds with the baby and the baby bonds right back because even though I am still his #1 Favourite Person Ever, Daddy is now #2 from having spent so much time with him alone during the day as of late.

BABY FEEDING IS NOT AS EASY AS I THOUGHT

Breastfeeding was a no-go for me but I didn’t think purees would be so hard to feed to a baby.

I guess he’s just particular about what he eats. Like Daddy.

He refused to open his mouth for the longest time. It’s only been after a month that he has finally started opening his mouth here and there but he only eats a few spoonfuls at a time.

He won’t eat enough in one go, I have to try to feed him every hour or so and it’s really frustrating because then he would rather have milk which we are trying to decrease the intake of so that he transitions to actual food.

At his age, he should already be on finger foods but I can’t get him there because just eating the purees is a problem.

I CAN SEE WHY PARENTS BUY TOYS AND GADGETS

… sometimes you just need a few minutes of peace, so you’re willing to give them ANYTHING to shut them up and keep them busy for.

Enter: TV for most parents

I know why parents stick their kids in front of the TV now.. it’s to keep them quiet so that they stop crying or whining. Seriously.

Unfortunately we don’t own a TV and we don’t plan on ever owning one, so I’ve come up with some ways to get him to stop squealing without a TV:

  • Give him a cheap alarm clock, he likes blinky things.
  • Throw a light scarf over him and drag it across his face and make him play with it.
  • Hold any electronic item out of his reach and keep moving it around the bed so he has to keep crawling around to get it.
  • Put stuff on your head and make funny faces.
  • Shake your feet in front of his face (he loves adult feet and toes).

TMI: MY CHEST HAS DEFLATED

After I stopped nursing, my chest has deflated by half a size. I wasn’t huge to begin with, so this was kind of disconcerting.

I don’t feel skinnier and I still feel like my pants are a little snug around the waist at times but I didn’t expect to lose my chest!

DEFINITELY TMI: I STOPPED NURSING AND MY PERIOD ARRIVED

I stopped nursing and my period came about 3 weeks later.

I have been using a Diva Cup for years, and I actually totally spaced and forgot I had to buy a larger Diva Cup now that I am at 30, and I have given birth to a child (either vaginally or C-section, you still need to buy the Model 2, or the larger size).

Anyway, I bought the larger Diva Cup and a few things I noticed was that I was losing a lot more blood than before but maybe it’s just because it’s my first period after being pregnant and having given birth, and the other thing I noticed was that the Diva Cup was a bit painful to insert because it’s a larger cup, but also as I had mentioned before, I was in pain each time I got intimate..

I suspect it is because Baby Bun was in breech the whole time while I was pregnant, he might have used his little feet to jump inside and knock something out of place down there (my urinary tract, as that’s where the pain seemed to happen the most), which caused me a lot of pain afterwards.

Long story short, after about 4 days of wincing in pain to insert and remove the Diva Cup (and I needed a light pad to catch all the excess blood because there was just so much of it and/or it wasn’t inserted or able to be inserted correctly for whatever reason), the pain went away near the last day of my period and I felt normal again. No pain.

So FYI to anyone who gives birth, don’t be surprised if you do feel pain afterwards. I may be an unusual case but I thought I’d warn y’all.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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17 Comments

  1. The Roamer

    I know you said you have your hands full but you should check out Janet Lansbury. I think she gives great parenting advice. Its not just anecdotal she is actually studied in childcare.

    How old is your son. You don’t have to do baby food at all you can go straight to cook soft foods he can pick up himself. I hate wasting food but you just have to accept it will happen the first stage isn’t eating anyways its experimenting.

    I love when my kids slept on my chest. I still can get my little girl to snuggle. But at 18 months she prefers laying down to sleep.

    And yes the half awake sleep waiting for baby to cry is normal. But I would check the lightning reflexes if he is just stirring giving some time for him to settle back down is something that will pay back dividend as he learns to sooth himself and get back to sleep and you get to sleep longer. Of course that advice does not apply to wailing. That could be serious but I remember hearing her stir and jumping up and sometimes the noise I made woke her all the way when I open my eyes but stayed laying down and just listening sometimes she would just adjust and be right back to sleep.

    Reply
  2. Lissa

    I can remember what you said all too well. I only had about 3 months total of maternity leave and it was tough going to work while having a newborn. Not because I feel guilty of leaving them but the experience of not having enough sleep, driving to work, working 8-9 hours and driving home again. My youngest is 3 now and both my kids sleep well. I assure you, it will get better. I can’t believe it sometimes but those sleepless nights are now a distant memory.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Thank you for the encouragement!!!!

      Reply
  3. MelD

    Sounds real to me!
    Where I am, it is common knowledge that at around 8-10 mths a baby will become wary of strangers or even people they know but perhaps don’t see all the time and can get very upset (we even have a special word for it) – I haven’t seen this in English baby literature. They get over it after a while because we automatically comfort them and give them security but I have heard that even the “other” parent can be shunned for a while there, grandparents etc. and all strangers. It’s a kind of realisation and working out who belongs where, I guess. My own youngest just used to turn into a doll anytime anyone looked at her or spoke to her, she would just unfocus and wait for it to pass; others scream! Sounds like baby bun is going through this and your solution is probably a very good one.
    Babies can be totally maddening, that is normal, too… 😉

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      That explains it. It is not common knowledge here…

      Reply
      1. MelD

        @save. spend. splurge.: Strange, that!

        I also thought of you last night/this morning, when I had my grandchildren over for a sleepover – I went straight into mommy-mode and slept really lightly, very aware that I was listening out for them!! Since I don’t even wait up for my 19 yr old, it’s a while since I felt like that… very familiar!!

        Reply
        1. save. spend. splurge.

          *laugh*!!! Mommy mode. I guess it never goes away.

          Reply
  4. Sally

    These are some of my favorite posts lately. You’re no bad parent, your love, enthusiasm and excitement for your child is so obvious! And you’re a working mama, I love it! Hopefully being able to share with us makes the tough times a little easier.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Thank you.

      I love being a working mom too, so that’s a nice bonus.

      Sharing does help but I also hope it helps prepare future parents for what’s to come.

      Reply
  5. AdinaJ

    The not-sleeping-to-listen-for-baby is normal. It took me almost 1.5 years with my son to get past that. I’m so grateful for a full night’s sleep now, even if my kids are up at 5:30 every morning. Sigh.

    Kids react to food differently. My son loved purées, but hated chopped/solid food. My daughter was the opposite. You do what you have to do.

    Ditto on the boob deflation. Interestingly, the second time around, I didn’t experience that again.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I don’t mind waking up early because I sleep early but man is it tough!!

      Yes perhaps he wants solid food now.. We will see.

      I was really surprised with boob deflation. Did they ever go back to normal?

      Reply
  6. Revanche

    One of the stories that made me laugh hardest (sympathetically of course!!) about baby frustration was from an old professional mentor. He was walking his son (one of multiple) for countless nights who was crying constantly because he had colic and of course with colic, they don’t have any idea what causes it, the poor things are just uncomfortable and upset all the time. I suspect I was a colic baby too which is why this hit home for me: he said that after months of sleepness crying walking nights, he looked at his son and thought, “Man. If I didn’t love you with all I have, you’re juuust about the size of a football….”
    I kept thinking of my poor mother who had to deal with me like that for months and thought, boy o boy, I can’t even blame you for yelling at me to shut up. I’m so sorry.

    All this to say: it’s HARD being a sleep deprived adult without enough good answers. It’s no fun for the baby either but we don’t remember the horrible things we put our parents through at that age so … 😉

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I feel better now. He seems to forget it all… No long lasting scars

      Reply
  7. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    Our daughter is two now, but reading this really took me back. You’re not the only one who isn’t 100% smiling around your baby, no worries. At the time I thought I was doing permanent damage if she saw me crying because breastfeeding was so hard or if I yelled because I was so frustrated. Looking back now I know she was just a baby and none of it registered any way. In good news, she snuggles in for reading books now, so I get to cuddle her again.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Phew!! Thank you.

      Reply
  8. Amber

    Congratulations on your new little one! This doesn’t work in all cases, but I have seen several colicky babies “cured” by probiotics (made for babies) Especially those wake in the middle of the night cases. Their poor little digestive systems need the good bugs and our modern diets don’t provide enough. Just a suggestion! I love your blog, keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Thanks for the suggestion. Not sure he has colic though…

      Reply

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