Ask IM: How to Survive the New Baby Sleep Deprivation

Ask Instinctual Mothering

I am humbled and honored every time a mom, mom to be, or even the occasional father contacts me for advice or information. It never occurred to me that people would actually value my opinion enough to seek out my perspective, it is a shock every time! But it is truly an honor and a privilege to be able to share my perspective and experience with you all.

I thought it may be helpful to publish the questions I receive on the blog in a series titled “Ask Instinctual Mothering”. Remember, the answers are only my perspective based off of my own experiences and what I have read or researched. I will never claim to know all there is to know about pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding/parenting because I am still learning myself (and have no true accreditation besides a breastfeeding counselor certificate)! However; helping, encouraging, empowering, and sharing information with others is why I’m here typing. It is a true passion and gives me great fulfillment and I hope I can be of service.

I promise to only share real questions from real people and always with their permission (and never their name). If you find yourself pondering something yourself, please feel free to contact me with ANYTHING – even critical feedback! You can contact me through facebook, E-mail at Tmschult@gmail.com, or through the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Okay, enough blabbing. Here is the third “Ask Instinctual Mothering” installment! This was a message I received via Facebook.

The BIG SLEEP Question

Hi Tara,

I just wanted to reach out and see if you had any tips or words of advice that could help me and my daughter get better sleep.  I have a dockatot coming Tuesday and I’m hopeful she will like it.  She has reflux so I know I’m going it have to prop it up a bit.  She was doing well for a good 2 week stretch in her rock and play swaddled… sleeping anywhere from 4-7 hour stretches!  Then last Monday rolled around (the day before her 3 month) and all this crazy fussy no sleep at night happened.  Let me correct myself there, she sleeps but wakes ever 1-2 hours wanting my boob in her mouth.  Even if she’s not really nursing it’s comforting to her it seems.  She’ll fall back asleep within 10 mins but then transitioning her back to the rock n play is hard or it seems she doesn’t get into her deep sleep…(waking after 45mins -1.5hours).

I try to only keep her awake an hour and 15 – 1.5 hours then get her down for a nap before she is overtired and crying.  It’s a struggle tho.  I feel like I have no life.  Any tips or just what works for you would really be appreciated.  Thanks so much and I hope you and your family are doing well!

Sincerely,

Sleepless in the Suburbs

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Minority Report

mr

 

Since entering the world of Stay at Home Mom Dom…. I’ve been meeting a plethora of other moms in various groups, meetings, and activities and I have been starkly reminded of how much of the MINORITY I am when it comes to parenting philosophy. I wouldn’t say I fit the “crunchy earth mama” stereotype so I think people in general are somewhat shocked when they hear my viewpoints regarding birth, baby care, and gentle parenting. I think they assume by my appearance that I am undeniably mainstream. (Except the other day I realized my outfit consisted of a screen Tee and spiked earrings… Is it happening? Am I turning into a hipster?) And I am mainstream, pathetically, in other ways- I love me some celebrity gossip and Starbucks. But the basis of my parenting views are definitely what you would consider “alternative” (or the biological norm depending on how you want to look at it). 

However, I’m adjusting to “not conforming” in a way. My whole life has been about fitting in. Moving around a lot as a kid, I was the “new girl” more times than I would like to remember. “Fitting in” was way of survival for me.  I learned how to be good at it (I had to really) and something that seemed so tragic as a thirteen year old may have even helped me in my adult life; I am inherently social. But it wasn’t always easy. (Especially that one time we moved from the North East Philadelphia region to the rural parts of South Carolina– can you say culture shock). I read something somewhere that wanting to conform is a primordial survival mechanism. We are a social species, after all- it is imperative. Wanting to conform is hardwired, so I am a little out of my comfort zone in my new mom life and it can be a lonely place sometimes. However, when it comes to parenting my “opinions” are passions and I know too much, have learned too much, to ever go back. (more…)

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Homeward Bound

I want to remind my readers that my intention is not to make any other mother feel any type of guilt or shame, but only to share my own personal experience and perception openly and honestly. I’m sure many mothers can and do balance working full-time and home life easily; however, I am a neurotic, anxious, control freak and didn’t handle it well. Now on to the good stuff….

I have been home for a month now, and it has been one of the most enlightening and joyous times in my life and yet somehow slightly heartbreaking at the same time.

My first Sunday night as an official stay at home mom was spent at the grocery store. Two, leisurely, therapeutic hours where I did not feel rushed or stressed and was not chasing a toddler all over Giant. I unhastily planned our meals for the week and even had the mental clarity to organize and use coupons! A HUGE win. I felt a monumental shift occur that night. See, when I was working I never wanted to do things alone on the weekends, not even grocery shop. I probably actually needed the alone time but couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it because it felt so selfish. I didn’t see my daughter all week, I wouldn’t leave her if I didn’t have to. So where I went, she went, and this included the grocery store. Also, not to mention, when you are an exclusively breastfeeding mother like I was/am, there is a true tethering to your baby. It is hard to leave a nursing baby when you are the sole food and comfort source to them. The bulk of childcare naturally falls on your shoulders (which I was dedicated to). This also kind of led to my husband taking over the cooking role in our family life. He cooked dinner while I spent the evenings with our daughter, which meant I really had not been in the kitchen much at all. So spending this time in the grocery store and taking pride and ownership in planning and shopping for the meals I would prepare for my family was significant. I felt the tension ease in my muscles and joints, and the metaphorical weight lift off of my shoulders. There was no reason to rush. I could spend as much time as I wanted to, because I had nowhere else to be the next day but at home with my little one.

(more…)

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Entering Tantrum Territory

So far this blog has focused heavily on the newborn and young infant phase. I think partly the reason I have talked (and will keep talking) about this stage is because I believe that is when our babies are most vulnerable and dependent on us; and the obvious- where I have experience. I started this blog when my little one was five months old, but the reality of my situation is that my “baby” is growing! She is now a mobile, babbling, solid-food-eating nine month old. And with that, comes new (and sometimes rough) terrain.

Lately my daughter has been… hmm how do I say it? A TERROR! She has transformed from a sweet, delicate newborn into a screaming, whiny, bratty, needy, IMPOSSIBLE baby at times! I thought I had plenty of time until this phase began. What on earth was going on? Of course, mommy guilt crept in and I began to blame myself. I started to think she is behaving this way because I am going against the natural order of things by leaving her to work full time (and I’m still not entirely convinced this doesn’t hold some truth). I start to doubt myself as a mother; wonder if I have this whole thing backwards. I think to myself, maybe I am “spoiling” her? Wasn’t my entire philosophy that this is impossible at this age? Did I create a monster?! I started to question my bond with her- do I not know her anymore? I was stressed, guilty, and insecure. I thought I was supposed to enjoy and be in awe by everything she did at every moment, good and bad. But the truth was- I missed her! I missed my happy, loving, easy baby.

I may feel strongly about certain topics (i.e. co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, vaccination), but I am still a NEW mom navigating through this journey of parenthood and baby dom. I am still learning. I still doubt myself. I still seek out advice from other mothers. I know I’ve already made mistakes and will do some things differently the next time around. What can I say?  I am human. I am flawed.

Maybe my husband is right. Maybe I am too hard on myself. But aren’t we all? Doesn’t this pressure come with the territory of having something, someone this important in my life?

(more…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Minority Report

Minority Report

mr

 

Since entering the world of Stay at Home Mom Dom…. I’ve been meeting a plethora of other moms in various groups, meetings, and activities and I have been starkly reminded of how much of the MINORITY I am when it comes to parenting philosophy. I wouldn’t say I fit the “crunchy earth mama” stereotype so I think people in general are somewhat shocked when they hear my viewpoints regarding birth, baby care, and gentle parenting. I think they assume by my appearance that I am undeniably mainstream. (Except the other day I realized my outfit consisted of a screen Tee and spiked earrings… Is it happening? Am I turning into a hipster?) And I am mainstream, pathetically, in other ways- I love me some celebrity gossip and Starbucks. But the basis of my parenting views are definitely what you would consider “alternative” (or the biological norm depending on how you want to look at it). 

However, I’m adjusting to “not conforming” in a way. My whole life has been about fitting in. Moving around a lot as a kid, I was the “new girl” more times than I would like to remember. “Fitting in” was way of survival for me.  I learned how to be good at it (I had to really) and something that seemed so tragic as a thirteen year old may have even helped me in my adult life; I am inherently social. But it wasn’t always easy. (Especially that one time we moved from the North East Philadelphia region to the rural parts of South Carolina– can you say culture shock). I read something somewhere that wanting to conform is a primordial survival mechanism. We are a social species, after all- it is imperative. Wanting to conform is hardwired, so I am a little out of my comfort zone in my new mom life and it can be a lonely place sometimes. However, when it comes to parenting my “opinions” are passions and I know too much, have learned too much, to ever go back. (more…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound

I want to remind my readers that my intention is not to make any other mother feel any type of guilt or shame, but only to share my own personal experience and perception openly and honestly. I’m sure many mothers can and do balance working full-time and home life easily; however, I am a neurotic, anxious, control freak and didn’t handle it well. Now on to the good stuff….

I have been home for a month now, and it has been one of the most enlightening and joyous times in my life and yet somehow slightly heartbreaking at the same time.

My first Sunday night as an official stay at home mom was spent at the grocery store. Two, leisurely, therapeutic hours where I did not feel rushed or stressed and was not chasing a toddler all over Giant. I unhastily planned our meals for the week and even had the mental clarity to organize and use coupons! A HUGE win. I felt a monumental shift occur that night. See, when I was working I never wanted to do things alone on the weekends, not even grocery shop. I probably actually needed the alone time but couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it because it felt so selfish. I didn’t see my daughter all week, I wouldn’t leave her if I didn’t have to. So where I went, she went, and this included the grocery store. Also, not to mention, when you are an exclusively breastfeeding mother like I was/am, there is a true tethering to your baby. It is hard to leave a nursing baby when you are the sole food and comfort source to them. The bulk of childcare naturally falls on your shoulders (which I was dedicated to). This also kind of led to my husband taking over the cooking role in our family life. He cooked dinner while I spent the evenings with our daughter, which meant I really had not been in the kitchen much at all. So spending this time in the grocery store and taking pride and ownership in planning and shopping for the meals I would prepare for my family was significant. I felt the tension ease in my muscles and joints, and the metaphorical weight lift off of my shoulders. There was no reason to rush. I could spend as much time as I wanted to, because I had nowhere else to be the next day but at home with my little one.

(more…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Entering Tantrum Territory

Entering Tantrum Territory

So far this blog has focused heavily on the newborn and young infant phase. I think partly the reason I have talked (and will keep talking) about this stage is because I believe that is when our babies are most vulnerable and dependent on us; and the obvious- where I have experience. I started this blog when my little one was five months old, but the reality of my situation is that my “baby” is growing! She is now a mobile, babbling, solid-food-eating nine month old. And with that, comes new (and sometimes rough) terrain.

Lately my daughter has been… hmm how do I say it? A TERROR! She has transformed from a sweet, delicate newborn into a screaming, whiny, bratty, needy, IMPOSSIBLE baby at times! I thought I had plenty of time until this phase began. What on earth was going on? Of course, mommy guilt crept in and I began to blame myself. I started to think she is behaving this way because I am going against the natural order of things by leaving her to work full time (and I’m still not entirely convinced this doesn’t hold some truth). I start to doubt myself as a mother; wonder if I have this whole thing backwards. I think to myself, maybe I am “spoiling” her? Wasn’t my entire philosophy that this is impossible at this age? Did I create a monster?! I started to question my bond with her- do I not know her anymore? I was stressed, guilty, and insecure. I thought I was supposed to enjoy and be in awe by everything she did at every moment, good and bad. But the truth was- I missed her! I missed my happy, loving, easy baby.

I may feel strongly about certain topics (i.e. co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, vaccination), but I am still a NEW mom navigating through this journey of parenthood and baby dom. I am still learning. I still doubt myself. I still seek out advice from other mothers. I know I’ve already made mistakes and will do some things differently the next time around. What can I say?  I am human. I am flawed.

Maybe my husband is right. Maybe I am too hard on myself. But aren’t we all? Doesn’t this pressure come with the territory of having something, someone this important in my life?

(more…)

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