My own personal experience with babies not sleeping began right from the beginning. My first son, Michael was born 32 years ago. He was 8.5 pounds and not the 5 pounds the Dr kept predicting. He was born after he wrestled with the doctor to come out sunny side up. My first assertion as a new mom was let him come out however he wants, he wants to come out and I WANT HIM TO COME OUT! Really it takes a man to get into a power struggle with a 8 and 1/2 pound baby in my vagina on a body that was only 130 pounds and 5'2'!
After Micheal was born I looked at him briefly before the nurses took him off for his rather roughed over bath and physical measurements. I caught a glimpse of a red haired, fair skinned, screaming as loud as he could and raising the red strawberry birthmark on his crown up and out as far as it could go.
Then they turned around and plopped him on my chest as if to say they had enough of all the noise. He nuzzled into my chest and found my heartbeat and promptly without any further ado...went to sleep. Hence began Mommy MAGIC.
The next day when we got home is when I had an inkling this was not going to be the typical first born new mom relationship. He cried and cried and ate and ate. He wanted to breastfeed every 20 minutes on both sides for 40 minutes at a time. I thought I was going to be permanently hitched to him at the boobs for the rest of our lives. There were no nursing consultants and only relative with well meaning advise that just wasn't doing any good. In addition I was a fair haired light skinned person with very tender nipples. After the first two weeks I was ready to throw in the towel. No really the towel that I was clenching between my teeth because when I screamed it scared him from eating. With cracked and sore and bleeding nipples I was determined to fed Michael. His feeding soothed what I now know was colic! Who knew? It was a matter of pure survival. We co slept....I was totally unconcerned about co-sleeping as he would snort and I was wide awake...I mean seriously who roles over on a baby and doesn't hear it? It was my saving grace and sometimes he would drop off to sleep and I would get a few moments myself until I heard him rooting around. Once I woke up to find he had helped himself to the side of my breast...didn't know how funny hickeys on the side of the breast looked. No really they have an almost translucent glow to them.
It took about 3 months for us to adjust to this rhythm. Then we came to an understanding my nipples toughened up, he fed on demand and by the time he was 3 and 1/2 months old he weighed in at 18.5 pound, by the time he was a year he weighed 23.5 pounds. I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 120 pounds and could barely pick up his large frame. He wasn't fat he had grown in inches to match. I remember thinking I had given birth to the next largest basket ball player! (That's the large man in the picture below holding his own precious daughter so tenderly! I am proud to have been the vehicle for him to enter into the world. The drama was worth every moment!)
As for sleep. Well just when they start sleeping through the night the next baby comes along and so on and so on....until finally when they are teens the reality hit me....sleep will always allude me as they are moving out of the house....I did discover when they move far enough away the brain allows a reprieve and finally a full nights sleep. Well sort of after the babies flew the nest the doctor finally figured out I really did have 4 sleep disorders.....Life is full of joy and humour! Got of love it all!
Retrospectively I realize how much patience I had, how loving and kind I was to this newborn baby who had no way of communicating his pain to me or what his first experience in life was all about. Now I am so passionate about the Dunsten Baby Language, Sign Language, Infant Massage, Attachment Parenting, Breastfeeding support (La Leache League) all supports to communicating, to allowing adults into the world of an infant. Making their first experiences in this world more loving and kind. I can only imagine what it would have been like if Michael and I had those moments!
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