When I was pregnant I had all these rules that I was planning to implement with Margs. I remember reading through online communities and telling Mer I would never co-sleep, I would never formula feed, I would never feed our baby rice cereal and I’d never use a binky with her.
Well, I failed at every single thing on that list. I failed miserably. I caved and I’m okay with it.
The thing is, as a first time mom I had no idea what to expect. I had no real experience with babies, the sleep deprivation and the reality that sometimes you’ve gotta do what you gotta do to just survive. Yes, sometimes a newborn or small infant means living in survival mode – 3 AM feeding anyone?
The thing with the formula was really hard on me. Like, I cried and sobbed that I was poisoning my little girl by feeding her boxed formula. I almost imported organic baby formula from Germany – that’s how guilty I felt about failing miserably at breast feeding. Margs would have taken to it I’m sure, it was me. I was just so exhausted that I needed Mer to step in and take care of some of the feedings. I couldn’t handle it all by myself and in retrospect I did the right thing for our small family. Having said that, it took months before I could accept that my plan to breast feed just wasn’t going to ever work out – mom guilt is real. So so real.
As for the rice formula and the binky it’s just something I assumed was best for baby because the interwebz told me so. Truth is, my kid loved eating rice cereal and when she got bigger and hungrier but couldn’t really eat it really helped fill her tummy. At one point, we were giving her over 40oz of formula per day and she was still waking up starving. Poor kid needed food but didn’t know how to eat. Rice cereal to the rescue. The thing with the binky – babies like binkies- it helps soothe them. She doesn’t use it often – mostly just when first falling asleep and we’re okay with that.
Now, the co-sleeping. This is something we’re still trying to figure out and deal with. Margs was amazing sleeper until she hit 6 months old which also coincided with us moving from a small apartment to this house which although still small is far bigger in the eyes of Margs I’m sure. It started with her naps. She suddenly needed/wanted to be held – no big deal because while holding her I’d enjoy a little rest and binge watch various shows on netflix. Then, it started to extend to her nighttime routine – we’d rock her to sleep which is something we’d always done but the second we’d put her down in her crib for the night she’d wake right back up and we’d be at square one.
For months we settled in for the night to watch a little t.v and Margs would be held by myself or Mer until it was time to go to bed. For a few weeks we set up her crib as a co-sleeper and that sort of worked until she started rolling over into our bed.
We’ve tried sleeping with her between us but that’s incredibly stressful and dangerous. We then opted to alternate nights sleeping with her when the other slept on the couch. This unfortunately is the only way my baby will sleep – in our bed cuddled up to either me or her father.
We’re not happy about this. We’re scared and anxious about the day she learns to pull herself up. We’ve tried cry it out (she cried for 4 hours straight until she puked all over her crib), we’ve tried getting her into a deep sleep and then transferring her to her crib (she’ll sleep maybe 20 minutes then wake up screaming and proceed to hyperventilate).
So, we bought her a double bed, a mattress and bed rails. Now, we alternate sleeping with her in her room so that at least we all get to sleep in a bed. Sleeping on the couch 50% of the time really isn’t ideal.
Any experienced mamas want to give this newbie some tips?