I am no longer a mommy of small babies, but I felt the need today to post this for some reason…someone is going to need it.
When my oldest daughter was born, it was amazing! There is no feeling in the world that could describe how I felt the moment I say her little face (which looked exactly like my husband!). She was the first girl in the growing pool of grandkids.
We brought her home, and I don’t think I can begin to describe the horrific three months that followed. It began almost immediately. She wouldn’t nurse, continually lost weight, screamed all day, and all night. This is NOT what I thought motherhood would be like! My dreams of smiling and rocking my wonderful newborn baby to sleep went right out the window as the nightmare continued. She started colic not soon after which left her screaming from about 4 in the afternoon until 10 o’clock at night, and then she would wake up at least 5 times a night crying.
Yes, I am getting to the good part.
Through process of elimination, we discovered she was allergic to dairy and switched her to soy formula. The heavens opened up, and I got my sweet baby girl! But, she still wasn’t sleeping through the night at all by about 4 months, and I was given some amazing advice by my sister-in-law that would be a crime for me not to share with you.
We started a three-hour feeding schedule, and it goes like this:
Feed the baby, keep him/her awake for one whole hour after feeding. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Whatever it takes. I would bathe my girls, because it was the only thing that would keep them up. (They were the cleanest babies in town!) The first few days it was tough, they would fall asleep, but by the third or fourth day, I was able to get them to stay up for the whole hour. After that hour, let them nap for two. (This is when you either nap with them, or get that laundry done, or dinner prepped, or whatever it is that you need to do! Hint: If you take a nap with them, set an alarm!) Once they have slept for two hours, wake them up. Again, whatever it takes, undressing them, changing their diaper, etc. If you let them sleep, you’ll mess up the routine. Wake them up, feed them and start the entire process over again.
Trust me, they’ll get used to it, and it’ll be the best thing you ever did for them and for you. I did this process with all three of my girls and they were all sleeping through the night within 2 weeks. I definitely saw an improvement immediately, but getting that 7 – 8 hours of sleep through the night took about a week and a half.
Babies only need a certain amount of food in a 24 hour period, and if they get it all during the daytime, there is no need for them to be awake at night, unless they are not feeling well, or teething, etc. It certainly doesn’t guarantee you 8 hours of beauty sleep for the rest of their babyhood, but it will get you a lot more sleep than you are getting now, and it teaches them routine.
After a little while, they will start to run on that routine themselves, and you won’t have to work so hard to keep them awake, etc…I started this routine with my middle and youngest daughters when they were about 6 weeks old. It worked with both of them. It was amazing!
Here’s a quick recap:
Feed; Keep them up for one hour; let them sleep for two; wake up and feed again. Repeat!
Now, understand that every baby is different and so is every mommy. If you are having a really difficult time, call your doctor. Talk to them about the problems you are having. Don’t try to change your baby’s formula without talking with them first. That’s what they are there for! This is just a method that worked for me and I wanted to share it with all of you.
Just to reassure you moms who have had a tough time with one of yours, my oldest daughter is now the most wonderful 12-year-old I know. Loved and cherished by all who meet her. It was worth every sleepless night! So take heart, moms. This time is only for a season. I hope this post makes that season just a few months shorter!
If this post wasn’t for you, today, pass it on to someone you know who needs it….or may need it someday. Let’s help each other keep our sanity, and make motherhood even more enjoyable!