I apologize for being so quiet now that I’ve had The Boy. Those of you who’ve had newborns probably know what I’m going through right now – the need for sleep above all else. Hygiene has gone by the wayside – who needs to shower when I could use that time to get 20 minutes of sleep? Eating – what’s that? Of course, I’d love to eat, since I’m hungry, but every time I eat it comes right back out the other end. That’s assuming I can get the food down in the first place. I started a new med and the side effects are not pleasant for me. “Intestinal discomfort” doesn’t begin to cover it, and I keep having the feeling that I’m going to puke. Pharmacist says it will go away after about a week, but seriously…I can’t take care of a newborn AND be in the bathroom every 20 minutes. It just doesn’t work like that, and skipping the bathroom is NOT an option. I’m sure I’ll figure out how to go and take care of The Boy at the same time, but I haven’t done so yet.

The Boy. I love this child. I do. I just wish I could understand him better. As in, understand his cries, what he wants/ needs/how to fix whatever it is. Dad keeps telling me I have to learn to let him “cry it out” once I’ve tried food, clean diaper, and holding. Just put him in the bassinet and walk away for 20 minutes. He was apparently never a new mommy! Even Aaron has an easier time of that than I do – why is that? I have to time it, and as soon as that 20 minutes is up, in I go. Or sooner, if I just can’t handle it. I get conflicting information – you can’t spoil a newborn, but I shouldn’t go to him every time he cries or he’ll learn that I’ll come when he cries and I’ll get no peace. Which is it? Go to him or ignore him?

I know, it’s all a learning process. If Dad tells me one more time “It’s all new to you and it’s all new to him and you’re both learning”, I might scream. He’s been calling me every day to see “how it’s going”, meaning “have you lost your shit again or are you doing better”. See, he was here the beginning of this week for 2 1/2 days, and every day I completely lost it around the same time. The Boy gets really tired around 5pm, and proceeds to fight going to sleep. He sleeps just fine during the rest of the day, but at that point, he just fights and fights. Me, having had him home for all of 2 days before Dad came, didn’t know how to handle that so well – still don’t, but I’m learning – and would burst into tears of frustration because I couldn’t FIX it and I didn’t know what was WRONG but my baby boy was crying and angry and I was FAILING and didn’t he underSTAND that? My poor dad – he doesn’t handle hysterics or emotions well to start with, and he’s had 33 years to look back through those rose colored glasses and see how “easy” it is to just let him cry, to know what’s wrong. I don’t think he really remembers what it was like when I was a newborn, or else mom dealt with it all.

So that’s what’s been going on. Me, fighting PPD and trying to get sleep. Aaron, taking over the care of The Boy as soon as he walks in at night because I just can’t deal on my own anymore. Dad driving me batty, as usual. And The Boy learning what it’s like in this world and how to express himself in a way that gets what he wants across.

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  1. When I had J, a friend who has 3 kids and was a peds nurse to boot gave me the great insight that all newborns tend to go through a “evening fussy period”. Think of it as them being overstimulated, tired, and just needing to get it out. I hate the evening fussy period, but having done it once, the second time around is not nearly as overwhelming as last time. I used to meltdown every evening at 10, when I really just wanted to sleep more than anything.

    Basically, you have to experiment and figure out what helps calm your kid the best. Our kids hate being swaddled, and preferred being walked around. J liked it when I sat on an exercise ball and bounced him. E likes it when Daddy walks up and down the stairs with her. They both liked fast rocking while me holding a paci in their mouth. Some babies like the Happiest Baby On The Block method of swaddling, pacifier, loud shushing, and jiggling them on their side. Some are soothed best in a swing. The “cry it out” thing is something I hear from my mother-in-law as well. However, at this stage of development (trust versus distrust), an infant is learning that when they cry, they can trust that we respond. Our pediatrician told us to start giving them time to settle themselves at age 1.

    It's OK to walk away if you feel frustrated, but I've found the most success popping in a DVD, sitting in the rocker/recliner, and rocking them with a paci for a few hours. Eventually, it will be impossible for them not to sleep- it just usually isn't at any time we want them to!

  2. The witching hour SUCKS. And there's not much you can do — Mini would nurse for hours at that point in the evening. Walking with him in the sling was good when he was small enough, but those were really the only options we had. Remember that it's not something specific that you are doing/not doing, it's just part of his development.

    And I totally handed off to Manly as soon as he came home.

  3. Jess

     /  April 18, 2011

    Oh yeah, it's about like that.

    You have a harder time with the crying than the boys do because of the hormones. Really. You're SUPPOSED to feel that way (keeps people from leaving/killing their kids even though it's so. freaking. hard). And for me, breastfeeding made it A LOT harder. I actually had a PHYSICAL reaction to Ethan's crying, where with Ava I MENTALLY felt the same but didn't have an actual physical reaction to basically MAKE me go check/get her. It was very odd. I'm sure it had to do with post-partum and bfing hormones (because it lasted a lot longer than post-partum and left after we were well into BFing).

    A lot of the other stuff, like Spock said, you just have to keep trying things to see what will work. Every baby really is different. I think I read somewhere, though, in adoption classes, where it's impossible for a newborn to be spoiled/get used to what you do and expect it…they're just not that aware yet. Of course, that changes eventually, but you have a good amount of time on that one!

    It will get better!

  4. Thanks for dropping by my blog the other day. It's great to get input from someone who has been through some of the same things. My only concern about our possible cleft is that she won't be happy in her own skin. I can handle all the other stuff. I just want to KNOW, ya know?

  5. Hi I'm “lurking” tonight but I agree with MrsSpock, both of my kids had a fussy period in the evening and it SUCKS. What worked for the first (walking outside or being worn) did not so much help the second. Try different things till you find what works. White noise helped #2

    I am vary anti “cry it out”. Babies cry to tell us something and their first lesson in life should be that we will be there for them when they need something. If he's just complaining for making noise its ok to let him try and figure things out and do a little self soothing, but if he's crying go to him. And remember its not always your job to get him to stop crying, sometimes its just your job to be there with him while he is crying.

  6. Oh my goodness…things to look forward to, I guess. I have no advice, but everyone says it gets better. Hang in there!


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