February 3, 2023
Annapolis, US 30 F

Working On A Schedule

It is absolutely amazing how much our baby already “knows” me. She can sense my presence, energy, emotions, etc. I am certain of this. Last week I had a meltdown. For some reason, I believed Vivian should already be on a schedule of some sort (crazy, I know….call it my “type A” personality). I thought she should be eating less frequently, sleeping more regularly, etc. She was instead, completely attached to me. Still wanting to nurse every hour-and-a-half to two hours, not really “napping” at all, and crying every time I set her down. It’s amazing how our “quiet little princess” has found her lungs. I lay her down for two seconds and leave the room….and the screaming starts. I come back in the room and stand in front of her, and she gets silent. Wow, Mommy is already completely whipped. I never listened to the advice of “sleep when the baby sleeps”, and when I was finally at my breaking point and was going to start napping, she decides that naps are “for the birds.” In the midst of the chaos, needing a break from constantly nursing, needing sleep, needing to be able to snuggle with my husband for five minutes without our little beauty in my arms-I called the pediatrician. I explained to her that instead of sleeping for 15-16 hours a day as she “should” be, she was sleeping for MAYBE 10 hours a day. Instead of eating every 2.5-3 hours as she “should” be, she was still barely making it to two hours, and the second I set her down, it sounds like she is being tortured. HELP!

I listened to some of the advice and prayed it would work. Two days later the Doctor called to check on us–still no change. She was so sweet and encouraging on the phone. She said “awwww mom, she likes you”, with a smile I could hear on the other end of the line. She explained that Vivian was still so young, and that sometimes it can take a while to get into a routine; but not to give up! That made me look at this in a whole new way. My frustration and fatigue turned to motivation. It’s true, Vivian just wants to be with me and can sense my frustration. Daddy and I are really all she knows (and her little doggie brothers and sisters) and she wants to be held and cuddled. Nursing is comforting to her and it’s up to me to get her napping as I want her to. I had a “talk” with her. Yes…I did have a full-out discussion with our newborn. My mom has done this with her and I laugh; but desperate people do desperate things. So, “serious talk-time” it was.

“Vivian, Mommy and Daddy need sleep. Mommy needs to be able to leave the house for a little while without having to nurse you, and Mommy REALLY needs you to take naps during the day so I can do those necessary things like laundry, dishes, and take a shower. We are going to work on this together. Mommy will swaddle you more, hold you less, and let you cry for just a bit between feedings. You are doing a great job eating! I am SO proud of you! You are growing great, so I know that it’s okay for you to eat a little less frequently. I know that you don’t have any tummy problems or anything else wrong, so I’m going to try and let you “play” without me sometimes. It does not mean I don’t want to be around you, just that I want you to learn to be by yourself a little. We can do this together. Mommy will miss you when I’m not holding you, and it will make me sad, but we will be okay. Love you.”

That’s essentially how it went.

I swear it was like a switch went off. As if she could feel my positive energy and determination (or maybe just my desperation). She is now going about five hours in the middle of the night before eating again and during the day we are up to three hours between feedings. She has been able to “play” for a little while independently and after the very early morning feeding, she is back to sleep for another few hours. She seems more relaxed and doesn’t “fight” going to sleep as much. When I feed her in the evenings, she cuddles up with me and just goes right to sleep.

I know every baby is different and that every mom has their own ideas of what is “right” for their child. I am not sure that I am doing everything right, but I am sure that what we are doing now as a family is working for Vivian…and for Mommy and Daddy. I am so thankful for Dr. Smith at Arundel Pediatrics. We LOVE Dr. Smith and are so happy that she cares so much for Vivian and our family. I am thankful for her advice and would recommend anyone to their wonderful pediatric practice in the Arnold or Linthicum offices. Their entire staff is fantastic!

We still have progress to make as far as a schedule is concerned, but I now feel we are moving in the right direction, instead of just spinning our wheels. I love our little girl, and am so thankful she is healthy, happy, and growing well!

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