Thursday, September 22, 2016

BFBN Week: Short Naps and the Colicky newborn

Its Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week, and this go around we are addressing issues that YOU babywise mama's asked to read more about! We polled the Babywise Mama's facebook group to get a feel for what topics you wanted to sort of "hash out" the most. Based on the feedback from the facebook group - we are talking about all things in regards to SHORT NAPS.

I am specifically touching on short naps with the colicky newborn. Ill start out by saying, if this applies to you and your newborn specifically, I am so sorry. I personally know the journey, and its memories are forever etched into my mama heart.

Kensington on day 4 of life. We had been home one night.

Newborns are tricky, no matter what disposition they are born with. They don't come with instruction manuals, and you have to get to know your baby to understand fully their cues - and that takes time. After the honeymoom of bringing home an new baby begins to fade away, and the extreme exhaustion takes its place things seem to get real and sometimes they get very difficult.

My 2nd daughter (out of 4) came into the world with an excellent set of lungs. I am certain to this day (she is now 5 years old) the entire hospital knew quickly of her arrival. Unless she was nursing, she was screaming. For the first week or so, we tried to deny the fear of colic setting in as our reality. Like I mentioned before, the honeymoon ended and we were left with a non-napping crying champion.

My 1st daugther was the text babywise baby dream child. So you can understand how my 2nd daugthers colic position left me feeling like I ran straight into a concrete wall at full force. I know how to teach a baby to sleep. I had done it with great success just 2 short years before. Her inability to nap had me baffled, feeling like a sure failure, and most of all humbled to know that I didn't have it all together. I later learned that this would be ok, and that in all things - I would never actually ever have it all together.

My textbook babywise baby trying to calm her very spirited sister, who should have been napping.

With a baby that was constantly crying, all I wanted was for her to get some good naps in. If she was going to spend her time awake wailing on and on, I needed for appropirate sleep to happen in the meantimes. It didn't happen. I read the book. I knew about the Eat/Wake/Sleep cycles. I know about sound machines, and swaddles, and appropriate wake time lengths. I knew it front and back, and yet I could not get her to sleep hardly at all -  and when she did - 45 minutes at a time was all that would happen. I was tired, emotionally drained from feeling like I couldn't calm my own baby, and frustrated. However, I did learn a few things from her newborn experience and wanted to share how we made it through, and eventually conquered the short napping problem.

Staying consistent is key
Doing all you can to keep on keeping on with an age-appropriate schedule even when they won't follow it ideally isstill teaching them what the day should look like. Eventually, they will succomb to the schedule you have provided for them and THAT will be their normal. The short napping won't turn into their normal unless you allow it too. If you can continue to feed them when they need to fed and provide the opportunity for sleep when its time for them to be sleeping they will follow suit.

Following the schedule was all I really knew to do for her, so even though it didnt seem to be working we tried to stick with it. By 12 weeks old, the colic was gradually getting better and so was her sleep. Then, by 16 weeks, she was sleeping through the night and was incredibly predictable with her napping.

We thought driving for a nap would help. I don't remember if it did, but we tried. She was 3 weeks old here.

Let sleep happen wherever it will happen
While I stayed on a consistent schedule with feedings and sleeping times, I allowed for sleep to happen wherever it WOULD happen. My daughter seemed to get longer naps in the swing. When you are in the throws of a colic newborn, you just survive. The swing certainly was one of our greatest survival tools and I had no shame in breaking that "rule" whatsoever. So, if the rock N play helps your colicky newborn sleep longer stretches pull that piece of baby equipment magic out and let it do its thing. Your baby and you will be so glad you did. If the baby will sleep on you best, go for it. These are habits that your baby can fully learn to ditch as soon as this difficult newborn stage passes.

Tag team it
Ask for someone to come help. Anyone. Your husband, mom, bestie, neighbor, anyone. A difficult newborn and a super tired mama is really a recipie for disaster and won't add up to anything helpful, so take short breaks and breathers. If the baby isn't cooperating with their naps and is crying instead ask for someone else to try and calm them. Take a minute or two, and lots of deep breaths, and do what moms do - try again and again and again.

Try it all
I tried every tip and trick that is on google to help my colicky newborn sleep. Not many worked great, but it gave me peace of mind to know I was trying my darndest to help her. We did everything from swaddling and singing to GIVING HER CATNIP AND FENNEL on the tip of her pacifier before sleep times. I am not kidding, I read on a babycenter baby board that it helped so nothing was going to stop me from trying. Do what you can that helps you feel like you are doing your best. Then, even if it doesnt work, still know you are doing a great job.

She was 5 weeks old here, and had been awake for 6 hours. Yes, 6 hours. A day I will never forget.
Rest assured, the tough time will pass. It doesn't last forever (it felt like 16 weeks was an eternity at the time) and things can and will turn around! Sleep will happen. Short naps will end and they will grow up to change the world, those non napping, extreme crying champs. They will change the world.

No comments: