Thursday, February 7, 2008
Sleep is for the weak!
Okay, I think I'm finally, FINALLY back, dear readers. It's been a wild and woolly (and weepy) six weeks. Who knew baby raising was this hard? That said, I think I have a minute or three before Boobs McGee decides it's time for lunch. (We can send a man to the moon and accurately recreate John Holmes' schlong but we can't invent a pacifier that tastes like boob?) I've got the kid strapped to my chest, his head covered in toast crumbs, the dishes are only partially done (we won't discuss the state of my flossing routine). Seems like the perfect time to blog.
It's been a busy week. Britney's on the loose again (wait, WHAT?), Heath didn't kill himself, Kirsten Dunst's in rehab. (Seriously, is no child star immune?) It's been a busy week here too, and by "busy" I mean aaarrrrgghhh. I think the hardest part about being a new mother is how easy it is to feel like shit about it. I've learned a valuable lesson this week: I need to stay far, far away from parenting books. See, here's the thing - I tend to be a little neurotic. (The world nods it's head in agreement.) Because I am deeply insecure about my mommying abilities I decided to read a little book called Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. It was written by a British woman who became famous for teaching celebrities how to "talk" to their babies. Well you know me, if something's good enough for a Hollywood B-lister it's good enough for me. So I read it. Nay, studied it. The book is all about A) getting your baby to fall asleep independently (no rocking, no singing, no falling asleep in your arms - nothing that will cause a "bad habit"), B) getting your infant on a schedule (it's so easy! Newborns will sleep anywhere!) and C) changing your breastfeeding routine (no switching sides during feeding, lest your baby not get the high fat "hind" milk).
After a week of trying the Baby Whisperer's techniques I can say with certainty that this book is a big bag of bullshit.
Oh I followed her advice. I stopped letting him do his usual two-boob feed. I stopped rocking and cuddling and nursing him to sleep. I simply sat still and patted (5 minutes only, or the child will get used to it and need it to fall asleep!) and put Will in his bassinet (drowsy but awake, so the child learns to self-soothe!) and walked away, pleased that I was instilling independence in my little guy.
Bullshit. BULL. SHIT.
For days my child did not sleep, and I am in no way exaggerating this fact. Instead he cried for hours. Hours and hours and, oh wait, hours. Finally after day two, I looked into my poor baby's exhausted face and let him fall asleep on me. And as I kissed his little soft spot I realized something: I was trying to teach cause and effect to a newborn whose skull hadn't even closed.
Between the breastfeeding and now this, I have spent so many weeks feeling inadequate. I've spent a month feeling like I'm doing irreparable damage to my child by letting him nurse as often as he wants and nap on my chest and (Heaven forbid!) pulling him into bed with us for his 4 am feeding. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of children having routines. It gives them a sense of security and calm in a scary world; I'm hoping to be able to implement these skills as soon as possible. I'd love to have a baby who eats for 45 minutes, plays for 20 and then sleeps for an hour three times a day, but I don't, at least not yet. And all these books and websites that make moms feel like crap because their child doesn't "cooperate" can bite me.
Anybody else have trouble getting their kid to sleep? (If your newborn took three good naps and slept through the night by 6 weeks, please don't tell me. Seriously, my nervous system won't be able to handle it.)