July 30, 2011

Without a Map

In general, Jude's newborn stage has been easier than it was with Soren; crying happens a little less frequently, Jude is easier to soothe, and Chris and I as parents are more relaxed and not as shocked about what to expect.  However, having a newborn in the house again can be stressful, especially when it comes to sleeping.
We all know the adage "sleeping like a baby" is the biggest joke--come on, what childless person invented that term?  Jude is a decent sleeper, once you can lull him to sleep with the breast or in the sling, however I'm still on the fence about which practices are best for our family in terms of everyone getting a good night's rest.  I'm muddling through the days with about 4-5 hours of sleep.  Ugh.

There's the whole attachment parenting thing, which sounds ideal to me in a utopic sort of way.  Mind you, I do a lot of attachment parenting already--nursing on demand, babywearing, co-sleeping (somewhat)--however I'm not entirely comfortable with all of it, all the time.  Call me selfish, but I do miss having time to myself without having an infant attached to me.  I'm not a really touchy-feely person, and am quite sensitive and introverted, which means I need time alone to recharge. 

Nightime is hardest, with Jude next to me, wanting to nurse constantly.  His brother was the same way, and after about 6 weeks, I threw in the metaphorical attachment-parenting towel.  Soren began sleeping in his crib, which worked out swimmingly in the long run.
One book I've returned to is Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, by Tracey Hogg.  Out of desperation with Soren, I checked it out of the library years ago and found that it had some really helpful advice.  Without going into details, it is a midway point between attachment parenting and its opposite, Ferberizing.  Though I don't agree with everything the author writes, there have been some helpful tidbits in it.

What I've taken from the book is to pause and listen to a baby's cries, rather than just picking him up and feeding him. Often with Jude (as with Soren as an infant), he's crying because he's tired, not because he's hungry. And recognizing this has made a difference in getting him the rest that he needs.  In fact, as I type, he's upstairs napping in his crib (for the last hour!), away from the chaos downstairs with his brother running around like a maniac.

So here I am again, without a map, navigating these infant waters.  Have you found any sleep advice or books that have been particularly helpful to you when figuring out your baby?

3 comments:

  1. Awww, he looks like you!! :)

    This is such a tough stage...I hope it passes quickly for you! Each of my little ones was different in this regard, but one thing that helped them all was to get them on a cycle of eating, being awake, then napping. Even if the cycles were very short at first, it helped their little bodies to regulate...and sleeping for long stretches at night. :)

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  2. Uh...NOPE! LOL!

    It's hard, it really is. Every baby is different...just gotta hang in there...=)

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  3. He's gorgeous!

    I'm a believer in doing whatever makes your family happiest at the moment, or the long-run, if you can plan that far ahead. The trick is figuring out what those things are, isn't it?

    I like attachment parenting in many ways; I adore snuggling a newborn as much as possible--most of the time! Like you, I wanted to reclaim some personal space and time. My husband was more committed to attachment parenting, which meant that I passed on cosleeping responsibilities to him. (That worked because our son didn't nurse.)

    I can't say that I loved any books in particular, but I did enjoy feeling like there are many thoughtful, reasoned approaches. I decided to pick and choose what worked for us.

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I'm a good listener...comment away!

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