As we speak my almost 3 month old is crying in her baby bed because she doesn't want to take a nap. Give it 5 or 10 minutes and she'll be sleeping... well... like a baby, but it takes everything in my being not to go scoop her up. In the beginning I did. What I've learned over the last three months is that going in there and "rescuing" her would be for me and wouldn't help her one bit. The beginning is so so so hard. I've had an AWESOME support team around me and although God's Grace gets us through each day, I thought I'd share a few of the Earthly things that help us get through.
1.) The Hub: From Day one (back when we found out I was pregnant) he has been the person I've leaned on, emotionally and physically. He really has been there for every part of this journey and has been 100% willing to take on anything I ask him to help me with and even the things I haven't asked for help on. He has synced a need and offered unsolicited to watch El while I take a moment for myself, be it a long hot bath, a hot whipped cream topped drink from the coffee shop around the corner, or even just a nap.
2.) My friends and sisters: Remember back at summer camp when you were a kid and you always had to have a buddy to go into the lake or the pool, well that's what you need during pregnancy and the first few months... No scratch that, years.I was blessed enough to have an older sister walking me through a lot of pregnancy. I also had some pretty special friends. First off my friend Robyn was amazing and still is an amazing source of encouragement for me. She basically walked me through her own labor and delivery step by step and I can't stress enough how important it is for you to have a truly honest friend that will be candid with you and not with hold any of the disgusting details, because it's really important that you know this stuff, because at least for me, if I hadn't known some of it was coming, I really would have been scared when it actually happened. The most unexpected blessing of all though was that one of my very best friends, Sarah was about a week and a half ahead of me in her pregnancy and remarkably our babies were born on the same day, only 3 hours apart. I know I will make her blush by writing this, but she has been a source of strength for me from the beginning. We have literally walked side by side through this entire adventure. In fact we texted back and forth while we were in labor until about 4 hours before her little guy was born. I can't stress enough how important it is to have your family and friends beside you on this walk, loving on you and lifting you up when you are low.
3.) A schedule: My friend Cozy, fantastic mother of 3, was a great source for me in this department. She helped me understand that having El on a schedule was not only good for the rhythm of her day, but also gave me a significant portion of my sanity back. Since about 6 weeks El has been on a 3 - 4 hour schedule. Eat... 30 - 45 min eating. Play... About an hour. This could be in her bouncy chair, reading a book to her, tummy time, or sitting her on the counter and talking to her while I wash the dishes or dance around like a freak while mopping the floor (she really loves when I do that). Basically just an hour or so of solid interaction. Sleep... Exactly as it sounds, sleep is 2 hours of napping. Sometimes we nap together she in her swing and me on the couch, but for the most part she is in her bed and I use this time to do chores, pump, or shower. It's amazing what you can get done in two hours when you really try. One rule I have for "nap time" is that if she wakes up and starts to cry or even if she's just awake not crying, I don't go get her. Unless she cries for 20 minutes (it helps to set a timer because when they are crying every second feels like 10). I'll check the video monitor to be sure she's safe, but as long as everything is good, I'll leave her in her bed. 9 out of 10 times she has stopped crying before 5 minutes have gone by and she sleeps the remainder of the time without a peep. It doesn't always work, but I'd say 90% of the time she really thrives on having a routine. She is noticeably happier and since she's been on a schedule she has slept through the night all but 2 nights, so for me, the proof is in the pudding.
4.) Food: This is another one that I have the Hub to thank on. be it snacks or meals I am ALWAYS well fed. Especially during pregnancy when I could hardly stomach a salt cracker, he boiled an entire chicken to make stalk for home made chicken and dumplings. He packed my lunch with pickles and chicken and stars and didn't get mad at me when I couldn't eat the meal he'd made because I was so sick I couldn't stand up. He just kissed my head and handed me the pickle jar and the Sour Patch Kids he new were stashed in my jacket pocket.Now that El is here he reminds me to eat. I know, if you know me your thinking, Lili would NEVER need to be reminded to eat, but on more than one occasion I've honestly forgotten to eat. It's a really good idea, especially in the first few months, to keep snacks around both healthy ones as well as your guilty pleasures. Things like peanut butter, fresh fruit and veggies, milk, Mini candy bars, soups you can drink, etc.
5.) An Excellent Pediatrician: Before El was born we asked a lot of our friends who they took there children to and after stressing about it I got some advise from one of my OB's that really helped. He said "Choose someone you can talk to and listens well. Most importantly though is that you know that if it turns out that you don't end up liking who you've chosen you can always change". Luckily I think we've chosen well. She's been a great help to us. She listens to my concerns, small or large. She makes me feel comfortable. El likes her. Her staff is helpful and prompt getting us back into a room and out of the waiting room where there are generally sick children and definitely not the place you want to be with your new born. They are also very good about responding quickly if I have a question. She has seen El on Saturday and also made time for her when the appointment we had was accidentally deleted from her schedule. Even though it's only been a few months, the comfort and knowledge she has offered has been invaluable.
You can take all of this for what it's worth in that it has worked for us. Every mom and every baby is different and what works for us may not work for you. You may be able to put your own spin on something here to make it work for you. I do know that these 5 things have been invaluable to our little family.
Please feel free to share this with anyone you think migh benefit from it. It's all stuff that was handed down to me from some of my favorite people on Earth.
Till next time,