Monday, November 20, 2006


or maybe this post would be better titled "Lack of Sleep". Wow, I am exhausted. I feel better than I did the first week Helayna was born and much better than I did when we were in the hospital but still, I am so wiped. Sleep has become a major issue in our house. Helayna is not a good sleeper, I've decided. She would much rather be awake, screaming and overtired than fall asleep on her own. This is a problem. She wants to be held almost all the time. I don't want to hold her all of the time. I know that might sound mean but I can't hold her all the time. There are other things to do and I also want her to learn to fall asleep on her own, without one of us holding her. For the most part, she sleeps well in the playpen at night but during the day is a different story. She will not sleep in the playpen during the day for more than 15-20 minutes. She is a cat napper. I'm not sure how a newborn can be a cat napper but she is. She takes these short naps throughout the day instead of a couple long naps. I can't get anything done. It's stressing me out. She will take one long nap around lunch time that usually lasts 2-3 hours (if I'm lucky) but other than that, it's all about the cat naps. And the last 2 nights, she's been awake during the night for over an hour AFTER her feeding. We've tried so many things and nothing seems to work. I don't really know what to do with this little monkey. She will sleep in the car, that's one place she will sleep but I really don't want to get into the habit of having to drive her around to get her to sleep especially now that winter is here. I'm hoping that as we continue to train her, this part of our lives will get easier. I don't know how much longer I can go on 1 1/2 hours of sleep at a time. Well, I mean, if I add up the hours, I usually get 4 hours per night and maybe 1/2 - 1 hour during the day.
Another thing I'm struggling with is breastfeeding. She has not been feeding well the past 2 days. She'll nurse for about 5-10 minutes and then she's not interested but if I put her down, she wants to eat. What is up with that?!?! She's never been a long feeder, most feeds usually last 20 minutes but the 5 minutes is not working. And I refuse to feed her every hour, as she seems to want. I'm not doing the strict schedule feedings but I'm also not doing on-demand feeding either. She has to wait at least 2 hours before I will feed her again. Her normal routine is 3-3 1/2 hours so this is a change. And I don't think it's a growth spurt either because she'll happily sleep for 2-3 hours if she's had a good feed. I'm almost ready to throw in the towel with the breastfeeding. My sister warned me when I first had her that this would happen. She said I would probably reach a point where I'd want to give up but it's normal, most women go through this. And she encouraged me to push through this time and keep going. So I am but I feel so demanded of, like never before. I'm so exhausted and I feel like I've lost a huge part of my independance. I so wasn't ready for all of these changes and challenges. But at the same time, it's not like you can prepare for them either. It happens and I know I'm not alone. But truthfully, I keep wondering, "how in the world do people do this more than once?!?! Why do people have more than 1 child?!?!" I started pumping this week because my mom is coming this weekend and she said she'd babysit so Jonathan and I can go out for dinner. Maybe pumping will help. Maybe I can get Jonathan to give her one bottle in the middle of the night so I can sleep a bit longer.
She's also super gassy - has been since we went to the hospital. This weekend I decided to give up dairy. Jonathan is lactose intolerant and was as a baby so maybe that's what's causing it. We've tried gas relief drops & gripe water - sometimes they help, other times they don't. She does prefer to sleep on her tummy or sitting up so I know she's in pain (that and the look on her face some times).
And this girl has a set of lungs on her. She can SCREAM when she wants to.
I don't mean to be a downer but I also want to be real. I want to have this written down so that I can look back and remember this time and see that I got through it okay.
So if you have a moment, please send some encouragement my way. Tell me that I'm not alone. Remind me that it gets easier (I pray it does).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

HUGS!! I am sorry that it is so rough right now. Every new parent has to go through this. It will get easier - kind of... Each new age brings new challenges. But that is life. That is why we are here. I won't give any of my advice. I am quite "mean" when it comes to crying babies and sleeping. I believe as long as they are fed and dry and not sick, they can cry themselves to sleep. But I have that luxury living in a big house. I am not sure you have that luxury where you live... Good luck. HUGS again.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Heather! You can do it! Although I am not speaking from experience - I am glad that you are being real about it! So I know what is ahead of me!

The first advice that came to my mind is to look down one more post and see that gorgeous photo you have of her. Try and stay calm and relaxed, put on some quiet music and just fall asleep with her.

It is all worth it.

3:16 PM  
Blogger patti said...

Heather I wish I had some advice for you--but alas, I cannot! All I can tell you is that every time I read your blog, every time I see your "shoes" at the top of your banner, I am reminded of what a strong woman you are. I think that this too shall pass-eventually! Your sweet babe is not a month old and she (and you) have spent part of that at the hospital! You deserve to feel this way, to have these feelings and to recognize the struggles you are facing. Grandma is coming and hopefully you can get some rest! In the meantime, give yourself a pat on the back to congratulate yourself for the fine job you are doing as a brand-new Mom! Lots of (((((((((hugs))))))))!

4:08 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

It will get better, Heather!! We went through this with both Aili and Connor. Just remember, this too shall pass. It all seems overwhelming because 1) you're a new set of parents and no matter how much people try to prepare you for it, you're never really ready and 2) you're sleep deprived!
Your mom is coming at just the right time, it seems! She's a smart cookie and has done it four times already - I'm sure she'll have some great advice for you!
Big hugs, girlie! And chin up... a BIG package went postal for you today!! :)

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It really does get better. The better part is that you begin to figure your way around things & so does she. You are both learning how it goes.

I would definitely keep up with the nursing. Pump if you want. That would be a good thing for you to get more sleep...have him feed her in the night. But, I would pump during the night at the time he feeds her so it will keep up your supply. You won't be able to sleep through but you can immediately go back to sleep after pumping.

I think she may have gas & that is why she is eating for the short periods. Burp her often.

I also HIGHLY suggest going to your local health unit to their Nursing Mom's program. I'm sure there is one in your province. They were a godsend to me during my nursing woes. They were amazing.

Don't feel bad speaking how it really is. Most women don't talk about it but it is completely normal.

BIG HUGS again!!

7:44 PM  
Blogger MonaS! said...

It does get easier Heather!!! I know EXACTLY how you are feeling about the breastfeeding thing. The most important thing to remember is that NOBODY can decide what is right for the two of you. You do what is right for you and more importantly for Helayna. And whatever you decide to do, don't ever feel guilty about it.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Lea said...

Hang in there sweetie!!!! Unfortunately being a parent is not the easiest thing! It WILL get easier though. I remember breast feeding every hour for about 3 days when Spencer was going through a growth spurt; I got through it AND had another one. One thing I wasn't good at was asking people for help. I wanted to do everything myself. I realize now that was insane. It will be great for you and Jonathan to get out together. Anyone who says kids don't change your life and you can continue living your life the way you did before you had kids is seriously jaded. When you have another one, you will be an old pro!!!

9:53 PM  
Blogger anita said...

the first weeks are always the hardest Heather! it'll get easier and believe it or not, one day you'll almost forget these things! Nursing never went well for me for my first two...they did a lot of their daytime napping in their swing...I called it survival! But then I had my third...dream sleeper and I was able to nurse for 10 months. I encourage you to keep talking...take time for you...and treasure the little victories. Hugs to you.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Kerry Zerff said...

Oh Boy!!!!

you totally described Noah as a baby.

I made it though and you will too. I wanted to throw him thru a window many nights and did resort to driving around the neighborhood in the middle of the night for a lil bit of sleep.

it does get easier so just enjoy every bit of quiet time that you get and the minute she closes her eyes, make sure you close yours!

Luv you girl!!!!

12:54 AM  
Blogger SmileyCarrie said...

*HUG* Heather~ Since I haven't had children yet .... I don't have the best advice to give like the other wonderful Mom's on here. But I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you! I appreciated reading your post about "real" life instead of it being all happy and perfect. I like what Melissa said... look at that post with that beautiful photo. What a beautiful baby! You and Jonathan are very lucky:)
Thinking of you lots- *hug*

6:08 AM  
Blogger Tyler and Melinda said...

Heath, I love you! You're doing so great. Take advantage of Grandma being there. In a few short weeks I will also be there to give you a lift and break. We are praying for you. Hugs.

9:19 AM  
Blogger JennD said...

Hugs Heather! No advice for you, just hoping you find something that works for you and your family.

Oh, and you're scaring me. *S*

9:33 AM  
Blogger shelby said...

Sending you some love and encouragement my friend! I dont know from experience how hard it can be, only from what I heard, and I truly hope that it gets easier for you! I am here if you need to vent!

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

**hugs** i cant help much except that your baby is beautiful. i coslept, carried fay in a sling most days, and feed on demand but thats becuase i was too lazy to do bottles and willd o anythign for the easy quiet life.

keep going - ui suggest having a read of the baby whisperer book - that helped me a lot with making decisiosn - not all myd ecisiosn were recomemnded byt he book either

hang in there and relax. parenting is a strange and weird thing with rules and expectations - none of which are right or wrong.

you are a good mother.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh heather! Huge hugs. I agree with Carm - that each stage has it's challenges. The first weeks are so hard!!!! I think up til the 3 month mark it is one of the most physically and emotionally demanding with very little back from the baby. Soon she will start grinning at you and looking with a look of love. That recognition that is unlike anything else you will ever feel. You are the most important person in her whole world. And soon she will show that to you. Hold on.
The sleep is hard. I am still tired. :) But it will get better. Lucy was HORRIBLE for the first 3 months - and she got better. And your body, after it heals more, will get better able to adjust to less sleep. I need lots of sleep but there is an adjustment. And sometimes you just operate on survival mode. That's a mom's life.
As for the breastfeeding, keep working at it. You and Heleyna both have to figure it out. Lucy and I had a rough go with it. She would think that she wanted to feed and I would think that too. But then she didn't. There was a little rough go. But if you can make it work, it is so good. It doesn't seem like it now, but eventually you will really enjoy it. And relax while she feeds. Join a breatfeeding group or meet with someone who has breastfeed. There is help out there with it. And it is a learned thing. Everyone has to learn it. Good luck.
PLease let me help you with anything Heather. I could do your laundry. Or watch her while you sleep. Or do errands for you. Whatever you need. Let me know. I'm thinking about you a lot! Good luck!

1:14 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Oh heather,

Hugs to you! I have almost forgotten about the hard part of the first month of babies (emphasis on ALMOST) - LOL...

It will get better. BFing is tough. Give it a bit more time, things will probably work out. Just relax. Go for a walk if you can. Take a bit of time for yourself.

As for the gas, I did end up avoiding dairy and spicy foods for about 3 months after a couple of rough nights with Noah. I did find that burping him helped a lot (not getting the burp out caused some of his bad gas).

My friend who is a pediatrican also mentioned to me when Noah had these problems that some babies might have acid reflux b/c their digestive systems aren't fully developed yet so you might look into that too.

But this is awesome that you are blogging about it b/c in a couple of months, you will hardly remember all this b/c you were so sleep deprived. But it will get better! And then you can print out this journaling and do a LO about your sweet baby!

Hugs to you!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Hi Heather! I have to admit I didn't read all the comments so I don't know if what I'm going to say has been apologies if they have been. really is the first 6-7 weeks that is the hardest with a newborn and especially in the nursing department. I remember banging my foot on the floor every time Katie latched because it was so painful. I also recomend seeing a lactation consultant...and hope you have a breast feeding clinic available to you. If at the very least they weigh her before and after a feeding and can tell you right down to 10mL how much she has taken. Then you will know how fast she can drink...Katie only nursed about 10 min but took a good 4 oz (which as you likely know is tonnes for a babe!) gave me a little peace of mind. That being said however...Katie also play Heleyna's game and liked to "snack" and because I am a supporter of demand feeding I gave in. I know it's not for everyone. You two will figure it out! But I do recommend sticking it out if you are the least bit don't want to let your supply deplete and than can't go back.

As far as sleeping...during the day cause Katie liked to move I'd let her do alot of sleeping in the swing. If you don't have an electric swing I recommend one! I'd put her in it and sleep on the couch beside her! You do what you have to do.

Big hugs! It will get better. It will! If you have any questions about nursing...I had sooo much trouble and equally as much help with Alan and will share whatever info I can.

Those pics of your little darling are amazing! She's gorgeous!

7:56 PM  
Anonymous stacey wakelin said...

Could she be hungry? I have known so many mothers that breastfeed and still find their babies crying through the night or not sleeping for long periods.I have had friends who gave a small amount of formula before bed just to top up and make sure they are really not hungry.I found with my kids they both needed supplementing. I know it isn't always popular thinking but sometimes it works. Best of luck.

1:24 AM  
Blogger Elaine said...

Heather, even thought its only been 5 days, I am in the same boat as you. My husband and I have started to do shifts of sleeping. I think I have had a total of 17-20 hours sleep since I have been home from the hosptial 5 days ago. Its tiring, but these ladies with the words of encouragement about getting better is what we have to rely on. I bet in about 6 months you'll post a blog about how you want to have another child and you'll look back at this blog and shake your head!

6:41 AM  
Anonymous melissa diekema said...

Take a deep breath.
I PROMISE this will pass. Really.
You will forget how exhausted you are right now.
You must.
I have three kids.

Ask her doc if she might have reflux. If she does, meds will help a ton.

Not easy.
You can do it.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Kimberly (pierides) said...

Huge hugs!! I remember this so well. The first few months are so hard. You are always tired and everything seems so overwhelming but like everyone has said it does get better eventually.

I pumped with Russell and Paul would give him one bottle a day just so I could get some sleep. Russell would feed upto 40 minutes at a time and want to be fed again an hour later. I felt like a cow. It was a fustrating experience until we figured out the whole BF and burping thing.

I found using a swing helped --especially in the afternoon. Both of my kids would take naps in it. I would put it on a slow speed and the next thing I knew they were out -- and then, I was out as well. I loved that swing. I was so sad when they grew out of it.

Many more HUGS!!!

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh girl, you are so not alone, and I can see that 21 other people have had good advice too(sorry I don't have tim to read them all so if I am repeating I apologize). I was so there where you are. The sleep deprivation is horrific!!! Work on one problem at a time, it can get overwelhming otherwise.
About the breastfeeding, do you have access to a lactation consultant or breastfeeding clinic? My hospital had one and I found it very helpful. They put me on some herbs to increase my supply(I'm drawing a blank as to what it is called). But remember do what is best for you!!!(and your daughter of course). Ian was a horrible sleeper too, I got several books out of the library to help me teach him to sleep.. one was the baby whisperer helps solve all your problems. The other was healthy sleep habits happy child, Both different approaches, I picked bits from both that I liked and used and implemented. One thing that people stressed to me was to remain consistent. This is such a tough time, but it does get better. *hugs* You're doing great!!!

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather it sounds like what you need is a hug, i'm sorry I am not able to deliver it personally right now, but know that every new parent goes through something like this with their child. I recall so many instances with Alexis and we would try everything we could think of to stop her from crying and each and every time it was something new. Her pants were on backwards (thank dh for that one) she was too hot, she wanted me to walk and not sit I could go on and on.

The pediatrician had given me some advice after my first visit... if I was going to feed her every two hours, or 4 or whatever the schedule was, if she seemed fussy in between, and had a dry bottom, chances are that was when she wanted to interact with me. I found going through the stages of checking her diaper, changing if necessary, then playing with her, singing reading, or playing with mirrors, then as a last resort giving her the bottle, worked like a charm and we stayed on our schedule.

If she seems gassy, one thing that helped us (although I bottle fed) is as suggested burp often, and pump the legs. We would pump her legs up and down kind of putting light pressure on her belly and 9 times of out 10 it helped relieve the gas build up.

You will get through this, and soon very soon you will look back and cherish the times that she wanted to be with you. It is hard when we feel we need to accomplish so much, but you don't need to, especially right now, your first job is Helayna and if you allow yourself the guilty pleasure of just being her Mom right now, alot of the pressure you feel will go away. (I know easier said then done) and one mroe thing, just as you both are trying to figure this all out, so is she, and she doesn't judge you. You are perfect in her eyes even when you are exhuasted.

HUGS again my friend!!!!

12:03 PM  
Anonymous elia said...

I wish I had some advice/widom to share with you but as I have never been through this I cannot. I know that with time things do get better and am really hoping that things settle for you. It is very natural to feel this way and you should not feel bad about it. You are a great mom and are doing the very best that you can.

I am hoping that you can get some rest. Big hugs.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Most of the ladies had great advise. Just hang in there. I remember it taking about 6 weeks to get the breastfeeding established properly. Just keep at it. There are LeLeague meetings you can go to too. I know'll you'll enjoy it if you get past the first 6 weeks. It's such a bonding time.

As for cat naps. Newborns are like that. It really isn't until they are 3 or 4 months old that you can see any kind of schedule to their napping. For me this was the time to do the go to sleep yourself thing.

Hugs and hang in there. Lean on your sister and mom when you can.

1:05 PM  

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