To ask a lovely bunch of total strangers on MN to please boost my confidence about bringing up baby??(85 Posts)
Specifically about sleeping/feeding, which as DD is only 7 weeks old is pretty much all she does anyway!
Basically I am getting in a bit of a state and doubting everything I am doing. I am quite (ok, very) suggestible.
Obviously DD is too little for any kind of real routine (at least that is my instinct) and instinctively I know that even when she is older I am not keen on controlled crying etc (btw that is absolutely no judgment on people who do CC, it just wouldn't suit me). But I am in a panic at times feeling that all the advice I am getting is contradictory and not knowing what to listen to and what to ignore... Hmm, maybe I am a masochist to ask on MN then!!
But I would v much like to start instigating a few good sleep habits early on. we are lucky I think in that DD is not an utterly atrocious sleeper (at the mo) and seems a fairly chilled little character, however she does often get painfully overtired as she sleeps v little indeed in daytime... I hate watching her work herself up when I know it is over tiredness... Glazed eyes, rubbing face etc.
However I ave literally NO idea what to do for the best re daytime naps. Marc Weissbluth book has got me stressed out about the importance of napping (I said I was suggestible!!) and I have a good friend ramming Gina Ford down my throat (not literally...) then on the other hand I have my mum being deeply suspicious of daytime naps as she seems to regard it as some badge of honour that her children never napped, thereby in her eyes proving their high intelligence and general specialness...
Anyway right now I am honestly doubting everything I do, for example my initial instinct was that I wanted DD to NOT go up to her cot for a daytime nap but instead nap downstairs in her carrycot (I thought this might help her distinguish between day naps and night sleep) but thanks to all I have been reading I now worry that I am doing the wrong thing nd that if DD catnaps in her carrycot rather than going up for a proper deep sleep in her cot, she will be a anti social horror for the rest of her life etc...
Also we were getting some good results (calmer baby, more regularity to the day) by starting a three-hourly feeding regime last week after totally feeding on demand til then, but now I read in Marc W that I should NEVER wake a sleeping baby...
I am joking obviously but honestly it is making m head spin, I don't know what to do for the best.
I basically just want DD to get enough sleep if possible. I hate to see her overtired and she isn't keen on the daytime sleep I think she really needs. I would also love to be able, one day in a few months, to have some degree of self soothing in her cot rather than always having her fall asleep on me or DH... my Sister's children do the latter and it is something I personally would rather avoid if possible.
I had hoped to be able to cherry pick from a few experts (it is why i read a few books) plus use my own instinct but all the experts are so bossy and their methods seem so all encompassing (ie if you don't do every single thing they say you may as well not bother) and I am losing all confidence in any instinct anyway.
Any advice? And can anyone clear up the matter of pram versus cot for daytime nap, for the love of god??!
When ds was tiny, and people used to say "oh newborns can't stay awake longer than 90 mins" I would laugh hysterically (because I was hysterical by then) and tell them that at 2 weeks he stayed awake for 10 solid hours.
My God, the crying. I discovered he would only nap in the day in the sling, so when he got overtired I would put him in it, and go out.
If I tried to lie down, "waaahhh!"
I remember a nice lady at the checkout at Marks and Spencers coochy cooing at sleeping ds, and me blurting out "he doesn't sleep unless we are out shopping! So tired. I'm so tired". And she assured me that her second one had been one of those, and that he nearly killed her. Then I didn't feel so alone.
Honestly, do whatever works. And we all make mistakes and find our own ways of doing things in our own time.
Sounds like you're doing a grand job to me OP!
The best advice I got was this:
"Ignore all the advice you get."
So I didn't even buy any baby books, smiled sweetly every time someone suggested I top up DD with formula (she is ebf and staying that way, thanks for all your support MIL and dh), and trusted my instincts. She is fed on demand, sleeps from 9.30pm til 7am, will happily nap in her sling or the buggy or the car, will spend a quiet half hour playing in her nest, and is generally a happy little soul. She will be 12 weeks on Monday. So just keep doing what you're doing, stay chilled and bin the books.
(Sorry if I sound unbearably smug. I do realise how lucky I am!)
Baby books are wonderful- to find fault with! However, that's a past-time best indulged in once you're feeling more robust.
In the main, they do not accept that babies are tiny human beings, and all human beings are different. As you've already realised, they speak of babies as problems, rather than as a sweet new addition to your life that can't communicate very well.
Babies need to be cuddled, fed, and kept clean. More or less in that order. You don't have to choose between the first two, though; whether you are breast-feeding or bottle-feeding, you can cuddle too. Another fact that baby book authors frequently fail to comprehend!
I think books can be great for getting hints, tips and ideas. They aren't rule books to live by though, even if they say they are . For eg. I found the baby whisperer description of different cries and what they mean quite useful with my first. Also the GF routines as a rough guide to what I should be expecting my baby to do re the amount and length of naps. All three of mine settled naturally into a routine of sorts at around 3 months. I think the 2nd and 3rd were helped along into that by fitting in around school runs so the day had some sort of structure to it anyway. I think it does help to have a little routine so you can plan around when the baby is likely to need to eat and sleep rather than just having to deal with it whenever it happens. I've always tried to be flexible with their naps so they can sleep at home in bed or out and about in the car or buggy. It stops you being trapped.
Most of all what I've learnt by the time I've got to number 3 is to chill out. A lot. All these things that you are losing sleep over now are really insignificant in the grand scheme of things and as pointed out so wonderfully in that huff article there just aren't any right answers. Only opinions, and your opinions are the most important as the parent! Your instincts sound pretty good to me. Listen to them, try to relax a bit and go with the flow. Oh and, every time you think you have it sussed the baby will change .
The thing I took away from Marc Weissbluth was his #1 point about sleep being really important. I therefore felt happy ignoring his micromanaging suggestions in favour of whatever worked for my babies to get them as much sleep as possible. BTW this seemed to be different for all three of them so I am instantly suspicious of any one size fits all approach.
If your baby is getting plenty of sleep and you're happy then you are doing fine and have no need of books. If your baby isn't getting enough sleep then they can be useful as a source of ideas to try. But for the love of deity-of-choice don't let a book guilt you into messing with a system that's working fine already.
Congratulations on your dd . If it's any consolation, I think every new mum feels exactly as you do. I know I did.
As everyone has said - ignore the books, listen to your baby and your instinct (and try to put a stop to the parenting by committee because believe me that will only get worse as your dd gets older and everyone will have an opinion on weaning, toilet training, whether she should be wearing a hat, etc, etc).
Sometimes ds slept in his cot, sometimes he slept in his pram, sometimes he slept on my knee depending on where we were and what we doing.
Fresh air helped when he was getting over-tired. A quick walk round the park and he inevitably fell asleep. I found the fresh air helped me to relax and enjoy him too.
I can really relate with you OP; I tied myself in knots about DS's sleep when he was younger, despite it actually being pretty good. Stupid things like some of his naps being too short (according to some book or other) or because he couldn't always self settle. It almost felt like if his sleep went "wrong" one day, I had failed and he would sleep badly forever more!
It did improve and things that helped were:
1) Remembering that for every theory in a book, there will be at least one other book stating the exact opposite. There is no right or wrong, it's what works for your baby and you.
2) When DS was overtired and fighting sleep, going for a walk or a drive always got him to sleep and made me feel better.
Looking back at those first few months, I don't regret that DS should have managed longer naps or been able to self settle more. But, while I love the toddler he's become, I wish my anxieties had allowed me to really enjoy cuddling my little baby instead of always panicking about his naps. So do try to make the most of this time and forget the books.
Sounds like you are doing just fine. At this age, let her sleep wherever she is comfortable and whenever she starts to look tired. She won't get into bad habits I promise. Both my older kids slept in their Moses baskets at night at the side of me, and either in the Moses basket downstairs when we were home or the swing if they happened to fall asleep in it, in their car seat if we were out or the pushchair. By 6 months they had developed their own routine of morning and afternoon naps, either in their cot at home or pushchair if we were out, on families bed if we were visiting.
One thing I did do with both of them is a strong bedtime routine every night from 6 weeks old they had a bath, feed, sleep song and then bed. I also sang the sleep song at every nap, and they had a special teddy. By 6 months all I had to do was get them comfy, give them the teddy, sing the song and they would be asleep. Even now at 7&8 yo I can sing one verse of the sleep song and they will start yawning! The good thing about the song and the teddy was that they were easy to do anywhere so we could be on holiday, at a friends, home, out in town, in a bed, in a cot, in a pushchair, it didn't matter because the familiarity of the song and the teddy was all they needed.
If it's any help my dd had a wind up toy that played a lullaby,every time she heard it at nap/sleep time it would calm her down and she would drift off.She would sleep in her cot or if we were out her buggy. I think naps for babies are the best thing ever.
I haven't read the whole thread but I think you are overthinking it, OP. You don't even really seem to have a problem as you don't say you are exhausted or that you can't get anything done because your DD needs attention all the time, so you are projecting way too far into the future in worrying about your DD 'being an antisocial horror for the rest of her life'. Of course it is a bit upsetting if they get overtired and a bit crabby but, honestly, that will pass.
FWIW, at that age DS only slept in a carry cot, which I took downstairs during the day and which became part of the pram when we went out. He would however often manage a 5 hour stretch. Regarding the baby books - remember most of them are written by people who have never been responsible full time for the day to day care of a baby. I also think your mum must be misremembering (or you and your sibblings were very strange babies) if she says you didn't sleep during the day when you were only a few weeks old.
If you have time to read, I would ditch the baby books and go for the latest bestseller, or a book by your favourite author.
Sorry pressed send too early.
But that's it in a nutshell. She'll have a growth spurt in about a fortnight when she'll want to feed all the time. Then there'll be teeth coming in, which might make her a bit unsettled. Sooner or later she'll get a cold...
If she's fed, warm, clean and dry and she has the security of your reassuring voice, smell, face. A walk outside in the fresh air everyday, That's what babies need.
Oh god - I remember the books. "Change Baby's nappy at 8:02. At 8:03 go downstairs and eat cereal and toast for breakfast. At 8:06 wash up bottles. Do not deviate from this routine by one minute or everyone in the world will die!"
Except dd would go and do a poo at 8:04, I hate cereal and was breastfeeding so didn't have any bottles to wash!
I think your dd is far too young to have a routine beyond "eat every few hours, try and get to sleep when tired / grumpy (either of you!)"
I'd advise getting to sleep in the buggy at least sometimes or you are going to be very trapped in the house.
The three hour thing I did with dd and it did work fairly well although I got a bit obsessive. (Note to self - baby's head will not fall off if left 3 hours 5 minutes between feeds.)
I quite liked a book by someone called Elizabeth Pantley as it gives a load of suggestions and advises you to use only the ones you want. Although I think that was at about 7 months not 7 weeks that I used it.
"At this age everything is a phase and changes so fast"
Baby Whisperer says something about 3 hour cycles I think, so if 3 hour cycles are helping you just tell people that you are doing Baby Whisperer and it's working great and they might back off.
You don't actually have to read Baby Whisperer.
Chuck all the routine/solution type books.
The only books I found remotely helpful were the ones that just tried to explain a bit about why things were happening, not to give you a quick fix.
The Wonder Weeks by unpronounceable Dutch couple is brilliant - it explains the key developmental phases that happen in the first year and is very much "this too shall pass" in tone. It does give some ideas for how to weather the phases, but not how to stop/change/fix them.
Just go with it. Babies act on pure instinct for the first few weeks/months - just do whatever keeps them happy. I swear by wrap slings - you can pop them in when they're tired, pull the fabric over their head to make a dark, warm environment and then walk around to lull them to sleep.
She is still so young! Gosh, if she cries it means she needs something.
I could understand the 'she needs to learn' if she was 8 months old or 8 years old!!
Have confidence in what you do, you are brilliant and develop a thick skin that stupid comments just slide right off!
BoffinMum has given the best advice. In fact I think she ought to write a book!
I definitely got the best results from trying to work out what he wanted to do naturally, not fighting it. But remember it changes every few weeks so don't get frustrated if the pattern keeps changing.
Your op reminded me of this which made me smile.
Thanks for your post, Emerald. You are not alone in feeling this way - I am in a similar position (my DD is 5 weeks old) although in my case all the advice is coming from well-meaning family members, making it very hard for me to disagree with them (at least in the early days). In our case it's particularly about feeding - we're BF on demand and from the very first days I had my MIL and DM telling me "she's not always hungry you know" when I could see her hunger cues and knew she would start screaming soon. My MIL in particular would try and avoid giving me the baby when she was getting upset because she was convinced I was feeding her too much. I am usually very confident in my own approach to things but in the first few hormonal weeks I felt completely out of my depth and all this conflicting advice really undermined my confidence. DH is fantastic but knows even less than me about babies and is really keen to make sure that we get it right as he adores DD, so is listening to a lot of the advice we're getting and repeating it back to me in crisis moments. Last week I finally had a bit of a rant to my DM and I feel much better. I am still worried that I am doing the wrong thing and that I will break the baby but I am trying to remind myself that I am her mum and know her needs the best. All the posts here are very helpful so THANK YOU!
I promised myself I wouldn't read any baby books or join baby groups well except lurk on here a bit so that I could just get on with what feels right about looking after my baby. He's 6 months old and we're doing great. Bin the books and trust yourself.
Your LO is only 7 weeks, just do what you feel is best for her to sleep. Don't worry about routine. She is just little that all she wants is love and cuddles. When she gets a bit older she'll start setting her own routine a bit eg what time she goes to sleep and how many naps etc.
Read this its very funny!! Best explanation as to why books are useless!
Just smile and nod, smile and nod (then ignore). You're doing great.
Alnwick, yes that is my feeling exactly!! I did have to bite my tongue not to ask my friend what on earth she was blithering about!!
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