Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sleepy expectations

Before Adriana was born, one of our midwives told us that when the baby arrived we'd be better off if we adjusted our expectations for sleep and just focused in the first few weeks on "daytime naps and nighttime naps." Basically, if we didn't expect that we were going down at night for eight hours of sleep, but just for a couple of hours until the next feeding, it would be easier to handle the night wakings. A few times Brian had to remind me of this advice, and I found that it helped us. It helped me not feel guilty about taking a two hour nap during the day while Adriana slept (I still felt guilty if I slept while Brian cared for her). It helped to keep me from dreading the middle-of-the-night feedings. Well, I still dreaded them a little, but instead of crying in the night because I was awake yet again, I cried because it was such a struggle to get Adriana to latch properly, and I was worried she wasn't eating enough.

So with Cindy's advice in mind, I decided that last night was going to suck. I had a feverish, congested little baby who didn't want to be put down, so just as I'd given up any hope of getting things done around the house yesterday and let Adriana take four of her six naps on my lap in the rocking chair, I was going to have to give up hope of anything resembling a good night's sleep. I settled in for the night propped up on pillows with Adriana on my chest, planning to wake every hour to comfort her or nurse her or wipe her nose or whatever it was she happened to need. That was at 11 (Brian had done the cuddling and snuggling since I'd nursed her down at 8:30). We woke at midnight, two, five, six, and seven. It was a lot more waking up then I'd like to do in the night, but I got a two-hour stretch, and a three-hour stretch, which was better than I'd planned.

Not that I'm not tired today. I poured some cereal into a bowl, sliced a banana onto it, and then stood with the refrigerator door open for several minutes, wondering what on earth I'd been doing, before I remembered that I had been about to get out the milk for my cereal. A few times Adriana seemed ready to nurse down for her morning nap, but then changed her mind and wanted to play. I would put her down and go start the diapers in the wash, or put away the things I bought her for this winter at the Carter's sale yesterday. Finally, after one last attempt at getting her down for a nap, she started to fuss and struggle, and I nearly put her down on the floor and said, "Fine, if you don't want to nap, don't nap." And then I remembered that the baby was sick and that I needed to adjust my expectations. I headed for the rocker and sat down with Adriana's legs wrapped around my waist and her head on my chest, just like yesterday. Ten minutes later, she was asleep and I could put her down.

1 comment:

jfh said...

oh, poor little sick baby girl, she's so lucky to have you as a mom (and brian, too.)