Sleep has made all the difference...

Charlotte is sleeping.  

When we first arrived home from the hospital, I assumed I knew how to take care of a baby.  For the most part, I did... but I realized quickly that I didn't know what I was doing or what I should do for a large portion of the time Charlotte and I were together (which was constantly).  She cried often and even produced tears much faster than most babies... those tears were so so sad.  Surely, as her mother, I should have known how to handle every situation with my God-given intuition, right??  There were numerous times when Ryan would come home to see Charlotte and I crying together in the rocking chair because I felt so sad that I didn't know how to make her feel happy.  He handled those moments so well.  I really couldn't ask for a better husband.  The best thing I ever did was decide to get outside at least once every day.  The sunshine and fresh air can really help put things into perspective while experiencing the life changing event of becoming a parent.  Nearly 8 weeks have gone by and I've learned so much about this little girl.  It seems as though there is a large group of mothers (or not) who believe they know everything about motherhood and will tell you the "right" way to do things. 
For instance:
your body WILL produce enough milk as your baby's needs grow.  I didn't find that experience to be true for me.  Charlotte was insatiable and nursing constantly.  Therefore, I have been able to supplement her with breast milk from a lovely neighbor of mine.  She is happier and finally looks as if she is putting on weight.  

Your baby MUST sleep on her back.  There is an entire campaign with outspoken advocates who are very much against any sleep position except for on their backs.  Do YOU sleep on your back? I sure don't... and I couldn't wait to sleep on my stomach again once Charlotte popped out of me.  She is a light sleeper - movement seems to rouse Charlotte very quickly and I learned that she didn't enjoy being on her back or her side.  Once I put her on her tummy to sleep - she slept like an actual baby!  Yes - I know it may increase the chance of being at risk for SIDS... but nobody knows what causes it and I don't believe any mother has control of whether or not her baby dies in this manner (our mothers were told to make us all sleep on our stomachs as infants) - information is always changing.

  I guess my point is that you are the parent for a reason and you have to make difficult decisions about how to raise your own children, don't let people put so much fear into you for making these decisions.  

Now that my baby girl has been eating enough - I have moved her out of our room and into a crib.  She's growing so fast!  For the benefit of our entire household, I have made the decision to begin helping Charlotte learn sleep independence.  I think my whole world has changed and I found myself with so much extra time today.  My poor baby has needed far more sleep than I realized before - and she is quite capable of putting herself to sleep with the occasional (who am I kidding, I can't let her cry more than 2 minutes without swooping in) pat on the back, rub of the hair, and whooshing sound.  We are ALL better rested and more relaxed (especially my smiling baby) now that the longest it takes Charlotte to go to sleep is 15 - 20 minutes.  What a dream.  

Do what feels right to you - don't let anyone rush you or tell you that you're wrong. 

Co-sleep if you so desire
Formula feed if you want
Give birth with an epidural or go for the natural
Swaddle your baby
or Don't

But never underestimate the power of trying new things and wisdom from those who have gone before!  Thank heavens for my Mom, Mother in law, Sisters, and Friends.

Happy parenting, world!


Sara said...

Yay! I love this so much. I miss you three already.

ayley said...

i love this! wise words, jules. i don't even have kids but i know how easy it is to get caught up in the "right" way to parent an infant!

you are amazing. i will probably remember this post forever.