Precious, brutal, beautiful and exhausting reality.

Before I ever became a parent and, at times, before I had an inkling that I might like to be a mom, I worked (and still technically do while on mat leave) in the field of early childhood education. To it I brought a bachelors of ECE and, prior to giving birth, racked up about four and half years of experience in the field — both with ITs (infant/toddlers) and TFs (three to fives). During the entirety of my pregnancy I was employed knee deep in the trenches of toddlerhood, and I believed that I’d be bringing to motherhood a cornucopia of knowledge and experience. Others in my life continually reinforced this thought of mine. With all of this on my resume, how could I not?!

Ha.

Haaaa.

Hahahahahahaha.

Too bad I had absolutely NO FREAKIN’ IDEA what to do with said knowledge and experience. Upon O’s birth, I was blindsided. My education, something my sweet husband anxiously worried would set me far ahead of him parenting wise, it felt like it meant nothing. My employment, and the fact that I had previously been working all day long with ITs, it was laughable and hardly the real thing — I got to send them home at the end of the day! My passions that I brought to the field of ECE, and the beliefs I garnered throughout it of children and childhood, it fell to shambles in the midst of a postpartum depression that could no longer even tell who I was when I looked in the mirror.

This should hopefully be news to no one, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can prepare you for being a first time mom. Anybody or anything that tries to tell you differently is lying. All that I brought to it (which I felt was a lot!) and the preconceived notions I had of it being otherwise, they were broken. Broken as in picked up, shattered to the ground, stomped all over, set on fire and then blown into the abyss. It was a delusional, humbling and hot mess of confusion for a good while there.

Now that I’ve survived the first four months of O’s life and know what it is to sleep again, I am thankfully beginning to see where my education, employment and passions can start being applied (more on that later). I am able to finally dig into those reservoirs and have them be useful, when before it felt as if they would drown me. I am excited for what awaits in that regard (also more on that later!). Most importantly and with relief, I have now added to that repertoire what I didn’t realize I lacked before. The grounded experience of REALITY.

Precious, brutal, beautiful and exhausting reality.

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What even IS baby sleep?

Since he was three weeks old, O has slept in our arms for 99% of his naps and sleeps at night (he is now almost eleven weeks). He is typically tummy down as he leans against our bodies (while we lean back). It started originally as he began to absolutely LOSE it when we put him down in our bedside co-sleeper bassinet. This and a variety of other symptoms lead our pediatrician to believe he has reflux, which with the help of medicine and changing how we do things, has helped make him a much happier baby.

He will now tolerate periods of back/tummy play and being in his swing (we went through a five week period where we couldn’t put him down PERIOD without him loosing it). But getting him to sleep on somewhere that is not our bodies is something we’re having a lot of trouble managing.

I understand this is typical of a lot of newborns and there are very valid reasons why he wants to sleep on us. I just keep envisioning this still happening at 8+ months because it forms a pattern of behaviour, and that makes me kind of want to loose it. We are continually having to find new ways for him to sleep on us while we we try to rest but not really rest and it’s exhausting, no matter how much we break it up into shifts. I miss lying down and have legitimately forgotten how to sleep that way. My hips also kind of want to kill me for all the sitting down I have to do with him.

For those of you who have been able to get a baby past this phase, how did you do it? Here is what we’ve been doing or have tried thus far:

  • He is mostly nursed to sleep (has been since birth, he loves it and nothing puts him out faster). If I don’t do it for him, he freaks. If he could nurse all night, he would. My nipples disagree.
  • He will not take a pacifier (I have tried ten million times). I am his pacifier.
  • Elevating his bassinet, using white noise, making it smell like me, positioning him with towels to be on his side and warming it have all been tried.
  • He LOVES to move his arms and legs. Some of it is his Moro reflex, some of it is it’s just what he loves to do. He pretty much looks like he’s conducting an orchestra all day long and is never still. You can guess how much this desire of his lets him sleep deeply when laying down somewhere that is not on us.
  • Swaddles and Swaddle transition blankets/gear DO NOT work. We have had a rare occasion where they have, but it is not reliable. Anything that restricts his hands or legs pisses him off for hours at end and defeats their purpose. We legit tried them for weeks and weeks — it was horrible.
  • Carriers equally piss him off and while he will fall asleep in one while we take long walks, that’s not solving this problem.
  • I tried co-sleeping with him leaning against me and by me. He either kept waking himself up as his flailing/movements kept hitting me or he couldn’t last longer than five minutes, no matter how milk drunk I got him or where I put him. I am unable to nurse him easily while laying down, and him doing it on his own to get back to sleep is not possible.
  • He has slept in his swing, but it’s very sporadic and getting it to happen regularly is something we can’t seem to master, no matter how much advice we follow from baby sleep blogs.
  • Putting him to sleep on his own his tummy freaks me out. Please don’t suggest it. I understand babies sleep deeper on their tummies and that’s part of why he does when he’s on us, but he’s WITH us while doing so.

This too shall pass.

I know.

But, for now, HELP PLZ.

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