Monday, December 17, 2012

Lessons, Part 3

On "survival mode"...

Seems I used this analogy not too long ago. To medicate a cold, or not to medicate? Either way it will heal in about the same time.

Well, this time it’s about new babies. As it turns out, the same rule applies here. You can either try a myriad of remedies, or you can wait until it goes away. This is true about things like post-partum healing, learning to breastfeed, learning basic newborn care, and baby sleep habits.

-Once you’ve figured out how to sit comfortably, you’re almost better.
-Once you’ve found the perfect nursing garment, you’re used to doing it in regular clothes.
-Once you’ve figured out how to entertain the baby while changing his diaper, he’s not scared of it anymore.

And then with sleeping, babies seem to be ready at various ages for sleeping longer stretches at night. Do all the routines, swaddling, “sleep training,” and other advice make a difference? 

It was really helpful to hear about newborn babies not being susceptible to "habits" or "spoiling." While I don't know about the science behind it, it was nice to know that if we just did whatever worked for those first few months, we wouldn't be stuck with those particular routines.

I read a lot in those forums about what everyone's bedtime tricks are. After a few days of giving David a bath at different times (it made him hyper), trying to give him opportunities to nap more (to avoid him getting overtired) or less (to tire him out), talking to him quietly as it got later (he would giggle), trying to keep lights and noise down (he would usually end up on our laps in the fully lit kitchen as we tried to eat dinner), we didn't notice any real patterns. He would still wake every 3 hours or so at night. So we just went with the flow and eventually one day I woke up to my alarm instead of the baby and realized that he had slept for a long stretch.

Just like when you're pregnant and nibbling on crackers and the unborn baby is growing in leaps and bounds, the same happens here. As long as the baby's basic needs are met, he grows and develops, mainly without any help from us! 

What was most surprising was to find that "survival mode" wasn't just about surviving until the next day because things were so bad (though they were sometimes). It was/is more about not wasting time and energy finding the perfect solution, because today is today and tomorrow could be completely different. Not bad or better, just different.


  1. Love your baby's giggles!

    It's nice to get perspective from someone further along than I. And I've been thinking along the same lines as you - do schedules and methods make a huge difference or do things just sort themselves out as we go along...?

    At what age did David begin to sleep through most of the night?

    1. It is so much fun when they get more interactive!

      There is a baby on FB just a few weeks older than mine, so I'm always taking note of what I should expect in a few weeks. But I find that they are all so different. Theirs has been sitting up for weeks and I haven't noticed David wanting to do that. I really don't worry too much about those milestones.

      He started sleeping longer at about 3 1/2 months, I think. After the first month or so he was just waking up (several times a night) to eat and then going right back to sleep. So nothing was really wrong, it was just a matter of his stomach maturing so he could go longer without eating. I assume that unless there is colic or bad reflux or something that all babies just start sleeping longer when they're ready. Well, even colic would go away eventually.


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