i'm forewarning you that this post is not going to be very exciting, and for some reason its difficult for me to actually put this out there. i feel like since i'm doing this whole baby thing for the 3rd time, i should have my act together and know exactly what to do, but the fact is that i don't. and so i need some help. advice, or even just a good old fashioned slap in the face would do.
so. from the moment ava was born, she wanted to be held. all the time. this was okay during the first week when my parents were still here and we had plenty of arms to hold her in, but the day before they left, i realized that i needed help if i was going to be carrying a fussy baby around all day and care for 2 little boys. help came in the form of my moby wrap, which enabled me to keep the baby close to me, which kept her happy, and also have my own 2 arms to tend to the boys.
it didn't take long for my neck injury from my car accident to start acting up a little bit, since ava has never been a light baby. not only that, but there are certain things you can't do while wearing a baby (like bending over for instance) and i was growing weary of feeling like i was still pregnant. not only that, but i couldn't really hug or cuddle my boys and samuel especially began feeling very neglected. i didn't have time to help my baby to sleep in the babywhisperer ways that worked so well for my boys. i couldn't leave my boys (especially sam) alone for any long period of time, and even though the babywhisperer methods are gentle and effective, they generally take a lot of time. i had tried nursing her to sleep, rocking her to sleep, transferring her from the moby wrap to her bed asleep, and of course doing what all the books suggest, which is laying them down drowsy but awake. oh boy, that last one was a laugh! i know that it works for some babies (like my sam), but NOT for babies like ava.
i finally resorted to trying a modified version of letting her cry it out, where i would only let her cry for up to 5 minutes before going in and soothing her. to my surprise it actually started to work! and then, a few days later things got way worse. she wouldn't stop crying, even when i would try to soothe her and she'd often get so worked up to the point that she would gag and choke. when i did some research online, i found that crying it out is not recommended for infants under 4 months because it increases the stress hormone in their brain and makes it difficult for them to calm down. oops. i felt AWFUL. even writing about it now is hard for me because i've never been a fan of that method anyhow, and to use it on my itty bitty newborn makes me feel like such a bad mom.
from that point on my goal was to rebuild trust with ava. she would cry sometimes even when i'd bring her in her room, so i just wore her in the moby non stop for weeks, then gently started trying to transfer her to her crib as she slept. i had some success with this at times, but for the most part, she'd just awaken about 10 minutes after i had layed her down.
she is now 3 months old and i'm exhausted. because she is more alert and aware of her surroundings, having her fall asleep in the moby is becoming more difficult. when i'm at home, i have to turn on the exhaust fan on the oven to create white noise and i can no longer do noisy chores like dishes. i'm constantly hushing the boys because she awakens to sharp noises. not only that, but she is waking up after 30-45 minutes and not re-settling easily...it usually takes about 15 minutes of me bouncing her and shushing loudly (on top of the oven exhaust fan noise) in order for her to fall back asleep and finish her nap. she occasionally will tolerate being rocked to sleep, but always awakens after 30-45 minutes in her crib.
with sam, who was a pretty textbook baby, short naps didn't bother him much as long as he got a nice long one in at some point during the day. with ava, who is very much like her brother tristan was as a baby (touchy, sensisitive, easily over-stimulated) it isn't so easy to just let her get by with 30 minute naps all day. not only does she become over tired and melt down, but her night sleep is very affected by her day sleep, so the better she naps during the day, the better she sleeps at night. on a perfect nap day, she will often even sleep straight through the night, so the incentive for me to get her to take decent naps is incredible!
i'm sort of breaking down, though because i can't be away from my boys for 45 minutes in order to rock her to sleep, and i can't keep wearing her so much because now my ankle, which has screws in it, is also starting to act up from walking her all day long. i started using sam's nap time to do the long rocking session, but that just means that tristan is all alone every day for that period of time and he needs his mommy time as well. the 45 minutes where she is napping in her crib are often taken up by me running around like a chicken with its head cut off, emptying the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, doing laundry and generally trying to keep my house from looking like a major earthquake hit.
so. what do i do now? i'm seriously considering trying to rid my mind of the knowledge of how important naps are and just let it all go and suffer my losses by having broken nights of sleep. i'm fearful of doing this, however because as emotional as i get now, its even worse when i'm sleep deprived. still, i'd be spending more time with my boys and less time shushing them. i really don't want to try letting ava cry it out again, even in a month when she'll be able to tolerate it better because of her sensitive personality. i don't think she'd stop crying and i'm just not going to go there yet.
okay, that's about it. i know that this too shall pass, i know that things will get easier, but you know, its been a long 3 months and hearing those things right now just don't really help. i need some tangible things to do to help the situation. things with samuel seem to only be getting worse and tristan is now super attached to me, to the point where he cries when leaving me. i sort of need to fix this soon.
thanks for reading.