Sunday, August 29, 2010

If I could do it over...

Reflections on mothering in week 12

If I could re-do the last twelve weeks I would...

1) Put less pressure on myself to be out and about or being social again.
I find socialising emotionally draining at the best of times without a baby who may not feed well, may poo, wee or vomit on her gro-suit and need a change all in time for bed. As Evangeline only stayed awake for about an hour at a time and was a sleepy feeder, keeping her awake and changing nappies out and about was pretty tiring unless I was somewhere where people would offer to get me a drink of water and actually try and help burp her rather than just caress and coo.

2) Been less stressed about her napping between sleeps or sleeping in her sling or in other people's arms

The routine I follow specified sleeps to be in her bed and trying to keep baby awake between designated sleep times. I put a lot of stress on myself trying to 'get her home for bed' when she was already out for the count in a sling. I also insisted on taking her from people's arms to put her to bed when she really wouldn't know the difference! I think I would still be careful about some day sleeps in bed and all night sleeps in bed - but give myself a break until she was about 6 weeks about the 'sleeping in bed'. even letting some socail days have the 'routine go out the window'. However, she sleeps brilliantly now and I wonder if it was from being anally retentive?

3) Followed babywise or some other more flexible practise while keeping to the save our sleep recommended times - at least until she was old enough to really notice day and night.

Being rigid about a 7pm bedtime could be why Evangeline sleeps well, but I'll never know! I could have followed a much more flexxy routine until around 8 weeks anyway and enjoyed more freedom to flex around her... I could always have changed things if it wasn't working. I was so sleep deprived and terrified of not getting enough sleep that i followed everything to the letter. one one hand this helped me feel 'in control' but put pressure on me to clock watch and be home by certain times and such which made me a bit flappy.

4) Accepted more help?

I like to think I would have asked for help more, mainly with housework as I loved the mothering and feeding and had no issues that i couldn't handle here - due to great midwives and nurses. I probably should have asked and let people load the dishwasher, mop my floor and vacuum the carpet but for some reason I found ( and still find) this hard to ask for help with. maybe with baby no.2 I will be too stuffed to feel squeamish?

5) Slept more

I would have myself go to bed and not felt like I should be wakeful. I would have taken more day sleeps and let her sleep a little longer sometimes rather than setting my alarm obsessively.

6) Worried less

I kept worrying about my milk supply, her weight, her reflux, her happiness, her warmth, her development, her sleep. I want to trust God that she will be ok in her time. I think my worry makes me cling to every 'good' thing she does ( sleep for 8 hours, say cute noises, hold her head up, do tummy time) and feel proud. This is simply a contrast to feeling inadequate and stressed and does not prove anything! Plus it can make other mums feel inadequate that their baby never slept through the night or didn't have as good neck control. Also I can end up feeling inadequate if she gains less weight one week as it has implications for my milk supply - as if that were my achievement and not God's!