“Even on the days I cry and feel defeated by my tiny army, I’m addicted. It’s one of the toughest yet greatest jobs in the world where every emotion you could possibly feel is felt, usually by 10am. ”
Kimberley Welman, Stay Strong Mummy.
Gulp. I actually get a little grey cloud feeling come over me when I think back to the first few months of being a mum with my toddler. Don’t get me wrong, it was undoubtedly the best feeling in the world to have my heart open up to a brand new, overwhelmingly insane kind of love, but it was tough. I’d gone from enjoying 8-hour overnight sleeps to suddenly trying to breastfeed this tiny little person every 1.5-2hrs. I had an oversupply of milk (because I now know I was overfeeding her), and with milk squirting all over the place, my body feeling a little tender after her natural birth and my crazy hormones, let’s just say, I was a little precious – I had no idea that it would take this much to be a mum. Everyone made it out to be the best and easiest thing ever – you just go for walks with your baby, hang out at coffee shops and go shopping right? Well, maybe now and again, but first it takes some hard yakka. When I look back now, yeah I did ok, but a few things that made the world of difference of doing it second (and third) time around is this: Feed as much as you need to in those first few days at hospital to get your milk going, but then – only feed every 3 hours. It sets up your babies body clock and will help reduce wind and upset stomachs. We only need to eat every few hours. If you feed your baby hourly or two hourly, their little systems won’t be able to keep up and you’ll be wondering why they are so windy and uncomfortable as soon as you lay them down. Once they’re a couple months old, stretch that feed to four hourly. Swaddle your baby. Do NOT rock your baby to sleep. Teach them to self settle. Do NOT sit at home like daisy the cow and think that you are the only mother in the world with an unsettled baby. Find a mothers group, ring a friend, go to a family members place. Put your baby to sleep in the same place at the same time each day. You’ll be setting their body clocks to sleep at certain times each day. No one likes hearing their own baby cry, I don’t. My preferred technique in teaching my babes to self settle was to sit beside their cot on the floor and slide my hand through the bars and gently pat them. I use the Sleep Machine app as white noise (and still do) every time they go to sleep. I make sure their room is dark and they are swaddled or in a sleeping bag. Make sure they have a comforter next to their face. Two of my three use dummies, but that’s for you to decide. I used similar routines to Save Our Sleep by Tizzie Hall, but I didn’t use her settling techniques. Again, there is no one perfect way to get your baby sleeping and into routine, take a little from what those around you have told you and work out what works best for you. If you’re really struggling and what some strict plans and guidance, contact Lullababy SOS as mentioned in my previous post on Baby Bootcamp.