Thursday, August 21, 2014

Get Some Sleep

That was then...
this is now.
How much more rested do I look???
Let's talk about how different this whole Motherhood thing is the second time around, shall we?  Oh my goodness it is so much easier, people.  Yes, it's exhausting, and I completely admit that there have been days and nights during which I've found myself sobbing uncontrollably, but for the most part this parenting-of-a-newborn encore has gone relatively smoothly.

I've heard from quite a few of you that my hospital bag tips have been helpful, so I thought I would share five things I wish I'd known the first time around.  Here's my disclaimer: the only thing I'm a doctor of is comedy, so this by no means constitutes medical advice, it's simply a few things that have worked for me with my babes.  Be sure and talk with your pediatrician before beginning any new routine with your little one.  

1. Momma don't f*ck around with newborn size diapers.  Newborn diapers are teeny tiny, which means they don't hold very much pee.  You know what's guaranteed to wake up a baby?  Peeing through her diaper.  Hey, I don't blame the kid - I wouldn't want to sleep in a soaking wet onesie either.  Skip the small diapers and stock up on some size three overnight diapers right away.  Your infant will look completely ridiculous wearing a diaper that reaches up to her armpits, but that doesn't matter if it buys you a few more hours of precious, life-giving sleep.

2. Do not, I repeat DO NOT change your baby's diaper every time she wakes up in the middle of the night.  If you change her diaper the only thing you are doing is waking her up more, and the last thing you want is a baby who is ready to party.  The more awake your kid gets, the longer it will take to get her to go back to sleep once she's been fed, and being awake for more than an hour in the middle of the friggin' night is pure torture.  Throw that kid in a night diaper, slather on a sh*tload of diaper cream and wait to change her diaper until she wakes up at a reasonable morning hour.

3. You do not have to hold your baby every single second of every single day.  I am pretty sure that I only put the Muffin Man down four times during the first three months of his life.  Seriously - I even held him while I was in the bathroom going pee.  Do yourself a favor: invest in a bouncy chair and use it.  Your child will be fine.  You will not damage him by expecting him to entertain himself for a few minutes of every day.  Plus you're starting to smell and could really use a shower.

4. Give your baby a bottle.  Yeah, yeah, we all know that breast is best, but sometimes Mommy's boobies need a rest.  As soon as your baby latches well, pump some milk (or use formula if you prefer) and let your spouse/Mother/Mother-in-Law/nanny/any stranger willing to hold your child feed that kid.  The longer you wait to introduce a bottle, the less of a chance that your kid will take one, so start ASAP.  Trust me, the last thing you want is to spend the next six months of your life being unable to leave your child for longer than an hour and a half because she refuses to take a bottle.  And forget about taking any sort of vacation without your baby - if he doesn't drink from a bottle you're tethered to that kid for at least a year without a break.  I love my kids, but for the sake of my own sanity I need to be able to spend time without one of them attached to my boob.

5. The "dream feed" is your friend.  Learn about it, start it early, and use it.  This is the key to getting your kid to sleep longer.  The more milk (or formula) you shovel into that kid at bedtime, the longer he or she will snooze.  I've personally found that bottle feeding is the most effective with this technique, as it's difficult to get a sleeping child to nurse, but however you choose to roll, feed your kid as much as possible before you go to sleep.  As your kid gets older this technique will become more effective, but I have a six week old who is sleeping for 6-7 hours at a stretch, so believe me, it works.

If all else fails just remember that the first six weeks are the hardest.  It does get easier and your kid will eventually sleep through the night.  Until then, I suggest you avail yourself of caffeine in any form.

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