Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bringing Baby Home

I intended to write this a week after Austin's birth - then a week turned into two - and now its been over a month BUT here I am with a few minutes to spare for an update. There are a few things I want to cover in this post so it may be broken into a few sections - starting with the first nights home, maternity leave, venturing out, and a few little firsts.

At the hospital, as much as the nurses come and go - your baby also seems to sleep more often and less fitfully. Then they release him to his parents, who naively expect this sleep pattern to continue at home, and he becomes bionic in his baby strength, baby arm-flailing, and baby lungs. One thinks babies cry because they are hungry or dirty, but at bedtime there is a whole arsenal of sounds they can pull from. There is the wimper, the grunt, the fart, the fart-wimper, the pre-cry, and the full fledged breakdown - among others. If you can catch him at the pre-cry, you may have a shot at soothing him in a reasonable amount of time and putting him back down in about a half hour but if you miss that opportunity and don't respond in time, you could find yourself shushing, feeding, bouncing, and pleading for 90 minutes. I don't know how the nurses do it in the hospital, but the joke is on you when you get home and think you can just put your baby to bed.

The hospital pediatrician suggested we sleep with Austin in our room for the first 6 months. 6 months!! Long story short, this lasted 2 weeks. When your baby is in your room, you hear every single sound - most of which mean nothing but still have you out of bed checking on him. Then, when he isn't making a sound you assume he isn't breathing so you are out of bed again to make sure he is still breathing. Between the sounds and non-sounds, you clearly aren't sleeping. Also, we do not live on the salary of a pediatrician therefore its not like Austin is in one wing and we are in another. His room is 10 feet from ours so monitor or not, we can still hear all the things we need to and everyone is much happier about life.

DJ and I found solace in swaddling or "taking away his arm privileges"  as we called it. Babies tend to wave their limbs erratically in their sleep, often waking them from the slumber you worked so hard to achieve. Don't undo your hard work and swaddle the heck out of your little one. He will look like a silly little burrito person, but that's ok! Its definitely worth it. Also, you have to put a little muscle into it, since you have to pin your babies arms down at his side - but remember this could equal an extra hour of sleep. Priceless.

Also! At the hospital, allow the nurses to take your baby for a few hours. These will be your last nights of sleep for a few months and relish in them. Plus, as the mommy, you have so much other stuff going on between your hormones, your boobs, and your angry girl parts - not having the extra worry while you are trying to take a pee is worth it. DJ and I didn't know any better so we had Austin with us 90% of the time - which was beautiful and loving of us, but  again - blissfully ignorant.