“Did you think it was going to be easy?”

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in BABY

{cute organic cupcake onesie is by My O Baby}

The first week was rough. Not normal newborn rough or “adjusting to lack of sleep” rough but “what is going on” rough.
Alexis started off as what you expect a day old baby to be- alert, crying at times, breast feeding around the clock. Once my milk came in on day 2, she spaced out her feedings to every 1.5-2 hours.
Everything was going right as I expected and have been told.
Then around day 5, something changed- she started waking up every half an hour and the only thing that would console her was my boob.
In my mind I’ve gone through every possible scenario from “I don’t have enough milk” (slippery slope) to growth spurts.
For those 2 days we literally had zero sleep. When people say “oh I’ve had no sleep because of my newborn baby” rarely do they mean literally no sleep. Generally newborns wake up every 2-4 hours to feed, that in between time IS sleep.
When I say zero sleep I mean I was able to close my eyes for 0-30 minutes each night for two nights.
It seemed like this is what it’s going to be like for weeks.

We asked around and were told that no, getting no sleep at all isn’t normal.

I love when people say “Well what did you expect? That it was going to be easy”?
Oh darling, you can’t compare a baby that gives you an hour or two at a time to sleep to a baby that wakes up every time you put her down. And no, giving her formula so that she was sleeping longer stretches at night isn’t even remotely an option.

I kept thinking something must be wrong (she’s in pain) and trust me that’s the worst feeling.

Our pedi suggested we keep her awake for longer feedings- that way she’ll go longer stretches without waking up to feed.

The next night Alexis had a huge screaming fit- like “I’m in pain” fit. I’d calm her down, put her in the cosleeper and a few minutes later she’d wake up screaming. Again only boob would console her. We had to call the doctor at 1:30 am because we simply didn’t know what was wrong.

After talking with her we agreed that it’s most likely reflux. She has been gagging and making chocking sounds every time we’d put her down regardless how many times we burped her.
The poor girl was suffering from acid burning her throat.
We broke down and gave her gripe water. It had completely sent me into a break down. I had been resolved not to have her take anything but breastmilk cuz anything else would change the flora of her intestines potentially exposing it to infections. But when it came to my baby girl hurting I just had to try any form of relief.
After another visit to our pedi, we decided that those longer bigger feedings might have made her reflux so bad she was actually in pain.

So we were trying everything and anything: 30-45 degree elevated beds, more frequent smaller feedings, prescription of Zantac in our back pocket that we gave a thought and instantly dismissed as an option at this moment, all possibly offensive foods banned from mommy’s ration.
One night after discovering that no swing or elevated bed does it, I spent the whole night holding her against my chest in a recliner- because that’s the only way she’d sleep.


{cute organic cupcake onesie is by My O Baby}

I was starting to get myself mentally ready for a baby that just doesn’t sleep at night. “We can do it for a few months while she matures… Whatever it takes to keep her comfortable, we thought. We’d take shifts holding her, I’d wake up to nurse whenever she wants.”

Then something happened. One night when she was screaming and fussing, we soothed her, put her to sleep and lay her down next to us in bed.
That was the first time since being home that she slept soundly for 2 hours, woke up to feed and slept another stretch and like that till the morning. No gagging, no crying, no reflux, no spit up.
Now don’t tell me babies aren’t supposed to sleep with their parents/mother, because since that day we’ve had 0 issues. She sleeps 2-3 hour stretches, she has zero reflux. As soon as her Moro reflex wakes her up, she instantly settles down by feeling me next to her.
And the amazing thing is she’s a different baby during the day- alert, quiet, happy. She won’t go down for a nap on her own- she has to be in our arms or next to us, but she’s rested. Day time is a different story, since she feeds every 30 minutes, but she’s happy, a happy little girl and that means we’re happy.

It’s funny how while considering ourselves AP parents, we still blindly followed the no bed sharing advice. We have a co sleeper set up , a full nursery but the only way our girl is happy AND healthy is if she’s in our arms.
Obviously the stress of being away from us was what caused the spit up problem to worsen, the lack of uninterrupted sleep caused her screaming fits. It was a cycle she was too immature to be able to get out of on her own. And I felt like it took us 2 days too long to figure it out. (update: lol people, I don’t think bedsharing “cured” reflux.  She had minor reflux that  was possibly made worse by stress of being away from mommy’s body which is what most newborns need in the first weeks)

My personal new mom lesson number 1:

Blindly follow what your baby needs in the very beginning. Screw the “well wishers”, the unsubstantiated cry it out methods, the second guessing yourself that comes oh-so-easily. Only your baby knows what it wants, and if it wants constant contact, then that’s what it gets, especially in its 4th trimester.

Talking to friends and reading blogs, sleeping with your baby is a pretty common occurrence early on. I’m not sure how long it lasts (maybe till they are able to sleep in a deeper state), but it’s very obvious that some (most?) babies need close contact to thrive. I’d like for her to sleep in the co-sleeper at some point and then in her crib, but we’ll see how it goes.

So I’m incredibly happy we figured it out and now our little girl is getting 150% of what she needs and we are getting what I’d call normal sleep: waking up every 2-3 hours to feed/change with occasional hour long stretches.

Coming up: Breastfeeding and its challenges post, 1 week postpartum and Alexis update, 2 weeks postpartum and Alexis update, just random thoughts on our changed lives, final nursery reveal (that we don’t even use lol), breastfeeding products that I’ve been using. I only get to write posts right now while nursing Alexis. I pull out my iphone and type away. She nurses every 30 minutes during the day so I get plenty of time to type, but the challenge is adding photos, since I can’t work on my laptop right now. So you might see a week of no posts and then a cluster of them another week.
And yes, of course the Birth Story- that’s kind of a given! :)

Also something came up workwise that only I can do, which really sucks because right now I can’t get away for longer than 30 minutes – I have to breastfeed. I really hope it can be postponed due to me just having had a baby or I am pretty much screwed. I love how everything always comes in at the same time. I can’t even get a handle on my life with a newborn when I have to deal with something urgent, important  and a bit upsetting. Bleh! :(

Oh and also, I’ll probably won’t be proof reading most of these posts due to lack of time, so ignore all typos and such, please. Thanks :)

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