Friday, March 30, 2012

Mommy Trade-Offs, When to Ask for Help & Tips for Friends & Family of New Parents

I'm not so happy to say that our seven-hour sleeping record was short lived. Last night, Brody fell asleep around 1:30 a.m., woke up at 3:30, went back to sleep around 4:30 and back up at 7 a.m. Truthfully, I didn't think the longer sleep was going to last too long. I'm still hoping that this was just an "off" night and was only just a little "bump" in our road to sleeping success. I imagine his sleeping pattern won't become incredibly consistent just yet, but I hope we can get some sort of consistency going soon. But I'm still hoping for the best for the many nights to come!

Amidst all the restless nights and exasperation, there are joys of waking up in the middle of the night with Brody. Lately, we get to see, what I like to call, little Brody "smile sessions." Seeing my little baby smile is not only one of the many precious moments that make me feel like I'm doing something right, but his beautiful grins never fail to put a smile on my face.

I think this is one of the many trade-offs of being a mom. Through the fatigue, exhaustion and many breakdowns, come these sweet amazing moments that let you know that it was all worth it.

By far one of my favorite things is watching him smile when I sing. He's the only person in the world who likes to hear me sing! Watching him smile because he likes to hear my voice, not only makes me an extremely happy mom, but it also helps keep me sane.

Here's a little peek at one of our singing/smile sessions:


I know many moms are struggling with sleep deprivation and feel like they might "lose it," and one of the things that's hard for me to do is admit when I needed help. I'm not really one to ask for help (or admit that I need it) because I like to prove that I can do it myself. Pediatricians and nurses will constantly tell you to sleep while your baby is asleep. But how are you supposed to do that when you need to clean, wash bottles, do laundry, shower and make you something to eat?

My exhaustion took priority over all of those things and led me to neglect taking care of myself. I was so tired that even though I was starving, I didn't want to make myself something to eat because all I wanted to do was sleep. By the time Brody and I woke up, I'd have to feed and change him, leaving me hungry and never having the time to eat or make anything. I'd go all day without barely eating anything (which probably had to do with the decrease of my breast milk).

Although your priority is making sure your child is taken care of, it's important to remember you have to take care of yourself and part of that is knowing when to ask for help.

In the first few weeks after Brody was born, my mom came over and stayed with us overnight a few times to let Klay and I get some much needed rest. Getting more than 4 hours of consecutive sleep helped restore some of my sanity. If you can't get someone to stay overnight, have someone come stay during the day and let you sleep; it will help you regain some of your energy. But remember you have to ASK for help, and LET people help you!

If you're a friend or family member to someone who's recently had a baby, cook a meal and take it to their house, help them clean their house or offer to do laundry.  Two great friends of mine came over and made a meal for lunch, helped clean my house and even made a freezer meal that we could heat up in the crock pot. Amber and her mom, Wanda, relieved some of our stress and frustration through spending a few hours of their time to help around the house. This simple act of kindness goes a long way and is truly the best gift any new parent could ask for!

Having help like this--whether it's having someone watch the baby to let you sleep or letting someone clean and cook for you--can make a huge difference through this exhausting time and give new parents a little break.

So, reach out and help someone you know that just had a baby or remember to return the favor when someone helps you!

P.S. Never forget to utilize the grandparents!