Dear Self: Please Read.

When you have your first baby, and he doesn’t sleep, you read books. You read every. single. book. You take the best advice from all of them and combine them to make a super-sleep-plan. You try everything. It doesn’t make any difference. You’re exhausted and frustrated.
By the time you have your fourth baby, you are much smarter. Who cares where the baby sleeps? Who made the rule that your baby is supposed to sleep in her crib? As long as she sleeps, and more importantly, YOU sleep, what does it matter? You know by now that she’s not going to sleep in that swing forever. You know that in a few months she’ll be out of your bed and you’ll be missing her. You know that trying to convince a newborn to sleep in her bed by herself only leaves you frustrated and cranky, and her still awake and fussy. So you bundle her up and tuck her in the swing or in your bed so you can get something done around here, or maybe just have a nap yourself. Because who really cares anyway?
With your first baby, you read about how babies should breastfeed every 2-3 hours at first, and then by so many months, feed every 3, and then by so many months, feed every 4 hours. You work so hard to convince your baby to wait between feeds, and are frustrated when even by almost a year old, he still wants to breastfeed every couple hours.
Now you know that babies feed when they need to, and if they’re hungry, they’re hungry. Those growth spurts aren’t always just a day or two, like the books or websites say. Sometimes they last for weeks it seems. And there’s nothing you can do about it except sit down and feed your baby. Get some books out of the library for yourself. Read to your big kids or something. Just cuddle and stroke her silky head of hair or touch her baby-soft cheeks. Very soon that baby will be bigger and you can give her a bowl of cheerios to snack on instead of nursing all the time. And then you’ll be sad she doesn’t want to nurse anymore. You know this, so you just sit down and enjoy it. The laundry can wait. The housework can wait. Cooking can wait- those bigger kids can grab themselves a carrot if they’re really that hungry.
When you have your first baby and he’s cranky all evening, you feel like the evenings are soooo long and that maybe he’ll never outgrow this fussy stage.
By the time you have your fourth baby, you know she’s going to hit a fussy stage, and when. You know those evenings can be long and frustrating, but you also know that before too long, this stage will be over and you’ll hardly even remember it. You husband definitely won’t remember it.
I’m writing this down, because even though I “know” these things, I still forget them. Often. I find myself frustrated and worried that Ivy won’t sleep on her own, or stressed out by her crying and fussing. So I need reminding sometimes.
Babies aren’t babies for long. That’s what you know by the time you have four kids. Even if you still forget it sometimes.

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15 thoughts on “Dear Self: Please Read.

  1. Carla says:

    Beautiful! I keep reminding myself of the same things with Micah. I’m not sure if he is our last or not but I keep trying to enjoy every. single. moment. Knowing that this too shall pass and I need to savor it.

    Sleep is always the hot button issue, isn’t it? I tell myself that he will eventually be able to sleep on his own and won’t want to snuggle his little self in beside his mama and sleep.

  2. Carrie Johnson says:

    Beautiful post Nikki! So, so true. I feel the exact same way with Will but it’s so easy to forget when exhausted and stressed. Your post is a great reminder.

  3. Karalyn says:

    Love reading this blog and loved reading this post- we all need this reminder- I was actually reading your past one about her not wanting to be put down- I have a 6 month old and thought- I miss those days already!! I can’t wait to have another one so that I can have a cuddly baby again! I’m sure 4 is lots of work, but reading your blogs only helps me to confirm that I would love to have 4! Have a great day and enjoy the naps together!

  4. Susan Beauchamp says:

    Things you can only know by going through them. It is tough. It’s tough to have to put your needs completely aside. Babies are demanding. I remember Jerry Orthner saying that the years fly by . . . it’s the days that seem to drag!! I am so glad you are writing it down, because you will forget. I sometimes stumble upon a scribbler that I jotted down the struggles going on in my life at the time. I’m so glad I dated them. Because I often forget how far I’ve come. Only time can do that. Bless you Nikki. Love Susan

  5. Kirsteen says:

    So true, they really aren’t babies for very long are they? I remember worrying so much about our first & when he was fed and I was so much more relaxed with our second. It sounds like you’re doing a great job x

  6. Kristi says:

    Nicole….thanks for the perspective! Very encouraging and grounding for a first time mom like me too =) Sometimes the little details like eating, time and sleeping get a little all consuming! Great reminders! Thanks!

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