I’ve read all the books. So many more books than I read with my first child. I believe the number of books read with the first child was exactly zero. I was winging it with the sage wisdom of my mother for back up. Whether I always agreed with her or not, it was nice to have someone willing to tell me what to do when I didn’t want to or could not decide for myself. “Let the baby cry!” OK! Thank you, I needed someone to tell me that.
Now, second time around, my initial confidence and “I’ve done this before, I’m totally gonna nail it this time” attitude has become a whimpering, sniveling, drooling, slobbering pile of tired momma that someone needs to seriously come clean up. Nothing works. None of the books are helping me sleep. None of the books are helping the baby sleep. I call “UNCLE” I give up, it’s over. The baby wins. I am convinced that is what is going on, he laughs, LAUGHS at me in the wee hours when I give in and pick him up. Screams instantly turn to raspberries as we head down stairs to the magical part of the house that he simply can NOT be away from (the living room? Not so interesting during the day when Momma needs to work and Baby should be happily playing….).
I started my daughter on cereal at around 3 months. She was FINE. She was breastfed and to be honest I really don’t remember when we moved to formula but I think at some point she weaned herself and that’s what we did. She was fine. She slept well and was happy and healthy. My son, I have been more vigilant about breastfeeding and he is almost six months old and things are going south. He no longer sleeps 8 to 10 hours at night, he’s trying to cut all his teeth at once, he only rolls at night in his crib then SCREAMS when he can’t get back to his stomach sleeping position and is now refusing to nurse. I’m in momma heaven. A battle of wills with a baby is just not fair. Do you comfort? Do you let them cry? Do you send Daddy in? Do I wean to bottle and pump (no thanks)? And how in the hell did someone get away with writing a whole book about the “shush pat” method? COME ON! Seriously? Can I get a deal for the “Wine and Forget To the Turn the Monitor On” method? Or the “You’re going to go live with Gramma so Momma can Nap” method? MILLIONS, I would sell millions.
The point is, you just want someone to tell you it’s OK to let the baby cry and take a 10 minute shower, that no, the water doesn’t wash away the guilt but your baby will still love you and really, at some point, who would want to nurse from a momma who hasn’t showered or changed her clothes in 3 days? Take comfort in your “village.” I LOVE my village. My village is mostly on Facebook – HI VILLAGE! Mom’s I haven’t talked to in a long time, we have rejoined to keep each other sane. It’s all poop and food and boobs and sleep and naps and teeth on there and it’s great. I have met new mom’s and old mom’s and we can just let it all out. They understand and they don’t judge. You need a village, get yourself a village. It won’t get you any more sleep but it will keep you more sane and your significant other will want to be around you more.
I say skip the books. Get a village. Drink a glass of wine. Cuddle your baby and sleep when you’re sixty.