Updated: May 1
We survived the 1st week! And oh, what a ride it has been.
So the confinement nanny left on a Saturday afternoon and I’m not sure whether it’s the best decision that we made, but we’d decided to also do a mini celebration with our families for baby’s full month that same day. We’d planned for our families to come in the late afternoon, hopefully after baby had woken up from her nap. But who knew, that very day was the start of her going on a nap strike. In a way though, it was good that her doting grandparents were more than happy to carry her as she cried and fussed because she was probably overtired, but no one actually managed to get her to sleep. After the entire afternoon when everyone had left, it was just hubs & I to take on our first night. The evening was spent fighting sleep again, and whenever baby cried, I desperately stuffed the boob in her mouth hoping that it would help her to sleep (it didn’t). We finally went to bed past 1am that night, with hubs on the first night shift on a mattress in baby’s room, while I retired to our own bedroom to sleep. Thankfully baby slept for 2.5 hours – not too bad, considering her sleep pattern during the day. We then swapped shifts after I’d woken up to nurse baby, and subsequently I got woken up pretty much every hour or so.
Getting into the swing of things
The next few days passed somewhat in a blur – life revolving solely around nursing baby (for me), trying to get her to sleep and desperately trying to figure out what she was trying to tell us through her cries. While I’d hoped to follow the “Eat-Activity-Sleep” pattern recommended in all the baby books I’d read, but gosh, putting it into practice was another mammoth task altogether. Because she took so long to feed and fall asleep, the “recommended nap/wake cycles” ended up all blending into one another. We had no time for any “activity”, and we realised how changing her diaper after a feed was just a bad idea for her (at least at this point) because firstly, she would cry murder whenever we did, and secondly, she would merlion whatever she’d drank before that when we lay her down on the changing mat. Hello again, reflux. While we thought it’d improved over the last few weeks, but it came back with a vengeance this week.
We’d used an app to track baby’s sleep/wake times and feeds, and it was just astounding how it felt like I’d just fed her, and not too long later, she’d be wailing for more milk. Well apparently 1.5-2 hours had passed, but really, where had the time gone?!!?! And yes, she really feeds that often (more about it in my breastfeeding post).
Sleep is a struggle because baby just seems to want to be carried all the time! While all the books recommended putting baby into the cot while she’s still semi-conscious so that she doesn’t wake up with a shock wondering why she is all alone and how she got there, the books didn’t account for the scenario where she’d cry murder the moment we started to lower her into the cot. We then changed tactic to get her to sleep first before bringing her to her cot. But despite our best efforts to be as gentle as possible when putting her into bed, her eyes would pop open the moment she touched the cot, or wake up wailing 15min later. If she could actually take a 1hr nap, that was a big win for us already – her average is 30-45min, and that’s assuming she’d let us put her down without kicking up a fuss (literally her arms and legs would be all over the place). Haha. I’m not sure whether we’re going on a downward spiral, but in desperation we’ve now resorted to bouncing on my birth ball endlessly with her (woohoo, found a use for it even after birth!), hubs carrying her and sitting in front of the TV for her entire nap, and others, just so that she could clock some sleep.
Doing our nights
Thankfully though, her long awake times during the day resulted in her probably being exhausted by day end, and nights were relatively better! Her bedtime has varied from 7-10pm, though the earlier timing means that she’ll wake up sometime between 10pm-12mn again for another feed. The day that she fell asleep that 10pm was great though! It was a few days into our journey and we were completely bushed. Our entire family of 3 KO-ed together by 10.30pm and baby gave us a good 4 hours of sleep! She even gave us a 5hr streak once, but I’m pretty sure it was a fluke.
While I’m being very candid in sharing my struggles of our first week on our own, please don’t take it that I’m complaining. In fact, I’m treasuring every moment of it. While I was thankful for our nanny’s help in taking care of baby, teaching us the ropes and whipping up a feast for us daily, I’m glad to finally be able to do things our own way, despite the fact that we’re fumbling along and not entirely sure what we’re doing.
I’m treasuring the time that I get to spend with her first thing in the morning when she wakes up. Getting up at +/- 6am is the norm these days, but I can forget the tiredness (or perhaps I’m just too busy to even think about it). She’s usually bright-eyed and in a good mood then, and it’s so fun just chatting with her and playing with her.
As the days went by, hubs & I learned to tag team. Though it’s meant that we haven’t slept in the same room since the night that the nanny left, and we haven’t been able to sit down for dinner together, but I think we’ve been doing a really good job and covering one another. He’s risen to the occasion marvellously, been very involved in the process, and has definitely outdone himself in taking care of the baby. He’s way better at changing her diaper for sure! I’m so thankful for him as a partner in this journey, and that he managed to take 2 weeks of paternity leave because I don’t think I would’ve been able to manage the transition on my own otherwise! Thankful for how patient he’s been with baby & I, and how he’s been so hands on with everything.
We also had a really good day on Day 5! Out of the blue, baby decided to have a gloriously long 1.5 nap, which was totally unprecedented, but much welcomed for sure. Usually once she goes down for her nap anytime between 12-2pm, I will hop in the shower and when I come out she’s usually crying for milk already. When I came out of the shower that day, the house was surprisingly quiet – no crying! I managed to indulge in a mask and a quick shut eye, even though I didn’t actually sleep, but it felt soooo good! As all mummies to newborns will be able to relate to – I’ll never take a shower for granted anymore. ENJOY IT DURING PREGNANCY WHILE YOU CAN!!!
I even managed to turn on my laptop for a bit that day, which got me inspired to start writing this post. (finishing it took days though….)
Also, a warm cup of tea (or some birds’ nest / chicken essence – best present for mummies if you need gift ideas) does wonders for the soul. I’m thankful that I have help (from hubs, and other family members), which allows me to take that occasional breather. These are rare moments in the whirlwind of parenthood, but it’s the little things that add up, so do that 5mins of breathing exercises if you can! Or even just 1min if that’s all that baby allows you haha.
Honestly, while I’d been hoping to implement a schedule to get our days more organised, but baby has taught us another way of looking at life. She’s taught us to slow down, and not focus on doing things our way, but rather take the time to understand what she’s trying to tell us through her cries, and work our way from there. She’s been keeping us on our toes for sure. Just when I think “seems like we’ve got this!”, baby throws a curveball at us with a cranky day.
I now feel a sense of achievement when I manage to put her down for a nap just in time when I see her yawn, before she gets overtired. It’s much easier to get her to sleep then, and there’s a slighlyyyy higher chance that she’ll sleep better. But today I realised something else that I hadn’t been paying attention to – her diaper. Generally she doesn’t seem to get cranky despite having a dirty diaper. This morning she just kept crying hysterically despite me feeding her and trying to get her to sleep. I kept thinking that she was overtired, but she just wouldn’t go to sleep. It was only when we decided to bite the bullet and bathe her (that’s always another struggle), that for the first time she immediately calmed down once we cleaned her bum. I felt SO BAD. That mom guilt hit me like a tonne of bricks when I realised that I hadn’t changed her diaper for the past 5 hours and she must’ve felt so uncomfortable which is why she cried so badly 😥 But I just gotta remind myself that it is something to take note for the days going forward.
Our lives now revolve around baby, but I’m just trying to soak in every moment and enjoy her littleness. I just realised I haven’t stepped out of the house in weeks since we haven’t had any doctor appointments! But I actually haven’t minded it at all. Haha I’m really quite a homebody after all xD
So yes, here’s a roundup of our first week, post-nanny! It’s been only a week but I’ve already been able to observe baby’s little developments, and it’s been such a blessing. The cutest has been discovering the use of her hands since we removed her mittens – she’s started to self-soothe by sucking her fingers, and she’s learned to hold things, loving to grab onto her daddy’s shirt while he’s carrying her to make sure that he doesn’t put her down. Looking forward to the rest of our journey ahead! Our hands are now full, but even more, so are our hearts ❤