I’m sorry, this is going to be one of my rants. Many people who don’t know me would probably say get over it, at least you have a baby and you should be grateful. I am grateful and I appreciate every moment as a mother. But sometimes I feel I’m drowning and it’s not getting any easier.
My daughter hasn’t been herself for the past week, she’s not eating or sleeping well. At one point, I was almost certain she had hand foot and mouth because her body was covered in red spots. Her eczema was out of control and her nose is always runny. I guess this is the hell that parents talk about during the first year of childcare! Today, she hardly ate at all, I tried almost every hour of the day. When I gave her the bottle before her bedtime, she vomited. The smell of her vomit made me gag and I also vomited. I say to myself, must be strong, must not fall apart because she can sense when things aren’t quite right. I try my hardest not to crack, as I strip the bed sheets and change her clothes. When does it ever get easier? Sleep regression after sleep regression, and then there’s teething. There’s developmental milestones causing sleepless nights and then there’s separation anxiety. I couldn’t even shower tonight in peace because my husband couldn’t settle her. My poor hubby was stressed out as he didn’t understand why he wasn’t enough for her.
Anyway enough of this rant. Here’s my top tips on how to get through a hard day with a baby:
1. SLEEP: I sleep really early now to ensure I get a good chunk of sleep first before the night wakings occur in the early hours of the morning.
2. ROOM TEMPERATURE: I dress her lightly and just have the bedroom temperature up to about 19 degrees. If I dress her too warmly and the room is so cold, it’s harder for me to stay sane getting out of bed overnight. I tend to be a bit crankier when I’m shivering standing next to the cot. Melbourne weather is freezing at the moment!
3. SKIN CARE ROUTINE: I make sure I put on make up daily. I use to let this one go, but when I have a bad day and things get a bit much, at least I can look on the mirror and say ‘I look half decent, it’ll be okay!’ Putting on make up for me is soothing. It makes me feel good about myself and I find myself putting it on anyway even if I’m at home. I don’t wear alot, just enough so that I don’t look like a zombie! I place Maddie in her play pen and turn on The Wiggles so she stays put for 15 minutes.
4. GROOMING: I try to make time for a shower everyday. This may be a normal ritual for those without kids, but it’s hard when your a mum and its so easily forgotten amongst dinner preparation and house chores! Showering helps relaxes me before bedtime.
5. SHARE THE STRESS: When I can’t handle it, I grab my husband way before I feel myself losing it! I use to be afraid of interrupting his alone time but I found myself becoming overwhelmed and end up yelling at my baby which resulted in both of us crying. It wasn’t a pretty sight. So I make sure I call out to him way before this happens. If he’s not around, I put her down in her cot or playpen and go drink a glass of water.
6. TAKE A BREAK: When I have trouble putting my daughter to sleep and we’ve been at it for almost an hour, I turn the lights back on and read a book for half an hour and then try it again.
7. SCREAMING BABY IN THE CAR: This is a dangerous one. When she was in a rear facing position, I had a mirror up on the headrest so I could see her from the driver’s seat (can be purchased here). I also had this amazing product, called the Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother (can be purchased here), which I turned on whenever she cried. It a soothing aquarium which I can turn on with a remote from a distance. If this didn’t work, I’d stop the car and go cuddle her. Now that she’s forward facing, she hardly cries (probably has too much fun watching the traffic).
8. REFUSING TO EAT: When your baby refuses to eat and you’ve been at it for 20 minutes: The doctors and nurses have told me not to give your baby different things whilst they are refusing foods as it teaches them to become fussy and they learn how to reject certain types of food. However, I offer about 2 types of food (main and dessert/fruit). Then I’ll try again within the hour if she hadn’t eaten. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But as long as she’s happy then I’m not too worried. If it’s persisted for longer than a few days, I often take her to the doctors or maternal health nurse.
9. GO FOR A WALK OR A DRIVE: Sometimes Madeleine won’t sleep in her cot and I’ve had enough, I take her for a walk or go for a drive. Usually does the trick and I get a good hour to myself for some reading or blogging.
10. GET SOMEONE ELSE TO MIND THE BABY: childcare, your mum or your hubby. And go pamper yourself. I’m getting my haircut soon!
Try to remember that it won’t always be this hectic. Take it one day at a time! When there’s a bad day, there will be a good day!