I'd be lying if I said there were no days when I think to myself "what did I get myself into?" Life with an infant is no joke. I have no idea what I'm doing. Everytime we think we are in a routine, or pattern, it changes. We went from a solid 6-8 weeks of baby sleeping from 8p-4am, waking for a feed, then falling back asleep till 8am. It was a great schedule, I felt like I was really getting the hang of things. Then one night, it all changed. Then another night it changed again. Some nights baby wakes up at 10:30pm,12:30am, 2:30am, and 4am. Not always to eat, sometimes we can just get away with a simple pacifier replacement...other times- oh, boy...those other times...screaming, wiggling, fighting, madness. Those are the times I'll do anything to get him to stop crying, including handing him off to a hungry grizzy bear. Luckily no bear has walked by during one of those episodes yet, and a bottle sufficed.
Between these times of sheer chaos and hair pulling madness are times of genius, or incredible feats of baby whispering. Mom ninja moves, if you will. Babies are so far ahead of us as far as knowing what they want and what works for them, it takes us a few days or weeks even to figure out what they are trying to say (cry?). When those things finally click and you can anticipate baby needs- that is some mom ninja sh*t.
I can't tell you how many times I've been woken up in the middle of the night to a fussing baby and did not pee before going in and trying to console him. Let me tell you something- a fussy baby at 2am is one thing. A fussy baby at 2amwhen your eyes are turning yellow is completely different. Lesson- let baby fuss the extra 30 seconds in the crib while you relieve yourself. It is better for everyone involved.
A fussing baby in the middle of the night can usually mean a few things. There is a checklist I run through depending on time of night and volume/style of crying. If it is before 4am, I try to avoid a feed. First thing I try is pacifier. If that doesn't work, I turn on white noise. Still fussing? I check diaper or look for wet pj's. Once that is handled, I will rock baby to sleep. If crying increases/worsens, I make a bottle. So, these fussing episodes can be handled in anywhere from 1 minute to 30 minutes, depending on how far down the checklist I have to go.
Last night was a good night. I gave baby a bottle at 6pm. He was asleep by 6:35pm. Thinking that this would only be an hour nap at the most, I got all my stuff ready for the next day- gym bag, packed my lunch, etc. At 7:30 he was still sound asleep. I decided to read in bed until the inevitble wake up as soon as I got comfortable. I must've fallen asleep immediately. I was woken up at 11:32 by fussing. A simple pacifier worked. I was woken again at 1:26am, and the hubs went in and gave him a pacifier. The next time I heard fussing was 3:38am, so I knew it was time for diaper change and bottle.
I got up, went to the bathroom (win!) and there were a few fusses, but nothing major yet. I went to the kitchen made a bottle, and the fussing started to increase. I picked up baby, and put him on the changing table. Right before he was about to scream out, I gave him the bottle and he was in heaven. I unzipped his jammies, took only one leg out, took his swollen diaper off (no poop!), and put a new diaper on with speed and expertise that can only be described as Olympic considering the 3:43amtime. I put the leg back in, zipped up, and picked up baby that was eyes closed, still sucking down bottle. I sat on the edge of the bed while he drank his bottle, eyes still closed. When he finished I stood up and put his head over my shoulder to burp, but he was so heavy I knew he was asleep. As I set him down in his crib on his stomach, he burped. I put his pacifier back in, turned on the white noise, and tip-toed backwards out of the room. I looked at the clock when I got back into bed- 3:51am. Like a mother-effing MOM NINJA- no tears. No waking up the hubby/neighborhood. I was pretty proud of myself.
A couple of things I learned here- he might be wanting an earlier bed time. That might explain why putting him down at 8pm or even 9pm was a FIGHT, and his quality of sleep would suffer. Perhaps we were missing the window all these other nights and he was way over tired/stimulated. Makes sense since he doesn't nap for very long during the days. Second, he IS capable of going from 9+ hours without a feed. We always just feed him when we don't know what else to do. That has the secondary effect of more wet diapers and potential wake ups. Lastly, it was bath night last night, and I've noticed that he sleeps better after bath nights (2-3x week) might need to increase to every night if they calm him down?
So yeah. I don't know. Maybe it was just a freak good night. Like I said, every night is different. One thing is for sure, it is never boring, and somehow, someway, seeing his smile first thing in the morning erases all middle of the night grizzly bear thoughts. :)
Some other mom ninja moves of note:
-Flipping down the sun shade in the stroller seconds before the sun will hit babies eyes.
-Recognizing tired signals and putting him down for a nap before fussing starts.
-Making a bottle while holding a crying squirming baby.
-Catching pacifiers mid-air that have just been spit out and replacing before any sound can be made
-Pushing a stroller and walking the dog on a leash; and
-Breastfeeding while standing on your head, duh.