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Challenge: Bringing Home Baby: What Do You Wish You’d Known?

Prepared to help baby sleep, but not to keep baby awake!

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My husband and I are a bit "into" planning. Moving? We have color-coded stickers and a label machine. Throwing a party? My husband will create a game, type up the rules and even set up the obstacle course for you. Meeting at noon? We'll be there at 11:55am, with coffee for the group. My 6-month old already seems to have inherited the Type-A gene, as just this morning he fell asleep at 8:55am for his regularly scheduled 9am nap.

Naturally, as my due date approached I signed us up for a variety of classes. Breastfeeding 101? Check. Newborn basics? Check. Natural Childbirth? Check. (And, ouch!) I read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, The Happiest Baby on the Block (and watched the DVD!) and read more blogs than I can count. I was confident that if my sweet baby had trouble falling asleep – I would be equipped with all of the research and tricks to help!

What I was not prepared for, was a newborn who didn't want to be awake! Following the hospital staff and my pediatrician’s advice, I nursed my little man every 2-3 hours (sometimes more, as needed). However, this meant setting an alarm every 3 hours during the night to ensure he received enough mommy’s milk to help him grow during this early stage. Every time he latched on, he would almost instantaneously nod off. My every-supportive husband sat with me each and every session, but there was little he could do. The sleep advice and training was no help.

One night armed with an old friends advice via text at 3am, and trusty Google, we alternated stripping him down to his tiny diaper and dabbing him with a cold wet wash cloth – and I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, the occasional ice cube. I nursed; my husband dabbed. We repeated the madness for 20-40 minutes every 3 hours. It barely worked, but within two weeks’ we were at our first pediatrician visit receiving the most welcome news – he had regained his birth weight and we could let him sleep as long as he would during the night.

Moral of the story? You can prepare. Let me rephrase, you will try to prepare. But there will always be unanticipated events. So stock up on extra diapers, don’t buy too much newborn clothes and take a million pictures those first few weeks. The experts were right about one thing, it goes fast.


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