It’s always in the wee hours of the night that it hits the hardest. The baby is up for the umpteenth time, or she won’t resettle, or he won’t let you put him down.
You wonder what you’ve done wrong tonight. What did you change that made tonight different from last night. You go over your last 24 hours. Did you eat anything different? Drink anything different? How did the naps go? Did they sleep longer or shorter or in a swing or in the crib?
It becomes a black hole. Everything you’ve done in the last 24 or 48 hours gets called into question. The frustration seeps out of your pores. The tears start to flow as the minutes tick by. You wonder when this will pass. Is this your new normal? Could it be a growth spurt? Maybe she’s not getting enough to eat? Will I ever sleep more than 3 hours at a time again?
As the minutes tick by into hours I often find my anxiety to be the highest possible. I question my emotions, I wonder what I’ve done wrong to cause so many wake ups. And then I feel guilty for feeling frustrated that we are awake…again. The range of emotions of motherhood have seriously blown my mind.
For the moms out there who are breastfeeding, way to stick with it.
The moms out there who are formula feeding, you’re doing a great job.
Have you started to sleep train? Good job.
Is baby sleeping in your bed? In your room? Down the hall? You are doing what is right for your family, good job.
Are you introducing solids? Or cereal? Or doing baby led weaning? You are doing what is right for your child, great work.
Is baby sleeping through the night, but up all day? Or is baby not sleeping through the night, but having great naps during the day? You’re not doing anything wrong, you are just nurturing your babe the best way you know how.
Have you put baby into daycare? Or are you staying home with them? You’ve made the right choice for you and for your family. Way to go.
The bottom line…
You see there are no manuals for these tiny humans. You are doing the best you can. Yes there are anxieties. Yes there are long nights and short naps. Just as every baby is different, every family is different. There is so much information online about why you should bed share, and just as much information out there about why you shouldn’t. Forums on forums for why baby led weaning is best, and just as many about why it’s a bad idea.
In the 3 months that I have been able to call myself mom I have spent hours on these sites. Questioning what is right and what is wrong. Asking every single person I know for advice. What did they think was best for her? Tell me what to do! Please! In reality, my husband and I know her best (haha okay, I spend 24/7 with her, so maybe I even know her a bit more than him). The important thing is, ignore the shamers. You know what is best for your family.
Follow your gut and trust that you are doing the best you can, likely on minimal sleep even! Lack of sleep makes everything worse, try to ignore the advice that doesn’t relate to you, scroll past those stories on Facebook, skip the forums tonight. While I know how easy it is for the anxieties to creep in, I know you are strong enough to keep on scrolling, skip the articles, trust your instincts. Afterall, you are that babies whole world. They trust you. You should too.