Get Out

When you’re a stay at home parent, whether it is for a few weeks or months after your baby is born or for a longer period, it is important to get out of the house.

It is even more important when you have a high need baby but then it is also much harder to do and sometimes even impossible.

After Livi was born, my husband was able to take a leave for two weeks and work the third week from home. Then I was on my own.

Trying to get out of the house with my husband’s help was a huge undertaking. Doing it on my own, was almost impossible for the first three months.

But I tried, every single day. Because otherwise I would have gone mad. If you have a baby that screams almost all the time she is awake, you will lose your mind if you don’t get out of the house for a change of scenery, some fresh air and to remember that there is a whole other world out there that you completely forgot about.

And it wasn’t easy.

  • You have to make yourself somewhat presentable while holding a screaming baby. Hats that covered my hair and shaded my face where a constant accessory.
  • You have to somehow wrestle your reluctant baby into the car seat. Livi hated being strapped in and many attempts to get out of the house where derailed by her completely freaking out the minute I tried to put her in the car seat.
  • You will have to deal with looks and comments when you’re out and about and your baby starts screaming. And she will. And it will be embarrassing. But in the end, I dealt with it and learned to ignore the stares.
  • And finally, you will have to overcome the fact that you are too tired, too exhausted, and too anything to even think about leaving the house. And just do it.

And when you come back home to the battlefield and get ready for another round of feeding and walking and rocking and shushing, you will feel like you just won an Olympic medal. Because you accomplished something that seemed impossible just yesterday and may actually be impossible tomorrow.

There will, of course, be mishaps that will send you running back home. But over time, it will get better and you will become more confident.

On my first solo walk with Livi when she was three weeks old and my husband had just returned to work, I had walked for not even one minute when I turned around to run back home.

You see, Livi suddenly started to scream and when I looked at her, I saw blood coming out of her mouth. I ran as fast as I could, tears rolling down my face. Holding my screaming baby, I called the advice nurse, who calmly asked me if I could see a small cut on Livi’s gums. Sure enough, there was a tiny spot with blood on her upper gums. She had cut herself with her sharp little fingernails, which I was too scared to cut because she was always flailing her arms.

Looking back, it doesn’t seem so bad, but at that moment, my sleep deprived, overwhelmed self could hardly handle it.

When I managed to get out of the house, I mostly went for walks. But every few days or so I would go to Target or Babies R Us or a similar store and try to buy a few things we needed. This way, I was among other people and it felt like my outing had a real purpose, which gave me an even greater sense of accomplishment.

So if you are reading this while holding a screaming bundle of joy, please listen to me and get out!

Flickr Photo by visit~fingerlakes

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18 comments on “Get Out

  1. Michelle says:

    I can relate, I had a very colicky baby. Getting out is so important and yet so hard to do!

  2. I have no idea what it is like having a screaming child all the time, but I totally agree that you just have to keep attempting to get out of the house! I was grateful to have dog that had to go outside, which made it easier to force myself out.

    • hnMom says:

      Definitely, taking care of a dog does kind of force you to get out. Which might seem like more work at the time, but really it’s a blessing in disguise.

  3. Steph says:

    Yes. I found getting out of the house essential for my sanity – even if it was only a short walk. My sleep deprived self would have freaked out at the blood too!

  4. Deni Lyn says:

    This is such a good reminder for everyone. Getting outside is something I do with our son every day – even if it’s drizzling and it’s for just a few minutes. Fresh air and a change of scenery is good for Mom and seems to help our son sleep better. I will confess, more often than not, I look like a complete mess when we take our morning walk but the neighbors seem to have grown accustomed to my “new look.” Ha!

    • hnMom says:

      Oh, I am not just a mess in the morning! But who cares, getting out is all that matters. For my sanity and for Livi’s well-being. Plus she loves to walk and it clears my mind to be outside.
      I don’t mind a little drizzle either but when it’s too hot or raining like there is no tomorrow, we can’t go out. Sadly, that’s true for half of the year.

  5. The story about the blood made me want to cry for you – I remember those days where I would totally freak out and not know what to do! When I first tried to cut Bubby’s nails, I would often clip her skin and she would scream and then I would just sit there, holding her, apologizing like crazy, and crying myself.

    Our doctor told us not to go out with her for a month or more after she was born. She was born at the end of March, so I am not sure why he felt this was good advice. He wasn’t even fond of the idea of us going to the mall unless she was in a baby carrier, and she was too tiny for the Bjorn at that time. But all we heard was “don’t go out” and that meant that I pretty much stayed indoors for 3.5 weeks. I don’t recommend doing that. I finally cracked and, while my husband and his whole family were out of town for the day at a family event at the 3.5 week mark, I took her out for a walk on my own. We turned around 2 times before actually going, but once we were outside, it felt amazing.

    I now try to go out as often as I can. Yesterday we went out 3 times and I was pooped at the end of the day. But I find I feel my best when we’ve gotten out of the house, so I really try to make an effort to do it. And Bubby loves exploring, so it’s a win-win situation.

    I’m dreading winter!

    • hnMom says:

      Interesting, we never got that advice. We had to check in with the pediatrician the day after we were released from the hospital and had another appointment at 2 weeks. Considering the time of year, I did not feel great about that and was worried about all the sick kids there. Thankfully, Livi did not get sick. We also ended up going to the mall it was raining so much. Again, I didn’t feel too comfortable doing it, but we needed to get out.
      Not sure how I would handle it the next time, to be honest. But I see very young newborns out and about all the time.

  6. Nina says:

    It’s funny how something so simple as a walk around the park becomes the highlight of the day; something so difficult to do yet becomes the biggest focus of the day. I could totally relate, especially with feeling embarrassed and overwhelmed being out in public with a screaming baby.

  7. D says:

    I stumbled upon your blog just now, as I sit in my apartment’s courtyard after having strolled my 4-month old high need son to sleep. I’m so glad I’m not the only one going through this! All my friends and family don’t understand and think I’m just an overbearing mom, but really I’m not…my son can WAIL for over an hour if he isn’t held or strolled to sleep. Thanks for blogging about your experiences – gives me something to remind me I’m not insane!

    • hnMom says:

      I am so glad you found my blog and that it helps you a little bit to read about my experiences. Your son is 4 months old, so you are still in the thick of things, but believe me when I say, it will get easier. For some sooner than for others, but it will happen. So hang in there and do whatever you need to do to make it through this tough time. Trust your instincts and do what works for both your son and yourself.
      If you have any questions or suggestions for posts, let me know. I’ll try and answer as best as I can. 🙂

  8. 4eyedblonde says:

    It is amazing how much better just you feel after taking a walk. Sometimes I think it would be easier preparing for an international flight than getting the kids in the stroller (or bike, or trike, or scooter…), but it sure helps my sanity, for sure. And the kids, too. 🙂

  9. busyDad says:

    I’m so happy I found this blog. It’s like you’re describing our 6 month old. There was not much to find about high-need babies in our local language, but more showed up when I searched in English! Hopefully it’ll change the way we feel about our daughter, sometimes it’s extremely hard.

    • hnMom says:

      I am so glad you found my posts helpful. At 6 months, you are probably still in the middle of the most challenging part. For us, it got better around 7 or 8 months, when Livi was able to sit up. It got even better when she started crawling, walking, and talking. But each stage has a new set of challenges and it is never boring. 😉

      You are right, most information is available in English. I don’t know if you already read the info Dr. Sears provides? It was the first I found and when Livi was a baby, I found it really helpful and comforting. http://www.askdrsears.com/?q=topics/parenting/fussy-baby/high-need-baby

      However, there is also another author I cannot recommend highly enough to you. Her name is Mary Sheedy Kurcinka and one of her kids was also high need. She calls it “spirited.” I wish, I had read her books right away because they are so helpful. They are mostly about toddlers/children but she always includes tips for babies as well. Her main book is called “Raising your spirited child.” If your daughter also has trouble sleeping, a huge problem in our home, then I also recommend you read “Sleepless in America.” Hopefully, you will be able to get these books in your country.

      Let me know if you have any questions or would like me to post about something specific.

      All the best to you and good luck.

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