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.
When I think about Livi, one word that comes to mind is unpredictable. This characteristic was hard to accept and difficult to handle when she was a baby and now that she is a toddler, it can mean a lot of frustration for all of us.
When she was a baby, pretty much everything about Livi was unpredictable. When she would sleep and for how long. When she would eat and how much. What calmed her down today, wouldn’t work tomorrow or next week. Going to the grocery store was a wondrous adventure one time and the most scary experience the next. It was hard to make any plans and if we did, they usually fell through.
When I imagined being a mom, I wasn’t quite certain what to expect. Sure, I had some images floating through my mind of chasing after little ones on a summer day, cuddling sleepy children in front of the fireplace, and holding my peaceful baby while watching her sleep.
Granted, I knew these Hollywood versions of parenthood wouldn’t be the norm. From watching friends, I knew there would be tears and dirty diapers and less sleep than I was used to. But there was one thing I was sure of: I would always be able to soothe my baby and meet all her needs. After all, that’s what mothers do, right?
We had a good enough start. Livi came out crying but as soon as they put her in my arms, she calmed down. The nurses even commented how beautiful it was to witness. And I’m not going to lie, it felt amazing to be able to calm this tiny new person just by being there. Had I known what lay ahead, I would have savored that moment even more.
Most of my posts highlight the challenges I encounter(ed) while raising a high need baby and now toddler. It may seem that all I do is complain about my life or that I am ungrateful for my little girl. But both could not be further from the truth.
There are several reasons why I choose to emphasize the difficult parts on my blog:
When Livi was born, people would constantly tell me to sleep when the baby sleeps. And I tried but it was not meant to be.
I mentioned before that in the beginning, Livi would not sleep for more than thirty minutes at night and often only while we held her. That also meant that we would not get much sleep ourselves and that it was often impossible to sleep at the same time.
When you are a new parent, people will tell you not to start any bad habits with your child. Do not nurse or rock or walk her to sleep. Do not hold him too much. Do not pick her up every time she cries. And on and on and on.
But when you have a high need baby and it is midnight and your child has been crying since six in the evening, you are ready to do whatever it takes to get your child to sleep.
Sleep or lack thereof is a big topic in our house. It would be impossible to cover it all in one post. So I am just going to start at the beginning…
It has always been difficult for Livi to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Judging from how active she was in my belly when I was pregnant, I think she even had trouble sleeping back then.
I mentioned before that she was a hyperactive baby. Now she is a very busy toddler and even more active than ever before. That very same characteristic is what makes it so hard for her to calm down at bedtime.