Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Five things I've learned this week

Sometimes life can be a bit overwhelming. This year has been a supersonic rollercoaster ride of emotions and events. And with August already well underway it doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.  As this year speeds ahead so too does Gracie's first year of life. She's now nine months old. A toddler. A big girl.  And my time at home is speeding to an end very, very soon.  

With my impending return to work I have, in true Sunny fashion, been trying to make a plan for all the things that need to have been accomplished before I leave the nest. My list isn't long, but it is complex. And most of it surrounds Gracie's development and daily schedule.  She's still struggling with her sleep patterns and self-soothing, and she's still being breastfed.  

It has always been my plan to breastfeed until she turns one, and then wean straight onto cows milk. This doesn't seem like too much of a drama except that she LOVES the boobs. Just loves them.  But then there's her sleeping. She settles without too much fussing for her morning nap, is transitioning herself from two daytime naps to one (early, I know), and is slow to settle overnight with a dream feed in there around 2am.  I am anxious that she'll not be able to sleep well at daycare as she's not yet self-soothing at home.  

This anxiety, MY anxiety, has caused me to research and trial a number of different methods in helping Gracie become a more independent sleeper. None of which have worked as yet, all of which have upped my stress about the situation and confused our poor baby girl.  

This weekend we tried a well-known, and pretty hardcore method of sleep training that did not go well. AT ALL!! Hubby and I had our reservations going into it, and at the end of two hours of screaming, our Gracie Girl just wasn't playing the game. It was a nightmare! And for the next 24hrs our usually confident, bubbly toddler was a clingy mess. I felt terrible. What had I done?! Why did I mess with her working routine? Why did I put her through that? Will we ever find something that works for her?  I broke down, sobbed like a feral mess, and then called Grandma. 

After a good vent and cry, she and Hubby helped me realise some things. I wanted to share them with you. 

1.  Babies grow quickly. Too quickly. They go from being tiny, helpless, little humans to rambunctious toddler people in the blink of an eye. She doesn't need me as much as she did. She's happy to play and crawl and climb and chase the cat all by herself. 
Cherish the time that she relies on you, comes to you for reassurance, cuddles, instruction, sustenance and just because she misses you. The older she gets, the more independent she'll become and this time is precious and fleeting. 

2.  Your baby is never going to be the baby that the books/experts/doctors etc. are talking about. Your baby is different from every other baby.  They will eat, sleep, poop, cry, talk, crawl and walk when they're good and ready. And that's ok. 
Trust your Mummy-instinct. No one else knows your baby like you do. And no one can tell you that something will definitely work for you - or won't for that matter!  Sometimes you need to write your own baby user manual. And sometimes you go back and edit the pages you've already written.

3.  It is alright to just survive a day/week/phase. You don't have to win the Mummy/Daddy/Human Of The Year award. Some days you won't brush your teeth, change your clothes, put the dishwasher on, cook a meal... So what?! Who cares!! 
Do what you need to to get through the day.  And sometimes that means living in your PJs the whole day. Sometimes it's going through Maccas drive-thru without a bra or makeup on. And sometimes not showering for the better part of the week because that takes up precious sleep time! As long as you and your family are alive and healthy at the end of it all, that's what matters. 

4.  Everyone has someone they can lean on. If that person offers you help don't act bashful or ashamed or self-righteous or embarrassed to accept their offer. Parenting is HARD with an exclamation point!!!  
Asking for help means someone CAN help you. It's nice to say you don't need it, but then there are days where you want to paint an SOS on your roof and wait for rescuers.  If people offer, say YES. If they don't offer, ASK! Ask your husband/wife/parents/siblings/friends because there's got to be someone who'll help you out. If it's something you think needs a professional opinion - go get one. Again, there's no shame in telling your GP that you're struggling emotionally and/or physically. If you don't say anything they can't offer assistance. 

5.  It's hard not to blame yourself for your baby's behaviour/mood/schedule etc. I mean, you're the one who spends the most time with them. You're the parent.  They're your responsibility. Just remember that some things are out of your control. 
Be kind to yourself! This kind of goes hand in hand with asking for help. You can't do everything. You're not the responsible for everything. Take pride in little victories like lack of lunch time tantrums or changing a nappy without getting poop up your arm. You're doing a good job!!  
And for heaven's sake - give yourself some alone time or pampering or take a walk/toilet break/shower alone. You need time to clear your head. You're allowed to want to be alone! 

So there you have it. I'm no expert in anything at all, but I do know good advice when it's given to me. Hope it can do you some good too!

Sunny xx


  1. Those are all excellent points and so true!

    If I were to offer any advice about sleep and daycare, it would be to not stress too much about it. When Seamus went into daycare he wasn't sleep trained (I just couldn't do it) and it was pretty rough for him - and the staff! - for the first month or so until he got used to his new environment. Now he self settles at daycare like a champ - even if he still won't do it at home! :) It'll work out. It may take a few weeks, but Gracie will find her groove.

    1. Thanks for the advise, Jenny. Another friend also said the same thing about the sleep and daycare situation. I'm sure Gracie will need a settling period and then sleep well for them (I hope).

  2. Good insights and lovely advice. I always say, try something and if it's not working, try something else. Be flexible. You are doing a good job mama!