Momming Level 104
It seems like just yesterday that my two tiny humans were in the throws of the "4th Trimester" a.k.a the newborn phase. Now my youngest is 4 days shy of being a threenager! Holy shit.
I vividly recall a the love/hate relationship of that newborn phase. The endless cuddles were absolute bliss. The delicious smelling newborn head. Oh my. The wee baby grunts, yawns, stretches and coos. Adorable. But there was also the struggle of sleep deprivation, the feeling of constant dependency, isolation and the weight of maintaining a household while also keeping this new tiny human alive. At least when my family was experiencing the newborn phase, we weren't also surviving through a bloody pandemic. The isolation then was very real for me. I cannot imagine the feeling of going through this phase in today's world.
As if Mother's weren't already wearing a goddamn cape, bringing new life into the world right now takes on a whole new level of divine strength and resilience.
Lindsay is 8 weeks into this Ultimate Momming Level 104. Sleep? What sleep? She closes her eyes when she sneezes. That counts, right? It's hard to get into any sort of routine when fatigue is the in the forefront.
So let's talk routines.
When I was pregnant with Odin (now 4.5) I read "The Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau. I don't read much - it's just not my thing - but I read this book cover to cover.
Take it with a grain of salt. It's not everyone's cup of tea. Tracy's parenting style is very British but has a middle ground, commonsense approach. I wasn't on board with some things and I'm a true believer of "To Each Their Own" in that what works for me and my family might not work for yours and vice versa. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that!
Tracy suggested the E.A.S.Y method - a routine to follow with a tiny human. Let's be honest, a baby can't follow a schedule. They can't tell time. They don't have an alarm. But they can get into a routine and for a new, sleep deprived Mom, a routine might be the medicine for not just surviving but thriving as a parent.
E - Eat. A - Activity. S - Sleep. Y - You time.
E stands for Eat. When a baby first wakes up from a nap or bedtime, the first thing you do is feed the baby. Whether it's a snack or a full blown meal (milk or solids, depending on the age), it's important that this is the first step.
A stands for Activities. After eating, it's time to play, run errands, or do any other activities that are not eating or sleeping. The amount of time spent doing activities will vary depending on the child's age, as very young infants cannot play for long without becoming tired, but older infants and toddlers can often go several hours. With Odin, our newborn activities included staring out windows, tummy time, looking at black and white high contrast books, listening to nursery rhymes and going for a walk outside followed by a diaper change.
S stands for Sleep. Tracy stresses the importance of sleep directly following activity. When a child has played until they begin to show signs of tiredness, and then transition directly to sleeping there's no need to feed to encourage sleep. According to Tracy, bottles and nursing to sleep provide "props" that a baby relies on to fall asleep, preventing the baby from learning how to self-sooth. Take it with a grain of salt but this is what worked for us! To each their own.
Y stands for You Time, and it's what you get when you follow the rest of the routine.
For me, having a structured routine was crucial. Knowing what happens next helped me feel like I had a wee bit of control of my new life that I really actually had very little control over!
So wear that cape with pride, folks.
And don't let the tiny humans kill you.
Jade + Lindsay