Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Know thy baby

There's no shortage of information online and elsewhere these days about baby care. My mother is just in awe of what's available on the Internet (All hail Al Gore!). She never had access to such a wealth of information when she was raising four children in the country in New York. But sometimes the overwhelming amount of information available can make you second guess yourself. It can prevent you from just getting to know your own baby.

It's taken me at least two months to learn some very basic things about our son. When he gets tired, he fusses and sucks on his fists. When he's hungry, he sticks his tongue in and out. When he poops, standing and squatting on our legs helps move things along.

Saturday we ventured into the unknown. We began a bedtime routine and I felt a little lost and reluctant. He's never slept more than 45 minutes without me sleeping beside him. But since I am returning to work Thursday night, a routine will likely help Jim get Danny to bed before I get home around 1 a.m.

Saturday night was hard. My husband and I each went up to console him once after which he slept for three hours in his crib. That wasn't the hard part. For the first time since his birth, I went to bed without him sleeping next to me. It felt horrible and wrong and sad. I cried. And when he awoke for a feeding at midnight, an immense feeling of relief washed over me as I snatched him from his crib, held him tight and smelled his hair. Of course, he wound up in bed with us after that.

Sunday was better. Three hours in the crib, feeding at midnight, back to the crib, then at 2 a.m., he was in bed with us again. Last night, not so good. All night, he never slept more than an hour and a half at a time. By 1 a.m., I was tired of getting out of bed and walking down the hall to his room. So guess where he slept last night? That's right ... in our bed. Tonight is Jim's night to do the routine alone, as a dry run for Thursday night.

My sister tells me that it's not too early to start a routine, but it is too early to expect much from it. What I have gained so far is a little peace of mind for when I go back to work, a few hours of uninterrupted time with my husband and an hour to read one chapter of my most recent book (The Body Hunters, by Sonja Shah). It's not exactly what I expected, but I'll take it.

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