I know every mother thinks this, and I’m well aware that I’m completely and utterly biased – but you know I’m going to say it anyway LOL…
But in saying that – Abbie & I did not have the easiest start!!! While I’ve always been completely and utterly in love with her – now I’m actually at the point where I can also say I completely and utterly enjoy her (Big difference!!). Because I have to admit, there were moments after I had her that I wondered how on earth a happy person like myself could have possibly given birth to such a fussy, grumpy baby who seemed to be so at odds with the world… I blame Neil… (joking babe… joking! LOL…)
Several times I contemplated trying to put her back, pull her out again & try to start over – OUCH… you know I must have been desperate to be thinking of things like that!
Abbie liked to make her presence known from very early on… I had early onset contractions with her from 28 weeks pregnant… Several times a week I used to have “braxton hicks” (aka bloomin painful false labour). It usually came on in the middle of the day or in the early evening and I would get contractions every couple of minutes, usually for about 2-3 hours and think “this is it” each time (they were not “tightenings” – they were contractions – you know this on your second!)
In the beginning, being so early on in the pregnancy, it understandably used to freak us out. I was closely monitored by my doctor and at one stage I had a short stay in hospital – but soon enough I made it to 34 weeks and we could stop panicking so much with each occurrence.
I was 38 weeks along when Abbie decided to grace us with her presence. Once she finally made up her mind to come she came in a big hurry! – I delivered her 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital & she took all of by surprise at the speed eeeek!! Lucky there were not more red lights on the way huh… “Minimal use of the facility” my doctor joked. I was lucky he just happened to be at the hospital when I arrived at 6am, otherwise he would have missed the whole thing!! – I guess all that false labour really paid off.
In her early weeks Abbie was a dream. She ate well… She slept well (too well really)… She was easy…. She was happy, therefore we were happy!
… then the jaundice wore off…
… Enter the grumpy Abbie… The Abbie who refused to settle to sleep…
Boy that baby knew how to be stubborn! She would scream and scream and scream and scream in protest at being put to bed (which is pretty much all day when they’re a newborn), until in desperation I would give up and put her in the front pack – that seemed to be the only way she would settle. I like my babies to sleep in their beds – preferably in a routine – so this arrangement, and the hours of screaming, quickly did my head in! I also knew that I was quickly making a rod for my own back by resorting to the front pack every time the going got tough – I just couldn’t carry her around in the front pack forever!
Once she was asleep, Abbie slept well. In fact at night she would crash at about 10.30pm and have a 6hour + stint… not bad for a newborn!! – it was just the hours that it took to get her to crash into this exhausted slumber that were the problem!
As well as this refusal to settle to sleep Abbie’s other exhausting trait was her dislike of the car. Literally from the moment I put her into her car seat until the moment I took her out, she would absolutely scream blue murder. You can imagine how fun that was!!
We took her to the chiropractor to see if that was the issue, and tried various other things… but nothing pointed to it being a medical problem. We knew this because literally the second I picked her up she would stop crying and snuggle in all happy and later once she was able to smile would give me a huge big grin or a giggle. She was also incredibly happy at times when she was awake and well rested!!
Then one day when she was about 10 weeks old, in desperation to try anything, I decided to try and simulate the front back conditions and rolled her over onto her stomach…
“It can’t be that easy” I thought – and it wasn’t – but after that it definitely was a lot easiER!
It was a revelation – Abbie just liked to sleep on her tummy. At that moment I flung the parenting “rule book” (you know the one that says DON’T SLEEP YOUR BABY ON IT’S STOMACH!) out the window and just followed what worked for her. I decided that the small risk of SIDS was worth the large dose of sanity… It was a big step for a rule follower like me!!
Abbie hasn’t followed the rule book ever since! Just like she came into this world in a hurry – she has been in a hurry to do everything else since… she started eating early (at 3.5months – because it got to the point that we could just not eat in front of her without her losing it – again against the “rule book”), she rolled early, she sat herself up and crawled early… She is definitely her own little person and knows what she likes…
After we realised that this was the problem was with settling herself to sleep it did make life in general a lot easier. She still hated the car, and she was still very fussy. But at least we had identified what we were dealing with! – Like even if I changed her bottom bed sheet she would protest. I swear that sometimes I felt like she’d protest just because the wind changed
Thankfully, over time Abbie has learnt to settle herself to sleep better and as a result is a MUCH less fussy, happier and easier baby. Happy baby = happy Mummy = happy household!
It has taken persistence and consistency on my part, and she still usually screams herself to sleep 90% of the time – but now it’s usually for a short time and we just accept that this is just her way, and know that she is usually best left alone. Learning to settle herself has also helped her like of the car. Once she reached about 5 months, all of a sudden she grew out of her dislike and started to talk to her sister instead. Thank goodness!!!!!!!!! We still have to be careful about when we travel, but at least it’s a lot easier…
|Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth…|
This week Abbie turns 7 months old and nowdays she is like a totally different baby! Gone is the grumpy baby, with whom nothing pleased, and in that baby’s place is a little bundle of loveable sunshine. I really can’t believe how happy she is now days compared to the beginning – her day is one big smile and laugh (until the second she gets put to bed), she brings us all so much joy and I can honestly say I’m loving every minute of watching her learn and look around in awe at the world. She still knows what she wants, is strong willed and I often joke that “determination” should be her middle name, but all in a totally good way – it is now a character trait!!
Hannah and Abbie are just in love with each other and it’s such a pleasure watching them interact and play together. They are best of friends!