Congratulations! Your baby is now here and, unbeknownst to you, he or she is incredibly talented.
Yes, you thought you were getting a run-of-the-mill kid who pooped and drooled, bestowing the occasional smile in between. Nope, not you. You gave birth to the smartest baby on the planet because he/she exited the womb knowing how to tell time. A wonderful thing, right? WRONG! Because you’re a teacher who works 8 to 5 and your little bundle of joy keeps the hours of a hard-partying rock star, with similar vocal ability and temperament. Welcome to the world of the 3am feeding.
Of all the difficult tasks when baby first comes home, managing the 3am feeding is the toughest of all.
And as you doubtlessly know by now, you can’t even set your clock for 3am – your baby’s hunger can come on anytime between the hours of “I-just-shut-my-eyes” to “surely-it’s-not-time-to-get-up-yet.”
I remember that nocturnal time like it was yesterday; truth be told, I never understood the term “bone-weary” until I had an infant. But now, being on the other side, let me offer a few tips to make the nighttime journey more palatable. Okay forget I said that, how about just bearable? Here’s a little Good Enough Mother advice to get you through these tough times…
SLEEP WHEN YOU CAN: You know why people say that? Because fatigue is not your friend. It colors your mood and makes you feel old and look wrinkly. That’s not a good combination. So you have to grab a wink here and there, when and where you can. The dishes can wait! Who cares if the laundry doesn’t get done today? Hubby has no clean underwear? Have him buy more. You had high hopes for a real home cooked meal (After 17 years, my husband is still waiting on that)? It ain’t gonna happen tonight! It’s not always going to be like this, but it is for the time being. This is like battlefield triage; you will stem the bleeding but it won’t be pretty.
BE PREPARED: Listen, I didn’t spend my entire childhood as a girl scout in troop 573 and not learn a thing or two. You gotta be prepared! Have a plan, and in this case (if you’re not nursing) it’s a bottle that’s good to go. Now my kids are a little older so I didn’t have the benefit of some of the cool things they have now, but having that bottle ready made life so much easier.
ASK FOR HELP: Okay, there will be times where doing it all is going to earn you the undying love, support and admiration of the masses. This is not one of them. Trying to do so will result in extreme fatigue and you know what that does (see above). So when your mom or mother-in-law volunteers to take the baby for a couple of hours, take them up on it! This is not the time to be a hero and truth be told, even a baby who can tell time is not going to notice you’re gone for a few hours. This is a win-win; mom or mom-in-law gets their baby fix and you get the rapid eye sleep you’ve been deprived of since the second trimester. What’s not to love about that?
So those are my three tips – but what about you? What’s worked for you so far? I’d love to hear about your experiences…
Oh and one more thing. Remember this - it doesn’t last forever. It only feels like it does.
By Evenflo Savvy Parenting Expert Rene Syler, founder of Good Enough Mother