Breastfeeding And The Sleepless Challenge
For me, it was “Welcome to motherhood”. Ready or not, I was in for a wonderful experience. But my first challenge was to overcome the first few months of literally no sleep. It was my first baby. I had a normal delivery.
I felt the pressure of doing everything “Just right”. I wanted to be a perfect mom to my daughter. I realized that parenting was going to be a lifelong journey and also I would make plenty of mistakes in that journey. After stumbling out of bed frequently in the middle of the night for feeding my baby, I would wake up around 6 a.m. again to feed my newborn baby. Each and every night passed without a sleep. I will be waiting for a single moment to lie down for resting. The moment I lie down to take rest my baby will wake up from sleep and start crying for feeding. After about a month or so I was completely worn out!!! After long restless and exhausted nights, I noticed that my daughter was rarely sleeping, be it night or day. I began to really wonder about her. I thought “was this going to be the norm?”, “will she be awake for hours at a time demanding a feeding for every hour and half?”. But I was helpless and wondered if this pattern would ever end. Then I started reading articles that described when the infant stops waking up frequently in the middle of the night for feeding and begin to sleep peacefully for the whole night. Well, I dare say that my little one kept waking up again and again in the night for feeding.
After few months I started thinking that I was the only mom who is suffering from severe sleep depression! Of course, I knew that I wasn’t really the only one. I learned quite a few things during those seemingly never-ending nights of sleeplessness and days of extreme fatigue. I followed some tips to get out of this depression.
Rest, rest, rest! Okay, it sounds tired, and while pregnant everyone used to say to me to take rest always, but according to me, it is more important to take rest even after giving birth to baby.
After my delivery I didn’t do any household works like washing dishes, clothes. My mom and my granny were helping me for everything I needed. My husband sometimes makes my daughter to sleep by resting her in his shoulders and walks here and there. She felt very comfortable when he does like this and she will stay calm. My mom and everyone around me always insist me to sleep while my daughter is sleeping. Well, that didn't work for me, mostly because I was attempting to get things done around the house that I couldn't do efficiently when my daughter was awake.
I continued to breastfed my daughter for up to 2 years of age. In the beginning nurses were telling me that breastfed babies need to get fed more often because breast milk apparently "goes right through" their systems. After my daughter was a few weeks old they gave me the go-ahead on thickening her breast milk with rice cereal (about a teaspoon full). It did wonders for her nightly waking ritual.
Instead of waking up every hour and half she slept about two hours longer than usual. That was great relief for me and my baby! Of course, I checked with my pediatrician first, and again, there were differing views on thickening baby's milk. I also used breastfeeding with pumping as my baby can be given a bottle by other members of my family while I take rest.
Breastfeeding is a demanding job and takes quite a bit of energy reserves. I wish to share the fact that breastfeeding can burn approximately 500 calories during one nursing session. Many mothers are not aware of this fact. That's equivalent to the number of calories I burned on the treadmill a few days ago. So, there's another reason for me to take a breather. I took all my prenatal vitamins. I continued to take all the supplements till the prescribed period, as my body need to get recovered. It also boosted my immune system and promoted my overall health.
After long tiring nights I tried many different ways to make my daughter sleep. I tried to make her sleep in a dark room. I gave her hot shower before making her sleep as this helped her to stay relaxed. I sang songs, lullabies and this made her to feel drowsy in bed. I’ll walk for a while resting my daughter in my shoulder so that she feels my closeness and a secure feeling. Sometimes I sought to play soft music in a little dark room to make her fall asleep soon. This did a great magic for me.
About Rohini Vijay
I have been married for 6 years now. I'm a Mommy to a busy girl named Ishitha. She is now 4.8 years old. I'm a full-time mommy. My daughter keeps me busy always. She is very kind to everyone and a happy child always. So, I feel that I'm very lucky to have her in my life. I enjoy reading books, love to hear music and I engage myself in blogging at my leisure time.
This is personal experience and point of view of Mrs Rohini Vijay as a mother. Happy Motherhood does not take responsibility for the contents and those not necessarily represent point of view of Happy Motherhood