My daughter arrived small, but mighty. Her lungs strong. Perhaps she’ll use those pipes for good use some day. Maybe she’ll be a singer. Then again probably not if she takes after her mom and dad. I’m hopeful, though, so I can remind her how she started stretching those lungs early on. Each and every day. Until that one day she stopped crying, and I the silence was deafening. Then I realized baby quiet time is the best time for mom to recharge.
New parents run when baby makes a noise
At first, new parents cherish every little peep. Especially her first little whimper. For us, those first few sounds meant even more. At birth, there wasn’t a sound. An agonizing few seconds passed without a peep from her or the doctor. My husband and I looked at each other. The unspoken words said it all. Something wasn’t right. It turns out the umbilical cord wrapped itself around my daughter much to the surprise of the medical staff. While it seemed like minutes ticked by, surely the clock moved slower. Finally, that first cry that also put the breath back in our lungs.
In the coming weeks, we heard a whole lot more crying. The first two weeks, we doted on her constantly. Always ready to soothe her. We could decipher the moans knowing which one meant she needed to eat and which one meant she was tired.
Then reality hit. Two weeks after she was born, my husband went back to work. Nights turned into days and days into nights. Weeks passed. Then a month. I felt like a zombie. One month in to this new adventure, I felt like I had accomplished nothing. If I put her down, she cried. She wanted to be with me all the time and never wanted to sleep.
Getting a baby to sleep
Doctors measure success in the early days by charts. Is she gaining weight? What percentile is she in now? The doctor never asked about sleep, yet, it became our biggest failure.
We used swaddles, sound machines, nightly routines, baby slings, and a pacifier to soothe our child. You name it we tried it. Nothing seemed to work. Our child wanted to eat or be held all the time. She never slept unless she snuggled in our arms. If we tried to put her to bed, she cried.
As a new mom, there’s lots to do. While a baby snuggling in your arms is beautiful, my mind always raced with all the things I needed to get done while she slept. My daughter loved being held, and it’s really the only way she slept. I tried so many times to slowly tiptoe to the crib. As soon as I gently placed the swaddled baby in the crib, those baby blue eyes popped open. Time to start that sleeping beauty routine all over again.
Checking baby on monitor to make sure she’s breathing
At six weeks, I became determined to get our child to sleep. It became my focus every day. She was gaining weight and getting bigger. Progress on the growth charts. Now it was time to make progress in the sleep department.
I charted the hours slept, and hours awake. We switched from the bassinet to the crib. That only made it worse for a few nights, but I stayed determined knowing we had to make the transition at some point.
Quiet time didn’t come easy in our house. Around six weeks we had a moment of quiet. Little did I know at the time, it would come and go quickly.
Three nights into sleeping in the crib, our daughter didn’t wake at her normal time. I grabbed the monitor. I looked for signs she was still breathing. When I saw her chest going up and down, I closed my heavy lids and dozed off. Five minutes later, time to check again. I repeated this for hours. Now my daughter was sleeping, but I wasn’t. The silence was deafening.
It took weeks for me to get used to the silence. I would even walk into her room and put my hand on her back to make sure she was still breathing.
Baby quiet time is the best time to recharge
Sleep didn’t last in our house. It took ten months before our daughter slept solidly. So hang in there if you are a new mom struggling with a baby who won’t sleep. We joke that our daughter doesn’t want to miss anything and just wants to take it all in. She’s always on the go, and since she can’t speak she lets us know in her own baby voice what she really wants.
When sleep finally arrives again, it’s the best thing ever. So are those moments of silence during nap time. I never turn on the TV anymore. Background noise is not needed. I have it all day long.
Nap time is my zen time. I can relax, get some work done, and focus on me. Being a mom is a tough job. It’s a 24-7 job. While getting my daughter to sleep was a tough job, and still challenges us from time to time, that obstacle makes me cherish my quiet times so much more. I am more productive which allows me to focus more on my daughter when she’s awake.
Nothing compares to being a mom. It’s a challenging, yet, amazing job. One of the greatest things to come out of it — the value of silence. In an age where we’ve become addicted to our phones and televisions, I prefer none of the above. Just standing alone in a shower. The one time I can’t hear the baby. Just the sound of water pouring out of the faucet as the steam rises over my face and clears my head. I also enjoy a great cup of coffee all by myself. I don’t turn on the TV. I sit in silence. When I clean, I no longer listen to the radio. Silence is a golden moment for me. It’s a noise I rarely hear now that I’m a mom.
What’s your favorite “you” time when it’s just you and that silent white noise?