A Sleepness Night
It was a cold dark January night when we were discharged from the hospital. My baby’s incessant cry disjointed my confidence as I dressed her for the outdoors. We exited the hospital building frosty and faint-hearted. My baby was distressed by the new environment, and I was shell-shocked with my status of single parenthood. I did not know how to care for an infant. What do I do to give the best care to my child? I felt alone in this pursuit, there was no loving partner to give a supporting hand or a gentle nod of encourage. There was no one to consult with concerning the best action to take in care of this new life. I felt abandoned.
In my last month of pregnancy there was this huge debate with family members, as to where I would stay after the baby was born. I insisted on going back to my small studio apartment and care for my baby. After all how hard can it be to care for a baby? I will pace myself cooking, cleaning, nursing and caring for the infant. But my family pulled me by the horns into the protective care of their home. To this day, I am very grateful that they did.
As a single parent after giving birth it is important to get help. So what the father of the child is not around, others are willing to help so, let them. Caring for a child after labor is exhausting. There is the “baby blues” phase and the state-of-constant tired disposition. This means long sleep intervals, and the inability to do the basic household tasks. So as I reluctantly stayed with family, I gracefully ate three meals a day, enjoyed frequent rest mode, and free time to care for my baby.
Don’t try to be superwoman, before having the baby solicit as much help as possible. After a cesarean birth the doctor’s instructions are: no lifting, no driving, no “doing” laundry, no vacuuming, and no “taking” the stairs for months. Even if you do not have a large family to help you recuperate, there are always friends who are willing to care for you and your baby. If there is no one willing to care for you and the baby gratuitously, maybe your finances will allow the hiring of someone for a 6 month period. If the funds are not there, try the barter system – offer your service or skills at a later date in exchange for care giving for you and the baby. Whatever you do, get help. Don’t go it alone.
No Sleep Night
The three nights were sleepless ones. Grace cried all night. I remember a family member mumbling, “something must be wrong with her”. The crying were sharp sounds that penetrated the ear drums of the deaf; it could not be ignored. It was the, I-am-helpless-angry-and-scared cry and you better make it better. I dragged myself off the bed, prepared the hospital-given-formula and feed her. It was not enough. I changed the pampers to no avail, that baby hallowed so loud that when I heard the siren one day, I felt for sure the next door neighbor called 911. The National Sleep Foundation organization asserts, infants sleep for the maximum of 15 hours a day, not once did they talk about the continuous crying when they are awake.
Mother Knows Best
Grace cried every night for 3 nights in a row, the fourth night I decided to follow my instinct and care for her in a minor that I thought best. Family members explained why I should not pick her up when she cries after she was feed and changed. They said I will spoil her. I followed their advice but, that fourth night the crying was so piercing that I got up and held her and rocked her, and before I knew it she was on my chest fast asleep. Researchers say that mothers with infants less than five months should be attentive to their cries. They explained it is okay to let baby set the standard of care due to the change of environment, from the womb to the world. Grace’s sleeping on my chest was our standard of sleep every night until she was six months. When she slept on my chest, we both had a full night’s sleep hence our routine was established. During the day she would be in her family members’ arms or the bassinet and the piercing cries only came when she was hungry and wet; it stopped once those needs were met.
Many thought it was a risk having my infant sleep on by chest. They exclaimed she might roll off or worst I might roll on her and suffocate her. That never happened. I slept in the middle of the bed with large pillows at both sides of my body. These precautions were never necessary. I was a light sleeper and Grace clung to by body and would not move until she was wet or hungry.
A Loving Decision
Medical professionals explained, infants are new to the world and depend on mommy to help them adjust. Hence, they cannot be “spoiled”. So mothers, do what your instincts demand in caring for your infant. Whatever you do, do it with love. The first four months are crucial bounding and relationship building time. If baby feels wanted and love, he will be more trusting. So, rock, sing, cuddle, or sway your baby so you both can sleep. Do what is best by any loving means necessary.