Tuesday, October 10, 2006

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” and other myths

Now that Flybaby is a month old (and I’ve managed not to lose him -- or worse!), there are some sayings and ideas about babies I have learned are completely not true. For example:

1. Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Riiiiight. It might be an ideal, some lofty goal, to aspire to. But it’s just not practical. A few days a week, I might get an afternoon nap with Fly. But if I slept every time he did, nothing would get done. No laundry. No food shopping. No showering. No blogging or reading other blogs.

So that’s why my conversations with people sound like Rain Man speaking in spoonerisms.

2. Sleeping through the night.

Because I can sleep as long as a drunk college student, “sleeping through the night” to me means around eight hours. But to a baby, it means maybe -- maybe -- six hours. Fly has slept this long only once, and it made me really worried at first. Then I realized, hey, I’ve just gotten the best sleep I’ve had in several weeks, and I got over it fast.

In any case, this sleeping through the night business doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon. JP’s mother, MM, keeps reminding me JP didn’t sleep through the night until he was 5 years old. I mean, she has told me this about 10 times now. One of JP’s friends said if Fly follows suit, JP should be the one to get up with him because he gave him the unsleepy gene.

3. You spend 500 to 800 calories a day just breastfeeding.

Actually, this one is true. However, the assumption is, “Wow! That’s like a workout every day! I am going to be so skinny!” What’s missing is the reality you’re so hungry that you'll be eating like a lumberjack who moonlights as a stevedore. In fact, I even read somewhere you need only 300 extra calories a day while pregnant, but 500 while nursing. Does this even make sense? How can growing a human being take only 300 extra calories, but feeding the same human take 500?

The other part of nursing math, as some people like to tell you, is nature makes you hold onto some of your body fat to ensure your little leech bundle of joy will continue to get the good stuff he needs from you.

4. You don’t need to drink a lot of water while nursing. (This one from the delivery room nurse who gave Fly his first bath.)

Here’s another trick from nature. If you don’t drink enough water to fill the tanks at the seaquarium, I’ve discovered, other parts of your body suffer from lack of water because it all goes into making milk. That means your skin dries up. And, ahem, it could mean some rather painful bathroom-type experiences.

This all just shows you learn something new every day . . . and sometimes, learning makes your brain hurt!


Blogger h&b said...

yay - an update, hope you're doing well .. you sound sassy, so that's a good sign ;)

I got a bit Victoria Beckham when breastfeeding and thought I was invincible. I recommend laying OFF the mini-Mars-Bars when you wean. *sigh*

And yes, he with the non-sleepy gene should stay up and look after the child.

7:14 AM  
Blogger SlushTurtle said...

Get, and read, On Becoming Babywise. Hatchling started sleeping 8 hrs a night at 6 weeks, and 12 hrs a night by 10 weeks. If it's too hardcore for you, try the Baby Whisperer. She's just a kinder, gentler Babywise.

Don't you love the un-natural hunger of breastfeeding? I was ecstatic when I figured out I could have poptarts, a whole box of Mac and Cheese, and a sensible dinner, and still be in my Weight Watchers point range. =)

8:44 AM  
Blogger soleclaw said...

I skimmed the "No-Cry Sleep Solution" and it had some great tips. I especially liked the sleep charts provided in the book. I never filled any out, but they provided great guides for how many hours a baby should be sleeping, etc. This book really helped me when E. was about 8 months old.

E started sleeping through the night at about 6 months (maybe earlier...I don't really remember). However, at around 7 months she totally switched her schedule around on me...sleeping through the day and being awake until 3-5 am.

I caught up on a lot of movies during those couple of weeks. (That's when I bought "Sleep Solution").

Glad to hear you're doing well. Keep drinking that water!

11:33 AM  
Blogger scribbit said...

You're right about sleeping when the baby sleeps. What throws you off is with number two and it's like trying to get the planets to align. But that's not something anyone wants to hear, right?

11:42 AM  
Blogger Guinevere Meadow said...

I'm learning so much from you!! :) It's amazing all the advice and stuff we preggos read and hear, and then see how much of it goes out the window as soon as the kid arrives!

1:43 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

AMEN to all of the above, especially #3. Also, all I do is drink water otherwise painful pluggage problems emerge. Good times, I tell ya!

5:08 PM  
Blogger Awesome Mom said...

One thing that I have heard in regards to sleeping at night is that it will not happen until they pass ten pounds. Mine were both over that at birth and have been awesome sleepers so there could be some truth to it. I have become a fan of naps since having kids.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Margie said...

You're kidding about the calories comment, right?

1) Flybaby is still growing. In fact, he'll probably double if not triple his weight by the time he's a year old.

2) Bigger people (and Flybaby is bigger than he was in utero) need more calories just to maintain their weight.

3) Your body uses some calories in the manufacture of milk.

I don't remember being extra hungry when I was breastfeeding. Then again , I didn't exactly count calories or find myself skipping meals, either. What I do remember is being frustrated about not being able to lose as much as I'd hoped. All those comments about how breastfeeding would "melt" the fat off weren't valid for me--my body seemed to hold onto the fat for dear life (because it needed it to support another life).

Hope things are going better in that regard. :)

12:05 PM  
Blogger Eli's Mom said...

You're catching on quick! :) I just noticed someone else plugged BabyWise.. I SWEAR by it. Even though we dont' follow it to the point of tying ourselves to a set schedule that restricts our activities, it is a WONDERFUL resource when trying to get simple nap/feeding patterns down and Eli slept through the night fairly quickly with it. Good luck!!!

3:54 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

So true! So true! For me, #1 rings especially true. I always INTENDED to sleep when the baby slept, but I never did. Just like you said, there was always something to do and by the time I did it, he was already waking up.

Sounds like you're doing great, but hang in there. It gets easier in time.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

My only words of wisdom: Careful, lumberjack, one day you'll stop nursing but you'll be used to eating all the time. It will be very hard to stop. I'm speaking from experience here.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Freckle Face Girl said...

I have never been able to do the sleep when they sleep thing. As far as sleeping through the night....sort of happened at 3 months. At that time, I started counting sleeping through the night when all she needed was a pacifer to go back to sleep. :) One thing everyone said was true for us - babies get better/easier after the first 3 months.

7:31 AM  

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