Originally Posted by Zenmama1
That's a good question...What did I think it would be like. I guess yesterday I just felt like complaining lol. Because truthfully I can hold off on doing those activities for a few years until she is old enough to participate. But to answer your question I thought the every day stuff would be A LOT easier. Stupid me, huh. I hadnt really been around many young babies, so I didnt really know what to expect. But I had never heard of attachment parenting or spirited babies, so I envisioned my baby sleeping in a crib by 8pm every night, breast feeding for a few months, napping at a set time wherever we were and just kinda going with the flow. But in reality I sleep in a separate room from my husband in a bed with my DD because she wakes so often to nurse. I am breastfeeding about every 2-3 hours day & night still. she won't nap anywhere but at home or in the car. transferring her from car to bed doesnt work. Getting her to take a nap and go to bed are often a struggle. I thought my husband would be able to put her to sleep at night...but in the off chance she does fall asleep in his arms, she wakes right up as soon as he lays her in bed. I dread even going places because she hates being confined in a car seat and cries after 15-20 mins. I pictured my husband and I doing more baby friendly traveling, but driving with her gives me anxiety, and being in a new place/bed with her completely throws off any kind of schedule we had. I imagined babies were just more easy going and I had never heard a baby cry so ear piercingly loud.
In hind sight I realize I was just disillusioned. Probably because I see so many babies at the mall sound asleep in their strollers :) And those infant car seats that unlatch so you can bring your peacefully sleeping baby inside - haha what a joke. DD would be wide awake crying before we were even out of the car. But I never expected it to be so drastically different than my crazy perception. I guess that comes with the territory of having a spirited baby.
I also haven't mentioned several other challenges that have presented themselves along the way. I had hyperemesis during my pregnancy. A difficult delivery. A baby with severe colic, eczema and hive break outs. She has a severe dairy allergy. She has also had to have a lot of medical testing and doctor visits due to "failure to thrive." So we definitely havent had the easy road.
Also, as far as having help goes. I don't have many options. Grandparents are either "too busy," too far, or no longer living. I did find a 16 year old relative that is willing to babysit from time to time but that is all. I'm also thinking of trying to hire a neighborhood kid to come over and play with her while I am home some days. So hopefully these things will help.
Sorry if all this sounds kinda random. My DD has pulled me away from the keyboard about 10 times since i started trying to type this :)
Our daughter (our first) was/is like yours, and we also thought it would be easier based on babies we saw sleeping in strollers and car seats, at Starbucks, whereever. Our daughter fell asleep exactly once in the stroller (and I think that was because she was exhausted from refusing to nap and screaming at top volume for the entired 35 minute car ride to where we were going), and laying her down in her crib if she was already asleep failed 8/10 times. My husband was (and still is) the at home parent, and it was especially difficult for him being "not-the-mama". We also thought it was our fault she was so...challenging. You should know that its not...we now have a son who is so super mellow, and a sleeper. He was like that from the start (within minutes of being born he nuzzled up and fell asleep, unlike our saughter who screamed for 10 minutes until she latched on). She's 3 now, and still a challenge, but its so much easier, and she's truly a joy (except when she isn't, but this is much more rare these days).
Some things that helped:
1. Finding a mama's group, library story/play time, LLL, something where you can bring your DD but its still a bit of break because you can talk to other mamas while worrying less about her getting hurt (like say, at a park).
2. Finding a good carrier. We spent a fortune on a stroller that faced us because we thought that's why she hated it (when we visited my family we had a borrowed one that faced us, and she seemed to hate it less). No, she just hates strollers, but would happily be carried.
3. Figuring out what calms her. For DD it was water. She would sometimes be in the bath fives times in the course of the day because if she was losing her shit she would be immediately calmed by going into the bath. We also found that changing the scenery would help...it was like she was bored....going somewhere different (even just outside for a walk, in the carrier, of course) would help.
4. Eliminating expectations. Having no plans meant that we were never disappointed if DH/I didn;t get to something, and it was a huge bonus if we did. This meant a constantly trashed house and take out more than we would have liked, but it was better than feeling angry for not getting something done that we planned on.
It really does get a lot easier. My daughter also nursed all the time at night at 16 months, and continued to do so until about 19 months when I night weaned because I was pregnant and I was exhausted (FWIW, it went much better than I thought it would and she started sleeping through the night). Her sleeping better/more enabled DH and I to spend more time together, which made us both happier. She's amazing, and so much fun....smart, funny, creative, and kind. She still has her moments, but they're less frequent. It sounds like with your pregancy and her health issues its been a tough road, and I can imagine how drained you must be having a spirited baby on top of that. I hope that as she gets older and more independent she'll mellow a little, and you'll enjoy her more. I adore my daughter and wouldn't change anything about her, which is something that I/we might not have said when she was an infant.