Diary from the trenches

My first 3 months as a new mom

There were many days I cried right along with her because we were both so frustrated.

Month 1

Sleep. As a new parent it’s about as easy to find as a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. 
I have never been so sleep deprived in my entire life. 
When I was pregnant, I always said to myself, “I get up really early for work, so I’m sure I’ll have no problem getting up when the baby cries or needs to be fed.” 
Wrong! This is a completely different ball game. I can barely even open my eyes when I hear her whimper or cry. Sometimes I think I’m dreaming. Then the cries get louder and more persistent and I return to the harsh reality that it’s 3 a.m. 
My eyes are barely open as we stumble out to the living room to grab the breastfeeding pillow and sit in the dark. I start to fall back asleep, head bobbing from side to side, feet propped up on the ottoman, praying she has the quickest feeding of her tiny existence. 
This same pattern of falling into a restless sleep, getting jarred awake at all hours of the night, and not being able to function, carries on for weeks. 
And then I remember the simple advice given by multiple friends: Sleep or relax when your baby sleeps.
It’s genius! I used to think 5 p.m. seemed like a ridiculous time to grab a quick catnap. Nowadays, you couldn’t pay me enough to not sleep or take a break when my daughter goes down for the night or a nap. 
I have learned to relax and just be. Even if I don’t fall actually fall asleep, I relax in the quiet of my apartment and take some “me” time. 
As much as I love Chloe, I’ve come to savor these moments of alone time.
When I finally realize this process works so well for me, I started to gain a whole new perspective about my role as a mother. It’s OK for me to take a time out, or to even ask for one, when I’m tired or things get to be too overwhelming.

Month 2

Chloe cries and she cries often. 
It’s hard to determine what she’s really crying about. It takes time to know all the different sounds your child makes, and believe me, they make a lot of sounds. A cry from a baby you just can’t calm down is enough to send anyone into a frenzy.
The first few weeks after I had Chloe, we weren’t familiar with each other yet. When she would cry, my first instinct was to feed her. I quickly found this wasn’t always the case. Maybe she’s tired? Is she hurt? What’s bothering her? Man, I wish babies could talk or communicate! 
There were many days I cried right along with her because we were both so frustrated.
Then I read an article about how much babies love white noise, including the sound of rain. I’m now about to reveal to you a secret: I run the shower. I can’t tell you what a gift this has been. 
My bathroom has no windows, which makes it nice and dark. I turn the shower on to create that white noise effect she so loves, and I hold her against my chest while gently rocking her. She’s sound asleep within 10 minutes. I’m not kidding. There are some days where it’s a little bit longer, but it works every single time. She lays her head and hand on my shoulder and relaxes. The best feeling is when I feel her hand slip down my arm.

Month 3

I had been waiting for her to start making sounds other than just a little coo. Our pediatrician tells us that Chloe will soon start laughing and making extra sounds. Well, enjoy the silence, mommies. 
Chloe now sits beside me yelling for no reason other than to hear herself. She has been fed, she has eaten, she has a toy with her, and we are hanging out. She is just yelling with enough volume to make me wish I invested in some earplugs. Where is that cute little laugh again? 
Sadly I haven’t found a cure for this problem or a way to stop it. Babies just yell. I try to keep her mind and hands busy when I can so she has something to focus on. And by “something to focus on” I mean not testing how many decibel levels my ears can take. (The answer is: not many.) 
I keep her occupied on her activity mat for a few minutes, and this usually makes her forgetting about yelling. 
Other friends of mine have children that also yell, so I guess I don’t feel like I’m a horrible parent because I can’t get my child to stop shouting for more than five minutes. 
If you find foolproof remedies to get your little one to stop screaming, let me know!   

Theresa Narvesen is a proud new mom to her first child Chloe.