3…..4 months with a Toddler and a Newborn

Well, I’m 3 months into our new life of 4. It’s definitely hectic and we are still trying to figure things out.

I’ve been asked several times how much harder are things with two kids. Everything is harder. But, in my personal opinion, the hardest adjustment was going from 0 kids to 1 kid. You have to sacrifice literally everything and care for another human being. You have to put someone else before yourself. Our family of 3 got into a routine and then we added Briar. Things are a little shaky, but we are already in the habit of caring for another human being, and now we just added one to the mix.

As I assumed, balancing time between kids, our careers, our marriage, our social lives, household chores is all very hard and stressful. But, we manage. Some days are better than others, and that’s okay for now.

For the first three months, Briar has basically been attached to me. Which leave Scott to care for Raelynn. I’ve had hard time dealing with this because I’m sacrificing a lot of time with Raelynn. In my head, I told myself, things weren’t going to change. I would get equal time with both kids, but that’s just not reality, unfortunately.

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I’m going to lest this post Rest In Peace because we are now 4 months into our new life….

And I’m dying….

Literally dying from no sleep…

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The moment I think that Briar has somewhat turned a corner, it’s like she looks at me and laughs in my face for even thinking such a reasonable thing can happen.

From month 3 to month 4, a lot has changed.

Developmentally, Briar has learned to roll over both ways. She smiles SO much. She laughs out loud. It’s the cutest thing. If we place a toy in front of her, she will grab it. It’s amazing the things we get excited about as parents.  Me to Scott – “OH MY GOD SCOTT, LOOK!! SHE GRABBED THE RATTLE!!!” Scott to me – “KEISH, SHE’S ABOUT TO ROLL OVER, STOP EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING AND COME LOOK!!” I mean, seriously. Who are we??

She is still pretty fussy from 5pm – 7pm. It does seem we have more good days than bad though, so that’s a plus. I remember feeling completely locked down with Raelynn when her last feeding and bedtime was at 7pm and I already feel like again. Briar has no fear in letting you know that she is hungry and ready for bed. It doesn’t matter where we are.

Sleep…Sleep is still the biggest issue for me…I guess sleep really is overrated because it’s still pretty nonexistent. She was really taking well to the swaddle and then she started to roll and I was done with it at that point. I would feed her at 7pm, when she was done eating, I would swaddle her, and then I would have to rock/hold her for about 40-50 minutes before I could set her down in her crib. At this point, there was no putting down to sleep drowsy. This worked for us, so we did it. From there her sleep varied tremendously. Some nights she would wake up at 11pm. The majority of nights she would wake up between 12am – 1am, A very small handful of times she would sleep until 2am, and we had one instance where she slept until 3am. Of course that night, I didn’t make it to bed until almost 11pm :\. Go figure. So, she was overall having a very good first stretch of sleep. I would go to bed anywhere from 8:30 – 9:30. On most nights it was 8:30 just so I could get at least 3-4 hours of sleep. After her first stretch of sleep, her middle of the night wakings were literally everywhere. Sometimes it was every 2 hours, sometimes it was every 3 hours. On average, she was still waking up 3 times a night. After her first stretch, she would either come in the bed with me or go to the couch with me. I couldn’t muster up enough energy to stay awake and nurse her in her room and put her back down asleep in her crib. It was easier for me to nurse her, then lay her next to me so I could at least get some rest.

So, when she started to roll, we ditched the swaddle.I had read several different articles about how to wean off the swaddle: one arm out, two arms out, Merlin’s Magic Sleep suit, Zip a Dee suit. I told Scott that I just wanted to cold turkey it. I figured, there was nothing consistent about her sleep right now, so what’s the point in trying to slowly transition out. Let’s just do it and get it over with. The first couple of nights were a little tough. She had a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep, initially. It would take around 1 1/2 – 2 hours to finally get her to sleep. That was a combination of Scott and/or I going in her room and shushing her or putting that god forsaking pacifier back in her mouth. We let her cry a little bit. I’m very hesitant to do a full on cry it out with her because of Raelynn. I can’t imagine having to calm two kids down and put two kids back to sleep. We do a somewhat modified version. We let her cry for a couple of minutes and then we go in and reassure her that all is well. That has paid off tremendously for us. For the past couple of days she has went right to sleep after her feeding. She may toss and turn for a minute or two to get settled, but no real crying or having to go back in.  For about a week, she was sleeping like a champ, down at 7pm up around 1am-2am then up around 5:30am – 6am. Still very broken sleep for me and no more than 4 hours at a time, but I felt like I could see the light. Then….the 4 month sleep regression happened. It happened with Raelynn too. I was just hoping to slide right on by this time. It started last weekend. Friday night and Saturday night she was up every 2 hours. Then Sunday night happened. She never slept for more than an hour at a time. I was awake from Sunday morning until Monday night. I was awake for around 40 hours. It was terrible. I never EVER go into work late and I didn’t make it into work until around 9:30am Monday morning. I felt terrible. I know I looked terrible. WHYYY was this happening? I swear, I’m never getting sleep again. My body might be regulating to 4 hours of sleep, because now 4 hours of consistent sleep feels natural and normal. This past week (Monday – Wednesday), I thought she had somewhat went back to normal sleeping habits. I was putting her to bed around 7pm, then getting up around 1:30am – 2:00a.m. and then again around 5:30am – 6:00am, UNTIL Scott informed me that she was waking up every night between 10:30pm and 11:00pm. He was getting to her before I woke up and has been able to settle her back down to sleep until she wake up for me. So, instead of the normal 2 night wakings, we have somehow increased to 3 wakings. Last night there was even a 4th waking. All I know to do is to keeping being consistent and hoping this passes soon. I’m at a loss. Since she has been born, I’ve not got more than 4 hours of sleep, a handful of 5 hour stretches, and one 6 hour stretch. And at this point, we are going backwards, but hopefully not for long.

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We had our first overnight with both kids away and I wish I could have enjoyed it more. I guess, the sleep, I mean. That was my only 6 hour stretch. They stayed at my in laws house. I was not sad at all to give them away. LOL. I wish I could do it more often. Scott and all of his guys went to a BeerFest and me and all of the girls went to a WineFest. It was much needed. But, as you can imagine, I didn’t wake up feeling refreshed. I woke up feeling very hungover. I had to get up early to pump, then pick up the kids from my in laws and take them daycare so Scott and I could recover. I didn’t really feel like myself again until about 5pm.

Breastfeeding is becoming another issue. The beginning of our breastfeeding relationship was MUCH better than Raelynn and I’s. Briar is eating MUCH more than Raelynn did at this point. Raelynn was around three or four, 3 – 3.5 ounce bottles every 3 hours while we were apart. Briar is four, 4 ounces bottles every 3 hours. That’s 16 ounces for Briar compared to around 12-14 ounces with Raelynn. It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but I struggle majorly to get 16 ounces a day. I had to add a pump session in at night, which I absolutely hate. Instead of going to bed at 8:30, I now have to pump at 8:30. I’m considering power pumping for a while until my supply goes back up. I drink Mother’s Milk Tea every single night. I put flax seeds in my protein shakes and in my morning oatmeal. I have just recently ordered some cookies from a nursing mom. The company is called Milk Boosters. I’ve read rave reviews about them. I am praying they work. I also just ordered some brewers yeast to make my own cookies. I’m hesitant to take Fenugreek because I’ve heard it can upset mom and babies stomach so I will hold off on that for now. For a couple week straight, I had to get into my frozen stash to make up the 16 ounces. I knew that once I started supplementing with my frozen stash, I was letting my body know it was okay not to make any more milk than I was making, so that’s why I added in the 8:30 pump. I am currently making just enough day to day and as of the last two weeks I haven’t had to dig into my frozen stash. I maybe freeze 3 – 5 ounces a month which is terrible. I think I maybe have around 120 ounces frozen and 100 of those ounces contain dairy :/. So I am on the struggle bus for sure to make the milk. Ideally, I would love to add a pump session in the morning, but Briar is just too inconsistent with her sleep. I know the day I would wake up, so would she and she would want to eat. Or she would wake up as soon as I get done pumping. I would love to have just an extra ounce or 2 a day. I don’t need or want a huge stash, but just enough to feel comfortable if something were to ever come up.

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And my little Raelynn. She is becoming a feisty…almost 3 year old…cue the tears. I don’t know where the last 3 years have gone. It’s really sad. She’s so smart. But, she takes after both me and her daddy…she is a head strong little girl. She is starting to give us a hard way to go. I don’t think it has anything to do with Briar because she gets ample time with us after Briar goes to bed. We make sure to spend quality time with just her. I just think she is going through a toddler stage. She is definitely Miss Independent, she is strong willed, she is so bossy (me). Sometimes I feel like I see some of my negative traits come out in her. I expressed this to my therapist in my last meeting; the bossiness in particular. I want Raelynn to be a good leader and I want her to stand up for herself, but I also want her to listen and be able to help other people. I told the therapist, my controlling and bossy side has come out majorly in Raelynn already. I am scared to death more than anything that I am going to portray my anxiety onto Raelynn and that’s the absolute last thing I want. I would not wish my anxious self on anyone. I try to be very careful and mindful what I say, but sometimes, I just say the wrong shit. I’m trying very hard. Plus, I want to be happy. I want her to see me happy. I want her to see me and her daddy happy. All of those things are very important to me and balancing all of them are really hard.

Speaking of being happy with Scott. We are about the same. We aren’t terrible, but we aren’t great. When we both get home from work, it’s balls to the wall until Briar goes to bed, then Raelynn goes to bed, then I have to pump, then I’m tired so I go to sleep. The weekends are already getting crazy with plans. It just seems we never have time to ourselves. We never MAKE time for ourselves. Just today, I asked him if he would be okay with me going out to eat Friday night with a couple girls. He said yes, and then in turn asked if he could go to grab a drink with friends tonight. I, of course, said yes, then immediately said, “Next time we need to make plans together, not separate.” The last time we had a date night was when I was 6 months pregnant, so around 6 months ago…and before that….I think it was well over 6 months.  Another thing that plays into us never making plans together is that we feel one of us always has to stay home with the kids. If not, we have to find a sitter and they are hard to come by with two kids. Everyone is a little more hesitant to jump on the babysitting bandwagon with two kids. One that we use regularly, we pay hourly, and sometimes that’s just not in our best interest to have to pay someone, or we literally don’t have the money. So we each make a sacrifice so the other can have some time away from the kids. It just sucks that we don’t spend more time together without the kids.

Work is a whole other issue and it’s praying on me more and more each day. Ever since Briar, I feel like I just cannot get back into the swing of things and I hate it. I feel myself becoming less and less focused at work. It’s a very huge struggle for me because I’m normally very work oriented. I stay under a lot of pressure at my job and it really sucks to not be 100% focused.

A couple of pictures of the girls over the last month or so…

 

 

That’s it for now. Until next time…

 

–The Kentucky Momma

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