I was worried, those first few days home from the hospital. You get kind of spoiled when you're still in your room at St Joe's here; the nurses come and whisk your baby off to the nursery at the impression of a button on your bed. Sleep, blissful sleep. Then you get home 2 days later, and find that those nurses were the best friends you had while you were there. They comfort your baby, swaddle her, change her diaper, feed her if you ask them to, and generally play 'mommy', all so you can rest. At home, you have no nurses to help. Lucky for me, I have Tim's mom here to help out for a few weeks, but we've been having her take care of Kate for the most part. Claire is up to us.
And sleep was not on her agenda the first couple of days she was home. At least no sleep at night. That's the time to fuss and cry! The time to have diaper blowouts, spit-up contests, and time to expend all efforts to wake your older sister! Two girls crying at 3am, now that's fun.
We spent the first 2 nights on the sofa, rotating shifts. Claire would sleep on top of my chest as I reclined on the couch, trying to get comfortable and keep her from crying at the same time. We began to doubt our choice of homes. Our floor plan is not conducive to containing the screams from either a 2 day old or a 16 month old without waking the other one up. Or waking up the entire household (and maybe the neighbors), for that matter.
I thought back to Kate's newborn days and tried to remember if she was the same way. She was. I think we were having the same problems, too. Gassy baby (from me drinking milk), screams throughout the night, wanting to eat every 1 1/2 hours or so. And because I was sleep-deprived, I gave in. I let her sleep on me, I fed her every 90 minutes, and I was exhausted.
It was time for an intervention. The next day I began stretching out the feedings, and I stopped drinking milk. The gassy baby problem disappeared almost immediately (making me wonder if it really is milk, but I'm not about to start drinking it again for at least a couple more weeks), and Claire started napping better. She still woke up at night, though. So I thought back to our days in the hospital, and remembered that they had given us 2 blankets that were the perfect size for swaddling a newborn. I wrapped her up tight, arms down at her sides. And the silence was deafening. Peaceful, glorious sleeping baby. Now Claire gets swaddled every night, and we get about 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep until she's hungry again. Whew.