In my last diary entry I spoke about the day being segmented into a few hour blocks which revolved around feeding. This in theory would have you believe that you could establish a regular routine if you have a rough idea of when the feeds are due. In theory yes, this could work. My daughter is pretty consistent as to when she wants a feed and so I should be able to plan my day accordingly. HOWEVER (and this is a big however) there is nothing consistent with her mood from day to day or even hour to hour. One minute she might be all smiles, blowing raspberries and the other she could be screaming blue murder for no apparent reason.
One of the challenges of being a mother (whether your first child or I imagine your fourth) is that every child is different and that child will be different every day. They can't communicate with you and so you are constantly doing a guessing game as to what today's problem might be or what does baby want today that will make her happy.
Before being a mother I had never heard of developmental leaps, cluster feeding or purple crying but these are all elements that can turn your beautifully placid baby into a screaming nightmare. Constantly your baby is growing and learning and it can all get a little overwhelming for them so they may need to feed more, need extra cuddles and attention or just cry out their confusion and discomfort as they try to make sense of new discoveries. You can have a rough idea of when these phases will hit but every day is different.
This can cause many a frustration when well made plans have to go out the window. This week we had a lovely time at a music class and baby was sleeping afterwards so it seemed like a good time to follow through with the plans of going for coffee with one of the mothers afterwards. That was until my overly tired daughter woke up and screamed the house (well cafe) down. My drink had just arrived and it was time to leave.
This post may sound particular negative but it isn't meant to be, my daughter has every right to cry and I am beginning to recognise what is and isn't a good idea in terms of activities for the day. It is when your plans get messed up at the last minute that the frustration can occur.
I have come to realise that there are things I can do to help with planning my day so the unexpected outbursts are kept to a minimum and my frustration therefore is also reduced.
1. Always make sure that baby is fed when she needs feeding, which means if we are out and about I must have enough milk and bottle supplies
2. Always change her nappy before any car journey (a crying baby once on the motorway for 20 minutes with no quick exit is no fun)
3. Always put her down to nap in her crib when at home as she has a deeper sleep and will be more rested for the rest of the day.
4. (AND THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT) plan contingency time into your day.
At work when I was planning my day I would have buffer time for the unexpected, so if something came up I wasn't thrown off guard. This is also needed for being a mother. The only thing that is predictable with babies is that they are unpredictable. You will get the nappy explosions as soon as you are about to head out the door, you will need to change plans at some point because you need to get your baby to sleep and they are taking longer to drop off than expected and at there will come a time when you have to change your clothes because the baby has been sick down you.
These things happen and if you know something is going to creep in to your day to throw you off you can expect the unexpected and therefore will be more relaxed. So now if I am meeting a friend I will plan to leave 30 minutes earlier than I need to in case something delays us.
I don't over plan; I only plan to do 1 or 2 things in a day. If something happens I have the flexibility to move things around and should still be able to achieve all I set out to achieve in that day.
I go with the flow, that way I get to enjoy being with my baby at every stage rather than rushing from one plan to the next. I may establish my plans but it is the baby that has the power to make or break them. So now I just sit back and relax because however much I might like to be in control I am no longer in the driving seat (baby is) so I am going to just enjoy the journey :)