Balancing work and infant care...help!!

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Hey! I am on my sixth week of my 12 weeks off for maternity leave. I am wondering...how am I going to balance all of this? I am fortunate that my mother is volunteering to do majority of the baby care while I'm at work. She has her moments that she is sick or just needs a break, so I'll have other family members that will step in occasionally. I'm also looking into a part-time daycare place that will accept infants.

That's not really the issue. The issue is my sanity, time management, and how am I going to get some sleep to function okay at work, how am I going to be able to get ready for work in the morning with an infant that might need me while I am trying to shower, put on makeup, eat breakfast, etc.? I know my husband will step in, but really he couldn't hear a train approaching him while he is sleeping, much less a crying baby. I'm such a light sleeper...I can hear a pin drop from three rooms down.
I was told babies start to sleep longer through the night at three months...I hope that is the case with my little one.

Any words of encouragement/advice would be helpful.
Its still so surreal to me that I have a beautiful baby boy now. He's so adorable. Aggravating at times (esp at night)...
I recall one night I was so tired, felt irritable. When I put him over my shoulder to burp him...his cute little face next to mine...such a cute precious moment even though I was so tired and irritable...he let out this loud burp...it cracked me up. I just love him...everything he does is so cute. I'm baby crazy right now.
That's right, I said it! I wear scrunchies!!

I am a sulfate washing, cone slabbing, curly lovin' s.o.b. The CG police haven't caught me yet.


3a/3b
It's tough but manageable.

I have no experience FF in the middle of the night, but there are probably ways to make it easier so it disturbs you less. Like if you know he takes 2 bottles during the night, prep 2 bottles with the formula pre-measured and pre-measure water in 2 bottles and keep them right by your bed so all you have to do is pour the water in and shake. Keep all diapering supplies laid out on hand too.

Don't know if you are sleeping in the same room or not, but I did with my kids when they were small, in a cosleeper right next to the bed, or just let them sleep in my bed part of the night. That way I did not have to get out of bed to take care of them. In my experience, at around 4-6 months they become much more aware and your presence can keep them up when they wake in the middle of the night, and that is the point at which I move them further away or into a different room.

As far as showering, at around 3 months my son started really digging his bouncer with the flashing lights. I would set that up in the bathroom right next to the shower and talk to him and peek out at him. You can try something like that if he is awake. If he is asleep, just go shower. Your husband will hear him if he really needs someone.

You will adjust to getting ready, eating breakfast, etc while holding a baby. A baby carrier like a moby or a mei tai is helpful but you will be amazed at how much you can do one-handed. Also prepare as much in advance as you can. Lay out your clothes the night before, make a big batch of oatmeal and portion out individual bowls in the fridge so all you have to do is nuke one.

Good luck, you will figure it all out, you will do great.
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
You'll figure it all out, I promise. It does seem like the 3 month mark is magic for most babies with sleeping. As to the rest, I agree with Geeky; try to prepare as much ahead of time and give yourself more time in the mornings than you think you'll need for those emergency diaper blowouts or baby meltdowns. I always try to give myself at least an extra 15 minutes more than I think I'll need, and I almost always use them...LOL
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Yup. You will adjust. I lived on 5 hours of broken up sleep for 18 months because my son refused to sleep through the night (I tried everything). It's amazing what our bodies can adjust to.

Just give yourself more time those first few weeks back to get ready and go out the door. Anything you can pack up and lay out the night before do. This way your less likely to forget anything. Make a checklist for yourself.

Showering...yup...I stuck Chas in the bouncy seat at 3 months while I showered. I could see him if he fussed...if he was asleep...I left him in bed. You know he's safe and sound. Fussing won't hurt him.

If I think of anymore tricks...I'll post again.
It really is amazing how we can adjust and function. The key is to prepare instead of stress. Anything to cut corners. You've gotten some good advice so I don't need to repeat.

I didn't have to go back to work but I was on bedrest while I had a toddler. Night before prep was a key. My mom would prepare water and juice cups for DD so everything was ready for the next day. Again. Prep is key.
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Always remember this too shall pass!
Wait till he gets mobile...lol
Def never be afraid to ask for help, even from hubby.
You can do it!
It's also perfectly normal to be wondering how on earth you are going to manage. I know I did and I know all my friends who had kids did too. It seemed impossible and somehow everyone figures it out, you will too.
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
I think THE most important thing you can do during your maternity leave is to teach your baby how to sleep. I cannot stress it enough. Throw out the books that say to feed on demand and follow baby's natural schedule. Babies should be sleeping through the night by 3 months old (and by through the night, I mean 6 hours, during the time of night you sleep, generally midnight til 6am). If you don't teach him now, as a newborn, it's incredibly difficult to do it later, and you will be terribly stressed and tired trying to work if your baby isn't sleeping at night. The baby won't be tired and stressed...because he WILL be sleeping, during the day.

Tweak his schedule, teach him how to go to sleep from an awake state, train him to sleep to a special music for all naps and bedtime...go buy a high-quality music box, something that is soothing and repetitive, so he can learn, like Pavlov's Dogs, that his music means sleep. Do whatever it takes, but get him sleeping well, otherwise you'll be miserable.

I am very glad to hear you are enjoying motherhood. You waited a long time for your guy, and it sounds like he's perfect...'cept for the sleeping part.
I don't breastfeed anymore. I do express milk from the breast pump. I'm debating whether Iwant to continue when work starts. Ithink I might but just pump less often. Iknow that is a recipe for my breasts drying up faster, but I just can't wake up in the middle of the night and interrupt work in the middle of the day to do this...and keep my insanity. I might try, but I just don't see how this will all work out.
That's right, I said it! I wear scrunchies!!

I am a sulfate washing, cone slabbing, curly lovin' s.o.b. The CG police haven't caught me yet.


3a/3b
I don't breastfeed anymore. I do express milk from the breast pump. I'm debating whether Iwant to continue when work starts. Ithink I might but just pump less often. Iknow that is a recipe for my breasts drying up faster, but I just can't wake up in the middle of the night and interrupt work in the middle of the day to do this...and keep my insanity. I might try, but I just don't see how this will all work out.
Originally Posted by Boomygrrl
Personally, I wouldn't pump at night. You're really going to need your sleep. Taking time to pump during work is worth it though.

I know you didn't really ask about breastfeeding in this thread, but, just thought I'd throw it out there that it is possible to re-establish a breastfeeding relationship if it didn't work out right after delivery, and if you'd like to try again.

I did that with my second baby. I had to stop nursing after the first week, due to extreme sore and bleeding nipples (like hamburger). I pumped and fed formula for the next month or so while I healed, and I was able to go back to nursing after that.

It's just really nice to have that nursing connection when you're working, even if you only nurse part-time. When you come home at the end of the day, with a cranky baby, and all the evening's work ahead of you, it's really grounding to take 10 minutes to relax and reconnect with the baby through nursing, and to get that rush of calming hormones for yourself too. Nursing was an instant tension reliever for me.
Always remember this too shall pass!
Originally Posted by WileESteelNervs

If I only had a dollar for everytime I said this to myself...especially when Chas was a baby....I would be a rich woman.

I still remind myself of this...as Addison hits her terrible 3's.

If you can get your little one to sleep through the night...that is awesome but remember your not a bad mom if you can't. I tried even all the suggestions that RCW has...still didn't work for me. He didn't sleep through the night consistently under after Addison was born (He was 26 months). I remember one time getting first straight 6 hours of sleep...I felt like a new woman!!
Always remember this too shall pass!
Originally Posted by WileESteelNervs

If I only had a dollar for everytime I said this to myself...especially when Chas was a baby....I would be a rich woman.

I still remind myself of this...as Addison hits her terrible 3's.

If you can get your little one to sleep through the night...that is awesome but remember your not a bad mom if you can't. I tried even all the suggestions that RCW has...still didn't work for me. He didn't sleep through the night consistently under after Addison was born (He was 26 months). I remember one time getting first straight 6 hours of sleep...I felt like a new woman!!
Originally Posted by inheritedcurls
My daughter would not sleep through the night till she was 15 months and I tried everything too. I was already implementing all of RCWs suggestions from the time she was tiny. She would fall asleep on her own but then wake up several times and only go back to sleep after breastfeeding. So do try to help him sleep better but if you can't give it time.

Re: this too shall pass. Funny convo on FB today (see attached)
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Balancing work and infant care...help!!-facebook.jpg  
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
What type of work do you do? I love pumping at work. Love it! It forces me to slow down for a few minutes and I get to close my door and hide. I pretended to pump for a while after I weaned my second child.

I wake up at 5:30 in the mornings so that I can get most things done in the morning before my small people wake. I also wake my husband to help with some tasks as well. I have found that I have to tell him exactly what I need done. He won't help the way I need help otherwise.

If you are pumping, can you leave out pumped milk for your husband so that he can do some night work? What we did with #2 (my crappy sleeper to this day) was do two days of night duty and then two days off. I would leave pumped milk out on his nights and would use earplugs so I didn't wake. I put the monitor by his head as loud as it would go.

#3 is a magical baby who started suddenly sleeping through the night right before 3 months. She showed no indication of it and then started sleeping 10 hour stretches. Maybe your little guy will be just as cooperative.


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel
You're right, organization is key, but you'll get through this.

Things that have helped me:
-pumping an extra session every day while on maternity leave and freezing it.
-Preparing a week's worth of breakfast on weekends so I have minimal preparation (microwave and assemble) on workday mornings
-showering at night

Pumping at work blows if you don't have an office or a dedicated spot to go (this is my situation--it would not even be an issue if I had my own office where I could lock the door for 20 minutes) but I hope you still consider it. It is a nice mental break and for a good cause. I also pumped in the mornings before work after my daughter started sleeping through the night.
dp
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Last edited by Amneris; 11-19-2011 at 08:42 AM.
I started working when my second was 2 months old (9 weeks I think.) It's worked out well for me, but I also work for an exceptional office. They let me work at home 2 days a week, which helps greatly for nursing/pumping purposes, I can come in at 10 am or 10.30 am if I want as long as I put in the hours and do the work, I can take work home, I have privacy to pump. So #1 is - how much flexibility can you get out of your workplace? Can you do it at least on a trial basis and see how it goes? The more flexibility you have, the better. If that's not an option, it might be tougher, but can still be do-able - my advice just might not apply.

Secondly, I'm blessed with a good sleeper, but I agree with RCW that you have to try to solve the sleep issue before you start. That being said, some babies are just not good sleepers. My oldest wasn't and still isn't. I gather you have the baby in a separate bedroom and formula feed? Especially if hubby isn't getting up anyway, then I would suggest moving baby back in with you (in a separate crib/bassinet if you want) and maybe consider going back to nursing as well.

I have to say that a big part of how I save my sanity is nursing. I pump at work, which can be a pain, but again, I am lucky to have good milk supply, and as Dark Angel said, it's a nice break in the work day. I nurse baby right before and after work and it's how we say goodbye and then re-connect. He gets breastmilk at daycare and I think it's helped to limit the colds and things that he gets - he's really only had 1 cold since birth for 1 day and I see runny-nosed sick kids at his daycare all the time and the rest of us have all been sick, including big brother who touches him with germy hands all the time.

I know I have several really good conditions in my favour and this is also #2, but I find being back at work is great - no problems and I really love it. I have a friend who graduated with me and had a baby 3 weeks before me (we had the same due date) and she is going out of her mind with boredom at home. So while I do have the occassional moment of guilt or pining for being home with the kids, they're fleeting. If you actually love your job, the people etc. and it's not just for money, that makes it much easier. The dread of starting was much worse than actually starting and finding out it's not that bad.

You're also going to need to a) make sure hubby helps out as much as possible and b) accept that not everything around the house or in your general life will get done, or get done perfectly. Focus on the few things that are most important - baby, work, marriage, self-care - and if it's not on the list (clean floors, keeping up with friends' dramas, volunteer work) don't worry about it unless you have time.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











It gets easier, Boomy. My daughter was always a good sleeper, but by 7 weeks, she only woke up once or twice a night to eat. I went back to work when she was 12 weeks old, and by then we had a good routine down. I even tried a case to a jury while I was nursing/pumping. I let the judge know I would need a morning and afternoon break, and let the jury know that if I was yawning, it was because I had a six-month-old and that I wasn't bored.

Hopefully, when you go back to work, your son will be sleeping well enough that you will get good blocks of sleep time. It is amazing how much you can accomplish on little sleep when you have to do it. I really started to enjoy my maternity leave when DD was the age your baby is now. By that time, I felt like I knew what I was doing and DD was interacting more. Try to enjoy your remaining time at home and don't stress about work.
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You're also going to need to a) make sure hubby helps out as much as possible and b) accept that not everything around the house or in your general life will get done, or get done perfectly. Focus on the few things that are most important - baby, work, marriage, self-care - and if it's not on the list (clean floors, keeping up with friends' dramas, volunteer work) don't worry about it unless you have time.
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Lots of good advice already.

my addition, make sure you make time for yourself. Even if you can only get 15 minutes, it can save your sanity.
Amneris likes this.
I don't have a baby but I have a 9 month old niece and they have lived with is since b4 she was born. Having us here in the house really helps. But ya about 3 months she really got into her bouncer toy and still loves it!!!! They also have a swing that she cld lay in while my sil showered or ate or whatever. And if ur husband isn't able to wake up I wld put the baby in the room for a while with him to make him learn he needa to get up when the baby cries! My brother works atleast 65 hours a week and still gets up with the baby every night

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