It seems simple: eat, sleep, change a diaper, repeat. The truth is, if you don’t have a system in place, you’re going to run yourself ragged trying to keep up.
Caring for Harper has been a learning experience. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so before the baby was born, my lady and I discussed how we were going to work together AND independently, to take care of our daughter. It’s one thing when you have both parents present; it’s a completely different experience when you’re by yourself. We discussed methods, strategy, product placement, you name it we talked about it. It was almost like we were game planning for an opponent in a football game..LOL. Then Harper came, and it all went out the window.
The needs of a newborn baby fluctuate from minute to minute and those first few days were spent reacting to her instead of implementing our system. I guess you could say it was growing pains for us the parents, as well as the baby. After a few days of learning our little girl, we began working towards putting things in place that would help manage taking care of her. The first thing we did was figure out how to manage the overnight feedings and diaper changes. It made zero sense for both of us to be up at 3am and then be dead tired during the day; two tired parents would be useless. We agreed that one of us would take an overnight while the other slept in order to ensure one of us was well rested to take care of the baby during the day.
When it’s my turn on overnights, I measure out her feedings ahead of time, have diapers and wipes ready to go in her room, and her sleeping area is prepared to my liking. While my lady likes putting her in the bassinet next to the bed, I prefer using the DockATot which is a lounger that the baby can sleep in and can be moved from room to room with ease without disturbing the baby. This way, if she falls asleep in the living room, I can easily transport her to the bedroom without taking her out and potentially waking her. I put the DockATot on the bed and I sleep next to her. It has a high perimeter so there is zero chance of me rolling over onto her ensuring she is completely safe.
My lady has a similar system. She also prepares her bottles (or I’ll do it for her) ahead of time. However, she likes to change the baby in the bassinet in the bedroom, so she’ll bring diapers, wipes, and the diaper rash ointment into the bedroom. She keeps everything within arms reach when she’s on overnight duty.
My best friend has her own system as well. My lady and I had a situation to take care of and she stepped in to help us by watching the baby on the overnight. She’s been with Harper since the beginning so there was no issue with familiarity. I told her to crash in the bedroom and do whatever she needed to take care of Harper overnight. With a smile, she just said “I got this.” She decided to crash in the living room. The baby was nice and snug in her DockATot, and the breakfast bar looked like a shelf at Babies ‘R’ Us. Diapers, formula, baby wipes, ointment, and a changing station for the baby. Again, all within arms reach to minimize interruptions. When I asked her how it went, she told me that it was smooth sailing through the night. Two feedings, two diaper changes, and she was back to sleep each time.
These are just a few examples of how having a system in place has helped keep us in a groove. I’m not foolish enough to believe that things will always be smooth; Harper is nearly two months old and there’s still a lot of things that can happen. What having a system in place does is create some day to day stability in the things that are controllable so that when the hiccups do occur, they don’t feel as overwhelming as they could be.
Our latest challenge has been creating a sleep schedule for Harper. Again, implementing a system has been helpful in doing this. As of this writing, she’s sleeping an average of 3-5 hours through the night. You know what that means? It means that the overnights have gotten easier to manage since she’s not waking up as much. It also means yours truly gets more time for his beauty sleep. While my lady and I have used more traditional methods, my best friend has gone a different route.. Just the other day after a feeding, the baby was kind of groggy but not really falling asleep for her afternoon nap. Enter Aunt Mo. She came over for a visit and immediately grabbed Harper and played music for her. She started dancing around, singing, and playing with Harper. As a side note, Harper seems to enjoy New Kids on The Block, Sam Hunt, DVSN, and R&B music in general. About a half hour later, after playing around with her aunt, Harper was SOUND asleep. I mean mouth open, drooling, and just down for the count. Aunt Mo wore her out..lol.
I want to make sure that when you read this, it doesn’t come across as robotic; nothing could be farther from the truth. I spend time with my daughter, play with her, and listen to her. I don’t treat her like a mechanical device. “All the tools, techniques and technology in the world are nothing without the head, heart and hands to use them wisely, kindly and mindfully” Rasheed Ogunlaru. This is the mindset I use. We love Harper and what we’re doing is ensuring that she gets the care she deserves, while at the same time taking care of ourselves. If we aren’t in good shape, then we won’t be able to care for her the way she needs.