Annie B at 13 weeks old.

I think that this baby update is going to be the hardest to write of every update so far. I know some days are better than others. It’s a mantra I use all the time. But recently, it turned into ‘some weeks are better than others,’ then ‘some months are better than others.’ This has definitely been the most difficult season I’ve experienced so far, not just in motherhood, but in life. Let me explain.

Annie is such a good baby. I really can’t complain. Even on her fussier days, I’m able to step back and see why she’s being so fussy – maybe she’s gassy, she didn’t get a deep, restorative nap that day, or she’s going through a tough developmental milestone. She doesn’t cry or fuss for no reason, and I’m willing to let her sort through these things in her own time and step in to help when I can. I’m happy to do that. It’s my job, and it’s one that I want to do.

But when people see us out running errands, I’m flooded with comments like, “Isn’t it so magical? Aren’t you so happy? Did you ever think you could be so fulfilled in your entire life?” And in my head, I’m thinking, “Sure! Totally… ish. Kind of. Actually no. That’s not how I feel at all.”

It’s true. I never thought I could love a living being as much as I love her. Even on the days where I just need a moment to myself, I miss her the second she’s out of my sight. It’s so hard to explain, but I’m going to do my best to try. Annie is doing so great. Every day, I can see the wheels turning as she masters new skills, mocks the noises that she hears, and follows Millie with her cute little eye balls. She’s doing great, but at the end of the day, I feel like I’m barely surviving. And the way I feel isn’t unique. If you know, you know – it’s harder to do anything with a baby in the picture. I sat down two hours ago to write this, and I’m just now getting started because Annie fussed whenever I stopped patting her on the butt. And I know I only have about thirty minutes to finish because, at this time of the day, she only naps for about 45 minutes tops.

I don’t want this to come off as a list of grievances, but I think it’s the best way to sum it up:

  1. It’s a lot harder than I anticipated to plan my days, because even though every day is consumed with pretty much the same thing (nap, eat, poop, repeat) no two days follow the exact same pattern.
  2. Working from home and having it be so difficult to leave has been very isolating.
  3. I’ve been having trouble taking advantage of Annie’s sleep times to take care of myself because there are so many other things I need to get done.

Starting the Taking Cara Babies Routine

So, what am I doing about it? Right now, we are on our first week of Taking Cara Babies, a program created by a neonatal nurse and wife of a pediatrician to perfect sleep schedules and just create happier babies. Annie is a perfectly content baby (who just woke up, btw. RIP to my productivity.) but these routines that we’re trying to create are more for my benefit than hers. My work makes it possible for her to nap any time, any place, whenever she desires. But I need to be able to see the day ahead to stay sane. I’ll do a full review after we’ve been following the plan for a couple of weeks.

Here’s a little sample of what our new schedule looks like:

Our goals are:

  • To focus more on wake times. For the first few months, everything has been baby led. She eats and sleeps whenever she wants. But now, she needs guidance. She needs options to capture her attention during her wake times, like tummy time, reading, and going on walks. That way, she will have longer stretches of sleep during the day. Up until now, she was only sleeping for maybe up to an hour at a time, only once or twice a day.
  • To create a clear feeding schedule. Taking Cara Babies encourages a feeding every 2-3 hours, at the beginning of every wake time. Right now, we’re still topping off randomly throughout the day, but I hope that by following these schedules, we can get her used to having larger, more predictable feedings.
  • More crib naps. To make it easier to transition into her nursery when the time comes.
  • To include her in my to-dos. This isn’t part of the Taking Cara Babies routine, but something I just need to do. Since Annie was born, it’s been all eyes on her during her wake times. I would try to jam all the things I needed to do into her very short nap times, and it was exhausting. So now, I’m making an effort to sort out what she can be involved in and what needs to wait until she’s asleep.

For example: she is totally into my workouts and loves to be in the stroller while I’m running or watching while I’m doing a Studio Tone It Up workout. She likes walking the dog, and it’s a great way to wind down on our way to nap time. But she hates when I have to be on the computer, so that has to wait until nap time.

Annie B Through The Weeks

Annie B about every 2 weeks since she came home from the hospital.

If you’re in the same phase of postpartum life as me, I want to leave you with this. You are truly in survival mode. It’s okay to not be okay. I was overwhelmed with guilt the other day when Tanner said to me, “This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.” I felt so terrible to even admit to myself that I was seriously struggling. But one day, I will look back and be so grateful that we got through it. So, we’re just taking it one day at a time.