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That Mother Nature; she is one clever lady!

Pregnancy and motherhood is the most natural and wonderful life changing events a woman will go through.  When you are pregnant for the first time there is a blissful ignorance of what is about to come. It's the most beautiful, romantic time and it's all hope and happiness.  You can't quite imagine what it's going to be like, but you know it's going to be beautiful! You feel your baby move and your heart is filled with love and excitement and you haven't even met them yet but you already know that you are carrying your world with you. It is not coincidence we all feel this way; it is by design.  Right from the word go their is a powerful force responsible; she is called Mother Nature.
When your baby arrives, and let's face it ladies, labour is one hell of an eye-opener! It's nothing that you could have imagined and it's hard to describe. Mother nature makes it so you can just about cope, you can bear it, so that you will be so filled with relief an…

The Challenges of coping with an 'active baby'

It is 2am and the baby is awake, that is not unusual for babies!  But this is the start of my little boy waking himself up every hour until morning.  He is 6 1/2 months old now and he has never slept through, he has never really slept more than 4 hours and that is just how it is.  When I bought him home, my perfect little bundle of joy, I quickly became concerned there was something wrong with him. He never was still!  His arms waved up and down continuously and it looked so bizarre I was worried he was having some kind of seizure or that they were involuntary movements. I saw a health visitor and she agreed he was very active, we had a Neonatal behavioural assessment to help me read his cues as he just wouldn't sleep.  I felt like it was my fault bit I was reassured all was well.  The assessment was really useful we looked at his cues and how to read his behavioural states.  The newborn  has 6 behavioural states and understanding and noticing them can help you read how to interact. You can read about the 6 states here:

1) Quiet Sleep
2) Active Sleep
3) Quiet Alert
4) Active Alert
5) Active Crying
6) Drowsiness

Through this process we learnt that my baby was demonstrating mostly active alert states and his quiet alert states and drowsiness were fleeting. Blink and you miss them!

What does that mean?  Well it means that everything is fine; he is just what is termed as a very active baby!

There is nothing to be done but it makes life a bit more challenging! If you have an active baby you will know about it!  It is intense and it is exhausting! So here are some of the challenges I have faced having an active baby:

  1. Sleep simply does not register on the list of their priorities.  In fact getting an active baby to nap when they are tired often takes a very long time, they don't find it easy to wind down, so it may take up to and occasionally over an hour to get that little one to sleep.  Also at night be prepared for your little live wire to wake themselves up because they just can't help but move something (legs or arms!).
  2. Naps are not time efficient: You will probably spend longer getting your baby to nap than he will spend napping.  This is both frustrating and exhausting! I used to swaddle as he would move so much It kept him awake, but now we have to hold his arms down before he will relax and sleep. It also becomes an incredible achievement and you will be sending your partner/mother/anyone who cares pictures of your little one asleep with the caption "FINALLY!".
  3. Your house will be more of a mess than ever:  between these short naps your active baby will no doubt be demanding attention!  They bore quickly and love input! So the washing is probably going to pile up and the kitchen is going to be a mess, because you just can't grab 5 minutes and once they are getting tired you have the ridiculous nap routine to start again!  But you will be making so many wonderful memories, playing games, singing songs and being rewarded with giggles and smiles!
  4. When sitting in a baby group you are going to notice that your baby is moving way more than others - this is especially noticeable when they are newborn.   It made me feel really self-conscious because I was worrying something was wrong. Don't fret, it is normal for your baby, every baby is different and as they get older it is a lot less noticeable because everybody elses little ones are starting to move more too.  Raise your concerns with your health visitor and get advice if you are worried.
  5. Coffee is your new best friend:  Being the constant source of stimulation and entertainment for an active baby is tiring, the lack of sleep is tiring and the hours of trying to soothe an active baby into a slumber are very, VERY, wearing.  Coffee is great!  If you have 5 minutes to make one that is!
  6. Some days it is going to feel like you just can't cope anymore!  My advice is just  get out the house with your baby.  We all love the time we spend with our babies but sometimes when you are exhausted and they won't sleep you just need a break.  I find getting out the house and going for a walk, or a coffee (point 5 - I told you so!) is just the break you need.  It is all the better if your little sleep thief drops off in the car or pram!  Make the most of that 'you' time!  

I have no idea if this gets easier, or if your baby gets less active as they get older as I am still living this!  All I can say is that my active baby is a handful, he has me at the point of exhaustion and on the very edge of coping 99% of the time.  But he is the happiest, most excitable, sociable little thing and brings me just as much joy as tiredness.  


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