23 Days

newborn sleepingI believe the common wisdom is that if you can do something— exercise, resist a cigarette, eat your veggies — for 21 days it becomes a habit. I’m not sure this same logic applies to parenting newborns.

Today is day 23. 23 days of getting to know this sweet face. 23 days of baby noises and baby cuddles and sweet baby smells.

And 23 days of not enough sleep. 23 days of feeding every two to three hours. 23 days of spitting up and diapers.

I hardly remember what life was like before he was part of it. I can’t revert back to not knowing him. But I do remember what it was like before.

I think the 21-days rule works backwards with babies. After 21 days you do what you do not because it’s a habit but because it must be done. Instead of feeling like the new freedom of carefully chosen ritual it starts to feel a little bit like chains – there, tethered, rattling.

I’ve been sick for the past 10 days or so. Just a horrible cold (with some pink eye thrown in for good measure) but the most sick I’ve ever been. The timing, needless to say, has not been great.

I’ve reached the point where he wakes up at night and I think, No. I try not to look at the clock and calculate how much sleep I might get before the next feeding. I do think about when I last changed his diaper and wonder whether I really have to do it again.

The newborn nights are tired, but they come with the sounds of soft breathing and the weight of a silky head on my shoulder. In many ways the days are harder.

I don’t do well without a routine, and a routine is something we are decidedly lacking. If any habits are being formed here, they’re bad ones – trying to sneak in extra sleep in the mornings instead of accepting that daylight has come, choosing to lie down instead of eating, getting dressed in only the very loosest sense of the term.

I’m starting to feel better (please let this cough go away soon) and am trying to force myself to do things that will help me feel better. Yesterday’s walk in the snow with a snuggly baby in the carrier was good. Getting up to eat breakfast is now on each morning’s agenda. Finding things to play with Connor so he doesn’t get bored is important for my sanity.

I know there are things about this phase that are hard. But I also know it’s temporary.

After all, it’s only day 23.



  1. I was just reading and nodding my head very contented until I came across something that made me sit up in my chair.

    SNOW? For real?

    I’m still in shorts and a t-shirt sweating it out down here in Texas. Please, please, PLEASE send us some of that cool weather!!!

  2. Take care of you. Use the next 21 days to figure out your routine (or the ones after that.) Sleep when you need to, wear comfy “clothes” when you need to, and get healthy :) xo

  3. It is hard, but it gets better and better. Day 30 will be infinitely better than day 23. As for routine, I’m a routine junkie. But I went with the flow for at least the first 3 months because really, there is NO routine. Although, you can do little things, like, when you get up in the morning, do your bathroom routine. Even if it only takes 5 minutes, it helps.

    Sorry you’ve been sick, that REALLY sucks. Get better soon!

    • Yeah, I need to go with the flow. But I also need to figure out how to do normal things, like leaving the house sometimes. I’m getting there, but still discombobulated.

  4. That newborn-stage sleep deprivation is SO. HARD. I remember the hubs and I being so on edge with each other, and just totally not ourselves because of the lack of sleep.

    Hope the next days and weeks bring health, routine and more sleep for you.

    He’s adorable. :)


    • Yep, lack of sleep sucks. And yet I find it so hard to fix it by napping when I can or need to. But I know this is a phase, and hopefully a short one.

  5. My babe just turned 4 months and we are still working on a routine. For a person who thrives on routines, it was so hard for me to just let it go and learn to go with the flow. But, when they’re this little, sometimes that’s exactly what we need to do.

    I’m sorry you haven’t been feeling well. I hope it gets better soon! xo

  6. Hope things are better, friend. I got sick BT’s first month. It wasn’t fun.

    Rest, as much as you can.