I’ve spent the last week or so getting A on a schedule. I use the word schedule loosely, it’s more of a routine really. Everything I’ve read says babies love routine, and I was curious if it would help with her fussiness. Also, when I go back to work in a couple weeks I know her caretakers will appreciate it.
There are many ways to put a baby on a “schedule”, but I (sort of) let A put herself on one. Instead of forcing her into something that worked for me, I paid attention to when she wanted to sleep, and now I reinforce these times. Basically, I anticipate when she is going to be tired and provide an environment conducive to sleep (I’m sure this technique has a fancy name, but I’m too lazy to Google it). And it works. Believe me, I was kind of surprised too. She was fussing yesterday at my father-in-law’s house and everyone was like, “she’s hungry” or “she’s wet” but I looked at the clock and said, “Nope, she’s tired.” I then took my baby to a back room, rocked her, shushed her, and she fell asleep. BINGO!
Getting her on a routine has made a world of difference in our day. I can pretty much guarantee now during the day she will eat every 2-3ish hours. She takes 3 naps a day, the first one about an hour and a half after she wakes up in the morning, the second one about two hours after that, and the last one about three-ish hours after that. Bedtime is nine-ish. Because I can predict these things, I can plan my day with her a lot better, and even get things done because I know when she’ll be her happiest and therefore most conducive to entertaining herself.
Here is what A’s day looks like*:
6:30AM: Wake up time! A nurses, burps, diaper change, etc.
7:00AM-8:00AM: Awake and alert.
8:00AM-9:00AM: Morning nap.
9:30AM-10:00AM: A nurses, etc.
10:00AM-11:30AM: Awake and alert.
11:30PM-12:00PM: A nurses, etc.
12:00PM-1:30PM: Mid-day nap.
1:30PM-4:30PM: Awake and alert. (When we do most of our playing, reading, adventuring.) She’ll nurse one to two times in this period.
4:30PM-6:00PM: Evening nap.
6:00PM-6:30PM: A nurses, etc.
6:30PM-8:30PM: FUSSY TIME! I try to keep things low key for her. Every other night(ish) she’ll get a bath at some point in here.
8:30PM-9:00PM: A nurses, etc.
9:00PM: Bedtime! For baby and mommy. Usually daddy, too.
*All times are approximate. This is a routine and as such there is some variability.
Granted, it doesn’t always work out like this. Last night, for instance, we went to bed at 7:30PM because we were all (baby included) REALLY TIRED from a very busy weekend (lunch with friends, an engagement party, birthday party for Paw-Paw) which had our routine kind of obliterated. And sometimes she’ll nap a little longer than I expect her to, but it usually only varies half an hour to an hour. She still gets fussy during the day, usually when she’s hungry or bored, but the past couple nights have been a lot better. It’s like she’s been trying to communicate with us all this time, and we are FINALLY understanding her language.
If you’re curious, here’s what the average night looks like:
10:30PM-11:00PM: A nurses, etc.
2:30AM-3:00AM: A nurses, etc.
Since the first nursing session is before midnight, I don’t count it in how many times she wakes up in the night, so, in my books, she’s only waking up once at night. And last night she slept in HER bed from 7:00PM to 10:00PM. PROGRESS.