Friday, January 3, 2014

1st time mom review series // schedule

As mentioned in past posts, I read a lot when I found out I was pregnant. I researched everything, I Googled everything and I looked up everything on the BabyCenter site. Yes ma'am - I was one of "those" pregnant ladies. I've since learned that 90% of the stuff I read didn't and doesn't apply to my baby, me or my family but in the moment, when my anxiety was skyrocketing, research was my best friend.

I quickly noticed a trend and one of the most talked about topics online was about putting your newborn on a schedule. When do you do it? Should you do it? How does your life work if the baby is on a schedule? My baby is sleeping through the night, yours so should be by now!? It went on and on ... and I jumped right on the bandwagon. I started panicking about a schedule when Charlotte turned 6 weeks. I told my husband that she had to be on a schedule. That we had to follow it to a tee. That we had to make sure she was sleeping through the night by 8 weeks. We had a lot to do!

So I continued doing my research and found that the most popular resources for scheduling your baby is On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep*. I actually read this book while I was pregnant but not a ton of it stuck at the time. I researched some more and followed basically what the book (and other people) told me. And I got very, VERY frustrated. I would get into a rhythm and then we went out to our friends' place and stayed out too late. Schedule was off. Then my husband kept her up later than usual one night. Schedule was off. Then we had friends stop by out of the blue. Schedule was off.

I have talked to a few people who have "visiting hours" for their baby. You can only come over at certain times and not when the baby is napping or engaged in any of their other scheduled activities. In our house, that means you would never be able to come over because Charlotte is only awake for 45 minutes to an hour at a time.

Then I stumbled across the E.A.S.Y. routine - Eat. Awake. Sleep. You Time. And it dawned on me - Charlotte and I didn't need a schedule, we needed a routine. Something that was flexible but predictable because it didn't have anything to do with time (Charlotte can't tell time - duh) but everything to do with routine (which my Type A personality could really get behind). When she wakes up (we do try and do the same thing in the morning and at bedtime at relatively the same time every day - give or take an hour) I feed her, change her, she plays (or we cuddle) and then she naps and I get stuff done. And no matter when we start, the day generally ends around the same time - everything catches up to itself at the end of the day. I am free to do things during nap times and even though the times might not be consistent every day, I know they are going to happen so I can schedule accordingly.

Charlotte is now 11 weeks old (when I started writing this post) and she has never slept through the night. The other night she only woke up to feed once and I did a happy dance but then the next night she was up 3 or 4 times. I know one day she will sleep soundly until morning and I will wonder, "What the hell!?" and I will miss her. But, she naps well during the day. Only feeds for 5 minutes when she does wake up to eat at night. We can take her anywhere and she will fall asleep in someone's rocking arms. And we can have company over at any time - day or night if we wanted.

When my anxiety gets a hold of me because Charlotte should be doing this or that I remember:
a) She is a baby.
b) She is a human being who has her own little mind and needs.
c) She isn't always going to be tired or hungry at the same time every day (are you?)

So try not to sweat it moms and dads. There is a reason they call the 1st 3 months of your little one's life the "4th Trimester" - it's hard and new and something you have to get through in order for things to fall into place. Remember - This Too Shall Pass. Trust me, it always does!

She seems pretty happy to me! :)

* Please note that I have spoken to quite a few moms who swear by the Baby Wise system. The point of this post is that you have to do what works for you and not what works for someone else. Experiment is key in the early days of motherhood. Good luck and happy sleeping!

Are you a 1st Time Mom and trying to figure it out as you go along too? Feel free to leave me a comment with any questions and I will be more than happy to get back to you. Thanks for reading!

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