I'll be the first to admit, the first couple of weeks after we brought Caroline home, I approached the whole 'baby schedule' thing allllll wrong, at least the night-time part of it. I had the notion that I would just let Caroline decide what her schedule should be...what a sweet idea! And she showed me very quickly that that just didn't suit for her. Practically three weeks straight of little to no sleep, cluster feedings like crazy, not much napping in the day time for mama and all around frustration and sleepiness. After doing some research, I found some tips that literally worked like a charm!
The most important one, I think, was to do the same things every night at the same times, no skipping and no short cuts! Since I've started this about two weeks ago, my sweet baby has been sleeping somewhere between six and eight hours a night and it was a game changer for me!Her daytime schedule has pretty much stayed consistant from the time she was a couple weeks old. We take our morning walk after she does her second feeding of the morning, usually around 8:30, and then she'll take a nap around 10 after she's eaten again, anywhere from 1-2 hours napping if I play my cards right. This is when I'm actually able to either clean the house or do my workouts depending on the day. Around noon, we head
down to my parents house for some play time and visiting. She'll eat again around 12:30, play for a while on her tummy (she's still not a huge fan of tummy time...she'd much rather have "hold me on your tummy time"). If I'm lucky, she'll nap again around 3 after eating again. Then at 4, my sister and her kids have their Caroline time visiting and fighting over who gets to hold her first. Around 5:30, she starts getting cranky, it's like clockwork! Unfortunately, this coincides with the time Juston gets home so he probably thinks she's a little fussy-face, but she's really such a good baby as long as her tummy is full. Lots more eating time and a little playtime later, then her newly acquired night schedule starts.
At somewhere around 8:15, I'll take her and put a clean diaper on her, and her pajamas, then turn out all the lights aside from the television and do her night time feeding while she's snuggled up on her Boppy pillow. This feeding is super-important for her to eat until shes pulls away full...otherwise, she's up in a couple of hours ready to eat again. So if she falls asleep after just a few minutes, I will wake her up to eat more. When she's finished, I lay her on my chest to burp her and hold her for about thirty minutes until I know she's good and out. I should note that this part of the schedule was not recommended, but I just love holding my sweet sleeping baby. I know one day soon, I need to start letting her put herself to sleep, but for now, I love doing it. There's going to come a day in the blink of an eye where she probably won't want anything to do with me for a few years, so I'm enjoying the snuggle time while I can, experts be damned (for now anyway). Around 9:30, I head back to our room where I've already got our "night-station" set up on the night stand...this includes clean diapers, a changing pad and wipes, her pacifier, a water glass for me and the tv remote since I sleep with it on.
I swaddle her up in a muslin blanket, fold her sleeper mittens over since her hands are always freezing if I don't and put her in her Nap Nanny snug as a bug.
1. Always put on a clean diaper and pj's before night feeding
2. Have dim lighting to help baby establish a Circadian rhythm
3. Make sure baby eats until they are full at night
4. Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle...this keeps them from startling awake
5. White noise never hurts. I keep the tv volume turned down very low