Let's talk about being a first time mom. When I had Owen, it was like there were two different people inside of me. On the one hand, I was convinced that being a mom couldn't be more natural. Women have been doing it for a few years now and shouldn't everything just work. This was my view on breastfeeding, sleeping, basically everything involved in raising a baby. I never thought it would be easy just natural. On the other hand, I was scared to death that I was going to mess up. Surely at some point I would do something wrong that would scar Owen for life. I mean, seriously, I had NO idea what I was doing, so I just did what came naturally and for the most part, it worked. Breastfeeding was something that just worked for us. Owen latched immediately and even the lactation consultant at the hospital had no suggestions as he was doing very well. At times he's a lazy eater and sometimes a distracted eater, but always an eater. I have no horror stories of problems with my breasts, Owen refusing to eat, not gaining weight...it really just worked like it was supposed to. For the most part, everything else worked just fine too. He is a happy little boy. He smiles so often now and laughs on occasion. He has started to coo and you can tell he is responding to us being around.
The one thing that didn't come so natural was sleep. Now, I have to say, that I can't complain. I know there are moms out there that are up every hour and get no night time sleep. That has never (knock on every piece of wood within reach) been the case. Our problem was more that I never knew when Owen would sleep and for how long. His "schedule" basically went like this - I would nurse him, he would be awake for a little while, then he would get fussy so I would nurse him to sleep, then gingerly place him in his crib while creeping out, praying that he would stay asleep. Then I played the waiting game because I never knew if he would sleep for 30 minutes or 3 hours. I started to get very frustrated because I could't get anything done. Any time I thought I had time to do something, he would immediately wake up. If I thought he wouldn't sleep long, I would wait for him to get up and I would end up waiting for hours. I really couldn't take it any more.
At the July 4th parade, I ran into a neighbor with a little one a week older than Owen. She mentioned that she had "done Baby wise" with both of her kids and loved it. I knew had heard brief mentions of "Baby Wise" but had never paid attention because like I said, shouldn't a baby sleeping just come naturally? Well, I did some research on the internet and checked the book out of the library. At first I was skeptical to say the least. I hated the thought of letting Owen cry and I just didn't think such a strict schedule fit our lifestyle. I like to go, go, go and didn't want to be tied down. Please hold the laughter. I do know that I have a baby :-) Anyway, I started by changing nothing, but writing down exactly what time we did everything each day and I found that he already had the start of a pattern. I then put him on a 3 hour feeding schedule that looks like this -
7:00 am Owen gets up to start his day I sometimes have to wake him up. He eats and we play on his activity gym.
8:00/15 - Owen goes down for a nap.
10:00 Time to eat again. I sometimes have to wake him from this nap. We read some books, go outside if it's not too hot, play with the puppies and do some chores around the house.
11:30 Down for another nap.
1:00 Time to eat - he usually wakes up on his own. We read and go for a walk in the stroller.
2:30 Nap time.
4:00 Time to eat. 50/50 on whether I wake him or he gets up on his own.
5:00 He starts to get cranky and doesn't like to go down for a nap, but he is back in his crib by 5:30.
6:10 I wake him up to go pick up dad at the train station. He is usually fussy when we get home and dad makes every attempt to make him laugh while I finish dinner.
7:00 Time to eat. He is usually satisfied for a little while.
8:00 Start getting read for bed. We were putting him down at 8:30 but decided it's a bit late and are starting to put him to bed now at 8 or 8:15.
10:00 Dream feed...I initially wasn't sure how I felt about this, but after trying it and not, have decided it works for us.
3:00-5:00 Owen gets up to eat. He doesn't yet have a set time, but I hope that he will soon. Last night he got up at 4:50-woohoo!
So for now this seems to be working. Obviously these times are approximate, but what I love is that I now recognize exactly when he is tired. I can put him in his crib and might yell once or twice but goes right to sleep. I feel like I am being a better mom to him because I am giving him what he actually needs and not what I think he needs. The other nice thing about the Feed/ Wake/ Sleep schedule is that he is not eating right before lying down. He has a slight case of reflux and I think that is why he was previously waking up only a short time into his nap. (He is also sleeping better now that he naps on his tummy. I do not need reminded that "Back is Best", I know this, but Owen doesn't) Now, because he is up and awake for a while after eating, he is having less trouble and works through it while awake instead of asleep.
I am certainly no expert and am constantly second guessing myself, mainly on the waking him up form naps part. But, things are going so much better. I can accomplish more during the day, can plan our time out of the house, and Owen is SERIOUSLY a happier baby!
I linked up with Kelly at Kelly's Korner for her Show Us Your Life Series. Today's Topic: Best Parenting Advice.