Here’s one of those posts where I’m going to have to make a blanket statement to all other mothers at the forefront: You are an awesome parent to your child(ren). You do what you have to do with your child(ren). I’m trying to be an awesome mom to my child. And I’m doing what I have to do. The same methods do not work for every child or every parent. And whatever I do for Iva, I will probably do differently for future children, based on that child’s temperament, personality, and needs. Diversity is beautiful.
Moving along …
Scheduling. To be perfectly honest, it’s always carried a negative connotation with me. Kyle and I have people in our lives who are Scheduling Nazis with their 3- and 6-year-old sons and they have preached The Gospel of Parent-Led Scheduling to us for years, even before we were expecting. And we have friends who fall firmly in the Let The Child Schedule Him/Herself camp, which just seems (to me) like an over-reaction to the “WRONGS of scheduling”. There are strong opinions on both sides, and Kyle and I both fall in the Switzerland in the middle. There’s useful wisdom to be gleaned from both practices. And I think we’ve finally found a balance that’s going to work for us.
In the past (nearly) six months, I’ve kinda let Iva set her own schedule. And she’s done a pretty good job. With only the slightest hint of suggestion, she put herself on a three-hour feeding schedule very early on. She eventually moved up to a four-hour feeding schedule with sporadic naps in the daytime and a bedtime of sometime around 10:30 PM. She began sleeping for five-hour stretches on her own, and that’s where we were as of two weeks ago. 10:30 PM bedtimes, sleeping for five hour stretches at night, nursing every four hours during the day, with a few solids being thrown into the mix.
With a steady introduction of solids into her diet, her sleep schedule started to become a little more “regular”. She even made it for a straight eight hours once! Then her digestion became “irregular” and a bout of constipation/tummy troubles threw the whole thing off. We spent about a week soothing that issue. (Understandably, she needed a little extra TLC.)
So now on the other side, we’re back on track for Finding a Sleep Routine!
I have spent a couple of days letting her do her own thing, paying attention to her sleep cues, and figuring out a new schedule for her. I’ve done some reading to figure out how much sleep she’s supposed to be getting and she falls solidly in the suggested range for her age: 10-12 hours at night and two 1-2 hour naps per day, with an optional “cat nap” in the evening.
So for the past few nights, I’ve changed her, dressed her for bed, and fed her, laying her down in her crib at 9 PM. She doesn’t always drift right off to sleep. Sometimes she lays there and sings and plays. Sometimes she lays there and cries. But it only lasts for a few minutes before she drifts off. Then I get her up right usually around 10:45 and dream feed before going to sleep.
She’s not quite made it through the night again yet, so she still ends up in our bed around 4:30 AM until I get up at 6:30. But I’m not complaining. She’s a great co-sleeper and these days are numbered. I really enjoy the extra snuggle time. 🙂
So we’re figuring out what works for us. It’s a process, but we seem to be on the right track.