Hey all! The past couple weeks I've been working really hard at getting Will on a consistent schedule. We've had a "routine" for awhile now, but it hasn't really been very consistent. I am happy to say the consistency has greatly improved! Our typical day looks something like this:
Sometime between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Will typically wakes up to eat and goes back down for a few more hours.
6:00 - I am up and out of bed, cooking breakfast and making Theron's lunch
6:45 - Theron and I eat breakfast (usually while watching Mike and Mike in the Morning)
7:00 - Theron's off to work, and I check my email, Facebook, etc.
7:30 or 8:00 - Will is up for the day and ready to eat!
9:00 - Will goes down for Nap #1 and usually sleeps for about 1 1/2 hours; I try to shower and get ready during this nap time; then, I start on things I need to get done for the day
11:00 - Will is ready to eat again; after he eats, we play on the floor, read a few books, etc. until he is ready for Nap #2
12:00 - Nap #2; this one usually lasts about 2 hours; this is when I try to do any cleaning or laundry I may have; I also use this time to do some Arbonne work
2:00 - Time for Will to eat...again; usually after this, I let him play in his play gym or in his swing while I work on things I still need to get done
3:00 - Nap #3; this nap usually only lasts 45 min. - 1 hour; I try to prepare for dinner or make a dessert during this nap time
4:00 - Will's usually up from his nap, but not quite ready to eat; sometimes we play, other times he spends some more time in the play gym, swing, or bouncer, depending on what I need to do
5:00 - Time for Will to eat (while I watch re-runs of How I Met Your Mother)
6:00 - Will goes back down to sleep; For now, I will call this Nap #4, but eventually, I'd like him to have a little longer wake time and an early bed time (around 7:00 or 7:30). After I put him down, I cook dinner.
7:30 - Theron gets home, and we eat.
*This is where our schedule varies a little bit* Sometimes Will wakes up around 8:00, and I feed him around 8:30 or 9:00. If this is the case, we do our bedtime routine between the time he wakes up and the time he eats. It looks something like this: bath, diaper change, pj's on, read a book, eat, to bed.
Sometimes, though, he does not wake up before 9:00. If this is the case, we get him up, change his diaper, pj's on, eat, to bed. I try to disturb him the least amount possible.
Will is usually in bed by 9:00 or 9:30, and Theron and I are usually in bed by 10:00. Then around 4:00 or 5:00 the next morning, we start the process all over again.
This schedule actually works really well for us. I know the times would not work for everyone (we are early risers!), but the basic concepts can be applied in any time frame you wish. Having a schedule helps to keep my day organized. I know when Will needs to eat and nap, and when I can get things done. It helps me plan activities away from home, as well. I know some of you are thinking "you are a slave to your schedule." I would argue, however, that actually the opposite is true. Having a predictable schedule allows me to have more freedom. I have the freedom to do things and make plans and to adjust our schedule as needed. Even though I have included the "times" we typically do things, they are never exactly the same...they are simply guidelines. If Will is hungry and needs to eat a little early, I feed him. If he naps a little long, I let him sleep and adjust his feeding time. If we are away from home, and he doesn't nap well, he might go down for a nap a little earlier when we get home. Above all, I make sure the needs of my child are met...my schedule will never come before his needs. However, using a schedule makes life easier for both of us, and like I said, it works for us!
If you like to plan and organize your day and you have or are expecting a baby, I have some suggested reading. Both of these books have helped us tremendously in establishing a schedule and helping Will to get the sleep he needs.
On Becoming Babywise
I will warn you, there is some controversy over this book; however, if you actually read it, you will see that all the criticism is unfounded. A lot of people who criticize this book have never actually read it and believe the author is too harsh. If you read it, you will find that is truly not the case. This book does a great job of helping you learn how to establish a schedule for your baby. It offers some great guiding principles, but always keep in mind...You are the parent. You can take as little or as much as you want from this book, always doing what is best for your baby.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
This book is great on helping you establish regular naps and good night time sleep. This fits in perfectly with establishing your routine. This author gives a little more information on soothing your baby and age-appropriate expectations, which differs a little from Babywise. I would have to say I agree a little more with this author, regarding sleep and sleep expectations; however, I still think the basic principles of Babywise are very good.
I would really recommend reading both of these books if you are interested in developing a schedule and helping your baby sleep well. I have struggled from time to time because apparently babies do not read these books! Sometimes my baby does not do exactly what the books say he will. Nonetheless, they have still been tremendously helpful for me.