Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bedtime and naps and schedules, oh my!

I've been working on a couple blog posts, but can't seem to find the time to get them done! Maybe if Neil and I didn't watch 3 episodes of Prison Break on Netflix after Lila goes to sleep I'd be able to blog. :)

Speaking of sleep, little girlie has gone to bed at 7:30 for the last 4 nights. I realize I just jinxed myself by putting it in writing... but anyway, last night she only woke up at 11:30 which worked out great since we were still up! Then she woke up at 7:30am for the day. I guess tomorrow could be completely different, but I'm just happy we seem to be on a path to an earlier bedtime and a better more predictable schedule.

After months of worrying about not having Lila on a "schedule" and beating myself up over short naps and late bedtimes it seems like our little peanut is figuring out a schedule on her own. Believe me, I've read the books. I've read (parts of) BabyWise, Baby Whisperer, No-Cry Sleep Solution, and countless baby sleep posts on Babycenter. In the end, we didn't do any form of sleep training or scheduling with Lila. We also pretty much feed on demand (within reason - if more than 4 hours goes by I feed her) and haven't done anything special other than just doing what works for her and us.

Keep in mind I'm not knocking you if you do BW or sleep training or even cry it out, but it just doesn't work for us. Personally, I don't think I could ever do cry it out. I barely let Lila fuss it out! She's not a big crier so when she does cry I know something is wrong! Anyway, after worrying and fretting about Lila's schedule for months, I finally gave up. I figured she would eventually work it out on her own when she was ready. Well she is 6.5 months and at least for now, it seems like she has!

Lila's schedule yesterday (the last 4 days have been similar):

Woke on her own @ 7:30, breastfeed, play and get ready
8am out the door with Neil to daycare
9-11am nap then bottle (5 oz pumped milk) normally would have solids here but I forgot to pack them
1-3pm nap then bottle (5 oz formula or 1/2 BM 1/2 formula I don't remember)
5:15pm pick up from daycare
5:30pm breastfeed and solids (apples and oatmeal: breakfast for dinner, haha)
5:30-7ish PLAY with mommy and daddy!!
7:30pm pjs, bottle, bed (not sure of the routine since Neil did bedtime while I was at the grocery store)
11:30pm woke up briefly for a diaper change and quick feeding then up on her own around 7:30am

I typed this up not to brag about how awesome I am for getting my child on a schedule, but to show other moms what an unscheduled baby's "schedule" might look like!

If you look at Lila's day you'll see it pretty much mimics an "ideal" schedule for 6-month olds according to BabyWise, Baby Whisperer and the like... and I really didn't do anything structured to get us to this point. All I did was follow her sleep and hunger cues, try to roughly do a "sleep, eat, play" pattern and try not to get to hung up on pushing her into a schedule she wasn't ready for. Also, daycare has done a lot to get her to sleep better during the day!

So how did we get here... and where did we start? Here is how Lila's sleep has evolved over the last 6 months or so:

Newborn - 6 weeks: No schedule whatsoever during the day, usually slept from midnight to 6.

6 weeks - 3 months: 4 naps per day including a late evening one (7:30ish), mostly slept thru the night with a bedtime of 10:30pm

3 - 4 months: 3 naps per day (45 mins-1.5 hrs - often in my arms), waking 2-3 times per night, bedtime around 9:30pm

4 - 5 months: 3 crappy short naps per day (30-45 mins), waking once per night between 3-4am, bedtime between 8:30 and 9:30pm

5 - 6 months: one 2-hour morning nap, one 2-hour afternoon nap, usually a 5pm short nap, bedtime 8:30ish with one or two wake ups (not always to eat), wakes up on own at 7:30am

Currently: two 2-hour naps, bedtime at 7:30 (usually waking once) and up for day at 7:30am.

Keep in mind on the weekends or on vacation her schedule is pretty different! Her naps are often on the go and shorter and her bedtime is usually later. I like that she's pretty flexible and can adjust if we are away from home.

So again I'm not trying to be snarky or judgmental about moms who do sleep training or parent-led scheduling. I understand that you do what works for you and all babies and all moms are different.

I just wanted to give some encouragement to the moms out there who have babies that don't seem to want to conform to a schedule or who go to bed too late or who never sleep through the night. Don't be like me and spend your precious time with your newborn fretting about naps and schedules. I wish I would've stopped worrying about Lila's late bedtimes and enjoyed her more during those evening hours. I wish I would've picked her up and held her and snuggled her instead of patting and shushing her to extend her short naps. If sleep training doesn't feel right or natural to you, go with your instincts! At least for me and Lila, a pattern emerged pretty painlessly.

Now I just need to get myself to do something other than watch shows on Netflix during my newly available evening hours.. like clean my house or read a book or actually workout! Baby steps...

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