From the early weeks of having Charlotte, I did sooo much Googling and blog reading on baby schedules/routines/sleep/etc. I had no idea if or when to try to establish a schedule. I saw so many mamas’ stories of young babies being on these awesome routines, so I felt pressure to do the same. Thankfully, after doing all the aforementioned Googling, I found plenty of mamas who said “wait until baby is older” and “don’t let a schedule mess up breastfeeding – feed on demand” which were two bits of advice I was happy to take! Furthermore, as much as I craved some sort of routine, I did not want to be married to a set time or schedule she (and therefore we) had to do things. It came down to this: I wanted to give our sweet girl some routine and order to her new little life, but I still wanted us to have a life too.
We slowly found our groove, so I wanted to share what worked for us. As with any baby advice, I share this only in case it might help other mamas and with the huge caveat that every baby is so different and I firmly believe that every mama knows best for her baby.
I think around 12 weeks is when we started figuring stuff out. We started with a very loose version of The Baby Whisperer’s Eat/Awake/Sleep method and we are still doing that today. I didn’t end up reading the book, but instead read other blogger’s take on the method. From what I learned, we used the Eat/Awake/Sleep method like this: She wakes up and eats first in the morning then has “awake” time. Each baby’s optimal awake time is different and it changes with age. I found this post helpful in understanding the timing of the day. When we started at 12 weeks, Charlotte’s optimal awake time was around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Now, she is awake for 1.5-2 hours in between naps. You should watch for your baby’s sleepy cues (yawns, glazed eyes, rubbing eyes) and try to start the nap time then. Try to avoid missing these signs and having an overtired baby. After her awake time, she goes down for a nap (aka the “sleep” portion of Eat/Awake/Sleep.) When she wakes from that she repeats the eat/awake/sleep cycle a few times until bedtime. With her awake time and a nap, it ends up averaging 3 hours between the start of her feeds.
Let’s talk naps: Charlie girl’s naps have never been consistent. They’re always at least 45 minutes but she can also rock the 1.5 hour nap, she’s just selective about when that is 🙂 Her naps also vary greatly at daycare with all the added distraction there. We didn’t do any “nap training” so we just take Charlotte’s naps as they come. We also aren’t strict about where her naps are. If we are home, they are in her DockATot. But we don’t have a problem if we are out and about and she takes a nap in the carseat. If you really wanted to ensure a longer nap, you could look into nap training! I think the biggest takeaway to this is I always try to limit her wake time to 2 hours. An overtired baby is not going to nap well. So even if we’re out and about, if it has been 2 hours, I try to bounce her to sleep to make sure she gets at least a little nap and reset it. One great nap tidbit I learned that I think has helped Charlotte is to always put baby down drowsy but awake. It helps them learn how to put themselves asleep which comes in handy when you have to navigate the dreaded four month sleep regression. (insert groan here)
I will post soon on our nighttime routine. For now, here are a few products we swear by for daytime and nighttime sleep.
Our DockATot Deluxe: I purchased this when Charlotte was a few weeks old after seeing so many rave reviews on Instagram throughout my pregnancy. It took me a long time to pull the trigger because it is a pricey investment (the plain white Dock Deluxe retails for $165). However, it is the best baby purchase we have made. Charlotte has slept in the Dock in the bassinet ever since we got it and she has slept 7-8 hour chunks since 7 weeks and through the night 9-11 hours since around 10 weeks (except for some rough weeks during her cold and 4 month sleep regression). It has traveled with us everywhere we go, as close as my parents in the suburbs and as far as Mexico. Use this link for $10 off.
Our Ollie World Swaddle: This is my next favorite purchase after the DockATot. Charlotte hated all other commercial swaddles, and we could only do the blanket swaddle for so long before she would houdini out of it. Enter the Ollie Swaddle. It is a little pricier than a Halo or Swaddleme (it retails for $59) but I cannot begin to tell you how much it is worth it. It is so easy to use and has grown with her for the past 5 months. We even got a second one for daycare, and her daycare teachers rave about it. As our little bean is now rolling machine, we need to transition out of the swaddle. The Ollie is perfect for this. We are currently leaving one arm out, and will next go to both arms out. It will be a sad day when we no longer need her Ollie. As I mentioned, the Ollie retails for $59, but is slightly marked down right now to $56. You can get an additional 10% off using this link.
Our WubaNub: We have one of these for home and for daycare. They are genius because they help her find the nuk and help keep it in.
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