STAGE 1 - Getting to know you
When a friend asked me what kind of routine I planned to do once the baby arrived I said I'd play it by ear. I didn't really read about parenting techniques, managed to steer clear of baby magazines, and focused on preparing my mind for labour rather than sleep routines.
I did however, try to heed the advice of a few mums, who said they found once the baby was born they didn't know what to do. I therefore chose to prepare myself for what I considered the scariest moments of parenthood; how to clean a baby, change a nappy and read up on techniques for calming a crying baby.
Lots of people talk 'baby routines' and in particular, friends and strangers frequently ask about Nye's sleeping habits. It appears to be the 'go to' baby topic of choice for anyone and everyone and we always say we have no complaints. And for a baby, I've always felt Nye has been pretty good to us. I figured that babies need feeding lots so I willingly waved goodbye to a good nights sleep and tried my best to accept the eventuality of broken nights.
Now we are at 5 months, Nye's sleep habits have probably changed more times than I have fingers and toes and I've tried to let him take the lead on telling us what he needs and providing it for him. As time has gone on, I've become much better and second guessing him and preparing myself for what comes next.
I did however find it difficult after the first month or so to understand how much a baby needs to sleep. So I downloaded and read Gina Ford's Contended Baby Book. I managed to follow it for a few days but quickly decided that routine wasn't for us, I wanted something more flexible and I felt Nye wasn't ready to have his feeds dictated to him. But, I am so glad I did have a look because it helped me understand how much and when he was likely to go down for a nap and what sort of time he should sleep in the evening. It all seems so obvious to me now, but at the time I was clueless.
I have continued to demand feed, I've slowly learnt that the way I have chosen to parent would be described by others as attachment parenting. I really fell into it, it's what feels like the most natural way to parent for us. This is made much easier by breastfeeding which means I can feed him instantaneously. It's an amazing tool to have, it provides nourishment, calms and soothes him when he is in pain, and helps him get to sleep.
STAGE 2 - Growing Together
Roll on a few months (4 to be precise) and we as a family have really found a routine that fits with us all, and in the the last week we have even had our first glimpses of a full nights sleep. I am grateful but trying to remain level headed, it can be taken me at any moment. That's Nye's prerogative!
So here we have our current routine, which does not run like clockwork but is relatively easy to predict.
6.20am : Neil leaves for work, Nye awake in cot sucking on thumb
6.30 - 7am : Pick Nye up, change, feed.
7 - 8.30am : Put Nye on play mat, make tea and toast eat whilst watching and chatting
8.30 - 9.00am : Nurse in arm chair until sleeping
9-9.30-10am : Transport Nye to cot, get washed and dressed.
10-12/30 : Play in nursery, go for walk, head out to do chores
12.30-1.00pm : Nurse to sleep
1-1.30pm : Transport to cot, sleep
1.30pm-2.45/3 : Play, do chores together
3-3.20pm : Nurse to sleep, nap in arms/ put down in cot.
3.20pm-4.30/5 : Play together
5-5.30pm : Neil home, go for family walk to park.
5.30-6pm : Hugs and tickles with Daddy
6-6.15pm : Run bath, naked play time on mat
6.15-6.30pm : Daddy gives bath, lots of kicking and splashing
6.30-7.00pm : Ready for bed, Daddy reads a story whilst I nurse to sleep.
7.00pm onward : Sleeping Nye laid in cot for the night
10.00pm : Sometimes wakes for night feed, nursed to sleep