Thursday, September 15, 2016

How I Schedule My Babies

Okay so let's talk sleep! I've already shared why I like having my babies on a schedule so today I'll share how I do it.
I chose to use the Babywise schedule for a number of reasons but mostly because their schedule and method allows for so much flexibility. After using it with both of my boys, I've learned the Babywise schedule follows their own particular sleep needs and patterns the most naturally. If you're wanting to implement Babywise you definitely need to read the book to understand how it works but I'll give you the cliffs notes version.
The absolute most important thing to know about Babywise is that their first and last feedings of the day have to be at the exact same time. There should be zero flexibility here. This is THE key to Babywise working. The rest of the day they eat every 2.5-3 hours and as they get older they can go a little longer between feedings. Your routine goes eat, wake, sleep. When Bennett wakes up I feed him before I do anything else. Once he's done eating I change his diaper, we have awake time, and when he starts giving me his sleepy cues I lay him down for his nap (sleepy but awake--no rocking). We repeat this all day. Over time they will begin to naturally stretch their sleep out all night long if you do eat, wake, sleep every 2.5-3 hours and make sure the first and last feedings of the day are consistently at the exact same time every single day. I cannot repeat that last part enough.
Another tool I use is the Moms On Call book. I don't follow their schedule but I do follow all of their basic sleeping principles. They have a lot of helpful tips and things you need to do in order to create the perfect sleeping environment for your baby whereas Babywise can be a little vague in that area. A lot of it is common sense (swaddle, loud white noise, blackout curtains, etc) but some of it is very helpful information that I never would have thought of and a lot of times they'll give you the science behind why you should do it. I really love the Moms On Call book because they provide a lot of helpful insight.
Whatever method you choose to do, the one thing you MUST do is be consistent. If you aren't consistent it won't work. Also, don't get discouraged. If you're doing everything your supposed to do and your baby starts sleeping better for a week then suddenly regresses, don't give up! This is totally normal. When Bennett was 6 weeks old I got SO frustrated because he went from waking once a night back to waking up twice. It will make you want to throw your hands up and say "this isn't working!!!" but don't. Just stay consistent with everything you're doing and before you know it your baby will start sleeping all night and you'll start to feel like a human again instead of a zombie!!

Next week I'll talk about swaddles. Campbell was a little easier with the swaddle but Bennett needed it and I learned this time around how important the right swaddle is. The first night I got Bennett swaddled correctly was the first night he slept all night long. Stay tuned for that next week!

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