I have to admit: I didn’t do a lot of research into parenting styles, philosophies or how I planned to parent my infant. Mostly just Pinterest.
I knew I was going to do three things:
- Sleep in the same room, but not in the same bed
- Take six to eight weeks off work to parent
Infants, turns out, don’t need a whole lot of parenting. I don’t think you parent infants anyway. I think you just have to keep them alive — well fed, well napped and clean pants.
However, in my Pinterest-level research, I discovered these amazing schedules for babies developed by parents and specialists and child psychologists. I thought: “Man! These are great! I would love for my baby to be on one of these sleep schedules.”
Since I had already preordered the “chill baby” — I know, right? — I figured I could implement a schedule for my baby in the six to eight weeks I would be home with him.
Well, guess what…
I did not have a chill baby. He’s mostly NOT chill MOST of the ENTIRE day. No chill at all, this kid ;)
I also did not have a baby who wants to follow a schedule I found on the internet. Oh, no.
The schedule above was my first attempt at putting the baby on a sleep schedule. Look at all those naps! Look at how I can schedule the rest of my at-home activities, such as showering and eating and going to the bathroom without juggling a screaming newborn. And, look! I will know exactly when he’s going to be hungry.
Except for a few things…
First, remember how my baby is sort of lazy when it comes to eating? He likes to fall asleep and wake up on his terms — in the middle of his meal. He does not need my help — nor does he appreciate being woken up for a feeding. It’s actually the worst thing ever to wake him up to eat because he throws a right fit.
Just gets pissed.
And it’s a little funny.
But it’s a lot torture.
Second, I am not awesome at waking up in the middle of the night if the baby or my very full not-been-emptied-in-hours boobs don’t wake me up. The nurses woke me up at the hospital. Unfortunately, a team of helpful nurses do not live in my house to wake me to feed a sleeping (read: DO NOT WAKE HIM UP OMG WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU) baby.
I’m not setting an alarm either. I’d just sleep through it or snooze it because tired.
And I refuse to wake my baby when he’s sleeping (ever again) if he’s not showing signs of discomfort.
Seriously. A LOT torture.
Third, sometimes my baby will sleep for five, six or — gasp! — seven hours at a time at night. (He only slept for seven hours once, and it was glorious — after I panicked, of course.)
So my dreams of scheduled 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. feedings were dashed by my precious infant who wanted to be awake from 7 to 11 p.m. (uuuuugggghhhh) and up again an hour later or maybe 3:30 a.m., depending on his mood, for a feeding/comfort session involving using me as a pacifier.
Thanks, little dude.
An attempt to put him on his very own special sleep schedule also failed.
I’ve been keeping a notebook of when he sleeps, eats and plays as well as for diaper changes, spit ups and screaming sessions. I used the information I gathered from about a week of his activity to predict his activity moving forward.
I thought: “I’m f-in genius.”
Except for a few things…
First, remember I did not have a chill baby so, of course, he could care less that I documented his every snore to develop his very own special sleep schedule.
Second, he got older, developed new skills — like this amazing shrieking noise to indicate hunger or irritation or the fact that he’s a baby — and changed his very own schedule so I couldn’t predict when he would get tired or when he would get hungry.
I had to wait for the shriek.
Third, “wake/diaper/feed” doesn’t really work for my baby on his very special sleep schedule because sometimes it’s “wake/feed me now before I scream/oops too late screaming/good luck changing my diaper while I mad-kick at nothing.”
Of course, predicting when an infant will poo is impossible, but it will likely happen immediately after changing a wet diaper and buttoning him back into his onesie or in the middle of changing a diaper so it just gets everywhere. (ALWAYS lay the new diaper down before taking off the old one. Always.)
So you’re spending a lot of “nap time” cleaning up messes because of your special sleep schedule.
I think you know where this is going…
I did not put my baby on a sleep schedule.