Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Starting a routine

I am writing this at eight thirty at night. Olive is asleep and has been for the last hour. If the past couple of weeks are anything to go by she will now sleep until some point between 2 and 4 in the morning. She'll feed quickly and then go back to sleep until about 7 in the morning.

(I write this knowing full well that having set it down in black and white she will probably wake up on the hour every hour from now until 5am.)

I am sure there are many parents of three month olds who will be incredibly envious to hear that the husband and I have already got our evenings back, and that I get decent chunks of sleep throughout the night.

I was pretty happy too.

I've made a conscious effort to get Olive into a bed time routine. She has a bath at the same time every night which, despite the trepidation exhibited in this pre-bath towel-wrapped photo, she enjoys.

After a splash (and often a poo) in the bath I feed her in semi-darkness until she drifts off to sleep. I place her in her cot with skill and dexterity honed from years of playing Operation and creep out of the room.

The daytime is significantly less regimented but I was fine with this as every day was different anyway. I didn't worry about this as I have a busy social life what with baby yoga, meeting a bunch of different folk for hot chocolate, and even mummy wine tasting cluttering up my maternity leave. I didn't want to be tied to a routine so as long as Olive slept at some point during the day and continued to thrive I was happy.

WAS happy.

Until I decided that I should start to get her into a routine that enables her to sleep, in a cot, during the day.

I bought a couple of parenting books. I've finished one and am half way through the second. 

And I have cried a lot.

The first book was written by a famously litigious (and hence unnamed here) author who advocates a strict timetable and leaving the baby to cry for up to twenty minutes whilst you wait for them to settle themselves. 

I'm not sure I can do that.

The next book, the Baby Whisperer, was recommended by a friend - which is a good start. I'm only half way through it but so far there is a lot to like. The idea is more about a routine - an order of doing things rather than a to-the-minute schedule. The author has already categorically stated that she does not believe in letting that baby cry themselves out.

However even this book has caused me to burst into tears when I read that the routine should start at 6 weeks and whilst you can always change your baby's routine the longer you leave it the harder it will be. Olive is almost 14 weeks - I feel like I have lost eight precious weeks already. 

Part of me wants to say 'fuck it' and continue as I am, happy with feeding Olive to sleep and not to worry too much about things. But then I imagine having a baby morph into a child who still needs to go on the tit before bed, and frankly I don't want to be breast feeding her to sleep when she is a teenager with braces and the ability to answer (and bite) back!

So I am starting to change some habits. This is bound to impact on what is currently a wonderfully calm night time pattern, and I know there will be times when I will regret upsetting the status quo. But hopefully, eventually, the daytimes will become as easy as the nights, and maybe it will enable me to rid of the 4am feed as well. 

If any of you have any tips how to put a baby in a cot for a daytime nap, whilst she is awake, do share.