The Routine
by Karla ° Tuesday, June 19, 2007
After I hit the publish button on yesterday's post, I suddenly realized that I had mentioned Nate was a perfect little sleeper and the last time I talked about his sleeping habits my words were more along the lines of complaining about my weary head and being up at all hours of the night.

Almost six months of not sleeping properly was more than starting to take its toll on me. As the dawn of each new day unfurled, I was slowly dissolving and becoming increasingly vacant. Not even the gentle haze of the morning sun could lift the fog from my head. I started to walk around in a constant daze of weariness and on the verge of tears.

And then I reached out to the interweb for help and many of you suggested books that have helped you immensely, so I decided to read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. I tried his advice and Nate slept through the whole night almost right away. The rest is history.

Our routine goes something like this now:

6:00 am: Nate wakes up. I nurse him on one side and pump the other side for his cereal for the day.

7:00 am: Nate and I eat breakfast.

8:00 am: Nate is usually ready for his first morning nap. I nurse him to sleep.

10:00 am: Nate wakes up. We nurse.

12:00 pm: Nate and I eat lunch.

1:00 pm: Nate starts to get tired again. The eye rubbing is a dead giveaway. I nurse him to dreamland.

3:00 pm: Nate is up and ready to tackle his afternoon, but not before he gets some boob action.

5:00 pm: Cuddle/Nursing and occasionally a quick 30 minute nap.

6:00 pm: Family dinner.

6:30 pm: Bath time.

7:00 pm: Before bedtime we snuggle and nurse.

And that is a typical day in our household.

Nate is notably different now. He isn’t as cranky. His attention span is way better. He does not get frustrated as easily as he did in life before The Routine and if it wasn’t for the birthmark on the back of his head, I swear I would have thought the storks brought me a new baby.

Before we tried this whole routine thing, Nate was going to bed at around 11:00 with Mark and me and I always thought that worked well enough because that let us get out of the house in the evenings as a family and go for a coffee or a drive or walk around the mall or whatever. And since Nate wasn’t sleeping through the night, I thought that if we put him to sleep later, he would sleep longer. But for whatever reason, that theory just did not work and he still got up during the night.

Although I suspect we are a tad lucky that our kid seems to go down for the night without much of a fuss and I can’t explain why going to bed at 7:00 pm means he is suddenly sleeping through entire night, I'm so glad we have finally found something that works so well for us.

Except for the fact that I feel like I a prisoner in my own home and still can’t cook for shit.

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I'm glad that you have found a schedule that works for all of you. I wish my kids were going to bed at 7pm! Zander did when he was 9-12 months old....and then things started to change. He goes to bed around 8:30pm, but Logan doesn't go down until like 9:30pm! By the time he's off to bed, the kitchen is clean and the toys are picked up...I'm dying to go to sleep myself, but I stay up just so that I can have some time with my hubby!

Enjoy this time!
Posted by Blogger Cate :  June 19, 2007

My son is a week or so younger than yours (born Jan. 1) and that is the exact same schedule he follows. Kinda weird. But he has been on that schedule for at least a couple of months. He is my second child and I learned the lesson of routine/sleep schedule with my first. It makes life so much easier.
Posted by Anonymous Dorie :  June 19, 2007

My son is a couple weeks younger than Nate and I have also realized how well a schedule equals a happy baby! Jaxson naps, eats and goes to bed at the same time everyday. I can tell exactly when he is getting tired (starts to fuss and rubs his eyes) and he goes right down. He goes to bed around 8:30 so that leaves my husband and I plenty of time to spend together!
We have had him on this schedule since he was 3 months and it has made such a difference.
Posted by Anonymous Tara :  June 19, 2007

Sleep - such a precious thing. We are slowly getting the night time sleep sorted but the Young Man will still not sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time during the day.Arghhh Having a routine def helps -its so hard to keep it though when you have a life!!
Posted by Anonymous Anna :  June 19, 2007

Hi- I read through Nate's cycle and if you want suggestions on how to get him on a steady 4 hours cycle, which might mean you get out of the house more, I suggest you read Tracy Hogg's book " The Baby Whisperer Solves All your Problems". It's different from her first book, in that she goes into greater detail about older babies, right up to toddlerhood. It takes into account whether or not a baby is on solids yet and different personality types. I have used both her books, with some variations on her bedtime rituals( a little Dr. Karp thrown in for good measure) since Jack was 3 weeks old. He's now 8.5 weeks, and has a least 3 naps a day adding up to 4-5 hours of day sleep, and sleeps about 12 hours a night, with two feeds. I can't wait til he's old enough for a four hour cycle myself- I can return to the world again!
Posted by Anonymous Marcy :  June 19, 2007

The sitting at home is hard. But it will be over before you know it!
Posted by Blogger Gina :  June 19, 2007

I had the exact same issue with my son. When I put him on a schedule, his sleeping (and eating) vastly improved. Whenever he is off schedule, he doesn't sleep through the night and is cranky during the day. Now at 12 months, he goes down at 8pm and sleeps until 6am, which is awesome. My husband's parents gave me a lot of sh*t for put the baby on a schedule. But, I like to point out that HER kids didn't sleep through the night until 2 years...

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  June 19, 2007

I am so glad that your routine is working. Porgie is also on a routine, but she still wakes at night. You are one lucky momma!
Posted by Blogger Christy :  June 19, 2007

"Except for the fact that I feel like I a prisoner in my own home and still can’t cook for shit."


that really made me laugh.

I don't know how you feel about this but try getting a sitter to come in once a week and sit with Nate while he's napping and you run out and do some errands or grab lunch with a friend. Check for grandmotherly type ladies in your neighborhood who might enjoy spending a few hours watching a wee one.

I also suggest you try locating another mom in your area that you could do some co-sitting with. You watch their child every other week on a weekend evening so they can go out and then they watch Nate for you while you and Mark get out for a bit.

I think the above will go a long, long way toward helping you not feel so trapped in your house. That's not good for you and if it's not good for you...ultimately it won't be good for any of you.

Routine is a lovely thing. Kids really need that in their lives. My granddaughter has slept through the night since she was 3-4 wks of age and I think it's because she was in a scheduled routine right away. While it's great for the kiddies it's not always great for the parents. That's why having an in home sitter on occasion is a great help.
Posted by Blogger Poppy :  June 19, 2007

Karla, I am so glad you're finally getting some sleep and that you've found a solution that makes your whole little family peaceful. Yay for sleep! Yay for routine! You must feel like a new woman. :)
Posted by Anonymous Amanda :  June 19, 2007

Routine is GOLDEN. I have to say, though - it can change anytime. Developmental spurts, teething, whatevs. We're going through a spurt or something right now, and I SO MISS those predictable nights! But we keep plugging with the schedule, praying that it will get us back on track.

Great job on getting sleep!

I went out and bought the book this morning since you said it's worked so well for you. So, I'll be heartbroken if it doesn't work and Gracie insists on her routine of bursting my eardrums nightly. Wish me luck.
Posted by Anonymous Daren :  June 20, 2007

that routine sounds similar to one suggested in the complete sleep guide for bontected babies.

i agree re: the routine stifling your lifestyle. funny that is the hardest part about being a mom for me, the change in lifestyle where i cant go where i want to when i want too!!
Posted by Blogger dawnatello :  June 20, 2007

I appreciate the details! I put my little guy to bed much earlier last night (9:30 instead of 11:30), and he slept in his crib for the first time in several weeks! Hopefully he'll go back to sleeping through the night like he was a few months ago too. It is quite an adjustment trying to adapt to his schedule. I suppose now he is going to have to take his naps in his crib, rather than in his stroller while I shop on the weekend... don't know how to fit in errands and baby-time, and a full-time job. But I guess the grass is always greener, as many are wishing they could get out of the house and I wish I could spend more time with my baby. And get out of the house...
Posted by Blogger Erin :  June 20, 2007

YEAH for sleep!!!
I'm so glad you read that book- I found it when my son was 2 months old (now almost 16 mo) and he has NEVER woken up during the night. We had the 7 pm bedtime for a while- then he started showing sleepy signs earlier and earlier... he now goes to bed between 5:30 and 6.
We have to wake him between 10 and midnight to change his diaper otherwise he will flood- after a cuddle he's back in bed until 9 or so the next morning.
Soooo, the point of this comment is to tell you in advance not to be afraid to wake him to change him... it's much better than doing laundry ever other day because of all the dirty sheets and pj's
Posted by Anonymous catdoggg :  June 20, 2007

My mom always told me that the earlier you put them to bed, the later they sleep. I have no idea why that works, but it does. Well, at least when they're little.

Man, he sleeps and eats a LOT! You are better than me. I don't think I could handle feeding Cole that often. I just don't have time for it!
Posted by Blogger Christi :  June 21, 2007

Sounds like my old routine. My girl is a little older now. I read the same book and it was life saver. The lack of flexibility is an actual blessing because it makes for a happier child. Trust me those w/ out a routine will be jealous.

My girl is 18 months goes to bed at 7:30 and sleeps straight not waking until 7 AM. I weaned her at 14 months. But, she had been sleeping thru the night since 9 months. It is a wonderful thing.
Posted by Blogger Day :  June 21, 2007


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