02.19.17

THE SLEEP SCHEDULE THAT CHANGED MY LIFE



Good Morning Girls!

I have missed you and haven’t been blogging nearly as much as I would like to, well, because of obvious reasons.  Harlow Lace is now 4 months old, she weighs 12 pounds and she’s giggling more than ever.  The amount of joy this little bean has added to our life is unbelievable.  We have hit so many milestones in the last bit, like rolling over, blowing bubbles, mirroring mommy and daddy,  and the beautiful four month sleep regression! Oh. My. Heart.  I share a lot of my personal experiences on my Facebook Mom Group that I have created called Convey Motherhood.  This is a space of extremely positive, encouraging moms/mom to be/someday mommies, who are accepting of all parenting methods because no one way is better than the other. You can come find us there if you’re up to being accepting of every single parenting method as long as your baby is being loved as much as physically possible, we don’t care.  Every single woman on this board is proof of all the love there is in this world, truly! I am so grateful to have them part of our community and it’s brilliant watching them raise their children and learning from them as they go too!  

So back to her sleeping schedule.  In this post I want to be clear that the thing that worked for us is having an organized day.  I am not organized. I was planning on doing things by flying by the seat of my pants but when ever we had days like this we had one MISERABLE baby.  She was a mess.

When Harlow was first born we would have to set an alarm to wake her up throughout the night because even being a couple of weeks early really though things off a bit.  She wasn’t able to cue when she was hungry at all.  We naturally got her on a sleep schedule right from the beginning which was such a beautiful thing for us.  Always talk with your doctor or other health care providers before implementing any different programs or changes.  Also, before Harlow was three months there were plenty of nights where she would only sleep in my arms until she was fast asleep and that is where I let her be because I could tell she just needed her mommy.  The base of this post is the eat, wake, sleep method that helped us develop a routine that helped her thrive.    

Life was much easier to plan, we knew exactly when she needed to eat and we were all sleeping really well. By three months we had her sleeping at least a stretch of  7 hours which was reallllly good in our eyes.  As she got older, she was a little more sensitive, woke up a little easier to noise and we started using the Ergobaby Cotton Swaddle which was life changing.  Her moro-reflex started waking her up so this was amazing and she LOVED it. Now that she is able to roll over we have decided not to put her in it even though she sleeps in her Dockatot I don’t find it worth the risk and she has weened easily off of it.  Remember, we aren’t experts and are going day by day and this is just what worked for us.

During the day we will put Harlow in her crib and then at nighttime we have her in her Dockatot on the edge of our bed.  We used to have her in the halo bassinet in the Dockatot but I ended up ripping open my incision from the inside and wasn’t able to physically lift her out of it so we just put her at the end (with a barrier against our bed so even if I tossed her she wouldn’t go flying off the bed).  We do sleep in a king bed and if we are ever at my in-laws or anywhere without a king we DO NOT sleep with her like this. not that there is anything wrong we just feel for US it isn’t safe enough.  We will set up the bassinet on two chairs against the bed because we just don’t find it safe enough.  She is above the covers at all times with no pillows or loose blankets around and our doctor gave us the okay for this sleeping method.  I think you do what you can for your baby in the safest form possible and as judge free as possible:).  We will probably continue this until 6 months when Alberta Health Services suggest babies are safe enough to sleep in their own rooms.      

But then four months hit and we feared our bed and our baby (seriously, we would joke someone would come out from under the bed from the middle of the night and scare her).  That is how scary she would be.  Sometimes she would just stare out the window at the moon oooing and aaahhing, other times she would scream like we have never heard her scream before.  What was going on? Our beautiful little sleeping beauty wasn’t sleeping throughout the night any more and that was so HARD.  

Now, everyone has their own personal method of parenting and sleep training and nursing and not nursing and whatever it is and that is one beautiful thing.  I don’t believe any which way is the right way and I think you do what works for you and your baby.  If we all don’t agree or see eye to eye, that is beautiful and what makes us all human.  But this is what has worked extremely well for us.  

So many friends and readers suggested the Baby Wise method and after skimming the book I loved the structure of the feed, wake, sleep cycle. We didn’t really follow it much other wise, not that I’m saying if you follow it there is anything wrong with it.  WE just personally found parts we loved and parts we didn’t agree with whatsoever.  I’m not suggesting you go buy the book because I have NOT read it other than the times of eating/playing/sleeping.  The one thing I know and understand is babies and children thrive on a schedule as long as it isn’t too restrictive.  For Harlow, that has been the case.  The old crying it out method, I don’t think I personally could survive it (though her daddy could in a minute), so we decided to follow the basis of it and then sorta do what we felt was best for the rest.  If you do follow this theory, and it works for you and your doctor says it’s okay then you guys do you.  I just didn’t want to copyright the times so I wanted to disclose where it was from.  I saw how extremely well my friends did with this method and I knew I wanted to give it a try but modify it to what works for our family. 

This is the general schedule we had Harlow on from weeks 7-10 then at 10-15 we gradually removed the 7th feeding and I would just wake her up to dream feed her in order to preserve my milk supply. Again, we are very flexible and just use this as a guide.  There were times during growth spurts she would eat a little more often and times where she wouldn’t eat as often and we just modified as we went. I know baby wise is very controversial and I’m only mentioning it because we completely stole the eat, wake, sleep routine nothing else. I had to mention it because I seriously stole it word for word..  I know baby wise isn’t the only sleep schedule that uses this but this is the book I stole it from so I need to be clear that you do what works for you but we followed the routine not as much as the theory to be clear. 

Week 7-10
6:30-7:00 am
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

9:30 am
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

12:30 pm
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

3:30 pm
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

5:30-6:00 pm
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

8:00-8:30 pm
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

10:30-11:00 pm
Feed, diaper change, down for the night

 

Week 10-15
6:30-7:00 am
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

9:30 am
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

12:30 pm
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

3:30 pm
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

5:30-6:00 pm
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for a nap

8:00-8:30 pm
Feed, diaper change 
Playtime
Down for the night


This is where I would do a dream feed where she would eat like a bird but it wasn’t always necessary, just depending on how my milk supply felt.

10:30-11:00 pm
Baby wise suggest removing this feed or doing a dream feed to preserve milk supply so for us:
Wake up the little rat and dream feed her.

Everything was going so well for us, we totally stopped referring to the book and just started keeping to our routine.  We like to have Harlow tucked in all ready for bed by 7:30 so our times shifted a little bit but everything else was the same.  We felt she did so much better when she was in bed by 7:30 as opposed to 8:30.  Things went really really good for a couple of weeks and then she started waking up at least twice throughout the night and sometimes wouldn’t even go back down.  It was BRUTAL especially after having her so comfortable. Mom + dad were slowly dying.  One day it just dawned on me and I turned to Tim and said babe, Harlow is getting older yet for some reason we are still making her nap as much throughout the day, I bet you she doesn’t need as much sleep throughout the day.  

So naturally we decided to cut out one of her mid morning feeds and then her late afternoon nap.  Things started looking up for us. She wasn’t so scary throughout the night and she would only wake if she was absolutely starving.  We noticed there is a major difference between waking up scary and waking up because she was hungry.  Tim casually opens our baby wise book after we decided to do this and what does that sleep magician suggest? That we do the very exact thing.  How fancy.  She was oversleeping and was waking up because she didn’t need that much sleep.  So we now have her on a similar schedule to the one in the book but this is how ours looks:


Week 16-24
6:30-7:00am
Feed
Playtime
Catnap

10:30-11
Feed
Playtime
Nap 

2:30-3:00
Feed
Playtime 
Awake

This is where things change.  We keep her awake until her 6:00 pm feed.  Then we feed her, bathe her and get her ready and down for the night instead of where we normally had her napping. 


6:00
Feed
Bath
Down for the night.

11:00-12:00
Wake her up for a dream feed.  This isn’t really in the book but we find this works for us and we don’t go to bed around this time anyway.  Tim just corrected me and said this is in the book just not at this time. I’m telling you, I’ve skimmed it, not read it haha.

Repeat the very next day and so on and until they are 18 and off to college (kidddinggg).  I hope this helped you guys because it surely has made a difference in our everyday and sleep.  I will keep you guys posted and I do understand keeping her awake when she was used to having that late afternoon nap does take a bit of work but we have found it to be really helpful.  

We aren’t entirely sure how Harlow broke the habit of needing to be rocked to sleep because we didn’t actually have to let her cry it out (Thanks God for giving me a break on this one!).  We just literally kept putting her down with her soother and she gradually just started putting her self to sleep.  

What I love about our method we’ve created is that I am not nursing her right before she goes to bed and for me personally this is super helpful.  She doesn’t associate my milk with sleep time which has enabled her to soothe her self to sleep and dad (or any one else) is able to put her down.  This has allowed me to still have my two showers a day and nothing was going to get in the way of that haha. I’m partly kidding but partly serious.  This works well for our family and it might be different for you and that is fine.  I have just noticed that for us, it works and Harlow is only at the breast to eat and that is exhausting as it is.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted and please know that I am not a baby sleep trainer this is just what is working for our family and I totally wanted to share in case it helped yours too.

I love you guys and feel so grateful for this community during my first few months of motherhood.  xo Eleni    

 

 

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