Weeks old: 16
I like: Shoving everything in my mouth, Captain Calamari, sitting more upright in my pushchair, boobs
Mummy is learning: To enjoy CBeebies (but not as much as daddy), to move around more quietly
With Little O only a week away from four months old and officially past what is often referred to as the “fourth trimester”, it’s time to talk about the “R word”: routine.
Pretty much from the moment you are handed your little bundle of joy post-birth people start asking you when you’ll be putting him or her into a routine. It seems to be the number one topic of conversation.Have you started a routine? Are you sticking to a routine? He/she is probably going to grow up to be a serial killer if you don’t implement a water-tight routine from day one!
Now I know I only have one baby and said baby is still a tiddler but in Little O’s early weeks it seemed like implementing any kind of rigid structure to his life was a short ticket to madness, sadness and all around badness for everyone. And so up until very recently we’ve been completely baby led. Little O slept when he was sleepy, ate when he was hungry and spent as much time being snuggled by mummy and daddy as he needed.
In the last couple of weeks some patterns have been emerging. Little O gets grumpy if he’s been awake for about two hours, as well as getting sleepy earlier and earlier and becoming less and less inclined to go to sleep quickly if allowed to become overtired. I have also started hearing murmurs of something called the four month sleep regression and decided that maybe it was time to gently start taking advantage of the patterns.
So what we’ve been doing is not waiting for the grump to set in but to start rocking Little O to sleep once he’s been awake for two hours. We’ve also been putting him down for his naps in his bed upstairs rather than having him always sleep on one of us. There are no real set times for what we do, we’re more led by how long he’s been awake since he has a pretty set attention span. We’ve also started a bit of a bedtime routine that involves a bath at 5.30, followed by a boob while listening to some sleepy music with the aim of being in bed upstairs on his own by 7.
So I’m guessing the first question you all have is, “so is it working?”. Well the results have been mixed. Little O has indeed been sleeping in his own bed both during the day and the night with us downstairs, not in the same room. This has meant something of a return of the concept of “evening”. Something that parents of newborns remember vaguely from their previous life. But there have been mishaps. On our second night Little O awoke at 10pm when Mr O and I came up to go to bed. He decided it was morning and it took us two hours to convince him that it most definitely wasn’t. That said, he did sleep from midnight to 4am, which was excellent. Yesterday afternoon his nap was interrupted by a poop so explosive we had to bring his bath forward, that really woke him up. It then took us almost two hours of angry overtired grump before he successfully went down for bed at 6.30pm. I have also been sneaking a few boobs in to what shouldn’t really be feeding time but he doesn’t do dummies so a comfort boob is a good substitute.
Ultimately I think the “routine” is going to take trial, error, refinement and flexibility before we find something that works for the the three of us and then probably only temporarily. This feels like a good starting point and one that isn’t putting undue pressure on an of us or treating Little O like a robot, which some of the ones I read about seem to do. Every baby is different and every day is different so I imagine this is going to be a work in progress for a long while, as in years. What I can say is that wrote this blog last night in the peace of my front room with no baby on me… I can’t have imagined that even a week ago. Of course because I am a soppy sod I also miss him desperately and almost have to physically restrain myself not to check on him every 5 minutes. I guess that’s the paradox of being mum.