Sunday, April 1, 2012

Routines

The funny thing about routines and babies is, just when you think you've got one down pat and get used to it, they change it up on you.  I can't tell you how many people have said this very thing to me, but boy is it true.

Case in point: bed time.  I got a lot of feedback the last time I posted about our bedtime routine, which consists of bath time, books, and feeding.  We have still been implementing this very same series of events, but with one minor tweak.  Typically, we start bath time about an hour before Lilly is supposed to eat again (so, for example, if I think she'll be hungry again around 9, we start bath time at 8).  That gives us plenty of time to play in the tub, get lotioned and dressed, and read some books before it's time to eat again.  We wake her up for a dream feed typically 2ish hours after the feeding, normally around 11:00 pm, and she normally eats maybe half a bottle and is then out, at which point we swaddle her and put her to bed where she sleeps until 7:00 or 7:30am.  In the time between the last real feeding of the day and the dream feed, we have been just letting Lilly play quietly and fall asleep where she may, which is typically in her swing.  I happened to think, though, the other day, that now is the time where she is starting to recognize routines, per my research and her pediatrician.  So I wondered if she was relying on the swing to fall asleep.  Don't get me wrong, I love the swing, but I don't want her to rely on swinging to fall asleep every night until she's 2.  It's the same thing with rocking and singing: when she was younger, I used to rock and sing her to sleep in the nursery, and it was my absolute favorite time of day.  As much as I hate to give that up, I want her to be able to soothe herself and fall asleep wherever, with whomever, so I've been trying not to do that as much.  After discussing this thought process with Stephanie the other day on our play date, I developed a new plan to try.  Starting two nights ago, after the bottle, I have been sitting her in her chair or swing or on her play mat and watching her like a hawk for signs that she's getting tired - rubbing eyes, yawning, etc.  When she does this, I pick her up, see if she's interested in a little more milk, swaddle her and lay her in her bed. 

The problem I'm having is, she does not go to sleep. She lays there and plays for a long time.  If she starts fussing (so far, rarely), I try the paci and normally that does the trick.  The past two nights that we've done this, she has laid in there playing for at least an hour, maybe more, before falling asleep.  The first night I tried this (Friday), she fell asleep around 10:30, so I felt it pointless to wake her right back up at 11 for a dream feed.  She therefore woke up at 4:00 on Saturday morning to eat.   Fastest meal ever, though, as she had her diaper changed, had been burped twice and was finished with that bottle and back in bed in literally 15 minutes flat.  Last night, even though she laid in bed and played for a long time and fell asleep practically right when I would have woken her up for a dream feed, I got her up and did the dream feed anyway, and she still woke up at 5 to eat but then slept again until 9.

I guess this is my fault for changing things up on her.  My point is, I'm still not sure how things are going in the bedtime routine department.  Yes, she's woken up earlier than normal (by "normal" I mean "earlier than she'd been waking up for two weeks prior to this change") for the past two mornings, but one night we did a dream feed and the other night we didn't, so I'm not sure whether the dream feed is actually helping her sleep longer or not.  I will keep trying different things until we figure something out that works, but I'm sure as soon as we get into something that I think is "working," she'll change it up on me again.  Either way, 6-7 straight hours of sleep for Mommy is better than 3-4, I say.  And in the end, I don't really mind, because she's REALLY cute.  As evidence, I present to you this super cute video that I took of her talking yesterday - I was able to capture it on film, finally (previously she has stopped by the time I got my camera ready).  Again, ignore my baby talk.  She likes it.  :-)  And also the pump in the background (sigh).
Hope your weekend was as fantastic as ours has been!  And don't forget to click on the handy dandy button at the top of my page to vote for us for top baby blog.  Gracias!

Sarah

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