We’ve decided that what we need is structure. A schedule. Isabella is now sleeping through the night, but is erratic in when she goes to bed and gets up. But I suspect that’s mainly because we’re so erratic. We’ve never had a schedule since we’ve been married as Dom has worked from home and I’ve not been working since the middle of December. When there’s nothing external pushing you, it’s very hard to not just go to sleep when you feel like it and get up when you get up. But things have got to change. For Bella’s sake.
So for the last few days I’ve determined to actually get up when Bella wakes me at around six or so. No more going back to bed with her and dozing until eight or nin or whenever she gets so fed up with me that she won’t let me sleep any more.
It’s been hard. I’m not a morning person. Though I have had an early morning schedule in the past and I know I can do it. (Except when in the first stages of pregnancy, then it really was not possible for me to get up and going that early.)
But I’ve done it. When she wakes up, if it’s after six, I’ll get up with her. Though I might lie in bed for a bit until she really starts crying. Because sometimes when it’s just moaning she’ll go back to sleep. (I’m trying to remember to set the alarm so that it will get us up at seven if she happens to sleep that long.)
And so far it’s really working like a charm. We’ve been getting up and I’ll turn on all the lights and open the blinds in the living room so we can watch the sunrise. I’ll talk with her and play during her diaper change and afterwards to make sure she knows it’s wake up time (at night I’ve been not talking much, not turning up the lights and trying to keep everything calm so she won’t get too stirred up.) The last couple of days I’ve realized she’s not even hungry at first, she just wants to play. So the feeding was really acting like a pacifier.
She’ll last about an hour and then she’ll get hungry and start to rub her eyes. So I’ll feed her and then put her back in the bassinet. And she’s been sleeping for at least an hour, sometimes almost two! And she’s been more willing to take longer naps later in the day as well. Which makes for a nice break for poor tired mamma.
Then in the evening I’ve been trying to pay attention to her cues. When she hits the point where she’s fussy but not hungry and has a clean diaper, then I’ve been putting her to bed. She screamed a long time the first few nights but tonight it didn’t seem nearly so long. And she’s been sleeping until some time between midnight and two at which time I’ve fed her (while dozing in our bed) and then when she falls asleep putting her back in her bed.
There have been some hiccups, but I think if I stick to it, she’ll eventually fall into a pattern and be predictable. I’d like to get her to move the wake up to a little later if possible. Say, seven. So I’m going to try to wait a little longer each morning before responding to her crying. And I’m aiming for seven thirty to eight for a bedtime. Though tonight she went down at seven and has been asleep now for three hours (though she did wake up when I went in to get hangers and cried for about five minutes before going back to sleep.)
We’ll see how it goes over the course of a week. But I’m optimistic. Please, Bella, don’t prove me wrong.
The sweetest thing: tonight when I laid her down she began to fuss right away. But I put my hand on her head to say a blessing and a few prayers (I haven’t yet settled on a pattern or formula, just say whatever pops into my head; but I’m sure eventually it will resolve itself into a routine too) and as soon as I did that she calmed right down until I pulled my hand away and went to leave.