In the first few weeks, looking after Micah was really easy. As a very young newborn, Micah's sleeping routine was pretty much "Feed, Change, Sleep". Now, his routine is basically "Feed, Change, Play, Sleep" during the day and "Feed, Change, Sleep" at night.
I'd like to think we have his sleeping routine pretty much solid by now - but babies are so unpredictable and sometimes it may not go as smoothly as you think it should. For example, I'd like to think his cycle during the day is 3 hours and by now his night time cycle should be 4 hours. Most days, he's pretty good with 3 hours. Some lucky nights we do get the 4 hour cycle. To give you an example to illustrate an ideal 3-Hour "cycle":
9.35am: Change nappy
9.40am: Play - tummy time - talking to him, look directly into his eyes and be engaging.
10.15am: Put him in his "day bed" and start settling him to sleep. Wrap him up tight, pat gently, use dummy, play a soft lullaby etc.
10.30am: He sleeps.
12pm: He wakes and the "cycle" starts all over again.
So that's an example of an ideal cycle. Of course, this changes when we go out. We can usually get away with feeding and changing him before we go out - and his play time would be to look around while we're out or be held / talked to by other people and eventually he will fall asleep whilst in the capsule if we're back in the car by then, or in the pram if I take him out for a walk.
|Little man in a large cot - "Night Bed" - in our bedroom|
This week, we've "upgraded" Micah from his little bassinet to a much larger cot. It is so much better now that he won't be hitting his arms on the side of the cot if he somehow manages to wiggle out of his wrap and sets his arms free to startle himself in the middle of a deep sleep!
Micah's Night Routine pretty much involves a big feed at around 10pm which should take him through to 1am (or 2am if we're lucky). I usually let hubby sleep through the night between 12am - 7am and just "deal with Micah" solo during the late night shift. However, in the early mornings when I am most tired - hubby would get up and pick Micah up when he wakes, change his nappy and then hand him over to me for a feed. He will then get ready for work and have breakfast, etc while I feed him and then help me settle Micah back to sleep so we can both have one more "cycle" to sleep all the way until 9 or 10am. That way, I don't even have to get out of bed in the morning and that really helps :)
Sometimes on the weekends, hubby and Micah would snuggle up together while I have a nice, long hot shower to wake me up ready for a new day.
Now that the large cot is in our bedroom, we've decided not to let the bassinet just go into storage until the next person is ready to use it - and turned it into a "Day Bed" in the nursery. This has worked really well as Micah has already learned to associate the nursery and the bassinet as a place for him to sleep, and he usually sleeps very soundly during the day as the nursery is the furthest room at the back of the house (very quiet) and the fact that it's not a dark room means that it is easier for Micah to associate it with daytime.
This works really well for daytime but I'm not ready to let him sleep in the nursery at night yet as I am not willing to get up twice in the middle of the night and walk all the way to the other end of the house to feed him!
On a really good day, Micah sleeps twice during the day for at least 2 hours. That gives me 4 hours during the day to do whatever I want! Have my shower, eat lunch, maybe cook dinner in advance on days when I'm organised, write blog posts, go on Facebook, do the dishes, do the laundry, and any other chores I can be bothered doing.
See, motherhood can be enjoyable and manageable. I'm not the most experienced mother, but here are a few tips I already have up my sleeve and these mostly serve as gentle reminders to myself:
- Get as much rest as you can - a happy mum equals a happy bub. The more patient you are in dealing with your newborn, the happier and more settled they will be as you go through the list of making sure he's as comfortable and happy as possible. Keep reciting these words: CHORES. CAN. WAIT.
- Communicate with your husband / partner - make sure he knows how you feel, what you want, talk to him about how HE is coping, how he feels about helping you out when he comes home from work each night, go for walks with the baby with your partner so you can talk, find out if the current routine is working well or needs to be improved. Remember you still have a husband living in your house and your whole life does NOT just revolve around the baby. Keep nurturing your relationship. A solid (and happy) relationship equals great teamwork with a smile.
- Be organised - know your calendar well enough to plan around it. E.G. if you know you are going out, time the cycle the best you can so the next feed will be just before you go out. If hubby is going to be out at soccer tonight, do NOT plan to cook - just have frozen meals / takeaway for dinner. If hubby is coming home on time tonight and is happy to watch bub, plan to cook a fresh meal as a nice change and also as "me time". Plan your grocery shopping list. Cook meals in bulk e.g. casseroles so the frozen meals can be restocked.
- Get used to the crying - do not let yourself be upset or stressed if baby is unsettled and cannot seem to stop crying. He is just communicating with you. This is one I struggle with most when I am tired myself, that's why #1 is so important for the patience to work through "the list" e.g. Hungry? Gas? Wet or pooey nappy? Too hot? Too cold? Overtired? Wants a cuddle? Etc.
Aahhh... motherhood. If you are a bloke or don't have kids, never EVER say to a mum "what do you do at home all day??!!" because being a stay home mum is definitely a full time job on its own. I've said before that I have much more respect for mothers now that I've gone through labour, now I will say again, I have much more respect for mothers for the patience, perseverance, strength, endurance and love for caring for their child day after day.