As I am looking back on Baby Checkers’ eat/sleep journal from her first year, I wonder at what copious notes I took during those first few months. In retrospect, I admit I was a little obsessive.
In the first few weeks, there was no real routine or schedule other than feeding her every 2-3 hours. Mind you, that is 2-3 from start to start . . . so if you start feeding at 11 and your baby takes forever and a day to eat like mine did (about 45 minutes a session), she could be hungry again at 1, giving you just over an hour to sleep or eat or poop or shower. These are little luxuries you take for granted before you have a child.
Truth be told, the newborn schedule sucks.
And being the rule-abiding person I am, even though many seasoned moms (whose babies all lived) told me to let my baby sleep for as long as she could in the middle of the night, my pediatrician said the longest she should go between feedings was 3.5 hours. So I set alarms. And I would wake my baby up to eat. And I basically never slept. And then I went crazy. But that is another story for another post.
In the early weeks, some moms asked me, “So is she on a schedule?” or “Do you have your routine down?” And I would think, “I’m supposed to have her on a schedule?” Usually I would respond with a blank stare or sobs. Baby Checkers had no semblance of a real schedule until around the 8-week mark when she started to sleep in longer stretches. There was no real nap schedule since she was essentially sleeping in spurts all day long.
Between 10-12 weeks, Baby Checkers was finally able to stretch out her night-time sleep to a 6-7 hour uninterrupted stretch; once this happened, her day-time naps became much more predictable. By 3 months of age, her awake/sleep times looked something like this:
Wake-up: 6:30 AM
Nap 1: 8 – 9:45 AM
Nap 2: 12 – 2 PM
Nap 3: 4 – 5:30 PM
Bedtime: 8:30 PM
Dreamfeed: 11 PM
Baby Checkers stayed on a 3-nap schedule until she was 8 months old. After weeks of fighting naps and what I call “crap-napping,” which consisted of naps about thirty minutes a piece (with about 30-45 minutes of fussing or crying prior to the nap), I figured it might be time to drop a nap. I was a little fearful of the 3-2 nap transition, but was pleasantly surprised when she began napping beautifully after the transition! Her crap-napping ceased, and she began taking 1.5-2 hour naps which I believed to be nothing short of a miracle. Her 2-nap schedule looks something like this:
Wake-up: 7:10 AM
Nap 1: 9:45 – 11:30 AM
Nap 2: 2:45 – 4:45 PM
Bedtime: 8:15 PM
Baby Checkers’ nap schedule varies on Sundays since she is in childcare at church during her regular morning nap time. On these days we usually give her one long nap, from 1 – 4 PM, and we put her down for bed a little earlier, although she usually ends up falling asleep at about the same time. And even though bedtime is around 8 PM, some days she falls asleep quickly, but she often takes a while to wind down, babbling and singing to herself, playing with Pooh Bear, and traipsing around her crib. We are currently experiencing the height of separation anxiety so bedtimes have been more challenging than normal, but I am hoping this is just a phase.
We plan to have her on 2 naps for a while longer, but I will let you know how the 2-1 nap transition goes!
*ed. note – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that nothing be placed in the crib for babies under 1 year of age.