When I was pregnant with Big Brother, I think I attempted to read every book I could get my hands on that had anything to do with babies (in addition to teaching full time and finishing my Master’s degree). I was slightly obsessive. Okay, you can go ahead and take out the “slightly”. :)
Even though I am thankful to have so many resources at my fingertips, I think this reliance on information caused me to overlook relying on my own instincts. That’s why I think it is so important that each family does what works best for them…and sometimes this process is learned through trial and error, through the counsel of others, as well as becoming in tune to our instincts as parents.
Through all of our reading and seeking the counsel of friends and family, we found a method that seemed would be beneficial to us all and cleared it with my dad (who is a family physician). Starting at about 2-3 weeks, we followed a FEEDING, WAKETIME, NAPTIME routine (in this order). We learned to be in tune with our children’s hunger cues, but typically they could go 2 1/2-3 hours from the start of one feeding to the start of another. If they acted hungry before, I would of course nurse them. After a month, they could stretch it to a solid 3 hours between feedings. Once they were fed, we would play with them until they acted tired. The nap was the end of their cycle. Both of the boys were consistently sleeping through the night and taking regular naps by the time they were 4 months old.
We also chose to have our boys sleep in their own beds. I am a very deep sleeper, so I was terrified as a new parent that I would roll over on them if we co-slept! To this day, our boys have never slept in our bed…which makes me kind of sad because it seems quite endearing when it is not a nightly a habit.
Both of our boys are excellent sleepers (which I mostly attribute to inheriting my love of sleep) but I definitely think this routine helped. :)
Always remember…even though advice, books and articles like this one may be good resources, they don’t replace the parental decision-making. You have to do what is best for your baby because every baby is different!
So, what worked for you and your baby??? I realize this is one of those “hot topics” that people have strong opinions about, so please be respectful if you choose to comment.