The only guarantee when it comes to babies is that they will change. A fact I did not know until I had one.
I thought they developed nap schedules, stuck to them, and that was that. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH Now that we have somewhat consistent nights under control (thanks to Taking Cara Babies), I thought I’d share how our daily routine has kind of shaped up. Anyways…a routine is a strong description, lose attempt at a plan is more like it.
When our day starts, largely depends on when he goes to bed, and his bedtime depends on the last nap of the day. It’s usually somewhere between 6:15 pm to 7:15 pm so, he is up for the day at 11-12 hours after bedtime so that could be anywhere from 5:15 am to 7 am.
So, I have two kinds of loose schedules I’ve developed depending on if I’m by myself for the day or not.
Depending on how late I stayed up (see the end of this post), I try to get up when Mr. Hungry gets up to play basketball, around 4:30 am. I get up, get ready, make coffee, and work until Little Man is up for the day.
I get 30 minutes – 2 hours of work in depending on bedtime/wake time. Once he’s up we nurse and cuddle for 20-30 minutes, then we get ready to go on a walk. We need to go ASAP because it’s already getting hot here and because if I go to close to the next nap, he sleeps in the stroller, and I try to get that first nap of the day in the crib.
Side note – one-day last month he just stopped hating the car seat. It’s been magical. I no longer have a fear of going places because he will sleep in the car seat as long as he isn’t hungry. It’s like I have a different life now, it’s incredible. Haha it’s the little things that make a big difference.
Now, I deal with the other side of the coin, trying to prevent him from falling asleep too early and messing up the schedule. I’ll take that over a kid that screams bloody murder in the car any day.
We usually walk 30-40 minutes total. He LOVES to listen to kids pandora while we walk. Whatever works! When we get home, I eat breakfast before putting him down for his first nap, usually about 2 hours after his first wake up.
This is where the schedule changes depending on if I’m alone or not.
Mid Morning to Afternoon
If it’s just us for the day:
I work on the computer during the first nap of the day. It’s usually the best nap, so I put all my effort into getting as much done as possible. I mostly focus on writing and checking email.
Once he is up, he is usually awake 2.5-3 hours, during this time we might hang out at home, run errands, or visit with friends.
I try to make it home for the second nap of the day which is when I try to work out if it’s not a rest day. If he wakes up before I’m done, I bring him and his playmat in the gym with me. If I’m doing a strength or HIIT workout, he is usually pretty entertained watching me. I try not to run on those days because watching me run is not entertaining enough to keep him settled.
If I have a sitter or family member coming to help out so I can work:
I workout during the first nap of the day, that way I know if he wakes up and I’m not done that’s about the time the sitter/family member is coming over so if he wakes up early I’ll be able to finish my workout. These days (and the weekends when Mr. Hungry is home) are when I try to do longer runs or workouts, and the plan isn’t perfect. Like yesterday when I took a 30-minute break in the middle of my run, not ideal but whatever I got it done.
Sometimes I hop in a quick shower once they are here before getting to work on the computer or photographing recipes, sometimes I don’t.
The sitter usually stays through the second nap of the day, so I do my thing – client meetings, working, photographing recipes, blog posts, etc. Most of the time I pump while the sitter is here, but sometimes I nurse while she helps with light housework.
The afternoons go by pretty fast. The afternoons are kind of hit or miss as to whether he wants to be held a lot or if he is content playing while I do random things (dishwasher, clothes, clean up, work more, etc.) Usually, his mood depends on how the previous naps went. We’ve also been doing some rice cereal mixed with formula or breastmilk in the afternoon which he seems to love.
(Side note, I know that because I’m a Dietitian many of you may want to know what I’m doing for introducing solids and why. I will have a post on this coming soon, but remember what works for us may not work for you! Nutrition even at this age needs to be individualized! Baby Led Weaning is great and super trendy right now, but again, nutrition needs to be individualized. What I thought I would do, and what I’m doing based on HIS specific needs are also two different things.)
Sometimes I do chores, start dinner, or hang out with him in the late afternoon.
His last nap of the day is usually pretty short, and we try to cut it off by 4-4: 30 pm at the latest. Depending on how the previous naps of the day went and how tired I am from being up since 4:30 am, we often snooze together during this time. Many times Mr. Hungry comes home to us asleep, haha!
Mr. Hungry takes over baby duty when he gets home so I can cook dinner or clean up. I usually try to get a little work done, but a lot of the time it’s just too chaotic during this time of the day until the baby goes to bed. During the week Mr. Hungry does the bedtime routine (I do it on the weekends) – bath, jammies, sleepsack, and read books. He gets a formula bottle before bed every night while I pump.
Per the doctor’s instructions, he then gets a “dream feed” from me about 3 hours later. How much he eats during the dream feed is variable, so I usually pump right after as well. Unfortunately, this means I pump twice in a row, yuck. And this often means I’m staying up until 10 – 11 pm, which isn’t ideal but there isn’t a way around it right now or for the next few months. He may be able to drop the dream feed around 8-9 months old, but for now, he needs it, so that’s what we do!
From the time he goes to bed to the time I go to bed – what I do mostly depends on how tired I am. I try to work, but if I’m just too exhausted I might read, clean up some more (it never ends aimiright?), watch TV or set my alarm and sleep until it’s time to feed him. Then I pump (because it’s variable how much he eats so I want to fully empty my breasts to keep up my milk supply) and then I go to bed!
When it comes to adjusting to motherhood, the hardest part for me has been a lack of ability to plan and control. Why? Because you can’t control what your little human will do, and therefore you can’t plan or think ahead. It’s been a good exercise in being in the moment and appreciating what we have. I love that we are finally able to develop a routine, but I’m also bracing myself for changes when it comes to that routine.