Everyday Life…

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Life at home with Charlotte is wonderful and much different than I thought it would be… I thought I would be bored or lonely by week four and nothing could be farther from the truth.  Yes, the first few weeks were rough and I may or may not have cried every time Tyler walked in the door, but we finally started to settle into a nice routine here at home with Charlotte! 

I read Baby Wise and we’ve been implementing a consistent schedule with her from very early on, but with a constant stream of visitors, it can be hard to fully commit to.  We tend to make progress with her ability to fall asleep on her own, get consistent naps, etc… and then a new set of family arrives and everyone wants to snuggle her or feed her and do things a little differently and who can blame them?  But she gets a bit overstimulated and the visitors try to fix her fussiness in their own ways and a bad cycle gets started with poor sleep cycles and extra crying and everything gets thrown off a little.  Not a criticism, just a very clear pattern of what I’ve seen over the past two months!  We will probably plan things differently with baby #2…

{Side note: this is what works for us!  In constantly reading and over-analyzing every bat of her eyelashes, I read a lot of message boards and people are ridiculously opinionated {and obnoxious} about feeding styles and schedules, and especially anti-Baby Wise.  I could care less about how you feed your baby, as long as it works for you!  This works for us, it allows me to more easily plan my day and anticipate her needs.  And it also keeps me sane, which makes me a better mom, and allows Tyler and I to still be grown-ups.  She’s happy, healthy, and eats and sleeps like a champ.  If you’re not into Baby Wise, that’s cool….don’t do it with your kids.  I’m just pre-empting any crazy comments…}

BUT, when I’m home with Charlotte and it’s just the two or three of us, this is what life has started to look like…

{Warning: this is boring and mundane, I know. It is really meant for me so I can record this part of her early life. Plus, when #2 comes along I’m not completely clueless again…}

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8 AM:  Charlotte wakes up!  Sometimes she wakes up earlier, around 7:15 or 7:30, but if all goes according to plan {hahahahahaha}, she wakes up at 8 ready to eat!  Tyler is typically heading off to work then and I nurse her in bed while watching the Today Show and enjoy a cup of coffee.  She nurses about 25 minutes, I burp her, change her diaper, and then she is the happiest baby on the block…  I enjoy her being awake for about 30-45 minutes depending.  We look at books in bed, have tummy time on Mommy {her neck is getting so strong!}, and trade silly faces.

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9:00-9:30 AM:  She goes down for a nap anywhere between 9 and 9:15.  I try to avoid swaddling her for this nap since she spent the last twelve hours wrapped up and I let her sleep in her swing for a change of scenery.  This used to be her worst nap of the day {the 45 minute intruder is a very real phenomenon!} but has slowly become one of her best.  If she does wake up, I let her fuss for a few minutes and she typically falls back asleep.  If we don’t have places to be, I usually spend this time on me being lazy, writing blogs, perusing Pinterest, getting dressed, or reading Chronicles of a Baby Wise Mom.  {I am a walking advertisement for this woman—she is a treasure trove of information on all things baby.  I used to spend at least 30 minutes a day clicking around on her site.}

11AM: Wake her up to feed & change her diaper. Afterward we enjoy another 30-45 minutes of being awake.  I miss her when she sleeps so much!  I put her on her play mat downstairs with some music or lay her in her crib and turn on her mobile around this time while I try to pick up the house. 

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12:00-12:15PM: Another naptime.  I know Charlotte is ready for a nap because she gets fussy and nothing helps.  She’s full, clean, and no amount of pacis or scenery changes settles her down.  And like clockwork, it strikes when she’s been awake about an hour {I originally wrote this when she was 5 weeks…her awake time has gradually gotten longer}.  If I’m going to run errands, I put her down in her carseat; if we’re staying home, I typically swaddle her and put her in her Moses basket {which sits in her crib}.  Knock on wood, this is usually her best nap of the day.  She sleeps hard until 2:00.  Here I try to make myself look presentable, eat lunch, and finish things around the house.  Or I try to run an errand because she sleeps so well and I’m not so freaked out that she’s going to cry in public {she has gotten much better about this over the last few weeks, but weeks 3-5, she was a grenade that could go off any minute and I avoided any and all errands with her.  By now, I can pretty much take her out with me anytime and she’s good, or at least settles quickly}.

IMG_3783{Her strolling bud, Nathan}

2:00PM: Wake her up to feed & changer her diaper.  If the weather is nice, we go on a long walk and she typically falls asleep halfway through.  If it’s nasty or cold, we stay in. She loves to be over my shoulder and look out the window behind the sofa.  Her eyes get so big and she tries very hard to hold her head up as high as she can.  Her awake time is the shortest of the day though.  She is fussy by…

3:00PM: Naptime.  If we’re at home, I try to take this nap with her.  We have worked hard so that Charlotte can fall asleep by herself—we don’t need to feed her or rock her much for her to fall asleep.  But who doesn’t love to snuggle with a newborn?  So this is the nap where she falls asleep with me on the sofa.  {Or, because she’s so good at falling asleep alone, she doesn’t fall asleep very well when she’s held.  So I’ll put her in her swing and once she’s asleep, I selfishly take her out and then we snuggle…Smile}  If I’m lucky, she sleeps hard until 5:00.  I usually just squeeze in 30 or 45 minutes.

5:00PM: Wake her up to eat & changer her diaper.

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6:00-8:00PM: This chunk of the day is a crap shoot.  She is usually cranky around 6 or 6:15 but that doesn’t mean she’ll sleep.  Or she will sleep but only lasts 20 or 30 minutes before she’s fussy again.  Nothing really cures it either—swaddling, eating, rocking, alone time on her mat… The “witching hour” is alive and well in our house, folks.  Tyler usually gets home around this time too, poor guy.  I get sweet baby Charlotte all day and he comes home to the screamer… {This has recently started to improve in the last few weeks or so but it was bad weeks 4-6}  Tyler and I stupidly tried to run late afternoon errands a few times before we figured out this was consistently a bad time of day for her.  I have no idea why we didn’t learned our lesson… Every single time we put a sweet, sleeping baby in the car only to push a screaming baby around a store whilst everyone stared at us like we’re the worst parents ever.  Other days, she sleeps like a rock until 7:00.  She is predictably unpredictable.  We have recently started taking walks and giving her baths during this chunk of time to keep her happy—she LOVES baths.  I predict she will be a water baby…

7:30-8:00PM: She eats at 7:30 or 7:45.  We change her, swaddle her, and Tyler gives her a bottle while they rock in her room.  He puts her down in her crib and she is out like a light.  She used to cry for ten minutes or so, but she has consistently started to fall asleep on her own, no crying, no problem.  I pump while Tyler gives her her bottle.

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8:00-11:00PM: Grown up time!  This is where we debrief on our day, eat dinner, watch TV, and stare at the video monitor and talk about how perfect our baby is.  I start my own bedtime routine around 10:30, so after she eats at 11 we can all go straight to bed.

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11:00PM:  Tyler does this feeding again with a bottle while I pump.  On the advice of my sister, we started giving her formula at this feeding because it takes longer to digest and keeps her fuller for longer.  This feeding is called a “dream feed” because she goes straight back to sleep afterward.  We change her diaper first, re-swaddle her, and then feed her.  She is typically back in her crib fast asleep by 11:15.

Somewhere in the middle of the night…:  She has consistently been sleeping in stretches that match her age.  At four weeks, she would sleep about four hours before waking hungry.  At five weeks, she started sleeping until 4am.  At six weeks, until 5am…  She’s been a little all over the board this week though—one night she only slept until 4.  Last night she slept until 5.  And the night before that she slept through the night until 7am!  She’s slept through the night about five times, so we’re hopeful this will start becoming more regular.

And then our day starts over!  And while this is our typical day, it is by no means a guarantee.  We are reaping the rewards of being consistent with her, but she is still yittle and we’re both still learning how to live in this world together.  So there are naps with constant interruptions, gas spells, and diaper blow outs.  I’ve had one hand of painted {now chipping} fingernails for two weeks, a pile of unfolded laundry has been in the basement for a solid three, I consider myself lucky to brush my teeth before 5pm, and I only average two showers a week.  I’ve learned to take full advantage when she is napping well because there is no guarantee her next nap will go well, so don’t delay errands or chores you need to get done!

{And let’s be real—this is several weeks in and she is my only child—she has my undivided attention to work on this routine.  And not every day is all naps and smiles and leisurely strolls-- I wrote a blog on the harsh realities of being a new mom, but I need to clean it up a bit before I post it.  I was in a really bad mood when I wrote it and it might scare all you preggos…}

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Overall, I am loving my maternity leave and am trying to prepare my heart for going back to work.  I am going back part time and a dear friend will be watching her for me, so I still consider myself so lucky to have time home with her and peace of mind when I’m away… She is such a joy and though our days are routined, it never gets old.  She smiles more and more every day and is starting to coo and chat, especially after she eats and is full and happy.  I love watching her grow and develop.  She’s pretty much the best!

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