More routines

I was having a lot of trouble with Mingli for a while.  He would only sleep while I was holding him, and since me moving or making noise would wake him up, he would typically only sleep for about 15-20 minutes at a time.  By the evening he was very tired and cranky from not sleeping.  I never though I would put a baby on a schedule, I just thought I would let him sleep, eat, and play when he wanted to, but doing that wasn’t working for either of us, so I started looking up baby schedules.  I decided to try a flexible routine where I could still respond to Mingli’s cues and give him what he needed, but try to add a little more consistency to his day.  It is really simple, when Mingli wakes up we play, usually first with toys, then we will go sit and read books or do something else quiet.  Then he will eat.  While eating Mingli will usually fall asleep, but if he doesn’t we quietly rock and sing songs until he does fall asleep.  After he goes to sleep I lay him down and he takes a nap.  This has been the hardest part.  For a while him taking a nap while laying down involved me putting him in the car seat, sitting beside it the entire time he was sleeping, and rocking the car seat every couple of minutes when he would wake up.  Now luckily once I get him settled he will usually sleep just fine.  At first I also tried really hard to get him to sleep for at least an hour every time he took a nap.  Now we have both kind of settled into this routine and it is working well for us.  Mingli seems a lot happier now that he is getting better naps during the day, and he is getting more play time, which means more stimulation for his little brain.

I think part of the reason it has worked so well is because I tried really hard to base it on the patterns I already saw him naturally falling into.  For example, on one of the sites I looked at it was suggested that you feed a baby right when they wake up from their nap, but Mingli always wants to eat before going to sleep.  I also noticed that he seems to like active play better right when he wakes up, and quiet play when he starts becoming a little overwhelmed from the active play and just wants to cuddle with mommy and talk.  So I incorporated both of these things into our routine.  I also do not have set times that things happen.  We play until he starts showing signs of being hungry and tired, then he eats and goes down for a nap.  If he wakes up and still seems tired, I get him back to sleep, if he seems awake and happy he gets up and we play.

I am really glad I tried getting Mingli on a routine.  Our days were getting kind of miserable for both of us.  Like I said, I always thought I would just go with the flow and let Mingli completely set his own schedule, but I have discovered that a loose routine works best for us.

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