Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Putting Walker on a Schedule | Revisited

Since posting about getting Walker on a schedule last year, it has since become the post I get the most emails about, questions about and repins on Pinterest from. So, I thought I'd revisit it a little more than a year later to share our experience and where we are today.


As I mentioned in my blog post on this topic last year, I know that putting babies on schedules can be very controversial. Believe me, I heard it all when we started putting Walker on a schedule: "You're letting the schedule run you," "When can I come over since he's always sleeping?" "We have a good baby, so they don't need to be put on a schedule," "Well, I would never wake a sleeping baby." Look, whatever floats your boat. We didn't have a "good baby," and we were absolutely exhausted, so we had to do something. Plus, I went back to work when Walker was three months old, and I knew I couldn't be getting up in the middle of the night and go function like a normal human at work the next day. You can read all about our decision to put Walker on a schedule here, but I will say that our experience can be summed up in the following sentence: It was one of the best decisions we have ever made. This is what worked best for our family. It may not be the best for yours, but I encourage you to try putting your baby on a schedule if you're even mildly thinking about it. Like adults, babies thrive on a schedule and a routine, and truly, sleep was the best gift we could have all given each other. 

We loosely followed Baby Wise, basically putting Walker on a wake/eat/play/sleep schedule around four-five weeks. The rationale for that is that we didn't want him to associate sleeping with feeding; we wanted him to associate sleeping with sleeping. {Sounds kind of elementary, right?} Baby Wise allowed us to have Walker eat and sleep at the same times every day, eventually regulating out his metabolism to eat a normal breakfast, lunch and dinner with two snacks in between each day. It also allowed him to sleep through the night by the time he was three months old, and he still does that to this day. Since he was three months old, he has -- give or take -- slept from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Before Baby Wise? Not a snowball's chance in hell. Yes, he was young and yes, babies are supposed to be awake and hungry...a lot. That's kind of a parents' baptismal by fire, no? 

As I mentioned last year, the first couple of days putting him on a schedule were awful. It went against every fiber of my mom being to let my child cry in his crib. And yes, I said "crib." Walker had reflux so bad that his grunting would wake Brandon and me up and night and it was just awful. Brandon was sleeping in the guest room, I was a complete zombie and so we made the executive decision to move Walker to his crib by around 4-6 weeks. Of course you can do Baby Wise {or any other schedule} with your child sleeping in your room, but it just worked out much better for us for Walker to be in his room and us to be in ours. 

Like I said above, we wanted Walker to associate sleeping with sleeping. Therefore, we kept each nap time and each bedtime routine the same. Until he was almost five months old, we would swaddle him after his bath {I swear by these swaddles}, turn on the Sleep Sheep and the sound machine, read a book, rock/snuggle for a little bit and go to bed. It was absolutely okay that he didn't fall asleep while he was rocked; in fact, it was good that he didn't so he would know how to self-soothe. {He still does this.} When he started moving/squirming around in his bed around four months, I knew it was time for us to stop the swaddle, so we moved to the Halo Sleep Sacks and used those until he was one. Then, he started using a lightweight blanket my aunt crocheted him and a very flat pillow in his crib and sleeps with his little Pottery Barn Kids "lovey." 

All of that is still our current routine: we feed Walker dinner, let him go to the bathroom, bathe him, then turn on the Sleep Sheep and sound machine, read a book with just the lamp on, and then turn the light off, cuddle/rock for just a minute and lay him down while he's still awake. He sleeps from 7:30 p.m. - 7 a.m., and still takes two naps a day: a short one in the morning from 10-11 a.m., and a longer one in the afternoon from 2:30-4 p.m. 

A huge help to me as I was planning to implement the schedule were these Baby Wise schedules that I found on Pinterest, although I can't find the original link for them anymore: 




To this day, Walker is still on a {very loose} schedule. He eats and sleeps at relatively the same times every day. Of course, there is plenty of room for flexibility to go play with friends, run errands, etc., but it's so comforting to both Brandon and me to know exactly why he's fussy or crying; we look at the clock and say, "Oh, it's time for his afternoon snack," or "It's almost nap time. This is why he's starting to break down." It takes the guessing out of it. 

And guess what? Those same people who said, "I don't know when I'm going to come over since he's always sleeping" told us a few months ago, "He is such a good sleeper and is so easy to put down." It was hard to not be a little smug, I'm not gonna lie. ;) 

If you have any questions for me about Walker's sleep schedule or just about Baby Wise in general, please send me an email! My email address is in the "Contact" info right at the top of my blog. I'd love to help you! 

3 comments:

  1. It's so great that you know the reason behind the tears and that he's on a schedule but can still be flexible at the same time :)

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  2. Totally agree with you! We put Seth on a schedule at about 5 or 6 weeks, it was the best thing! He has slept through the night since before 3 months! It was hard to begin with, in the first year, but once he got older, he is so much more flexible. People always questioned the schedule and said I shouldn't let the baby run my day. But now everyone says he is such a great sleeper and so flexible. I love it!! Love that you posted about it and shared your journey with it!!

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  3. You go momma!! Can't wait to get Vivi on a consistent schedule!

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