as you may know, i'm a big planner, scheduler, blah blah blah. so i wanted to share some things that we've found to work for us in getting baby boy scheduled. also, i am one of those who "swear by" the book, On Becoming Baby Wise.
1. first i think it's important to know how you want to schedule your baby's feedings. you may want to research on demand and scheduled feeding styles. when rylan was born and up to a couple of weeks old i did on demand feeding-basically feeding him whenever he cried or seemed hungry, which was about every 2 hours or so. when he was about 1 to 2 months old it became more scheduled. i would keep track of his feedings in my phone (on an app! how clever these people are today.) and would feed him every 3 hours regardless of hunger signs. then we would play. then he would sleep. in theory, if you keep eating and sleeping separate then baby will not associate the two together, hence no nighttime feedings!
2. routine, routine, routine! this is one of the best things you can do, in my opinion, to get your baby on a schedule and to help you learn what they want/need. once rylan was scheduled i new exactly when he would need a nap and when he would be hungry. this will also help you to not confuse the two, because we all know it's hard, especially at first, to figure out why your baby is crying! i would suggest this for bedtime as well. make sure you do the same thing for bedtime every night. our nightly routine goes a little something like this: i nurse rylan at around 8 or 8:30 then we let him play for about 15 minutes or so while we pick up things around the house. then we change his diaper, put on his pjs and brush his teeth. after he's all ready for bed, we sing his bedtime songs, kiss him goodnight, turn on his sound machine and he's out.
3. limit bad habits. we don't own a rocking chair, crazy i know, but your baby doesn't and shouldn't have to be rocked or swung to sleep. i'm not saying i never did these things or that you shouldn't ever, but i just want to encourage you to keep them more of the exception than the norm. the more we do things, the more our babies expect them. another habit that can form if not curved pretty early on is nighttime feedings. our doctor told us that once he could sleep through the night (he was probably about 6 weeks old) he didn't need to be fed. now i will say i probably drew a harder line on this one than most because i was so determined to not have to wake up for nightly feedings as quickly as possible, but i do believe it worked for us. there's always a balance that's needed here. once ry could make it to 4:30 am without being fed i knew he didn't need to be fed before that anymore. and once he was sleeping til 5:30 am i knew he didn't need to be fed before that anymore and so on. another important thing to note here is that sometimes babies wake up and just need to be comforted back to sleep so this is where you can choose your method of comfort. we chose (because we knew he didn't need to be fed in the night anymore) to give him his pacifier and pat him back to sleep. that's all. sweet and simple. now if ry ever wakes up in the night he doesn't expect to be fed, but he knows exactly what's coming-a pacifier and a good ol' pat on the back :).
4. i have heard that all babies are different so take these tips with a grain of grace :). i'm not suggesting here that our way is the only or even the best way. i just wanted to share what we've read and found to work for us.
rylan has been sleeping through the night, until around 5:30 am-at least, since he was around 6-8 weeks old. now that ry is almost 11 months, he nurses every 4 hours and eats 3 solid meals a day. he goes to bed at 9 (i know, i know, he's my little night owl) and doesn't wake up until 7:30 am.
please note that all of these techniques worked for us. we only have experience with one baby. our baby has no health, growth, or feeding concerns. also, i suggest talking to your doctor or researching further for yourself and your baby.
p.s. rylan took his first steps last night. and i cried.