Confession time... I schedule. Im that Mom. I have been soo reluctant to admit this to the greater mom world. You see, I have been shamed into silence, believing that the way I chose to do things with Hazel was not "the norm" or "accepted" any more. I've been afraid to share for fear that you would think I was judging the path you chose for your wee ones, this could not be further from the truth. I want to learn from you too! So read on friends, I wont judge you if you wont judge me!
I recently decided to let myself off the hook and came to the realization that Im doing a pretty ok job of raising Hazel. Bob and I make the rules for our family and its ok if it doesn't look like the other families around us. I'm the one who decides whether she eats chicken fingers for lunch or a fine selection of organic fruit and veggies. I decide whether we do cloth diapers today or whether we slap on a disposable.
In a similar way I decide when its time to sleep and eat in our house. Does that mean that I starved my child? No, i can assure you I did not, and don't. Does that mean that she cried for hours on end while I sat and twiddled my thumbs until the designated minute to end nap time, Nope... I didn't do that either. What it does mean is that from the very beginning I tried to stick to a rough timeline for our day. I focused on trying to feed Hazel every 3 hours during the day and I gradually began trying to 'stretch' her feedings at night by 'pausing' to see if she would settle herself. If I got another half an hour, great, an hour, wonderful. (( The 'pause' is commonly used by French parents and I also wrote about it here ))
For us, it worked. Hazel gradually stretched her night time feedings and she was 'sleeping through the night' by 8 weeks old. I think when people think of 'scheduling' your baby they primarily think of sleeping through the night being the end goal. But for me, scheduling was much more than that.
While I was very happy to be getting a decent amount of sleep with such a young baby, it was very important to me that Hazel also be getting the correct amount of 'daytime' sleep that her developing mind and body needed! I worked very hard to make naps a routine part of our day, and adjusted and readjusted as we needed.
All of this being said, I was afraid to tell you all that 'I schedule'. It seems silly now, but I'm getting more comfortable with the way we have chosen to raise Hazel and I think her behaviour speaks for itself. I have had to learn to let go of that pressure to 'do everything right'. Im not sure I realized I felt it much, but I think in the ways that I did, it came primarily from my need to please. Im a people pleaser to the core and its difficult for me to let go of control over how others view my family.
With another baby on the way I have definitely begun thinking about what I will do the same and what I will do differently this time around. I can tell you a few things for sure. If my new baby has a difficult time settling on her back, I will not hesitate to put her on her belly.... GASP! Hazel was a belly sleeper from about 12 weeks onward and while I felt fine with our decision, there were certain circles I wouldn't dare mention it. I will also 100% schedule again. I roughly followed the Babywise principles and also read a lot of articles here and basically followed this article here which helped me form my own thing. I have some things written down about what I did at different ages and what worked and didn't work for Hazel.
I'm really excited to be able to use the same principles with another baby. Truthfully, though I feel I have worked very hard to encourage Hazel to be a good sleeper and eater, part of it is surely also her personality, so Im excited to see how it 'works' with another little personality too.
Ultimately this may not be your thing. And that is totally OK! It worked for us, it worked with my personality and the values we want to give to our children.
I would love to hear your thoughts about it! Did you schedule? Did it work for you? Would you do it again with another baby?