One thing I’m constantly asked about is what my typical day looks like with Caelan.
And it’s a tough one to answer because he’s definitely not on a schedule yet. Of course my type-A personality would love for him to be, but I honestly believe it’s not feasible to live life according to the clock, especially with or as an infant. The best thing for a baby, in my oh so experienced opinion, is to let the baby lead, but provide structure around what he/she needs. What we do instead of schedule, is look for patterns and signals that allow us to develop routines for certain parts of the day, like bedtime. Especially bedtime. This helps Caelan understand how the day is broken up and will hopefully provide some sort of structure for when I go back to work next week.
Somewhere between 6 and 7:30, Caelan usually wakes up for the day. If it’s before 7, Andrew takes him, if it’s after, I do, and he gets changed and fed. He’ll then play for a little and will usually take his first nap within an hour of waking up and we’ll get ready. Andrew leaves for work by 8, and I try to be in the habit of getting myself started for the day by then to make going back to work easier.
He’ll nap for about an hour or two, eat, play and be down for a nap again by noon. I can generally count on these morning and early afternoon naps to get stuff done around the apartment or run errands. When he’s awake, we try to play a lot and go for walks.
He’ll eat every 3-4 hours until he wakes up from this second nap, and a little more frequently afterwards, since the naps get more sporadic from here. I feel like I usually end up feeding him between again twice between 1 and 4. Most days, I’ll get a little catnap in right before or right after that 4pm feed, so I’ll start prepping dinner.
Andrew gets home from work around 6:30, and will give Caelan a bottle (if he hasn’t eaten already again) and I’ll make dinner. While we eat, Caelan will sit in his swing either with us or while watching Baby Einstein. Then he’ll play and get lots of cuddles with daddy while I clean up.
Bedtime starts by 8:30 with a bath (if he needs one), jammies, books, and his last feed, during which he usually falls asleep. Andrew and I will have a glass of wine, watch mindless TV and try to be in bed between 10 and 10:30.
Caelan will go about 4 hours before waking up to eat some time around 1am, and go down for another 3 hours before waking up for a second night feeding, which Andrew will take! Sometimes we get lucky and the first stretch of sleep goes for 5-6 hours, eliminating the second feeding, but moving his wake up time earlier.
It’s honestly different everyday, and the littlest thing can throw his “schedule” off, which is why I work on not really having one. I’ve learned that a schedule provides constraints, while routines provide structure. We follow the same pattern every day, and fill our time with lots of stimulating activities that allow Caelan to eat and sleep when he needs it, rather than boredom. I’m sure that eventually these steps will transition us into having more fixed points during our day, but for now, it’s all a learning process for both of us.
Also, I’ve learned that I’m insane.