We’ve invested quite a lot in the Power of Routines, this week. She may only be eight weeks old, but since she can and does sleep eight to nine hours at a time, when we get it right, it seemed sensible to try to pin down what getting it right actually means, and try to do it consistently. And I have to say, it’s worked a charm – she hasn’t gone down later than 11.10pm in the last seven days.
The routine goes like this:
- 7pm – put Daisy in the pram or the car, and take her out for an hour. It’s important that she gets a nap in the early evening. The nights that have gone least well, are the ones where the nap has either been too short, or half an hour too late. If we miss this step out, she’s liable to get thoroughly overwrought, and not go down at all. On one, she actually fell asleep in my arms, so we didn’t bother taking her out, but the only foolproof way of getting her to sleep in the daytime is the car or the pram. That troubles me a little, but not much, because she goes down fine after her feed at night, and sooner or later the daytime naps will disappear. I don’t think we’re creating long-term problems doing it this way.
- 8.45pm – Daisy has a bath. In the first six weeks of her life, Daisy had about four baths. I found them far too traumatic; they made her cry a lot, which upset me at first, and I was really too unwell and uncomfortable to do them for a lot of that time. Then there were a couple of weeks where I just wasn’t in the habit. However, since we decided to do it at a sensible time in the evening, and not too late, we’ve made it a daily thing. She still hates it, but I think there is a knock on effect in calming her down. It’s just not obvious at the time.
- 9pm – Daisy has her last feed. This is the bit that can be very unpredictable. She’s suppose to feed, fall asleep, be put down in the cot without waking, and have the whole thing done ready for ME to go to bed at 10pm. The best night was 9.45pm – around 10pm has happened two or three times. If she hasn’t gone down by 10pm, Kevin will take her away, and pace the floor. Again, that can work within fifteen minutes, or an hour. Last night, our worst night of the week, he brought her back again at 11pm (I get to sleep in between times!), and I offered her more food. She promptly dropped straight off, and we were all in bed by 11.10pm. Even that’s perfectly acceptable by most people’s standards, considering she’s not yet eight weeks old.
The next step is likely to be to bring the whole thing forward – to try and inject some time when Daisy’s in bed asleep, and we’re not. I’m a little concerned that she may be very attached to the sound of our breathing, and that it may be harder than it sounds. But maybe at the end of this week, we might try doing the same things at 6.30pm, 8.15pm and 8.30pm, and see if she goes down half an hour earlier as a result.