The Irony Of Routine

After Tuesday’s post about Stopping the Madness and joining the “Mother Knows Best” club, life has gotten substantially easier. I’m far less stressed and so is Ava. Life in the VW household is peaceful again, everyone is happy, everyone knows what to expect and when to expect and life is good!

After recognizing that trying to squeeze Ava, a potentially round peg, into a square hole, was simply making her, and me, extremely unhappy and all because of my Type A personality, I decided to try and kick back a little and let her find her rhythm and she didn’t disappoint. She showed me on the first day and has stuck to it ever since!

Our new routine looks something like this:

06h00 – rise and shine time, regardless of if or when Ava woke up during the night, she ALWAYS wakes at around 6am. So she gets her first feed of the day at this time and usually falls back asleep quite quickly after this feed.

07h00 – 09h00 sleepy time, little sausage is sleeping like a dream after her two weeks of intensive chiro treatment.

09h00 – 10h00 – cuddles with Mom, playing and top and tailing and getting dressed for the day

10h00 – 10h30 – feeding time

10h30 – 14h00 – sleep time, this is her best sleep of the day. This is also the time when I get my chores done (laundry, bottle prep etc) and then I usually eat lunch (on my bed) and take a nap myself.

14h00Β  – feed time

After this Ava does not really sleep for the rest of the day, she doses on and off and I’ve decided to just leave her as trying to force her to nap puts us back into that vicious cycle of square pegs and round holes. I usually use this time to head off to the shops as she’s quite the johler and will always fall asleep in her pram so its a good time for me to get shopping done. I also put her in the hug-a-bub carrier and do my grocery shopping or my other appointments, for example, yesterday I went and had my annual eye test during that time. We usually get back home at around 17h00 and then its suicide hour. From around 17h30, she becomes extremely unhappy, lots of crying and no amount of cuddling, swinging, walking etc changes that. I’ve mentioned this to a number of friends and almost all of them say they have/had the same problem.Β  So to counteract that, we use the time for bathing because Ava LOVES to bath.

By 18h00 we give her a bottle and by 18h30 she is lights out. I’ve started waking her at 21hoo to change her nappy and give her a little top up and won’t you believe it, she has two nights out of three now, slept right through from 21h30 till 06h00 the next morning.

So despite what some have said, a 4 hourly routine is the one that is working best for her. She’s falling asleep by herself and I’m able to recognize when she’s getting drowsy and immediately take her and put her down and she does the rest herself. What a cleaver little sausage. I’ve also ordered a block out blind, which will be installed in her bedroom next week. For now, we have a chocolate brown queen sized duvet cover hanging over her curtains as if her bedroom is too light for daytime sleeps, she simply chats to the sunflowers on her cot. I tried covering her eyes, but its so hot and all that did was make her sweat and now she has heat rash on her face. The block-out blind I’ve chosen is 100% block out, so her room should be really nice and dark. I’m considering getting one for my own bedroom as cream curtains don’t do much to keep out the early morning sunshine!

I’m feeling far less stressed and she seems to be thriving on this routine.

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  • Reply Chopper1

    Sounds like you’ve got it waxed! Hopefully one day soon(ish!) I’ll be able to pop back to these pages of yours and borrow a tip here and there πŸ˜‰

    February 5, 2010 at 6:55 am
  • Reply Denise

    all the books and well intentioned assvice are nothing compared to a mothers innate trust in herself.

    well done…

    February 5, 2010 at 7:13 am
  • Reply Hela

    Sharon, I’m so glad you’re less stressed! It makes such a difference. And we only learn this through trial and error.

    Strange, X also doesn’t sleep much after his 14:00 feed. Which means by 17:30 after the bath I get him to nap before his 18:00/18:30 feed. Somedays it works, other days he’s not interested.

    I should try the late afternoon shopping too! Thanks for the tip!

    Just so nice to know you’re both enjoying this time.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:09 am
  • Reply Irene

    Hi Sharon

    I have to admit that for quite some time now I have simply been a lurker on your blog and although I have not commented I really do share in all your ups and downs. Firstly I think a very big congratulations is in order for you and your husband for your precious and so long awaited gift – she really is just too adorable for words. With regards to suicide hour – it happens to the best of us and like you a bath is all that’s needed to calm T down. On another note you and your family are in my prayers and I believe that you will all share many happy memories together for many years to come.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:22 am
  • Reply Paula

    Oh that sounds good Sharon! My mom always says, you can try to make a baby do what you want her to do, but in the end she will do what she wants/needs. My kids also thrived on the 4 hour routines and they also do not sleep in the afternoon, never have and never will. In fact, my eldest dropped her daytime sleeps entirely at the age of 18 months and she is just fine that way. I also believe in block-outs. xx P

    February 5, 2010 at 8:36 am
  • Reply Yvonne

    Yay, so glad you’ve found a ‘routine’ that suits the both of you!!
    Lovely post πŸ˜€


    February 5, 2010 at 8:38 am
  • Reply Lea White

    Woo-hoo! That is such a great post. I’m so pleased you and Ava are settling into a routine working for you. And the block out blind will be great!

    February 5, 2010 at 9:03 am
  • Reply Anti

    Reading you story takes me back to the days when my daughter was little – you describe it so well. The tiredness and worry that you were the only new mom who didnt know what to do. I thought there was a conspiracy of silence from other mums about how hard it all is. Enjoy these days for they are days you will look back on forever. I used to hold and rock my daughter for hours every evening while she cried and wouldn’t settle and sleep was an issue. She’s 16 now and sleeps all day if I will let her and rarely sees lunchtime on a weekend. They are hard but happy days and if I could I would turn the clock back and live them all over again.The good news is…it just keeps on getting better.

    February 5, 2010 at 9:43 am
  • Reply Katherine

    Well done, and great to hear you are getting out of the house. With her napping so nicely in the morning you should be able to fit in some work when the time comes and then kuier all afternoon!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 9:50 am
  • Reply Mash

    YAY!!! I’m so glad, was already starting to stress about WHEN (not if) that happens to me. I’ll just email you and get the answers…

    February 5, 2010 at 10:08 am
  • Reply Sian

    Sounds good! I’m back! Tell when it is convenient for you to pop over and I shall make a plan.
    Sounds like it is better to fit it into your schedule than to just suggest a time.

    February 5, 2010 at 11:01 am
  • Reply charne

    so glad all going sooo well
    the block out blind sounds great
    hugs to ava from Em and I

    February 5, 2010 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Jahni

    We have suicide hour too. It’s spent rolling on the carpet (I roll, she laughs!). Good on you. You’ll see, the fact that she’s so settled at such an early age is going to pay enormous dividends sleep-wise in the long run!

    February 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm
  • Reply Pamela

    Glad you’re finding peace…! Sounds like you’ve found a great way to balance each other’s needs — and from a fellow Type A personality, I know that’s hard to do. oxoxo

    February 5, 2010 at 5:35 pm
  • Reply monica lemoine

    Sounds good, Shaz – I think the “fitting square peg into round hole” (or whatever it was exactly) is a great and healthy way to think about parenting, letting yourself “let go” in appropriate ways and maintain more control in other ways. Not that I really have a freakin’ clue about parenting. Instinct tells me: you’re doing an awesome parenting job and reaping the rewards of that. πŸ™‚ I’m learning a lot from you, dude!

    February 7, 2010 at 4:11 am
  • Reply Kristin

    Way to go Ava and Sharon! I knew you would be a totally awesome mommy.

    February 7, 2010 at 6:26 am
  • Reply Gillian

    This sounds very much like the routine I had with my little girl… my friends with babies the same age envied me, the ease in which my little girl slept (I def can’t say the same for her brother πŸ™‚ )
    Although I never woke her at 21:00, I would feed her then in her sleep and leave her till morning.

    You sound like you are doing wonderfully in your new role. We all struggle, but hey its a learning curve for everyone.

    February 7, 2010 at 11:06 am
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