Now Rufus is roughly 7 weeks old I feel like we are in a very loose routine that works for all of us. When people say your second fits in around your first – they couldn’t be more accurate. When Winston was a baby we weren’t sure when the right time to get him into a routine was. After about 8 weeks of horrendous sleep we decided that something must be done, so I familiarised myself with the Gina Ford’s book – The Contented Baby Book, because I didn’t know when to start. I always presumed that if babies were tired then they would simply drop off. The babies and toddler I had seen asleep had always been held in arms, draped over a shoulder, curled up on the couch, on the floor whilst playing or even whilst eating in their high chair (darn you Facebook). Winston has never (or if he has I can count them on one hand and have photographic evidence) fallen asleep in any one of those places!
I am quite a routiney type person and like to plan ahead, but after following Gina’s routine strictly for about two days, it drove me insane! I started to follow a looser version which made me much happier. I know a lot of people are not into Gina Ford and even though her strict routine drove me insane she was my absolute saviour! She taught me about sleep cycles and feed cycles – making sure babies aren’t too tired to feed, how to know they are tired (which we always mistook for hunger with Winston), when growth spurts are likely, which feeds to cut out first, how to encourage them to sleep through the night and how to arrange feeds around weaning. As a mother I probably should innately know all of these things – but the truth is I didn’t! I am not embarrassed to admit that I needed a book for someone to tell me such basic things. The routine I had with Winston was a loose version of the Gina Ford routine but it certainly never stopped me going out or prevented me from doing things – it just meant it was always easier to know what was next on the ‘baby agenda’ and the most sensible times to do things…which to be honest was more freeing than restricting. Never attempt food shopping or similar activities around a babies feeding time – it will never be worth it.
Since Rufus has arrived I have been looking out for his natural routine and then gently nudged him into one that fits in with Winston’s. So far it seems to be going well – but of course we still have those days that are plain crazy! Winston never had a dummy and Rufus is not that keen to be honest, but we have used it successfully a few times to settle him which has been brilliant. Something I am finding invaluable is my Miyo baby sling which seems to settle Rufus quickly, but also means I have two free hands to contend with a toddler. It is fantastic and I’ve worn it for up to two hours with no discomfort.
As a general rule I try to got out either in the morning or the afternoon each day…but this is written as if we’re in the whole day.
- Winston wakes up for the day.
- Rufus wakes up for his first feed of the day and then goes straight back to sleep.
- Jared or I will get up with Winston whilst the other one stays in bed. Whoever gets up with Winston will organise breakfast (pancakes, porridge or eggs). Winston will either draw, play with his toys, read or if he’s feeling mischievous will start emptying kitchen cupboards and drawers. We have a roll of paper on the table so he can draw whenever he likes. However, mostly he just demand his carer to draw things for him – you should see some of the terrible drawings I have done of dinosaurs, aeroplanes and trains etc. Awful!
- Winston will go in the shower with either Jared or I – it is usually Jared. We gave up giving Winston a bath before bedtime long ago because it makes him too hyper before bed and he won’t get out (even when you put the cold shower on him). If he ever has a bath it is usually at grandparents or if we’re having a lazy afternoon. Showers are really useful because you don’t have to supervise as closely…no danger of drowning so I can get a few jobs done if he’s in by himself. I might pass Rufus to Jared too if he’s awake so he can have a quick wash which he doesn’t seem to mind. Three in the shower? I know. Poor Jared and it’s not that big either!
- I attempt to get Winston dressed which is no easy task these days. He usually ends up being in just a nappy and vest until I can face chasing him around to do the rest.
- Rufus can quite often be awake around this time, but will fall to sleep again for an hour or so until his next feed.
- Jared leaves for work on his bike. I get myself ready and finish off dressing the boys.
- I feed Rufus which is normally upstairs and takes around 20-30 mins. I close the stair gate so Winston can’t do a runner downstairs. Winston will usually read next to me or empty everything out of our bedside tables. Needless to say, I prefer option 1.
- This is the ideal time for being ready to get out of the house. With just Winston it was easy to get our before 9am, but with Rufus having a feed at 10:15am I normally wait until this is out of the way before going anywhere.
- Winston doesn’t like eating his lunch before his nap so he will have snacks around this time.
- Both Winston and Rufus nap around this time. Winston will usually sleep for an hour and a half and Rufus will sleep for around two. Obviously if we’re out and about this can be pretty random…but if I am desperate for a nap and I’m at home I can mostly engineer it so they are both sleeping (I’m sure this won’t always be the case).
- If we’re out Winston will fall to sleep in his car seat or in the pram, if he’s given food and tired enough!
- Winston will wake up and I’ll sort his lunch out which at the moment is likely to involve soup and more soup. He is also into having copious amounts of pesto on a toasted pitta bread.
- Feed Rufus and Winston and if we’re at home Winston will play with his train set, cars or jigsaws. If Winston is being particularly trying and I am feeling generous I will let him watch an episode of Thomas, but I really try to keep TV to an absolute minimum. A sort of – desperate times, call for desperate measures type situation!
- I usually start dinner prep around 4pm. Winston always ‘helps’ me He has a special spot on the work surface where he will sit. He passes me spoons, herbs, messes with the taps and chops on raw onion. I must admit sometimes it is rather disastrous but mostly he is manageable! I draw the line at inhaling herbs, squirting me with water and throwing things. Rufus is either in the bouncy chair or in a sling depending on how he’s doing.
- I sit Winston down to eat his dinner and feed Rufus.
- Jared gets in from work and we eat together – yes Winston does have two rounds of the same thing!
- Rufus has another feed and Jared plays with Winston until it’s time for bed. We always make a point of reminding him that he will be going to bed soon.
- We start thinking about bedtime and take them both upstairs. Depending on the state of each of them we might give Winston another shower and Rufus a bath but certainly not every day.
- We read to Winston on our bed.
- Winston goes to bed listening to nursery rhymes (new thing and works a treat). He likes the landing light on and his door slightly ajar.
- Rufus is slowly getting more into an evening routine. If he gets fussy after his 6:15pm feed then we know he is tired, but it can vary quite a lot. He can also have wind during the evening so the amount he sleeps between his 6:15pm and 10:30pm feed can vary quite a lot. He is getting more predictable though so soon we should have our evenings back.
- Rufus’ last feed of the day and he’s usually awake for around an hour.
- Both Jared and I really like this part of the day. We both get to spend time with Rufus and he is usually quite smiley. We used to love this feed with Winston too.
- Rufus goes to sleep which at the moment is mostly in our bed. Sometimes he can fall to sleep himself but quite often one of us rocks him to sleep swaddled, which normally doesn’t take to long. Please note: Winston was not like this at his age and we never have been able to rock Winston to sleep! So we feel like Rufus is a dream.
- Rufus wakes up for a feed and (almost always) goes straight back to sleep.
Then we start the whole lot again at 6:30am!
Not quite grasped how to hold Rufus or a natural smile!