The Best Advice I Can Give to a New Mom....
I remember that "new mom" feeling, the one where you walk around a majority of the time feeling like a zombie because you are working on about 4 hours a night of sleep.....tops. I remember my mission being, "How can I get this child to freakin' sleep?" I drove myself crazy (well more so than I already was in that zombie state) reading books, posts, blogs and threads about trying to get a newborn to sleep. I tried to follow the ABC's of having a newborn (activity, bottle, comfort) but it wasn't working for me or my baby and I would cry to my own mother saying, "Why isn't my baby ABC'ing?!?!" Finally, one day I had enough and I went back to my "teacher" roots and established a routine. Books, blogs, threads, posts be damned I was going to do it my way! Now for those of you that are going to say, "Oh, my baby will establish a schedule/routine on their own," I am here to tell you they will never establish a schedule on their own....never! Children, from newborns to teenagers, thrive on a schedule and routine. Children need routine, they like to know what is coming next....believe me, I hear it in my classroom all day long, "What are we doing next?" Children like to feel safe and secure in knowing what their day/night holds for them so please do them a favor and establish a schedule/routine.
Now I am in no way saying your routine should be strict or harsh but instead establish a schedule that works for you and your baby (times can vary night to night but stick to the schedule of events). Once my children's umbilical cords fell off I established a BBB schedule (as I called it). It was either for bath, bottle, bed or bath, boob, bed....whatever works for you! I would give my children a bath to calm them down, give them a bottle or breastfeed and then put them to bed. This was also the only time of the day I would swaddle my children in one of those swaddles that velcros together and also the only time of day it was completely quiet besides their sound machines (which were only turned on at bed time). These were the cues for my babies to know it was time to go to bed for the night. After a few nights, lo and behold, my babies were sleeping! Why the hell had I not thought of this earlier?!?!?! My children were both great sleepers...my son slept 12 hours between 4-5 months (first time mom, it took me a little longer to figure things out) and my daughter slept 12 hours between 2-3 months. This also carried them through when we traveled or they went through sleep regressions....basically any curve ball life threw at us we always stuck to the routine.
A few months after I had my son, my friend called me up because she was going through a complete lack of sleep with her newborn and was beside herself. I told her stick to a "BBB" schedule and I promised her, her baby would sleep. She called me up a week later and said, "I can't thank you enough that was THE BEST piece of advice you could have given me! My baby is now sleeping!" See this routine stuff works!
Listen I don't claim to be a mommy guru but some things I do stand by and this is one of them. If you like staying up all night and watching the minutes tick by on the clock because your child is restless and is up every hour then by all means stick to what you are doing but if you are like me and felt like you could no longer live in this mommy/zombie state then go ahead and give the schedule/routine a try.....it can't hurt!