You are a unique individual. Your family is unique. Your baby is unique.
As a new parent, you’re probably staring at this screen bleary eyed on the verge of pulling your hair out from exhaustion, feeling like you’ve embarked on this impossible journey to try to find the magical solution to all of your newborn sleep problems. You’re thinking, everyone that laughed and spewed, “Enjoy your sleep while you can!” over the past 9 months were actually right. Accurate?
Well momma, let me be the first to lift you up and tell you that all of those people were wrong. This parenthood journey is not impossible. Relax! It’s gonna be ok. You’re in the right place and with a few tools you’ll be able to have the confidence and knowledge to rock this newborn sleep stage for yourself and your baby.
Now if you’re reading this post looking for the magical hour by hour schedule to get your newborn to sleep through night, sorry momma, you’re not gonna find it here. If you’re like me, my personality thrives on structure and I love an objective plan and will follow it to the T. But momma (or daddy!), I hate to break it to you, your child is not a little robot that functions on a perfect schedule! Your baby is a little baby Jude, or baby Olive, or baby Brock! They’re an INDIVIDUAL and these individualities emerge from the beginning. That’s what makes each and every baby so beautiful.
Sure, you can go to another blog post and find an hourly daily schedule to follow. I know that seems so easy and is very tempting, but I strongly caution you from giving in to that temptation. I see all the time that once that schedule is printed out, laminated, and stuck up on the fridge, your schedule for your day and your baby is set in stone. And parents, that schedule is very rarely able to be feasibly followed. The schedules you’ll find most often depict eating for no longer that a specified time, awake time for exactly 1 hour, and asleep for exactly 2 hours. In general, this is a fantastic routine and the same model that I follow! But what happens when daddy has to get ready for work and baby wakes up and is ready to eat earlier than the schedule says? What happens when mom has to pick up from soccer practice and baby is asleep in the car seat but it’s during the scheduled feeding time and feeding has to get pushed back 15 minutes? What happens when your baby doesn’t sleep that perfect consecutive two hours at each nap? What happens when your baby is showing hunger cues at 2hrs and 15 min rather than 3 hrs later? What happens is with one hiccup in your day, the entire schedule is off for the rest of the day. With that, a new mom who is already so vulnerable, is left feeling a sense of failure. Those rollercoaster hormones and mom guilt that are already at the tipping point are pushed overboard. The inner dialogue then begins. “Why can’t I just follow this schedule that’s right in front of me? I’m a failure. It should be so easy, right?” Wrong. Life has to go on and flexibility has to occur. We have to LISTEN to our babies, not the schedule. Listen to our babies? But Thea, they can’t talk. Wrong again! Your baby just doesn’t speak the same language as you do, so you have to learn to speak theirs!
Once you learn to follow a few basic guidelines that are in line with babies’ natural routines, as well as learn to listen to your babies’ cues and respond to them appropriately, YOUR baby’s natural schedule that has been formed around YOUR family’s natural routine will begin to emerge. You are a unique individual. Your family is unique. Your baby is unique. Don’t expect your baby to have the exact same schedule, wants, or needs as any other. You’re already a success momma, but once you realize these things and with a few more tools you’ll have the skills to know how to meet your baby’s needs, and also live each day not letting sleep rule your life.