She Says… A Change in Schedule

I know “schedule” is a relative term with a baby. Believe me, that’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the last 4 1/2 months. I am NOT in charge of the schedule, the schedule is GOING to change and I have learned to be HAPPY with letting go of my timeline and living within Owen’s. That said, our whole family functions best with a bit of routine and a plan for the day.

Owen has been pretty regular from day 1. I don’t know if that’s a product of the fact that Benjamin and I value predictability in our days (and so we automatically guided Owen’s days into a “schedule”, albeit a very flexible one) or if Owen was just born that way (as a product of two very scheduled people, nature might have had a hand in it as well). But even as Owen’s schedule has ebbed and flowed over time, our days generally followed a pattern.

Recently (since Owen started sleeping through the night and hasn’t stopped yet — woot woot!) our schedule is kind of like this:

6:30am Wake up (anywhere between 6am and 7am, whenever Owen starts stirring). I pump, give Owen a bottle, we let the dog out and feed him, I eat breakfast with Owen playing in his high chair, we play on the floor/in his jumperoo/on the couch until he starts rubbing his eyes and looking sleepy.

8:30am – 10:30am Nap. This nap ranges from 40 minutes to 2 hours, but my fingers are always crossed for 2 hours πŸ™‚ If he wakes up early he’s usually cranky, so we take the dog for a walk. I pump again.

11:00am Bottle time. Then we walk the dog if we haven’t already, play for awhile and then wait for sleepy signals again.

12:30pm Nap. This nap is usually only 40 minutes to an hour. Once in awhile it’s longer, but usually short. Thankfully he usually wakes up pretty happy! After this nap we can go out and run errands if need be, and we try solid food if he’s in a good mood.

3:00pm Bottle time. Then more playtime.

4:00pm Usually another dog walk while Owen sleeps in the stroller. If it’s freezing or raining and we don’t want to walk the dog, he’ll nap in his crib again. This nap is usually really short — 30 or 40 minutes.

5:00pm Solid food time. If he ate earlier in the day, we just do a small amount. If he hasn’t eaten yet, I give him as much as he wants. Then more playtime.

6:15 Bath time (one of our favorite parts of the day!), PJ’s and lotion/massage, and bedtime bottle. Then pop him in his crib and [hopefully] don’t hear from him until 6:30am!

I love this schedule. I get a little me time while Owen naps and he is well-rested and happy napping after about 2 hours of wakefulness. By bedtime he’s always tired and falls right asleep.

The only problem with this schedule is that it’s going to have to change when I go back to work. As in, we’re going to have to start a LOT earlier in the morning, since I usually need to leave by 7:00am so I can get to work by 8:00am, and we’ll need to get Owen to daycare as well. And changing the wake up time will change the naptimes. I’m scared to rock the boat that drastically, but it’s bound to happen.

Can anyone whose children go to daycare share their routine/schedule? I can’t really picture how it’s going to work without getting up at 5:00am. And maybe that’s what we do… get up at 5:00am. But if that’s the case, then will Owen need more night time sleep, meaning that we should move bedtime earlier? And how do you do that if you work all day and don’t get home until 5:30pm or 6:00pm? Enlighten me, please πŸ™‚

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21 responses to “She Says… A Change in Schedule

  1. It will take awhile, but you will learn to consolidate your morning. The 2 most important things to us getting out the door on time:
    1. I get everything ready the night before… diaper bag, solid food, milk, etc.
    2. Hubby gets everything packed in the morning while I feed Eli. He puts the milk in the cooler & puts everything I need in the car (diaper bag, pump, etc).

    I don’t have to leave the house until 8… I drop off Eli at daycare & then am at work by 9. I get up at 6:30 to shower & get Eli out of bed at 7. If he is already awake, I set him up to play in the bathroom while I shower.

    I don’t know how much Benjamin can help you in the mornings, or exactly what your pumping situation is, but maybe he can feed Owen while you pump? Best of luck πŸ™‚

  2. Bedtime for us is 7:30 and DS (4 months) sleeps till 6ish. If he is awake when I get up, I feed him and get him dressed. Then I shower/get ready while he hangs out in the crib/swing. If he is asleep, I start getting ready, then feed him when he wakes up. I take drop him off at daycare on the way to work. My schedule is a little flexible, but my goal is to have him there by 7:45-8. My husband does daycare pickup ( 6pm) and starts the bedtime routine so he doesn’t have baby duty in the morning. I get home from work around 6:30-6:45.
    We found that prepping everything the night before is crucial to good mornings. We make his bottles the night before and pick out his clothes. Then all we have to do is drop the bottles in the daycare bag and head out the door.
    The schedule can all change if one of us has an early meeting or we need to swap pick-up/drop off. Just be flexible and you will figure it out. You may find it easier to get up before Owen, pump, get dressed etc and then have undivided time to play with him and get him ready. He will adapt to the change in schedule pretty quickly.

  3. I forgot to mention that we usually get home between 6:00-6:30 in the evenings. We play for a few minutes, but pretty much start our bath/bedtime routine when we get home. Eli is in bed between 7:00-7:30. If Owen ends up with less nighttime sleep, he very well may take longer naps throughout the day… you never know! πŸ™‚

  4. Ditto to what Casey said. It’ll take some time to establish a routine, but once you get used to it, it’s a lot easier. Definitely do as much as you can the night before! And to start out with, plan on getting up earlier than you think you need to. After a couple weeks, you’ll figure out just how much time you need. We’re like a well-oiled machine now!

    For us, I’ve figured out that I need to get up by 6:30 or so in order to get out of the house by 7:40. That usually gives us about 15 min buffer to either play, or tackle whatever unexpected stuff pops up that morning. πŸ™‚

    At night, I give Bennett a bottle, then pass him off to dad for stories. While they’re reading, I go and make the bottles for the next day. Then come back, and put Ben to bed.

    As far as Owen needing extra sleep, expect him to be wiped out the first couple weeks. He might not nap as well at daycare at first because of the noise and excitement, or he might just be playing more than usual, so there’s a good chance he’ll be exhausted when he gets home. So you might need to play bedtime by ear for a bit. It can suck, because you feel like you get NO time with him, but eventually he’ll adjust and things will settle down.
    Good luck!!

  5. I stay home so I can’t discuss much about getting ready in the early morning, but I will say this…Your naptimes will get longer but the frequency of naps will decrease. So he may get up earlier in the morning but take TWO long naps during the day and not need an earlier bedtime. Does that make sense? I wouldn’t worry much about all of this. You’ll need a few weeks to figure it all out and see what works for you. One thing I’ve learned is that as soon as you make adjustments that fit your own schedule, the baby grows and needs more food/less sleep, etc. etc. Just roll with the flow! (And enjoy it!)

  6. I actually just work part-time, but I agree with the comments above…preparation the night before is key. I actually try to wake up early and get completely ready before I feed our little girl (4 months old), so then I don’t feel rushed with the little time I have with her. It actually gives me a little time to talk to her, etc before leaving. She actually goes to bed a little later but has long naps during the day. I know not something you can control (like everything else about having a baby), but sometimes that is nice. The first several weeks were hard for me but it DID get easier…eventually…once we got our little routine. Makes you REALLY appreciate the time you have with your little guy/girl.

  7. James is 5 months old and we have a pretty solid routine. He wakes up at about 6AM. Daddy feeds and changes hims while I get ready, then we head downstairs for some cereal (for both of us.) We aim to get to school around 7AM. Then he usually naps for an 1-2 around 10AM and another 1-2 hour nap in the afternoon. He usually has a bottle around 5, someone picks him up around 5:45. Then we play until 7PM and bottle/solid food time. Then he “naps” downstairs until 9PM when he has another bottle (he’s a big boy). After we put him down, we do bottles and pack for the next day. He has pretty bad excema so we only do baths every few days, but we usually do those after the 7PM bottle. Hope this helps – daycare stinks at first. But then (if you’re lucky) you start to appreciate it. He gets to play with cool toys and cool kids. And he has teachers who ADORE him! What more could you ask for (besides immense wealth that allows you stay home)? Good luck!!

  8. When I was working, I would get up at five and get myself ready for the day. The last thing I did before I left (at 6:10), was wake the baby. I got her up, changed her diaper and clothes and fed her, then off we went for the day. Everything was prepacked for the day the night before, so I just grabbed the pumped milk from the fridge and our bags for the day. She often dozed in the car on the way. She rarely ever took a morning nap at daycare. She was too busy watching everyone play and her afternoon nap was super short. She nearly always fell asleep on the way home and napped while I made dinner. It was a new schedule, but it worked out fine for us. She was rested and in a good mood when Daddy got home, we played for awhile and put her to bed a little later than you have been doing, more like 7:30-8:00.

  9. I’m a stay at home mom so I can’t really give much advice on how to schedule properly but reading these comments made me so sad. So many of you mothers get so little time with your children! My husband and I paid off debt, consolidated assets, and shrunk our monthly bills to increase cash flow so that I could quit my job with my baby came. I’m SO grateful that I can spend all my time taking care of him. Time goes by so fast and even staying with him I find that he’s growing too fast! I’m cherishing every second.

  10. Hi love! It sounds like you have a great routine going on already. You will find that the afternoon nap will start to become regular soon and it will last between 1-2 hours. The morning nap will get a bit later, probably around 9:00-9:30 and last the same 1-2 hours. They sometimes need a quick catnap around 4:00 for about 30 minues just to help get them to bedtime. That final nap will disappear around 9 months if it ever even starts. Daycare will be tough at first but you guys will be fine. He will be really sleepy at first but he will adjust. It is super hard to get them to bed at a reasonable hour but it’s so important. It does suck that you don’t have much time at night to play with him … that is rough but you will have your weekends to be together. Please call me if you need anything! I thought about you yesterday during the Christmas Concert at school …

  11. My baby always wakes up at 6:30 am, and I feed him and leave to go to work at 7am! I do wake up at 5 to get myself all ready though!

  12. i just started reading your blog but my daughter is about a month younger than Owen and I went back to work about a month ago. The first week is tough getting into the routine but it gets easier!

    Pack everything the night before. I wake up about 6, pump, get everything into the car, and then wake up the baby. She can go to day care in jammies and needing to eat and be changed. Sometimes she wakes up earlier, like 5am, and so she’s already fed, but falls back to sleep. She usually sleeps in the car on the way to daycare. I have to be out of the house by 7, and if you can take him in pajamas to daycare, I swear it saves 15 minutes. I always shower at night and don’t make time for play in the morning. I get home by 3:30 (I’m a teacher) so we have time before bed. Baby goes down at about 6:45pm for the night. YOu are lucky he is sleepng thru the night . we are not there yet, cannot wait!

    Good luck with going back to work. It’s a tough adjustment and now that she is going to sleep early, I miss her a lot.

    I also recommend getting a 2nd pump for work. I bought one from a friend of a friend of a friend to leave at work so I don’t have to lug it around everywhere. Makes it easier!

  13. Our daycare routine does involve me getting up at 5, but I have to leave for work by 6:30. For the most part I get up before he does and am pretty much ready to leave by the time he gets up. There are some mornings that he sleeps in a bit and I have to leave before he wakes up 😦 Back when I was still nursing him, I would be ready by about 6 so that I could feed him before I left. Then my husband would take care of the rest of the morning, getting them both ready and out the door shortly before 7.

  14. I’m sorry if this is inappropriate, but this has been bugging me since last night. (and if it is, please feel free to delete Kate…)

    But I wonder, @Diana, what is the purpose of a comment like that? As you said you had no advice, but instead feel the need to chime in and add a heaping pile of guilt onto us working moms. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are actually a nice person, but your comment came off as smug and judgmental. This is why people think the so-called Mommy wars exist.

    Everyone is doing the best they can for their families, and for many of us, in this economy, that means working. I don’t have the luxury of staying home, but I have an amazing relationship with my son and I don’t need your self-congratulatory pity. /rant

  15. casey-i totally agree with you-that comment totally pissed me off. Some of us need our mommy income to pay our mortgages, have health insurance, etc. We already feel guilty every single day we aren’t home and I know that part of me wishes I could stay home. I wonder what I am missing out on with my daughter when I’m not with her all day. Then again, some of us WANT to work, imagine that. Ultimately, I think I will be a better mom because I also am able to go to work and interact with adults. It’s such a hard balance and I don’t think anyone gets it until they are in the situation.

  16. Casey and nb, I couldn’t agree more! Although I am not looking forward to going back to work because it means seeing less of Owen, I am so proud that I can be a strong role model for him for balancing my personal and professional life. And although my decision to return to work is somewhat financial, I am certain it will make me a happier, more fulfilled and well-rounded person as well.

    Diana @ frontyardfoodie, I am glad you are happy with your decision to stay home, but please do not judge those who have made different decisions with their lives. While I appreciate that you read our blog, your comments are generally insensitive and hurtful. If you cannot contribute to our discussion without being supportive, please don’t!

  17. I just want to add something here.

    @Diana, I don’t want to start a war here, but I too found your comment to be inappropriate and overly smug. I think it’s important to realize that (as NB said) a lot of mothers WANT to go to work, not because they want to get away their children, but because it is one of the elements of their life that make them who they are. In many cases the decision to go back is not a financial one.

    It also seems that your feelings are singling out sadness for mothers who have to work. What about the dads? Do we not deserve any sympathy for going to work and spending less time for our children. Now, even if Kate and I could both afford to not work, my job is also part of who I am, and it’s important to me as a person to continue what I do, but it does hurt that on many days I get to see Owen for only a brief time.

  18. I agree with the other working moms who say that the schedule will work itself out, and the daycare that you’ve chosen plays a big role in that. Perhaps Owen’s naps in the afternoon will become longer, thus allowing him to keep the same bedtime he has now. I’m certain that you’ll figure it all out.

    Personally I have found that my (and my husband’s) nighttime routine got significantly busier once I returned to work. My daughter is 2 1/2 now so we have it down to a science, but for us once our daughter was in bed is when we do everything for the next day…….wash & prep bottles (when she used them), pack all of her food (this now takes longer as she needs bigger meals given her age), etc. But all I can say is you figure it all out. It’s definitely a change, but in a few weeks or months it will just be another seamless part of being a mother.

    And yes @Diana I too found your comment to be completely inappropriate and judgemental. Whatever happened to “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Just because your situation allows you to stay home you must be conscious of the fact that not all parents have the same opportunity…..or choose it for that matter.

  19. Glad I wasn’t being totally irrational πŸ™‚ Also, I did not mean to diminish the desire to go back to work as a legitimate choice, I just focused on the economic aspect since she seemed to imply that any one could stay home with minor budget trimming.

    At the moment (7-month old son, been back at work 4.5 months), it is easy for me to say I’d stay home in a heart beat, but I think if it were actually an option, it would be a much harder decision. I have a professional degree that I worked hard for and I truly do enjoy my career.

    I really enjoy this blog. I’m a few months ahead of you on most of the baby stuff, but y’all are so easy to relate to! Keep up the good work πŸ™‚

  20. Wow I can’t believe the comment from Diana. Very insensitive and rude! I work FT and would love to stay home, but its just not an option! (as its not for the majority of people!) People like this need to shut their trap!

    Kate, as far as your schedule, don’t worry about it being all figured out right now. At first, you’ll be in survival mode when you go to work and then things will work themselves out and you’ll figure out what’s best. And if you get sad at first (I sure did) just hang in there because, I promise, it does get a lot better!

  21. I really appreciate all of the comments. My hubby and I are TTC. Being the planner that I am, I am already wondering how we will balance two careers (that we very much enjoy!) and a little one. Thanks to all of you for the great feedback. I’ll definitely keep reading this blog.

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