What is it? It’s a simple plan that you follow daily that concerns mainly feeding and sleeping. The purpose of this constant rhythm is to ensure you that your baby is always well fed and rested. It is created to make parents relax and to make babies happy. Everyone wins. So what is the problem?
Well, I’ve been following this plan since I gave birth. For me it was a lifesaver. I can’t imagine doing all of this the other way. But let’s be honest. It looks like torture at the beginning. First of all, it’s very restrictive. You have to follow the rules without a minute of delay (I mean, you can be a minute late, but you know…). It’s quite ok when it comes to putting baby to sleep or feeding it, but the real problem begins when you have to wake your child up. Nobody wants to do that!
For my mum, the grandmother of Michał, it was a nightmare. From the minute he was born, my child slept well. He always wanted to rest and everybody was joking that every parent wants a baby like that. Instead of using this opportunity to relax myself, I was constantly waking him up, playing with him, and repeating: „don’t go to sleep, it’s not the time”, „come on, fifteen minutes more”, „don’t sleep, play with me”. Honestly, my family and my friends thought I was going mental. However this behaviour was reasonable. It was extremely important for me to teach my child during the first month which one is night, and which one is day. During the night we all sleep, and when the sun rises, we wake up and have fun. Newborns don’t care. If we don’t teach them, it may all turn out completely reversed. It’s quite easy to achieve by cutting naps time during the day. Of course it has to be reasonable.
It was extremely difficult in the mornings. According to my plan, I had to wake up before 7 o’clock, express a little bit of my breast milk, and then go and slowly wake up my son. He was always sleeping so well at that time and after one or two breastfeedings during the night I really wanted to stay in bed too. But there wasn’t a single time that I did it, and I am proud of myself. What is weird, he was always waking up with a smile on his face. That’s what was making me believe that I was doing a right thing. As a newborn, my son wasn’t crying much, because he was never hungry or too tired to stay awake. He was sleeping calmly because he knew what was coming next. He was really into this routine and when e.g. it was 9:30 (time for a nap) he was falling asleep immediately.
I know that for many people such plan is unacceptable. They don’t want to put their babies into some kind of rigid rules from the very beginning. And it’s really ok. I’m not saying that this plan is for everyone. It depends on what kind of a person you are. I like having everything planned. It gives me peace. It gives me an impression, that I have everything under control. Thanks to this routine I knew how to plan every journey (Michał was always sleeping in the car, so we were travelling during his naps), every activity and every meal (because I knew when he was going to be hungry).
However, for some people it can be difficult to stick to the timetable and they get really stressed because they can’t get it right. The most important thing is to follow the idea – we can always make our own plan similar to the one from the book, but adapted to our lives. It also requires a lot of self control – you have to pull yourself down from the bed or adjust your plans for the day to follow the rules. In my opinion, it’s all worth it.
So what does the plan look like?
Here are some key elements of the plan for the first week:
7:00 Waking up and breakfast
8:30 – 10:00 Short nap
11:30 – 14:00 Long nap
15:30 – 17:00 Time for a walk and a short nap
19:00 Night sleep
21:45 Last „planned” feeding
22:00 – 7:00 Night
As you can see there are some other elements except sleeping and feeding, and the actual plan consists of many more. Naturally the timetable slightly changes when the baby is getting older.
If you want to try this approach, you can find more valuable information in the book by Gina Ford „The New Contented Little Baby Book”.