So last week, my oldest monkey turned 2. I won’t talk about how I feel about it all in this post, as that’s an essay in itself! But, I officially no longer have 2 little monkeys under 2. My biggest little boy turning 2 has made me reflect on the last few months. I’ve talked about my day to day survival tips previously, but there are a couple of things that have made the last 4 months so much more manageable, and I’ve actually been suprised at how we have coped and how it’s been far easier then I ever imagined it would be.. don’t get me wrong we have had our moments as well! So, before I forget, I wanted to share these with you all.
There are two things that have really, really helped us in the last four months:
1. Routine, routine, routine…
Yes, I’m one of ‘those’ mums. My eldest has a strict routine and has done from the very early days, which was driven by him not us. I often see friends rolling their eyes when I have to leave somewhere early due to nap or bed time, or god forbid turn something down. But having a solid routine works for us and has actually been a godsend with two which is why I also got my baby into a routine as soon as I could. My days are predictable, so from the moment we wake, I know which baby needs what when, and when we can fit in activities, outings and chores. And the BEST part is, both my little boys have a longer lunchtime nap so I get a couple of hours to myself in the middle of the day to make lunch, do some chores and sit down and relax! And the even BETTER part is, both boys are in bed around 7/7.30pm. So I get a couple of hours to myself in the evening, to have a quick tidy up, and time to do whatever I want and feel like a human being again!
I really don’t know how I’d cope without my days being predictable and a tired baby usually leads to a fussy baby, but with a solid routine I know if my babies fussing it’s not because he’s tired if he’s not due a nap. My newborn has been in a semi routine since about 8 weeks and now at 4 months he’s in a solid routine. He wakes at 6am, naps at around 8am, 11am, and 4pm and has 7pm bedtime. The toddler wakes by 7am and naps at 12-2 and has a bedtime 7pm.
To get the baby into a routine I followed the same pattern as my eldest, which was from around 8 weeks old I would put him to sleep again after around 1.5 hours awake time. But as all babies are different, and their needs change as they get older, my youngest doesn’t actually need a nap until 2 hours awake time and can last 2.5 hours sometimes. From literally 1 week old, once he was asleep past 9pm I took him up to bed with lights out and no talking/interaction during wakings until the morning. This quickly allowed him to learn the difference between night and day and helped us to get into a solid routine. The last month or so I managed to then bring bedtime to 7pm by treating his last nap like bedtime when he woke up.
I know that strict routines do not suit everyone’s parenting style, but without one I seriously don’t think I would cope as well as I have. I am generally on top of all the housework, the house is generally clean most of the time (I have developed OCD), and I mange to cook fresh meals most days. Oh, and I get my daily dose of ‘me time’. We have pretty much got to the stage where having two little monkeys is the same as when I just had the one and we can all, enjoy our time together.
I never thought I’d want to co-sleep. With my first, we moved our Snuz pod next to me crib away from my bed after a couple of weeks, as it didn’t sit flush against our bed and my stitches made it difficult to get my baby in and out of bed. Plus he was a good sleeper and we were disturbing each other throughout the night. This time round my monkey is not such a great sleeper and having my baby next to me has been amazing. I never put him in my bed as I like to sleep sprawled out and I do want him to be used to sleeping in a cot, but as he is just next to me, I don’t fully wake up when he wakes, I feed him, burp him, then pop him back in. As a result, I don’t have to get out of bed, I barely even wake up, I don’t check the time and best of all I don’t count how many times he wakes.
This time around I have totally changed my outlook on night wakenings and I’m not focused on how well he is sleeping and purely just trying to get the best night sleep possible to deal with the next day. I often go to bed at 9pm or by 10pm latest and it helps me to get more hours rest, especially as my baby sleeps the best before midnight. It also helps with the super early mornings as he regularly wakes at 5am. As a first time parent I was obsessed with how many hours my baby had slept, how he had fallen asleep and getting him to sleep through, but being so much more relaxed this time and co-sleeping has made a huge difference and I’m in no rush to change things just yet as why fix it if it’s not broken..
I’m enjoying things so much right now that both boys are in a routine that I even think we could squeeze another little bubba in with a similar or slightly smaller gap! But having said that, we don’t know what we don’t know and I have NO IDEA what the next few months will look like, mums with older babies may be laughing at my optimism right now, but I’m feeling ready to handle anything so I’m excited about watching my boys grow together!