We started a bedtime routine about two weeks ago. It sounded silly, having “bedtime” for a 6 week old baby who sleeps on and off at all hours of the day, but I needed the routine. Our nighttime strategy wasn’t working. I’d go to bed at 9:30, RD would stay up taking care of her until 2:30, and then I’d take care of her from 2:30 onwards. Except her erratic sleep schedule meant that she might or might not be hungry at 2:30, and I’d sit there awake wondering if I should go pump or just wait for her to wake up.
So we instituted bedtime. At around 8:30, Bitmap gets a bath and nursing session. Then we either read her a book (not that she cares) or sing her a song and put her in her crib. Before we started “bedtime,” she’d never slept in her crib.
At first, we had about a 50% success rate with bedtime. Half the time she’d sleep for an hour or two, the other half of the time she’d cry after a few minutes and we’d bring her back downstairs. Still, an hour to ourselves every other day was more than we had been getting before.
After about a week of bedtime, Bitmap started sleeping through 2:30 am “shift change”. So RD started leaving her in the crib and bringing me the baby monitor instead of the baby. Now after two weeks she’s started to sleep through her midnight feedings, sleeping about 5 hours at a time from 9:30 to 2:30. I know that at least part of the change is simply because she’s getting older, but I know the routine has helped me sleep better.
She still doesn’t sleep well after her 2:30 feeding, I’m lucky if I get another 2 hour stretch at that point, but at least now we reliably get some quiet time in the evenings. She also seems happier during the day now, with more periods of quiet alertness. I’m hoping she’ll start sleeping a little in the wee hours of the morning, but for now I’m happy with what we’ve got.