June 21, 2010

To schedule or not to schedule that is the question!!!

Some of you who read my blog regularly will know I love to research and plan before I do anything. Well I started thinking about what happens after Isabella is born. How will we cope? How shall we handle sleeping and feeding time? Shall we swaddle? Shall we hug and cuddle to sleep or shall follow a routine for nap/sleep time? Shall we feed whenever she requests it or shall we stick to a schedule? What to do when she cries after she has been fed, changed and put in her cot? Who should wake up during the night? Shall I breastfeed? Shall I express milk? Should she sleep in our room in a moses basket or should she sleep in her crib in her room?

You get the idea. My mind is filled with these type of questions because that's what I am like. I like to plan ahead and be prepared for things to come. I think part of it comes from my military upbringing (for those that have not read my previous entries my dad was an air force pilot). I know that with babies you cannot be sure one night to be the same as the one before and the one after. Each day brings new surprises and new challenges but nonetheless I want to be ready for all eventualities and regardless of probabilities I want to have a clear idea of what method of childcare we will utilise.

My first point of call was a method/system that attracts to me the most: the scheduled/routined method of caring for your baby. You follow routines and teach your baby how to follow them and what you will get, as promised on the covers of these books, is a happy baby who sleeps through the night from a very young age. This kind of approach fascinated me so I bought the Gina Ford's The Contented Little Baby Book (I believe there is a similar book in the US called "On Becoming Babywise" which also advocates schedules and routines) . I started reading the book with an open mind and with a bit of anticipation as to what I would have found out from this guru of modern childcare. It contains a lot of useful information on what items to buy as essential items and which are not worth investing in, all of which is useful info that I referred back to whilst making the "what to buy for Izzy list" (I told you I make lists for everything!!). The first hurdle for me was how strict the scheduling is. You basically place your child on quite a strict routine from the very first early days and as much as these routines change and vary frequently the stringency and lack of flexibility does not. I don't pride myself but I am not oblivious to the fact that friends and family refer to me as someone who loves her routine and they always compare me to the most uptight of characters in movies (Charlotte in SATC, Monica in Friends are just two of my favourites). Well even for someone like me these routines just don't appeal. I am all for creating routine for myself and poor D gets sucked into all of my madness and as someone who HATE routine you can imagine the struggle. But when it comes to creating routines for a baby who is just a few weeks old and has just been through something as traumatic as childbirth can be, I cannot bring myself to do it. As much as the initial appeal of restful nights and a sleepy baby sound the sacrifices that I would put my baby through for manly our benefit does not match. I am sure these types of schedule based books appeal to many and so many people I speak to swear by them but the idea of not looking into my baby's eyes as I feed her before bed at night or at all during the night does not work. I might be uptight but I know I could not resist and I would so give in to her eyes and whisper sweet things to her or sing her the lullabies I am so struggling to learn. I spoke to D about it and asked him what his thoughts were. He agrees. He could not seem himself sticking with the plan and looking after Izzy would feel more like a chore than like what it's supposed to be. It's just not for us.

After coming to this conclusion I was catapulted back in the land of "what now?". I started researching and digging deep. Given my natural instinct don't apply when it comes to our baby, what would? I asked myself what I would feel comfortable with. I went back to good old Dr.Spock. I have not bought the book yet but his cuddle and love your child approach appeals to me a great deal. My mum brought us up following her instincts and Dr. Spock and we turned out ok. I suppose Dr. Spock's philosophy and my dad's strict routines ended up balancing the two out quite well. I read a lot of material on his approach online and I am not saying I will follow what he says to the letter but I do agree with his approach. I do want to have Izzy sleeping in our room in her moses basket until she is old enough for her own crib because I do believe she will benefit from the smaller space of a moses basket. I do want to feed her when she is hungry even if this means we will not get much sleep. I have read and believe that babies' stomachs are small and need small and frequent feeding this together with the fact that it can take up to a week for me to have enough milk supply to satisfy her appetite on more routine based feedings, show that a feeding on demand routine will work much better for the health of the baby. I am not a doctor but I do agree with the doctors that take to this view. I do want to rock her to sleep if she needs it or sing to her and look into her eyes and I know already I could not force myself to do otherwise.

Whilst researching I have also stumbled upon a great site called "The Baby Sleep Site" which was created by a mom, Nicole Johnson whose first child had issue sleeping. It offers great advice on sleeping techniques and what to do and what not to do. Nicole is not a doctor but she is a mother and as a mother has been through some of the same struggles we are bound to face with a newborn. I love her flexible approach which could be described a combination of the two leading approaches of putting your baby on a schedule and letting your baby lead the "schedule". I like how she makes the distinction between each baby in the fact that they are not all the same and they don't all act in the same way. I am seriously considering buying her e-book which gives you lots of other perks as well as the actual book. She does offer guidelines and schedules for older babies but I love the fact that she does not advocate putting babies on a sleep schedule until they are at least 6 months.

I do have a lot of research and reading to do before I can feel comfortable with one method or the other and even then I know I am not going to take every word as the law. I know I will want to add and modify certain things depending on how they impact on Isabella's well being and how they make me feel but ultimately I know a baby-led baby schedule sounds like the perfect suit for us. What I have learned so far is that what I thought would originally work so well for me does not feel right at all when it comes to caring for our baby girl. I have very good instincts and I can easily tell that this parent-led baby schedules is not right for us. As the search continues I will keep you updated on what else I find out.

As a small but yet important side note, today's check up when brilliant! Izzy is still a breech baby but my midwife told me not to worry and that she can still turn around. Her hear beat was 149, so nice and strong. My blood preassure and everything else looked great. My weight is gone up again but that is to be expected I started off so small that the weight is now piling up. As long as it's withing the advised ranges and we are doing good all is good. Next check up is on the 19th of July.. I will be 30 by then!!


  1. Hi my friend! Stopping by to check on you and to see your nice growing belly! Wow!! And the amount of reading you are doing is also amazing! I wonder if things will be different once you have Isabella, like you know the way we say "I'l never do what my mom did on that occasion!" And sure enough....

    Much love and happy ICLW!

  2. Laura, Just thought I'd let you know what my sister and friends say. They have all used Babywise and *swear* by it. My sister used it and went back to work full time. It was just amazing how well the techniques worked. Checking in on you often. You look great!!!

  3. lol, I don't even know how a parent-led baby schedule would work. Sounds frustrating and impossible. Babes are bundles of surprises, the more your roll with it the happier you become.

  4. Happiest Baby on the Block. Please google it and watch the video. Most libraries had it. It was awesome!

  5. You sound so much like me! I have to research everything and it drives my poor husband crazy! Best of luck with your little miracle! Happy ICLW!

  6. Happy ICLW! I am inspired by your research! I need to take your lead and get going on some myself. I have just been too nervous still to do much! I am glad your appt today went well!!

  7. You think you are planning ahead, but I am not even pregnant and I have weighed up these very thoughts over and over again. Thanks for this brilliant post - so much info to take in and some good references for our own research. Good luck with getting it just right for a perfectly happy baby.

    Happy ICLW

  8. You could make choices now that become null and void once your pop your sprog out! It's good you're reading heaps but it's also good to keep an open mind - you never know how you might feel once she's born.

    Here for ICLW
    Rach @
    #26 www.thegalwho.wordpress.com
    #27 www.themissruby.blogspot.com

  9. I have spent a couple years thinking about these things and still don't have definitive answers, haha. My husband and I are doing domestic infant adoption. We have had a long wait so we have had a long time to think about it all.

    Best of luck!!