She’s the boss (living with a baby lead routine)

“Sleeping through”, that ever elusive holy grail and maybe the foremost reason people are so vehemently in favour of “routines” whether baby-lead or “parent enforced”. We’ve achieved it in our house – but at what cost?

Pre baby, I would have defined sleeping through as going to bed at 11pm and getting up at 7 – i.e. in cycle with me. So I was overjoyed when my daughter started telling me she wanted to go to sleep at 7pm and then just didn’t wake up for 6 or so hours! It literally happened over night.

As you can probably tell, I didn’t even attempt to put her into any sort of routine. I’d love to say that it was a conscious “baby-lead” decision I made but actually I had read about routines and how important they are and I fully intended to implement one (and a strict one at that) after a couple of months, but after 7 weeks, Serena decided I was taking too long, so just did it herself. Contented Little Baby is still unopened in my bedside drawer.

I used to read forums about parent-lead routine versus baby-lead and sneer at the baby-lead gang. I thought how the HELL can a baby “tell” you what it wants? How ridiculous, they can’t even hold their own heads up and they cr*p in their own pants!

Well, my little pant filler turns 4 months old on Tuesday and contrary to what I thought would happen, I have never enforced a thing on her. She has, indeed “told” me what she wants and needs in one way or another, and I have just said “yes dear” and done it and it’s worked out OK* for us. Every 2 hours she licks her lips and sticks out her tongue so I feed her. Every 2 hours during the day she rubs her eyes and turns her face away and I put her to bed where she stays for 2 hours. At 7pm she goes to bed and doesn’t wake up for between 6 and 12 hours (98% of the time it’s 6, sometimes it’s 8 or even 10 and one glorious day it was 12). She has a distinct cry for wind/discomfort (more of a moany scream actually) and a cry for bored (a clear whinge).

*There is a very definite flip side to letting a tiny person take charge, the girl clearly likes routine (and will be organising me before long) but that of course means that if I break her self-implemented routine, she goes ballistic. And I mean ballistic. Any of the other Gorillamums will testify to that – they’ve all seen nap time approaching and they have seen Serena realise that she’s tired, give me the signs…then she realises that her cot is nowhere to be seen that she is in fact outside in a park / in the car / in a restaurant and she is expected to sleep? Here? You have GOT to be kidding woman. Then my right ear gets screamed into until I can either somehow get her to sleep on me or I can get her to sleep in her cot when it’s not moving (handy for lunches out).

So it’s back to the drawing board for me and Serena-the-boss. Unless I can somehow make her think that sleeping anywhere is her own idea…

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