It’s been a bit since I share more than an Instagram post about Hayden and mom life. He’ll be three months next week so I thought I’d share some of the latest baby details today.
Time is a funny thing when you’re on maternity leave. Everyone tells me to soak up every minute and that it will fly by. Between the newborn haze, not sleeping well and having somewhat monotonous days, I can’t say I agree. It’s not that I haven’t found joy in this time, but the first 12 weeks of Hayden’s life have felt like 12 weeks to me. I also think this is a unique phase where I’m actually counting week versus months, seasons or even years. Therefore, each week feels fast simply because I’m acutely aware of it.
Hayden’s 2-3 Month Schedule
To me, it’s a little silly to even write the word “schedule” when it comes to a two or three month old baby. It’s not reliable at all, but there are some guidelines we’ve followed that are helpful. Every single day is different and I try very hard to have a flexible routine versus a rigid schedule.
Generally speaking, this is what we aim for:
6 – 7 AM: Wake-up and nurse
7 – 8 AM: Awake time, usually sitting in his bloom Coco seat while we have breakfast
8 – 9 AM: 1st nap* (See my note below about the express nap train)
9 – 10:30 AM: Eat & awake / playtime
10:30 – 11:30 AM: 2nd nap
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM: Eat & awake / playtime
1 – 2 PM: 3rd nap
2 – 3:30 PM: Eat & awake / playtime
3:30 – 4:30 PM: 4th nap
4:30 – 6:15 PM: Eat & awake / playtime
6:15 – 7 PM: Bedtime
7-10:30 PM: Sleeping in his crib
10:30 PM: Dreamfeed
11 PM: Down for the night in our room
When Hayden was around 5-6 weeks old, we started implementing a bedtime routine. This was largely driven by the fact that T was back at work. We wanted a general plan for how the days would flow and when he would get time with Hayden.
I try to nurse Hayden sometime between 5:30-6:30pm. T gets home from work and takes over, hanging out with Hayden in his nursery while he’s awake. We follow the same steps to let him know it’s bedtime — change his diaper, baby massage, read a few books (this is his favorite right now), close the curtains and rock him a bit, turn on the sound machine & swaddle him. I read that saying the exact same thing as you leave the room can help babies learn to go to sleep.
He does the first stretch of sleep in his crib. Then T and I use this time to make dinner, watch a TV show, and tackle any of our little to-do’s together.
The Dream Feed.
Another thing that’s worked out well for us is the dream feed. The concept is that you give your baby one last feeding (while they stay mostly asleep) to align their longest sleep stretch with your own. This means, we prep a bottle around 10pm while we get ourselves ready for bed. We then get Hayden from his crib, T gives him a 2-4 oz. bottle while I pump. We then put him down for the night in the Pack ‘n Play in our room.
The big caveat here is that I know several moms have told me the dream feed does not work for them at all. It can be a disturbance to their sleep and cause more headache than it’s worth. For us, it’s allowed T to have a little extra one-on-one time with Hayden (even if he is mostly asleep) and gives me a break. At first, it took some work to get him to go back down after he ate, but now he’s fairly accustomed to it.
Daytime & Napping.
This is where the biggest variability comes into play. Around 4-5 weeks, Hayden was a champion napper. I was getting two long stretches of naps (1.5 hours or more) and often needed to wake him up from a nap to eat. But nothing gold can stay, right?
Since then, he’s been on the express nap train with most naps lasting 30-40 minutes. It might not sound that bad, but it’s been a big challenge for me. On the one hand, I know it’s normal at this age, but I also worry about his ability to transition through sleep cycles and whether he’s getting enough sleep overall. Selfishly, 30 minutes is just enough time to shower & get dressed OR make lunch OR make a phone call, but not enough time to do multiple things or even take on a longer project (like writing this post).
That said, I’ve read multiple times that the key at this age is to help them learn how to put themselves to sleep, not to sleep in super long stretches. So my goal every day is two-fold:
First, focus on the rhythm of eat — awake — sleep (to dissociate eating and sleeping) while watching for sleepy cues and trying not to keep Hayden awake for more than 90 minute stretches. And second, to get at least one crib nap in, where I don’t rock him to sleep or let him fall asleep on me (or a visitor).
As parents, we are juggling our desire to give Hayden structure and routine while also maintaining some elements of life before baby. That’s not to say we don’t expect life to be different now that we have him — it certainly is! But we don’t want our lives to solely revolve around having a baby either.
That’s why we’ve tried to fit in some of our normal outings and activities. For example, Hayden has already been on three road trips — to Maryland, Maine and the Catskills. Over the past few weeks, he:
- Met extended family including his great grandmother in Maine (Labor Day weekend) and walked on the beach where I grew up.
- Spent a full day with his grandparents while I was in my best friend’s wedding in The Catskills. Then went to brunch with us the day after and met a big group of our college friends.
- Went to the farm to go apple picking (admittedly he slept through most of it) and then went out to lunch with us afterwards.
- Celebrated his Christening. We were so impressed that he didn’t cry when the priest splashed him with water or when he picked him up!
- Spent two days alone with me. T was traveling for work and we did our first full days by ourselves. Props to single parents everywhere because that is no joke.
Hayden’s Likes & Dislikes
A black & white card from the Lovevery Baby gym that looks like an equal sign. He could spend several minutes staring at this simple card.
Smiling in the morning might be his favorite thing. He used to be ravenously hungry in the early morning and would wake up crying. As he’s gotten older, we usually wake up to some grunts or light whines from him and he’s okay to sit and talk to us and smile for a few minutes before I nurse him.
Although he is pretty good on long car rides, he absolutely hates it when we stop. Seriously. My biggest breakdown came after a harrowing drive to and from Target, when he was losing his mind screaming.
He’s just started putting things in his mouth — mostly fabric. If we put a blanket on him, he will inevitably pull it up to his face and try to put it in his mouth. He’s also started sucking on his hands (mostly his fingers but occasionally his thumb) and drooling, too.
“We’re just practicing”
A little while ago, a switch went off in my head. I went from feeling like I had to “fix” things (like the short naps) to thinking that he and I are in this together and getting better everyday. A short drive while he’s crying at every stop light is not fun. But, it’s teaching him about car rides and letting him practice how to be better during a drive.
Things I Want to Remember
His smiles. Honestly, the moment he smiled, things got better and maybe even a touch easier. Around 10-11 weeks, he also seemed to recognize me as his mom and that’s been a game changer.
A few weeks ago, I read that babies start to “coo” around this age and I didn’t even really know what a “coo” was. Now I know how to get him to chat and he makes so many different noises.
How Petey Mac lays next to us while I nurse Hayden. He’s not a cuddly dog usually, but he will let Hayden kick him and lay on him without flinching. I hope that never changes as they grow up together!
Watching his sleep cycles with my mom while he napped on the couch. We were trying to understand why he keeps waking at 30 minutes, so she wrapped him and kept
The way he raises his eyebrows at people. We call it his “flirty” eyes.