If there is one childcare tip you’d give to a newbie parent, what would it be?
I’ll skip my normally long introductions and give mine right away –
TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
“Yeah, yeah, we know that already,” you might say.
But I mean, LITERALLY.
If you miss the short sleepy window, that magic time (5 -10mins, sometimes less!) when your baby is drowsiest and falls asleep the easiest, baby will be WIRED for another hour or two. (Nooooooo!)
If you put them down too early, they’ll PLAY around. (Eeeeeeek!)
In the same way, if you miss the hungry window (assuming your little one already eats solids 3x a day), you are in for a full tantrum. And if that happens, your homemade baby food is headed to the floor.
Now if you feed too early, no matter what airplane or rocket ship you pretend your spoon to be, it won’t go in. It’s headed to the floor too. 😆
So aside from staying on top of their hunger and sleepy cues, it’s a big help to know when those magic hours will exactly happen.
We find our baby’s AWAKE FORMULA or what I like to call ENERGY METER.
Have you heard about this?
Of all the unsolicited advices I received during my pregnancy until Mia was 3, no one ever told me that knowing how long our babies can stay awake would make our lives significantly EASIER.
Most well-intentioned advisers would just say, “Always put your baby to bed early,” “Feed your baby healthy foods,” and so on, but no one ever mentioned that there is a little math calculation that we need to do to follow our baby’s body clock.
So though I am not a baby expert, I am sharing with you how this works and how everything else will follow when it comes to feeding, sleeping, and controlling tantrums. Yep, tantrums included!
Please allow me to explain in detail and bear with me until the end! 😀
Observe for a few days and create a daily log of your baby’s sleeping and eating patterns.
“Ain’t nobody got time to do that!” you might say.
Well, make time for it. 😀
Because that’s the only way to understand our baby’s natural rhythm or sleep-wake cycle and once we are conscious of that, our every day will be MORE PREDICTABLE.
Compare your notes to the typical schedule of SAME AGED babies online.
You’ll be surprised that the times vary, but the intervals are very close!
So if you find a good match, adopt it, and TWEAK it to fit your lifestyle or work schedule.
Here’s ours for quick reference.
FROM 6 MONTHS TO 14 MONTHS:
We’re on a 3 – 3 – 4 Awake Formula
Meaning she’d be awake for 3 hours in the morning before she feels sleepy for her 1st nap. Another 3 hours of awake time before she gets sleepy for her 2nd nap. And 4 hours of awake time before her bedtime.
That also means that I can schedule her feeding times in those comfortable awake hours.
So, if she wakes up at exactly 8am, I’ll make sure to put her down before the clock strikes 11am because that’s when her first 3hr energy will expire. Say she wakes up from that nap around 12nn, I’ll again make sure to put her down before 3pm. That’s her second 3hr energy limit. Next, if she wakes up by 4pm, then I know I should be starting with our night routine by 7:30pm because she’ll surely be down by 8pm (4hr energy limit).
As you can see, we always watch the clock! And we always check the exact time she opens her eyes.
Say she wakes up 9:05, I can assure you that she’ll be sleepy by 12:05pm too. If I go 10 to 15 minutes past that, I’ll miss the “sleep window” and our whole schedule will move.
By the way, if you do the math, we used this 3-3-4 schedule for about 8 months. That’s close to a whole year. It’s a huge help not to be guessing.
Next, our schedule changed because Mia transitioned from two naps to one.
FROM 15 MONTHS TO 4 YEARS OLD: (This was 2.5 years of our lives.)