Week 5 and 6 - Baby Isolde's early sleep schedule

I can’t believe it’s already been a whole month since Isolde was born. To my satisfaction, I’m starting to fit into most of my clothes again – with the exception of some tops that are not at all used to the cup size Mother Nature has temporarily lent me. Isolde’s godfather who is one of Tom’s best friends, is also expecting a third baby in four months’ time, so I’ve given his wife some of my maternity clothes. She can do what she wants with them, I won’t be needing them anymore.

For a long time I had this romantic idea/ideal in my head of a big family with four children. I could already see us all sitting at the dinner table: I’d place large pots and pans with wholesome home-made food on it and we’d be one big (and probably loud) but cosy family. I am totally over it now, though.

There will be plenty to cook as it is, and then some. Also, in my described ideal scenario, I conveniently forget the pregnancy necessary to have that fourth baby – not up for that! - and the endless stream of laundry that is already coming my way. No, I’m quite happy the way we are now, (just) the five of us.

Before Isolde was born, our main worry was not how busy our lives would become, but rather: will we be able to sleep at night? Just to give you an idea, this is how Isolde’s brother and sister slept.

Daphne was not an easy child to put down for daytime naps. This probably had to do with the fact that I never felt the need for implementing a sleep schedule for her. This doesn’t mean she didn’t sleep: she slept in the pram during my many walks, or in the slings, or, my favourite, in my lap after a feeding. It was actually her day care mother (when I returned to work) who forced Daphne into a two-naps-a-day routine. She was 6 months then.

Nightwise, we never had any real reason to complain either. Daphne started taking what I call a decent night (11 p.m. to 5 or 6 a.m.) at around ten weeks. She had a sort of ‘relapse’ from 15 to 18 weeks, waking up for a feeding once a night, but after that she resumed her former schedule. She did remain a very early bird, and still is now.

Alexander was a different story altogether: he was the sweetest child during the day, I used to put him down for naps while he was still awake and he never minded. But, he never slept through the night until he was 22 months old. We don’t know why it took him so long, we always thought we didn’t approach the sleeping matter so differently from Daphne, but there it was.

Maybe we should have approached it differently – he is, after all, a different child. Alexander would sometimes be up and wide awake for hours on end, screaming and crying, wanting to play in the living room, and so on… Sometimes drinking milk (breast, and later bottle) helped, many times it didn’t.

When he finally slept through, he remained a light sleeper, and we would be up every other night on average, often just to comfort him or tuck him back in after he’d kicked his covers away. Sometimes he’d wake up very early and end up between Tom and me, just for those last one or two hours of sleep before the alarm went off. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for these exhausting nights, I would have been writing this diary two years ago.

You can see why we dreaded the nights with our third child. But it seems, for now, Isolde won’t be such a tough cookie as her brother. She’s what you’d call an “easy baby”. At night she doesn’t mind being put back to bed right after drinking. A friend of mine got me a little Mickey Mouse night lamp which gives just enough light to make sure I don’t put the fresh diaper on backwards and to take care Isolde doesn’t wake up too much. Twice even, she treats us to a night where she sleeps up to 5 or 6 hours without waking up. It almost feels like a full night’s sleep.

Another nice thing is that Isolde has shifted her ‘difficult hours’ from the middle of the night to the late afternoon and/or evening. Tom and I take it in turns to walk around the living room with her. Isolde loves to sit on our arm, upright, looking over our shoulder. It’s all about finding her little likes and dislikes, they can make all the difference.

As Isolde wakes up at different times every morning, depending on when she woke up for a night feeding, every day has another lay-out, until we reach 5 p.m. Then she starts her last three (of seven) feedings: 5 p.m, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. I can almost time them to the minute. It’s her first schedule. We’re on the right track!

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