Consistency is key

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Remember how I said parenting is like a science experiment? I had a failed experiment with our youngest.

Currently he’s 12 weeks old, and it’s been a rough 12 weeks, but much of our troubles stem from what I believe comes down to a lack of being consistent with him.

With our girls, I was always insistent that we have a routine – schedules are important, but having routines is what makes being flexible with your schedule possible. Sleep was such an important thing; I remember not doing anything that required us to be outside of the house after 7pm for our oldest’s first year, because she had to be in bed (we both worked outside the house at the time, so she had to be up by 7am the next morning for us to get her to daycare).

We followed that fairly close with our second, but her schedule during the day was much more all over the place, mostly because she was never in a daycare center that had 8+ infants who HAD to be on a schedule for the place to function.

With our son, I was so focused on getting him past the day/night confusion that’s so common in newborns (but I don’t think he ever had it, which is ironic) – I kept him up for long periods of time, I kept him in the living room while his sisters were screaming and running around playing… he was basically overtired and overstimulated.

When I finally came to the realization that I’d overdone it with the awake times, it was a nightmare to try to get him back on track – in fact, I’m not 100% convinced he’s there yet, but we’re closer than we were 4 weeks ago! I got back to using the wake time chart that I’d followed with the girls and started really watching for those sleepy cues… and most importantly, I got him out of our bed (the key to my sanity, I swear!).

The hardest part for me about being consistent is that it really takes effort sometimes. Many babies sleep in their carseats, so sleep isn’t typically an issue while running errands – but our son (and both of our girls) hates the carseat. So I have to really think about my day and plan my trips around naptimes, instead of having naptimes be during trips.

As much as I’d like to think I’ll chalk this up as a major lesson learned and tell myself that we’ll never have this trouble again, I know that I’ll need to revisit the “consistency is key” concept over and over throughout the years.

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