Time sure flies, doesn’t it? Somedays, I’m blown away when I realize just how long Sophie’s been a part of our family!
It feels like I just wrote about our daily routine, but things have changed! Sophie was about 4 months old when I described our daily routine last time, and now she’s 6 months old! It’s been requested that I share our new daily rhythm, so here goes!
RELATED READING: Sophie’s 6 Month Update
I mentioned in Sophie’s 6 month update that I have been working really hard to structure a better schedule for her lately. As Sophie has grown, her nap schedule has changed, and her eating habits have changed as well! (Some of these changes have just naturally occurred for Sophie on her own, and others are what we’ve decided to implement.)
I can’t write this blog post without saying a huge, huge thank you to Stacey — the mother of an Instagram friend of mine, who teaches baby sleep classes to new parents. The fact that I can bounce my concerns and questions off of Stacey has been the biggest blessing these past couple of months. Her advice and insight has been amazing, and now I can say I feel a lot more confident with Sophie’s schedule!
A quick note about schedules: different families like to structure their time in different ways, obviously. What works for one household may not be workable or wise in another household. The reason I’m sharing this schedule today is just to show you what we’ve been doing and what has been working for us. I also want to provide hope for those of you who have little ones, too!
As an elementary teacher, I firmly believe that children thrive on knowing boundaries (whether they’re behavior or time boundaries). It’s comforting to know routines and rhythms during the day! Not in a cruel, unfeeling, or rigid way…but in a loving, thoughtful, intentional way that can often only be brought about by a caring adult. This does translate all the way down to babies! Sophie knows that it’s time to rest when I put her in her sleep sack, give her a pacifier, and sing to her. She knows many little cues like this during the day, and I personally believe it’s comforting to her. Just like the cues of a teacher ringing a bell to show kids it’s time to line up, or the certain way that the class cleans up or takes a bathroom break…I have seen time and time again how countless students thrive and find joy in a routine!
RELATED READING: Motherhood: The Most Extreme Makeover
For me, creating a more defined schedule or routine for Sophie has been instrumental in increasing my own confidence. Instead of evaluating is she sad? is she tired? is she hungry? when she cries, I have a more well-rounded, big-picture approach because I have an idea in my mind of what our day should (try to!) look like. It’s less exhausting for me, and it brings back that feeling of being in control again, which I think a lot of new parents desperately ache for and wonder if they’ll ever get back! So, since this new schedule has been so reassuring to me (and has been giving us more sleep and more freedom!), I definitely want to turn around and share it with you!
** Each of these times can be adjusted, and sometimes they must be adjusted, based on different factors that happen throughout the day. Perhaps we went out to eat, perhaps we have a doctor’s appointment or family in town… And sometimes, Sophie just totally skips or refuses a nap! Eek! Those things can technically upset the schedule some, but I try to just go with the flow. What’s important to me is that I offer Sophie as much consistency and predictability as I can.
Our Daily Schedule For Sophie at 6 Months:
7:40 am – My alarm goes off and I wake Sophie to give her her first feeding of the day. I’ve learned it’s important to start a child’s day at pretty much the same time each day, within about 30 minutes of that ideal time each day. (The hard part is if we’ve had a rougher night…but I just deal with it and wake up then anyways.) Bjorn leaves the house for work at around 7:15 each morning. Sometimes I see him but often I’m still asleep. Someday, I would love to spend time with him in the morning and eat breakfast together, but for now, this is what works since this is when I’m wrapping up my last few hours of sleep!
8:00 to 9:40 or 10:00 am – Sophie plays downstairs on her blanket/play gym. I start any needed laundry for the day, make my lemon water, take my supplements, and eat breakfast next to her as she plays. I often check email at this time, too.
9:40 or 10:00 am – Time for her morning nap! I change Sophie, put Sophie in her sleep sack, turn on her sound machine, give her her pacifier, and rock her as I sing to her. Then I lay her down in her crib once she’s quite drowsy but not necessarily 100% asleep.
10:00 am – I catch up on a show (usually only 15 minutes of it, haha) while I pump. Then I quickly hop in the shower, put makeup on, and dry my hair. Then I have time to clean, do dishes, or work on blogging tasks. After a little bit of computer work, I usually start prepping lunch.
Sophie stays in her crib for her morning nap for 90-120 minutes total…unless she is really, truly sad and needs to be done. The crucial thing I watch myself for is the fact that a lot of babies wake up halfway through a longer nap, and we as parents may think our child is done napping…but they’re really not. So, she may wake and talk to herself or fuss briefly, but then she’ll fall asleep again for perhaps another 45-60 minutes.
11:45 am – Sophie is usually done with her nap by now. I go upstairs and get her, and then I nurse her. Then she plays a bit while I eat lunch, or (let’s be honest) I may sit at the table and eat my lunch as I nurse her! 🙂
12:00 – 2:00 pm – Playtime! Sophie does tummy time, blanket time, or we read books together. I’ve learned that this is also a great time of day for us to run errands. I place the most emphasis on her getting a good morning nap, and then there’s usually a decent stretch of time during the afternoons when Sophie is happy and alert, making it easier to be out and about without interrupting naps or trying to accomplish things with a sad baby. Sometimes I’ll work on the computer some while she plays near me, but I’m trying hard to be as present as I can be with her when she’s awake – getting down on the floor with her, cuddling, tickling, chatting, and so on!
2:00 pm – Sophie is usually pretty tired by now. (Even if she’s not acting super tired, though, I still follow our schedule and help her fall asleep. Naps are important!) I follow the same routine for each of her naps: change her diaper, sound machine on, sleep sack on, rocking, and singing. She often falls mostly asleep within 5 minutes, maybe 10 if she’s a little worked up.
I’ll work on the computer, read, do my BSF lesson, clean… Basically, I consider this to be my crunch time to wrap up tasks for the day! (I do have a little time later in the day, but I try to spend it with Bjorn instead of working on things alone when he’s home.) If I have a more intensive recipe planned for supper that night, this is when it helps to chop veggies or thaw meat in advance.
3:30 pm – Sophie’s up! This is a sweet time of day. I nurse her (since it’s been about 3.5 hours), and then she usually sits in her Bumbo infant seat in the kitchen by me as I make supper!
If for some reason, Sophie didn’t have a good afternoon nap (less than 40 minutes), I will have her attempt a shorter cat nap later in the afternoon when she seems tired. But I’ll wake her up about 30 minutes into her cat nap. This is because I want her awake for a while before her 7:30 pm bedtime.
5:00 pm – Usually Bjorn is home around now. He does have a good number of meetings around this time throughout the month, so our actual supper time varies. If I can, I like to have supper ready when he gets home…but it can be a bit more touch-and-go than that. Sometimes he eats earlier and leaves for a commitment, and other times we’ll all eat together later on (6:30 or so) when he gets home from a meeting. But when he’s home, you can bet he is playing with Sophie!! 🙂 The two of them have so much fun together! And if I’m still making supper, Bjorn will play with her in the living room while I finish up. He’ll often read Sophie books, too.
5:30 or 6:00 pm – Sophie eats some baby cereal! This is a relatively new part of the routine, and she loves it!! It’s a messy endeavor, but it’s still a lot of fun. We rotate between baby oatmeal (made with breastmilk) and rice cereal (also made with milk). Sophie even likes to help us out by trying to hold the spoon. 🙂 I’m a slow eater myself, so Bjorn will often feed Sophie her baby cereal while I finish eating my supper. 🙂
Then it’s playtime with Mama and Daddy until Sophie’s bedtime!
Between 7:30 and 8:00 pm – Sophie’s bedtime. I nurse Sophie and put her down in her crib by 8:00 pm, following the same sleep sack, sound machine, etc. routine. Then I head back downstairs and finish up the dishes from supper, and clean the kitchen so it’s ready for the next day! This is a special time for Bjorn and me, and I’m already so grateful for this portion of our day. Bjorn and I usually watch a show together and catch up with each other. If Bjorn’s working on a master’s paper or homework assignment, then I’ll work on blogging tasks or other quiet house cleanup. But either way, we like to hang out in the same room as each other if we can. Sophie stays in her crib, typically asleep this whole time, until her dreamfeed later at night.
RELATED READING: Friendship in Marriage (After Having a Baby)
10:30 pm – Sophie’s dreamfeed and my bedtime! I quietly wake Sophie just enough so she can nurse in the dark, and I change her diaper before laying her back down for the night. Eventually I’ll eliminate this feeding but for now, I feel it helps her get enough calories. 🙂
~4:30 am – Sophie usually wakes up hungry around now. If she wakes before 3:30 or 4:00 am, I usually wait for a little bit to see if she’ll just go back to sleep (which is what happened a couple nights ago). She often does fall back asleep if she wakes up only a couple hours into the night. And some nights, she doesn’t wake up until perhaps 6:00 am! Hooray! If I can get about a 5 hour stretch of sleep before she wakes up again, I feel like a new woman! 🙂 So, we’re getting there. This is probably the most variable part of Sophie’s daily schedule, and it’s the part that requires the most prayer/discernment/wisdom — determining whether or not she truly is hungry, or would rather just play! 🙂 Even when I’m tired, I always want to meet her needs and determine what is truly best for Sophie.
7:40 am – My alarm goes off, and we begin the next day! 🙂
The general idea of this daily schedule is that Sophie, at 6 months old, is eating roughly every 3.5 hours (and soon we’ll stretch that even more), and napping about every 2 hours (except for a longer awake time in the evening before bed). At night, my goal is that she sleeps an initial stretch of about 5 or so hours. At her age, babies do usually have the capacity to sleep a bit longer without eating. But, of course, I watch her closely all day to really understand all of her cues, and I cover the whole day (and night!) with prayers for discernment.
Sophie is doing so well with this schedule! She wakes happily every morning, she is more well-rested, and she is eating heartily but is still satisfied after feedings. I’m so proud of her. And the freedom that comes with this schedule is a comfort to me as well – opening up the door to really enjoy her all day long without as much wondering or worry…because I have a big-picture idea of the day in my head already.
Do you follow a set schedule for your little ones? Or is your day loosely structured? I’d be interested to hear what works for you! And if you leave a comment below, you could really encourage or offer ideas for other parents! 🙂