Recently, someone wrote me and asked if we have ever taken Bruno off his schedule and what the effect was when we did. Since we began sleep training months ago, I was terrified of messing with his schedule and opted out of most social events to ensure he stayed on track. I was willing to sacrifice many things for a long time to ensure he got great sleep. And I think that it was worth it to build a strong foundation for him as a great sleeper. I also know that keeping him on a strict schedule is not sustainable forever. So, around ten months, I started to test taking him places and pushing him past his bedtime. And, I am happy to report that it has been fine each time. When we have to go to an early dinner at a restaurant, I just keep him up, feed him dinner there, and put him down once we arrive home. If we hang out at a friend’s house late, we bring a travel crib, his bottles, and a sound machine(this is also a great travel one). I try to replicate his sleep conditions at home as much as possible. I put him down at his usual time and then wake him when we are ready to leave. Then, right when we get home, I do the whole bedtime routine again in his room and put him down. He always goes right to sleep. I’m grateful that we can now have both a schedule and structure for his sleep but also flexibility here and there when we want to venture out in the world past his bedtime.
Here is what most of his days look at this point in time:
6:00 am – wake up 6:05 am – bottle 6:20 am – hang out while we make breakfast 6:45 am – breakfast – oatmeal, avocado, smashed fruit, smoothies, etc. 7:00 am – playtime while we all get ready for the day 8:00 am- nanny arrives, and we head out to do carpool for the other kiddos 8:15 am – snack if he seems hungry 9:00 am – down for his 1st Nap 11:00 am – wake up from nap 11:05am – bottle 11:20 am – walk around the neighborhood 12:30 pm – lunch – purees, rice, pasta, soft-cooked veggies, etc. 1:00 pm – playtime 2:00 pm – down for his 2nd nap, nanny leaves 4:00 pm – wake up from his nap 4:05pm – bottle 4:20 pm – playtime or bathtime 5:30 pm – dinner with the family – I am now trying to give him a baby-friendly version of whatever we are having 6:00 pm – start the bedtime routine of turning the sound machine on, changing his diaper and putting him in a sleep sack, turning the lights off, singing twinkle twinkle little star, and then putting him in his crib for the night.
Having a routine has also made the day more manageable for me. I can schedule work calls around his naps and know when there will be specific windows when I can respond to emails. It helps me accomplish the things I need to get done daily without feeling so overwhelmed and stressed out. And it feels good to know that Bruno is getting an incredible stretch of sleep, positively helping his brain development. Overall, I feel grateful we committed to it this time around. It has been a game changer for our entire family.