It was only a matter of weeks ago that my pregnant friend and I were bemoaning how obnoxious it is to be pregnant and have friends who have been pregnant. Friends who have been pregnant love to give advice. More often than not their advice is coming from a place of good intent but it doesn't always sit so well. It's hard to give pregnancy advice when every pregnancy is different. Likewise it's hard to give baby advice when every baby is different.
Well, now I'm not pregnant and my friend still is pregnant and I've discovered what it's like to want to give her some advice and my desire has come only from a place of good intent. I wanted her to know all the things I wished someone had told me, but I wanted to be mindful that my baby experiences aren't necessarily going to be the same as hers. Hopefully I dispatched some helpful knowledge without being the mama that we both used to whine about.
Anyway, one thing I have discovered from conversing with mamas and mamas-to-be is that when it comes to the question of whether or not to put your baby on a schedule, there are two camps:
1) If you don't put your baby on a schedule, you're not doing what's best for them
2) If you put your baby on a schedule, you're not doing what's best for them.
Both camps have literature to support their theory and very rarely have I ran into anyone that lives on the middle ground.
Before I had Clementine I had decided I wanted to put her on a schedule, but then I gave birth and life was hard. I have never felt more out of control than I did just a matter of days ago. I never knew when I was going to get to sleep, or if I was going to eat, or if I was going to get a shower. My life was controlled by whether or not Clementine knew what to be upset about or not. Sleep was in short supply and so was my sanity, patience, and enjoyment of my new little bundle.
So I reached back out to the friend that sold me on the idea of putting her on a schedule in the first place and asked her a million questions of how to get a schedule in place. This was last Thursday and as of writing this, my precious little bubsy is on her second nap of the day. Her tummy is full, her diaper is clean, she got lots of snuggle time with me, and when I put her down to nap she didn't whimper a peep. As for me, I got 7 hours of sleep last night (over a 10 hour span), and I've eaten two meals. I know this all sounds like very basic stuff--and it is--but it's WORLDS apart from anything that was possible for me just a week ago.
Maybe not putting a baby on a schedule is a luxury for those with an extra set of hands that is also dedicated to taking care of the baby but for single moms...well I just don't know how any of us survive without creating consistency.
Putting her on a schedule has done lots of other good things for both of us physically outside of securing sleep--and if you wanna know what that means you can always read up on that elsewhere.
So I suppose, in a lot of ways, I belong to the first camp. But I'd like mostly to think that I'm one of the few mamas in the middle ground. At the end of the day, we all have to decide what's best for ourselves and our kiddos, and my hat is off to those who don't have to put their baby on a schedule to survive. As for us, Clementine has the next 90 minutes to get some solid sleep and keep growing strong, and I have the next 90 minutes to shower, read my bible, and finish the laundry. I am one happy camper.