I’m Trying Out a “Block Schedule”

posted by Andrea | 01/12/2012

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Ever since we brought Nora home from the hospital {7 weeks ago today!}, I’ve been diligently trying to figure out the best way to schedule my day around the intense needs of a newborn.

It has been a bumpy road so far, and we most definitely do not have it all worked out yet; but I recently got an email from a reader who sensed my frustration and told me about how she implemented a “block schedule” to help her better manage her time with small children.

She explained that instead of making one long to-do list every day, she would instead have a few smaller to-do lists for the different blocks of time when her children were napping or otherwise occupied.

The idea sounded relatively simple to me, however I was a bit skeptical that it would actually work for me. But as I mentioned before… I was getting pretty frustrated by my new schedule {or lack of} so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.

And guess what… it’s working! 

Obviously, we still have a ways to go, and I’m sure once we finally get a schedule down, Nora will go ahead and change things on us again. But for the past week or so, I’ve been using a block schedule and feeling much, much more productive!

Block #1: Before Nora wakes up

This block is one of the hardest ones for me because I’m usually REALLY tired and just want to stay sleeping. However I know that if I don’t get a few things done before she wakes up, the rest of the day won’t go as smoothly.

  • Get dressed/get ready
  • Make the bed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Check emails — respond to anything “urgent”
  • Wipe down the kitchen counters/sink/etc.

This might sound like a long list for a tired new mom, but it usually only takes me about 20-30 minutes to do it all. However, if she goes to bed at 1:30am and wakes up at 6:30am like she did the other day, I definitely don’t get it all done!

Block #2: During her morning nap

Much to my dismay, Nora still isn’t on a great sleeping schedule. However, the one pretty “constant” thing she’s done since she was only about a week old is take a good morning nap. She will usually sleep for at least 3 hours so this is MY TIME to “get stuff done”!

  • Start a load of laundry and/or clean out the dishwasher
  • Make sure I have what I need for dinner and defrost anything that’s frozen
  • Do one household chore {vacuum, sweep, dust, bathrooms, shake rugs, more laundry
  • Finish checking and responding to all emails
  • Make phone calls or schedule meetings {if applicable}
  • Write/edit blog posts
  • Work on Virtual Assistant stuff
  • Eat lunch

Of course every day is different, but this is by far my most productive time of the day.

Block #3: During her afternoon nap:

The afternoon nap is never a “for sure” thing, so I can’t necessarily plan on getting much done in the afternoon — especially if she’s being fussy! So during this time block, I try to schedule things that don’t HAVE to get done, but that I would still like to do.

  • Run errands {if she doesn’t take a nap or after she wakes up}
  • Work ahead on blogging stuff
  • Edit photos and work on digital photo album
  • House projects and other mics. things around the house
  • More emails {I also get email on my phone so I can stay on-top of my email throughout the day}

Nora is getting better at entertaining herself too, so sometimes she will be content to simply sit next to me in her swing or lay on the floor with me sitting next to her. So even if she is awake, I can sometimes get a few things done.

Block #4: When Dave gets home:

Dave and the girls usually get home around 4:00 or 4:30 and then he takes Nora for a while and watches TV or reads the paper. This is the time I usually get dinner started and/or do any baking. Then after dinner and after we clean up the kitchen, Dave and I take turns with Nora so the other person can be productive.

  • Grading and lesson planning {Dave}
  • Virtual Assistant and blogging work {Andrea}
  • Shower and get ready for bed {both}
  • Make to-do lists, pack lunches, and get ready for tomorrow {both}

We do TRY to take some time in the evening to just relax… however, this is also the time when Nora is the most fussy {and hungry} so one of us is almost always needed to hold, rock, feed, change, entertain, etc.

Block #5: After she goes to bed:

When we first brought Nora home, I was so frustrated when she wouldn’t go to bed at 8:00pm {All our friends have toddlers who went bed around 8:00… so we figured an infant would also go to bed early}. I knew she would wake up frequently to eat, but I seriously thought she would go to bed at a reasonable hour, which would then allow Dave and I to get a bunch of stuff done in the evening.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! {yes, you can all join me in laughter!}

Boy was I wrong! I learned very quickly that newborn babies don’t have a bed time. They sleep when they are tired and they don’t sleep when they aren’t tired… and there isn’t really anything we can do about it. So need-less-to-say, by the time we FINALLY get her sleeping at night, we go right to bed!

Sometimes she doesn’t fall asleep until 1:00 or 2:00am, and then Dave goes to bed and I stay up with her. Those are long nights! Fortunately, Dave gives me a break on the weekends and stays up with her while I go to bed early!

 

So even though Nora is kind of a stinker about going to bed at night, the block schedule thing has most definitely helped me to get more done and feel SO much more productive each day.

Oh, and I know I’m bias… but isn’t she just so cute when she’s sleeping :)

Do you have more tips for being productive with a newborn?

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58 comments

  1. Heidi Zizz

    01/12/2012

    One of the BEST things I ever did with all 3 of my kids was implement the sleep/eat/play cycle recommended in the book “On Becoming Babywise”. My second child was a difficult newborn, to say the least. With a lot of patience and willingness to keep trying, he finally got on a schedule that we could all live with. You can buy the book used relatively cheap on Amazon.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Heidi. I have read that book and we are really trying to implement the eat/play/sleep schedule. We try to keep her awake by playing with her on the floor, reading a book, etc. for a little while after eating… especially in the evening. We have the eating and playing down just fine… it’s the sleeping that we are still working on :)

    [Reply]

  2. Ericka

    01/12/2012

    This is my first time commenting. I just had to say I love your blog and wanted to tell you to hang in there! It does get better. My little one was a horrible sleeper. I learned not to sweat the small stuff. I’d worry about getting the major stuff done and some things I was just going to have to let slide. If anyone offers help – take it! :) Just don’t expect too much of yourself and enjoy this time with your little one because it goes fast!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Ericka — and yes, I am letting quite a few things slide [believe it or not!] Dave and I have both let a lot “fall through the cracks” to spend more time with Nora. It’s overwhelming right now, but I’m sure we’ll look back and be glad we did what we did!

    [Reply]

  3. Denise

    01/12/2012

    Love your blog….
    not a long note here, but just have to say…hope you have one of those swings for babies. Keeps them happy for a long time!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, yes, YES — we do have a swing and she really likes it {most of the time}!!

    [Reply]

  4. Shelley

    01/12/2012

    Like Heidi, I also used the cycle explained in Babywise (although I didn’t agree with all parts of the book). All of my children went to bed for the night around 11ish for the first few months, Andrea. Hang in there! More sleep is coming your way!

    [Reply]

  5. Lorna

    01/12/2012

    You’re doing a great job, Andrea! I think you probably accomplish more than most of us who don’t even have a newborn!

    One thing that I’ve heard of from friends is to utilize a front carrier to hold baby close while you get a few other things done. We didn’t always use this idea with our granddaughter (who lived with us until she was about 16 months old) because my business as a seamstress makes it hard to do my job with a baby strapped to my chest but it does seem like a great idea!

    Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t always get finished up in record time!
    :) L

    [Reply]

  6. Julia

    01/12/2012

    I second the Babywise recommendation! Getting Nora on her own easy little eat, play, sleep, repeat routine is really what it is all about. I loved it for our firstborn and will be able to do the same with our new baby (God willing, right?)

    [Reply]

  7. monica

    01/12/2012

    Andrea,

    My boys are grown up now. Oddly, it doesn’t seem so very long ago. My mom bought me a copy of this poem framed for the boys nursery wall. I am so glad that she did. I am one of those type-A personality people. I had to settle for imperfection, untidy at times, and cruddy baseboards ( my personal compulsion) If I had a dust rag in hand and a voice said, “mommy read?” I dropped that rag and picked up Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom for the umpthteen time. The dust can keep.
    Babies don’t keep.

    Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
    Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
    Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
    Sew on a button and butter the bread.
    Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
    She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
    Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,Lullaby, rockabye, lullaby loo.
    Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
    Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peek-a-boo
    The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
    And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
    But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
    Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
    Lullaby, rockaby lullaby loo.
    The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
    But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
    - Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Love it… thanks Monica!

    [Reply]

  8. Firesparx

    01/12/2012

    The photo of Nora sleeping on her tummy with her pink socks is so adorable!

    I’ll have to keep this block scheduling in mind for later this year as we are expecting our first in June! I’m the type of person that makes a giant To Do list that can’t possibly get done and then pick and choose items from it. Not a terribly efficient system because I don’t feel a great sense of accomplishment. I also don’t prioritize as well, I’ll do the things I want to do first (hence why “scrub the bathroom tiles” has been on the To Do list for an embarrassingly long time).

    [Reply]

    monica Reply:

    Congratulations!!!!

    [Reply]

  9. Angela

    01/12/2012

    Just wanted to say that I always love your ideas of organizing and such. I realize we need to get things done each day and your above post is good except I think sometimes us mothers forget to schedule what’s important. Where is the block of time where you enjoy your sweet little one? In my opinion I would rather focus my day planning how I will spend it with my kids. They will be grown way to quickly. congrats on your little bundle.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Angela — whenever she is awake is when we spend time with her. The “Blocks” of scheduled time are for when she is sleeping! So that’s why I’m trying to get as much done during those times as I can :)

    [Reply]

  10. Lorraine

    01/12/2012

    Andrea, you’re a great mom with your precious little one! Trying to get I have 3 kids, (youngest is 2 years), and my most-often-used book was “The No-Cry Sleep Solution (for babies)” by Elizabeth Pantley. It was a lifesaver many times when each of my kids were babies and allowing me little sleep, or time to do anything else besides them. Mrs Pantley explains how to plan a reasonable sleeping schedule and what might be happening to sabotage your best efforts. I loved reading the book. It’s written in such a friendly, understanding way (by a mom of 5 I believe), it made it easy to consider ideas I might have otherwise rolled my eyes at. I wish you success and lots of sweet dreams! :-)

    [Reply]

  11. Lori

    01/12/2012

    Hi Andrea, I love your blog and Nora is adorable! I have 3 children 19, 15, and 5. ( Yes, that is the definition of insanity!) Even though they were all pretty good sleepers, I remember feeling like the first 2-3months were overwhelming with each one. I was simply doing my best to survive it all and find “the schedule” that would work. And then, each time, somewhere in that 2-3 month range, things would just fall into place. “The schedule” that worked best was a little different with each child and of course their needs changed, but I just remember with each child getting to that place where I felt, I can do this, we can do this. (And now I can’t believe that Mr. 19 is almost 20, and Miss 15 will be driving soon, and Mr. 5 is in Kindergarten!) It sounds like you and Nora are working things out just fine and I love the block schedule idea! Have a great day with your beautiful baby girl!

    [Reply]

  12. Shannon

    01/12/2012

    I just wanted to add that as she gets a little older, you will be able to set a bedtime for her. Right now it’s hard because she’s dependent on everything from you and your husband. As she gets older she will probably end up with whatever bedtime you want for her, but it will just take a little while to get there. Thank you for sharing the pictures-she’s beautiful!

    [Reply]

  13. Ashley

    01/12/2012

    Hi Andrea! As a mom of a baby I know exactly how you feel! My sweet boy is 4 months old now and I feel like we are finally making some ground! He has acid reflux and colic so it has been quite the journey! I know all about fussy nights! I finally feel like we are on some sort of a schedule! Good luck as you work to figure it out and enjoy your little one!

    [Reply]

  14. Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper)

    01/12/2012

    I just wanted to say that I didn’t know to call it block scheduling at the time, but this is basically what I started when I had our first child and honestly, it has continued ever since. They are now teenagers. I found with both of mine they had natural rhythms in their sleep patterns and gradually I could stretch those into a schedule that was more ‘normal.’ Sometimes I would wake them up from naps a few minutes before their normal time which helped them go to sleep earlier (even by a few minutes). Basically, the same process I would use for myself if I wanted to start getting up earlier in the morning: I wouldn’t all of a sudden start getting up an hour earlier, but five minutes earlier every day or two and within a couple weeks I have a new wakeup time, make sense? While we were blessed with two babies who seemed to have a natural bedtime between 9-10 at night, our son was also extremely fussy from 3pm onward every day for the first four months of his life :( I can totally relate to what you described! My husband worked 3-midnight then and it was emotionally exhausting. When I finally accepted that those hours would never be productive, it was freeing. It sounds like you are doing a GREAT job staying in tune with what little Nora needs and fitting in what YOU need to stay sane. I will echo the earlier commenter that you are getting more done than many who don’t have a newborn at home, but I will also add that scheduling an evening at least once a month for just YOU {and whatever you want to accomplish – pedicure, organizing, sewing, etc} is an investment in your sanity. It sounds like you have the support system in place to make that happen.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Tammy!!
    Glad to here you’ve had success with a block schedule too!

    [Reply]

  15. Rebecca

    01/12/2012

    I’m blessed to have 5 truly wonderful kids (13 b, 11 b, 9 g, 6 g and 4 g). Getting Nora’s sleep schedule more conducive to yours will be easier if you set a bedtime routine. With all our kids we would give them a bath, new diaper, warm pjs and then I’d nurse them and put them to bed. It’s like the bedtime routine I have – when I take a shower before bed, my body and mind just start to shut down b/c I know after the shower I’m going to bed. After awhile, it will become a habit for both of you. It also helps tremendously when they’re toddlers and are fighting bedtime – we never really had those issues, thankfully!

    I truly enjoy your blog, ideas, photos – seeing Nora makes me want to have another! Congratulations.

    [Reply]

    Dianne@Baking4Six Reply:

    Rebecca – we did this too… and it was very comforting for our children and us. I also played classical music & lullabies for our children. (I forgot to mention that.) Even when the music didn’t calm the babies (it definitely calmed them as children), it sure calmed/helped relax me!! :)

    (This routine was especially helpful the more children that you have. We would stagger the routine so each child had time with us… however, as they have gotten older, it has become more difficult because they can no longer bathe together and have different sport practices and sometimes lots of homework. — but Andrea has at least 8-10 years before that happens, lol)

    [Reply]

  16. Dianne@Baking4Six

    01/12/2012

    Hi Andrea – All babies are different – some like to sleep, others don’t. The 4 of mine were all different as far as napping, how they liked to be entertained – one loved the swing, but screamed to be held at all other times – another, loved the exersaucer or anything else and could literally hang-out for hours. Anyway, 3 of our 4 children were VERY fussy during late afternoon, evening & late into the night… this lasted for about 3 months and by 4 months they were all sleeping through the night (at least a 6 hour block). 6 hours of sleep never felt SO good!!

    The more children that I had… I learned to nurse while lying down — but I didn’t really do that for my first child. My second child projectile vomited, I chose to continue nursing but had to sleep sitting up with her upright on my chest. I was a pro at nursing by the time my 3rd & 4th children were born. I tried many different techniques and quit listening to everyone else tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. (Advice is good – ie, you “could-try” this as opposed to you “should-do” this.)

    [Reply]

  17. Melissa

    01/12/2012

    Oh how I’d love a baby who naps for 3 hours! LOL My youngest (#6) is 8 months old and still not sleeping thru the night. Most days, I can work with it. Some days, I’m so exhausted I can’t see straight. But, it’s okay. It’s where I’m meant to be right now. Life is seasonal – roll with it, is my motto.

    Hang in there. You WILL get your ultra busy, mega-accomplishing life back. Right now, YOU are still recovering from having a baby (remember, it took 9 months to grow – it takes that long to recover). So, be easy on yourself.

    Thanks for sharing the adorable photos of your sweet little lady!!

    [Reply]

  18. Erin

    01/12/2012

    I am so glad you posted this! I am new to your site, but love your ideas :) Our little ones must share the same birthday Ben is 7 weeks today, too. I have struggled so much from being super busy all day ( I was a Kindergarten teacher) to being baby busy (MUCH different kind of busy) that I love the block schedule idea. My only concern is that Ben does “power naps” all day long, and no matter what I do, I can’t keep him awake to get him to take longer naps. He is doing great at night, 4 1/2 hours in between feedings, but I wish I could get him more regulated during the day! Good luck and I am sure it will get better for both of us soon :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Erin… and congrats on your new baby!
    Nora takes power naps a lot of the afternoon/evening too — which is why Dave and I “tag team” at night so the other person can be productive! I also feel like the power naps make it more difficult for her to fall asleep at night, but we’ve tried everything to wake her up {baths, diaper changes, clothes changes, cold hands, etc} but she just seems to need those 15-20 minute naps. Oh well… hopefully she’ll get on more of a schedule soon!

    [Reply]

  19. Kristia {Family Balance Sheet}

    01/12/2012

    A book that I found very helpful was Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Nora is still only 7 weeks old and it might take her a little longer to get on a solid sleep schedule. But remember it is temporary and in no time she will be on a schedule.

    [Reply]

  20. Lea Stormhammer

    01/12/2012

    Ummm…. your baby is 7 weeks old. Maternity leave is usually 12 weeks long, at a minimum (most first world countries guarantee 1 year) because it’s takes time for the baby to adjust to our 24 hour schedules and we as mom’s need that time to get everyone on a schedule and actually heal from pregnancy and delivery, even an easy one.

    While I admire your desire to accomplish things, I do wonder if you’re pushing yourself too hard with too high expectations for the current time in your life. Cut yourself some slack until she’s about 6 months old and get the necessary stuff done. If the counter doesn’t get wiped thoroughly every day, I can almost guarantee no one will die (or probably even notice – other than you!). Keep up with your necessary work, personal hygeine and relationship obligations and let the rest go.

    I have twins that are six years old now. I was told I would be lucky to bathe, eat and get any sleep in the first year, much less do anything else. Fortunately, they were easy babies and that wasn’t the case. The first 3-4 months were the worst, and then they got on a schedule of sorts with about a 9pm bedtime and 630am wakeup with a 4 hour afternoon nap. I think it helped that I went into it thinking that absolutely nothing would get done and so anything I did felt like a major accomplishment!

    Give it time and ligthen up a bit and you’ll be fine!
    Lea

    [Reply]

    maggie Reply:

    Amen!

    [Reply]

  21. Kelli

    01/12/2012

    The blocks of time are such a great idea!! I think many moms do that:). Keep up with the Babywise…I wish I would have used it for my first, but I did for our second and third daughters…worked great, just stick with the eat play sleep. I will say though, I did not let them sleep longer than 2 hours for each nap so they could stay on the 3-4 hour eating schedule. I Really think that helps at night. Good luck and don’t worry, she’ll sleep all night pretty soon!!

    [Reply]

  22. Zala

    01/12/2012

    I had my first baby ten months ago and am still struggling with how to be productive with a baby. The thing that bothered me the most is the fact that most advice is contradictory and you are supposed to listen to your gut. Well, I’m still not sure if what I am doing is OK or not… :)
    What I found to be the most useful is to establish an eat/sleep/play routine. I suppose it made sense to me – you feel sleepy after a big meal and feel like playing after a nice nap. :) The other thing that was a real life saver was a sling. I put my baby in a sling and did the majority of my To-do list with her next to me. Carrying your baby is one of the bases of the attachment parenting theory – I found the book written by Dr. Sears very interesting and useful. The book also said that babies that are held or carried a lot develop a sleep schedule faster.
    Since we are still not on a schedule I wish we had, I can at least say that it has gotten ten times easier than in the early months. Just remember – this too shall pass, so try to enjoy as much as possible (when sleep deprived). :)

    [Reply]

  23. Katie

    01/12/2012

    Don’t worry – I have two children and both are terrible sleepers. After awhile you just get use to no sleep or little sleep. The worst thing to do is stress about it. Block schedule sounds very good.

    One way I got my children to sleep was to buy a door bouncer (they can’t go in it until they’re
    around 4 months I think and you have to buy a really good one to support their back). Anyway my children loved them as babies and it really tired them out – they would nap for hours afterwards plus you can do jobs whilst they are in it (like ironing!!). Swimming also tires them out as well – 10 minutes in a warm pool and they’ll sleep for hours.
    Oh and classical music at bedtime is also good.

    If they wake up a lot during the night I gave a bottle before bedtime even though I breast fed – but I know that is quite controversial and I don’t want to offend :) Anyway, you’ll doing much better than I did. I spent quite a lot of time crying about the sheer exhaustion of it all :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    I’m with Katie… two children who were never great sleepers… mostly because they wanted to nurse around the clock! 19 months and 4 1/2 yrs old and they can out-eat us grownups now! Anyway – what always helped for us (and still does) is the activity – literally wearing them out. When they play hard, they sleep hard. And baby-wearing – be it sling or carrier – works wonders for getting a few things done – and my babies loved being close to Mommy and joining in on life. Enjoy every minute!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    Annoying isn’t it? My friend’s children are excellent sleepers and ASK to go to bed!!! If my children ask to go to bed then there is something very, very wrong with them. I have a two year old and a seven year old and neither can sleep even now.

    Activity is the best solution and lots of fresh air. Babies love the pushchair. Both my children would sleep well after being in the pushchair plus the walk is excellent to lose the baby weight and clear your foggy sleep deprived brain!!!

    [Reply]

  24. Carolyn

    01/12/2012

    I’m quoting from the book First Things First, by the same author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that’s helped me:

    “My daughter Maria, who recently had her third child, was talking with me one evening. She said, ‘I’m so frustrated, Dad! You know how much I love this baby, but she is literally taking all my time. I’m just not getting anything else done, including many things that only I can do.’

    “I could understand how this was frustrating to her. Maria is bright and capable, and she’s always been involved in many good things. She was feeling pulled by good things – projects she wanted to accomplish, contributions she wanted to make, things around the house that weren’t getting done.

    “As we talked, we came to the realization that her frustration was essentially a result of her expectations. And for now, only one thing was needful – enjoying that baby.

    “‘Just relax,’ I said. ‘Relax and enjoy the nature of this new experience. Let this infant feel your joy in the role of mother. No one else can love and nurture that child in the way you can. All other interests pale in comparison for now.’

    Maria realized that, in the short run, her life was going to be imbalanced…and that it should be. ‘There is a time and a season for everything under the sun.’ She also realized that as the baby grew and entered into a different phase in life, she would be able to reach her goals and contribute in other powerful ways.”

    The next page is entitled “How Many People on Their Deathbed Wished They’d Spent More Time at the Office? The enemy of the ‘best’ is the ‘good’.” I hope that helps you! You have to be reasonable with expectations because if you’re not, you’ll achieve burnout, like I did ;) Hang in there, things will get easier!

    [Reply]

  25. Karen

    01/12/2012

    Hi Andrea,

    My two kids are older now, but I DO remember those crazy first months. My second child seemed to have a hard time settling down at all during the day and I remember trying EVERYTHING in desperation. The book that seemed to help me the most was called
    “The happiest baby on the block”. The thing I remember most that helped from this book was “swaddling” the baby. She slept sooooo much better when I did this. (Apparently what swaddling does is mimic the feeling of being in the womb) I found that when she was all wrapped up; her legs and arms were no longer able to flail out and wake her up just as she was nodding off. Good luck with your little one. And enjoy all the moments because they are so fleeting. Really!

    [Reply]

    Jen @ bigbinder Reply:

    I second this. I read every baby sleep book out there and this was the most helpful to me.

    Also, she may need a short nap around 5 pm, it seems like it would make her sleep less at night but if she is really fussy around that time try about a 45 minute nap, one of my kids need it and one didn’t.

    You get time to make dinner and an earlier bedtime. Bonus!

    [Reply]

  26. Katie

    01/12/2012

    It looks like you are figuring it out win a newborn! My favorite trick for productivity as well as getting a newborn to sleep is to wear them. Use an unpadded ring sling or wrap and wear the baby. When i was ready for my baby to go to bed, I would change him or her and nurse one last time and if baby was still awake I put him or her jn the sling or wrap and walked around the house or vacuumed until baby was sound asleep then I transferred him or her to the crib.

    I love The Baby Book by Dr. Sears for those newborn months/year. I would just caution you to be careful when it comes to Babywise and the schedule it encourages. If you desire to nurse long term (or even past 4 months) the scheduling can have a very detrimental impact on your milk supply.

    [Reply]

    Heidi Reply:

    I actually used the schedule presented in Babywise (with minor changes) with all 3 of my kids (now 6, 4, & 2) and never had a problem with milk supply. All of them were nursed past their 1st birthdays. It obviously can change from woman to woman, but the schedule in the book does not necessarily mean you will struggle with milk production.
    I do agree that slings are great & the Sears book is a great resource!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    I have to disagree with this too. I nursed all four of our children until 18 months of age and I never had an issue with milk supply either. My Babywise babies are 19, 16, 14, and 12 and they all seem to have turned out just fine! :-)

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    I disagree as well. If done the right way Babywise will actually help long term breastfeeding! Once I got the schedule down my milk supply was improved and it was less demanding and more predictable. That has always helped me to keep breastfeeding longer! My daughter is 5 months old, she still gets up once a night but goes to bed at 7pm which is awesome! I hope you can get a routine soon! It helps SO much!

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    Katie Reply:

    I am so happy that it worked well for you guys. I am just cautioning because if you do the research there is a lot of documentation on cases of various breast feeding and failure to thrive issues as a result of using the Babywise scheduled feeding. I am sure there are exceptions to this, but it is something to be aware of and consider.

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    Stacy Reply:

    I’m with Katie! I get so very much more done when I wear the baby, and the baby gets to sleep much more quickly! When our third baby was 1.5 and he got tired, he would bring me our Beco to tell me he wanted to nap. There are lots of great carriers out there! My favorites are our Beco, an unpadded ring sling, and a mei tai. The long “wraps” that you tie around yourself are also very good for having two hands free with a newborn.

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  27. Janelle

    01/12/2012

    I also used Babywise and the Baby Whisperer to help put my kids on a schedule. I really liked the Baby Whisperer because of the charts that are in that book that tell you what to look for. I also wanted to add that I nursed both of my boys for over one year (started solids around 6 months, but continued nursing) and my milk supply never diminished. When they needed a larger supply – those were “growing days” and their schedule would probably include an extra feeding – that brought in more milk for them. Just figured I would add that in for you!

    Night was definitely a little tricky. I would make either an 8 or 9pm be their “bedtime” and when I would change them first (and hope that they would not poop during the nursing time), then when I nursed them, I would have the lights out (door cracked – or a night light on), and when I was done nursing them, I would burp them and lay them down for the night (no wake time). Then, when they woke up the next time, I would change them, nurse them (without the lights on), burp them and then lay them back down – teaching them that this is night time. I don’t know if you do this already, but I figured that I would share what worked for me. It may take a few days for Nora to get used to this, but it might be worth a try!

    And btw, you are getting SO much done! I am amazed by all that you are getting done! :)

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  28. Jessica

    01/12/2012

    Wow, what I wouldn’t have given for a three hour nap! My babe would sleep that long…in my lap. :) We are just now (8 months today) getting some longer nap stretches–1.5 hours or so. But it’s getting there.

    Bedtime will come around soon…both of my kids started to need a super-early bedtime between 2 & 3 months. Now, she’s in the bath at 6, I’m nursing by 6:30 and out of the room by 7. Of course, their needs are always changing!

    I used to do something much like this with my son (now 5). Now, with his needs intermixed, I don’t get nearly as much done…but I’m working on developing a new routine, again. :)

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  29. debbi

    01/13/2012

    My baby is now thirty so i don’t know if they still make these or not but i had a baby carrier that would go around me and him and let him lay on my chest while he was awake. I could still get things done because it frees your arms and hands up but the baby is still close so you can cuddle and hold them.

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  30. Jen

    01/13/2012

    Since you are dedicated to and realize the value of schedules, I wonder if you’ve attempted to get Nora on YOUR schedule rather than working yours around hers. Have you read the book “Babywise” by Gary and Ann Ezzo. You might check a copy out of the library and give it a try. I have four “Babywise” babies who were all sleeping 12 hours a night and napping regularly by 9 weeks old (and that was the latest!). I don’t agree with everything in the book and I know there are some fiery opinions about it–and I don’t want to start any debates–but I thought you might be willing to check into it. It can’t hurt at this point! Although you will probably have to listen to sweet Nora cry a bit since she’s already 7 weeks. Just a suggestion.

    Finally, I would LOVE to have a post on how you organize your bed linens-sheets, blankets, etc. We do not have a dedicated linen closet in our home, unfortunately. So I am always looking for a better way to do these things. Linens for 6 people can get unmanageable! Thanks!

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    Jen Reply:

    Guess I should have read all the comments before I wrote my “treatise”! I apologize for all the repetition!

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  31. emily

    01/13/2012

    You’re an awesome mommy! :) Enjoy that precious girl!!

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  32. Tamara Phillips

    01/13/2012

    Sounds like you are doing amazing! The sleeping will come:) The one thing that helped for me was to feed my little guy every 2-3 hours during the day like clockwork. It was something about him getting full feedings during the day that allowed him to get better sleep at night. I remember it was still a little bit of a struggle and I had to wake him up sometimes to feed him but, pushing the food helped him get enough hind milk that he slept well at night! Worth a shot if you’re not already doing that! The swaddle also helped a LOT! Best of luck. She is a beauty!

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    Kayla Reply:

    I agree with waking them up to eat during the day… definitely helped my babies sleep better at night when they had full tummies and stimulation for their minds during the day. :)

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  33. Peitra

    01/16/2012

    Adjusting to life outside the womb can be hard! Dr Harvey Karp (The baby whisperer) calls the first three months of life “the fourth trimester”. His book/dvd is called “Happiest Baby on the Block”…. It’s going to be “her” schedule until she’s at least four months old! Her body physically can’t do it until then. Good luck- I love your blog!

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  34. Angela Beery

    01/16/2012

    I really recommend Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano.

    And don’t forget to schedule in some down time. If you don’t schedule it in, as a mom, it won’t happen!

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  35. Kris

    01/17/2012

    I’m new to your site and wanted to say that I’m enjoying exploring around. I am not a very organized person so reading sites like yours gives me a different way of looking at how to attack things. I can tell from your posts that you are enjoying your new baby girl. I’m sure it’s really hard for new Mom’s like yourself who are so used to being ultra productive each day. I laughed out loud at your 8:00 bedtime comment. I really feel all babies are different. My 1st was a great sleeper and my 2nd…not so much. Even at 9 and 6 years old my older son usually needs more sleep than my younger son. Good luck with Nora’s schedule. I hope she starts staying awake more in the evenings so she can go to bed a little earlier.

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  36. Liz C

    01/19/2012

    If your little one is nursing in between those power naps, you may have an evening “calorie loader”… all of my girls have had an evening stretch where they nurse, catnap, nurse, catnap, for a few hours, and then finally go down deeply. Having that time as my dedicated “read what I want to read” time, and also some “watch cop shows on Netflix” time was really nice…. because I re-named the time from “cranky baby I can’t set down” to something I knew I wanted to do. :) I’d have just enough light to comfortably read, put on some headphones, and just settle in for some serious mom-baby contact for a few hours.

    My son was a morning calorie loader–he’d wake up ravenous about 6am, but he just wanted to lay there and nurse and drowse for about two hours, so we learned to nurse laying down, and we were both happy. :)

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  37. Alissia

    01/22/2012

    Just a quick note/comment….try not to worry about “getting stuff done” I know, I know, it is SO hard to do and I certainly couldn’t realx and let things go either……but my youngest “baby” just turned 2 yesterday…..it goes SO SO SO fast…..and you will never care about what you got done or didn’t get done….but you WILL miss those crazy first few months of “unschedules” trust me….(tears running down my face)

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  38. Karly

    01/30/2012

    I have 2 kids. A 2 1/2 yr old and an 8 month old and while i have never been a cleaning organizing guru (to say the least) one of the first things that i learned is that those first few months of the new baby’s life is just to accept that some days, maybe even most days, your life may just look like a mess =) and that’s ok. I had to give myself a couple of months (honestly it was about 3 or 4 months before i got either of my kids on any kind of recognizable schedule) before i knew my life was going to go back to semi normal. Be lenient with with yourself and take a nap when you can! In another month she’s going to start staying awake a lot more during the day and your schedule will change again haha. These times go by WAY to fast! Good luck with your sweet little baby.

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