When four become five

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When you decide to expand your family you *hope* like hell that the next one fits in with the family dynamic you already have. If you’re like me and adding a third baby to your crew (after having a second child that didn’t sleep properly until he was three!) it felt like there was even more pressure for this baby to be one of the good ones. Don’t get me wrong – there is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ baby. But there is such a thing as baby that has reflux or wind and therefore doesn’t sleep properly. There is such a thing as a baby that always wants to feed. There is also such a thing as a baby who sleeps six hours straight at four weeks old. I had already experienced both these babies and I can tell you only one of them results in keeping your sanity in check!

Very luckily for us Mila has fallen into the second category. She doesn’t struggle with reflux or wind and so far feeds 2-3 hourly during the day and 3-6 hourly overnight (depending on the night). She is a mostly settled baby during the day and happily accepts the dummy (an absolute saviour and something my son refused!). I’m also very aware that all of this can change at any minute but we have managed to get a decent routine in place that enables sleep in our house which we certainly didn’t have 5 years ago when Will was born.

So what’s different? And how do Ayla and Will fit into it? How does anyone with a newborn actually get any sleep? We are now also living in this strange new world of social distancing and self isolating while trying to home-school and work from home. For any of this to work the key is sleep. So far the routine that is working with Mila to enable our household to get sleep is as follows:

 Day Time Routine

Mostly non-existent at 4 weeks old. Mila sleeps most of the day and has periods of awake time each in the morning, afternoon and late evening for an hour to two hours but no concrete routine

 Night Time Routine

Mila’s last big daytime sleep usually ends around 5-6pm. She then feeds hourly until 10pm. It’s roughly as follows:

6pm – feed and bath

7pm – feed and awake time

8pm – feed and falls asleep usually with help of dummy (she is awake usually from 6-8pm)

9.15-9.30pm – feed and back to sleep

10-10.30pm – final feed 

This seems like a lot of feeding and by 10pm it’s mostly a comfort feed to drift into that final deep sleep. Mila then sleeps until 2-3am with a nappy change and feed and wakes again 5-6am for a feed. I usually try and get another hour or two and my husband gets up with Ayla and Will for the breakfast routine (perks of iso life is my husband is working from home which has been a huge help).

The daytimes can be tricky and often one of Mila’s sleep is spent in a carrier so I can get things done around the house. Home schooling has bought a new set of challenges but we are slowly finding our groove with Ayla’s school work. So far I’ve found that school work in the morning (mainly Reading, Spelling Grammar and Maths) and then outside play time in the afternoon is what works for us with plenty of days consisting of iPad and or movie time at some point as well. Will usually colours in or does a basic letter and number activity book or plays with Lego while I do Ayla’s school work (he’s in Kindy and doesn’t start school until next year so his ‘school-work’ is much lighter).

The transition from 2 to 3 babes has been the easiest by far. Having older kids who are pretty self-sufficient (toilet-trained and able to make their own breakfast/lunch operate iPads and the Apple TV are pretty handy things!) has been a huge blessing. It probably wasn’t what I had planned when I imagined my family 10 years ago (more on that story another time!) but it has worked out perfectly. Also having a very relaxed baby has helped! Being more relaxed myself has also played a huge part in how chilled out Mila is. This time around it has just felt easy – the birth was easier, the recovery was easier and to be honest I am just so grateful to have Mila it’s hard to feel anything but plain lucky and I don’t take her for granted even the on the crappy nights. There will always be hard days and hard nights but I’ve learnt that mindset can be the biggest barrier to how we deal with things. Things will continually change as Mila grows up but it’s been a luxury to have a happy, healthy baby (and Mum) who actually knows what sleep is this time around. And I’m lapping it up because I know there will be no next time and as we all know, they’re only little for so long.

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