While Luna was chilling in my belly, my husband and I starting researching and reading up on all things baby in order to prepare for the unpreparable! We were especially interested in learning ways to best put our baby to sleep and get her on a routine/schedule. I know there are several people out there in the school of thought that we should let babies/kids be, and let them get their own rhythm. Well after reading and being around other children/families, we both came to the conclusion that getting our child on a schedule would be best for our family.
Our favorite books (that we still refer to) are The Baby Book and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.
While reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child--I hated it! I thought the author was extremely repetitive and kept insinuating that all babies are fussy/colic. But now that I have my daughter, I completely understand the author was merely trying to stress his point that SLEEP is extremely important and an intricate factor in a child's behavior. It all makes sense now! It took me a little longer to give in to this because as a new mommy I did not want to hear our daughter cry, but my husband stepped in like superman and took control. We only let her cry a few times (2-3x) and we would use a timer so that I wouldn't lose it. It is incredible how fast she took on to her sleep routine. She began sleeping through the night on her own at about four months. She also takes two naps during the day. I do not need to rock her to sleep. I lay her in her crib while she is awake (but tired) and she will play with her hands and move around awhile, by the next time I check on her she is sound asleep on her own. It is amazing! We are able to plan our outings and we get US time every evening!
The Baby Book by Rachel Waddilove is not a very famous book (like Dr. Sears or Karp), but it is a force to be reckoned with in our opinion. There are so many baby books out there its overwhelming! So much information that you do not know where to begin. The reason we love this book is because it provides actual sample schedules based on the age of your baby. All the other books just tell you blah blah blah but do not provide actual samples of what to do. Well this book gives you an actual schedule to follow including feeding times, naps, bath time, etc. Of course, you do not have to stick to it 100%, but it is so wonderful to have something to refer to. Every time our daughter goes through a change (in sleep or feeding habits) we always referred to Rachel's book. I highly recommend it to all new moms. (She is British so its okay if you have to figure out what she means by nappy! Here's a link to Rachel Waddilove's books if your interested in checking them out.)
I also will give a little praise to Karp and his Happiest Baby on the Block video, some of his methods seem hilarious at first, but in actuality the swaddling and white noise works! I know a lot of parents say "my baby doesn't like to be swaddled," but I would have to disagree with that. I think babies like to feel like they are back in a warm cocoon (its more about getting a good swaddle). At first, we were not sure of this ourselves, but after doing it consistently Luna knew this was a sign of her bedtime. We would only swaddle her in the evening (not during her naps). As for the white noise, we started using our white noise apps even while at the hospital! As with everything, people always find an excuse and would say things like "I heard if you use that then they always need it." This is not true. There has been plenty of times that Luna has slept without it just fine. We purchased a small white noise machine for the nursery, and use it all the time. It is not super loud, but enough that its in the background and I feel like we can do stuff around the house without being on pins and needles.
All-in-all, what I have learned thus far about babies is that it all comes down to consistency and sticking it out. We have stuck to Luna's same routine since we brought her home (only making minor changes based on her milestones and feeding changes), and she thrives! Even though she is a baby, she knows what to expect. We prefer to have a happy rested baby instead of trying to live our life like we were before the baby. I do not want to jinx our current situation--and will not stress it any further, but from personal experience SLEEP is key!!
What are your thoughts on putting your baby/child on a schedule? Do you a routine/schedule? If so, please share.