I was asked to document a typical day of caring for Elliott. I took a while to do so because I was trying to get into a routine before doing so. He is almost 6 months old (already!) and still, I find it hard to pin down our routine exactly. I realise that I am not quite a clock watcher. I don’t fret about how long he naps, or when his next feed is. In fact, whenever my mum asks when is his next feed, I usually say “Dunno”. And that’s the truth.
I decided that when he’s hungry, he’d let me know, i.e. by crying. I have learnt how to discern his different cries – the want-to-sleep cry, the need-milk cry, the need-mummy cry, etc. I am also not fussed about how long or how much he drinks because as long as he’s meeting his weight/height milestones, I’m fine.
It wasn’t as easy writing this entry because as I’ve written, his typical day is never typical! Nonetheless, here it is, a day in the life of me as a pretend SAHM and my almost 6-month old.
The little man wakes. On a good day, he self entertains while I try and steal a couple more minutes of shut eye. Usually, not more than 10 minutes pass before I am woken up by screeching.
9.30 – 10.30 am
My mum entertains E while I
eat swallow a quick breakfast and attempt to look decent. On some days, I forget to brush my teeth (gross but true). When we had the Jumperoo, we’d put him in there and he busies himself playing with the attached toys. I will also remove his pyjamas and change him out of his very-much-soaked-and-heavy diapers (we use Merries or MamyPoko. Both work well without leaking). He’d also play naked save for his diapers. This is also the magic hour where he is at his happiest and chirpiest, dishing out big smiles and chuckles.
10.30 – 11 am
Time for a bath! We call it “shower! shower!”, said in a singsong tune. Whenever we do the “shower! shower!” call, E’s face lights up and he is beside himself with happiness. It is hilarious to watch! He kicks his legs enthusiastically and his eyes crinkle as he bursts into spontaneous giggles. Either my mum or I will prepare his bath water (we use California Baby’s Shampoo & Bodywash). We were gifted the Stokke Flexi Bath which is great as it is foldable. When E was much younger, we found it hard to use the newborn support. However, now that he is older, it works well as he can lie in it while we bathe him.
Once he’s done, he’d usually be dressed in a mesh tee/singlet (from Uniqlo) and his diapers. It’s too hot to wear anything else, really. He’d then be nursed to sleep. Or at least I try to get him to sleep.
11 am – 12 pm
Now that he’s older, he doesn’t nap as long so he’d usually get up after an hour or so. If we are lucky, he will sleep for 2 hours but that is a rarity. Both my mum and MIL suggested that we get a sarong (or yaolan) and although I was resistant to the idea at first, I decided that since they are going to be E’s caregivers when I return to work, I’d do whatever it takes to make their life easier. Besides, we did grow up sleeping in a sarong and we turned out fine!
Amazingly, E would take these epic 2-3 hour naps in the sarong which astounded me. The flipside is: These epic naps created another issue – he would fight sleep at night! Hence, we usually keep his naps in the day to a maximum of 2 hours.
12 pm – whatever time he decides to nap again
This really depends. If he’s in the mood, he goes down for another nap in the afternoon. It can happen at 2pm, or 4.30pm or – gasp – 6pm. If he doesn’t want to nap, I don’t fret it. I’d just play with him, or if I feel like it (and it’s not blazing hot outside), I’d plonk him in his stroller and we’d head to Junction 8 for a stroll. My mantra is: If he wants to sleep, he will sleep anywhere and nothing will wake him. If he refuses to nap, nothing I do will make him. If he’s not napping/awake at 6pm-ish, I’d take him and Moon out for a walk at the neighbourhood park. Moon gets her walk, E gets to look at everything and I get a bit of fresh air and exercise. Everyone wins! I have to add again that I am VERY THANKFUL that my mum is on hand to help, especially on non-napping days because looking after the little one is tiring!
Dinner time for the adults. My mum will make dinner and once it’s ready, she will take over the caring of E. This means carrying him while we have our dinner. Once we are done, I’d take over. The boy usually returns from work around this time as well.
Time for E’s second bath of the day. Either the boy or I will bathe him and he changes into his pyjamas. I will usually nurse him after his bath and again, IF WE ARE LUCKY, he goes down to sleep without much resistance. This gives us precious time to take that much-needed shower and collapse into bed. If we are not too lucky (which is most of the time), E would want to play/roll around the bed/”chat”. We’d then take turns to entertain him while the other party takes that much-needed shower. Sometimes, the boy will read to him. Sometimes, nothing works and he fusses and fusses and fusses AND fusses. We’d then be rocking, singing, playing silly peekaboo games, etc etc just to keep him from screaming.
10 – 11 pm
Usually, by this hour, E would have run out of steam and is FINALLY ready to sleep FOR REAL. I’d either nurse him again or the boy gives him a bottle to tank him up. On some days, I am too exhausted and would have fallen asleep. This is when the boy steps in and quietly warms up the milk and gives E his feed before putting him down to sleep. This allows me some uninterrupted sleep till his next feed at about 1-2am (again, depending on his mood).
So. Does Elliott sleep through the night?
I read that my almost 6-month old should be “sleeping through the night” but I also realise that all babies are DIFFERENT. Of course, it would be wonderful if he does so but until that happens, I am still waking up a couple of times a night to nurse him. I know that I can sleep train him but we are currently squashed into one bedroom at my parents’ (dog included) so I might try that when we finally settle down at our new home.
He usually wakes at about 1am, 3-4am, and again at 5-6am. Honestly, I’ve given up tracking how many times he wakes up. When he stirs, I just carry him and stick a boob into his mouth. I have also mastered the art of napping while he nurses so that helps. When he’s done, I simply put him back into his crib and I head back to bed. Sometimes, I fall right back asleep. Other times, I am wide awake and when I eventually fall asleep, he wakes again.
Rinse and repeat until day breaks.