A friend recommended the book Babywise when I was very newly pregnant, and I managed to just barely get it (mostly) read before I had the baby. I've heard that it's controversial and extreme, but I didn't see that at all in what I read. It made perfect sense.
Haha, little did I know...
I still like the idea, and I'm still incorporating a modified version, but I see now how it can be "extreme." Babies don't conform to your schedule!! I started out trying to follow the book to the letter, and found supporting information online to further educate myself. According to all the reading, I should be having a regular wake up time every morning, within 15 minutes either direction. From that point, he should eat at the same times every day, every 2 - 3 hours. After eating, he should be awake for some time (no more than an hour, according to the people online who have done this before), then be put down for naps while still awake and fall asleep on his own.
The first issue I discovered in practice is, if he is eating every 2-3 hours (with one 4 hour stretch a day, according to the lactation people), how is it mathematically possible to have the same eating times every day??? It is not. So our schedule fluctuates a bit day to day, but in general we start our day at 10 AM. If he eats well, he is predictably hungry every 3 hours, and I can basically tell you when I'll be feeding him from day to day. If he's growing or something, he'll get hungry in 1.5-2 hours, and that's ok- I'll feed him then. If he's hungry because he was dicking around instead of eating, I'll make him wait and get properly hungry before feeding him again. If he's sleeping past 3 hours, then I'll wake him up to eat (if he's gonna have a 4 hour stretch, it's gonna be at night, thankyouverymuch). And this basically works for us.
And then there's the napping thing. This has been our biggest issue. The online reading says babies have "sleep cues" that you have to read and know when to put them down, and you have about a 10 minute window to get it right or they get overtired and won't fall asleep. Seriously?? First of all, I've known this person for less than a month, and he can't talk... how in the heck am I supposed to know what his sleep cues are? And babies are changing constantly. By the time I get to know him and figure out his sleep cues, they could have changed entirely. So we've never had success with putting him down and having him fall asleep on his own. I've given up on that, and I'm ok with it. We'll hold him and rock him to sleep and let him dictate his own sleep schedule, and maybe he'll be able to teach me what he needs/wants before he's 6 months old.
So things are going pretty well now. He's figured out how to eat without TOO much trouble, most of the time... and he's very good at sticking to his "schedule," most of the time.... and he's VERY good at sleeping at night. Most of the time. He's had a rough few days, but last night he slept for almost 5 hours in one stretch. Coincidentally, I've been happier and more relaxed today than I have been in a long time.
I'm sure next week I'll have something else making me pull my hair out in frustration.
But at least next week we'll hopefully be in Colorado where Noni and Papa will make everything all better.