On Establishing a Reasonable Bedtime

Babies like to play this fun little game. Once their parents think that they’ve finally got something figured out, the baby decides to flip everything on its head. In few areas is this more pronounced than when it comes to sleep. This not only has to do with preferences in terms of how to fall asleep, but also about when to fall asleep. Most newborns really only have two modes: eating and sleeping. But that changes.

I remember after the first few weeks of life, Adalynn slowly started to settle into some semblance of a routine. She surely wasn’t “sleeping through the night” just yet, but her marginally official bedtime was probably closer to one or two in the morning. Of course, she’d still get up about three hours later, requiring a diaper change and a feed.

Dream the Impossible Dream

If you had told me then that, just a few months later, she would be going to bed for the night as early as 7pm and sleeping clear through to the (early) morning hours for a solid stretch of as much as 10 hours, I would laugh in your face. In fact, that’s exactly what happened when someone told me that many babies have a bedtime of around 7pm. Yet, we’ve been able to experience this on more than one occasion. And it boggles my mind. I’m not ungrateful; it just baffles me.

Part of this has to do with her natural maturation process. She is older, after all, and she’s doing all sorts of things that she wasn’t doing just a few months ago. We have to realize that “a few months ago” is literally half a lifetime ago for her. Depending on how active she is during the day and depending on how well her naps go, it’s not out of the ordinary for her to want to start the bedtime routine as early as 6:30pm.

Getting the Job Done

It has been a very foreign experience for us. And don’t get me wrong. The whole sleep training process that we’re currently enduring is far from easy and there are nights where she refuses to fall asleep until several hours later, but it’s still a heck of a lot earlier than after midnight.

From a productivity standpoint as a freelance writer, it means I have now gained access to the “third shift,” for better or for worse. When Adalynn has settled in for the night, I can head back into the home office and get a few hours of work done while monitoring her via the IP camera. Despite the many challenges we still face, it has gotten easier.

When we first transitioned her to sleeping in her own room a few months ago, I’d still stay up until about four to watch her, coaxing her back to sleep when she stirred or woke herself up. That has since become less necessary. She still stirs, but she is getting a lot better at self-soothing.

When’s Bedtime?

What does this all mean moving forward? Just as I wouldn’t have believed in the possibility of a 7pm bedtime a few months ago, I can’t even begin to predict what the bedtime routine will look like a few months down the road. What I do know is that I will need to continually adapt my schedule and my work habits to accommodate her ever-changing rhythms and idiosyncrasies. But that’s the intrinsic reward of working from home, right?

A baby and her horse.

A photo posted by Michael Kwan (@beyondtherhetoric) on