Early in my career as a father (and Valentina’s career as a baby), everyone wanted to give my wife and I advice on how to manage a baby and our time:
“Sleep when she sleeps.”
“Get her on a routine.”
“Don’t feed her before bed.”
“Feed her before bed.”
It was endless. There is one though that I could never get behind:
“Never wake the baby.”
For some reason, when a baby is sleeping, it turns into a coiled snake, ready to strike. To wake up a sleeping child would be opening the gates to the seventh level of hell…something like that. Why would I not wake the child? I have things to do, places to go, people to see. I don’t have time to sit around and let Valentina get her beauty rest. Besides, she woke me up for the first ten months, it’s only fair.
I like to think that I practice baby management. Valentina’s actions and needs are predictable. Knowing at what intervals she will need something puts me in a good place to manage the day. As a work-from-home-dad, baby management is very important.
This is an ideal daily routine:
- 730: Wake up
- 800: Breakfast
- 900: Play time
- 1000: Bottle and nap
- 1230: Wake up and lunch
- 1300: Destroy office while dad works
- 1530: Bottle and nap
- 1630: Wake up
The bulk of my work happens during nap time, but what if I have a client that needs to speak with me at 1430? Valentina needs about three hours between naps. If I need her back to bed at a certain time, I need to make sure she has been awake for the proper amount of time beforehand. It’s time to wake the baby.
Valentina will never look at me and say, “just a few more minutes.” Instead, she will whine for a little bit and then completely forget that she was sleeping and groggy. If I wake her up at 1130, I can start lunch and have it in her mouth by 12. The clock starts ticking the moment she wakes up so 1130 + 300 = 1430 (close enough). She will crawl around in her crib with a belly full of hot milk and quickly be down like a sack of potatoes. Baby management.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t wake the baby. Yes, they do need a minimum amount of sleep per day but there is no rule on when that needs to be. If you gotta’ go, go. Wake the baby up and take her with you. Just remember to keep a running schedule in your mind so you know when to expect hunger, boredom and more sleepyness.