How We Transitioned to Day Care

Babies on schedules are the bees knees. Seriously!

A couple months ago, I could hardly describe what was happening in our lives. We were an utter mess. Neither of us was sleeping, mostly because Rooney was next to our bed making too-cute-not-to-notice sleeping noises that kept us awake half the night in anticipation for the next feeding.

Oh, how quickly babies change.

Now, at three months, she is a master of all things eating. Literally the day before Kelsey went back to work, Rooney decided she was going to drop a feeding and start eating an extra 2 ounces every feeding (which means we gained an hour between feedings as well).

We've all had to adjust to Rooney going to day care. Our normal morning routine no longer worked for us. After the first two weeks of struggling to figure out what the heck was going on, we have finally found something that works for us: a routine set by the clock.

Up until this week, we've been letting Rooney dictate exactly when she eats and sleeps. While her cues are still important, setting a schedule has been the best thing we have done thus far in our short parenting career.

Kelsey must get all the credit. She is a researching machine when it comes to all things baby. Any time we have an issue, she has found a solution almost instantly by scouring the Internet. (How did our parents raise us without the Internet? Really?)

Once Kels knew that we needed to all be on the same page and get Rooney on a routine, it was a joint effort to stick to it. Our day care ladies are fantastic, and, obviously, they are key in keeping up with the routine while we were at work.

Our new schedule has helped us make the most of the time we have with Rooney during the weekday evenings (which is not near enough at this point...homegirl sleeps way too much).

Our Family Routine

  • 5:00 AM - Eric gets up.
  • 6:15 AM - Kelsey gets up.
  • 6:30 AM - Rooney wakes up, and we all hang out together. We take our time changing her diaper and clothes, and enjoy all her new tricks. We feed her and play until...
  • 7:00 AM - Everyone is out the door to drop Rooney off at day care.
  • 7:20 AM - We get to work.
  • 4:00 PM - We get off work.
  • 4:15 PM - We pick Rooney up and play until it's time for an evening nap.
  • 5:00 PM - Rooney's last nap of the day.
  • 6:00 PM - Rooney gets up to eat and play until bedtime.
  • 7:00 PM - Rooney goes to bed.
  • 7-9:30 PM - Mommy and daddy eat supper and spend time together before going to bed.

This schedule has worked extremely well for us so far (keep in mind that we have one child who is 3 months old). I have to say that Rooney settled into it so wonderfully. It was, after all, created according to her baby-led patterns that we saw after evaluating her daily day care logs.

Scheduling is not for every body or every family, and even three weeks ago we were not ready to do this. Not until she came home from day care and would sleep the entire evening, only to wake at 1 AM for dinner and then go back to bed, did we consider a schedule. We would never want to create a schedule that did not support her developmental and physical needs. Perhaps best of all, it has created peace of mind for us as parents to have confidence and a sense of predictability with what each day will be like (for now).

We hope to continue to be able to enjoy our small window of awake time with our daughter in the mornings and evenings. It's a tough balance between wanting to just hold her and play with her all evening and wanting her to get the sleep she wants and needs.

The other night we were thinking about what we used to do in the evenings before she was born...and while I remember the immense freedom we had to do what we wanted whenever we wanted (running errands on a whim, eating out, etc.), we really wasted a lot of time just sitting around and watching TV.

While we make the most of our evenings with Rooney, we really have to thank our day care for working with us and keeping Rooney on our schedule.

So I guess the moral of the story is to not be afraid to talk with your day care about the needs of your baby and for you as parents. If they are changing her diaper too much or too little, let them know. It might be a tough conversation, but it's totally worth having if it means a happier baby and happier parents. If you're having trouble talking to them in person, send a tactful email or pass notes back and forth in a little notebook during dropoffs and pickups. Kelsey has done both those things and it helps in keeping up communication but also respecting everyone's time (morning and evening exchanges are typically pretty quick).

How do you work out your baby's routines with day care?