It is 4:30pm and I’ve been writing this post since last night. Before Cullen came along, I knew life would be different, but I had no idea what a typical day would look like with a baby. Now I know that there is no such thing as a typical day, but I’ve done my best to capture what one might look like.
Sometimes our afternoons and mornings are flip-flopped, some naps are longer than others, sometimes we run errands, but overall my days tend to run along the same general schedule. Here’s what my days look like with a seven-week-old in charge…
8:00 – 9:00am – Into the nursery to get Cullen changed, dressed, and fed. He usually eats for 20-25 minutes each time, so eating takes up a long chunk of our day! Here’s a fun fact I didn’t know until having a baby – feedings are timed from the START of a feeding, to the start of the next feeding. So if your baby eats every 2 hours, 30 minutes of that is taken up by…feeding. So you really only have 90 minutes in between to get anything else done.
9am – We’ve been up for two hours, but we’re just now finally making it downstairs. Cullen is happy and is willing to play on his playmat for a bit, kicking and batting at the toys.
As soon as he hits the mat, I start racing around to get as much done as I can before he needs me again. First things first, feeding the dogs who have been staring at me since we woke up. Once the dogs eat, I go back downstairs to let them out.
Back UP the stairs, and into the kitchen to quickly make myself breakfast. This is my only real window to eat in the mornings, so I have to do it quickly or else I will starve. Usually I have oatmeal waiting for me in the rice cooker from the night before, so I quickly dish that up, throw on some toppings, and slam it along with a full liter of sparkling water.
9:30am – The playmat is no longer fun, and Cullen is demanding a playmate. I sit on the floor and shake the carrots and bumblebees for him, and make goofy faces and sing to him.
10:00am – Mom is not funny anymore. Time for the morning nap! Depending on his level of tiredness, I will walk around for a few minutes with him on my shoulder, or just put him directly into his swing. Usually he goes down for this nap without much resistance. He always naps in his swing or pillow – still working on transitioning to naps in the crib.
10:00 – 11:00am – Cullen’s morning nap will last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour (occasionally a dreaded ten minutes). During this window, I finally sit down at my computer for the first time, check email, start my posts for that day, and try to quickly answer any lingering comments/questions from the day before. Before he wakes up, I run downstairs one more times to give the dogs a break in the backyard.
11:00am – Time to eat again! Back up to the nursery for meal and a diaper change.
11:30am – Cullen is happy with a full belly, so I take him into the bedroom and set him in his Pack N Play to kick his legs and stare out the window.
He LOVES the camera, so we usually have a morning photo shoot each day around this time.
After a few pictures, I run around the top floor changing over the laundry, folding clean laundry, picking up the bedroom, etc.
12:00 – 2:00pm – I usually try to get out of the house around this time, since this is when Cullen starts to hit his afternoon meltdown point. He goes into the Ergo, and we either walk to a coffee shop just the two of us, or we meet one of my other new mom friends for a walk around the neighborhood. He usually takes his afternoon nap while we walk.
2:00pm – Back at home, and someone is hungry! Back up to the nursery for an afternoon meal, diaper change, and laundry switchover.
And someone else is hungry – mom hasn’t had lunch yet. After he eats I’ll try putting him back on his playmat for a few minutes so that I can throw together something for lunch. It usually ends up being a Field Roast dog, hummus and crackers, or leftovers. If I’m lucky I might also get 30 or so minutes at my computer at this point.
2:00 – 4:00pm – This is Cullen’s worst time of day. For some reason he gets really grumpy in the late afternoon, and I have a hard time keeping him happy. We sing, we dance, we play in the mirror, we lay on soft blankets and look at toys. Usually during this period I have to give him my full attention, and can’t get near my computer or do much else. We are usually joined by dogs.
He might take a short 30 minute nap, usually ON me or in his swing. If that happens, I quickly run down to feed the dogs and let them out again.
4:00pm – Back awake and back on the boob!
4:15pm – Diaper explosion. Entire outfit change for both of us. New load of laundry started.
4:30pm – Dad is home! This is a bright spot in BOTH of our days, as a new face and some relief is more than needed at this point. We talk to Casey, catch up on our days, and figure out our plan for the evening.
5:00 – 6:00pm – When most babies are at their crankiest (evening), this is Cullen’s favorite time of day. He LOVES to be naked, so we usually strip him down and let him just hang out in a diaper. He hangs out in his Boppy pillow on the kitchen counter and helps me start to prepare dinner. Lots of kicking, smiling, and shouting of baby noises.
6:30 – Last feeding of the night – I hope! If he’s getting a bath, this happens now. He’s a big fan of bath time. Out of the tub, dried off, final diaper change, and into pajamas.
7:00pm – Back downstairs and settling down for bedtime. Usually Casey bounces Cullen on his lap or in his arms while I finish up dinner preparations.
7:30pm – Bedtime! He goes to bed almost every night at the same time. We put him in his cozy swaddle, set him in his Boppy pillow on the couch, turn on a little white noise, and sit with him for a few minutes. Typically he’s really good about going to bed. I think he knows his routine now, and he usually looks around for a few minutes before eventually closing his eyes. Once he’s asleep, we know he’s down for good. Huey and Indy curl up next to him every night.
7:30 – 10:00pm – Mom and dad time. Once he goes to sleep, we finish and plate up dinner and eat together. Afterwards, we watch TV while we both catch up on computer work. As you see, there is very little time for any work during the day – only during occasional long naps which are unpredictable, so the bulk of my work has to be done at night.
10:00pm – Carry Cullen upstairs and set him in his Pack N Play. He squirms a bit, but almost never wakes up. I am dragging and ready to pass out in bed.
1:30am – I hear Cullen squirming and snorting, and my boobs are alerting me that it is most definitely time to eat. I pick him up and carry him into the nursery for a diaper change and feeding. I keep the lights low and don’t say much to him, trying to keep him in a sleepy state. To keep myself awake during his feeding, I text with the other #zombiemoms and read blogs on my phone. I am TIRED.
2:15am – Both of us go back to sleep. He never wakes up and stays up (loudly knocking on wood), and I’m lucky that he’s such a good sleeper.
5:00am – Awake again! Grab him for another diaper change and meal. At this point it’s 8am on the East coast, so I have a lot more email and Twitter to entertain me while he eats his breakfast.
5:45am – Casey gets up to go run on the treadmill just as Cullen and I are heading back to sleep. He usually doesn’t go back to sleep quite as quickly this time, but he’s happy to squirm around and kick for 30 minutes or so before eventually drifting off. I pass out immediately.
7:00 – 8:00am – Cullen is up and making noise again, and I know he’s now up for the morning. Even though I am very tempted to stay in bed and get another hour of sleep, I force myself out of bed and into the shower. He always has an hour of “playtime” in the morning, where I unswaddle him, open the balcony curtains, and let him kick and play in his crib (which he loves).
This gives me a short window to shower, get dressed, and throw my hair in a bun before he gets hungry. While I’m in the shower, the dogs climb into our bed for a morning snooze and babysit Cullen in his Pack N Play. Eventually Cullen’s squeaks and coos turn into whines and cries, and I know it’s time to eat again.
8:00am – Back in the nursery, and the cycle starts all over again…
Every baby and every day is different, and I know they will continue to change as he gets older and his needs are different. I’m planning to do another “day in the life” in a few months to see how much has changed! And with that, it’s time to go feed my baby again…