Rattling this out quickly before it escapes me; this is going to be part of a larger thing I’m writing but I’ve got some friends who will need this soon. So for now, two things.
First of all, bedtime: in the first six to eight weeks, they’ll sleep, wake up and poop wherever and whenever they want. Which isn’t easy, don’t get me wrong – they’ll need to be fed and held at all hours of the night, which is grinds you right down – but it’s also uncomplicated. Feed me, burp me, change me, hold me, that’s about it, but it’s 100% on their schedule, not yours. If it’s any consolation, you probably won’t remember this part all that well. If you did, vividly, then you probably wouldn’t have any more; selection pressure is home to some perverse incentives, and this is one of them.
After that, at about the two month mark, bedtime changes and you’ve got to work for it; baby’s starting to see things, to realize there are things and people in the world, and want to look at them and play with them. You should approach it like a science for sure – make a theory, test it, make another – but expect that a successful plan will work for about two weeks and then just stop for no obvious reason.
After that the kid outgrows it and you need to figure out the next thing. It’s a process, and nothing works every time; keep calm and carry on. Either way, starting the bedtime routine when the kid is tired is too late; aim to be finishing your bedtime routine then, not starting, or your cranky, overtired baby will be very angry with you.
Second, even if you’re planning zero renos or other house modification at all, do these three things:
- Put a dimmer switch in the baby’s room, to give you enough light to see by without waking up the kid.
- Put a plastic mattress cover under your own bedsheets, because the kid will be in there with you at some point, and
- If you have the means, replace the toilet seat(s) on the baby’s floor with the slow-settling ones that don’t slam down.
Other than that, if they aren’t diapered up don’t put them down on anything you can’t clean with a hose, ever.
Good luck, folks. Anyone who’s got anything to add to this, jump in with the commenting.