It isn't as if there is no routine in our lives, but the difference now is that I let Butterfly set her own!
Here are a few examples of how our lives have changed...
Then... set my alarm for 7am, and wake the baby if she wasn't yet awake (also applies to naps)
NOW... get up when we get up! Yeah, most of the time she wakes between 6.30am and 7.30am, but there have been a few after 8am wake ups that I would have MISSED!!
Then... feed the baby, put her in her cot, say goodnight and walk out, closing the door behind me (and then listen to her whinge herself to sleep)
NOW... Lie down together in our communal bed, and breastfeed to sleep, with my beautiful daughter playing with my skin... Sweet, peaceful, easy!
Then... bedtime is 7pm. If the baby is tired at 6pm stress both of you out by trying to keep her up till 7pm. If she isn't tired at 7pm, tough cookies it is bedtime!
NOW... bedtime is when she is tired. Woke up from her midday nap early? Go to bed at 5pm if needed. Had a nap in the car late in the afternoon? Stay up till 10pm playing with Dadda! If we try to put her to bed and she isn't tired, we don't stress about it, just take her out for another play until she IS tired enough!
Then... breastfeed the baby 6 times a day, and whenever she needs at night
NOW... geez, who counts?? Feed to sleep, feed when she wakes, feed while playing if she is thirsty, feed if she is teethy and upset, feed whenever and wherever!
Then... get up a zillion times a night to check that Butterfly is still breathing... then go searching for the cats every time I open the door to make sure neither of them snuck into her room in the dark!
NOW... Mostly I can hear her breathing, but worst case scenario I have to put out a hand, feel the rise and fall of her chest, and go back to sleep
Then... put her down for her naps exactly 1 hour 20 minutes after she woke up (for example), DON'T put her to bed 5 minutes early even if she is crying with tiredness!
NOW... put her down for her nap when she is tired, if we are out and about she may stay up later, if she had a rough night she can go earlier!
Then... wake up in the morning to the sound of a crying child and have to jump out of bed feeling like a zombie!
NOW... wake up to a little hand on my arm, and roll over to see my baby's smiling face! Then we open the blinds, and wake up at our own pace looking into the garden, followed by peekaboo with the sheets... blissssss
Then... if she wakes at night, go into her room, DON'T make eye contact, and try to resettle her if it isn't "time" for a feed
NOW... If she wakes she gets boob. If she is waking ridiculously often, hold her and pat her back until she goes to sleep.
Then... What time is it?
NOW... Who caresssssss! I follow her cues for feeding and bedtimes!
Yes, in some ways life has become a little less predictable, and I have to parent at night time... but I wouldn't go back for all the money in the world. That "book" had me convinced that my baby was born manipulative and I had to "teach" her how to self settle... pfft! Now I breastfeed to sleep, SHOCK HORROR! People may say I am making a rod for my own back. Whatevs, it is MY back... and I believe I will reap the rewards when my daughter grows up happy and confident having all her needs met as an infant.
Routines were easier on me. Continuum parenting is easier on Butterfly. I know which I will choose every time!