The Engineer’s Baby – Sleep

Sleep has become a scheduling and engineering problem. Lets go over the variables.

Sleep. You have to have it, but there are only two of you. (If there are others, the problem becomes more manageable by leaps and bounds. Yeah, Mom came over for a week, we can run through another mother, but sooner or later we have to deal with the baby with just us.

Rule of Thumb – 4 hours. If you don’t get 4 hours in a row, you probably won’t be smart enough to drive in traffic in the morning. Sure, the little 1 hour and 2 hour naps help, but that is just with exhaustion. It is the 4 hour “deep sleeps” that keep your brain cells working. Doesn’t hurt to get two a night. Not likely with a baby.

The baby sleeps in 2 – 3 hour increments, so no, she doesn’t listen to your body’s stupid needs.

My wife is breastfeeding and pumping, but we do supplement with formula. I usually use 1 formula bottle and one breast-bottle every night.

1) I get the wife into bed before midnight. I take on the 11 pm or midnight feeding. I put her down, I crawl into bed for nap #1.
2) Baby gets me up between 1:30 and 3 am for her second feeding. The first thing to remember is to turn off the baby monitor as soon as you get up, this lets the long-sleeper sleep. This feeding is usually fomula because I don’t have to warm it up from the fridge. I dump 4 oz of purified water into a bottle, throw in a couple scoops of formula, and we’re off to the feeding. She is usually crying hard by then, so I don’t really like waiting 5 minutes to get the formula warmed up.
3) Put the baby down, turn the monitor back on, Nap number two…
4) If I’m lucky, she sleeps till 5 am, which is our designated hand-off point. If she wakes at 3:30 – 4, I’m back to the races. Hopefully I have a bottle of breast-milk in the fridge, or I’ll have to make a second formula bottle.  Heating breast milk is simple. Put the bottle in a coffee cup, put the cup in the sink, turn on the hot water. Go get the baby. Come back, shake the bottle, (When you shake the bottle the temperature drops from the exterior heat of the water to the interior temperature of the cold breast milk. )drop the bottle back into the cup. Sooner or later the bottle stays warmish when you shake it, then baby’ll drink it.
5) 5 am! Yeah, I go to bed and if the baby is awake, I wake the mommy. We’re both happier if she sleeps till 7 am, but hey, not likely.
6) 9 am, yeah, late for work. I need to move the handoff to 4 am, but that means getting the wife to bed before 11 pm. Not there yet. Too little time for the wife and I to have personal time.

I’ll tell you straight out, engineer or not, I know what a lack of personal time does to a relationship. You need to get hours in the day which are just you and your wife. Hard to do between baby, work, other children, etc, but make those hours happen.

I’m practically a profesional napper. maybe we could take it to the olympics. Hard to see a sport dominated by older men… but hey, I could follow the action in my wife’s recliner.
Thanks for listening,

4 thoughts on “The Engineer’s Baby – Sleep”

  1. Hawk,
    Yeah, sleep is the tough one! I am hoping that your daughter is not colicky! Even so, you never forget the first night that your child sleeps for more than six hours continuously! (For Jonathan, it was April 27th, exactly three months to the day that he was born!) One trick that we tried was the addition of rice cereal to his formula. This increased the retention time of food in his stomach so that he did not wake up every two hours or so like he did with liquid feedings! The down side is once they start eating solids in their food, their poop becomes messier! (Can we say anything about leaving behind weapons of mass destruction in his diaper?)

    Finally, there is that whole stage where they go through that whole blotchy skin thing! Starting from the moment that they are born, until about two months, there are waves of microbial colonization that take place on an infant’s skin. That, as well as the whole process of the hair that they have on their heads rubbing off, then growing back in patches gives them a kind of half-finished look. It DOES get better, eventually!
    Get your shuteye when you can!
    Yours in parenting science!
    Dr. DNA

  2. Nobody said that fullfilling one’s genetic destiny would be glamorous or easy, but rumor has it that in the end it is worth it. : )

  3. I was thinking red, white, and blue … Snuggies. I can just see us there, marching with the bands, wearing backwards housecoats and carrying teddy bears with little top hats. I feel more patriotic already.

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