Something is different this time around. M is 3 months and he feels so easy (at this moment). Life speeds on, full of activities, work and play. Having a baby doesn't seem like such a challenge.
Is it me? I daresay I haven't become more accomplished. Through four children I've learned that I like to establish and follow a routine (very rigidly with O, much more loosely with T). I'm committed to nursing; but I always have been. I will nurse routinely for nourishment, but I will also nurse for comfort. I'll nurse at night, if need be, to maintain a strong supply, but I prefer to stretch the night feedings out in an effort to phase them out completely. We follow nursing with a wake time and then to a nap.
It is probably just M that is making things so easy. He and I have established a consistent nursing routine of about three hour intervals. The crucial piece, for me, was having a consistent start to our day. It seems he usually is awake between 5 and 6 am, so I determined that this would be the first feed of the day. I'm committed to getting myself up after that feeding so that I can start my day. If he doesn't wake by 6:30, I wake him, nurse, and lay him back down. This is the key! Even though he is awake after this feed and I can hardly keep from cooing at him, I know it is best for me to put him back down (with just a few sweet words!). He will then typically rise between 8:30 and 9 am.
I have never had a child do this! Either I just thought that they were up for the day at 6 am (as I was), or they weren't so easy to put back down. M is a dream. When he wakes before the 9 am nursing, he rolls to his back and looks around and makes happy noises. What a joy! I remember reading Baby Wise and taking to heart that you should wait for your child to be happy before you pick them up. . . but that simply was NOT happening with other children. (L, especially, I put a concerted effort into trying to train to be happy- to no avail. She still wakes up without a cheerful disposition.) Perhaps M is, as The Baby Whisperer would say, just an "angel baby."
So, I don't know if I've learned much, but I do know that my days are running so smoothly when I can depend upon M's waking. I'm able to have a quiet time, start laundry, make breakfast, exercise, and organize my thoughts before we are full on. Bedtime is similar. I put M down around 6, then nurse again when I'm going to bed (around 9 or 10). It's much simpler to read to everyone else and complete our bedtime routines with my hands free. It doesn't always run like this, but things are more predictable than not. . . and I'm SO thankful. M is great.