I am a first time mom and could really use some advice! My daughter is one month old and EBF. She has developed a night time 'schedule' on her own: I feed her at about midnight and put myself to bed. She is pretty awake after that so my husband stays up with her until she's tired, then rocks her to sleep. About one am (usually) he brings her to bed-- generally, the bassinet right next to me. She sleeps soundly until about six or seven, when she starts stirring and doing a little bit of fussing. Usually, she has some gas and once that's out she goes right back to sleep, but I pull her into bed as soon as I hear her, and we both go back to sleep until about eight. I feed her, change her diaper, and she goes back to sleep for another three or four hours, usually in bed with me. The rest of the day is much less predictable, but she generally eats every two or three hours and follows an eat-awake-sleep pattern (that part is predictable, but the length of her naps varies). She is usually wide awake from ten or so at night until she goes down at about 12:30.
Now, I know this is a WONDERFUL problem to have (we have really just lucked out on the sleep thing!). She is gaining weight, going through plenty of diapers so I'm not worried about that eight hour stretch between feedings. (Actually, I worried initially, but no matter how hard I try I can't get her to eat before eight in the morning anyway, and since she's healthy I let it go). But my maternity leave is over in three weeks, and when I go back to work I will be getting up at 5:30 in order to leave the house by 6:45. She will be staying home with my husband, so I don't have to worry about packing her off anywhere, but I would really like to move up her schedule a few hours so I can take advantage of that eight hour stretch for myself! It would be absolutely wonderful if I could get that eight am feeding to move up a couple of hours so I can nurse before work, and then put her back down with her dad while I head off.
Does anyone have any suggestions for moving her schedule up? I have kind of half-heartedly tried to wake her up from daytime naps a little early, but it feels wrong to wake a baby in deep sleep. Plus, the length of her naps can vary so much that I never know if I am waking her twenty minutes early, or an hour early. (There have been a couple of times I've managed to wake her up, she's wailed for twenty minutes, and gone back to heavy sleep for another hour without feeding, so I know I woke her too early!) I wish I could really let her set her own schedule, but I'm being practical when I say that I will be a much better working mama if I can get eight hours of sleep myself.
You know, everything changes from one week to the next when they're this little. With my first, I worried about things like this, would figure out a solution, and then it would change completely. Not that you're doing anything wrong at all. But, just know that it will change. All of it. The 8 hours will almost certainly go away (I'm soooo sorry!). And lots of the pieces will change simply because you are at work, and not there to snuggle back with.
That being said, I would work very gradually, and go with what you think she can handle. If she seems to want to be awake for 2-3 hours before going to sleep, aim for that to happen a bit earlier, have your husband try to get her to sleep maybe 15-30 minutes earlier, and go gradually from there. Small steps, so as not to upset the whole apple cart, you know?
You will almost certainly thrive on far less than 8 hours of sleep most nights, been there....