first time parent - routine - are you joking?

(44 Posts)
rollercoaster1 Mon 02-Feb-09 21:36:32

HI girls, I dont feel I can tell my nearest and dearest that some days I really feel like I dont know whether Im coming or going with parenting. I get asked if my 4 MO sleeps through - you've gotta be joking? He wakes every 2 hours - I feed on demand. A couple of months ago he was only waking once in the night and I thought I had it sussed! Now I dont know whether Im coming or going. Routine? Please - whats that? Should he have a routine now? Re bedtimes - I have been trying to get him fed and in bed by 730 - 830 and until this week thats been working pretty well. However for some reason he is napping now for 20 mins or so when I put him down and not sleeping for several hours like he used to so thats all gone pear shaped too and hes sitting here looking and me, as lively as can be at 9.30pm. Ive just spend 2 hrs feeding, rocking, walking and patting to no avail and have given up! I have a very supportive DH who thinks im doing a great job but I feel Im just surviving and have no idea what the bigger picture is anymore or what I should be doing to make life more straightforward in the longrun. Family tell me Im making a rod for my own back - I feed on demand, I rock him to sleep, I go get him when he cries - but I dont know any other way and that just feels like its what I should be doing. Ive loooked at GF books briefly on routines etc and I broke out in a cold sweat - they dont mention being in PJs at midday and trying to get a shower by 4pm - not for me but if theres any words of wisdom from experienced mums Id be glad to hear them!

eNABlemetobebetter Mon 02-Feb-09 21:37:54

just a quickie as off to bed

i fed mine 2 hourly for the best part of 6 months and they didn't sleep through until 6-7months

sfxmum Mon 02-Feb-09 21:39:57

you now it takes time had similar experience and things like growth spurts and teething really throw a spanner in the works
but this too shall pass make sure you get plenty of support and some time for yourself
smile

smellen Mon 02-Feb-09 21:41:15

Sounds like you are doing really well - just coping with the shock, sleep deprivation and emotions is about it for the first half of the first year.

Haven't got much time now, but I'm with you on following your instincts - babies are all different (I think you only really believe this when you've had your second - but it is sooo true). Some need more cuddling than others.

I fed both on demand, and didn't worry about Rods For My Back until later in the first year. I don't see how a 4 mo baby can really "learn" from being rocked or fed to sleep - their memories are not that developed at that stage. You will be able to sleep train your child more successfully at the end of the year, and in the meantime you are making your baby feel secure and loved, and that must be a good thing.

Doubting your own ability to be a "good mum" (whatever that is) is really normal, as is not achieving anything other than getting yourselves dressed, fed, and changing (what seems like zillions of) nappies. But it will all get easier, your confidence will grow, and you will start to enjoy it more.

Good luck.

quaranta Mon 02-Feb-09 21:41:24

Dear Rollercoaster, you sound like you are doing a brilliant job. Nothing you are doing wrong in the slightest in my book - babies aren't machines and just getting him and fed and into bed by 7.30 sounds good to me. You shouldn't know any other way other than getting him when he cries and rocking and feeding him - what could be better? He;s so little at this point - someone better qualified to offer more help for the overwhelming tiredness will be along soon but all i can say is that IMO at 16 weeks neither of mine regularly slept through. Take care and keep posting there will be lots of help here.

ilovetochat Mon 02-Feb-09 21:42:00

hi rollercoaster, you sound like me and most other moms, you are doing fine.
my dd is 18 months now and i always fed on demand and picked her up when she cried. she found her own routine if you can call it that when they are so young and ate more during growth spurts.
many times dp came home from work and i was still in pjs and literally hadn't eaten all day as i hadn't had time, sounds ridiculous now but so true.
it gets easier, they stay awake longer inbetween naps and sleep better at night.
don't listen to what everyone else does as quite often they exaggerate.
you and ds will find your own way and both be very happy. smile

sfxmum Mon 02-Feb-09 21:42:39

also I read a fair bit on the no cry sleep solution and Penelope Leach, not for every one I know but it made me feel better about my choices, that and knowing other mums felt the same, it is really hard work

if it is any consolation my dd is now 3.7 and has been a pretty good sleeper from about 10 months, we co slept and demand fed too

cmotdibbler Mon 02-Feb-09 21:44:00

You're doing great smile Routine is very much overrated, and alas, babies don't read these books. They also change on a weekly, if not daily basis, but if you go with their flow they will sort themselves out.

It can make you feel more in control to be clean and dressed before midday though - I used to take DS into the bath with me so that we got a two for one clean, he could feed in the bath, and I could soak.

BTW - even though I fed on demand, didn't let him cry, fed him in the night till 18 months, extended bf, co slept etc (and was told I was making a rod for my back) DS at 2.8 goes to sleep without a murmur at 7, sleeps through till 6.30 in his own bed, and is a totally delightful child.

christiana Mon 02-Feb-09 21:46:38

Message withdrawn

abbierhodes Mon 02-Feb-09 21:48:03

Have you tried the baby whisperer books? GF is far too extreme IMO, but baby whisperer (can't think of author's name) has some ideas on how to introduce a routine gently. She doesn't advocate leaving to cry or anything like that IIRC.
I found it to be excellent.

You do sound perfectly normal to me, I don't remember showering in the irst 6 months!!!

One good piece of advice I found...if a baby isn't tired, forget putting him to sleep...it's mentally easier.

Mummyfor3 Mon 02-Feb-09 21:50:06

Oh, rollercoaster1, you will get LOTS of support re your problems/query!!

Have a glass of wine, it will do you good and him no harm. I was you 5 years ago after DS1 (now looking after 10 month old DS3).

You sound like you a doing a phatastic job! Do not waste precious nervous energy on doubting doing what feels right to you.
At 4 months, your son is tiny and probably just going through a growth spurt, often happens at 16-18 weeks when babies want to feed more often, for longer and generally can be v restless.

You cannot spoil a young baby - I hate that phrase "spoil": what, ruin him for life??! Things will settle again, they will, it is just hard to see that when the going is really rough and you are physically tired and mentally exhausted.

"Routine" - IMO there is nothing wrong with following babies clues, ie recognizing when he is tired, making a mental note of that time, and looking out for tired signs the next day around the same time. GF very emphatically would not have been for me either (I have a friend who was so upset by her inability to follow the routine she ended up burning the book in her garded grin), but I have friends who loved that approach. I thing it very much depends how organised a person you are at the best of times (I am not very wink), and how much crying you are prepared to listen to - at least in the short run. I did not want to teach my children that when they cried, nobody came.

Sorry, about the long ramble, you just really struck a chord. Repeat after me: it does get easier, you are doing a great job, try to roll with it rather than striving for unattainable goals.

Continue to BF on demand, follow your babies leads, nurture him and make time to look after yourself, too! In the words of people wiser than me: this too shall pass. He will develop a routine of his own.

smilesmilesmile

Mummyfor3 Mon 02-Feb-09 21:51:23

Obviously took me so long to type my reply, lots of people got in there before me grin!

Told you, you'd get lots of support, didn't I??

LOL

Aranea Mon 02-Feb-09 22:08:17

Your baby is a couple of weeks older than my second, and mine has started waking every 2 hours having slept amazingly well to begin with.

I wouldn't worry too much about the long term.... it's completely unpredictable in my opinion. If it's any consolation, my first one was a disastrous sleeper (and I subscribe to the view that you should pick up when they cry, feed on demand etc) and she turned into a perfectly reliably sleeping child. I just think babies sometimes take a long time to learn about sleep. I know strict routines can work very well for some people, but they are not for me - and not for every baby.

I do like the No Cry Sleep Solution though, it's a very kind book. And I especially think it can be useful for young babies like yours, in helping them to learn to settle themselves. I found it a very helpful thing to read with my first baby, as it helped me to feel I was doing something to try & get her sleeping better, without ever leaving her to cry.

I know it's hard but really try not to listen to anyone's views on Rods for Own Back. And ignore questions about whether your baby is sleeping through. It isn't the most interesting thing about your baby.

all three of mine just developed a routine, especially after weaning so had 3 meals a day at a set time.

I helped by bathing and bed at the same time each night.

My advice is to chill, feed on demand, lots of cuddles even co-sleeping to get a bit of extra sleep.

The cuddling, rocking etc will be gone before you know it, it sounds trite but enjoy it, i promise it will get easier soon.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 02-Feb-09 22:53:38

my DS is 3 months and I got myself so worked up in the 1st 8-10 weeks thanks to GF, BW etc...have realied i'm just not suited (or patient enough) for a routine which makes my baby so unhappy initially. I would totally recommend Penelope Leach though, every time I get the jitters about routines, I read her "your baby and child" book, especially the chapter on loving and "spoiling" your settled baby, it makes me feel so much better!

happy2bme Tue 03-Feb-09 08:55:42

I can identify so much with OP - am a first time parent to ds (now 7 months) - have suffered lots of unhelpful remarks from IL's who very much come from a routine based background and made no attempts to hide the fact that they felt that going to bed at the same time as us was completely inappropriate!!!!

I say do whatever works - ds has got himself into a routine these last couple of weeks, sleeping eating napping etc has improved so it does happen. But was given a timetable yesterday by nursery to write down ds's routine during the day and I just laughed! We do things at a different time each day, and ds just fits in with that.

onlinemummy Tue 03-Feb-09 13:33:55

I agree with all the others. I know you feel a pressure within yourself and also from (un)helpful family and friends but just try and enjoy this time as much as possible, it goes so quickly, as will the disturbed sleeping.
As for spoiling a child, I really believe and some research has backed it that if you respond to a baby's needs as quickly as possible then he/she will be more secure in the long term and will lead to a happier more settled baby (who will sleep better too!)
On a practical note, if you make a diary over a couple of days you will see that you will have some sort of routine already, then you can look at changing it over the course of a couple of weeks little bit by little bit to the sort of routine you would like. However try not to get too hung up on specific times and move more towards a pattern of the day. I always felt better for getting ready very early in the day( with DS in bouncy chair in shower room!)and I think you feel a sense of achievement once you are dressed and ready for the day!
Hope some of this helps, but it sounds like you are being a lovely Mummy to your baby and at the end of the day thats what matters.

smellen Tue 03-Feb-09 13:50:35

Also would second Penelope Leach's book - not everything in it is up to date or terribly useful - but the tone in which it is written is really soothing and reassuring, and makes you see things much more positively.

If you can find time for reading (!) you might also enjoy www.amazon.co.uk/What-Mothers-Do-Especially-Nothing/dp/074992490X, which I stumbled across in the first months of motherhood, and which showed me that for every mother and child there is a slightly different way of doing & viewing things. It may give you back the confidence to choose your own way forward in your new life as a mum.

Hope you are feeling brighter today.

thumbwitch Tue 03-Feb-09 13:55:44

I would say that DS didn't really settle into any kind of routine until he was about 6mo and he went into his own cot. Then he started napping more in the day and now he has "almost" set times for naps, morning and afternoon (he's 14mo now).

It can be very frustrating but I found it easier to let him find his own level of routine, in the end.

Mummywannabe Tue 03-Feb-09 20:58:12

rollercoaster1 - you sound like a great mum. My little one is 6 months and i spent a good 3 months of that stressing because i couldn't get him in any sort of recognisable routine. I think trying actually made me really down, i chilled out, he settled in his own routine and i'm finally enjoying him.

Reesie Tue 03-Feb-09 21:28:35

Oh bless - I will never ever read a 'routine' book again - it ruined my first few weeks of being a mum. I am now a very mellow mum who breastfed/rocked her baby to sleep, my baby developed her own routine.

My baby used to wake up similarly to yours through the night - I found the easiest way to change it - was to do nothing!!! Babies change their patterns all the time. He's not crying to be annoying or to disturb your sleep - something is not right with his little body ie hunger etc and he wants you to help him out.

He is going to be a little baby for hardly any time at all - I firmly believe that making a big deal about anything nearly always excarcebates the problem.

For what it's worth my 2 year old dd is a very independant toddler who sleeps in her own bed all night. She seems happy and mellow too. This all happened by itself!

Smee Wed 04-Feb-09 11:10:54

I'm with Reesie. Don't read the books. When you have your first baby you always meet smug mothers with babies who lie cutely and gurgle, then sleep for hours. Guaranteed to make you feel inadequate, but really they're not normal. Honestly, you're normal and you're doing great. Don't try and solve anything, just accept he's very little. Chill, enjoy him as much as you can and look after yourself as much as him. He'll get there and so will you.

rollercoaster1 Wed 04-Feb-09 12:48:15

many thanks to all for your supportive and reassuring messages. Its good to know many of you have experienced similar feelings. On the whole Im absolutley loving being a mummy and realised some time ago that if i kept reading books on this instead of trusting my own instinct I would go mad! So I have been going with the flow somewhat for the last couple of months and my baby is generally a content little soul and had him weighed this morning - hes 16lbs having been 6.5 at birth so that plus all your messgaes makes me think Im doing something right! Things can often seem worse than they actually are when you are tired. A few of you mentioned growth spurts and I think you may be right as he has slept much better the last 2 nights after 2 erratic non stop feeding weeks so perhaps calmer waters ahead! Msges have given me the confidence to stick up for what Im doing and disregard the - "rod for your back" and "have you got him on a bottle yet?" etc comments!thanks to all LOL x

MrsMattie Wed 04-Feb-09 12:52:09

Just a quick one.

My 4 yr old is the best sleeper ever..now.
He didn't sleep through the night util he was 2.5 yrs old 9and I read 6all^ the books and tried a routine with him from the age of 6 wks).

My DD is 11 weeks, no routine whatsoever, tend to go down with us at about 10pm/11pm, and sleeps 8 hours straight.

Moral of the story? All babies are different. There is NO right or wrong. Go with the flow, embrace the chaos, find your own routine to suit you and your baby down the line.

Good luck!

LadyBee Wed 04-Feb-09 15:00:24

Hi there,
Just wanted to say that it took me ages to figure out that there isn't a magic 'right way' to do things - you just make it up to suit yourself (and your baby). There's nothing magic about a 7pm bedtime or a 7am wake up, for example, it's just that it happens to suit quite a lot of people so it becomes a norm. There isn't a right bedtime routine, you just make something up that suits you and gets your DS fed, washed, changed and asleep and bingo! there's your routine. Do you see what I mean? Try to be a little more confident in the decisions you make. If you want to be showered and dressed before 10 in the morning, just work out something, say decide that you'll have your shower and get changed after whichever BF happens after 6am (or whatever), then just start putting DS somewhere safe and do it. Somewhere safe could be in cot asleep, in cot awake, bouncey chair in the bathroom with you, in the bath with you. Once you've done it more than once - you have a routine! yay!
Sorry this might sound a bit flippant, but I think it's really easy to get hung up on the solutions/routines/patterns offered by 'experts' in books, I definitely did. The solutions you figure out yourself generally are the ones that work the best and longest. You can do this. You are doing it.

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