Bedtime routine for 4 week old

(54 Posts)
Newmum0113 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:47:47

Just looking for advice really.

My DD has a morning routine and seems to be much more settled during the day than at night. DH and I decided that we want to set an evening routine to help get her settled for the night.

Last night we bathed her at 9:30, but she was very hungry and screamed cried the whole way through. After we had cuddles in the towel while DH made her bottle and she fell sleepy. But after her feed she was awake and wouldn't settle when I laid her in her basinet. She did have wind though as she has colic. In the end DH had to take her for a drive to get her off to sleep, and was up with her all night long.

What kind of routine do/did you have at this age? TIA smile

bundaberg Sun 03-Nov-13 18:49:08

didn't have any routine at that age. fed on demand and they eventually fell into their own routine

Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 18:49:29

At 4 weeks personally I found DS too little and unpredictable to even consider a routine I think at that age you need to go with them more rather than try to force a routine.

KippyVonKipperson Sun 03-Nov-13 18:56:32

Don't worry about a routine too much, and don't stick to doing things at a certain time for sure, wait until you see she's getting tired etc then take her up to bed. A bedtime routine could be just something simple at this stage, eg having the same blanket, feeding in the same place and in a dimly lit room etc.

C0smos Sun 03-Nov-13 18:57:23

6 week old, we do bath time at around 6 pm (same time as my older son) then breast feed and try and get her in her cot for 7pm for the night. She'll then wake every 3 hours or so for a breast feed and we usually get up for the day after her last feed which is generally around 530 6am ish.. Again this is when my older son gets up so works for us.

pinkbear82 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:59:54

When dd was that age (4 months ago) I kind of went with the flow, but did try little things, like bath, feed, cuddles and quiet time around a time I thought would be good for bedtime.

She's 5 months now and somewhere between 7.30 and 8.30 will settle down, depends on how naps have gone during the day! Some days run smoothly, other days everything seems to go against anything you try and do.

Personally whatever works for you and your family is fine, it's early days, try different things, you'll find something that 'works'. Enjoy the time as much as you can, soon enough they'll be telling us what they want to do!

Newmum0113 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:13:22

Thanks everyone. kippy the problem is that she sleeps find during the day but is awake and grouchy in the night (11pm-3am)

pink I've noticed that just when everything seems settled and working that the following day just goes to pot and nothing goes as planned or expected. On days where I just sit at home with her, getting on with the odd household tasks, that my days seem nice and relaxed, but on days I try to go out or if people visit everything seems rushed and horrible.

DH had such a bad night last night and I just feel really guilty all the time, especially when I get to sleep and he doesn't. sad

stargirl1701 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:15:24

We didn't attempt a routine until 4 months.

TerrorMeSue Sun 03-Nov-13 19:17:49

Sounds completely normal.

Feed when wriggly/awake/eyes open.

Cuddle the rest of the time.

Change nappy when dirty.

They can't tell the difference betweenn day and night and often have it all the wrong way about. They grow out of it. Little babies are for cuddling (day and night), and bedtime is an irrelevant concept for several months.

Newmum0113 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:24:56

DMIL keeps using the phrase 'rod for your own back' if I cuddle her too long in one go. If she's held all day she does seem to have really restless night though.

laughingeyes2013 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:26:16

I can't see why you shouldn't start a routine at any age. Certainly my health visitor suggested by 6 weeks we start a routine to teach baby the difference between night and day.

That said, I'd have thought 9:30pm is too late to actually do the night time settle. At that time of the night I would expect it to be a dimly lit, even maybe complete darkness, sleepy feed (just as you'd do in the middle of the night).

At 4 weeks old a baby will usually tell the place down when having a bath. It seems to be something they become accustomed to, feel safe with gradually, and then become to really enjoy. It will become apparent whether your baby is woken up b a bath or made sleepy, and it could be you've got a waking up baby after a bath! Time will tell.

Our routine has always been upstairs around 6:30-7pm starting with bath, then cuddle and feed in dimly lit room, and sleep in the bedroom cot. All very quiet, calm, soothing grin

You'll figure out what suits you all. But all of these things take time so be patient with yourself!

hettienne Sun 03-Nov-13 19:28:39

Babies are supposed to sleep in the same room as you for the first few months to reduce the risk of cot death, so I would keep her downstairs with you in the evenings until you all go to bed.

You can't cuddle a baby too much. They need to be held and responded to quickly and consistently to build attachments to you - being held and secure as a baby will effect her for the rest of her life.

laughingeyes2013 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:32:31

My prem baby was held in a sling for the first 3 months because he had reflux and needed to be held upright after feeds. So many people said we'd made a rod for our own back! But he settles to sleep beautifully now although he does like a cuddle and when awake prefers to be held, but what baby doesn't?

There is a train of thought that the more you give your baby all the cuddles they need, the more confident and secure they will be to explore the world without you and learn independent. But a baby who is denied cuddles that they need will become clingy and needy. I'm no expert but it does make sense, although only if all the cuddles aren't wearing new mums down!

Thurlow Sun 03-Nov-13 19:34:06

I've always struggled to understand how many families manage that IRL, hettienne, though I understand where the advice comes from. From about 3w DD started not to settle well in the living room even with dim lights and a quiet TV. I wonder where the dividing line is between the advice and how a baby actually wants to sleep. Not a criticism of anyone, just wondering.

OP, you can start a routine whenever you want, though your baby will only get with the routine if and when they want to. We had a bedtime routine at that age, just a bath at roughly the same time, some quiet cuddles in the living room, them a feed before putting to bed. It was probably more for us than it was for her, and she certainly wouldn't settle the same every night, but it certainly seemed a nice thing to do. We'd do this and aim for bed about 8, but again you do need to be led by what your baby seems to want, and for our baby 8 was the time that even at a few weeks old she started to want dark, quiet and to start more solid night time sleep.

lifesobeautiful Sun 03-Nov-13 19:38:12

I had a routine of bath, feed, bed with both my babies from around four weeks. So usually 6pm bath, 6.30 feed, 7pm sleep. You could do a split feed if she's too hungry to enjoy her bath. So feed her a bit before bath, then the rest afterwards. And it's more the sequence of events I think than the actual timings. So doesn't have to be the exact same times every night. Good luck! Both my babies have been wonderful sleepers, and I'm sure it was because they recognised the cues of bath and feed followed by bed. They loved it!

witchremix Sun 03-Nov-13 19:38:29

I think it would be really hard to try to get a 4 week old baby into a routine. They cluster feed at that age and just want you so they feel secure. I think at that age you just need to nurse them on demmand. Routine will come later ( about 4-6 months ime)! X

laughingeyes2013 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:38:54

I'd talk that one through with your health visitor. I can see why people often say keep the baby downstairs with you because of SIDS, but my HV told me to pop him in bed in the same too he will use for the night.

Of course I wouldn't want to be reasonable for anything happening to your baby so that's why I say to discuss it with your HV in real life. It seems a shame to miss out on that part if its ok for a few hours before you go to bed yourself, but only if its ok.

laughingeyes2013 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:41:02

Cluster feeds always happened between 3-7pm with us, so that made the routine work like a dream from 6 weeks. Guess all babies are different and you won't know til you try.

ihearsounds Sun 03-Nov-13 19:49:20

Colic I found was always worse at night, and tbh, after having trapped wind myself I don't blame them for screaming the place down, it's horrible.
Growth spurt kicked in around 4 weeks, which meant a lot more feeds.
Baths usually went better with one of us in as well. Not all baths happened at night.
Routine came naturally once cluster feeds from growth spurt stopped.

Thurlow Sun 03-Nov-13 20:29:25

At this age, I think the routine is more for the parents and more to get things going so that when the baby is old enough to start to want a routine, it's already sort of there. And that's a perfectly valid reason to try it.

I think if you're not happy about the way something is going on a day-to-day basis with your baby, then there's every reason to try something different. So if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by a wing-it approach, try something different. Similarly, if you're perfectly happy with a wing-it approach, there's no reason to try a routine just because other people are.

Passmethecrisps Sun 03-Nov-13 20:35:53

When my dd was this age I started logging her naps and feeds to see if she had any patterns. After a few weeks of logging I was able to see some kind of pattern in her day and used that to prepare myself. From 4 weeks old though we did half bottle before bath, bath, rest of bottle then bed at 7pm

She slept in the Moses basket on the sitting room floor until she had a bottle and medicine at 11pm the we would all go upstairs.

Follow a routine if you feel better doing it. I liked our bedtime routine as I think it helped develop good habits

girliefriend Sun 03-Nov-13 20:42:45

I think 9.30 is a bit late to be bathing her tbh, I would do that about 6pm, get into p.js, milk and cuddles and either sit quietly downstairs or put in moses basket and potter about around her.

Does she sleep a lot during the day?

I was adviced to try and keep my dd awake from 5pm so she would be tired by 7-8pm and that worked quite well. Also making sure she didn't sleep longer than 3 hour stretch in the day, after 3 hours wake and feed.

If you want to introduce a routine there is nothing wrong with that imo but be prepared for the fact that babies change very quickly and some days will be better than others!!

workingtitle Sun 03-Nov-13 20:46:42

This thread has been reassuring - I've been trying to work out how the hell we try to instigate a routine with 5wo DS who is a night owl and fed on demand. We can do the bath cuddles feed but the sleep part doesn't work. He still feeds every hour or two and is often awake 2 - 4 or 5am.

Newmum, to cope for now DH and I are each having a two hour sleep before midnight, him 8-10 and me 10-12. Not ideal but it helps get us through the night.

Thurlow Sun 03-Nov-13 21:01:41

I also did the log which really helped me to see what DD was naturally wanting and that lead to a routine of sorts for us. Ironically it was the EASY routine all by itself.

Babies are obviously going to be hungry when they are hungry whether it is 2pm or 2am, but I do think that introducing the idea of winding down for the day with a bedtime routine, and night feeds in the dark and quiet, gradually help babies to understand the concept of day and night.

Passmethecrisps Sun 03-Nov-13 21:07:10

That is exactly what happened with us thurlow. I felt it just helped knowing very loosely what was likely to be happening.

I also found it really helpful for taking the guesswork out of what might be wrong with her. It sounds daft now but sometimes I had to take a wee look at my app and then I would realise that she was probably hungry, tired etc. somedays I was a bit foggy obviously!

Passmethecrisps Sun 03-Nov-13 21:08:53

We also did night feeds in the dark. Long and boring (especially when you have been sitting there for an hour with nothing but a wee pair of eyes blinking at you) but for me it helped me feel better. I have no idea if it actually had any impact on dd

workingtitle Sun 03-Nov-13 21:09:33

Is there a good app for logging things? I am using ibaby feed for feeds and find it v helpful but am just noting sleep/awake times by hand.

TerrorMeSue Sun 03-Nov-13 21:11:55

Laughing -I have 4 dcs. We kept 3 of them downstairs with us for at least the first six months (with the other we weren't aware of the SIDS advice, so started putting baby upstairs at around 3 months). It was fine. If you hold them, the TV doesn't bother them generally. It's if you put them down we find they woke... But that had not to do with the TV. All three breastfed on and off most evenings. One of them was a screamer and sometimes feeding didn't work, so there was a couple of months of floor pacing with that one.

Any HV telling you to leave a sleeping baby in a room unattended under 6 months is one whose knowledge I would question.

Btw, no rods for backs here. All four dcs are asleep upstairs now, including the 15 month old. They youngest two (who were held the most and for longest) have co-incidentally proved the best evening sleepers once older.

TerrorMeSue Sun 03-Nov-13 21:13:24

Why you need to log naps/feeds?! Do you have a baby or a robot confused? Surely watch your baby for their cues that they are tired/hungry, not a clock or instruction book.

Passmethecrisps Sun 03-Nov-13 21:23:25

It's just another thing which can help terror. I agree that it is unhelpful to rely on it at the expense of watching and enjoying your baby. However, as you will know all babies are different and my baby never gave tired cues or hungry cues but went straight to real upset. The app helped me work out what was likely to be happening. I suppose it worked well for us as my baby happened to be pretty routine.

And I use Babylog working

Thurlow Sun 03-Nov-13 21:25:54

Because some babies aren't very big on cues, Terror. DD was awful for them. She would go from perfectly fine to screaming nightmare in seconds when she realised she was hungry or tired, no yawning, no 'o' mouth, we watched like hawks but she just didn't do them. We rapidly worked out that everyone was happier when she was offered food or sleep just before she reached meltdown.

It's hard to imagine a baby that's much different from the baby/ies you've had, but just as some babies like to be carried around, some prefer to sleep next to or on you, some babies also like a bit of routine. When, as clueless and stressed first time parents, we starting logging what was happening throughout the day there was a really obvious natural pattern to her feeds and sleep.

All you can do is try and and work out what your particular baby wants and what makes them happy.

Thurlow Sun 03-Nov-13 21:27:40

Passme, are you me? I thought I was the only person with 1970s baby grin No being worn, no co-sleeping, no baby-led weaning, she wasn't having a bit of most of the current theories and suggestions...

Passmethecrisps Sun 03-Nov-13 21:30:15

Haha! I was just thinking the same thing thurlow!

I remember looking at my app and thinking "my god! GF would be vair proud!" But that was all her. I just got dragged along behind!

Thurlow Sun 03-Nov-13 21:32:41

Yes, GF would have just adored us. DD would probably have adored her too! It's been interesting watching her lose a lot of her routine as she's got older, rather than the other way around.

I bought all the BLW books and only had a spoon for yoghurt. DD took one look at the spoon and went "yep, you're feeding me, why on earth should I do anything myself?" and wouldn't touch finger food for months hmm

girliefriend Sun 03-Nov-13 21:43:42

I think the idea of a good routine is that you meet your babies needs almost before the baby realises what they need iyswim!

So they never get to the over tired screaming phase or have to 'demand' to be fed as you anticipate those needs for them.

The problems arise when this becomes so rigid that instincts and impulsiveness get over ridden.

Thurlow Sun 03-Nov-13 21:52:39

Girlie, that is probably the best description of a routine I've read. You could sell that! A good routine is just one that anticipates a baby's needs and hopefully avoids any meltdowns.

girliefriend Sun 03-Nov-13 22:12:34

Thanks Thurlow smile

<head swells>

laughingeyes2013 Sun 03-Nov-13 22:28:17

For those who asked, "Baby feeding log" is an app by Aron Beaver and can be found under "Health and Fitness". it would suit the needs to those listed by various posts here as it logs feeds, which side you use for breastfeeding or how much volume by bottle, nappy contents and sleep too if you wish. There is also an alarm id you beed waking for it in the early days. Oddly enough I needed the alarm as my prem baby had to be woken for every single feed.

I used it when I was in hospital (for what seemed like forever) with my baby and it was all such a blur I couldn't remember when I fed last (had to be 3 hourly max) and didn't want to mess about with trying to find pen and paper in the dark in the middle of a ward!

Oh and it's a free app so if you dot like it you haven't lost anything.

FunInTheSunD Sun 03-Nov-13 22:39:45

My babies are 15 and 17 now and my routine with them started at a few weeks old.
I would wake them up at about 10pm and give them a bath (at first they would scream but after a few weeks they loved it)
Next came cuddles and a nice massage
Then a feed in a dark room with mo talking and put
into a moses basket next to my bed.
Sleep at around 11pm.
The next feed was due at 3am
After a few weeks the 3am feed got later and later till at 6 weeks they went from 11pm through to 7pm
Then I moved bathtime forward half hour a week till they were soon going 7pm to 7am

I thought it was fluke but did the same with my son and it worked for him too...

I also used to do that stroking down the nose trick that always sent them to sleep too.

Newmum0113 Mon 04-Nov-13 17:19:03

Can I just clarify that I don't leave my baby unattended in a room, nor did my HV advise me to do so. Don't know where that bit cropped up from.

Was just curious as to routines and what others do, as I feel I need to have a routine with her.

I'm about to feed her now as she is due, and starting to stir. I will bath her after and then when (if) she falls asleep she will go in her crib in the lounge with us, until she wakes for her 9oclock feed.

Hope this works ok... hmm

Passmethecrisps Mon 04-Nov-13 19:49:27

Fingers crossed for you.

If it works then ace! If not then tomorrow is another day.

Speaking as the type A control freak, my advice is to try to relax about it.

Good luck

Newmum0113 Mon 04-Nov-13 21:23:11

It's just something I feel like I need to do, for me and for DD. My mum didn't really do this with me and my brother, she wasn't really a clean person, but was obsessed with having a clean and tidy house. Strange really. My brother and I had to learn to bathe ourselves regularly, or it didn't happen at all.

Random divulge of information over blush

Well, FYI this evenings bath time went smoothly. She is still asleep in her crib and I'm about to wake her up for her next feed. She'll usually be quite awake for this, and then after the next feed she won't settle at all. Hopefully it won't be too bad tonight! Pass, I've got all my fingers crossed for me too! smile

laughingeyes2013 Tue 05-Nov-13 08:28:46

Newmum - the HV bit cropped up because of a comment I made about advice from MY own HV to do the nighttime routine at 6 weeks, which involved feeding in a dim, quiet, room and then straight to bed after.

That's why I suggested you discuss it with YOUR own HV because some people aren't comfortable with leaving a baby sleeping alone upstairs for two hours of an evening, due to SIDS.

That advice has always baffled me to be honest. On the one hand we're told not to leave a sleeping baby, which ignore the need for simple human functions such as taking a shower! Or on the other hand we're told that routines are helpful and involve a quiet environment in the same temperature/environment as they will be expected to sleep in all night.

Someone once questioned in a thread - a bit like this one - whether SIDS risk is 24/7 or just at night. I don't know the answer to that as I can't find any specific research online.

So from your thread about night routines I had mentioned the one that worked for us, but with a disclaimer that you would be well advised to talk it over with your HV who may be privy to more in depth information than us lot here, and someone had said my HV shouldn't had told me that, hence the comments about HV's and leaving babies to sleep alone in the evening (but not ALL night) wink

laughingeyes2013 Tue 05-Nov-13 08:35:20

This article suggested the worst time of day is between 10pm and 10am, but one in five can also happen in day care.

laughingeyes2013 Tue 05-Nov-13 08:39:46

Whereas this article says that even though cot deaths are 83% likely to happen at night, supervision should be day AND night.

I notice other factors were considered too though, such as daytime carers facing baby on the front rather than back to back etc.

Thurlow Tue 05-Nov-13 10:11:03

laughing - On the one hand we're told not to leave a sleeping baby, which ignore the need for simple human functions such as taking a shower! Or on the other hand we're told that routines are helpful and involve a quiet environment in the same temperature/environment as they will be expected to sleep in all night.

I agree very much. I often wonder, though this is completely anecdotal and I'm in no way a professional or even very experienced, if some of these recommendations - which are of course meant for the baby's health and safety - affect some women's PND. If it does, that's a very difficult problem.

If you are a single parent, or have a partner who works in the evenings etc., then it's a very fine here between having your baby around all the time as per the recommendation, and having even just an hour or so a day to yourself. Particularly if you have a baby who won't sleep happily in a moses basket or pram in the corner of a room.

I am mostly speaking from my own experience, but if I hadn't put my baby into the bedroom on their own at night and for odd naps, I genuinely think I would have gone loopy. I struggled enough when I had long days and all evening alone even putting the baby to bed at 8. If I had felt I had to go to bed at the same time as my baby without a chance to have dinner, or sit in a dark living room watching TV with just the subtitles on, for 6 months, I think I would have cracked.

There is so much advice out there, all given for the very best and often very throughly-researched, expert medical advice, but quite often it conflicts so much.

TerrorMeSue Tue 05-Nov-13 12:05:46

fully referenced summary of the research and recommendations relating to SIDS from May 2013

From memory, by far the biggest risk factors are smoking during pregnancy, then baby living with a smoker (even if they don't some near baby), then sleeping baby on it's front. Take out cases involving one or more of these factors and the risk reduces an awful lot.

IpsyUpsyDaisyDo Tue 05-Nov-13 13:57:10

Newmum I started DD (PFB, now 16m) on the GF routines from 2 weeks - wasn't a slave to them (you can't be really, babies do things differently day to day) but DH & I both felt a lot happier having a structure to the day to work around. I totally agree with girliefriend about a routine meeting the baby's needs in advance, and I found it educated me about the cues they give you for hunger, fatigue etc.

At 4 weeks, bedtime routine was half a feed at 5pm, bath at 6pm, second half of feed at 6.30pm (in a quiet low-lit room, comfy chair, warmth & cuddles), into her Moses basket by 7pm. Next feed was at 11pm etc. We left the basket in our bedroom upstairs and had a monitor, although I do accept that this goes against current professional advice. These timings gave DH and & a nice evening together, time to cook a proper meal and actually talk to each other.

At 16m DD still goes to bed 7-7.30pm, without fuss, after her bath, bottle and story. I do think babies feel secure when the same thing happens at the same time every day and I personally don't think there's anything wrong with starting it at 4 weeks, but that's a parenting decision that many people would disagree with.

laughingeyes2013 Tue 05-Nov-13 14:11:56

I'm glad I'm not alone, Thurlow!

Cherriesarered Tue 05-Nov-13 14:23:46

I've had two very different babies. I think you can introduce a routine and it may work or not work depending on you baby! Their needs are more important than any routine.

badguider Tue 05-Nov-13 14:27:03

Our 9wk old is still in his daytime pattern of eating and napping in the livingroom until midnight - then he sleeps in our room till 8am with feeds at 3 and 6.

I sleep 9pm-midnight while dh stays up with him. Then I do the 3 and 6 feeds and any other night wakings.

I would like ds to go down around 7/8pm eventually but he's clearly not ready for that. I have noticed that people who have an early bedtime from young also have early waking 5/6am which would give us (dh and I) less sleep overall.

chocolatesolveseverything Tue 05-Nov-13 14:43:27

At four weeks we introduced a bedtime routine and it worked better than we could've hoped for. Feed at 6:30pm, upstairs in basket an hour later, keep on going up to reassure him when he cried, and by 8pm he'd be asleep. He then slept sooo much better than when we'd been doing everything on demand. I wish being entirely baby-led had worked for us, but it didn't as ds just never wanted to sleep! (He'd even resist sleeping on us or the sling.) As a parent I now realise that you have to find out what works for you and your baby, and go with that. I have pnd and the risks that me being so stressed, anxious, and sleep-deprived brought to ds in my opinion outweighed the very small risk of leaving him alone with a monitor for a couple of hours each evening.

beccic123 Thu 07-Nov-13 16:01:43

At 4 weeks my LB routine was bath at 8, bottle at half 8 cuddles then bed. Then slept though til 6. X

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 07-Nov-13 18:05:00

My dd is four weeks too. The only routine we have is that the last bottle of the night before we go to sleep is done in bed. I then put her in her cot and she wakes for a feed every 3-4 hours. I don't feel the need to put any more routine than that in place, we just work everything around her really.

If I'm honest the couple of times we have tried to do anything at a set time it has all gone wrong anyway!

As an aside, I agree with pp that the more you cuddle them at this age the more secure they will feel. On the days where I have had to put dd in her bouncer or swing for longer than usual or even if she has been with dh more than me, I find she is hard to settle at night. She seems much happier to sleep in her cot on days when we have spent most of the day cuddled up!

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