My DS is two weeks old and mostly sleeps downstairs with us of an evening, either being cuddled or in a sling. When it gets to our bedtime, we take him up, do his night feed, then put him in the cot attached to our bed. None of this is a problem - he sleeps well, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm not doing things right. We had planned on co-sleeping with a very relaxed, flexible AP approach to parenting. But suddenly I feel like I have no idea what I should be doing and the practicalities of this approach combined with what my baby needs is confusing me! Could I ask a few questions of those parents who co-sleep and/or have a sorta AP approach?
When you co-sleep, do you take them up to your bed at their bedtime, leave them, and co-sleep when you go to bed?
What general sort of time should I be putting my baby to bed, when we start the routine - I guess at 3 months?
Nap time - do you do the same - put them to bed for a nap and get on with your day, or do you stay with them?
Do you bathe them every single night as part of the bedtime routine?
I know these are foolish questions but I cannot figure it out. I have visions of going to bed at 7pm with my baby, but that can't be right We don't want to be rigid AP and all I can think is - I have to be moulded to my baby of an evening, upstairs, bored!
We didn't cosleep, but DS was in our room with us until just under a year. When we started to put in place a little routine we looked at when he was having his feeds during the evening and worked out a 7.30pm bedtime as he would feed at 7pm and then at 10.30pm (and then every two hours throughout the night until he was one, but that's a whole other thread!).
He does have a bath every night - not everyone does, but DS really loves his baths and it also helps with his eczema. We're now trying some nights where he doesn't have a bath but to be honest, these normally happen when we're running late from somewhere in the afternoon/evening. He still goes to bed okay so far.
For naps -for a good long time he would only sleep while being held and/or fed. As time has gone on we've graduated from that to napping in the cot with us in the room the whole time, and right now (at naps and at bedtime) he's 16 months and we stay in the room with him until he's asleep. But in the very early days, yes, I was pretty much moulded to him. Babies want to be with mum (and dad too, but mainly mum at first).
Everyone will say this to you, but do enjoy these teeny weeny days of froggy newborn cuddles. I used to dream of the day when DS would sleep without needing me to hold him. And now he won't sleep if I'm holding him and I so wish he would sometimes as I miss the snuggles
oren. make your baby fit around your life. do whatever suits you at the time. I was like you and suddenly panicked that i should be following gina ford or doing what my friend was doing or what someone said on here. the truth is, we are all different and especially in the early days with babies, go with the flow attitude is very healthy. These little beggers will be following one sleep/feed pattern one day then change the next.
the only thing i will say about routine based thing is (speaking as someone with a baby with sleep issues!!and how maybe you could avoid following my mistakes!!) a little bedtime routine (whatever time you want bedtime to be is up to you) really helps them to wind down and gives them a journey to sleep. a bath every night is one thing that can help with this (plus imagine wearing a nappy all the time how nice it is to sit in a bath without nappy on for a bit). i always bath with my baby to get good skin to skin it feels lovely. and after bath, a nice massage,feed and bed.
i think if you are laid back it rubs off on the baby in a good way. i love the sound of your parenting approach.
I only cosleep when dd is having a very unsettled time, so I can get more sleep, but what I would say is there are no "rules" to parenting. You need to do what feels right for your baby and your lifestyle.
I think cosleeping certainly doesn't mean you can't have a bedtime routine and early bedtime. My dd has a bath every night - we start the routine at 5:30 - book, bath, massage, long feed to sleep and bed. When I was cosleeping I simply brought he in with me when she next woke - which was normally when I went to bed anyway. This works for us as I really value having the evening to myself.
For nap dd hasn't been great so for the first few months all naps were in the sling, then progressed to in the pram being pushed and now in the past week (she's 22 weeks) I'm able to put her in the pram and rock it til she falls asleep but stay indoors (good timing for winter ) I don't follow a set routine for naps - just try to get her to have one every hour and a half as this is how long she can go for without being tired (but at 2 weeks I really wouldn't expect your LO to follow any pattern - they just sleep when they want to at that age!)
I felt the same as you until about 18-20 weeks when I started to want my evenings back. I have co-slept since the start but gradually started a routine for naps which had him napping twice a day for a couple of hours at a time and with around 2-3 hors between naps. Bedtime gradually got earlier and earlier though now it can vary between 7.30 and 8.30.
Around 18 weeks I started leaving him alone for naps which was a bit of an effort at first a he would wake up if I left his side. Gradually he got used to it, we had a Bed-guard and a video camera monitor and he only fell off the bed once
I leave him then co-sleep.
My son gets a bath most nights but he's 22 months, when he was very little I only bathed him a couple of times a week. I think now it's a good part of his routine but it wasn't so important when younger.
I do remember feeling quite relieved to have time to myself when I finally started leaving him to nap alone.
Thanks everyone, this is so useful and helpful. And thanks for all the congratulations
I think we're pretty relaxed, but then ironically I started to worry we were being too relaxed, haha! I think I might start introducing the elements we'll use in the routine, like regular baths, stories, massages etc - get him used to those and liking them before I start using them as cues for sleep time. Can I ask - what age did you roughly start introducing the concept of sleep time/nap time/routines?
Also - haha sorry - what do you think constitutes a nap? Does it need to be structured, same time every day thing or in these early weeks, can it be a self-made nap while out in the sling, for example?
I started a bath/bed routine and early bed at 9 weeks. naps were definitely whenever she felt like it for a long time. I can't remember exactly when I started trying to get them a bit more structured - maybe around 16 weeks? That said, we may aim for set times now, but we rarely get it! I think there's something to be said for having a baby who can be flexible with when and where they nap though - although dd isn't the greatest sleeper in the world, I wouldn't want to be tied to the home for set nap times in the cot so maybe that's the price I pay for wanting to led a flexible lifestyle.
I think Ireland something on here which suggested a nap of 1-2 hours every 2-3 hours was something to aim for. Around 18 weeks I started making a note of when my ds was napping (on me) and made more effort to rock/sing/feed him to sleep at those times and actually put him down and leave the room.
In the early weeks I just went with the flow. I think you start to notice their routine a bit later to be honest.
Like blushing, now he's older bedtime can vary from anything between seven and half eight. We've never been strict.