Routine...is it worth it

(30 Posts)
purplebiro Sun 19-Jul-15 05:15:49

I am a first time mum and my baby is a healthy, happy and delightful 7 week old. I am on maternity leave until January and partner is working full time. Last week we started to implement a night time routine that constitutes 6.30pm - 7.30pm (after parnet gets home from work) - dad fun time, 7.30pm - 8.30pm - bed time (bath, feed, story). She's taken to it fairly well and she's generally getting to sleep under her own steam by 9.00pm, waking for a feed some time between 1.30am and 2.30am and another one at around 4.30am - 5.30am (she rarely goes to sleep after that feed but will stay in bed until around 6am when parnter takens her downstairs so I can have a bit of sleep before he leaves for work. So all in all I think it's going well...except...I don't like it!

I resent the fact that the first part of our evening is entirely dominated by getting her into bed and that that only "buys" us 1.5 - 2 hours of adult time once she is - it doesn't seem like a very reasonably swap. I am aware that sounds a little brattish but that's how it is. In all honesty I'd rather have her awake and with us until later and not have "pure" adult time than lose the first three hours of the evening like this. There's also this issue of the reduction in spontaneity - I am at home alone a lot of the day and I want to be able to go out in the evening with my partner and the baby while she's still young and I can so we can socialise together and having a routine that we stick to come what may (and I gather that if we want to establish this well we have to be consistent)...

So all of this adds up to me wondering why we're doing the routine anyway?! I thought it was so that I had some predictable structure to my day (on the basis that a daytime routine would follow on not long after a night time one) - I'm the sort of person who likes routine - but now I feel like I don't really know why I'm doing this now and wonder whether we should just go back to what we did when she was newborn (take her to bed in moses basket with us, which also meant she slept until 5am-ish without break, meaning I was only up once in a night).

Has anyone faced anything like this and what did you decide or does anyone have any compelling reasons why I should or shouldn't throw in the towel (at least for now).

ClunkyBoobster Sun 19-Jul-15 05:35:44

A lot of "experts" say you need a routine from birth. But to be honest I didn't have one until my DS was about 12 months old. We are very baby led in this house. So when he was your DDs age I would just nurse him to sleep on the couch while my DH and I ate dinner or watched TV or whatever. Then I would keep him downstairs with us until we went up to bed. As he got older and more interested in the TV I would start to take him upstairs to nurse him to sleep, leave him up there with the monitor on and come back down. But that was not at a set time, it was whenever he seemed tired.

I am also not a fan of the bath every night thing. Babies do not get dirty every day and do not need their delicate skin washed with hard water and bath soaps that are likely to just cause more problems then they solve. At that age by DS was having a bath maybe once or twice a week max.

So basically, I don't think you need a routine, not at this age. I agree that I hate how they controlled my life and my evening and I felt trapped by them. I would much rather go with the flow and follow my baby's lead. At times when I have doubted myself and tried to implement a strict bedtime routine I've often ended up in a dark room for hours on my own trying to get him to bed - which I hate. Now at 18months I still follow his lead to see how sleepy he is but I know that around 7pm I say "Are you ready for bed?" And he goes and gives his daddy a kiss goodnight and then runs off to the bedroom. I wash his hands, feet and face and brush teeth. Then we read a story and lay down and nurse. He is usually asleep after 20-30 minutes. He still needs me there to go to sleep but I don't mind. <3 HTH

purplebiro Sun 19-Jul-15 05:46:34

Thanks - that's reassuring. I am sort of wondering what the advantage is to them having an early bedtime routine like the one we have been doing - am I missing something?!

PosterEh Sun 19-Jul-15 05:52:49

i would say she is too little still. Both of mine ended up with a 7pm bedtime in their own rooms by about 6months. Dc1 I spent hours of my life trying to settle in a darkened room from a few weeks old, dc2 slept downstairs in a bouncy chair what we watched TV/had adult time until 6 months.

purplemurple1 Sun 19-Jul-15 06:11:47

There is no need for it to take an hour to get them to bed. It's just last feed, nappy, pjs, teeth and into bed for both if ours.
The times vary a little but within a time frame that set their wake ups to about right to start the next days routine.

SheWhoMustBe Sun 19-Jul-15 06:11:48

I agree that 7 weeks is too early for a routine to make much difference - other than you spending the whole evening upstairs in a dark room which I think everyone has gone through at some point and it's just grim. We started to see DD's down-for-the-night bedtime creep earlier than 10pm when she was around 6 months, and then we started a proper 7pm bedtime routine from about 8 months. That routine has totally paid off and at 15months she's now generally a great little 12 or 13 hour a night sleeper. So - you'll get there but probably not for a while yet, I'd vote that you go back to taking her up when you go to bed as it seems that was working better for everyone.

GreenBoatRedBoat Sun 19-Jul-15 07:48:21

You have to do what's best for you all - I personally had a routine from week 1 which was in bed from 7 and that meant dH and I could have a couple of hours to ourselves/eat/watch boxset etc and for us we loved it. Friends on the other hand had no routine and took baby out to pubs etc in the eve which worked for them, but they didn't get stressed if she was crying/hungry whereas I would find that situation a nightmare. Sil had her dd awake pretty much all eve but didn't mind this as she then slept from 11-6 which worked for them. Do what's best for you.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sun 19-Jul-15 07:52:46

What time does she wake before Dad gets home? Mine at that age were flagging by 6.30pm so having a whole hours play followed by a whole hours "bedtime routine" would just be hard hard work.

Ours usually woke from their last nap at 5pm and could only just manage an hour and a half awake. This was generally 30 mins playmat/cuddles etc, bath/massage/into sleepsuit, then cuddles and milk and swaddled and down.

7wos cant really stay away many hours at a time.

BreeVDKamp Sun 19-Jul-15 08:03:24

7wos cant really stay away many hours at a tine

Well my 7 week old tends to stay awake from about 2pm-7pm despite my best efforts!! sad

Sleeps well at night, we do bath, story (pointless at this age I know), breastfeed the top up (weight issues), then into bed with dummy. Dark room, monitor on, shut door. Generally goes to sleep by himself pretty easily, we might have to pop his dummy back in a couple of times before he's deeply asleep, but it works well for us.

Love having some time away from the baby, the evenings/afternoons I get a bit antsy with him as he's so frantically feeding and fractious, and in the day he will only sleep on me so it's nice not to hold him for a change.

Daytime naps are difficult as he either doesn't take them in the afternoon, or only sleeps on us in the morning. And has to feed to sleep. Normal for a 7wo I guess but I don't understand how he can manage to self settle at night and not in the day!

But a bedtime routine seems to work for us. Can't WAIT to have a daytime routine and know that I will have an hour to myself while he naps, for example. And he always seems to wake when I'm about to eat at the mo - would be good to eat without minding the baby.

MagicAlwaysLeadsToTrouble Sun 19-Jul-15 08:08:48

Your baby is probably overtired Bree. Which makes it much harder for them to go to sleep, weirdly.

I would say start trying for another sleep 90 minutes after they wake up.

PerpetualStudent Sun 19-Jul-15 08:10:29

My DS is 8 weeks and we put him to bed when we go (any time between 9:30pm to midnight! Though I try for 10:30 at the latest) earlier in the evening he's still clusterfeeding - though he does have suspected tongue tie that makes feeding a struggle for him.
I think so much depends on the baby, but also what works for you - I think I'd feel the same about taking hours to get him to go down just for an hour or so of 'pure' grown up time

StonedGalah Sun 19-Jul-15 08:17:15

It depends on what sort of lifestyle you have i think. We started a routine from about 8 weeks but that was more for us. So after we had our dinner, dd would be bathed then bf then down by about 7.30.

It helped keep us organised but as she got older we travel a lot and dd was able to sleep anywhere (on any time zone) as she knew bath, feed, bed, sleep.

We weren't so strict on timing as the order of what happens when.

but honestly I'd get over that 'resenting', you've got a long time ahead of you having to do what's best for baby and not necessarily what you want!

superram Sun 19-Jul-15 08:21:48

I was so worried about 7pmbedtime with my first. I wish I had sat in beer gardens (so long as baby happy) and had fun. With my second he fell into an 8pmbedtime due to older sibling. 7pm was too early in our house and they woke at 5. Leave it for abit and see what happens.

nothanksbyenow Sun 19-Jul-15 08:23:48

For the life of me, I don't remember how we did DD1 bedtimes, but with DD2 we would keep her around us in the evening til she seemed sleepy (around 7) then put her in her Moses basket to sleep, in the living room. We'd then take her (in her basket) upstairs when we went to bed. She'd get up to feed at some point between 11-12, but only a small feed. I think it was around the 4/5 month mark that I got around to putting her down in her cot in her own room. By this time I was dressing her in 'real' clothes by day, then putting sleep suits on her for bedtime, all the while singing or doing a little baby massage. Feed if hungry, then down.
But while she was little and in the basket downstairs, it still felt like adult time. She slept fine, I think babies need to be near you at that age. Just go with your instincts. You'll probably be able to tell when to have anther try at a bedtime routine.
Congratulations btw x

ThatsNotEvenAWord Sun 19-Jul-15 08:26:08

When my ds was 7wo I would go to bed when he did cos I was so bloody tired! We started a 'routine' around then but didn't start leaving him upstairs in his room for the evening until about 7 months old, once he went into his own room

nothanksbyenow Sun 19-Jul-15 08:27:22

Meant to add that both DDs were also awake for long stretches at that age! I used to marvel at babies who would just sleep sleep sleep. Their mums usually looked v relaxed and groomed!

perfectlybroken Sun 19-Jul-15 08:45:22

Until about 6 months mine would sleep from about 8pm but in the living room, then cone to bed with us. For me bedtime became important when they started to become more active. I now have a 1 and 4 year old who go to bed at 7pm. I find this essential for my sanity. I don't really get elaborate routines recommended, and the only time I've done a bath every night is when toilet training. We head upstairs between 6 and 6.30, pjs teeth, story in bed, then sleep. Also having a routine is great, but its also fine to break the routine, so I have no problem with occasional late nights (normally dh's idea!) taking them out in the evening etc.

purplebiro Sun 19-Jul-15 09:04:36

Guys this is really helpful - and just what I needed to hear, thank you. I am going to share this thread with DP to see what he thinks but I think the option of keeping her downstairs until we go to bed will work well for us for now. The only issue I can foresee is that she does clearly get tired by about 6.00pm (she's dead fractious and gets very angry when she's feeding - mostly because she tends to forget how to do it and loses the nipple all the time, silly sausage) and I'm not sure how well she'll sleep/nap downstairs - she doesn't much during the day - little catnaps at best - so she may well get overtired but I guess we can deal with that as and when...

BreeVDKamp Sun 19-Jul-15 09:57:47

Magic I know he's probably overtired sad I'll try putting him down 90 mins after he wakes today and see what happens, thanks flowers I am crap at recognising his sleepy cues!

Sorry for detailing OP blush

BreeVDKamp Sun 19-Jul-15 09:57:58

*derailing

ThatsNotEvenAWord Sun 19-Jul-15 11:03:47

Also having a routine is great, but its also fine to break the routine, so I have no problem with occasional late nights (normally dh's idea!) taking them out in the evening etc.

Absolutely agree smile

LateDay Sun 19-Jul-15 11:09:17

I used to keep my babies downstairs with me until I went to bed at about 11. Also meant I got a lie in the next day. wink

Smartiepants79 Sun 19-Jul-15 11:19:44

It is obviously up to you and what works for your baby.
We started bedtime routines for both of our girls from about 12 weeks for the first and 10 weeks for the second. It took a few days, maybe up to a couple f weeks for them to get the hang of it but it was worth every minute sacrificed at the time as it has meant that from 3/4 months they have both gone happily to bed and we have had our evenings to ourselves. They would coninue to be fed at least twice in the night but both are now excellent sleeper at 2 and 4. Sleep from 7:30 to 7:30 with no real problems.
I loved routine it was the savour of my sanity and I advise it for all. However it doesn't suit all and you have to choose For your family.

Smartiepants79 Sun 19-Jul-15 11:22:33

I'll add that for my girls quiet and dark was required for decent quality sleep.
I also cannot over stress the importance of trying to avoid an overtired baby.
Just think, do you sleep well in a bright room with the TV on and people talking?

Gwynfluff Sun 19-Jul-15 11:29:04

When my eldest showed signs she was tired and distressed downstairs, I started taking her up to sleep in a darkened room and she had a 7.00 bedtime by 10-12 weeks.

She was a high needs, unsettled baby and it distressed her to be in her night-time sleep stage and have lights on, TV on and chatting in the background. I liked the break from her as well as it was intense in the day!

My middle one was much more settled and flexible and could probably have done the snoozing downstairs thing but also was happy going up to bed.

They're all older now and 7.00 bedtimes are a distant memory. In fact I tell my oldest to go to bed because I'm the one getting tired and needing bed.

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