Advanced search wonder how "routines" (GF et al) actually work in reality?

(59 Posts)
MsElisaDay Fri 10-May-13 10:24:19

Usually DS (6 months) goes to bed at 7pm ish, has a last feed at 11pm ish, wakes once or twice, and is up around 7am.
However, last night he was up virtually non-stop between 11pm and 4am. I think his teeth were bothering him, as he finally settled back down at 4am after some Calpol. He then slept through til 8.40am (a lie in!!) as clearly he was shattered.

Anyway. The backdrop to this is that various friends are telling me I should have him on a more strict routine to try and encourage him to sleep through. They also say that his mealtimes and naps should be more set in stone, rather than fitting around whatever we're doing during the day.

What I'm wondering is, if I were doing a GF routine, what would I have done last night? Would I have woken him at 7am despite the fact that he didn't sleep properly until 4am?
AIBU, therefore, to wonder how routines work in reality? Or do people just abandon them when teething issues or other problems come along?

Thurlow Fri 10-May-13 12:55:53

Routines never work with illness, you just have to throw the book out of the window at that point.

But I think the 'routines' that most people on MN advocate aren't actually strict GF-style routines, and the name almost puts people off. Most mums I know followed a rough 'get up about 7, have naps at about 10 and 3, have bottles ever 3 hours etc.' sort of routine, something that is really quite flexible.

In my experience, with a baby that thrived on a rough routine, it was about trying to pre-empt a lot of what she wanted. So milk was offered before she reached the point of starving hysteria (always happened, that baby didn't have a single hunger cue!), and sleep was offered around the time she was probably tired. Some young babies prefer having a structure to their day and, in effect, it being suggested to them what they might want to do.

Freddie calls it 'structure' and that is a better word for it than 'routine'. And honestly, I think most toddlers I know have a 'routine' for their day with nap times and meal times, so it's not that much of a stretch to introduce a similar structure to a young baby.

MamaMary Fri 10-May-13 12:57:28

I never followed a routine with either of my DDs. I fed (bfed) when hungry, put them down when tired.

DD1 slept through the night consistently at 3 months, DD2 from 4 months.

My 2 friends follow Gina Ford. Their toddler and one-year-old babies still don't sleep through. confused. Don't know why they persist with GF as it restricts their lives. They can only visit at precise times, have to leave gatherings early etc. I just couldn't be having that.

NotYoMomma Fri 10-May-13 12:57:41

I think routine is VERY important but I am v flexible.

Luckily dd came with a routine anyway so we went with it, but I'm a strong believer in consistent bed times, bed time routine, familiarity with when meals are (post weaning)

But every baby is different so I don't look badly on anyone who uses gf and strict routine or someone who does it more casual.

I am a bit aghast at the odd few who moan about no routine yet haven't put a plan of action in place or even have a consistent bed / bath time

ksrwr Fri 10-May-13 13:01:58

i would say trust your instinct, and do not listen to anyone else. every child is different, so routines work for some and not for others. but even a child in a strict routine wont always be hungry at "set" meal times, and wont always be tired at "set" sleep times. so there are always days, normally when they're a bit ill or uncomfortable when the routine means nothing at all. trust your instincts.

DinoSnores Fri 10-May-13 13:02:05

I roughly follow a GF routine. It is flexible and provides structure for our day. We can go places, do things, change it around. My routine is a servant, not my master. I felt it helpful and, either by nature or nurture, I have babies who seem to find it helpful too.

PoppyAmex Fri 10-May-13 13:02:45

We were 100% baby led and DD fell into her own routine very naturally so we just go with it.

The only aspect we try to be fairly consistent on is the evening bath/bedtime routine but I think she needs that.

Having said that, when life and teething gets in the way, we adapt.

Can't imagine us deliberately waking her up just because the schedule says so though, that sounds like crazy talk to me! grin

Piffpaffpoff Fri 10-May-13 13:08:21

I stuck to a GF routine most of the time as it worked for me and the DCs but once they were sleeping through at night, I would let them sleep longer in the morning if they were ill or had had a disturbed night. If they'd been up teething for a bit they got just up to an hour longer, but if they were ill they got to sleep til they woke up - I think DDs record was 6.30pm til 10.30am!

But, I am firmly of the view that you should do whatever works best for you. I am a self-confessed control freak who likes to know what's happening next, so the routine worked well for me. If you prefer a less structured approach, then do that. And just smile and nod at anyone telling you to do it 'their' way!

Fairylea Fri 10-May-13 13:17:48

I'm very routine ish but not really following anything in particular.

Both mine have slept through from 10 weeks. I put them in their own rooms from 6 weeks (and yes I know all about the sids stuff including them hearing you breathe to regulate their own breathing etc, we all make our own choices) and encouraged them to nap in their cot for their main daytime nap. I never allowed them to cry, I did a sort of put down / pickup routine.

I always woke at 7 regardless of the night before (mainly because having an older child I need everyone ready for school run!!)

I never let them sleep more than 3 hours tops in one go during the day, I'd always wake and offer a feed if they were tiny even so they drank most of their milk during the day.

And bedtime is always 6pm start... bath, bottle by the cot in the dark, down to sleep etc.

I can see others would find it restrictive ...Ds is 11 months now and still has a 2.5 hour nap from 12.30.. after lunch. So I tend to go out in the morning and make sure I'm home for his nap. If we do go on a day out then I make sure we have a few days home afterwards so I can get him back into routine.. he literally doesn't sleep anywhere but the cot in the dark!! (We went on a day out and he didn't sleepthe whole day!)

MrsMangoBiscuit Fri 10-May-13 13:22:10

I would say DD was loosely a GF baby, but she naturally followed her own routine, and was already doing it before I read the book. It was just nice to know so I could plan ahead. If she'd had a bad night, I would have let her sleep in and routine be damned. I used the GF book like any other advice, with a pinch of salt.

If a routine works fo you both, like it did for me and DD, great. If it doesn't, also great, with added flexibility!

littleducks Fri 10-May-13 13:26:45

With my pfb I was very baby led but by the time ds came along I needed a routine, it's tricky to be baby and toddler led at the same time! As soon as I could I got them napping at the same time to begin with I napped too and later I would watch TV or do housework.

Dh was working away a lot so having a structure to the day meant we went out daily and things like feeding and bathing got done.

I'm due dc3 later in the yr and I think the baby will have to fit into a routine. Things like the school run are non negotiable and mean there will be times when I just can't bf.

Wrt to the wake up question, I wouldn't have needed to wake the baby at 7 as the toddler would have done that!! This baby I will have to wake even after a bad night to ensure it gets a feed before taking bigger ones to school.

Thurlow Fri 10-May-13 13:47:19

The thing is, if something works for you then it's almost impossible to imagine how something different might work. So if you and your baby are happy taking each day as it comes, or your baby just sleeps when it wants to, then you are probably going to picture a routine as very restrictive. We've never co-slept bar the odd few hours during a night when DD was very ill. I can't for the life of me imagine how co-sleeping works - where do you put the baby to bed? How do you stop wriggly toddlers falling out of the bed? Doesn't everyone just wake each other up? - but that doesn't mean it doesn't work brilliantly for some people.

BalloonSlayer Fri 10-May-13 13:53:56

I did GF with all mine. I adapted it for how I wanted to do things though. eg she says feed and put to bed at 7pm, then wake baby up for another feed at 10.30. Well for a start, 10.30 is past MY bedtime, and secondly the one time I tried that the baby really didn't want to be woken up and then the bugger wouldn't go back to sleep! So there was me sat there half an hour after I would have normally gone to bed with a moany bewildered VERY AWAKE baby wondering what the Fuck I had just gone and done, and with no one to blame but myself! So after that I used to let him wake me for the night feed when he wanted it and we were both happy.

After a night like you have had I wouldn't have woken baby at 7 - I'd have let them sleep in a bit.

Similarly - the lunchtime sleep, if they slept longer I wasn't going to be banging on the door waking them up.

Ways I obeyed the routine was 99% of the time making sure I was back home at lunchtime so they could sleep in their cot. So I would hardly ever go out for a shopping trip into town that went on for hours and resulted in them sleeping in their buggy. In fact, I looked upon a baby asleep in a buggy as a waste of a good sleep - they could be doing that at home while I relaxed!

The best bit was when I had the two of them and they both napped at the same time and I had 2 hours a day EVERY DAY to myself. Saved my sanity. Thanks, She Who Should Not Be Named. flowers

Ledkr Fri 10-May-13 14:01:39

I've always chuckled at routines for babies and rolled my eyes as friends rushed home for naps and food.
Then I had dc5 and have to stick very much to routine or she's horrendous.
They are all different. It's a tie but worth it.

HandMini Fri 10-May-13 14:03:25

I am a routine-loving Mum. I wanted an hour or so in the middle of the day and some time in the evening when I was having some peace.

One caveat to that though is that I encouraged both of mine to sleep in a variety of places - pram, cot, basket, lap, sofa, so that I could try and not miss out on day time things. It's a bit of a halfway house but works for us.

I think a really central part if Gina's routines is that you DO wake the baby at 7am (regardless of his/her nights sleep). Speaking of which, I need to go and wake DD2 from nap.

Kasterborous Fri 10-May-13 14:13:12

Our DD is now one and in a sort of routine but she sort of fell into it herself rather than our doing, but if she has days where it is not followed its fine. Its not strict times either she has her lunch when shes ready then a nap but it doesn't have to be twelve on the dot. Like last weekend we went to a party and she didn't have her afternoon nap, which wasn't an issue, yes she was tired and a bit grumpy by bedtime but it was worth it. Especially as she slept from 7pm until 9.15 the next morning! She has the odd night when she's up its strange its like she's tired but can't switch off, just like we get sometimes really.

lyndie Fri 10-May-13 14:24:32

I had a routine with DS and was convinced it made him happy and settled. Obviously subsequent DC we had to be much more relaxed about things though, especially now the older ones have activities etc. and the younger DC have survived! I do however think its lovely, and respectful to take a baby home for a nap though - if your child is fine napping in the buggy then that's ok, if you know your baby is more settled at home in their then why not? It's only for a short period of your life and if it prevents babies being overtired and grumpy then it can only be a good thing!

neunundneunzigluftballons Fri 10-May-13 14:45:59

I am not against or for routine for babies as such. My 2 older kids fell into their own natural rythmn and my little man needs to work around the school run and so has a loose routine based around that. He never normally sleeps in a cot during the day as he naps on the walks to and from school.

A group of 5 women met up when we had smallies. 2 of them observed strict routines and the rest of us were much more casual. To be honest the ones who were most strict ended up punishing themselves more than necessary imho. They left every coffee morning, evening social or anything any of us organised early as the little ones had to have a meal or a nap or a whatever. I could never see how the payback could have made up for all the rushing to and fro that they did especially as neither of them had children who slept anyway. Even if they did sleep I would still find missing out on the social inteaction (mother's social interaction not babies) would not be worth it. In my case most days would follow a similar pattern for food and sleeps but if we got the chance we would hang out late in grannys or in pals houses and the kids would drop off in the buggy on the way home or go with whatever flow we had on that particular day. I agree with the other poster who said flexibility is the key to routine oh and I think GF iis totally unrealistic. Before I had children mine 'theoretical offspring' would have behaved exactly like they do in Gina's book.

DumSpiroSpero Fri 10-May-13 14:54:46

The backdrop to this is that various friends are telling me I should have him on a more strict routine

Tell them to mind their own bloody business then revel in smugness when you have a laid back sociable toddler and theirs are having a meltdown if lunch is 0.0328 seconds late grin.

Seriously, what works for you, works for you. For some people that's GF, for some it's baby wearing, co-sleeping go-with-the-flow, and for most of us, I suspect it's somewhere in between.

No further advice re routines from me, because as you can probably tell, we've never had one!

ppeatfruit Fri 10-May-13 15:51:18

I 've not read GF but you are supposed to wake a baby that's been up most of the night with teething or a temp.? That's cruel IMO To the mum and the baby BTW ! You'd have a very miserable baby to put up with until it's 'time' to put him or her down for a nap wouldn't you? eff that for a game of soldiers!

Thurlow Fri 10-May-13 15:56:04

Normal rules tend to go out of the window when babies are ill - but I did sometimes have to wake DD from sleeping. If she slept too long in the afternoon she wouldn't sleep at night, and then she'd wake up late the next day, and nap late, and before you knew it everything would be out of the window. And this baby got very grumpy if she didn't get a good enough night's sleep!

Also, personally I was always happier if DD was going to bed around 8ish in the evening because I was often on my own at night and needed an hour or two to myself for my own sanity. So I'll admit I did sometimes wake her to try and keep her standard 8-8 roughly going.

ppeatfruit Fri 10-May-13 16:01:13

I agree about the afternoon nap Thurlow esp. when they get older, but in the morning if there's nothing to get up for and they've been teething its unreasonable to wake them up for some arbitrary routine.

Thurlow Fri 10-May-13 16:06:19

Not unreasonable, as each baby is different. I've only had one DC and no doubt any future ones will be completely different, but if DD didn't get up at roughly the same time in the morning, and nap at roughly the same time through the day, then the night would go wrong too. In the OP's case I might have stirred the baby at about 8.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 10-May-13 16:07:43

I did Gina with my 3, fan bloody tastic however your times look very similar and with teething/illness all normality goes out of the window Gina or not.

Thurlow Fri 10-May-13 16:10:18

Pressed post too soon! Actually no I wouldn't have, just saw how little sleep the OP's baby actually had, poor thing.

Brices Fri 10-May-13 16:23:09

I always wake mine up at set times. The HV asked me what happens when you don't wake them? How pathetic I have never even thought about letting them sleep in (1 and 2 years) as I think they might wake up in the night. I think I'm Gina indoctrinated grin

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