Routines - where do you start..?(13 Posts)
hello - I have a 7 week old baby (i'm breastfeeding), feeding on demand,sleeping c. 4 hrs at a time.
At the moment i'm logging times of feeding, sleeps, awake time etc to see if any patterns naturally develop. How and when did other parents out there get a routine going..? Any advice or experience to share?
My routine didn't start until 12 weeks. This was when my DD stopped sleeping for long periods during the day, and I figured out what times are best for her to nap.
So now she has a morning nap at around 9, midday nap and then one at 3ish, each 45 minutes long.
I also do the same bedtime routing every evening, bath at 6.30 then bed at 7.30.
DD is ebf and feeds every 3-4 hours although weaning starts soon, so my little routine may be shattered!
At the moment your baby is still so young, but honestly I just knew when it was time to start a routine because she was getting very overtired in the evenings. The routine has completely calmed things down. I have a happy baby most of the time and its really down to her having enough sleep during the day and good substantial feeds. When your babies ready they'll let you know!
I remember asking the HV if I should get my month old baby into a "routine". She laughed at me
However, routines are for some, not for others...
With babies and BF babies in particular (re feeding schedules etc) really the first 12 weeks are very random. Personally I don't see any point in trying to get a routine during this period.
At 12 weeks they settle down a little, then they settle down again at 6 months and then at a year, then at 18 months...then at 3, then at 5. So... pick your moment for a routine
Second time round I did a bedtime routine for DD at 11/12 weeks to get her to go to bed when DS went to bed (7.30) and this worked really well. Took about 4 days to get her to go down at this time and then me and DH would get evening together and sometimes I went out. Yes WENT OUT!!!! Mostly just swimming for an hour or so, but it is possible!
Then..... having just fed on demand and she napped "on demand", at 8 months she was getting increasingly difficult, more unsettled during day etc due to tiredness and I was knackered from being up feeding her at night, so I forced a routine on her at 8 months. Again, I was surprised it didn't take long for her to get into it so she was doing 2 naps a day, one at 10 and one at 2 and going to bed at 7.30.
It's very personal this "routine" thing, depends what suits you and your baby best. Some people freewheel for the first year no probs, some are doing a routine from week 6 or earlier- madness imo.
We started with having bedtime at the same time each night, which meant he'd wake up at roughly the same time each day. Then we worked out when he'd be tired for the first nap (remember it being an hour and a half at first!), then the interval between waking up from the fist nap and the second, and so on. We always stuck with that, so rather than it being "right, it's 9 oclock" so it's naptime", it was "he's been up for 2 hours, time for a sleep". Eventually, it did work out that he was sleeping at roughly the same time each day.
Feeds slotted in around this. TBH, I stopped breastfeeding at 10 weeks after really struggling with it and routine became easier to manage once he was on formula. But, like I say, I had real problems with breastfeeding so it may well be easier to manage a routine if breastfeeding is working well for you. I know friends who have combined breastfeeding and routines.
We had some kind of routine going at 12 weeks IIRC, and it got more predictable after that.
I seem to remember that DS sort of fell into a routine of four hourly feeds at about 6 weeks. we didn't do anything exactly but we kept a note as well and just realised that it was following a pattern of roughly 6am, 10, 2, 6, 10, 2am, 6am. I mix fed and we did start putting him upstairs after the 6pm feed. Once he got to 3months ish we started doing 6pm feed then bath then bed. It generally seems to settle in and then you have about a month before it all changes anyway and you have to figure it all out again!
We never did routines in terms of times, but we did end up setting up cue-chains early on, that is not so much thinking 'bed now' but at 'bedtime' (whenever DC and us felt was right) going through a bath/cuddle/feed/in darkened room routine. Similarly, in the morning, dressing them in day clothes; feeding during the day in different places to at night, having day naps in carrycot with day mattress but night sleeps in cot; maybe picking different for lunch so the progression through the day is marked a bit.
This was mainly for our sanity, but we think this helped baby get day and night, and made it easier later for them to know when 'bedtime' was (indeed, DS1 started to show us he was ready by pointing to milk and crawling upstairs at about 1 yr).
We did a routine at 5 weeks, but like other people have said it all depends on whether you want to be a 'routine parent' or not We did quite a strict one as dd was awful (and still is) at drinking her milk so if we had left her to feed on demand she never would have drank anything. If you do deside to do one I would say that for the first two or three weeks it's so difficult but then they just click into it and it is well worth it
You need to start with the baby/child.
Create a routine that follows thweir patterns, let them be in charge.
When they are tired, let them sleep, when they are hungry, feed them, when they are awake, play with them, when they want to be held, hold them.
Don't be rigid with routines and times. Body clocks are far better indicators of what someone needs than mechanical clocks.
I started out by determining what time I wanted her to be in bed for the night. I decided on 7pm and treated all wakings after 7pm (even if, as a newborn it meant she woke again at 8pm!) as night time wakings so no going downstairs, feedings in darkened bedroom, low noises etc. This helped the rest of the day fall into place and helped her distinguish night from day very early on.
We started Gina Fording at 2 weeks. Others will say that's mad but before we did so dd was chaotic and miserable. She cluster fed and didn't sleep until she was so overtired she had to scream for hours first. The GF routine is based on biological rhythms not arbitrary 'mechanical' timings as some will lead you to believe, and things improved dramatically straight away, with dd getting decent naps and sufficient milk through the day to not need evening cluster feeding or hours of screaming anymore.
I'm quite prepared to believe some babies are happy in a 'demand' led scenario, but some just don't realise they need to 'demand' a feed until they are over-hungry, or to go to sleep until they are over-tired. A routine enables you to offer food and sleep before they reach that desperate stage, and dd was much, much happier for it. Yes it can take some time to get established, but if you don't get stressed about it and just keep offering the milk and naps at the right times, it soon kicks in.
I think we started when DD was getting on for three months - you know, no longer tiny tiny and going for roundabout the same time between feeds.
We started doing bath, then feed, then into sleeping bag and in moses basket at our feet in the sitting room (while we watched TV). She would suck her dummy, watch us, and gradually drop off to sleep. We'd have to do it this way as at three months there was no way she would happily lie in a moses basket on her own out of sight of us.
She'd then wake about 11 for another feed (when we went to bed) and we would put her moses basket inside her cot, which was next to us. So she would sleep there, then wake up around 3 or 4 for another feed, then morning.
In the morning we would have a feed in bed then get up, put day clothes on etc.
A bit later on, say 5 months, we started to put her straight down in her cot in our room after her bath and feed, and then we would be downstairs with the baby monitor.
About 7 months, we moved the cot into another room.
I think its just very gradual steps, as they get older more of a pattern emerges, you can expect more of them.
sounds like your baby has already put himself into a routine. just try and stick to whats happening now. 4 hrs between breast feeds is jolly good.
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