Is a routine best for a baby who gets himself overtired? New Mum needs expert Mummy advice!(12 Posts)
I am not sure where I stand on the whole routine versus baby-led subject but I am a first time mum who to be honest is probably analysing things a bit to much and is getting a bit stressed with doing it 'right'.
My DS is 7 weeks old and is a lovely good natured boy but he is very alert and active and gets himself overtired during the day and is determined to fight sleep and ends up grumpy, feeding little and often which doesnt seem to satisfy him and knackers me!
Although we have a wee routine at night of bath, feed and bed at 7, with only 1 feed needed during the night and awake at 7ish in the morning, I am unsure of the best thing to do during the day to make sure he is sleeping and indeed feeding enough. I have strated a routine set out in one of the many books, but not sure if its too hardcore as I feel I am constantly clock watching (feed at 7am then again at 1013/11 then again at 215/230 then back to 7pm and then 1030). Help! Looking for some practical advice rather than some self professed expert victorian type who has written a book!
at 7 weeks hard to say - they are random little things at that age - if he is feeding loads - are you BF - wasn't clear - then it could be a growth spurt - I would let him feed as much as he likes to be honest
with sleep I did try with my DS2 to have a bit of a routine - I would look out for sleeply signs and put him in his pram- he did like a long morning nap from quite young - but each baby is different - yours sounds quick normal - although the night sleep sounds great
the other thing is get out of the house - go to baby groups, friends, even for a walk most babies like different places and often are happier out and about
Only you will know when best to introduce a routine. I was like you at the beginning, bedtime is always the first but to be established.
What you say about clock watching is true tho and it does work. Maybe not at 7 weeks but you will start to gradually fall into a "routine" that suits you.
The one big thing I have
...learned from being a parent is knowing when to move in to the next thing.
i was baby led with ds1, more baby led with ds2 and gina ford with ds3! the main thing i would say for this age is know your growth spurts! they explain a lot. i couldn't really get into proper routine with ds3 until all the growth spurts settled down. my older 2 got into their own routine around 12 weeks anyway but i had sleep battles for a while with them which i have avoided with ds3 so far but he's only 6months old.
i found with all of them the afternoon/early evening grizzly hour is pretty much unavoidable so i just expected it then if we had a pretty near perfect routine during the day we had a fairly good evening and he was asleep by 6:30.
i did try to follow the routine too much a few times when he was only a few weeks old and he ended up very hungry - i was trying to settle him to sleep and he was getting more and more worked up cause he was starving!
I didn't do a routine as such, but I found when ds was little he could only stay awake for 2.5 hours at a time. So, I would usually feed him every 2-2.5 hours (he normally asked by 2.5 hours anyway!) and he would feed to sleep. Also if he got grizzly putting him in a sling and walking around usually sent him off.
By about 4-5 months he could do 3 hours awake, and so I would either feed to sleep or take him for a walk in the pram/sling every 3 hours.
I should add, my ds seemed to spend longer stretches awake than many babies his age - I would expect a 7 week old to need a nap every 2 hours, maybe less. Often their shortest awake period is after they get up in the morning, so a 7 week old waking up at 7am may need their first nap at 8 or 8.30am. Personally I would feed to sleep (if you are bfing) as babies naturally fall asleep on the breast and sleep better with a full tummy ime.
I did follow a routine but only from about 15 weeks. Until then I had absolutely no idea what sort of sleep my DS needed!! I just didn't want to know, or read any books. But then it became clear that I was probably mistaking overtiredness for colic in the evening. We started with a 7pm bed and it worked brilliantly. Then I started getting him down for long naps in the day - again it worked really well. I loosely followed Tizzie hall Save our Sleep which is nowhere near as to-the-minute as Gina Ford.
My DS took to it really well. And sleep begets sleep...so nights were good too.
Routine is not for everyone. And I think you can start too early and expect too much when they're still finding their feet, as it were. I think I did it at the right time. I also agree that each baby is unique and none of them will fall into a very exact routine so you have to be intuitive as well.
I have an extremely happy baby, so it did work for us. Plus, I could work when he slept, which, as I'm freelance, made a massive difference to me
I didn't like the idea of routines (when to feed, sleep, wake etc.) but the one bit of advice I found invaluable was that little babies can't go more than 2 hours without a sleep, like RitaMorgan says. So I would settle both my babies in their moses basket about 1hr 50mins or so after they had woken and more times than not they would settle to sleep. I would then let them sleep as long as they wanted, take note of whatever their waking time was (could vary widely) and then settle them again within 2 hours of that wake time. So I wasn't putting them into any sort of routine (which to me is defined sleep, wake, feed times), just pre-empting tiredness. Once they were actually rubbing their eyes, they were too tired to go to sleep easily - the 2 hour rule helped pre-empt that most times.
So a 'typical' day might go something like awake 6.30, down for nap at 8.30, sleep until 10, down for nap at 12, sleep until 2, down for nap at 4, sleep until 4.30, to bed at 7. Both of mine dropped the afternoon nap at around 5 months old. DS kept his morning nap until 14 months and lunch nap until nearly 3, DD is still going strong with morning and lunch naps at 11mo
On days where they didn't settle, I would feed them to sleep. Because I didn't have to do this for every nap, it didn't feel like or become a 'bad' habit, not that I think feeding a small baby to sleep is a particularly bad habit anyway - they want comfort, they get it from feeding, they are then happier to drift off to sleep, where's the problem?
it's still early days and you will quickly get better at anticipating when your particular baby is getting tired, and how to help them drift off.
Don't let routine ruin this special time (if the clock watching is taking over i mean).
Some baby parent combos thrive on routine some don't. We didn't have one till ds found his own at ten months.
oh yes and fussyness in the evening can be down to any number of things. Or none at all it seems.
I successfully did Gina Ford for both boys and thank the lord I did! I dont believe a baby can set the rules, routine etc a baby needs total guidence.
Pays off. I started the routine around 6 weeks. DS2 was more difficult but we kept at it.
It does take time and bad habits are easy to establish at a young age. I found cluster feeding, and just total unease were a problem with DS2.
I typed up the routine and set it on my fridge which reminded my dappy brain what was next.
Not the greatest memories for me...just exhaustion!
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