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is it too early to start my 4 wk old newborn on a routine?

(45 Posts)
mrsplat Thu 18-Oct-12 09:23:16


I'm v.keen to get my son into some sort of routine, I have the Gina ford book (CLB) but from what it says, my son patterns are wildly different. Just wondering how u start? At the moment he eats every 2 hrs sometimes less, I'm waking every two hrs at night to feed which ends up about 5/6 feeds per night. I feel it will be a good idea in the long run if we put try to get establish sleep/feed times. The midwives/healthvisitors all say otherwise to co-sleep and feed on demand, I can't help feeling the co-sleeping will difficult for him give up when he has too. We had him sleeping in his Moses basket for 2 weeks but now he will only sleep on my chest or next to me. I guess what I'd like to.know is does Gina Ford only work for some babies and not others? I know he'll be very upset being put in a 3 hr feed schedule plus is it not important for them to eat on demand for their development? I'm in two minds as to what to do as u can probably tell but I would really like to try a schedule if its not too early for him. Does anyone have or has had similar situation? Many thanks Sasha

DrSeuss Thu 18-Oct-12 11:37:09

Put the book in the bin!
He eats every two hours for a reason, namely that his tummy is tiny and can only put a tiny bit away at a time. He is practically brand new, is in the process of working out if it's day or night and so is just getting settled. DD would also only sleep on my chest and I was detirmined not to co sleep as I am a very light sleeper. She slept with me for months!

Flisspaps Thu 18-Oct-12 11:41:53

May I suggest you put the book away, and in a few weeks you'll notice that your DS has a pattern all of his own. He'll eat and sleep at around the same times, and you won't be making him conform to a routine that doesn't fit him.

He won't have read the book wink

Besides, BFing to a schedule isn't recommended particularly so early on when you're still getting established smile

Flisspaps Thu 18-Oct-12 11:45:23

And don't worry about co-sleeping - if you give it a go then you won't be posting in 10 years time trying to get the darned child out of your bed!

LittleBearPad Thu 18-Oct-12 11:55:07

Chuck the book out. My DD started sleeping through the night at 12 weeks but I have no idea how. We just went along with when she was hungry, tired etc. She is now 24 weeks and has a bottle every 3 hours (generally) if she's hungry earlier we feed her earlier and vice versa. If you go with your baby you will begin to notice their own routine/rhythm and it will be much easier on everyone concerned than trying to impose anything.

foxy123 Thu 18-Oct-12 12:48:54

I demand fed my DD for the 1st 4 weeks and then put her onto the routine you speak of from 4 weeks onwards. From memory it was something like 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm feeds - but obviously if she wanted more she could have it!

It worked for me as she started to sleep through the night from 4 weeks and I had to go back to work when she was 3.5 months old.

bacon Thu 18-Oct-12 18:17:28

I loved Gina Ford used her successfully twice and a godsend for us mums that need routine and order (plus us flakey risk of depression types).

You can do bits but usually they start around 6 weeks. I bottle fed so some what easier but her routines are fantastic and tips.

I agree routine pays off and the earlier the better.

GailTheGoldfish Thu 18-Oct-12 23:12:29

I started a thread like this when DD was about 7 weeks old, all the advice I got was not to bother trying to establish a routine and go with the flow. They were right - she is now 12 weeks, still BF on demand and is an excellent night sleeper (11 - 5.15, feed and then sleeps again til 8 or 9am) and now through the day will be awake for 1hr 30mins - 2 hours before needing a nap and then the cycle starts again. She has done that herself without any input from me and I am really glad I didn't spend the first precious few weeks of her life trying to get her to fit a pattern.

AnxiousElephant Thu 18-Oct-12 23:31:04

To be honest I did gina ford when dd1 was 6 weeks and really wish I hadn't. Oh it worked for sleep routines but completely ruined my breastfeeding. I felt guilty for ages about giving up and wish I had had a HV who said co-sleep - it was taboo then. I got so fixated on routines that I became anxious if anything disrupted them i.e. visitors at nap time etc. The dd that was a GF baby (didn't have needs met on demand due to need to let cry/ not pick up etc) is much more insecure than dd2 who bf for 6 months, fed with me every night and slept close/ in bed. DD2 is far more secure, outgoing and less demanding of my attention. I wouldn't do it ever again. Also since becoming a HV I now realise that it isn't particularly healthy for very small babies to sleep for really long periods and it places them at higher risk of cot death due to their immature brain development and nervous system (breathing centre). In deep sleep they can forget to breath especially under 3 months.

scarlettsmummy2 Thu 18-Oct-12 23:38:51

Bin the book! Would you like someone to wake you if you were deep in sleep and stick a boob in your face? Feed on demand, co sleep if it makes life easier and trust your instincts. Let's face it, how many children start school co sleeping? You will settle in to your own pattern. My second daughter is now eight months, we co slept until she was sleeping through the night at about six months and she moved into cot beside me without bother. She has also just self weaned in the last week, I am gutted but it's been much easier that battling to do something she doesn't want to do.

maxmillie Thu 18-Oct-12 23:44:05

Throw. It. Away.

This is from an OCD control freak with 3 dc. I posted an almost identical post 8 years ago with ds1. My heartfelt advice to you, through experience, is No. There is room for beginning to get into a routine, but not yet, he it tiny, love, hold and enjoy home wherever and when're you can. 4 weeks is too early, it won't work anyway. 6/8 weeks is the time for a bit of structure and even then I'd say just regular bathtimes, leading into regular ish nap times and, much later, mealtimes.

That book won't work. She doesn't have children. Don't go there.

ZuleikaD Fri 19-Oct-12 06:31:29

Give it a few weeks and your baby will naturally fall into a routine (prefer the term rhythm, to be honest) anyway!

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 19-Oct-12 06:34:25

I think the general consensus we came to on the last She Who Must Not Be Named thread was that she works well for formula-fed babies who are amenable to, or already roughly following, her routine but is an absolute disaster for BF on-demand babies who do not want routine.

As an obsessively organised individual, I thought Gina Ford sounded great until I got a baby that fell firmly into the latter category. 5 months on and he still refuses any attempts at a routine - his or anyone else's! To the detriment of my OCD my surprise, no two days are ever the same, sleeping or feeding wise, but you just learn how to work around the unpredictability. Also, GF doesn't accommodate for the growth spurts and developmental leaps that come along regularly to completely throw what little routine you have been able to establish into complete disarray.

Fairylea Fri 19-Oct-12 06:39:27

Chuck it. Seriously.

Just follow your baby and set a bedtime sometime early ish evening when they seem sleepy and go from there. Make daytime and night time different ... daytime feeds noisy and night time feels calm and silent - and in the dark. These are the principles of most routines that generally work. Everything else is rubbish. And always feed on demand.. always !

Both my babies have slept through from about 12 weeks... maybe I was just lucky but I never followed a routine.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 19-Oct-12 06:59:41

Another "chuck it" one here. I spent the precious first six months of DS's life trying to fix him set routines and it was shit. DD is pretty much exactly the same baby but her newborn hood has been wonderful because I've just followed her and enjoyed her.

All the books are good for are getting vague advice on vague patterns your baby might vaguely fit into. They all sleep through eventually

spartacusflapjack Fri 19-Oct-12 07:08:18

I formula fed twins and routine was vital to me from the word go. I tried GF at the beginning but is was far too prescriptive. They were feed every 3 hours (2 1/2 during growth spurts as they just would not wait and needed the extra). You could set the clock by them! The best thing I did was giving them 2 bottles nearer together at 5 and 7pm. A dreamfeed at 9pm stretching to 10pm/11pm, then crossing my fingers that they do their big stretch of sleep at the same time as I do.
DH did the late dreamfeed while I slept.
Not sure how you'd go on with BF but it worked well with FF. Ours haven't come to any harm from being on a routine and, as I saw it, you can't feed twins on demand when they are both demanding at different times of the day and night. So they might as well both be on a routine. If that makes sense!

Meglet Fri 19-Oct-12 07:10:57

It probably won't work very well if you're bf TBH and I wouldn't tempt screwing up BF if it's early days.

I did GF to the second with DS as I was expressing and FF and it worked like a dream.

But it didn't bloomin' work with DD as I was ex bf, she wasn't really in a routine until about 4 months.

I always feel like a lone GF-loving voice on these threads! I need my routines so felt happier when my DC's had them too.

beginnings Fri 19-Oct-12 07:24:34

Many congratulations on your little boy mrsplat. I wouldn't throw away the book but wouldn't worry about a routine just yet. My DD demand fed and at that stage it could be as much as every 90 minutes. At 6 weeks I started a bedtime routine for our sake as much as hers! In the beginning it would take up to two hours - bath with baby massage, nice long dreamy feed etc. at 13 weeks she started to sleep through and her daytime naps (horrible til then) started to settle. She's 5 months now and has found a basic routine for herself - I type this as I wait for her to wake at 7.20 (just starting to hear grumblings smile ).

Am jealous of your cuddly newborn. She wouldn't dream of sleeping on me now!

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Fri 19-Oct-12 07:31:04

I followed a routine with mine from about 4 weeks and it made us all happier. Before that I had a nocturnal baby that was driving us demented.

You don't have to do GF religiously, and even babies in a routine deviate from it around growth spurts, but for me it really helped understand how to loosely structure a day, especially leading up to bedtimes.

I don't think the "throw it away" comments are that helpful, if what you are doing at the moment isn't making you and your baby happy, there's no harm in trying something different, but don't beat yourself up if your baby doesn't do what GF says they should so.

blushingmare Fri 19-Oct-12 18:57:24

I disagree - Gina Ford has been invaluable in helping reflux-suffering dd sleep at night - her book is propping up the head of her cot wink!!

Seriously - yes tbh I would say 4 weeks is too young - they are soooo needy at that age - just go with the flow and enjoy it. I tried following a set routine at 9 weeks - tried for 2 days and it made me utterly miserable - obsessive about naps and despondent that dd didn't "do what the book said" hmm Now I demand feed, try not to allow her to go longer than 2 hours without a sleep and watch for signs of tiredness. I thought I would be big into routines as am quite controlling in other walks of life, but actually I'm really enjoying going with the flow.

The only thing I'm quite "routiney" about is bath and bedtime. We started this at 8 weeks and it was a godsend to have our dd in bed and asleep by 7 and have our evenings back. But I don't think I'd do even that earlier than 8 weeks - she felt ready then.

Good luck!

maxmillie Fri 19-Oct-12 19:55:12

completely agree with the baths and bedtime bit from 8 weeks or so - that is what really worked for us and, as you say, you get the evenings to recover your sanity a bit : )

Rhubarbgarden Sun 21-Oct-12 08:43:41

Ignore the naysayers. Gina Ford is ruddy marvellous. But it does take time and it is hard work. Just like you can't expect results from 3 visits to a gym, getting a routine in place takes patience. But it's SO worth it when you can pop your baby in their cot and walk away, and they go straight off to sleep with no crying or faffing, and you get a guaranteed two hour nap out of them every day so you get time to yourself to recuperate.

It's early days, give it time. Keep plugging away, don't worry when it goes wrong because tomorrow is always another day. It took mine about two or three months to get the routine, and ds was definitely harder than dd, but we got there in the end and is has paid dividends - in spades.

Mymou Sun 21-Oct-12 09:47:16


We didnt look at books or anything because the reason the saying "a baby doesnt come with a manuel" is there for a reason. every child is different. we can look for help and advice but youre the only person who knows your child, so look to it for an insight but dont be regimental over it.

My DD who is 2 now was in a routine very early, we encouraged a routine but didnt demand one from her. Slowly we brought things forward 15minutes or so and edged things around, as we were both well aware once i was back at work it would be much better for us all!!

My DD is still in her routine.

7ish - Wake up
Breakfast and dressed by 8
11.30- dinner
12.30 - nap
1.30 - wakes up from nap
4.00 - tea
6.00 - cereal & maybe bath
6.45 - milk
7ish - bedtime

thats just roughly and we dont make her stick to it, she just gets hungry at that time, she just gets tired that time and then she asks to go to bed around 7. but would much rather that than these parents who r still running after them after 9!!

On the other hand i have a friend her first son is in a routine and the second is in a completely different one that isnt so good for mum but its his routine.

at the end of the day your child is only 4 weeks old just enjoy and go with the flow smile


ZuleikaD Sun 21-Oct-12 11:10:41

Good grief if you're willing to stick to GF for THREE MONTHS before getting a result I cannot imagine the stress your poor baby's been under for that duration. I'm not surprised you can now put your baby in the cot and just walk away. I should think they gave up trying to communicate with you a long time ago.

Chunkychicken Sun 21-Oct-12 11:36:16

I have never read Gina Ford so cannot really comment on whether you should follow her or not BUT I found that my DD had her own routine after a while and by watching that and going with the flow meant we were much happier. I can see that going back to work sooner rather than later (I had nearly a year off) might mean you need a more fixed routine, so there might be advantages to GF then, but otherwise, who is the routine for? I would suggest it isn't for baby but Mum and 4wks is still very young, so maybe baby's needs should still be coming first... My DD is now a very content 2.5yo who sleeps for 2hr naps still and sleeps well almost every night, regardless of not using a "structured" routine. The only thing we did was start a bedtime 'routine' of bath most nights, lullaby CD whilst being changed and dressed by Daddy & feed from Mummy, when she started sleeping longer periods at night, so we could bring her 'bedtime' forward from about 10.30pm (i.e. last feed before I went to bed) to about 8pm ish. I think this was when she was between 9wks and 4mths roughly (can't remember when exactly!!). We still follow the same routine now, without the breastfeed!

Ultimately, only you can decide what will work for you, but if you are determined to continue to EBF then a strict routine is unlikely to work.

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