Please talk to/advise me about routines...feel like I'm going mad :((15 Posts)
Hello, Sorry bit of a long one!
Just need a bit of help as I feel like I'm going round the bend; I have a lovely 14 week old dd who thankfully is putting on weight and appears generally healthy. Up to now she has been ebf on demand and before her arrival I had never really considered having a routine eg Ms Ford, just to be more a go with the flow type. However some days I have a bit of a nagging sensation that maybe I should try and be more routine possibly for her own well being but I really struggle with how to implement this what with going to various baby clubs at different times etc and also my possibly selfish need to go out of our small one bedroom flat every day.
Some days I do feel ok about having no real routine but recently dd has started to get really bad at sleeping at night...I've always had to feed/rock her to sleep but now she only sleeps from about 9.15 till 12ish at night in her cot and after this will only sleep in our bed. She usually naps if I rock her about 2 hrs after she wakes in the morning but this can be for as short as 10 mins to max 45 (I think this is due to excess gas but that's another story) and will then sleep on and off when we're out in her pram. I went to the HV yesterday to talk about this and she said that I should really have stopped feeding on demand by now and should go 3 hourly and that regular sleep should follow..any views on this?
I realize that dd isn't a robot but I feel like everyday is just me going round in circles of should I feed her/ let her sleep/wake her up and the indecision is really starting to make me feel a bit worried and miserable. I explained to the HV my difficulties with routine and that I have to go out every day and she basically said don't!
Be grateful if anyone could share their views or ideas on routine or lack thereof...I don't even mind if the answer really is to have to stay at home for a while to get things established as my main concern is her well being. Thanks.
IMO she's still small,going with the flow shouldn't be stressful for you tho!if she's tired let her sleep,if you want to go out wake her and she can sleep again later etc.some babies get in a routine by themselves,some don't,mine didnt have any routine until about 18 months,made it easier for things like going to friends house in the evenings etc as i found them more flexible,started with a routine after they stopped breastfeeding and therefore having a bedtime rather then fall asleep at the breast whenever.HV have very different views about this kind of things so i wouldn't listen to them too much.you could try if you think a routine would help,but its up to you really!
I have dd2 who is 15 weeks and I haven't tried to enforce any routine on her. Ds (4) goes to nursery and this alternates mornings one week and afternoons the next, plus we do trips out to the shops, play centres etc most days so every day is not the same. She mostly naps during the day when we are out and about, in her car seat. This week is half term and she is currently asleep in her little bouncy chair and I am trying to keep ds quiet! A few times when we have been at home and she has been very grumpy, I have put her to bed in her cot and she has slept and so was obviously tired. Once or twice this hasn't worked and she has howled until I've got he back up. She seems happy despite the lack of daytime routine, and she goes down to bed at about 9.30-10pm. Ds formed his own routine when he was around 5 months and would start to fall asleep and have a nap at a similar time each day. I think so long as baby seems happy and has the opportunity to nap during the day, whether it is out and about or in their cot at home, that is what matters most. It's hard when you can't get them to sleep at night though. Do you use a dummy at all? I find one helps get dd off to sleep and it worked with ds too.
Your hv isn't giving you particularly good advice regarding feeds. It is advised to always breastfeed on demand as this allows your baby to cluster feed through growth spurts thereby increasing your milk supply to meet their increasing needs.
It is perfectly fine to follow your babies lead. So no "need" to have a routine, particularly so young. But it you wanted to add more structure, why not try to get a bedtime routine started. At that age I did feed, bath, massage, feed to sleep between about 6.30pm and 8pm. My dd very quickly understood that this was bedtime and started sleeping a longer and longer stretch at night (until the 4 month sleep regression anyway).
You'll also add more structure when you start weaning.
I prioritised getting out to groups and meeting friends over a routine and have found that now my dd is one she has her own routine which she follows most days but also can cope when we need to do things differently some days.
Thanks for replying. I was toying with a dummy and did actually buy one but still haven't used it because I just thought it was one more factor to complicate issues eg the no sleeping could be due to so many things ie temp, hunger, gas etc and I guess the not knowing is what I struggle with. I think the real issue is that in my anxious new mum/sleep deprived state I have lost a bit of capacity for rational thought and feel that I'm damaging her by lack of routine but I suppose if they are getting some rest and feeding they'll be ok God, I never realized it would be so hard!
I'm going to go against the grain here. I really struggled without a routine or at least a structure to the day. When DD was little (from about 8 weeks) I roughly worked to this as it just helped me to feel sane.
I know there are plenty of mums who manage to go wit the flow and respond instinctively to ther baby's needs. But I felt lost. I
Managed it a bit better second time around if that's any comfort!
So, my routine was roughly:
Feed DD when awake (usually 6/7ish) and settle back to sleep if possible. I'd usually get dressed at this point and eat something.
DD wakes up 8-9ish - cuddles, read books (I know, insanely PFB) and play a bit on play mat. Then wash and get dressed.
Usually feed again between 9 and 10. Settle down for a sleep in her pram around 10.30-11ish. Then I could take her out if I needed to do errands.
She usually woke between 1 and 2 or another feed, winding, nappy change etc. awake for a couple of hours and then down for a quick afternoon nap or sometimes she'd have an extra feed around 4.
Started bedtime routine around 6. Depending in when she'd last fed I'd either feed her and then give a bath or bath first and then feed till nearly asleep before trying to sneak her into her cot.
Some days it worked, somedays it didn't but I felt better having a vague structure to work to. I didn't buy GF as I thought I'd probably get obsessive about it but I thin her routines are similar to this. They work really well for some mums and babies. Don't suit others at all.
Ime, they develop a pattern on their own. At 13 weeks, DS had no discernable routine, though i could tell he was ready for a sleep a couple of hours after waking so he regularly napped in the morning. From memory he developed a more solid 4 naps a day (variable time/ length) from around 16 weeks.
If it's working for you just taking it as it comes, and both you and baby are happy, i wouldn't force the issue. I really think that most babies get there on their own and there's only a real need to encourage a routine if that's the way you prefer it or you need to go back to work or have other DCs or something.
There's no harm in trying to establish a bit of a routine for your own benefit but it isn't necessarily going to help your baby much.
I think the furthest I would go towards the three-hourly feeds would be to eliminate other reasons for her to be unsettled if she is fussing much before three hours is up. I'd check/change her nappy, sit her up in case of wind, talk to her, entertain and cuddle her and make sure she wasn't a bit too cold or warm. If she continued to fuss after all of that I would feed her because all babies are different and nobody can say that a baby of that age should or shouldn't be hungry at a certain time.
Go with your instincts. They are usually right.
I would suggest you don't need to worry at all about a daytime routine yet. Get the nights cracked and the days will fall into place eventually. You say you have to rock her to sleep - have you actually tried just putting her down in a darkened room and walking away? We were amazed thAt the first time we tried this with DS he just went quiet and fell asleep. Try some soothing music, with a pulse but no crazy rhythms. Also, you say 'cot', could it be that she isn't ready for such a big space to sleep in yet? Maybe try the Moses basket inside the cot.
Also, what your HV says about not feeding on demand is utter rubbish. Your baby is still tiny and can't hold much in her stomach yet. Good luck, you'll be fine, and good on you for getting outside every day!
I've found that my 13 wo has more or less established her own routine so I go along with her.
She's normally up for the day at 8-8.30, has a feed and little cuddle and play until nap at 10 for around 30-45 mins.
She then plays on her mat or bouncer until next feed between 12-12.30 followed by a longer nap of about 1-2 hrs.
Then more play until feed at 4-4.30 and then she's awake until bath and bed routine starts at 7, she's normally in bed by 8.30.
I've found that she seems much happier having a structured routine and its definitely helped her settle at bedtime. Try and space out her feeds to 3 hourly gradually by adding 15 minutes or so every day.
I believe my LO benefited from some structure to the day from very young, but we never push for a rigid routine (like G.Ford from what I've heard). We started with bath/bedtime routine similar to tarka: massage, bath, feed, story ... very effective for us. Then (worked towards) any time she woke before 6am she'll be put back to bed after feed/nappy change - getting used to when it's sleep time.
If you're interested we found this book helpful. It suggests an approach which is flexible but has routine - neither GF nor go-with-the-flow but in between.
I watched my two children and surprise-they both seem to have their own little structure of the day. By knowing when they approximately wanted to have their naps helps me to put them down in their cot on time so that they are not overtired. The couple of times that i missed that point of over tiredness during the day pretty much resulted in lots of crying and usually a ruined night as well. Regarding feeding, think as always every baby is different...DC1 was happy to be fed every three hours, Dc2 who is 19 wo needs to be fed a lot more often during the day to be able to make it through the night with currently one feed.
Also, to be able to keep things flexible and not to be housebound whenever one of them needs to sleep i made sure they are used to sleeping in cot, buggy, car seat, sling etc
Try just writing down for a few days what times she does things and it might show a pattern which you can then encourage and plan around. Aiming for no naps or food for a few hours before bedtime. But must admit whenever I think I've got it cracked with my 6mo he will suddenly refuse to do anything to plan. Today he refused to have a proper nap until 4.30 despite what feels like all day of encouraging it. Oh and HV is not being helpful.
I tried on demand feeding and by 6weeks I decided to implement a routine. Dd would feed on demand roughly every 3hrs anyway and I did have a little read of gonna ford. I didn't follow it completely but used it as a very loose guide. I never stayed in all day either! I'd go mad if I had too! I'd don't understand why people think you have to stay in when you have a routine. Just give it a go and see how you feel after a fortnight. Just be casual with your timings and if dc doesn't nap/feed at that precise time it's not the end of the world!
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