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Getting into a routine?

(19 Posts)
mamabrownbear Wed 17-Jul-13 18:59:15

My DD is 8.5 weeks and we don't have a routine. Should we? At the moment she doesn't really sleep that much during the day, she'll nap if she is the carrier or if we go out in the car. If I tried to put her down she usually cries. She goes to sleep around 11pm and wakes at 4am then about 8am.
Should I be trying to get into more of a routine? Or just go with the flow? I feed her whenever she seems to need a feed, no set timings or anything.
She is really happy, content and alert so far...not sure what to do and when to start routines? Advice most welcome!

MrsMummyP Wed 17-Jul-13 19:06:00

Have a DD who is 14 weeks and have just gone with the flow. Recently introduced a bedtime routine. Timings can vary but big feed, bath, more feeding as she seems to cluster feed in the evening. Other than that I've felt it was too soon esp as mine is ebf and i think the weather affects her feeding (there have been a few more short feeds during the day). Now she is more alert I think some structure to the day would be good for both of us, but am taking it slowly. Hopefully someone with more experience will come along and advise us both! Congratulations btw.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 17-Jul-13 20:34:38

If you don't want a routine there's no need to have one at all. You sound like you are both doing really well as you are. Routines are more important if you are ff, you need to know that how many bottles to take out with you. Routines are also favoured by many "baby experts" many of whom are untrained and childless.

I can highly recommend Babycalming by Caroline Deacon. Instead of being prescriptive it explains why you baby is behaving in the way they are and gives you the confidence to find your own way smile

Kiwiinkits Wed 17-Jul-13 23:08:19

Without wanting to start a bunfight, I am pretty pro-routine as I think babies thrive on having sufficient sleep. Which often means structured naps. Having good naps usually means better night time sleep too, a bonus. And I think 8.5 weeks is a perfect time to start putting in place the foundations for a routine (you have a window of opportunity between 8 - 12 weeks). When I say routine, what I DON'T mean is strict timing for things. Rather, it's an order and a structure to your day and your baby's day. Provided your baby is relatively contented and not colicky it shouldn't be too hard to do. Some basics for getting a good routine in place:
* Always start at the same time each day. For example, going into baby's room and opening the curtains at 7am each morning and making morning noises (like putting clothes away in drawers). This introduces the concept of 'day' and 'night'.
* Feed every 2.5/3 hours and follow the same pattern throughout the day. A good way to remember your pattern is E.A.S.Y. Eat. Activity. Sleep. Your time. And at that age they should seldom be awake for more than about 1.5 hours at a time. So a routine for your 8.5 week old might be something like this:

7am wake
7.10am feed (E)
7.30 nappy change and time in the sun/playing (A)
8.15am back to bed for a nap (S)
(Y) have your breakfast, shower, etc

Then when baby wakes, start again. If the last feed was 7.10am then the next might be around 10am. So,

10am feed (E)
10.30 nappy change and play (A)
11.30 (S) back for a nap
(Y) time for you

This pattern repeats

1pm feed (E)
1.30 - 2pm (A)
(S) when tired signs show (e.g. yawn, rubbing eyes)

4pm feed (E)

5pm short nap
(E) on waking (this extra feed will drop soon)
(E) prior to bedtime at 7pm. (alot of people swear by using a bottle of formula for this feed because your breastmilk is low at this time of night and it really fills them up. Helps to introduce a bottle at an early age too, which can help your transition back to work if that's what you're planning on doing).

7pm bedtime. Same time. Every night.

10pm dreamfeed.

cross your fingers till morning.

Kiwiinkits Wed 17-Jul-13 23:11:57

The routine will lengthen as baby gets older and become more consistent. Some books say 4 hour feeds but my babies never went that long - was 3 hours max.
The cluster feeding between 5pm and 7pm will stop , probably around 3-4 months.
And you can drop the dreamfeed after you've started introducing solids around 6 months.

mamabrownbear Thu 18-Jul-13 04:06:52

Thanks kiwikits, I'll give it a go! She certainly isn't sleeping as much as that and I need more time to myself too! As much as I love the cuddles I need to get a chance to eat too!

Splatt34 Thu 18-Jul-13 04:50:16

I knew a lady from post natal group last time who had a really structured routine like this. We could only eve meet on her times at precise time. She couldn't go to any groups because they were when he was sleeping etc etc. she could barely leave the house because he would only sleep in the cot in the dark etc etc. It would have driven me insane.

DD1 fell into her own routine during the day but was very adaptable so essentially fitted what I wanted to do. I do agree with a solis bedtime routine though and am just starting to try this with DD2 who is 7 weeeks, though with little success atm as she is still a fussy evening baby.

Brugmansia Thu 18-Jul-13 05:38:04

I'm pretty sceptical about routines for little babies. I don't get the idea that babies need them or do better on a routine. The baby just wants to have its needs met and to feel secure that this will always happen. You don't need a routine to do that.

In my view any routine is really for the parent's benefit. If you believe that you will feel happier and more confident in meeting your baby's needs (and your needs) with a bit of structure to your day then maybe try and get a bit of a routine going.

Unlike the previous poster though, I disagree that it shouldn't be too hard if you have a relatively contented baby. Some babies suit routines much more than others. Any routine is pretty much based around daytime naps, both when they are and roughly how long they last. Some babies are much better nappers than others and some don't really sleep that much during the day or are fine on little catnaps. It's pretty hard to have much of a routine with this type of baby, unless you have a routine that basically means spending large parts of your day trying to get a baby that doesn't want to sleep to have a nap.

beaver33 Thu 18-Jul-13 13:50:00

Er, Kiwi, all of that sounds good but there's NO WAY I could get my EBF 9 week old to feed every three hours like that. She'd scream the place down. Am all for establishing some kind of pattern (which, OP, it sounds like you've done without knowing it) but that would be way too prescriptive for me.

Life don't work like that...

Kiwiinkits Sun 21-Jul-13 02:23:08

The main point is pattern, so if your baby is crying for a feed then by all means feed him/her but always follow the feed with play for a bit. This means that you move away from patterns which become problematic later on like feeding to sleep. Your basically establishing sleep as a separate and predictable activity. Not just something that happens randomly, anywhere and in snatched short bursts. It will pay off, believe me.

Kiwiinkits Sun 21-Jul-13 02:35:31

Really important to know the tired signs so you know when to start putting your baby into bed after their play period. By the time they're crying its too late. The tired signs are rubbing eyes, tugging at ears, yawns and grizzlyness. Any of these, straight to bed.

pinkapples Sun 21-Jul-13 04:11:05

I'm with kiwi on this one grin although like has been said it is based on repetitive pattern not structure

My 5 and a half week old has fallen into this pattern pretty much by suprise this week (I planned to start introducing a pattern at 8 weeks) she feeds every 3/4 hours (FF since last week) then is awake (I wouldn't describe it as play at the moment more awake and alert (can be sung to/share a book and lie under jungle gym)) she then sleeps after about 20 minutes then wakes for a next feed and it starts over we have a bottle and bath at 7.30 then a bottle between 10.00 and 10.30 and she sleeps till between 3-4am then wakes between 8-9am and the day starts again more on patterns than set times

However this week baby seems to have a clock as she has woken at 3.17am every morning since Tuesday grin

Whatever you decide your all doing fabulous and as long a baby is happy that's all that matters

Also second what someone said about the heat in the day for the last couple of days she's been feeding every 2-3 hrs as its so hot

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 21-Jul-13 09:39:28

The EASY routine is from the baby whisperer. The only person I know in RL who followed this has a dd who still wakes at 8. That's not weeks or months but years...

If you are bfing the easy routine is really counter intuitive as most bf babies like to be fed to sleep. In fact that's one of the benefits of bfing. The baby whisperer is on the Keelymom books to avoid list so if you are bfing, I'd give the easy routine a big miss.

Like splatt I knew a mum at a lovely baby group who followed a really strict routine like this. We all used to go for an early lunch after and she could never come because she had to rush back home. I really wouldn't have suited me.

Can't remember who said it but lots of babies do fall into their own routine and it sounds like your Lo is doing it already smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 21-Jul-13 09:44:44

pink if its very hot its fine to give a ff baby an ounce of cooled boiled water occasionally. It stops them getting dehydrated. Obviously you wouldn't do this when things cool down again or with an ebf baby.

IShallCallYouSquishy Sun 21-Jul-13 09:58:39

I started using baby whisperer routine for my DD when she was about 6 weeks old. Within about 4 weeks she followed it beautifully (give or take 30 mins either side of the times) and slept like an angel.

Then we went through the sleep regression which buggered it all up again at I was feeding her back to sleep 3 times a night. We got to about 7 months and started dropping the dream feed and she has slept 12 hours with 2 daytime naps ever since. Only have a blip if she's teething or poorly.

I think it saved my sanity as I'm a bit of a control freak and have anxiety so would panic if I didn't know what to roughly expect, but if I knew that she would probably need a feed at X time and sleep for Y time then I could get Z done.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Sun 21-Jul-13 11:20:31

I would love my baby to be in a nice neat routine, but he has other ideas and I've come to realise you can't train babies like labrador puppies more's the pity grin

From my personal experience, routines seem to be more suited to formula feeding. Breastfeeding is a complex biological process that basically relies on the baby being able to feed/suck whenever he/she feels like it. Everyone I know who breastfed and tried a routine either abandoned the routine, or abandoned ebf and went to mixed feeding or full ff because their supply dwindled, or they felt their baby was feeding "too often" and that their milk wasn't satisfying enough (whereas in reality they just weren't fitting in with the routine). That's fine if you're ok with it, but if ebf is important to you I wouldn't try to routine-ise feeds in any way.

You can have some elements of "routine" though, as in things you do TO the baby - eg give them a bath at certain times, bedtime routine at set time, go out in the pram or car at certain times, open and close curtains at certain times, get them out of bed or play with them at certain times, etc. Just don't expect your baby to comply nicely with feeding and sleeping to fit in with that (although if they do, great!)

joanna0211marie Sun 21-Jul-13 12:27:18

I've written all of what kiwi has suggested to put it to the test, routine sounds like bliss x

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 21-Jul-13 13:12:39

What aidan says.

IShallCallYouSquishy Sun 21-Jul-13 17:32:58

My DD was BF until 12.5 months (never had a single sip of formula) and still settled into the routine I mentioned above. It can be done with ebf.

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