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Are you for or against routines for babies?

(16 Posts)
shellki Fri 26-Jun-09 12:16:53

My dd2 is 7 weeks old, and until now has been great, a really chilled out baby, feeding and sleeping nicely. I think she may be going through a growth spurt or something, as she has become really stressed and fretful during feeds and in the evening at bedtime. Until now I have not been following a routine, just feeding on demand and letting her nap when she needs it, and its been working out OK. I am not really inclined to have them on a strict routine, but do think that a broad schedule, especially for evening/bedtime is good. I am wondering if she would be better off if I put her into a routine, that her stress and fretting might stop. What do any of you think about routines?

Bleatblurt Fri 26-Jun-09 12:20:16

I think lots of babies like a broad schedule but there's some that don't. Mine HATED it. I felt like I should do it as everyone always says that babies like a routine but I just made mine grumpy and unhappy.

You could try a bedtime routine and see how your DD likes it.

stillstanding Fri 26-Jun-09 12:21:13

I do believe that there are different courses for different horses on this one.

Personally in the earlier days I was much more into the whole natural rhythmns approach and would have found a GF-type routine very stressful (and rather ludicrous). Once DS was about 6/7 months though he noticeably needed naps/meals at certain times and the routine developed from there.

Follow your instincts and your baby's needs as she develops and you will do brilliantly!

OrmIrian Fri 26-Jun-09 12:22:00

Neither. I just didn't use them for mine.

bamboobutton Fri 26-Jun-09 12:23:49

im against routines. i made myself ill trying to do routines and reading GF made it worse.

it took months for me to chill out and go with the flow and ds was happier and so was i.

ds didn't have a proper bedtime routine until he was 7-8mo and was fed on demand.

when the next one comes along i will be much more relaxed and will co sleep from the start.

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Fri 26-Jun-09 12:24:43

I don't believe you should enforce a schedule on a baby, BUT I think that a baby has a natural pattern to its behaviour.
I also think it is ok to work with the natural patterns your child has, so if they tend to sleep after a feed, and they tend to feed every 2-3 hours I would work my life round the baby being able to sleep.

Sorry if that is a cop out.

MrsJamin Fri 26-Jun-09 12:26:14

they find their own pattern over time. you can help but gently, e.g. when it looks like they will go for a longer sleep at bedtime, give a little bath beforehand so they get the idea that the two go together.

serant Fri 26-Jun-09 12:26:59

routines are what babies thrive on , they naturally fall into these if you are tuned in to thier needs.. feed, sleep. play etc..

I think you have to give the babe what they need iyswim, I do think alot of babies are over stimulated & tired these days , pace of life i guess..

BellaBear Fri 26-Jun-09 12:29:17

I like routines (expecting certain behaviour to follow other behaviour) but what I can't be doing with is schedules which is really what GF type things are, rather than routines

Littlepurpleprincess Sun 28-Jun-09 08:54:56

Routines are good, they make children feel secure, as they learn what will happen and when. BUT, you can't force a baby into a routine, you need to give them time to set one themselves, and as your baby grows and their needs change, the routine will have to be adapted.

So a baby as young as yours will change her routine every few weeks, then gradually it will even out as she eats meals 3 times a day and sleeps less often.

Routines do not need to be strict times either. for example DS has a morning routine of wake up, change nappy, get dressed, have breakfast, brush teeth, wash face, and watch cbeebies! It doesn't matter what time he gets up and does these things, it's the order in which he does them IYSWIM. It promotes good behaviour (he's just turned 3) because he knows what is expected of him and when.

daisyj Sun 28-Jun-09 09:53:12

DD seems to love her evening routine and has taken to complaining if we are home and it is delayed by more than about 20 mins. She's 12 weeks now, and we've been doing this since about 5 weeks, when she started to seem tired at a particular time.
Agree that it's the elements of the routine rather than the precise timing of them that is significant, though.

However, she hates to nap during the day unless she's in her buggy or in the car. Occasionally she'll fall asleep on her playmat, but I don't force it.

Incidentally, she did also start fretting and pulling on the breast around 6 weeks, and that has settled down somewhat. I think it's when they start needing more, and your supply takes a little while to adjust to their demand if you are bf. Also, they get more curious and easily distracted, and that doesn't help!

As far as the feeding is concerned, and particularly in this weather, I certainly wouldn't try to impose a routine. I've always understood that if you are bf then you should be feeding on demand so that your supply matches their needs.

Tambajam Sun 28-Jun-09 09:58:01

Evening fretfulness is a very natural pattern. If a mother is breastfeeding it leads to cluster feeding which has many uses as well as boosting your milk supply.

You could shape a routine around what she is already naturally doing and have some calm regular activities in the evening but I think you may regret trying to restrict access to the breast before bedtime.

carrotsandpeasifyouplease Sun 28-Jun-09 21:25:43

i don't think very young babies can be pigeon holed into a routine, if they do its because they are that way inclined (mine wasn't - although I wanted it)
GF / Baby Whisperer is actually full of good practical advice, don't be put off by people completely slating it, use you're own judgement when you think what they say is a bit out there (agree about the GF "schedule" by the way).
From about three months we started the 6:30 bath / milk / bed type routine and are still on it at 17 months, regardless about the baby though the nighttime routine saved my sanity.
It also good to have a rough mealtime routine so you know what to take once they are eating when out and about.
I think it depends on you as much as the baby as to whether a routine will work.
Having said that if I have another I will be much more chilled (hopefully) and just accept what the baby will do, as others have said I nearly made myself ill thinking that my baby should do this or that.

CatIsSleepy Sun 28-Jun-09 21:39:00

I was a bit routine-fixated with dd1, am much less so with dd2. Although in some ways it does make life more difficult in terms of planning stuff and getting out etc, it's less stressful in other ways

For one thing dd2 won't nap longer than 45 minutes. But there is a fairly predictable pattern to what she does so I guess she has her own thing going on-albeit with a fair amount of variation from day to day depending on what kind of mood she's in and what time she's woken up. I know roughly how soon she'll get tired and when she'll get hungry and when she'll want to go to bed for the night.

Main aim is to stop her getting overtired and grumpy! I do think she doesn't sleep long enough sometimes though-there are times when she gets up from a nap and is just inconsolable, won't want to feed and I'll have to take her for a walk to get her to sleep more before I can feed her. So I do think a regular long sleep during the day would do her good, am just vaguely hoping she'll start doing that at some point....

btw dd2 was actually also v chilled out until about 7 or 8 weeks and would take a long nap in the middle of the day. In fact I used to wonder if she was sleeping too long. Ha! Hard to imagine now...

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Mon 29-Jun-09 10:20:24

I am a fan of flexible, "friendly" routines but not of strict schedules and clock-watching. I do think a reasonably fixed bedtime and bedtime routine helps them to settle, and that reasonably regular nap times help to stop them getting overtired. I also found with DS that feeding him at fairly regular times encouraged him to have a good feed and then be happy until the next one, whereas some of his friends seemed to "nibble" all the time but then get hungry again really quickly.

That said I don't think getting obsessive about timings is good for anyone, and we tried to stay flexible so that we could still go out and do things even if they didn't exactly fit in with his "normal" sleep times etc.

It does depend on the baby too - some are much more adaptable and others seem to like predictable patterns; and you also need to keep in mind that they are growing and changing all the time, so you have to be ready for changes and adjust things if they no longer work!

herbgarden Mon 29-Jun-09 18:21:13

I'm a routine fan but I don't think you should be a slave to it. DS had a routine and I was a bit more strict. DD is now 5 months and her routine is slightly more flexible but I still follow loosely what I did with DS. I feed her at regular times and if she doesn't get a big sleep at lunchtime she goes into complete meltdown and is hard to deal with but whether that happens at home or in the buggy doesn't matter. We can't spend the first few years of her life at home - we have a life.

DS goes to bed at 7 so she goes down sometime round then too. I like routine because it allows me to have a bit of a life as well. I don't want my kids still up at 9pm - I'm too knackered and need my evenings to myself so am strict about 7pms. That might sound selfish but they both go off and DS asks if he can go to bed after his story - strange child. Same with the lunchtime thing - I love that DS and DD did a big sleep at lunchtime. It just gave me that downtime in the day that I really needed and they just seemed so chilled and happy after a good long kip.

You can try a routine which suits you and go with it - if you find it doesn't suit, ditch it and go with the flow...


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