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Routines, I know im obsessed but I need advice......(19 Posts)
My DS is 7 weeks old and I still feel totally clueless. Hes a big boy (11lb 11oz) and formula fed. I have been trying to do the following (i posted on here before and told to go with the flow....clearly im finding that difficult!)
Between 6/7am and about 7pm- I try to feed every three hours. Some days he goes 3 hours but more often hes hungry at 2 to 21/2 hours. He takes up to 180ml per feed. I assummed being ff and taking that volume he would be able to go a bit longer? In that 12 hours he sometimes feeds up to 7 times which seems a lot for a ff baby?
After each feed (usually an hour after start) i put him down for a nap in his room- sometimes he sleeps but a lot of time he doesn't and he ends up wailing. Sometimes If i pick him up he settles and then wails when i put him down. i'm guessing he gets over tired? He yawns so must be tired? I have also tried keeping him up a little longer after feed as I thought i might be putting him down to early but it doesn't seem to make a difference. After a while trying to settle him and establishing that im flogging a dead horse trying to get him to nap then he gets more aggitated and im usually nearing the 2 to 2 and a half hour after is last feed so I feed him. He takes the feed but im worried about over feeding him, feeding him just because ive run out of options and its not actually food he needs?
Some days I feel really tearful as I feel like hes very aggitated and the only time hes content is whens when hes eating. I think i find the uncertainity of how he will be difficult.....I know thats mad as I can't control him but people do get them in a routine.
The only thing that seems to going OK is his bedtime rountine, he feeds between 7pm and 8pm after a bath and goes down. He wakes usually twice before 6/7am. Do babies just eventually sleep longer or do you actively do something do eastablish that. I have had lots of people asking me if hes sleeping through! Should he be?!
What age do babies generally settle into a routine. Is there anything im doing/ not doing that could help. Sorry its`a bit rambly im just tired....
Mine settled into more of a routine at around 4/5 months.
The amounts of formula he is having does sound quite a lot. A 12lb baby would usually have around 850ml-900ml a day I think (it's about 70/75ml per lb per day) so if he's having significantly more than that it might be that he wants to comfort suck rather than being hungry. Does he have a dummy?
I think you are also expecting quite a lot to be able to put a 7 week baby down and him settle himself to sleep. Some babies do self-settle this early but most need to suck to sleep, rock to sleep, be cuddled or carried or pushed in a pram. I didn't try to get mine to sleep in his cot at home until nearer 5 months. I actually found it great that he would sleep in his pram or sling and I could go out - now my ds is 11 months and will only sleep in his cot at home and it means I have to be home by 1pm and am stuck in til 3.30pm!
Again, some babies might sleep through at 7 weeks, but most don't! Technically "sleeping through" is counted as any 5 hour stretch of sleep, which doesn't seem like sleeping through to most people. My ds was breastfed and slept through without nightfeeds at 8/9 months. Most of my ffing friends babies were sleeping through around 6 months, though one slept through a few nights a week from 3 months.
You sound like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself, 7 weeks is still such early days for both of you.
My dd3 is 20 weeks, she doesn't self settle yet but is getting there. She also doesn't go through the night yet, neither did dd2, dd1 did by this age but only her. She is waking roughly around twice between 7pm and 7am.
She would have 6-7 bottles a day around 210ml, sometimes less, I know she is older than your baby but she sounds roughly the same at that age. All 3 of my daughters have been formula fed.
One other tip, for some unknown reason, lots of people fib re their baby sleeping through the night DD2 was possibly the worst sleeper known to man, when she was six or so months old, I felt that she was the only non-sleeper in the world, however when dd1 started nursery I happened to mention to a couple of mums how bad a sleeper dd2 was, and all these other mums came over and talked about how badly their toddlers/babies were sleeping!!
That's very true about fibbing about sleep actually wrigglesrock - although I say ds sleeps through the night I'm actually usually up to him at least once in the night most nights to retrieve his dummy or because he wants some water Another friend whose baby sleeps through in fact gets up at 5 and gives him a bottle in his cot to get him through to 7.
7 weeks is very early days to expect him to be in a strict daytime routine (stick to the nightime one). I would advise that you get on with your day as normal. Go see friends, go for a walk, have a nap when he's asleep, take him to babyswim but don't obsess about feed times.
If you are worried about his weight talk to your health visitor.
bettie - it is far, far easier to change your expectations than to change the normal needs of a 7 week old baby.
You will find life is easier and happier for both of you if you follow your baby's lead with feeding and sleeping.
What is so great about a routine? You will find one in time - babies don;t need to have one imposed on them. When people ask if he is sleeping through they don't mean he should be, they are just asking a polite question. Babies of 7 weeks old are very, very unusual if they don't wake in the night.
Are you listening to judgemental people who have no idea about the normal needs of young babies? Block your ears
Just to add - you already know being this fixated on routines is not good, I can see, 'cos you used the word 'obsessed'
'Obsessed' is not a good feeling to have and it's not comfortable for your little boy who can't understand it and just wants you to respond to his (unpredicatable but normal needs.
Bettieblue, my DD is 7 weeks tomorrow so I am in the same place you are, however I would definitely swap for that night's sleep..I am sometimes getting 3 hours followed by co sleeping ( out of necessity) but were treated last night to a 5 hour stretch!
Out of my 6 nct group, one wakes every 2 hours for feeding day and night, one sleeps through the night and most of the day, one has colic and doesn't sleep, one wakes every 3-5 hours at night but catnaps during the day, one wakes once at night and follows a 3 hour cycle during the day and my wonderful DD that sometimes wakes once at night and sometimes once an hour and will only sleep on me in the daytime (hence the mumsnetting).
Basically they are all so different and I honestly don't know how anyone gets their baby into a routine at this age - mine seems pretty strong minded and knows what she likes! Also she wouldn't sleep anywhere for the first 4 weeks except on me or my DH. I spent so many hours trying to get her into her cot as that's where she should sleep. I realised after a while of both of us getting upset that I was worrying too much and not enjoying this time together. So for now we just do what she wants and we'll worry about a routine when that becomes a problem. I realise that may not be what you want to hear but we are much happier for it!
I can totally empathise. Am an obsessive over-thinker I got so wound up on the "routine" issue. Everything started to get timed! Naps - gaps between naps - total naps - feeds - frequency of feeds - length of feeds. Everything became a big decision - do I wake him? How long should he sleep during the day? What if his last nap impacts on his bedtime. Last week when DS 6 weeks old I realised exactly what one of the other posters said - it's easlier to change your expectations than to change the baby! So, for the past week I decided to pick one issue to obsess over (hey - I have to acknowledge my issues!!)!! So I decided that he shouldn't go more than 4 hours between daytime feeds (he's BF) and that's the only thing I would time. No more waking him if his daytime nap extended over 2 hours (in fear it would impinge on nightime sleep..) etc etc. No more fretting if he fell asleep close to bedtime (or at least - trying not to fret!)
One week on and I have to say - it could be coincidence - but he seems much more content. He goes down to sleep when he looks tired and even self-settles in the morning and evenings. Afternoons can be trickier but much better than before & who cares when rest of day easier! I've rarely had to wake him for his 4 hour feed and in general have discovered he's woken naturally around the time I'd hoped he would (about 20 mins after I would have woken him..but him waken makes for much less grumpy boy!)! And guess what? He started going through the night with only one feed - even doing a six hour stint. (Shhhhh..best not jinx it )
As an obsessive over-analyser and routine freak I know it's hard but if you can let them take the lead - even do it as an experiment
I agree with Tiktok big time when she says you should follow your baby's lead. My DS found his own routine at about 5 months or so. I did not impose anything onto him, I just observed him and adapted when change was needed. This was much easier and a lot less stressful for everybody.
At this age baby still change an awful lot so if you want to stick to a rigid(ish) pattern, you 'll be shaken every time there is a change.
As far as the sleep is concerned, he seems pretty normal to me! What babies should/shouldn't do pffff.... whatever! Some babies sleep through at 7 wks, some don't. I don't think you should try to sleep train your baby before 6 months (I read this somewhere) or so.
For the feeds, I'd say that if he follows the line on his growth chart, then that's fine. Mine was born in the 50th percentile and moved up to the 75th and stayed there ever since. He was quite a solid eater too and sometimes I worried that I overfed him. So I had him weighed every 2 weeks until I was reassured that I was doing the right thing.
Thanks for the replies, I think peedieworky you and I are very alike and going with the flow i find very difficult! I was so tired yesterday that instead of putting him in his basket for a nap and spending half the morning trying to get him to sleep I took him to bed with me and we had a lie in till 11am- bliss! Mind you I won't be making a habit of that in case he gets too used to it..... see i can't help myself! I am going to try and worry less- I think i just want to do things right and find it difficult that there isn't necessarily a ' right' way to do things!
bettieblue am giggling reading your post as am exactly the same. I give myself such a hard time about any decision. And I decide one thing and then change back. For example I had a week where he refused to sleep in the afternoons except in the car/buggy. Being post emergency section I was struggling with this so one day he fell asleep in the bouncey chair. Did I leave him? Did I heck - I tried to move him into his Moses and of course he had a meltdown. So I never made that mistake again..except I did. Frequently! And still do! Despite friends/MW/HV all telling me it's fine to leave him to nap in it if it gives me a break - I still worry he'll get "used" to it!
We should start a self help group
Babies do get used to things - they get used to being loved, they get used to being comforted, they get used to being responded to. This is what builds their brains and their personalities and feeling of security (read 'Why Love Matters' by Sue Gerhardt for more on this). This is emotional well-being that lasts a life time.
It is fine to snuggle up together for hours while you both nap.
This does not mean you will have to do this forever. If you get into a situation where the only way your baby will take comfort and reassurance is when you lie on the bed for hours, then you can take action ... but this will not happen.
Babies and their mothers are usually happier when acting in 'unison' with each other - and this is what builds solid family relationships
My LO is also 7 weeks, and I totally sympathise with the angst about wanting to establish some - any - kind of routine at the same time as worrying about feeding sufficiently on demand and not letting her cry. Can't quite get my head round how you can properly feed 'as often and as long' as she wants without 'letting her get used to' going to sleep at the breast, which is what she does. She hates being put down, and will wake from naps very quickly once she realises she's not being cuddled. We get much longer stretches at night if I give in and let her sleep with us, but again, don't want her to get used to this.
Also worry about the fact that she feeds VERY frequently - it's very rare that we get to 2.5 hours between feeds. Up to last week, it was ever 30 minutes some days. She's bf, so I guess she was building up her milk supply and is starting to settle now, but there's still very little rhyme or reason to the day (or night). In fact, now that the constant cluster feeding is slowing down a bit, I'm starting to worry about her being too sleepy.
Previous posts all very reassuring - I guess it will settle, and making sure she's happy and secure and feels loved is far more important. Most of the time I'm loving having her and nurturing her, but when you're completely knackered from 4 night feeds, and worrying about every new development, a bit of routine looks desperately attractive.
Really don't worry about them "getting used to things" - it takes 3 days at most to break a habit in my experience. There's no point torturing yourself and your baby for months trying to get them to do things they're not ready/able to do (like self-settle or sleep on their own) when you could just go with it and make everyone happy and well rested NOW. In the future, if it stops working, then worry about changing it.
When I stopped feeding ds to sleep at 5 months, it took 3 nights for him to get the hang of it. When I moved him out of my bed and into his own room just before 6 months it caused no problem at all. I fed him to sleep and fed him in my bed in the night up til then and as a result the whole family get enough sleep, food and comfort.
If it works now, do it. When it stops working, change it then.
thomasina, I hear your struggle
Will it help to change the words you put your thoughts into? 'letting her get used to' going to sleep at the breast is not really the indulgence you think it is - it's 'responding to her normal need to sleep at the breast'. 'Giving in and letting her sleep with us' is not an indulgence, either. It's 'accepting that at this stage of her life we all sleep better together'.
'There's very little rhyme or reason' could be better put as 'she is seven weeks old, and so it's normal that she is getting used to life in the world, and this takes time - it took nine months to grow her, after all'.....she's a little person, with real needs which are actually very simple (happy, secure, feels loved, just as you say ) and your worries about routines and things she's getting used to are complicating things
Jo Frost suggests having 'cornerstones' for your routine. That way the cornerstones are still there, even on a day when 'the sides have fallen off'. Whilst I don't follow Jo Frost, I do think this is a good piece of advice.
We started off having one rule only - day time is light, night time is dark! A few weeks in we added a bedtime routine and roughly 3 hourly feeds in the day (only because dd was happy to go 3 hours). Then we gradually started putting dd down drowsy but slightly awake. We built things up gradually, but we never pushed it.
If it's not working putting him down awake in a cot for daytime naps, leave it and try again in another couple of weeks. Fwiw, dd didn't settle into a pattern of 3/4 day time sleeps in her cot until she was about 4/5mo and even then it was a bit haywire
You could also consider a dummy which I think someone else has suggested.
Get used to the 'is he/she sleeping through the night' question. It's still the first thing anyone asks me about my 8 mo. Don't know why... probably because most parents are obsessed by sleep, or the lack thereof!
With DS1 I spent a lot of time and effort getting him into a "Contented Baby" type of routine, never let him sleep in my bed, tried to avoid him falling asleep while feeding and basically worried about him "getting used to things" that would be "bad" habbits.
With DS2 I spent the first few months worrying that I didn't have a routine and could see no way of getting him into a routine that would work with DS1 who does different things at different times each day of the week. I co-slept with DS2 (until it started to disturb his sleep!) to ensure that I got enough sleep each night and the only thing that's stopped me from feeding him to sleep all the time is the fact that he gets really bad wind so if I don't get him to burp before putting him down he wakes up screaming after 40 mins anyway!
DS2 is now 7 months and has finally established a fairly reliable routine (but only in the last couple of weeks - possibly due to starting on solids so having set meal times as he's BLW and eating with us). It hasn't made any difference to sleep at night and he doesn't seem to have "suffered" at all for not having a routine from the start or any of the other things I've done.
Getting a routine with a 7 week old baby is hard work but if you really feel you need to then try to make your life a bit easier over naps - rather than putting him in his cot take him for a walk in the buggy (or a drive) and if you haven't tried a dummy I highly recommend them (and I was VERY anti them before DS1).
Lol at "getting used to it". Even if you did manage to get a routine going this early, it'd be you who'd have to not "get used to it". A "routine" for a very young baby is totally different for one at 6mo. And you can't spoil a tiny baby - they just won't remember what you "let" them do now.
We always took DD's lead and at 6mo she now has a nap, meals and bedtime routine. Feeds are still a bit all over the place, but she's breastfed so demand feeding is simpler.
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