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How/when to introduce a routine

(38 Posts)
salsaprincess Mon 25-Apr-11 18:41:28

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping someone can help - I'm a first time mum with a beautiful one month old daughter. The problem is I don't feel any more organised now than I did when she was a newborn. My partner has been staying at home since her birth and goes back to work tomorrow and even with both of us looking after little one, we've been chasing our tails. She seems to feed constantly (sips a little, then falls asleep, then cries again for milk a few minutes later) so I feel like I'm just feeding ALL DAY.

Also she refuses to be put down and will only sleep in our arms or next to us in our bed so it's impossible to deal with the housework, cooking etc. Even if I go to the toilet I have to give her to my partner to hold as she'll start screaming if I put her in her Moses basket. With my partner returning to work tomorrow, I'm seriously worried about how I'm going to manage with little one on my own. Any advice from seasoned pros (or anyone else for that matter!) would be gratefully appreciated.

Thankyou! (And sorry for the long post).

S xxx

mamasunshine Mon 25-Apr-11 19:40:58

All sounds very normal to me for at least the first 3 months. Just concentrate on feeding baby and yourself, sleep when baby does. Please don't expect too much, it's hard work and things will fall into place gradually. I found a routine started naturally at about 6months once I'd started weaning. By 8/9months it was so much easier to start getting other things done, as baby on 3 meals, 2 snacks, 4 or so bf's and a proper bedtime etc. Don't put pressure on yourself, your baby is very young.

A sling can be very handy if you're wanting to get other things done. But I personally prefered to watch a dvd/read a book and munch on chocolate whilst feeding which seemed constant in the first few months smile Good luck and congratulations !

mamasunshine Mon 25-Apr-11 19:43:34

Also she will have several growth spurts. They get very fussy, want to feed constantly for up to a week etc. This is probably what she is doing at the moment. Take 1 day at a time and it will pass. Once its over she'll prob be happy to sit in a bouncy chair for short periods of time/go in moses basket etc. Hope that helps.

nethunsreject Mon 25-Apr-11 19:47:10

Agree, it is very early. I LOVE routine, but not in the early days. You and your baby are doing fine! A pattern will emerge. for ds1 that was about 4 mths, ds2 about 6.

Your job is to feed and cuddle the baby. You are doing well, really.


nethunsreject Mon 25-Apr-11 19:48:02

Oh, must sya though that it wasn't like this till 4/6 mths! I gets gradually easier!

salsaprincess Mon 25-Apr-11 21:05:11

Thank you so much! Feel like a crap mum cos I'm still heavily reliant on my partner for help (he's had 2 children before so he's MUCH better at virtually everything!). Can't even brave going out with her on my own cos I'm scared of getting into a panic if she cries...

nethunsreject Tue 26-Apr-11 06:25:32

It took me till about 9 or 10 weeks before I was anywhere like ready to go out alone with the baby. Even then I only braved it if we had a good day! At the bfing group I am at, most people only start coming alone and regularly after a few months when thhings ease up a bit. Before then, it is only emergencies!

You are doing well! Remember you are still recovering from giving birth too. In lots of non-western cultures you would still be on bed rest.

TanteRose Tue 26-Apr-11 06:33:31

also, when you are on your own and need the loo, don't worry about putting her in her basket for the few minutes it takes to pee, even if she screams...I used to leave the loo door open and sing so they would know I was still there grin

Same if you want to make a cup of tea etc. Just keep talking to her so she knows you are near.

It will get easier as she gets older - she is still TINY!

Nuttymummy25 Tue 26-Apr-11 08:11:06

I also agree with all the above, u have a 4 week old baby and ur new to it all..... Dont put too much pressure on yourself! I was so the same with my first baby who is now 7!
Routines rock, as once you have got yourself into one - esp once hubby is bk at work you kind of feel in control of your life again?? so the hswk gets sorted and u get showered and all the gumf you take for granted before you have a baby!!
I bet once ur hub has been bk at work a couple of weeks you will find yourself in a routine without even realising it
And again, agreed with above, it does get easier as they get that few weeks older I have two children now and I am pregnant with my third, if it didnt get easier dont think any of us would go through it again and again! xx

ElsieR Tue 26-Apr-11 09:24:01

I found that my baby dictated the routine.
It's bit difficult when they are this young to establish a routine because their pattern change so much and often. The only thing we did everyday the same was the way we put DS in bed, it was not always at the same time, but we always did the same thing before putting him down.
And then little by little, DS established himself into some sort of routine.
When I was cooking or whatever else, I'd put DS in the chair facing me and I'd talk to him whilst doing stuff. Sometimes he became a bit grumpy, but it quickly passed... Don't lock yourself in the house in case your baby screams, people are quite understanding and generally feel sorry for you if your baby starts screaming. Also found DS was getting a bit of cabin fever if did not go out!
Good luck!

NinkyNonker Tue 26-Apr-11 15:43:13

I didn't instigate any routine (bar a loose evening one) until about 6.5mo. It is still very flexible, and 1 mo is still a newborn really!

I would invest in a good sling, and roll with it. My HV told me things are only a problem if they are a problem to us, which I think is good advice.

NinkyNonker Tue 26-Apr-11 15:45:30

Meant to say I would start getting out and about soomer rather than later, remove the fear! I used to take DD out alone from about 6 or 7 days, just quick trips to the supermarket in the sling. Most have a decent cafe you can retreat to if you need to BF (or bottle, obviously).

Insomnia11 Tue 26-Apr-11 15:53:50

I started trying to do baths at the same time of the evening after they were a few weeks old and tried to get feeds to every two hours to give my boobs a rest. Have you considered a dummy in-between feeds, or offering your finger? DD1 was really sucky and just wanted to suck rather than feed half the time.

Have to say DD2 was into a routine earlier as she had to fit in with DD1 and school drop off and pick ups etc!

messylittlemonkey Tue 26-Apr-11 16:02:10

Well at the risk of being contentious, I'd say you can start a routine (albeit a loose one) from the beginning and then adapt it as you go along.

I used my own version of the Gina Ford routine (I know not everyone's cup of tea) and it's worked brilliantly for my two DDs (5 and 13 months).

Good luck!

NinkyNonker Tue 26-Apr-11 16:49:57

Breastfed babies are nigh on impossible to routine until they are older, as even just suckling is for a reason (building supply, comfort etc). I guess it depends on your personality, if you're happy just to go with the flow or not.

RitaMorgan Tue 26-Apr-11 16:58:36

I wouldn't worry about a routine yet - actually I found it great not having a routine in the first few months as babies are portable (especially in a sling), and breastmilk is very portable grin so actually you can get out and do things and the baby can just eat and sleep whenever.

Life is more predictable, but more constrained, when they need to have lunch and nap in their cot and get to bed at a reasonable hour!

Like others have said, I found a routine sort of fell in to place with only a little nudging from me between 4-6 months.

sungirltan Tue 26-Apr-11 17:09:13

awww stop worrying. with me having dh at home made it take longer for me to get really confident with dd on my own. soon as he went back to work i had it licked in a few days. i'm sure you will too :-)

NinkyNonker Tue 26-Apr-11 17:21:50

I would definitely recommend a good sling. DD normally falls asleep within minutes of being wrapped up nice and tight on my chest (as she is now), meaning we can go out all day and not worry about naps. Came in very useful over these long, sunny, sociable days we've had recently!

I too found I grew in confidence when DH went back to work at 3 wks.

Tigresswoods Wed 27-Apr-11 08:49:44

It seems really daunting when your OH goes back to work but you can take control and you can do this!

A sling is a very good investment as babies do not like to be put down and this way you can go to the loo, peel potatoes, chop veg etc and they are happy too.

As for getting out it is not going to be as bad as you fear and even a little walk around the block with the buggy has to be better than staying in all the time.

Routines take time and I found we couldn't get anything like one until weaning... although like others on here we did start a bedtime routine earlier- 12 weeks.

Good luck with it all and be brave and take charge of things, go for it!

mumof2beebies Wed 27-Apr-11 09:16:50

I think you should invest in one of those swings that play music and have all those functions. It'll rock her to sleep so you can have a break.
Also, how about a dummy? All these things were invented to preverse the parents' sanity :-p
Place her down alone whenever possible so she gets used to it.

Try to do everything other than breastfeed for a few hours before bedtime, then when it's time to settle down, she'll have two great big full boobies to knock her out.
The only routine I would worry about for now, is one which gets her to sleep through the night.
I never got on with a sling, because my boy was BIG so it was tiring. I regret not getting a battery powered swing earlier though, would have saved some stress.

Snarfle Wed 27-Apr-11 12:50:59

This is exactly the same as my 9 week old ds. He is content being held but we can't put him down at all. He will go in his bouncer or on his play mat if he is not tired and will entertain himself, which is great as I then have time to have breakfast (with both hands!!) but if he is tired he won't be on his own including naps and sleeping overnight. I have given up with the moses basket as he hates it and am buying an ergo carrier to make time in the house easier. This will also help when out and about as he often hates being in his pram when he is awake. We have also bought a 3 sided cot from Ikea for the side ofour bed and he has started sleeping in this (in his grobag). We have to put him down asleep (when we go to bed, after his last feed at aprox 10pm - before that he is asleep in our arms downstairs) and stay with arm around him until he is fully asleep and then he mostly lies on his own. He wakes up when dummy fals out and sometimes needs extra cuddles to get him back to sleep.

I have just accepted that he loves his cuddles and hates being alone and am assured he will begin to get better on his own - like he has overnight. I know how hard and daunting it is when you can't even go to the loo but when I need the loo now I have to leave him to cry until I get back - I have no other choice.

I'm sure you'll be fine and take all of the help on offer to you!

MagnumIcecreamAddict Wed 27-Apr-11 14:53:51

My LO, now 10 months was sooooo clingy and needed to feed all the time, and I mean all the time so I feel your pain!

I'd second buying a sling - a lovely soft one like a moby (don't worry they're easy to tie after the first attempt) is great to begin with or if you have a decent sized baby just go straight for an ergo or beco (my 10.5kg 10 month old still loves his beco carrier and it's so comfy for me).

With the feeding, have you tried all the waking trick to get the feed to last longer? Strip clothes off so not warm and comfy (baby not you!), tickle feet, burp then relatch etc. If she gets a longer feed she may sleep longer. Didn't help with mine and I learnt to feed him lying down for night feeds and in the sling for daytime mobility.

As to routine, please don't worry, it will come and usually best at your LO's pace. I know people who swear by gina ford but I know it wouldn't have worked for me. One thing that really helped was teaching night from day - from 3 weeks old I took him upstairs at 7-8pm and fed him/got him off to sleep in as dim a light as possible and no talking/eye contact. From 6 weeks he was going to sleep at 6pm and wouldn't wake til 10, then every 1-3 hours overnight, but it gave us our evenings back a lot earlier than friends managed and I was grateful for that.

I think you just have to accept that the next couple of months are going to be just as fraught and difficult, but you have all the wonderful smiles, giggles, chatter, sitting, wriggling, crawling and naughtiness to come.

I cuddled my DS whenever he wanted, carried him all the time, fed him all the time, didn't leave him to cry and tried to listen to what he needed. I was so worried I'd end up causing him problems with all the rod for your own back comments. But do you know, I have an outrageously outgoing and adventurous cruising 10 month old who chatters and laughs and is happy and has been sleeping 6pm-6am for 2 months. I'm so glad I went with what he was telling me and ignored the books.

Try as much as you can to enjoy this special time and do get out, even if it's just a 5 minute walk down the street, if nothing else it helps them sleep better!

You're doing a great job. Just go with your instincts, noone knows your child like you do.

MagnumIcecreamAddict Wed 27-Apr-11 14:57:28

By the way, not sure it's what everyone would agree with, but it's very straightforward to go for a pee with a baby still asleep in a sling - done it many, many times!!

edeluna Thu 28-Apr-11 22:06:40

I'm new at this whole parenting thing, but I agree with messylittlemonkey that you can establish a routine early on.

My baby is almost six weeks old and I started steering her towards a gentle version of the Gina Ford plan when she was about two weeks old. Some days, she follows the routine like clockwork (including sleeping from 11pm to 4am a few times. Sweet.) Other days, especially lately during growth and developmental spurts, she's not quite as on track, but sort of close. And even if she's having a bad day -- clingy, cranky, not sleeping -- we pretty much always get her to sleep from 7–10pm and from 11pm (-ish) to 2am.

She eats a lot and there are many days when I feel like all I'm doing is feeding her. This was a little startling at the beginning. I thought I must be doing something wrong. But everyone assured me that it's normal and I've reached the point where I'm no longer concerned. I feed her whenever she wants and try to get her to nap at specific times during the day.

Some days she wants to be held all the time, but in the past week or two I've noticed a big difference and she's now happy to sit in her bouncy chair, sometimes for up to half an hour at a time and entertain herself for much of that time ("entertain" usually means staring into space or at a shadow on the wall or something, lol). So maybe you're little one will hit that point soon as well. I especially appreciate this in the mornings, when she's content enough that I am able to have a proper breakfast and couple cups of tea!

Sorry, must run, as the LO will be getting up shortly and I don't want to miss my chance to brush my teeth and get ready myself for bed!

Bensmum76 Fri 29-Apr-11 11:48:42

I followed a fairly strict routine with ds1 and he thrived on it. I've been attempting to follow a loose routine with ds2 and am finding it increasingly impossible. His feeds are pretty much at the same time each day but his naps are little and often as he will only nap on me!
When I think of trying to schedule nap time in his cot I get so tense and stressed out! It's just not worth the stress!

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