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How do you feel about routines for babies- good for babies or only for parents?

(21 Posts)
emmalouisehodson Wed 10-Oct-12 09:33:25

I'm currently trying to get a general concensus of how parents feel about forcing their babies (under one year) into a routine. I personally think it's unnatural to force babies into a routine and use methods such as "controlled crying". I think if left to their own devices - babies naturally get themselves into their own routine, and in a happier way.
Like I said, this is just my experience, are there any parents out there that have different experiences with their children?
Thanks in advance.

Woozley Wed 10-Oct-12 09:36:53

I think most people don't do anything of the sort, or if they do, they will do give up, as babies won't be forced into anything.

Most people gradually get into a routine that suits both them and the baby. Usually starting by having a set bath/final feed/bedtime. And with second and subsequent children they have to fit into your life more anyway i.e. be fed before school run etc.

iliketea Wed 10-Oct-12 09:41:18

I think it depends on the baby. My dd thrived when I introduced a 'routine'. It wasn't rigid, but doing routine things before nap / bath etc, and I started working out what her routine was (e.g when she was normally sleepy / wanted stimulation). And that was hugely beneficial to me too because I was less.likely to.have an over-tired, sleep resisting, screaming baby to try and soothe.

plantsitter Wed 10-Oct-12 09:45:13

You will have a job finding a 'general consensus' since all babies, and all parents, are different. And if a parent finds it easier to stay sane by having a routine, how can that not be good for the baby as well?

I have let both my children find their own 'routine' (though as Woozley says that's less likely to happen with the second). If I'd thought I needed to have a strict routine I would've done it without thinking twice.

FreakoidOrganisoid Wed 10-Oct-12 09:46:34

DD put herself in a routine at about 8 weeks.

DS was completely random.

Depends on the baby.

HearMyRoar Wed 10-Oct-12 09:49:43

We don't have a specified routine but dd goes through phases where she has naps at the same sort of time, goes to bed the same soft of time etc. I really don't think mos people force their babies into a routine, like woozley said they pick some sort of structure that works for them and their baby and go with it.

Personally I'm not a routine driven person myself so it works better for us if dd is quite flexible, for others they are happier if they know when things are going to happen. Its just personal preference and I believe that though the routine may be more for the parent then the baby if you have a happy relaxed parent you have a happy relaxed baby.

Cc on the other hand is a completely different thing, lots of people have routines without using cc and i don't think you should confuse the two.

bradbourne Wed 10-Oct-12 09:50:46

I didn't "force" ds into a routine, but I quickly slipped into a routine based on the EASY routine by the baby whisperer. Result? Very happy, smiley baby who rarely cried and relaibly slept through the night for 10 hours without waking from 10 weeks. Had predictable naps, too. Fully breastfed for 6 months and partially breastfed until he was 2.6 (this point just include before someone comes on to claim that routines and breastfeeding are incompatible. Not so, in my experience).
I think it was good for both of us. Ds was very contented and I got a decent night's sleep. But a bit restrictive in that I would only rarely go out when it was nap time - I saw it as unfair to disrupt his needs to make my life more convenient.

Ds is 6 1/2 months and has only recently started to get into something of routine. Having read many books we tried to establish a routine around 3 months and he was nowhere near ready. The loose routine we now have is based on the waking and sleeping times he has shown us naturally work for him.

I think a strict routine is probably necessary if you return to work fairly soon after having a baby, but if you are taking time off its probably easier to let a baby find their own routine.

naturalbaby Wed 10-Oct-12 09:54:20

There are far too many factors to take into account to make such a general, sweeping statement so I hope you're prepared for the ruffled feathers.

I did both extremes - trying to 'force' ds1 into a routine at 4 months drove me mad but eventually saved my sanity (at 7months), ds2 fell into his own routine that perfectly fitted in with the family routine and ds3 was 'forced' into a routine from day 1 which, again, saved my sanity when I had 3 under 3's.

So it depends on the parents and the baby, but only really works if the parents recognise when it isn't working or needs changing e.g growth spurts.

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Wed 10-Oct-12 10:28:13

I didn't enforce a routine rather encouraged the routine that dd developed for herself around 6.5 months.

EagleRiderDirk Wed 10-Oct-12 10:30:38

Dd spent her first few days in NICU, and seemed to com to us with a routine of feeding and sleeping. As she got older we introduced the night time bath, day and night clothing changesband a late night bottle at set time to help give her some more pattern. She sttn at 8 weeks. However that was really the only routine we enforced. She fed at settish times but daytime napped randomly, but these were led by her. We did do a bit of cc with her when she was older, but only really needed to do it for a few days. She far prefers to kik her cot sides and get attention that way!

Ds is only 2 weeks old and is all over the shop! So we've just tried to put the bedtime bath, clothing changes and late bottle at set time in. Not planning on routining anything else at this time, though like woozlay says, I may have to fit him in around dd's arrangement at bit from time to time. We're hoping hat the slight enforced routine will settle him a bit more.

QTPie Wed 10-Oct-12 14:24:01

Had a horrible time with DS when he was 3 weeks old - he was crying 5/6 hours a night (wasn't hungry and wouldn't feed, wouldn't go to sleep, was winded and not showing signs of wind pain). We ruled out everything else and were left with over-tiredness.

So we decided to start a "bedtime routine": when DS woke up fr an evening feed (7 ish), we quickly ran a bath, bathed him (screaming), but I massage, dressed, breastfed, then struggled to settle him in his crib. Took an hour to settle hm the first night (doing all sorts of things), but he did settle. That stopped the unexplained screaming smile

With that bedtime routine in place, I could begin to see patterns in when DS wanted to feed etc and would encourage these patterns into a routine (feeding pro-actively, going out on walks etc). Although I did read Gina Ford and The Baby Whisperer, I didn't follow either strictly - I just took bits and pieces that suited. DS's routine was developed by him and then encouraged by me. He rarely ever cried (his needs were met exactly to his schedule which was regular) and I knew exactly what I was doing when: both of us were very happy!

DS cut to one night feed by 5 weeks old and was sleeping through by 12 weeks. I believe that was because he was "tanked up" by a good feeding schedule ruin the day. It got to the final feed and he was "aaaaah, that is me done for the day - until tomorrow morning!": he just didn't need to feed during the night.

Naps were a grey issue for the first 6 months (he would often nap on me after a feed or in the buggy when I walked for miles). At 6 months I rocked him to sleep, to routine, in his buggy and he slept here. At 14 months we switched to his cot.

You do not have to do CC If you are on a routine - we didn't: there are other ways of getting a baby to sleep ;)

DS was a real chunk and has always been a very happy and healthy child, great sleeper and great eater. I wouldn't change how I did things, apart fom persevere settling in a cot for naps when he was younger.

emmalouisehodson Thu 11-Oct-12 14:52:09

Thank you all for your comments thus far, I'm not condemning anyone for anything as I do understand that all babies are different and some can be a complete nightmare if they don't go to bed at a certain time (if my 22month old son goes to bed even ten minutes later he is almost inconsolable, where his twin sister would stay up all night if she were allowed). I only mentioned the controlled crying as I'v eknown some parents that won't budge one little bit and would leave their child to cry for over an hour until they fell asleep. I understand this is the exception rather than the rule for parents who try to instill a routine for their children so wasn't making digs at anyone who does have a specific routine for their child/ren.
Thanks again.x

bbface Thu 11-Oct-12 20:06:22

Not a particularly pleasantly worded post, opp... 'forced into a routine', 'unnatural'. Sounds a bit like 'condemnintpg' to me!

We began a gentle routine for day 3. Involving bath time, massage, pjs, cuddles, milk, bed. Soonafterp, a morning routine established itself, whereby 8.45 to 9 every morning, he would go down for a morning nap. I always put him down around 12.30, after a big feed. He slept in the same place for every single nap and bedtime I.e. if he dozed off in my arms, I would gently place him in the Moses basket, in our bedroom and draw the blinds.

I was never in any doubt as to whether or not he was tired, because I had a routine, so I knew. Likewise, I always fed at the same time, so it was rare he was ever hungry. Consequently he hardly ever cried. Not kidding, hardly at all.

Now at 2.2 still goes for a two hour nap at 12.30, and sleeps 7.15 to c. 7.30, and we do not hear a peep from him. When I hear bout parents beg horrendously sleep deprived, my husband and I just cannot relate to it.

I firmly believe that this ounce is due to a combination of the baby's temperament, along with establishing a gentle, workable and fairly tight routine from the very early days.

bbface Thu 11-Oct-12 20:06:51

Excuse the typos, I just cannot get to grips with this bloody iPad!

bbface Thu 11-Oct-12 20:11:36

Pretty much followed gina ford's route. If I had not read it, I would never have known about stirring the baby at 11pm for a night feed (he would down a bottle), or only changing the nappy of a number two or seriously wet, or putting the baby into a separate room for naps do they get used to being on their own. A genius in my mind

QTPie Thu 11-Oct-12 20:21:19

Bbface put it so well.

The right routine, "gently encouraged" can be such a reassuring and kind thing for a baby. When you have a baby who doesn't cry because their needs are met before they get to the point of crying (ie they are fed before they are over-hungry and are asleep before they are over-tired), then both of you are happy.

I agree about listening to your baby, but I also think that a sensible, well researched mother can help "guide" her baby into a way of living.


parsnipcake Thu 11-Oct-12 20:34:20

I'm a foster carer and have looked after about 20 babies so far. I love Rachel waddilove's book and idea for routines and am sort of guided by that. I usually make notes about what a baby does and look for patterns and then I will encourage a routine around this, gradually altering times by 5 mins a day until they work for me ( and school run, contact with parents etc). I think having a routine makes for a much more relaxed baby and carer, and it can still be infant led. I find a good daytime routine helps with night times and also seems to prevent colic - perhaps because it makes for less fraught evenings. However, if it's a first child, routine might be less of a priority, there are no rights or wrongs.

NoWayNoHow Thu 11-Oct-12 20:41:20

I think it largely depends on the child. We never adopted controlled crying, but we found that there was a marked improvement on how settled DS was when we started to put him down for the night at 7pm rather than having him with up with us dozing on and off in the evenings.

It was something that hadn't occurred to us at all because we thought he was just far too young to have any kind of routine (he was only 7/8 weeks old), but it made a MASSIVE difference to how much total sleep he was getting during a 24 hour period, and therefore a massive difference to how happy he was.

NoWayNoHow Thu 11-Oct-12 20:42:40

Oh, and he is 5yo in a couple of weeks, and he STILL goes to bed at 7pm and sleeps all the way through!

bbface Thu 11-Oct-12 20:45:26

Qtpie... You put it much better than me.

One more point to add. A couple of my friends decided against routine the first time around, as they were not routiney themselves, and found the approach unappealling, distasteful even.

Second time around (one is pregnant, two have recently given birth and I too am pregnant)... All three without exception are keen to establish a gentle routine for the second one, as they got utterly sick of the sleep deprived nights and forever trying to establIsh whether the problem was tiredness, hunger etc.

Babies love routine. Children love routine. They thrive on it.

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