12 days old baby - should I start a 'routine'?(37 Posts)
Hi! I am not talking about a Gina Ford type routine, but I was wondering how early people have started a routine like giving baby a bath, a bottle, playing some music etc so baby recognises that it is evening and time to go to sleep and calm down.
No harm In trying to establish a bit of a pattern/routine, but some babies have their own agenda and do what they want, so don't get too disheartened if it goes out the window sometimes!
I found bath, feed, cuddles, music helped set the scene, and with my 2nd, I think she really 'appreciates' that as she visibly relaxes and nods off having the same pattern every night.
Congrats on your newborn!
I wouldn't bother trying until about 4 or 5 months, sorry! Do try to keep lights dimmed or off and sound to a minimum at night to encourage baby to recognise day from night though, and you may begin to see a pattern emerge, at some point. Just feed, change and sleep as needed for now
I would try for a bath, massage, feed, bed type "routine" when you get an opportunity (between maybe 7 and 8 in he evening). Bath nay not be popular to begin with, but the baby will soon get used to it. We did this by about 3 weeks old (had to - DS was getting overtired and screaming half the night: introducing bath/bed time stopped the over tiredness and screaming almost straight away).
After a bath/bedtime is introduced, you may well see other patterns that emerge that you can encourage... (I did it with feeds and walks etc and eventually, but not til 6 months, naps).
Parenting style is a very personal thing: do what suits and what works for you and your baby.
I think my DD was about 10 weeks when she was sleeping a longer stretch after a feed that she was taking roughly around the same time each night. So I started doing 'bedtime' round that. Agree with Freddie above though too.
Congratulations! I started an evening routine at about 5 weeks as I was (madly) starting to teach evening classes at 8 weeks and needed DS to fit in with me being out two evenings a week... (quick tip, don't ever agree to teach an evening class two nights a week from when your EBF baby is 8 weeks old, was v v v stressful!) so from 5 weeks we had bath, feed and attempt to wrestle into bed. The daytimes were completely random until DS was about 4 months, as he wouldn't nap at home so all naps were in pushchair or car. I have to say that I am glad that we did this now, as generally we get our evenings to ourselves, even though he doesn't sleep through (well he has done once just to give me false hope).
I found Gina Ford very useful in terms of how much sleep a baby needs and general shape of the day at each stage but found the breastfeeding schedule completely unrealistic as DS fed on demand. He's eating three massive meals a day now at 6 months and still struggles to go 4 hours between feeds! I also never bothered with a dream feed as it just seems completely counterintuitive to me to ever wake a sleeping baby!
I would say read the books, the baby whisperer has some good tips on timings also, but then just pick out the bits that you like and go with that. I found the first few weeks when we had DS downstairs with us in the evenings really really tough, at even a week old he wouldn't sleep in the evenings if there were any lights on, any distractions or disruptions, so from 5 weeks he was upstairs in the evenings with the monitor on. I often would go to bed and read on the iPad under the covers as I was so scared about this tiny little person being upstairs on his own. Also the SIDS guidelines state they shouldn't sleep alone for the first six months.
I started the night I brought my baby home when she was a week old, she's 6 months now and every night she comes upstairs at 7.15 and has her bum out for half an our which she loves! Then she has her bath and bedtime bottle, she's known from about 4 weeks old that bottle is the bedtime one and it's time to sleep, I think it's definetly helped ;)
Definitely go for the bath-bottle-bed thing in the evenings, I always aimed to have them asleep by 7 after it and it worked really well.
Aside from that, don't worry too much about routine, just take things as they come. Browse the books a bit, take what seems good from each, and implement it all gradually.
DD had obviously read the Baby Whisperer before she was born, she followed an EASY routine like clockwork. You could have set a clock by her.
DS has been a different kettle of fish, because he's had massive feeding issues and mostly takes short naps, so we threw our hats at it and just let him do what he liked. He's 9 months now and still that way, and it's grand. He does have a set bedtime routine though.
Whatever you do, though, try and be relaxed about it. You can get awfully worried when the routine starts to slip, or if you've to bring them out somewhere and disturb it all, but really, in the long run, it doesn't matter in the least!
Days I just play by ear but started doing the 'bath, into sleep suit and last feed' thing at 3/4 weeks with both mine and its worked in terms of them knowing that's the start of night. I don't mind night feeds- its the resettling them that kills so if you can get them to drop off afterwards, it's a godsend. Also, purely selfishly, I like my evenings and kids in bed by 7pm.
Without sounding too flippant, do it if you want to, don't if you don't. It's your baby and you can do whatever you like! Me, I like my evenings to myself so we started 7pm bedtime ASAP and stuck to them (and still do!), so bath about 6, milk about half six, cuddles and chat then into bed at 7.
Worked for us. New babies are exhausting so having a 7pm bedtime with a guaranteed 2-3 hours sleep after that is a godsend after a long day. It just sticks forever then. Start whenever you like. Start now if you like.
If it will make you feel happy then do the whole bath-feed-bed thing, but don't expect your baby to co operate - a LOT of babies will just want to feed feed feed in the evenings and that is fine, normal and healthy. Personally I don't think a daily bath is necessary for tiny babies or good for their skin and you can create sleep associations with many other things - a song, darkened room etc. But that is just my preference.
I think we started a vague daytime routine at 3 weeks. But I HATED not knowing what was happening, and the baby didn't much like it either.
Bedtime and night time routines can be an absolute saviour even from this young, and in my (limited) experience it means the routine is half in place by the time they are of an age to understand bedtime. Plus bath time and that is just nice, it felt good to make a real fixture of it.
I agree with Freddie too. Babies of this age can't actually form memories so any routine is largely for your own benefit. Many adults like to know what is going to happen when. Babies can't think about the future, so have no way of understanding that some things happen after other things. There are rhythms they naturally perform (for example getting accustomed to light and dark quite quickly) that you can go along with, but a bath, music etc doesn't actually help with that at all, as circadian rhythms are set by the sun.
DO expect to feed all evening - starting shortly if it hasn't already.
I agree with piffpaffpoff - work towards a routine if that is what will suit you. It won't make much difference to what your baby actually does for quite a while yet, but if it helps you feel more on top of things to be working to this kind of goal, then do it.
Wow, 12 days, I didn't know what time of day it was when DS was 12 days old
Like others have said, it's up to you if you feel you would benefit from a routine. We left it until 3-4 months when we suddenly realised the dc were sleeping all evening so vaguely introduced a bedtime from then. I agree with ProvincialLady though, my dc have never had a bath every day as I don't think it's good for their skin and I also don't bathe them at night as it seems to be a wake up call for DS
Wow lots of different opinions! OP, go with what feels right for you and your baby
I have to disagree with routines not making much difference/impact on your babies (including feeding). Ok, maybe I had a freak baby, but it did make quite a difference to mine and he (with the help of, initially, a bath/bedtime routine and a walk each morning) very quickly naturally gravitated towards a routine. By about 5 weeks old he was on a bed/bath and feeding routine and waking once a night (naturally, not imposed). By 12 weeks he was sleeping though (9 until 6 or so). He was breastfeed and a real healthy chunk (grown into a very active, very healthy toddler). We didn't sort out naps until later (about 6 months) - up until then they were a bit random (but you don't care as much when they sleep through the night). We had no "sleep regressions" or huge "growth feeding for hours frenzies".
I did read Gina Ford and Baby Whisperer and "absorbed" what they said, but I didn't use them strictly: instead I looked for natural patterns in my baby's behaviour/needs and built on them. Soon we had a feeding routine that suited him (he never cried for food because his needs were met and he was tanked up so slept through the night) and me (I knew when I had time to go out or get things done).
It really does depend on the baby. Mine is what the Baby Whisperer would call a "Spirited Textbook" baby - much like his mum . He has always been very happy and secure knowing what is going on and when.
It really is about doing what works for you and your baby.
I'm still pregnant, but my plan next time (based on DS1), is to go with the flow for the first 3 months, and then start thinking about routines. Last time we naturally fell into a loose Gina Ford-ish-type thing at 4 months, where we began settling down at 8pm ish. It didn't mean he slept for more than about 3 hours at a time, but it still lent some structure to the day, which in itself was a relief for us.
But at 12 days, I wouldn't worry about it - as piffpaff said, do whatever works for you.
Sorry if this is a bit of a derailment, but I'm reading with interest and it raises another question for me (which may show how naive I am as I haven't yet had my baby!)
What do people do if you are putting the baby to sleep at say 7ish, and would like them to sleep in a bedroom, but are not ready for sleep yourself and say want to do something outside the bedroom?
I'm thinking here about the guidelines for SIDS that babies should be with people so they 'remember' to breathe.
Do most people let the baby sleep upstairs with the baby monitor, knowing that eventually you're going to go upstairs to bed a bit later? Or do people keep their baby close by in the Moses basket but with lights low, being quiet? Or keep their baby close and not worry about noise/lights?
Stuck, that question is a huge debate
For the first few weeks we had the baby in the living room with us, turned the lights down a bit, didn't have the telly too loud... and it was absolute disaster. She hated it and wanted dark and quiet to sleep at night. So we put her down in our room about 8 and then went up ourselves about 10. That was our decision based on reading all the advice, and the reality of how we were and how our new baby was. Most mums I know did this. However there are also plenty of mums who will keep the baby downstairs with them.
You'll get a lot of mixed opinions on this one! In reality, I think all you can do is read the current guidance and advice and then see how things works when you are at home with the baby, and then make an educated decision.
oops - sorry don't want to start a classic MN debate and derail the Op's original question!!!
You can try with a bath/bed pattern for baby but what does that mean in practical terms if as the adult you don't want to go to bed as well!
And the old caveat that always exists - all babies are different and how you can only really find out what will work in your family. So confusing and I don't yet have the issue of sleep deprivation!
Our DD was downstairs with us until about 12 weeks because she was cluster feeding in the evenings.
Well, you could try...... But don't be surprised if whatever you do makes absolutely no difference whatsoever.
Join the discussion
Please login first.