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Feeding and sleeping routines

(30 Posts)
bubblesincambridge Fri 23-Oct-09 14:01:27

Have been reading the Gina Ford book and will start the Baby Whisperer soon to get another view.

Has anyone found anything successful??

GF says a lot of sense at the beginning of her book, but the routines given later on are quite strict and confusing, and probably impossible for anyone to follow precisely.

What are the main points I should take away from it??

Anything else I should consider?

Am 29 weeks preggers with my first and aiming to have it sleeping through the night by 6-8 weeks (yeah, right - I should be so lucky!). How can I best achieve this? I really haven't a clue!

shinybaubles Fri 23-Oct-09 14:17:14

I think to be honest GF is a bit hated on here - although I may be wrong. I did read her books and followed her routines to a degree with ds - that is I took what she wrote as a guide and read other books, I then made a note of the routine ds was in by himself and tried to make one up that fitted him - if you know what I mean.
I would suggest reading several books and then waiting until you have your baby and see what suits it best - you will need to be flexible smile.
My ds did follow a routine and it worked very well for us as a family.

bubblesincambridge Mon 26-Oct-09 13:58:44


Someone must have some ideas/routines that work.

jumpyjan Mon 26-Oct-09 14:17:23

I read lots of books first time around and tried to fit DD into the routines in the books but she had her own ideas and I suspect your baby will too.

I personally don't believe there is much you can do to make your baby sleep through the night at 6-8 weeks as mine all fed at least 3 hourly whilst they were that young.

With DS I just tried to relax a bit more and be a bit more patient (difficult I know) and let him fall into a pattern that I think all babies fall into anyway and life was much less stressful.

raggamuffin Mon 26-Oct-09 14:26:01

I agree with the points made but would also consider where you sit on the routine/flexible spectrum. I agree that at 6-8 weeks you are possibly being optimistic, especially if BF. I have 2 children, 20mo and 5 mo and BF with the first was not successful and she ended up being bottle fed EBM and formula and slept through from about 10-12 weeks and got into a reasonable routine and slept each afternoon and one or two naps in the morning. With the 2nd I have BF and she won't take a bottle but again she has got into a routine of sleeping pretty much when DD1 one does in the afternoon.
Do what works for you but allow that at least the first 6 weeks will be random and then see how it goes. I found after a while that up at 7am then 1/2hr ish sleep at 9am then another 1/2 ish at say 11.30am and then 2-3.30pm and then bed by 7 is roughly working for me since baby 3-4 mo.

I know lots of people hate GF but I certainly found her weaning suggestions were very good and the rough shedule is at least useful to consider.

raggamuffin Mon 26-Oct-09 14:30:04

May I add - I have found it very useful to get baby down to sleep at roughly the same time every day and to get attuned to when she is tired - I find that it does help her to not get over tired and cry.

I didn't have GF when DD1 was a baby but again I think considering the points she makes about how long they can be awake when small and how frequently to feed etc is all useful stuff - I did need to wake DD2 to feed in the beginning.

There are no right or wrong answers to all this - read some stuff and feel your way through it.

MrsBadger Mon 26-Oct-09 14:36:10

Have only read op, but if you are really set on them sleeping through at 6-8wks the very best thing you can do is prepare yourself for a disappointment.

Wait and see what they are like - they may be amenable to having a routine imposed on them, but if they're not you're setting both them and you up for an uneccesary struggle. A pattern will emerge, and once it does you can work to manipulate it to suit you, but until it does I'd recommend rolling with their needs - it's for such a short time - esp as you don't have the constraints of needing to get older ones to school etc.

fandango75 Mon 26-Oct-09 20:22:24

GF bit harsh but took the rough times babies should do things (ie eat and sleep!) as had no clue and went from there. They are the little table in the book (my husband hated the book and threatened to burn it several times)Have found it useful as a reference book too ie tips for early waking etc.

LauraN1 Mon 26-Oct-09 20:37:37

The "Baby Whisperer" ruined the precious first months with my first baby. Because babies don't do routines. When they cry and what the breast, give them milk. Yes, he might want 'only comfort', but don't you want to give your baby comfort? And babies are not developmentally rady to fall sleep 'independently' or sleep through. I put my son down and he cried and cried. And I cried too. What a shit start to his life I gave him! Luckily I found out that there are other, better, ways to parent.

You say: "GF says a lot of sense at the beginning of her book." *No she does not!*
For a scientific explanation why routine / GF / BW won't work read:
"What every parent needs to know" or "The Science of Parenting" by Margot Sunderland.
For practical tips read: "The Baby Book" by Sears and Sears.

Sorry if I'm being very opinionated here, but I feel that with my first child I lost so much, just because I wanted to make a routine work. With my second child I breast fed on demand and co-slept and everything was just lovely and easy!

roslily Mon 26-Oct-09 21:12:42

Ha ha ha! My son would test gina ford's limits me thinks! He wouldn't even sleep in his moses basket for 3 weeks, only on me or dh, then there was a slow maneuvering onto bed! This is not unusual- many friends had babies like this.

Anyway, what I do is follow his lead- I make sure he eats every 2-4 hours and sleeps every 1-2 (he is 7weeks)

We have a nappy off, bath and bed routine but other than that we go with th flow.

As to sleeping through - my mum tells me I didn't do it til I was 4 yrs old!!!

hanaflower Mon 26-Oct-09 21:19:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bensmum76 Tue 27-Oct-09 05:55:51

Hi all
I was fairly strict with routine from around week 2, when my sister told me to stop feeding my DS on demand. I did this, and when he cried would cuddle him instead of automatically feeding him, and wake him from naps after a few hours and he slept through the night from 5 weeks old. He did then need to sleep on me for all daytime naps until he was around five months old ( although would sleep in his cot at night) which proved quite stressful especially as I had the deadline of having to go back to work at six months, and him start nursery. With any other children I think I would be just as strict with routine.

smackapacka Tue 27-Oct-09 07:45:11

6 weeks? IMHO that's cruel.

Babies can't hold food in their stomach that long to keep them full overnight.

The main point that you should take away from the GF book is that she's never had children of her own. She hasn't experienced the gut wrenching sound of wailing and not knowing as a mother what to do about it. she hasn't struggled with BF positioning and latch, supply etc...

FWIW I read the book too, and I can see why it'd be attractive. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

One of my friends followed it and honestly it was the least contented little family I've ever seen. Every time we saw her she'd say 'it's 2pm he should be sleeping (or whatever)' and he'd never be 'doing' what he was supposed to.

I also read the baby whisperer but my baby didn't want to do any activity after eating (who does?).

Soo.... After all that, I found the best book that didn't prescribe a routine but explained how babies work was Baby Sense.


Good luck, and just try and relax and enjoy that time with your baby.

ChairmumMiaow Tue 27-Oct-09 07:53:19

I read the baby whisperer when pregnant and thought "yeah, that makes sense!". Of course when applied to an actual baby who wanted frequent breastfeeding and lot of cuddles it made no sense at all and just stressed me out/

I wish I had read different things (like Deborah Jackson's 3 in a bed) while pregnant so I hadn't wasted time trying to stretch out time between feeds and get him to sleep on his own. He has slept happily in his own bed from around 15mo (comes in for cuddles if he wakes or is ill) and nothing we did really made him do that. They'll get there when they are ready, and trying to fit them into a routine just to make them fit in with what you want will, IME, just make both of you unhappy

(Disclaimer - I think that there are times when having a looser routine is the lesser of two evils, such a when you have a lot of young children to look after and need to be able to ensure they all get some attention)

daisyj Tue 27-Oct-09 08:16:11

Are you going to be breastfeeding? To a large extent this will make a difference to how much of a 'routine' you can have. Something you really need to know is that it is not 'normal' or 'good' that a baby should sleep through so young. Some do naturally, it's true, and that's fine - but to establish breastfeeding and continue successfully it is crucial to feed on demand.

I think you would be very well served to read some of the breast/bottle feeding and sleeping threads here in order to get a realistic idea of what you have in store for you. Much better than reading baby books like GF and Baby Whisperer. I'm not anti, as such (in fact doing Baby Whisperer pick-up/put-down to 'sleep train' dd when she was 4 months was a life saver), but that wasn't about making her sleep through, more helping her to get to sleep and not to wake at the end of every 45minute sleep cycle!

Even if you are not breastfeeding, you shouldn't expect that formula will be the answer in terms of sleeping through. It does fill their tummies more, but very many ff babies are just as likely to wake every 2-3 hours for the first few months.

In terms of 'routine', I found what suited us and our dd was a loose 7-7 at night - she spends 10 minutes 'kick time' on the changing mat in the bath for a bit of naked exercise smile, bath, massage, breastfeed in bedroom with music and low lights, bed. The same music every night can be a good trigger for sleep. Even when her sleeping was completely up the spout (we had a couple of very bad periods which each lasted a number of weeks with growth spurts, teething, etc.), I at least found this routine gave some kind of framework.

She still has the same evening routine and almost to the day started sleeping through at six months (she's now 7months and has only woken in the night twice in the past four weeks). I consider myself very lucky to have a baby that sleeps through at such a young age, tbh.

And as for naps... She only managed those in the pushchair until she was well over 4 months - now she does pretty well, but I thought it would never happen.

I would say you and your baby will both be much happier if your mantra for the first few weeks is 'go with the flow'.

smackapacka Tue 27-Oct-09 09:08:39

Great posts ChairMum & Daisy - I agree completely. I do subscribe to the 7-7 'routine' in that after this time it's quiet, no visitors etc... bath, feed, massage etc... And then any waking before 7am is treated as night-time.

My daughter has always been a good sleeper, but I think this is more luck than anything we did.

Clovissa Tue 27-Oct-09 09:51:36

Daisy if you're still here can you tell me about why feeding on demand is crucial to establish breastfeeding? (I am truly asking not disagreeing or anything) - I have a 7 week old and am bf, I'm trying to feed every 3 hours, stretching the time out with trips out (always sleeps in pram) and distraction because I thought the whole thing about more frequent feeding = snacking, not getting enough hind milk made sense. Just interested, as I haven't read much about it, DS and I are just muddling through smile

hanaflower Tue 27-Oct-09 10:49:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BornToFolk Tue 27-Oct-09 10:58:19

I found it was more useful to work out how long DS could go before needing more sleep, rather than thinking "it's 10am, he should go to sleep now". When he was tiny, it was about 1.5-2hours of awake time, then he'd need another sleep. Eventually, that became a routine.

It's worth remembering though, that getting a baby to sleep through is not the be-all and end-all of parenting, as some of these books would have you believe.

Also, feeding/rocking to sleep or letting the baby sleep on you will not create bad habits. DS was fed or rocked to sleep until he was about 5 months old. I worried about it a lot but I really think that he needed a bit of help to settle down to sleep when he was tiny and once he knew how to self-settle he did.

ScaryLoujalou Tue 27-Oct-09 11:07:09

I fed DS on demand and he eventually got himslef in a routine though the days that didn't happen I didn't stress about it too much.

What did stress me out was reading books about what I should be doing rather than going with my baby. He was 6 weeks premmie but slept through more or less from 15 weeks after he was born, although that all changed with weaning.

Clovissa Tue 27-Oct-09 11:30:11

Hi Hanaflower I know - but DS would feed constantly in short bursts if I let him, surely that's not enough to get to the hind milk? My milk supply is fine and DS has gone from the 50th to the 91st percentile in 6 weeks, so he's definitely getting enough. The hospital told me to feed on demand, but I must admit I was swayed by Gina's argument for 3 hourly feeding because when he feeds after that long he seems really sated and happy.

ChairmumMiaow Tue 27-Oct-09 12:31:21

Clovissa - when the milk is produced it is just milk, it doesn't seperate properly until it has been sitting in the breast for a while. If your baby is feeding frequently they're getting the lot, not just the foremilk.

Don't worry about it, just go with the flow if you can.

I followed the same advice after worrying when DS was tiny. He is still a snacker (much easier now I can hand him a cup/apple/sandwhich too) and has never had any weight gain issues.

daisyj Tue 27-Oct-09 12:45:13

clovissa - I see you've had your question answered. I think it's worth adding for the OP and anyone else who stumbles upon this thread looking for advice, that the one thing my new-mum friends and I all agreed was the 'one thing they never tell you' was just how much time you will spend bfing in the first couple of months.

Remember, too, that time between feeds is actually start of feed to start of feed, and if the baby feeds for 45-60 mins (not at all unusual for the first few weeks) you may well only get half an hour between feeds at times. It seems insane, and you ask yourself if it's normal. It is! Don't even think about housework or cooking for the first few weeks. Just set up a 'feeding station' - drinks, food for you, mobile, remote controls, book, etc. and try to relax smile

nicnacinoonoo Tue 27-Oct-09 12:52:22

with ds i didnt read any books apart from about pregnancy. i prepared myself mentally for having to get up in the night for feeds for however long it took.

as soon as ds was born he got himself into his own routine of 4 hourly feeds. this suited me fine as he was only up twice in the night really. i just checked his baby book to see when he first started sleeping through and at 4 weeks he was sleeping 9.30 - 4.30 and at 5 and a half weeks he slept from 9.00 - 7.00.

i think the best thing you can do is to wait and see what comes naturally. someone told us about the gina ford book after we'd had ds and i didnt even read it all i took one flick through it and it seemed way too much stress and rules to me. ds was a very happy baby who rarely cried so i didnt see the point in following her rules and upsetting his self made perfectly fine routines.

i think you're thinking too much about it and preparing all the strict routines you want before the baby has arrived is just setting yourself up for a fall and a lot of stress. wait until you have your baby and see what comes naturally and easily to you both.

daisyj Tue 27-Oct-09 12:56:13

BornToFolk - good point. We did lots of rocking to sleep, too, and then suddenly around 5 months she didn't need it anymore. DH and I always laugh at my brother's MIL, who grabbed at my DH in horror when she walked in on him rocking her 4-day-old granddaughter, who had been crying. We were both very hmm at 'Dont' rock her, you'll spoil her'. Wonder where her children get their neuroses...

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