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Establishing Sleep Routine

(7 Posts)
ChrissasMissis Tue 28-Jun-11 16:01:49


I am a bit new to all this - Mumsnet and being a Mummy! My LO is almost five weeks old and I am very confused by all the conflicting advice that seems to exist regarding establishing a sleep routine.

Up until the last few days, DS has been a fantastic sleeper, dozing off directly after a feed and then staying asleep for a good two hours+ at a time. Now that he is becoming more alert and interested in his surroundings, I am finding that he is less likely to nap after a feed. He will sit happily for a while, then gets a bit grumpy (tiredness?) and won't go to sleep unless cuddled. If I then try to put him in his moses basket during the day, he cries until I pick him up again.

Although cuddling him is my favourite pastime, I am concerned that I might be encouraging a bad habit. Is he too young for me to be worrying about this yet, or should I be encouraging self-settling now? I would like to be able to put him into his cot and have him settle - is this totally unrealistic?

Also, when ought I introduce a proper bedtime? At present, his last feed is at midnight and he tends to doze/scream between six-ish and twelve...

I would be so grateful for some advice on this - what were your experiences?


happylittlebear Tue 28-Jun-11 16:23:02

I wouldn't worry too much about the cuddling, he is still tiny and needing you to feel safe, he will learn to settle in his own time once he gets a bit bigger, I would carry on enjoying the cuddles smile
With regard to bedtime, I used to bath and feed my ds at about 6 every night and put him down to sleep around 7 (cuddled or rocked or with some gentle music, whatever works for him) and he would wake around 10/11 for another feed and then sleep again on and off through the night...
Gradually the times through the night got longer and as he got bigger he stopped waking at 10/11 for feeds and went longer in to the night but his 7pm "bedtime" was always there. Now he is almost 1 and pretty much sleeps 7-7 unless teething or unwell.
I was never rigid with the bedtime btw or gina ford about it, I just found he was more content when he had a time to rest...and the bath and cuddles while feeding seemed to help his reflux and wind and help him settle for the night.
if you are finding he is getting sleepy the same time each evening, try bath, feed and bed and see how he settles

ChrissasMissis Tue 28-Jun-11 23:11:56

Thanks happylittlebear - words of wisdom and experience are so welcome right now!

RitaMorgan Tue 28-Jun-11 23:22:17

At about 6-8 weeks I started noticing ds always fell asleep fat about the same time (think it was 10ish) so started doing a bedtime routine then - gradually it got earlier and now he's in bed by 7.30pm.

I really wouldn't worry about routines or habits until at least 3 months. Around 4-5 months ds was a bit more predictable in when he ate and slept and I could build on that. A last feed at midnight is fine at the moment if you can go to bed with him then and get some sleep.

I do think self settling is wildly ambitious for a 5 week old - he doesn't even know he's a separate person yet! Human babies are born much sooner than other mammals in terms of our development (really pregnancy should be 12 months long but the baby's head would be too big to birth) so think of the first 3 months as a 4th trimester.

happylittlebear Tue 28-Jun-11 23:48:29

You will get there chrissas, try not to focus to much on times - i did in the beginning and i felt so overwhelmed that i wasnt doing it right or at the right time (IYSWIM), once i relaxed and enjoyed the cuddles, he worked out his own way.
I also read on here once which really helped me, especially when it felt like he screamed all day grin, take a minute and have a think (write down if you need to) what he actually does during the day and at what times and even though it all seems so haywire and random in your mind, you will see that he probably is doing the same sorts of things at the same sorts of time - it may help you to see that you are doing fine and you DO know what you're doing.
Like ritamorgan says, he is still so tiny for a proper routine yet, most of all he just wants you.
PLEASE dont listen to anyone who talks about spoiling and rod for your own back nonsense, my ds slept on me for the first 4 weeks and i could hardly ever put him down, but he is the most happy contented little boy now, happy with anyone and not at all clingy cos he knows i will always come back!

Seabrookscheeseandonion Wed 29-Jun-11 22:07:13

What a brilliant thread! I also have a 5 week old DS and have been beginning to worry about 'making a rod for my own back', but all your advice has set my mind at rest so thank you. smile

bacon Thu 30-Jun-11 12:58:32

Is this not cluster feed time? If I remember. I have always been a stickler for not over cuddling at bedtime. With both boys I did put them in the cot/basket at 7pm around 6-7 weeks just so the routine would start.

I disagree with the making a rod for yr own back because you read loads of comments on this sleep/child threads and generally its the parents who have set this precident and young babies know no better and just think its the norm. If you do let babies fall asleep in your arms every single night then you can be setting up a bad routine however at about 6 weeks is when you should be setting up a good sleep/feed routine.

DS1 was great but DS2 was very demanding and difficult to get into the bed routine. But its all about consitancy and you cant expect a baby to fall into a routine straight away, in some cases it took weeks even months but we were determined to get him into it. Always payes off - we are for an easy life but its a battle to get there I'm afraid.

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