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Clueless first time mother - please help me with the basics!

(14 Posts)
TwitchyTail Thu 28-Mar-13 23:05:37

My baby is 5 weeks old. So far, I have been toting him around with me all day, feeding/cuddling/playing as he wants it, and putting him in his cot when I go to bed (then getting up whenever he grizzles for feeds etc). So no routine whatsoever. I'm knackered as he is up wanting to feed, and then taking ages to settle, much of the night.

At what point should I start thinking about a proper bedtime for him? What time, and how? And daytime naps - how many and how long? What is this business about getting overtired?

Oh dear, I really haven't got a clue... confused Sorry if this has been done a million times before - if so links to other threads would be really welcome.

ScentedNappyHag Thu 28-Mar-13 23:09:21

When DD was 5 weeks old, she was still sleeping when she wanted and I just lived around it. I never tried to put a routine into place, we just kind of fell into one smile but Im sure it's different for everyone!

PhyllisDoris Thu 28-Mar-13 23:23:09

I was advised to start getting into a routine around 7 weeks or so. We started by bathing DDs at 6.30 and changing into sleep wear. Then would put them in carrycot in next room where it was quiet and darker, to try to introduce a difference between day and night.
If course, they still grizzle and need feeding etc regularly, so you're up and down with them, but I do think it was good advice. We never had any problem with either DD about bed time as they got older.

wellieboots Fri 29-Mar-13 05:22:32

It's very early for any kind of "routine", but at 5 weeks, he should still be mostly sleeping between feeds - at that age, they can't cope with being awake for much more than an hour, maybe hour and a half. Then back to sleep.

Overtired is when they have been tired but not got off to sleep, then end up awake too long and become really difficult to settle.

At night we started a very loose bedtime routine from about 6 weeks - quiet play, bath, feed, then down to bed. Whether it worked or not was a bit hit and miss, particularly at the beginning. Now it tends to work, but DD is now nearly 5 months and much more active in the day.

Does he sleep in your arms/in a sling during the day? Roughly how often does he feed during the day?

Don't feel silly - I didn't really know until ante natal classes that babies slept in the daytime!

ohforfoxsake Fri 29-Mar-13 06:29:04

Twitchy, your doing everything right. IMO you should just feed and gaze for the first 6 weeks at least.

I agree with the mechanics of a routine, but it'll be chance and luck if your baby actually goes to bed when they 'should'.

Things change at about 6 weeks, personally I'd give it until 12 weeks before starting any notion of a routine. It is hard - a sling is really useful.

My four are all older and I'd do anything to be able to sit and gaze at them in my arms as newborns again. These are precious days. smile

conorsrockers Fri 29-Mar-13 06:41:06

Just go with the flow and trust your instincts. I'm not sure about this routine nonsense - it's highly overrated... the problem comes when you have to break it for some reason and they go into a melt down. Just be happy and relaxed yourself - and your children will follow, there is no right and wrong. Anyway, you sound like you are doing a fab job. Enjoy these early days, they go so fast sad

cupcake78 Fri 29-Mar-13 06:49:59

I started a nighttime routine about now but for my own sanity rather than it being affective.

Baby will find its own way when its ready and once that starts you can begin to slightly change things over time to fit in with life.

First 3 months are chaos.

hotbot Fri 29-Mar-13 07:04:19

God, the routine I had with mine at that age was feed, feed, feed, no sleep ,no sleep, no sleep. Dd and ds set that routine up for me...............
Each day will gt easier and easier, you just can't see it because you are exhausted.... Have a hug x x

ohforfoxsake Fri 29-Mar-13 08:12:36

FWIW we're all just making it up as we go along, and just when you think you've cracked it they go and change it by having a growth spurt, getting a cold or developing in some way. They are buggers like that.

Relax and look after yourself. Accept that sleep deprivation is part of it but it's not forever (truth is that once I had 2, 3 and 4 I used to enjoy the peace of the night feeds) grin

minipie Fri 29-Mar-13 08:43:16

it was about this age when DD stopped just dropping off to sleep after feeds or when she got tired. instead she tried to stay awake all day. and because I didn't know she needed lots of daytime sleep, and was trying to be 'baby led', I didn't do anything to try to get her to nap. result, one very very overtired baby and a few weeks of screaming until I started to 'enforce' naps by taking her out in the pram for several hours a day.

at that age babies need about 15-18 hours sleep in 24 iirc (do check this though).

some babies will naturally fall into a pattern of naps, and will naturally sleep the amount they need. if you have one of these you can relax and follow their lead. others like mine will fight sleep and may need some more help getting their naps. the total amount of sleep matters more than when and where.

it's a good age to start a bedtime ritual and try to bring bedtime a bit earlier.

teacher123 Fri 29-Mar-13 08:53:07

I had one like minipie...! DS still fights naps and has never just 'dozed off'! He would only sleep in pram or car in the day for the early months, or occasionally on me if I fed him into oblivion, I read gina to get the timings and then ignored everything else she said! I got him into a bedtime routine from about 5 weeks, bath at about 6.30 then as long as it took to settle him. I would then run downstairs, eat dinner with all doors open and the monitor on mega loud and then run upstairs and either play on the iPad in the dark or just go to bed ridiculously early. Some nights he settled at 7-some not till 10, mostly inbetween for those early months. By 4/5 months he was settling at bedtime reasonably reliably. Daytime naps were the hardest thing to crack, as he fought sleep he would get overtired and then be impossible to settle. I got into the habit of walking him in pushchair at the same times every day so he got used to sleeping at those times. Eventually I managed to move these to the cot, though that didn't happen till 5/6 months. We didn't have any sort of feeding routine until we started solids and formula at 6 months. Until then he was ebf totally randomly, on demand.

TwitchyTail Fri 29-Mar-13 10:16:41

Thank you so much everyone - that's really helpful. I'm glad I've been doing roughly the right thing so far and not missed some kind of bedtime boat blush It's great to know what I should be trying over the next few weeks/months.

To be fair to him he is actually a pretty good baby and will settle to sleep, but when it suits him rather than me! I will try to gently introduce a bath/bedtime stuff at the same time each day and see how he responds. I'll also see how he finds being put down for naps during the day rather than just carrying him about all day under my arm like a handbag.

CarlyRose80 Sat 30-Mar-13 21:24:21

Bedtime routine is the best thing you can start, started mine at 6 weeks just by doing the same things at the same times before bed and now at 16 weeks bed time is a dream. Never a problem as he knows what to expect. Day time will work it self out along the way as their needs change xx

Flisspaps Sat 30-Mar-13 21:34:38

I didn't have nap/bedtimes for my two until they were about 5 months old!

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