Starting as you mean to go on(18 Posts)
I'm expecting DC1, so I'm aware that any ideas I have now may well go out the window when I've got an actual little person with her own ideas, but I'm hoping to be able to get her into the habit of sleeping in her basket/cot as early as I can. If she simply won't go for it, we'll do what's necessary, but this is the preferred plan in theory.
If you've got a routine going from an early stage, how did you do it, and how did the baby respond?
We have had dd (now 12 weeks) in a bedtime routine since 2 weeks old.
Bottle, bath, massage, rest of bottle, bed time between 6.30-7pm
To begin with we pre warmed her crib with hot water bottle before putting her in, and swaddled with a t shirt my husband had been wearing.
Now, just swaddle, I put her down awake and she is asleep within minutes every night. I do the same routine every night. My advice is start early asap with the routine and feed in dark room away from tv etc so they learn night time. I would never leave her to cry, cuddle to sleep to begin with if necessary (ideally put down just before they fall asleep).
I know putting her in a different room isn't what's advised for SIDS but we are right next door, check on her regularly and have movement/video monitor etc.
Thanks, that's the sort of routine I'm hoping for. We'll soon find out if the baby shares that idea...
I would say not to get too stressed about a routine in the early days.
It depends on the baby you have - some take to self settling at an early stage (which makes it easy to get into "good" sleep habits) and some don't. I understand it to be a developmental thing (like crawling, etc) and they will learn to self settle when they are ready.
My DD began to self settle around 12 weeks old when she found her thumb. Before then there was no way I could have put her down in her cot awake. I worried that I was creating bad habits by rocking her to sleep but I wasn't. She just needed a bit of help to go to sleep at the beginning.
Don't do this to yourself, try to relax and enjoy the first few months. So much unnecessary stress caused by trying to force this issue.
I think you've got a sensible attitude to this. It's about going with the baby, but not making things harder for yourselves. I'm sure lots will disagree, but you can help avoid bad habits by helping baby learn night from day (ie feeding in the dark with minminal contact etc).
Be open minded, and prepare that baby may refuse!
DD, now 15 weeks, has had a routine from day 1 - bum out, bath, feed, bed. She thrives on knowing what to expect at bedtime and is asleep within minutes. Far from being stressful, it means DD is a champion sleeper and DP and I have had our evenings back ever since.
the important thing to remember is that there is a difference between a routine and. schedule. nothing wrong with starting out with routine if bath and cuddles nd feed in the evening. just don't fix a time to it, be flexible. your baby may sleep at different times. that's ok. also a bf baby will feed more often than a ff one. he may cluster feed in the evening which is biologically normal and necessary.
some babies fit into routines, others don't. best bet is to learn early cues for feeding and tiredness so that you can act appropriately. get to know your baby and you'll do just fine.
DS2 is now six months old. The first six to eight weeks or so we didn't really have a routine, he just fed and slept as and when. Then he sort of fell into a bit of a pattern of wanting to sleep at about 7pm each evening, so we started with feed, bath, bed at around 7pm.
He would still wake a few hours later for a feed, but establishing that bedtime worked for all of us (7pm is also DS1's bedtime), and everything else slowly fell into place. By twelve weeks he was in bed for 7pm, then not waking until 3-4am for a feed, then waking again at 7am.
Things that have helped us with our two DC:
-putting down awake whenever possible (once they have come out of the sleepy newborn phase). Would then pick up and soothe etc if they cried, but this gives them the chance to self-settle.
- bedtime routine from an early age. Bath, dim lights, feed, bed. For the first 8 (dd) to 14 (ds) weeks they'd then be up feeding/grizzling all evening, but again it put the groundwork in place for when they did start to sleep in the evening.
- distinguishing night from day
I am not a go-with-the-flow person and it did help to have these building blocks in place. At the very least it made me feel I was in some way, sort-of in control! If you don't give babies the chance to self-settle, have an early bedtime etc, then it lowers the chances of them doing these things, I guess.
Mind you, it didn't stop dc2 being a truly shocking sleeper for much of the first six months! But then he got the hang of it, so who knows...
However, do be prepared... It is very likely that your baby will hate the Moses basket for at least the first week. You may need to do shifts with your dp all night holding him/her. S/he will very likely feed every two hours 24/7 for several weeks, and will very likely have grizzly evenings for a few months. I say this not to dishearten you but to let you know it's normal and you are not 'failing' if these things happen!
stow it's great that it worked for you.
But that may not be the reason your DC is a champion sleeper. I thought the same as you with dd, that the routine etc was why she was such a good sleeper.
Then ds1 was born. He did not sleep. No amount of routine helped. All DCs are different
Yes, definitely agree that all babies are different!
Ds1 was a nice little sleeper. Liked his cot after then first few weeks and by 8 weeks ish was merrily self settling at 7pm and only ever woke for feeds. When he woke for a feed he came into our bed and remained there until morning but by 6 months old he had dropped all his night feeds so was spending 13 hours a night in his cot. Lovely.
Dc2. Same parents. Same parenting. Same routine. Terrible sleeper. Didn't sleep through on a regular basis until 3 and a half ish. Aged 4 and a half she still has very disturbed sleep.
Dc3. Same parents. Same routine. After the disaster that was dd I made extra effort to settle him back down after a feed. Hah! Aged 16 months now and doesn't go to bed in the evening. If he does happen to fall asleep after bath he wakes after half an hour or so and won't settle again. Spends all night wriggling around and clinging to me with a nipple in his mouth. Oh and likes to wake at 4.30am and be WIDE awake and insisting it is time for breakfast. He has the routine all right, from an early age he has lunged for my boobs as soon as he gets out of the bath so he knows what order things happen. He just doesn't believe in the staying asleep part!
Thing is OP, as you have said yourself you have to be prepared to throw the rules out of the window. There is nothing wrong with routine, there is nothing wrong with a lack of routine. You just have to find what works for you and adjust things to meet your needs and the needs of your baby. There is nothing wrong with using books to help, be it gentle ones like the no cry sleep solution or more structured ones like Gina Ford. They all contain information on normal infant sleep that you can use to inform yourself about normal sleep cycles etc so you know what to expect. The only thing that would be wrong would be insisting that your baby follow the timings and ignoring his needs so by all means use a gentle routine from the start but if your baby is showing signs of hunger then feed him. If your baby won't be put down then cuddle him and calm him. And remember, where the books say a baby of a certain age of weight is capable of going all night without a feed what that means is that not feeding at night will not be detrimental to his health or weight gain, it does NOT mean that he won't want to feed or be genuinely hungry. Just so you don't find yourself with false expectations!
Maybe so Tantrums but I'm damn sure it didn't hurt in the early days. Now it's very clear to me that she's reassured by the uniformity of her bedtime.
I dunno, fine to use the basket, really, but fine to change as you go, too. They have different needs when very little, their needs come first.
What Indith said..
And also, for us first time round an evening routine worked very well... we adapted and changed it as needs be. DD is 15 months now and a lot more mobile in her cot!! But she always goes up to bed at 7pm, she chillaxes in her cot if she's not ready to sleep. We are expecting DC2 and will do the same again but are well aware things could be very different this time round...
stow that's good. I was just pointing out that I had dd in a routine from day 1 as well. She was a very good sleeper.
Then ds1 came along. Same routine, same parents.
Sometimes children are just different. One may respond to a routine, the other may not.
It doesn't mean you have done anything wrong.
I didn't want the OP to think she was doing something wrong if the routine she has thought of in her head didnt actually work when put into practice. Because it won't work for every baby.
Yep and don't worry about it if baby is just not ready yet. I remember about six weeks in crying so much as upstairs alone with baby from 7pm-2am trying to feed\rock/settle. Now I just feed him in front of tv, we have dinner, DP gives dream feed about 10pm and puts him to bed after, so much less traumatic for all.
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