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how on earth do I establish a bedtime routine?

(15 Posts)
omama Wed 14-Jan-15 21:21:52

Title says it. DD is 8 weeks & so far is resisting any sort of efforts to establish a regular bedtime routine. We do the same sequence of events at the same time every night, wash, into pj's, the intention is to then feed her before bed, but her feed times just arent fitting in. They are still very erratic & so we get the odd day where she feeds at 4 then again at 7 which works really well, but then we get a lot of days where she feeds at 5 or 6, but then isnt ready for a feed during her bedtime routine, so we can't do it properly. If I keep her up the extra hour to feed her she becomes overtired & screams, if I put her to bed without then she wakes early evening & screams.

It feels like every day is different & I want to try & establish some consistency for her as well as try & regain some sort of evening for me, they are currently spent trying to settle her back to sleep when she wakes every 20mins she only wants to sleep nuzzled up to my boob but thats another story My DS sort of fell into a regular pattern all by himself by around 6-8 weeks & I guess I naievely(sp?) expected dd to do the same & its not happening. Help!

Ljm2403 Thu 15-Jan-15 02:24:17


Kewrious Thu 15-Jan-15 02:37:42

I would see it as establishing good sleep cues at 8 weeks rather than an actual bedtime. We started at 2 weeks and at sometime between 6-7, half an hour after the last feed, we would dim the lights, do a nice massage, 5 mins in warm water for a short bath, wrapped and back to the bedroom, changed and a feed and put down for the night. From that time to 7 am the next day no matter how many feeds/weakening a I would do it in the dark room. It helped to establish day/night super quickly, established v good sleep cues without trauma and at some point (not immediately) a feed pattern emerged and a more fixed bedtime emerged. It did mean that during growth spurts and cluster feeds I was stuck in the bedroom after 7 pm but it was v much worth it in the long run.

Rinkydinkypink Thu 15-Jan-15 03:09:54

In my experience it takes a while and at 8 weeks your baby is very young to try and keep to specific feed times.
The best you can do is try and associate good habits with bedtime. This is exactly what your doing already.

Time your bedtime routine with your dc's feed times not your own time. As feeding settles and times become more regular you can then look at setting a specific bedtime. Specific bedtimes tend to also go with exact waking up times. If your getting a lie in and baby is sleeping past 6am then be careful what you wish for wink

My ds was great at bedtime from an early age but was a very early riser and honestly years of waking at 5 am is a killer! My dd didn't settle till she was about 4-5 months despite me trying and still struggles now at 18 months but at least she's not awake so early every morning.

Pastmyduedate0208 Thu 15-Jan-15 11:11:32

They are still so little at that age. I would say by 12 weeks they are more ready for set routunes because they can fill up more on milk and go longer between feeds.
For now it may b best to just carry on listening to your lo as you are doing, feed when hungry and bed when sleepy.
She will feel very secure and understood as a result!

caravanista13 Thu 15-Jan-15 11:15:38

Your DD is still very tiny. Try Googling The Fourth Trimester - lots of great advice about how to tune in to their needs - it will make you feel better about the lack of routine!

omama Thu 15-Jan-15 14:43:05

Thanks for the replies & reassurance everyone.

The main reason I feel I need some semblance of routine is because I also have ds(4) & dd needs to fit in around school runs etc. At the moment she really isn't - she doesnt settle til late in the evening & as a result doesnt want to wake up in a morning.

Rinkydink much as a lie in is nice, I would much prefer her to go to bed earlier & wake earlier, since ds gets up around 6.30am & I need to be up & organised. At the moment she invariably wants a feed at school run time or is screaming with wind pain because I've rushed to get her fed before school run & its all rather stressful.

Maybe selfishly, I would also like to recover some sort of evening time for myself as atm I spend all evening trying to settle her to sleep. DH is reluctant to help as she doesnt settle easily for him he doesnt have a boob she can nuzzle into & I feel like I'm running on empty. I dont even have time to nap in the day as we've had some building work done & are desperately trying to get the decorating done & the house back in order.

Maybe I am expecting too much too soon. hmm She was 3 weeks early & is still on the small side so I guess I need to remember that too. Grit my teeth & hang on in there in the hopes it will improve eh?!

Heatherbell1978 Thu 15-Jan-15 19:50:07

DS1 is 21 weeks and we started something resembling a bedtime routine at about 4 weeks ie bath, feed and bed. Took a while to get the timing right as I initially waited for DH to get home but he was getting overtired so had to move to 6.15/6.30pm bath. I remember it took a while to get his feeds in sync as my 'routine' during the day kind of started when he woke up which was changeable. In fact for about 3 weeks when he was around the same age as yours he just cried from the minute he got out the bath and wouldn't take a feed so we would put him down without! If he did that I would always try and lift him about an hour later for food and if he still didn't take it if leave him and just feed when he woke. Eventually he started feeding before bed and things got better. It's just a phase....always is!

Artandco Thu 15-Jan-15 19:53:21

It's good not to get them used to feeds and bed anyway

So I would just feed approx every 2 hours during the day. Then have bedtime of pjs, nappy, story and into bed. At 8 weeks I would still be putting to sleep in living room until you go to bed. Then wake and feed before you go and take to bed.

nottheOP Thu 15-Jan-15 19:53:57

Can you put her down to avoid over tiredness and then dream feed an hour later?

GotToBeInItToWinIt Thu 15-Jan-15 20:00:18

At 8 weeks it would have been impossible for us to establish any form of bedtime routine as DD cluster fed from 7pm-11pm ish every single night. So we didn't even bother! At that age I just kept her downstairs with us all evening feeding, took her up with us when we went to bed, one last mammoth feed and then put her in her Moses basket. I think she was about 12 weeks when we managed to get a bit of routine going. To be honest even if she'd fed at 6 she would still have been happy to have another one at 7 before bed (absolute milk monster). Id just go with the flow a bit for now and wait a while before trying to establish a routine.

omama Fri 16-Jan-15 10:04:32

Thanks again for your replies. I know we have to go with the flow a while longer but boy its hard work atm. She wants to sleep all day & then is awake & crying for most of the evening. Last night we started bedtime at 7pm & she would nod off, the minute we lay her down her eyes opened & she would cry. After an hour or so of this I left her in her moses basket & she lay quietly awake for about an hour before shouting & I could see she was shattered. Took til midnight to settle her for the night. It wasnt hunger, & fairly sure not overtired as she'd slept for most of the day having only been awake for around 2hrs before lunch. I've been mean this morn & woke her at 7am she wsnt happy & has been asleep most of the morning since. Hoping we're not gonna have a repeat tonight. Any suggestions on how to avoid?

Artandco Fri 16-Jan-15 10:18:13

If she's sleeping all day, I would wake her up from each nap after 2hrs if still asleep. Then try and keep awake at least an hour, before napping again.
So nap, wake, feed, change nappy, 'play' ie cuddle/ peekaboo, then nap again.

omama Fri 16-Jan-15 14:54:13

Thanks Art been trying this today but its been a real struggle to keep her awake so far. She's been pretty sleepy all morning, then woken naturally for the 1pm feed. We've had a happy smiley hour awake & she's zonked out again. We'll have to see what the night brings eh?!

Serendipity71 Fri 16-Jan-15 20:21:47
This is helpful but 8 weeks is very young...

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