Am I doing something wrong?? (baby eat/ sleep routine question)

(13 Posts)
mackoo0524 Thu 03-Nov-16 21:42:05

Hi everyone, sorry if this has been done to death but I have a question about eat/ sleep routines... I wonder if I'm doing something wrong??

DS is 6 and half weeks old. I mixed feed - BF and top up with formula (a question about that later). He doesn't really have a routine at all and I simply don't know how to introduce one???? All the books / even other mums say things like: feed an x amount at a certain time, take a nap of a certain duration at a certain time, put baby to bed at a certain time etc.

But how does that work in practice?? How DO you make a baby eat/ sleep a certain amount at a certain time?? Do I just have a difficult baby?? Am I doing something wrongsad(

Firstly, because I mixed feed, I don't know how much breastmilk he takes at each feed... And DS never takes a fixed amount of formula at each feed either! Sometimes he would finish a whole bottle (120ml) in one sitting but that's very rare... Sometimes he would just refuse to feed!

And I'm so confused about sleep and bedtime etc... All these 'experts' say that you should put a baby to sleep at a certain time (say 7pm) but DS NEVER sleeps on his own when put down. At the moment, he only ever falls asleep on my/ DH's chest before we carefully put him down either in the Sleepyhead (naps) or our bed (usually around midnight. We co-sleep, not by choice though but because he wouldn't sleep in his bassinet!!)... I would love to start some sort of loose routine with DS but I just don't see how I can make him sleep when he doesn't want to?? He also has colic and generally cries a lot/ is very unsettled.

First time mum here so really really confused about all this really! Most of our friends with babies say not to worry about routine just let them eat/ sleep whenever they like etc but I'm really quite keen to get some structure back in our lives and I think a routine might help with DS's colic too...?

DS is otherwise healthy and gaining weight just fine.

Any advice most appreciated!! xx

tinymeteor Thu 03-Nov-16 21:54:36

You're not doing it wrong!

People have VERY different views on how much routine a baby needs, and the truth is you do what suits you as a parent. But even the most routiney person can't make a baby sleep on cue. If only!

At 6 weeks they barely know they've been born. Go with the flow, take your time getting to know them, and design your own routine when you're ready. For me, that was about the 4 month mark, and even then it wasn't a rigid routine as I'm not that organised a person. We just gradually got into a bedtime routine, and aimed for a morning nap and an afternoon nap around the same time each day. Which she very often refused to cooperate with anyway. There's no science to it, babies are people not robots and are all very different.

If the books help you, great. If they make you anxious about a set of targets you spend all day missing, chuck the book in the bin and do it your way.

mackoo0524 Thu 03-Nov-16 22:13:18

Thanks tinymeteor!! What you said is really reassuring... At what age did you introduce a bedtime routine? Did it help?

Really hope that with time DS will learn to sleep in his own cot so DH can reclaim his spot in our bed lol!

FATEdestiny Thu 03-Nov-16 22:59:23

Routines are not about "what time is it? this should be happening now". Having a routine means having a structure to your day. Separating the day into segments.

I bet you do this already without realising. For example maybe baby:

Wakes
Breastfed
Play/cuddle
Nappy check
Topup feed
Sleep

Wake up.... and repeat.

Maybe it goes wake, nappy, play, breastfeed, top up, sleep....wake and repeat. Or whatever order you do things.

The baby led way to develop a routine is to do the same things in the same order. I'd If you then start notibg the time (but not being ruled by it) you may well notice patterns.

Maybe it is that baby usually spends 30-60 mins asleep then 20-30 mins awake. Maybe you notice however long she sleeps, she is usually awake for double that time. Or half that time. Maybe you notice that however long she sleeps, that she's usually getting tired after the same amount of time awake.

You can only notice these things if:
- You have a repeated cycle of predictable events each day all day.
- You start paying attention to the time. Not in terms of "this happens at 10am" (or whatever), but in terms of amount of time that has passed.

If you develop cycles you will find that without doing anything, baby will have predictable cycle lengths, predictable lengths of time asleep and predictable lengths of time awake and so these sleep routines will also give predictability to feeds too.

The most well known routine cycle is EASY:
E for Eat - full feed upon waking
A for awake activity
S for sleep
Y for you time as baby sleeps

Then baby wakes and you start again with another feed and keep repeating this cycle.

Purpleprickles Thu 03-Nov-16 23:12:23

Hi jut want to reiterate that everything you are doing sounds normal! My dd is 7 months but spent the first months sleeping downstairs with us in the evening until we all went up to bed. She would mostly sleep cuddled up on my lap. I think we introduced going to bed around 4 months when we worked out that 7pm was her cut off time before all hell broke loose. My ds however never went to bed that early. Both mine have slept in their own basket from newborns but now dd prefers our bed so even for those of us who seem to have some parts sorted it can soon change!

With feeds dd wouldn't breast feed and started well on formula. Then around 4 months stopped being a great feeder. I would get very anxious about amounts but my HV has been very firm with me that if she is putting on weight the amount doesn't matter.

Being a parent is a minefield and it sounds like you are doing brilliantly. Just remember no one ever does it "the right way" because really there isn't just* one* right way, there are lots.

peardroplets Fri 04-Nov-16 07:08:22

Those routines are made up to sell books by people with no scientific background! My advice is to ignore them as trying to battle against your baby's individual biological needs for sleep and feeding will onky result in screaming and you tearing your hair out. Watch and get to know your baby's own rhythms by looking for hungry and tired signs and at some point much later on a natural routine will emerge.

For now feeding and sleeping are inextricably linked for young babies and if you try an eat sleep play routine it is like fighting the tide.

My advice is throw away baby manuals and focus on those who have a true evidence based scientific understanding of baby feeding and sleeping. My own recommendation is Pam Douglas who is a GP and infant crying scientific researcher and she has written a book called the Discontented Baby Book. It looks at why babies cry in the early days and one of the big culprits is mums being pressured into shoehorning babies into routines which are just so inappropriate for young babies.

peardroplets Fri 04-Nov-16 07:12:50

Sorry that should have been eat play sleep routine is like fighting the tide.

PS your baby sounds totally normal snd like mine and most if my friends'. There is no such thing as a 'good' or ' difficult' baby.

smushsmushmamma Fri 04-Nov-16 08:05:45

I'd agree that your baby sounds totally normal, my DS is about 4 months and I'm only just getting to grips with what his routine is. And when I say routine I mean, like pp have said, looking at what HIS cycles are. So my DS will usually wake up early morning, be awake a little bit, maybe take a little feed and then will normally take a long nap. Then he'll generally repeat through the day with a few more feeds mixed in.
You're doing brilliantly! Don't get too hung up on it all, like pp have said he's not a robot he's an individual with his own preferences, it will just take time for you to learn them.

JimbosJetSet Fri 04-Nov-16 08:16:14

Please ignore the books and your friends who claim to have the perfect routine. I felt so guilty about it all when my first was tiny and didn't really enjoy those precious first few months because I was so worried about what I should or shouldn't be doing and what she should and shouldn't be doing in terms of a routine.

By the time my second came along, I'd realised that friends don't always tell the whole truth about what they and their babies are doing or not doing, especially when it came to routines and sleep! My second baby fed when he was hungry, slept when he was tired and I certainly didn't do anything perfectly but I enjoyed him so much more than the first as I didn't have the continued guilt and worry about whether he was doing the same as what my friends or the books said.

Put the 'expert' books down, take 'advice' and tales from friends/ family/anyone else with a huge pinch of salt, and try to go with the natural flow of your baby as much as you can for the next few weeks or months, and I promise you will suddenly find that you are both in a happy and natural routine without realising it's happened!

mackoo0524 Fri 04-Nov-16 12:52:19

Thank you all for your advice!! Think I just need to chill out and let DS fall into a routine of his own...

Turneeps Wed 09-Nov-16 11:22:41

My wee one is 6 months.
The only routine we have is to notice time she wakes from sleep/nap and then I know in 2 hours she needs to be napping again or she will super angry/over tired.
At 3 months I think her awake time was more like 1 hour.
Your baby will tell you if they want fed to sleep or food on wakening. I have learnt you can't force a baby to do what you want!!!

OohNoDooEy Wed 09-Nov-16 12:13:00

www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/02/average-sleep-charts-by-age.html

I loved this chart. It basically means that if your baby wakes up for the day at 7am, you feed them, change them and then try to get them back to sleep at 8am - you start this process at 7.55am. This avoids overtiredness.

ErinMummy Wed 09-Nov-16 20:40:37

Hi, these books really do make us worry! I have read several and gave myself a hard time. Have now decided read them if you want and understand the general points they are making. Most say baby needs to eat then have some activity then sleep then do it all again. Most say great night time feeds differently to day time feeds. Most say have a bedtime routine. As for the rest and the detailed exactly how to - I'd say ignore that for now.

I would recommend you either get an app or write down what your baby is currently doing. You may find there is already a semi routine. Then try to work with that. So if baby usually feeds every 2.5 hours - and you want a bit more control so you know what's what - for one day (if it works great if not try another day) try to plan to feed her every 2.5 hours. So when she wakes up, note down the time and try to feed her 2.5 hours later, if she wants feeding earlier see if you can distract her by going for a walk or something. Keep trying that and maybe you'll have a semi routine for feeding after a few tries. Then work on the activity bit or the napping bit.

I'm a FTM to a 7 week old so am no guru and may have it all wrong but thought I'd reply with my thoughts anyway!

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