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3.5 month old bed time routine

(31 Posts)
digsydel Wed 28-Dec-16 10:59:51

Hello all

My DS has always had a hard time settling at night - I posted a while back that it was often 1-2am before he would get to sleep properly, and while that has improved we're yet to get him in to a decent bedtime hour.

So I'm determined to tackle it in the new year. I know the basics from when DS was the same age - bedtime between 7-8pm, set a regular pattern of bath, book, feed, bed, do all those in a darkened and calm environment etc etc.
My real question is - what if that doesn't work?!?! We've tried a few times but invariably I'm still sitting in the dark room with a roaring baby 4 hours later having spent all evening there except for a brief switch with DH to eat. Am I supposed to just persevere for a few days or if he doesn't settle when expected do I bring him out in to the light again.

It makes for a miserable evening but if it's what needs to be done a few times to get him then I guess I just need to mentally prepare myself for a week of it, but I also don't want to waste night after night after night fighting with a child that would be happier with us watching tv.

Also, those of you have older siblings - who goes to bed first? DD is 3 and invariably I try get her down first simply because it's such a long process with DS but that does mean DS is sometimes only starting bed routine at 8pm which pushes everything later?

Lastly - this may sound like a stupid question seeing I've got one child already, but everyone says at X point/when you see tired signs etc "put them to sleep". Um, exactly how am I supposed to do this?!?!
DS goes to sleep when feeding (although anvariably these days that doesn't last anymore and he's up when boob is taken away Or he's put down) or he goes to sleep in the car. The only other way he ever sleeps is when he wears himself out (because he won't go to sleep when he should) roars hysterically for 15 minutes and then collapses in exhaustion.

At the moment he sleeps 12-15 in a 24 hour period. That's normally from about 11-9 overnight (broken by feeds) and either a couple long naps during the day or a bunch of failed 15 minute naps, followed by a series of 20 minute power naps in the evening as we try get him to sleep before he eventually drops for the night at about 11 again. He can be awake for 3 straight hours in the day though which I'm sure isn't right.

I'm determined to tackle his sleeping patterns and get him in to more of a structure in the new year but finding it hard to juggle that around DD and because i cant get him to settle when he should during day anyway. Anyone with tips or suggestions on a day time pattern for a 16wk old would be much appreciated.


nuttyknitter Wed 28-Dec-16 11:02:17

He's 3.5 months! Have you tried Googling the 4th trimester? Please don't try to force him - it's cruel at any age but unforgivable so young.

mscongeniality Wed 28-Dec-16 11:06:42

But he's only 3.5 months? My DS didn't sleep more than 8 hours at night until he was 9 months old! I just went with the flow and he settled into his own routine eventually. I only have one so I guess it would be more difficult with 2. But he is still so young isn't he?

Lovelyholiday Wed 28-Dec-16 11:11:29

11-9 is amazing for 3.5months! Well done 😊
Also they do have a regression at 4 ish months so dont be surprised if sleep is affected.
Personally I would maybe go up with him a 10pm to start the process, then gradually over time reduce to 9pm etc.
Each new baby comes with fresh challenges so best not to compare him with your daughter.
His daytime naps sound completely normal too.

digsydel Wed 28-Dec-16 11:44:32

Sorry ladies. Seems to be a misunderstanding. I'm not complaining about the overnight sleep, I have no problem with it. He sleeps brilliantly for his age in that regard.

But I was under the impression that they should have an earlier bedtime, coupled with the fact that he spends his evenings quite obviously tired, unable to settle and eventually exceptionally upset before collapsing in to sleep. He tends to drop off but wake mutilple times running up to this which led me to believe he should be going to bed earlier and I'd like to try make the evenings easier on him.

digsydel Wed 28-Dec-16 11:48:54

I'm not trying to force him in to anything but the current sleep habits are getting him very upset. I'd like to try help him settle himself earlier and easier to avoid that as it's not pleasant for anyone.

I keep him up late and he's in hysterics before passing out, I ask how to get him to bed earlier and I'm being cruel.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't 🙄

MoreBushThanMoss Wed 28-Dec-16 11:57:30

My DS is same age as yours. Our living arrangements (narrowboat) mean he sleeps in the main cabin where everything is "happening" (otherwise he'd be too far away down the end of the boat for my liking)

He currently dozes off around 7- 9 in the evening, sleeps until midnight when I wake him for a feed, then may sleep through til 7ish - or may wake 3 times in the night for feeds.

During the day, he naps around 10-11, then 1.30-3(ish). None of this is on a schedule.

We have no bedtime routine yet, no expectations of one- and I'm EBF on demand .... So no routine there either.

When DS is overtired he's an absolute buggerlugs - but I feed/ cuddle/ shush until he settles and don't worry if that happens to be on me, still dressed, not bathed etc .... (Grubby bunny!) we probably have an overtired meltdown once every couple of days when he's not napped for long enough. That tends to happen when I've errrrrm .,,, played with him too long (overexcited FTM)

It isn't perfect, but it's working for us .... The point is there's no "supposed to be" doing anything at this age. I agree with PP about 4th trimester - and it's a time to go easy on both of you. Please don't give yourself a hard time - or him - maybe just let it be for now


MoreBushThanMoss Wed 28-Dec-16 11:59:42

Are you BF? Have you tried naked biological position BF if so? It's like brandy for DS. Sends him off in minutes, I let him snooze on me until he's in deep sleep then transfer him to crib/ buggy/ daddy depending where we are

digsydel Wed 28-Dec-16 12:08:13

Thanks morebushthanmoss.
We have overtired meltdowns at least once a day hence why I thought there might be a better way to do this and that others might have tips or tricks to help him settle. I thought a regular routine might help with this. I'm NOT trying to sleep train him in any way, just looking to avoid the level of upsetness we currently experience.

Our days are much like yours at the moment - I don't mind how/where he goes to sleep, rocked, fed,shushed, whatever - and he often goes to bed in whatever he happened to fall asleep in clean or grubby, I don't mind.

I worried I was doing him a disservice with the current way things play out though as each day invariably ends with him very upset sometimes for several hours, so I thought maybe I was doing it wrong and he'd benefit from a different way. I've had HVs tell me they should have a bed time at 8weeks so thought maybe I needed to change things.
If not and this all sounds fine and normal then I was mistaken, and we'll plod on.
Thanks for the advice

digsydel Wed 28-Dec-16 12:11:15

Thanks for BF tip too, I'll give that a go

LapinR0se Wed 28-Dec-16 12:13:21

At 3.5 months you could expect to be on 3 naps a day with night time sleep from around 7 or 8 until 7 the next morning.
If your baby doesn't have the 3rd nap they will be overtired and impossible to settle for bed.
We were doing a dreamfeed at 11pm and then a small feed at around 4 although we dropped it at about 4 months but kept the dreamfeed until she was fully weaned.

LapinR0se Wed 28-Dec-16 12:14:16

Ignore any advice to feed to sleep, it is a terrible short term solution and all hell will break loose during the 4 month regression if you are relying on it.
You'll be up every 45 mins all night long.

MoreBushThanMoss Wed 28-Dec-16 12:21:48

Think me and rose might be at odds here ... I think that at 3ish months when many babies fall asleep BFing anyway, you're fine ... If your baby is fractious, unsettled and distressed, BFing will bring them comfort enough to get off to sleep- rather than it being about feeding to sleep.

But horses for courses. ( I also personally wouldn't tell a poster to just ignore another posters advice so rudely- but like I say- each to their own! )

MiniMaxi Wed 28-Dec-16 12:24:28

Sounds similar to our DS who is 13 weeks corrected (19 weeks but was premature). He tends to be ratty in the evening and hard to settle before 10 or 11 - so if he doesn't want to sleep he hangs out with us in the kitchen while we eat, either in his chair or we take turns holding and eating. We prefer this to one of us sitting alone with him trying to get him to settle. I realise this doesn't help you change the situation but thought a bit of solidarity might help! fsmile

MoreBushThanMoss Wed 28-Dec-16 12:26:24

I'd love to be in a position to expect a small baby to sleep 7-7 like rose has experienced- but alas!!! DS over here far too interested in the waking world-
And I'm too slack to battle him into sleepy submission grin

LapinR0se Wed 28-Dec-16 12:26:55

Yes breastfeeding is comforting. So the baby will be lovely and calm and cosy. But then you must sit them up, wind hem and wake them up enough that they go to sleep in their basket or sleepyhead or whatever.

I sincerely apologise for saying ignore, that was terribly rude of me and you were right to pull me up on it!

MoreBushThanMoss Wed 28-Dec-16 12:39:48

No worries rose - v gracious of you

I'll come find you next month when I'm weeping at 3am with an unsettled baby and you can give me your more disciplines regime outline wink

LapinR0se Wed 28-Dec-16 12:42:40


teaandbiscuitsforme Wed 28-Dec-16 12:43:23

Or Lapin you can just let them sleep? Either in bed with you or in their cot, whatever works for the baby. No need to wake them up if BF has done one of the jobs it was designed to do!

LapinR0se Wed 28-Dec-16 13:03:27

Like I said it's a short term solution tea.
Believe me, I know what I am talking about wink

LapinR0se Wed 28-Dec-16 13:03:42

PS I am not Gina ford in disguise

MoreBushThanMoss Wed 28-Dec-16 13:12:53

I am a boatdwelling attachment parenting hippy in no disguise

LapinR0se Wed 28-Dec-16 13:18:06

Yes I spotted that and I am quite envious of your watery abode

MoreBushThanMoss Wed 28-Dec-16 13:24:17

Oh it's bloody hard work rose - trying to keep a newborn the right temp using woodburners,diesel stoves and side hatches. Much more tiring than the baby care wink

LapinR0se Wed 28-Dec-16 13:29:18

Yikes. Roll on spring!

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