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Sleep tips

(12 Posts)
jojoisamum Wed 20-Aug-08 15:40:27

Our health visitor came yesterday with a leaflet on sleeping. DS is just over 2 months now. The leaflet says that at 3-4 months we should be thinking about a sleeping routine. Their example is

7 pm quiet time
7.10 pm bath
7.20 pm changed into jammies, bottle, into bed and leave room.

In an ideal world this would be great and it is what we are aiming for or thereabouts.

At the moment however, DS rarely sleeps before 10 pm. It is only ocassionally he may fall asleep beforehand although I am not pressuring myself over this yet because he still has several weeks that things can change.

If, say in 6 weeks time when he's over 3 months and we are trying the above and we put him into bed and leave him, what do we do if he just doesn't settle? Do we go back in and get him up again or sit in the room with him until he does fall asleep?

Not planning on starting any of this yet but I'd just like to be clear in my mind what we should be doing rather that getting upset or worried at the time.

The leaflet also says to avoid naps before this routine. When should we try to make the last nap of the day before evening - again only in an ideal sort of scenario.

Thanks and I hope this all makes sense.

gingerninja Wed 20-Aug-08 15:51:46

My DD figured her own routine out at about 16 weeks. I really wouldn't worry to much, you'll notice when he starts wanting to go to bed earlier.

I personally wouldn't leave an unsettled baby but there are probably lots of people who will give you advice on setting a strict routine if that's what you're looking for. I had many a night of going to bed early with baby and sitting reading in a quiet darkened room to get her to sleep. It really depends on how you want to do it.

I'm pretty sure my DD was napping until about 5 in the evening until she was much much older then bed time at about 7 ish. Like 8 months. Then she went to about 2 naps and it was a little earlier but not much. IME it is much much harder to settle an over tired baby.

PrettyCandles Wed 20-Aug-08 15:52:15

Is that leaflet printed on toilet paper, by any chance?

(I think I have made my opinion of it clear [smile.)

Yes, IMO, and with the experience of having 3 children, about 3m is a good time to start thinking about routines. But you can start earlier, later, or not at all - depends on what works for you and your family. Personally I have found routines to be fantastic, and my LOs respond well to routine. Which surprised me, because I was never a routine-lover before I had children.

THe best thing is to ease into a routine, not just jump into it without preparation. For example, you could develop a set of 'rituals' whhich let the baby know what's coming. Using the same words to settle him, perhaps, or always finishing the bath in the same way. Picking up the same teddies or storybook, doing everything in the same order. It may drive you potty, but the baby will thrive on it.

Naps are always a good thing, at any age. Again, settling for naps in the same way, and trying always to nap in a limited set of places (eg buggy, cot, playmat) helps the LO to know that he's going to fall asleep soon. Stroking to sleep is a good way of helping them to settle, generally its good to withdraw before they're completely asleep.

As to timing, estimate that you will want to have the baby awake for about 2h between naps, perhaps a little longer before 'bedtime'. Which can be at whatever time works for you.

jojoisamum Wed 20-Aug-08 16:07:04

I am confident that we want a strict routine. Were not into them ourselves as we're both shift workers so it makes it difficult although I am not going back to work.

I think I am happier just letting him find his own way but try to make bath time the same every evening. The only definite we'd like to see is him sleeping from earlier in the evening.

I think I knew what I wanted but doubt myself because the "professionals" tell you something and you think you are wrong.

Thanks if any of the above makes sense!

jojoisamum Wed 20-Aug-08 16:07:37

That should have said confident we don't want a strict routine!

PrettyCandles Wed 20-Aug-08 16:13:19

Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby Book gives instructions for routines. You don't need to follow her to the letter, but her timings are excellent. If you read GF, you should also read Tracey Hogg's Baby WHisperer - she uses different techniiques to achieve more-or-less the same ends.

Whatever you do, don't read only GF and nothing else - you need to see a different aspect of routines as she can really rub people up the wrong way!

PrettyCandles Wed 20-Aug-08 16:15:40

Fair enough. I'd still recommend Tracy Hogg, though.

pudding25 Wed 20-Aug-08 20:51:15

we have been doing a kind of GF routine since 2wks (now 14wks). I have found it impossible to do exactly but the things we have really used are that a baby of this age can only stay awake for up to 2 hrs at a time so make sure they go down for a nap within 2 hrs of waking up. If you want baby to be in bed asleep by 7pm, make sure their last nap ends by 5/5.30pm depending on how long they can stay awake for.
Bedtime routine took about 5 wks to get sorted properly (she was doing it quite nicely by 6wks). We keep it the same every night. BF, naked kickaround, bath, story, BF in dark, bed. What helped with us was a dummy. I think it has had probs as well but I would rather stick a dummy back in a few times than hear her screaming.

Schatzi Thu 21-Aug-08 19:41:01

How do you get them to sleep longer then? Suerely that can only be down to them and maybe some extra milk on the latest feed?
My ray of sunshine is 7 weeks and I am horrified at the 7pm bedtime thing!!!??? I'm getting baby down at between 1 and 3am!!! What am I doing wrong?

gingerninja Fri 22-Aug-08 09:00:06

Schatzi, ime there is nothing you can do. In time they'll start to recognise a day and night pattern so sleep for longer stretches at night but it takes a good few weeks.

Keep things low key at night, dark, no stimulation and day times the opposite and in a few weeks you'll start to see a change.

jojoisamum Fri 22-Aug-08 17:45:28

I'd love to know how your baby stays awake for only 2 hours at a time! Yesterday DS had 2 half hour naps and was awake the rest of the day from 4.30 am until 8.30 pm!

gingerninja Fri 22-Aug-08 20:14:54

jojo, I think it's just a general rule of thumb. FWIW my friend has a baby that was very wakeful during the day in the early days but was perfectly happy. It's really when they get cranky because they're tired, try and offer them the opportunity to sleep ie feed, rock, swaddle or what ever you do and if they do they do and if they don't then erh, they don't. IME there is little over and above that that you can do to make them sleep. My DD was always a hardened 30 minute napper and nothing I ever did made it any better. The exception just being age and maturity.

Sounds like you're doing a great job. Give yourself another month or two and reasses. At this age routines change all the time as they develop. Good luck.

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