Thursday, June 28, 2012


I'll admit it: as much as I dearly adore this tiny suckling piglet newborn phase, and try to inhale every moment and memorize the softness of Alex's skin...part of me is craving the months when he operates on some sort of routine.

NOT that I'm wishing away these days. I'm on maternity leave - what else do I have to do but sleep, eat, and shower on his schedule? But still, someday it would be nice to be able to say "he goes to bed at 7:30, wakes up at 2, and sleeps till 6" instead of "he goes to bed whenever the hell he wants to and wakes up every two and a half hours to eat until he's ready to be awake."

Or "he takes three naps a day", instead of "he sleeps on and off all day, waking up to eat and stare at me for a bit and then cry until he falls back asleep."

The main parenting book I've been consulting is Baby 411 and I love it. But it's leaving me in a bit of a limbo regarding sleep. They say several places that for the first two months you have to do whatever you have to do to get some sleep, and you can't form any "habits" during that time. And by month four, baby will start to set up his own routine. That leaves me in limbo for month three, which is rapidly approaching.

So, mommies, when did your little ones fall into a sort of routine? I am mostly interested in knowing when they stretched out their night eating. We have had one stretch of 4 hours of sleep, other than that it's been all 2-3 hours between feedings, around the clock.

Did you have to guide them into a routine, or did they find it all on their own?

PS- I got an email today from Emily, who is 6dp5dt and pregnant after five miscarriages. I've never met her but I'd appreciate it if you kept her in your thoughts.


Stefany said...

With all 3 of my kiddos we set up a 3-hour routine from Day 1. The book we followed was Baby Wise.....I would HIGHLY recommend it. I breastfed and was able to get all of mine to sleep though the night (10 hours) by 11 weeks. Basically the routine is feed, play and sleep (versus your baby having to eat to fall asleep). You have to take some of the book with a grain of salt (it says no pacifiers, etc. and I definitely did that), but the basic routine of the book worked great for everyone I know!

Emskyrooney said...

With DS our pediatrician told me at his 10 week checkup that as soon as babies are 10 weeks old and 10 lbs. they can sleep through the night without needing to eat. He suggested we move him to his own room at that point which we (tearfully on my part who wanted him close by) did. He's slept great ever since! I don't know if we just got lucky or if the ped. was right but we'll be trying the same thing this time around for sure.... Good luck!

Alex said...

For the first 10 weeks of Alex's life, we had no routine. Mainly because we were traveling from week 6-9, but at the end of week 9, I was at my wit's end. Her nighttime schedule (which she had pretty much created on her own) was sleep at 8, then up at 12, then hour increments after that - up at 1, 2, 3, 4... I was going out of my mind. And so at the beginning of week 10, with 2 weeks left of my maternity leave, I started Baby Wise. Within 2 weeks (which were really hard, by the way) she was having 5-6 hour stretches at night. This slowly extended, and at about 4 months, she was sleeping 11 hours at night, about 6 days a week. Now we have a night when she wakes up (and needs us) in the middle of the night once every 2-3 weeks. It's all about the routine - feed, play then sleep. And putting them to bed slightly awake so they know how to put themselves to sleep. If they don't know how to put themselves to sleep, what will they do when they wake up in the middle of the night - which happens a lot. Almost every night, at some point Alex will wake up, look around, grab her lovie and talk for about 5-10 minutes before going back to sleep. But she doesn't need me, which means I can stay asleep, or go back to sleep easily.

It's tough getting a baby that hasn't been on a routine onto a routine. I remember those days as really hard. But you can do it!!! Good luck!

Crazy Twin Momma said...

I used Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child for any sleep advice. My twins got on a routine about 8 w bc I went back to work at that point. By sticking to the same bedtime and the same wake time every day, their sleep rhythms fell into place. I would start the day and aim for nap 90 min after wake (or earlier of any tired signs were showing). I fed on wake and on wake from every nap so it fell into a rough every 3-4 schedule.

Every child is different with when they can sleep through the night. Also, the definition of STTN from the sleep experts is actually a 6 hour stretch, not the 10-12 hours we tend to expect. I also don't believe that weight has anything to do with it, as waking at night is neurological and not how much is in their bellies. My Twin A was almost 8 lbs at birth, slept a 5 hour stretch by 8 wks, and by 12 wks went to bed at 7, had a dream feed at 11, and then slept till 6a or so. My twin B was teeny and didn't sleep a longer stretch till at least 10w and woke once per night till he was 6m or so (even with the dream feed). With both twins we phased the dream feed out about 9m. With my youngest, she slept a 6h stretch by 4 or 5 weeks, and by 8w was sleeping 11p-5/6a. By 12w she was sleeping 8p-5a and going back to sleep afterward till 8 or 9 am. I did nothing different with her, she's just a much more laid back baby.

The last thing I will say is that sleep begets sleep. If a baby doesnt nap well and is overtired, the night will be rougher. If you focus on watching for tired signs and not letting him stay up longer than 90min-2h, he should fall into a natural nap rhythm. Good luck :)

thebunlessoven said...

Really interestingly times post as it's what I'm working on right now.

My little one is six weeks old and we sorta fell into a routine around 4.5/5 weeks - feeding every three hours during the day (although 2.5 if she's starving) and going 4 hours overnight.

For day feeds, I wake her to keep her fed, and on schedule. Overnight, I let her go as long as she wants.
Like Stefany we follow the routine of Eat, Play, Sleep. Importantly, she basically has to be back down in bed within an hour of waking, or she gets overtired and doesn't sleep at all.

While I am still happy to feed on demand, this one hour turnaround time was the single biggest change I made that assisted with a schedule.

While not following it to the letter, I found The Baby Whisperer's EASY approach is very similar to my approach, and the book has been helpful in recognising sleep cues etc.

Good luck! x