Routines??

Yesterday I decided to read Gina Ford’s book, The Contented Little Baby Book. I know that there is a huge debate on routines and when/if it’s possible to use them with babies and I have no intention of being rigorous with Pallino… I’ve never been one for routines myself, so how could I possibly ask my son to follow one? However there are some interesting points made in that book and I had a few questions myself: I noticed that in the last week, he fed for longer (and with three hours intervals) at night than during the day. Also, L and I tend to prepare for bed quite late in the evening and struggle to understand when the baby should be put to bed for the night, since he seems quite active but fussy until 10-11pm!

Ford’s idea, as far as I understand, is to manage the baby’s needs in a way that he can sleep all night (i.e. 11pm to 6am). Now, according to the book, paramount to the success of the operation “contented little baby” is to wake him up and feed him before 7am. After that, make sure he plays during the day with short naps in the morning and in the afternoon, and has a longer nap at around midday. The bed routine should start after 5pm, with a bath, massage, and last feed of the day at 6.30-7pm. Feed intervals are 3-3.5 hours, the reason being that the baby needs three hours to digest properly, so if you feed him earlier, that makes him colicky. That is an interesting point for me, because lately I’ve been feeding him more often, but probably he is not filling himself, and this is why he’s hungry again after 2 hours. I’m happy with this when it’s hot, because he needs to drink more, but on a normal day I’d like to have longer intervals. So maybe I should entertain him more and not feed him at the first sign of hunger.

The  other point is bed time: he’s probably getting overtired in the evening, so I should try and give him a bath earlier. The issue with this is that L comes back from work after 7pm, so if the baby is sleeping at that time, L never sees him… but if that makes Pallino happier in the evening, I should try.

Overall I don’t think we’re doing badly, and Pallino is able to distinguish day and night quite well, although he still feeds twice during the night… and I’m not going to follow any strict routine… but I want to pay more attention to how much he sleeps during the day and make sure he fills himself at each feed, if I manage to do that…

PS. Why on Earth do people ask “does he sleep through the night?”, like it was something that babies DO? Folks, babies DO NOT sleep through the night at 10 weeks, STOP ASKING!!! (Oh, how I wish I could answer this way…)

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7 thoughts on “Routines??

  1. Only two feeds sounds AMAZING. I have 4-5 a night still, but she is ONLY four weeks old, so that’s probably pretty normal. 🙂
    I think people should ask “how is he/she sleeping?” That is a better way to phrase it. Asking “does he sleep through the night” makes you assume that he/she SHOULD be sleeping through the night, but isn’t. And that is a mean thought to put into a mothers head.

  2. I just posted on my blog about some bedtime routines. We were putting our guy down pretty late, too and I thought – we’ll never get him down earlier – but seems like in the last few weeks, it’s just evolved naturally and he seems to sleep better (and even through the night without waking). I usually feed him when I get home from work around 5:30 and then we do play time, bath time and then I’ll feed him again at 7:30 or 7:45 and bedtime stories…then he’s down for the night and usually sleeps until 6am. During the day he certainly eats every 2-3 hours, so i’m not sure how that works for the night time stretch. How much does P weigh? I’ve heard that 11 pounds seems to be a magic point for them sleeping longer stretches. My guy is already 13 pounds as of his 2 month appt!

    • He was 14 pounds last Monday… but the longer if got between feeds was 4 fours so far. I’ve got to work on this bedtime routine, yours sound pretty good, well done!!

  3. I totally understand your struggle with routines, i also was skeptical and thought I would never been able to follow one or make my little one follow one. However routines are one of the few ways you have to predict and understand your baby. There is not mmuch more you can actually do. Together with rituals (for which it might be too early, but maybe not. We started as soon as Pistacchio was able to see and follow what was happening around him).
    I try to explain you what convinced me that it was a good idea using a bit of structure and ‘repetitivity’ in our life. Babies have no clues what it is happening around them. Yet, although many might be OK with this, the majority can be lost by never knowing what comes next. The routine is not only adviced for digestion or sleeping patterns, but also to give babies some clues. They are not in control of anything, but we give them the chance they can learn day by day what comes next. And they pick up very early. Hope this will be helpful for you.
    You are doing great!!

    • This is a very good point, thanks! Even if I don’t follow a strict routine, I’ll try to introduce more structure to start with. Let’s see how it goes…

  4. I love what snikkimack said. Asking HOW a baby is sleeping is so much more beneficial and helpful than is s/he sleeping through the night. Ugh! My little guy didn’t sleep through the night until he was 8 months-ish old and even now (at 11 months) he will still wake on occasion, but usually a shh-pat gets him back to sleep. He generally goes to bed around 7-8:30 (depending on naps that day) and then wakes up around 6-7. And he gets a morning feed at 5-ish. I’m totally happy with that, as he is sleeping in his own bed most nights and if I were to get to bed earlier, I’d be getting even more sleep myself. hahah

    I would have loved only 2 feeds during the night when he was younger, but that isn’t how it worked with us. Each baby and family are different and as long as it works for you, that is all that matters!!!

    As for routines, I/we have a loose one that is flexible. Mostly the day depends on when he wakes and then our rough schedule of eating, naps and whatnot go from there. If something doesn’t go as planned, the world doesn’t end, but I do think it helps a bit Our biggest routine is getting ready for bed and going to sleep. I think that definitely helps putting him out for the night.

    Oh, and my little guy would be up until 10, 11 or even midnight when he was that young. (And, not sure if you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, but the reason babies eat more often when breastfeeding is that the milk doesn’t stay in their tummies as long. It is much easier digested, hence the reason they eat much more often.) As he got older, bed time started getting earlier to where it is now. Good luck! It will all work the way it should.

    • Thanks! In the last three days, he slept four hours from 10pm to 2am, three hours after that… I think things are changing again! Anyway his smile when he wakes up in the morning is the best thing ever 😀
      PS I’m breastfeeding only, hopefully for the first four months…

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