Author Topic: Baby steps to a baby routine?  (Read 1176 times)

shelivesthedream

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Baby steps to a baby routine?
« on: May 29, 2018, 09:16:15 AM »
BabySLTD is five weeks old and he's sufficiently with it and I'm sufficiently zonked that I think we're both ready to start a routine. I breastfeed and we co-sleep at night, and during the day he only naps while being held. I'm very happy to continue co-sleeping but this napping business has got to stop. I k know it's not "forever" - I don't imagine he'll be napping in my arms at eighteen - but I am totally overwhelmed with being attached to a baby 24/7 and I am desperate for him to have some predictability so I can actually relax and nap or read a book without anticipating him waking up at any time.

I'm very introverted and find it hard to interact with him all day. I honestly run out of things to say and do after about ten minutes, then the rest of the day just looms. I find it exhausting to be with him even when he's perfectly contented because either he's awake and just kind of looking at me or he's asleep and I'm anticipating his next random wake up. I also used to get 10 hours sleep a night, and I am really not at my best in the mornings or during night wakings. It takes me a long time to get going and I am pretty groggy for the first half hour at least.

Problem is, I am also totally overwhelmed whenever I look at baby routines. What I'd really like is some advice on little steps I can take without trying to dive into a whole routine (whatever it is) at once. At the moment the only thing that happens with any consistency is that we both get into bed at 8pm and I feed him to sleep then nod off myself, and that he usually wakes around 7am. What happens in between those times is anyone's guess.

wordnerd

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2018, 10:47:03 AM »
This is hard. My experience with my first child was very similar to yours. My second child is easier (not because of anything I did, he just is), and I now realize that had a high needs baby and it sucked.

A couple of things that might help... remember it's ok to wake the baby to feed. I would never not feed a hungry baby but I would (and do) sometimes wake a sleeping baby to nudge him in to a routine. I try to nurse on the even hours and shoot for an 8pm bedtime. So if he's napping at 6, he's nursing anyway. He might go back to sleep or not but at least he's fed and will be ready to nurse again at 8.

The other thing that helped with my first was establishing bedtime routine. So, we would change his diaper, read a story, say goodnight to things in his room, swaddle, in crib (with white noise). I know you're cosleeping so not sure if it's transferable but it helped us.

okits

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2018, 11:48:16 PM »
Can you make a checklist of things to do daily?  Like tummy time, read X number of books to him, sing X number of songs, one outing (supermarket, walk around the block, library, etc.)?  At five weeks he should still be sleeping a lot so these activities would kind of just fill in the time between naps and eating.

Totally up to you but you could try getting him used to sleeping without being held.  My DS liked to nap while held, too, but once all my help vanished (~4 weeks) I had to be a bit ruthless and just put him in his crib when he wanted to nap.  He adjusted to it pretty quickly (I realize this is a sample size of one, just saying it might help if you want to try it).

nessness

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2018, 06:57:56 AM »
First off, hugs! The newborn stage can be really hard.

A couple things:
- 5 weeks may be a bit young for it, but I've had success with the 2-3-4 schedule.  2 hours after he wakes up, put him down for nap #1. Three hours after he wakes up from that nap, put him down for nap #2. Four hours after he wakes up from nap #2, put him to bed.

- Don't feel like you need to entertain him all day. Just being alive is stimulating for a newborn. Feel free to watch TV while you feed him, or lay him on a blanket and fold a load of laundry.

- Baby storytime at the library is great. Even if he just sleeps sometimes, it's nice to get out of the house and around other parents of babies.

lazy-saver

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2018, 06:48:13 PM »
I got the start of a routine by using a tracking app (BabyConnect) to find out what the general pattern was, and it was less random than I had thought. Just knowing the range of likely awake and nap times and when in there he would want to nurse made things significantly better for me. And then I encouraged him to stick to what was usual for him and it got a little more regular. (I also cross referenced with the schedules on babysleepsite.com to confirm that we weren't far from typical in general for the age, though really it's the specific baby that matters.)

A routine did not help with napping anywhere but on me. Swaddling did.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2018, 06:49:47 PM by lazy-saver »

RachelM

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2018, 08:05:08 PM »
I have a 5-month-old and a 2.5-year-old so I'm re-living a lot of this right now! My older son napped on me a lot, but obviously I've been forced to do things differently this time. My baby sleeps much better (though still not wonderfully, ha) because of it.

The easiest "routine" for me is remembering that until about 6 months, 2 hours is about the max awake time. So whenever my son wakes up, I note the time. After about an hour, but definitely before 2 hours, I put him down at the first sign of tiredness (yawning, cranky, rubbing eyes, etc). So put the white noise on, swaddle, feed, burp, and put in the crib or swing. The first few times I did NOT believe he'd fall asleep... and then he did and it was so magical.

My baby loves to watch my older son play and it's so much easier, I feel like when it's just you and the baby you feel like you have to be their whole source of entertainment! But remember that 5 weeks ago he was floating around in darkness 100% of the time so it doesn't take much to entertain ;) Put him where he can see you do your thing. Go outside or run an errand even though it's daunting.

I read in an evidence-based parenting book that studies have shown babies need to hear about 15 minutes of talking every hour to reap the most benefits. That felt like a lot to me until I thought of it as three five-minute conversations. Do them during diaper changes and you're halfway there!

The Wonder Weeks is a solid book with good ideas for how to interact/play with a baby, which is not intuitive to me at least! It also helps explain why they melt down every few weeks as a baby, which helped me feel less hopeless.

Also, I had a hard time asking for help because I felt like I should be able to handle it. I'm starting to realize that's crap and our kids do better with more caregivers/supported parents. I scheduled family members to regularly come twice a week and a babysitter to come once a week to give a break (my "break" with the babysitter is working to pay for the sitter, ha, but it's good for my sanity!) Just wanted to throw that out there.

Good luck! It's so hard to deal with sleep deprivation!!!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2018, 08:07:15 PM by RachelM »

Acorns

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2018, 10:37:25 PM »
Ah yes, the newborn days, my not so favorite stage of parenting (so far). The sleeping thing just sucks. After three kids I am convinced that no matter what voodoo sleep training schedule planning the parents try, some babies sleep well and others don't. My first one was a huge comfort nurser with a powerful suckling reflex. At 2 weeks old we caved and gave him a pacifier and it was like magic! No more attached to my boob 24/7. We did cosleep until he was 11 months old.

My second was my high need baby. She had reflux and would scream and scream and scream if I put her down at. All. during the day. I did a lot of baby wearing with her and she did most of her naps sleeping on me for the first year or so. She slept ok at night in a rock n play. She never took a bottle or pacifier, it was mom only.

My third was pretty easy over all, third times the charm seems to hold true for me. Now I tell people they should skip babies #1 and 2 and go straight to 3 ;-).

Anyway, just realize that this too shall pass. You will be sleep deprived for the next year or so, especially if you expect 10 hrs a night. The baby will sleep through the night eventually, though. If your baby seems extremely fussy watch for signs of reflux (projectile vomiting, screaming and arching the back when laid flat). Also, your baby might be a bit colicky (a terrible catchword, I think, but somewhat accurate in its vagueness). My third (the overall easy baby) had colic from 3wks-9wks with frantic, inconsolable screaming from 7pm-1am everyday.

If you have a partner or spouse who can relieve some of the night time pressure for you by giving the baby a bottle, that will help you get a bit more uninterrupted sleep and feel more sane. My husband and I developed a routine where I would go to bed around 8 or 9pm and he would take care of all the feedings until 2 or 3am, then hand the baby over to me (except my second who never took a bottle).

Good luck and hang in there. Better times are ahead, you just have to get through the first year.

ETA - I second the Wonder Weeks book! Really helped me understand my baby's development and milestones better. If you think this is overwhelming, imagine how baby feels!

CindyBS

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2018, 02:06:42 PM »
Do you have a swing?  That was a lifesaver when my guys were that young. 

Honestly, you will be probably get burned out real quick if you aren't already by holding him every time he sleeps.  IMO, getting him to nap alone is the biggest priority. 

elliha

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2018, 02:34:44 PM »
I am not a routine person at all but taking the baby out for a walk in the stroller at roughly the same time every day, fed and at least somewhat sleepy made our kid become sleepy at roughly the same time each day because the stroller was relaxing made them sleepy if they weren't already.

I would be focusing on just one thing when it comes to routine if this is not usually your thing. I have never scheduled when the children should play or have tummy time for example, if they seemed to be into it they got to do it. I breastfed on demand completely until about 10 months, then some gentle guidance. Food once introduced were given roughly the same time at least for the big meals while snacks could be somewhat flexible and sometimes switched for nursing. I nurse them for a long time, 4 years for the first one and almost 2 years and going strong with the other one. I will probably either make him stop or cut way back once he is three, I did the same but at two with his sister. She still nursed for 2 more years which was fine since it was just once a day.

I found routine mostly much more stressful than just going with the flow.

MayDay

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2018, 05:39:08 AM »
Newborns suck. You have my sympathy.

I also got sick of having a small human attached to me all.the.time, but baby wearing made it better because at least I could do things while baby was attached.

Put out a bat signal for baby holding devices. Bouncy seat, doing, etc.

A trip to Target or the mall to walk around (or the park- mine were newborns in winter so we did more target!) Is all the stimulation they need.

Find a mom's group through LLL, your town, or your hospital/midwife.

I know you asked for routine advice, not all that, bit I got nothing. I never had any luck. I did get mine to nap alone sometimes by swaddling and putting them in a swing or vibrating bouncy seat. Or sometimes I could swaddle, nurse lying down, and then carefully roll away.but mine wouldn't nap on any kind of schedule, and they only napped for 30 minutes.

It's ok to hate it, and either just get through it or hire childcare.

MDfive21

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2018, 11:56:18 AM »
decide on a quick (20 min) bedtime routine and do exactly that every time it's nap time.  ours went something like this:
1.  baby yawns.  that's our cue to get the routine rolling.
2.  change diaper.  swaddle now if you're into that.
3.  go to bedroom, make it dark/darker.
4.  read a story.
5.  sing a song.
6.  stand by the crib with baby on shoulder.  gently rock back and forth til baby is falling asleep.
7.  put baby in crib and say goodnight. 
8.  walk out of the room and go to a room where we can't hear the baby cry.  don't go back in til nap time is over.  never wake a sleeping baby.

the first few times, baby won't like this very much but after some fussing and crying, he will fall asleep.  the key to this working is that you're gently bringing baby in for a landing much like an airplane.  if anything happens to break the cycle, you might have to start over.  make it known to anyone around that bedtime is NOT to be interrupted for any reason.

unrelated to sleep, but there's also a concept i call 'status quo' which means that even if things could be better, if everything is fine, just let it be fine.  the law of unintended consequences is strong in babies.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 11:59:16 AM by MDfive21 »

shelivesthedream

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2018, 12:19:18 PM »
Thanks for all the thoughts, everyone. I've come to realise the "routine" is really for me at this stage. I've decided to have a little first-thing-in-the-morning sequence and a little last-thing-at-night sequence and roll with life in between. Hopefully we can eventually start to tag on other things.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2018, 12:25:12 PM »
I have also learned that I enjoy rocking about as much as I enjoy chewing off my own arm.

asiljoy

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2018, 12:25:22 PM »
Going to pile on for baby wearing using your gear of choice and then going to throw out that babies don't really need 'entertainment', or at least the bar is alot lower than Pintrest would tell you. I got through healthy chunks of the day just by reading my baby the current book I was on; he was entertained and got exposed to a lot of vocab, and I got to read something that was actually interesting to me.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2018, 01:57:01 PM »
Congratulations on your new baby!  They suck sometimes, don't they?

Make sure part of your routine involves adult interaction for you.  I was all gung-ho to be a SAHM until I realized I could not handle being home with a nonverbal being all day.  I went back to work when she was a few months old to keep my sanity.

Make sure that your standards for yourself are reasonable.  Lack of sleep means you are not firing on all cylinders right now, and that's okay.  You don't have to be supermom.  Some days the bar for success was set so low that I could meet it simply by keeping baby and myself alive and fed all day.  Some days I had more energy and we'd actually <gasp> go to the grocery store.

You and baby will get the hang of this.

elliha

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Re: Baby steps to a baby routine?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2018, 02:04:21 PM »
Thanks for all the thoughts, everyone. I've come to realise the "routine" is really for me at this stage. I've decided to have a little first-thing-in-the-morning sequence and a little last-thing-at-night sequence and roll with life in between. Hopefully we can eventually start to tag on other things.

That sounds like a reasonable starting point. I will say that time outdoors is very valuable so try to see if you can get that into your routine as well, it does so much for both baby and mom even if it is just a walk around the block or the backyard. Outside air helps so much to feel better and less confused, tired and overloaded as early babyhood is all about.