Setting a routine- advice/ suggestions pls

Hi there I've got 2 weeks to go to my edd with our first baby and I thought I'd pick ur brains about setting a routine. I don't pretend to know anything about caring for a baby and assume that kife is obviously going to change rather dramatically but thought I'd like to try some sort of routine to give me a guide on what to do when so I can try to structure my days. Any tips or advice?


  • pinkpiggy57pinkpiggy57 Posts: 207
    i have 3 children 6,2 & 1 & im 11 weeks pregnantimage

    I can honestly say from my point of view it so hard to get a routine with a newborn,they have no clue to day or night so with regards to a night time routine it will be hard.

    What you could start doing is bath,feed & put baby own to sleep in the evenings,thats good to start a bedtime routine for future weeks/months.

    As for the rest its pretty much go with the flow lol

    You will know what works for you in a few weeks

    goodluck xxx
  • RhubarbulousRhubarbulous Posts: 1,989
    I've just started reading Gina Ford's 'The Contented Baby', which is all about setting a routine. I was initially against the idea, because it seems more intuitive to let the baby feed on demand, but so many people have recommended the Gina Ford technique that I thought I should at least give it a fair wind. I've only read the first couple of chapters so far but I have to say it's pretty convincing stuff.

    No idea if it will work yet of course - I'm 33 weeks today; but I think I'll probably be giving it a go.
  • Alfie222Alfie222 Posts: 276
    Hi, as a midwife i felt i had to answer your message. So many women tell me they've read gina ford and other books like it, it can be a real problem to take these ideas about routine on board if you really want to be a breast feeding mum. When a baby is first born, it needs to breast feed often (sometimes every hour) in order to send a message to your brain to bring the second lot of milk in. When it hits 24 hours old, it may well breast feed all night and this is essentail toward that milk supply coming in. By about day 3, the milk is there, and life gets easier, but it's not unusual for the baby to want to breast feed 2 to 3 hourly. They also feed more at night (there is more prolactin in your milk at night, which is the hormone which controls supply and demand). There's some kind of evolutionary reason for this, no one knows why really, but there are lots of theories. So all newborns feed a lot at nigth and are more settled in the day for the first few weeks (even bottle fed babies seem to take this on board). When you're getting over birth and also have hundreds of well wishers wanting to see you in the day this can be exhausting.

    What i suggest is completely forget about routine, focus solely on the baby, limit guests to the people you want around (eg your mum who is allowed to see you unshowered with no make up, and is happy to make her own cup of tea, and, even better, have a hoover round for you!)

    There's no doubt that bottle fed babies settle a little better in the beginning, but they will still need feeds every 3 hours, want it more at night, and strggle more with wind and tummy ache. Breast feeding is by far the best thing for mums and babies, and, once you're off the ground gets better, but without a doubt it's tough to begin with. The best thing is to be realisic, devote your time to your baby, and when your babies asleep - sleep too. Don't worry about routine. Get lots of help attaching the baby (as only if he's on right will he stimulate the milk to come in)Any kind of structured feeding, away from letting him feed on demand, will limit the stimulation you get, and the amount of milk that comes in.Even if you bottle feed, routine is really out the window for the first couple of months.

    Maybe go back to gina ford further down the line, but at the moment don't put the extra stress on yourself. I agree the bath, feed and bed thing is a good idea - but it won't pay off until further down the line.

    Really hope things go well for you, good luck for having your babies! image
  • PeasnCarrotsPeasnCarrots Posts: 1,831
    PinkPiggy57 is definately right!!

    We waited around a month before starting our LO into a routine. He would (and still has) bath at 7, then story and cuddle, then feed (he was only breast fed for a few days and then bottle fed thereafter) and then eventually bed (we would give him a bottle at 11 when he was tiny, but he grew out of this feed within a couple of months)The OH has always done bath time as this is his "male bonding time" with him (I can hear them both giggling their heads off upstairs as I write this ha!)

    We worked his day times into a routine once this had been established as he was sleeping from the 11pm feed until 7am (in time for 7am bottle)from around 7 weeks.

    Daytime routine was

    7am - wake and feed

    then have a bit of cuddle/play time/get myself dressed etc!

    11am another feed and his nap time

    1 wake up - have another cuddle/play time

    3pm - feed and nap

    then playtime etc again

    7pm - bath routine

    11pm - if he woke up give him feed

    The best advice I can give to somebody expecting is make sure that you go out to do something as often as possible (sure start centers are really good and other mother and baby groups in the area where they do baby massage etc) and my second would be dont feel pressured into breast feeding. I think that there is too much emphasis on this when you are pregnant than the mothers own (mental!) health and support that they might need. I couldnt breast feed as my milk didnt come in quick enough after the colostrum and I had a very hungry baby and because all I had heard for the past 9 months was "breastfeed breastfeed breastfeed" I felt horrid. My health visitor pointed out that if formula wasnt safe it wouldnt be sold and that they are more likely to sleep through the night - giving you much needed rest. (The lady who lives across the road had her LO at the same time and was still feeding every hour at 4 months old, she looked shattered!)

    Good idea for company is get the mobile numbers/email address of any other girls who are on your maternity ward and meet up with them every now and then.

    Sorry for long message !!

  • PeasnCarrotsPeasnCarrots Posts: 1,831
    Oh forgot to say - Good luck to all of you!!!xxx
  • RhubarbulousRhubarbulous Posts: 1,989

    "Any kind of structured feeding, away from letting him feed on demand, will limit the stimulation you get, and the amount of milk that comes in"

    Actually, and I am no expert - this is just from reading the first couple of chapters of Gina Ford - the whole point of establishing a routine is to ensure that the baby gets fed sufficiently to ensure enough stimulation to make the milk come in. Apparently, a lot of babies fed on demand do not 'demand' enough, and because the mother doesn't wake them up to feed them, they don't get enough milk, the breasts then don't get enough stimulation and the milk supply dries up. The baby then can't get enough milk when he/she does want to feed, so then starts to demand it every hour to compensate, the mother gets exhausted by this causing the milk to dry up even more, a vicous circle is established and the mother ends up having to bottle feed.

    Gina Ford's point is that you should not feed LESS than every three hours. If that means waking them from sleep, then wake them. And, she stresses repeatedly that if the baby wants to feed MORE than every three hours, you should do so - you should never ever refuse to feed a baby that wants to feed.

    Like I said, I have no personal experience, so you are quite within your rights if you want to accuse me of talking out of my bum, but I just wanted to clarify what I understand of Gina Ford's argument, as some of the comments above seem to misunderstand her technique.

    I'm not a breastfeeding nazi by the way - if it doesn't work for me I shall revert to bottle feeding without batting an eyelid - I wholeheartedly agree that no-one should be forced one way or the other. Likewise with routine versus feeding on demand, do what works for you, but get the right information first.
  • Nicki-JadeNicki-Jade Posts: 914
    I am no professional, just a mum of a 4 year old and expecting my second, can only advise from my experience.

    I read Gina Ford, I think it is a great book to use as you wish, Rhu has some excellent points but what all of us, including the professional midwife needs to remember is different things work for different people. We can only make recommendations from those you then need to work out what works for you hun.

    I did feed on demand at the beginning because there was a part of me that thought how can a baby be forced into a routine so early but after about 6 weeks max we kind of found one very similar to Gina Fords, as I said, I think it is a good way to get some understanding of what a "routine" can contain and then you can either stick to it ridgely or slightly alter it to suit you.

    What Pinkpiggy said about bedtime routine is soooo true, it is so vital to get a lovely bed time routine, my son loved it, bath, gentle massage afterward to chill him out, get him dressed for bed, snuggled up and sleep, as he got older obviously the bed time story was introduced. My son loved a routine from start to finish, but that is my son, all babies are different and react differently. He loved a structure and to be honest so did I, it meant I knew what I was doing and when and therefore when I could fit in things for me, like meeting other mums for some social time, go shopping, have a nap that kind of thing. If we slipped the routine boy would I know about it, my son would be rather grouchy bless him.

    So suggestion, if you want an insight into what a routine holds, I recommend buying a book with an open mind, Gina Ford or the baby whisperer, both are very experienced women and have improved many ladies lives, there are others that it simply doesn't work for which is fine but they should leave it at that rather than completely slating these books. Then decide what you think you would feel comfortable with and go from there, it can always be adapted and trust your own instincts hun!

    Wishing you the best of luck, have a wonderful time once your gorgeous bundle arrives and enjoy, it goes so so quick, can't believe mine is now 4 about to start school and the second is on the way.

    NJ x x
  • Alfie222Alfie222 Posts: 276
    Oh, didnt realise i'd touched such a nerve! I was definately not completely slating the books, they've helped loads of mums. Genuinely only wanted to help. I've seen breast feeding cause lots of unhappiness and definately am not a breast feeding nazi - the most important thing is to enjoy your baby, not to do it at all costs, so ir becomes all about the feeding and not about enjoying your beautiful baby. I was just pointing out the additional pressure they can put you under in the beginnng. I hope you find the right thing to do for you, good luck! x image
  • Nicki-JadeNicki-Jade Posts: 914
    Wilbur, wasn't aiming my slating books comment you flower ;o)

    Here here to what you have said, enjoying baby is most important and whilst its worth "giving it a go" as you say you have to do whats right for you, I think a lot of it comes down to your own instincts, which weirdly do kick in the moment you have your baby, you start learning what each noise means, what each response means and what they like and don't like. JJ always responded really well to me talking to him even from really really dinky, so I would explain everything before it happened, i.e. its bath time now, we're going to change your nappy, we're going to get you dressed, time for some lunch etc, the moment I didn't he would let me know about it.

    Best of luck to one and all.

    NJ x
  • When our little one was born we read a number of books and listen to alot of advice but not every baby is the same. Some like strict routines, others need a little time to let their parents know what suits them best.

    Our baby isn't a lover of strict times. Gina ford has her place but it wasn't with us.

    We used the baby whisperer books by tracey hogg. A watered down routine. More of a sequence of events that take place in the day but at no strict time. Really just good old fashioned common sense.

    Also teaches u methods of helping a baby be independant and understand their cries.

    It's worth a read, but just select the bits that suit your baby. They settle into their own routine with just a little understanding and a gentle push in the right direction.

    We've ended up with a happy sociable little girl, who sleeps 12 hours a night, feeds well, plays well and doesn't need much help going to sleep. Just a story and a good night kiss. At 8 months old we can't ask for more.

    If your calm and relaxed so will your baby be!!!

    Enjoy every second, even the 4am cuddles!!! Xxxxxx
  • ExcitedEllyExcitedElly Posts: 251
    I was going to do the Gina Ford "thing" as well. Read the book when I was pregnant and thought it all sounded very sensible. I still think it does sound senisble to a degree but have no formal "routine" as such (my little girl is now 14 weeks old).

    The main point that I got from The Contented Baby Book was that babies need X amount of sleep in a day and X amount of calories, if they get more of their sleep at night than in the day and more of their calories in the day than at night then obviously that is good!

    HOwever personally the strict routines of "having baby up, washed and feeding by 7am otherwise your whole day is stuffed" (paraphrasing here of course) diD NOT work for me at all.

    How I've ended up doing it is chilling to the max!!! I feed her when she is hungry or unsettled (she doesn't "demand" that much so I often try feeding first if she is unsettled, if she is hungry she noshes away otherwise she doesn't and I know to try something else). And the biggest and best thing we have managed to do is distinguish day from night. Day time lots of light, interaction, playing etc, if she is asleep the normal noise of the house continues. Night time, quiet, dark, quiet talking. She's really got the hint that day and night are different and doesn't expect to be played with at 4 am for example (which is nice! lol).

    Over the last about month as well we have got into a bedtime routine of bath, massage (I love baby massage - thoroughly reocommend that), feed, into sleeping bag, into moses basket or crib. And 9 times out of 10 she drops off within about 10 minutes.

    And don't worry too much, I've found some mums (espacially the sisters-in-law!) are very competitive about "sleeping through", having baby in own room and never having the baby in the bed with you. But to be frank if it works for us then it works, end of! So don't worry if you are still night feeding every 3 hours when people say you "should" be doing every 5 hours only or whatever it might be. You and your baby will fall into a rhythmn in your own good time and it's all much nicer (IMO) to just go with the flow and let it happen naturally than stressing about it.

    Oh, a final word before I finish this essay (!) is that I'm SOOOO glad I'm breastfeeding - once you get the knack it is nice and easy and SO much more convenient in the middle of the night than having to faff around making up or fetching bottles (and think of the wahing up you save as well). I don't even wake very fully in teh night anymore, Flora makes her "food please" noise, I reach over, pick her up from crib, out comes boob, baby latches on, does her thing, comes off and then she is back in the crib and we're both back to sleep moments later.

  • ExcitedEllyExcitedElly Posts: 251
    PS A really brilliant book I've just read is called Three in the Bed by Deborah Jackson, it's quite "anthropological" in its approach which I have personally found makes lots of sense to me, helps me respond to my baby's needs more and trust my instincts more because I think of us more as a "species" if you know what I mean, e.g. as a species we are supposed to carry our babies a lot (like monkeys rather than "chaching" them like birds). Well worth a read.
  • ExcitedEllyExcitedElly Posts: 251
    Sorry, this has been something close to my heart for a while now so sorry for going on, I just keep thinking of things!!

    Something else is that I've actually enjoyed not having a routine for the days because I feel like I can get on with anything wherever I am. I don't think "ooh we can't go there because what about the 11 am nap time" etc. I can feed on the hoof, Flora can nap in her sling or the pram or the car seat or on my lap perfectly happily and we can go anywhere and do anything. I think that, for me personally, a routine like Gina Ford or Tizzie Hall suggest (she wrote Save Our Sleep - similar to Gina Ford) woudl have made me LESS confident about these things as I would have been worried about going off the routine.

    Hope that makes sense!!

    Main thing really is to trust your instincts I reckon, if it feels right do it!

    Lots of luck X
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