Should I have a routine for sleep/feed/play?

Kate - posted on 12/10/2008 ( 18 moms have responded )

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I just let my little girl sleep when she wants to, or be awake when she wants to & we demand feed, so she feeds when she's hungry. But should I have a routine instead? What do you do?

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Marly - posted on 01/13/2009

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I have a question, are you enjoying doing it this way?  IF so, keep doing it, if it is causing problems for you or baby, then set up a routine by all means, and that babywise one is pretty good.  I have to say though that since I have decided to just take each moment as it comes...(each smile each nap, each cry each feeding) Jack (my son) has been so much more of a joy to me.  I hated being stressed out all the time wondering if I was doing everything right, I felt like being a mom was more of a chore than a blessing.  Now all I can say is that Jack and I are becoming closer everyday, now that I can keep my mind and attention in the moment instead of worrying if I am spoiling him, or whatever.  I am blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom, and that makes doing it this way much easier, but I am a pastors wife and I am out all the time, so Jack kinda has to go with the flow, he naps wherever, I fed him wherever, I change him wherever, and he seems do be doing wonderfully, and his socail skills are off the charts already.  I guess the gist of what I am trying to say is, enjoy the moments, even if it is nap time, and your littel one has decided that she wants to talk to you, just sit and talk.  If it is nap time and she has noddes off already, let her sleep, she will wake when she is hungry.  eventually you will find that you DO have a routine, but it just came naturally, and it takes a lot shorter time than you think.

Marly - posted on 01/13/2009

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I have a question, are you enjoying doing it this way?  IF so, keep doing it, if it is causing problems for you or baby, then set up a routine by all means, and that babywise one is pretty good.  I have to say though that since I have decided to just take each moment as it comes...(each smile each nap, each cry each feeding) Jack (my son) has been so much more of a joy to me.  I hated being stressed out all the time wondering if I was doing everything right, I felt like being a mom was more of a chore than a blessing.  Now all I can say is that Jack and I are becoming closer everyday, now that I can keep my mind and attention in the moment instead of worrying if I am spoiling him, or whatever.  I am blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom, and that makes doing it this way much easier, but I am a pastors wife and I am out all the time, so Jack kinda has to go with the flow, he naps wherever, I fed him wherever, I change him wherever, and he seems do be doing wonderfully, and his socail skills are off the charts already.  I guess the gist of what I am trying to say is, enjoy the moments, even if it is nap time, and your littel one has decided that she wants to talk to you, just sit and talk.  If it is nap time and she has noddes off already, let her sleep, she will wake when she is hungry.  eventually you will find that you DO have a routine, but it just came naturally, and it takes a lot shorter time than you think.

Kayla - posted on 01/13/2009

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I let her eat when she wants. I hardly ever give her naps, she is super happy. Now I mean if she just got done eating and is crying, with a clean diaper. I am not going to feed her again. But yes, I completely agree with the no plan plan. It is much easier than trying to plan every feeding and every nap. I think that is like trying to plan when you change diapers NOT POSSIBLE!!! lol and I am not just saying this either...I have tried both ways. schedule and no schedule. She is much less fussy and I am much less tired.

Heather - posted on 12/16/2008

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I havent read any books and I'm not using a special plan but I am working my son onto a schedule. Between 10 and 11 each night is bedtime, we keep him up from 8pm on so that he will be tired come 10pm, its not an exact science but it has been working, he will usually sleep 5-6 hours before he wakes up then he feeds and back to bed till about 8 or 9 am and then he feeds again and will sleep a little longer. I make sure he doesn't nap for long periods during the day and this has been working well for me.

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I used the Babywise approach with my soon-to-be 9 year old and he is still pretty much a 7, 1, 3, and 7 kid! I also find that he responds better knowing what to expect - eating, play time, etc. That said, I am doing the same thing with my 9 week old...he eats (and has since day one) every 3 hours, plays at least 30 minutes, then seems to sleep better and longer. I think as Elizabeth states, we aren't letting them cry to cry or being unresponsive, but you're the parent and incharge to help the baby figure out his/her needs. We are also using sign language as it's fun to communicate vs. hearing the crying once in a while! :) Do what works for you, but I would think a schedule (not strict) is a better approach so ALL know what to expect! My two cents! Thanks!

Marly - posted on 12/16/2008

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I have never heard of the baby whisperer, sounds interesting. That is about the same routine that Jack and I are doing. Eat activity sleep then you time. It is pretty nice. I am enjoying a little me time right now in fact.

Tanya - posted on 12/15/2008

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I more or less follow the Baby Whisperer... E.A.S.Y (Eat, activity, sleep, you time). My son eats about every 4 hours during the day, then its play time! The length of play time depends on how tired he is. When he starts yawning I put him to bed. Then I do the things I need to do.It works for us. I can still plan my day becuase I know when he'll need to eat, and sleep. It's not a schedule, but it's predictable. I like the book the Baby Whisperer! It has great ideas and advice.

Cassa - posted on 12/15/2008

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I read Babywise, but I felt uncomfortable with the idea for me and my baby. I know it has worked for other mothers though. I do feed on demand. I read somewhere that for a baby to sleep for through the night is about 5 hours. My little guy does that for the first 5 hours and after that he sleeps really light though. (I should preface that he won't sleep in his own bed). Do what works for you. If you need a better routine then work on it. I have heard though when they get to 3 months old life is much easier. The bottom line is do what's seems right. If you try something for awhile and it's a no go then stop it and try something else.

Marly - posted on 12/15/2008

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I know that last part was a huge extreme, but I really feel that mommy knows best, not baby, child, teen etc. We need to start now so the transition isn't so hard, and be both nurture and teach at the same time....k that is my 2 cents....more like 5 dollars...haha

Marly - posted on 12/15/2008

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Although I am not implementing a routine (except the one my son established on his own) I think Elizabeth might be on to somthing. I have seen my sister use this method with 2 babies and they both are incredible nap takers even now into 3 years old. They will say themselves, "I am tired, I would like to take a nap now." Which never sceses to amaze me. I think a routine helps build stability in a childs life, and a sense of saftey that "my mommy will do what is best for me even when I don't know what that is" I am a christian and I it is a little like the way God works in our lives, we don't always know why he does things the way He does, but it seems to always be perfect in the end. Like that we know what is best for our children, and they go only by what they feel. If we let our children stay up when they are over tired just becuase they don't seem to want to sleep, that is clearly NOT in the best interest of the child, but all they can think of is how they feel. We all know we can not base everything we do on how we feel, and I think it might be the same for babies. In the end when we get them to sleep, they feel much better faster than if we were to let them stay up. We have to guide our children mothers, if they make the rules...when will it end, when they are 17 and still trying to run the house?

Elizabeth - posted on 12/15/2008

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Again, I believe you all have to do what works for your baby!! I am not trying to say that there is a right or a wrong way to handle things.



However, I must reply to say that I am not letting my baby cry without responding, nor do I believe that is the point of the book or the point of having a routine. For me, the routine has worked wonders and my baby has not fought the routine in any way. I have never had to (nor would I) force the routine on him. Maybe I am just lucky because he never had a period where he seemed unhappy with the routine. I have used the routine from the beginning just because it gave me guidelines as a new parent as to how to best care for him. BUT -- It's not about doing things "my way." It's about establishing a routine so we both know what to expect. If he were to become fussy when it was not "time to feed him," I would do whatever he needed!!! This is not about being rigid. It's merely been a guideline to go by. It has been wonderful for us.



But, again, every baby is different and you have to do what works for your baby! The question was "what do you do?" I replied with what works for me... We have to take it easy on each other as new moms. There is no one answer to all of this. Never has been and never will be... :0)

Kate - posted on 12/15/2008

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Demand feeding is working for us. She is a very settled baby most of the time, thankfully. I do try to encourage her to sleep after she has woken for a feed and had playtime, though. I was letting her stay awake but then she would get over-tired. Thanks for your replies, I think I'll continue to attend to her on demand for everything. If it's working, why change?! :o)

Kristin - posted on 12/14/2008

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I am like you - I let my baby sort of set the schedule. He is growing so fast and needs different things from week to week (more food, more sleep, more time to play and explore, etc.) that it doesn't make sense right now to force a routine on him. He has actually settled himself into his own little loosely-defined schedule, and that is good enough for now.

Stefanie - posted on 12/14/2008

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I feed on demand, put to sleep on demand, hold on demand... I am a "whatever he needs when he needs it" kind of mom. It is working for us, but it is draining. Sometimes I wonder if I should have a routine as well, some sort of schedule to make my life easier and more predictable. But then I think of what kind of message that would send to my son - you do things MY way - eat when *I* say you are hungry, sleep when *I* say you are tired, etc. I realized I just couldn't do that to him. I want him to know that he can communicate his needs to me and I will listen. Not to mention that hearing him cry is the equivalent of someone ripping out my heart and stomping on it. I also am a firm believer that babies as young as ours are, are incapable of being manipulative thus are incapable of being spoiled.

Thankfully, as time has gone on, he is starting to put together his own little routine. He wakes up late, is playful and eats a couple times, then goes down for an hour or so, then up to play and eat again. In the early afternoon he starts his good nap for 3-4 hours, sometimes he wakes for a snack in the middle of the nap, but he almost always goes back to sleep until the nap would normally end. Then he is AWAKE for a long time, and eats almost every hour until it is bedtime. Nighttime routines are changing, but it is b/c of a growth spurt I am sure.

Marly - posted on 12/13/2008

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I have been wondering these things myself...I read the same book,(babywise) and have seen this method work with a lot of kids. I fully intended on implementing this, but maybe I am too much of a novice mommy to do it with confidence, I always wonder of my son is suffering when he is crying, I don't know maybe I am coddeling him. Is demand feeding working for you and your daughter? If not what is going wrong?

Nicole - posted on 12/13/2008

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i do the same thing-and i did that with my other 2. i firmly believe that if i was to have a schedule i would never be able to do things on the spur of the moment! as long as you can adjust to her schedule i think it's perfectly fine to not have one. she will get on one as she gets older-when she's ready. Just my opinion!

Elizabeth - posted on 12/12/2008

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I certainly do not want to tell you what to do because only you can know what is best for you and your baby. I can tell you what has worked for me... I



read the book "On Becoming Babywise." I LOVE IT! It has been a blessing for me and my baby! The essential idea is to feed the baby every 3 hours (or 3/12 depending on baby's age). The routine is to feed, have awake time, then nap time. So, I wake the baby up at 7 or 7:30 every morning. I change his diaper, feed him, play with him (all totaling about 1 1/2 hours -- sometimes 2 hours) then put him down for a nap (lasting 1 to 1 1/2 hours). So, by 10:00 or 10:30 am, we do it all over again. At first, I had to wake him up to feed, but at this point, he naturally wakes himself up within the appropriate time frame and is ready to go!



It's great because it allows me to know how to plan our day. I can anticipate when he will be ready to eat and when he will be ready to nap. So, should we need to run out for a bit, there are usually no surprises. It's great! And, he started sleeping through the night at about 7 weeks. Last night he slept for 9 hours... awesome!!! He is a very happy baby most of the time and I am very Thankful we are using the Babywise method.



Hope this helps!

Elizabeth

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