Routines? No way!

3 April 2012

I'm not a fan of routines. So why am I writing a post about routines you may ask?!

I know lots of parents are big fans of strict routines and it's entirely up to them if they want to follow something like Gina Ford's book The Contented Little Baby. But, when I was pregnant with Oliver, I got a shortened version of her book in a baby magazine... I read it and it scared the shit out of me!!

Personally, I can't understand why you would try to force a baby into sleeping, waking and feeding at times prescribed in a book. Babies aren't robots, they are all different and I think it stops you from really listening to what your baby needs. And what are you supposed to do if your tiny baby is crying with hunger but it's not 'time' yet!

Source
So since they were newborns, I've just let them settle into their own routine. Oliver was quite a difficult and demanding baby. He wasn't born with the ability to just lay down and fall asleep! He wanted to be rocked, bounced, swayed or fed to sleep. And he wanted to feed all the time! Lydia was a dream baby... she fed every 3 hours from birth. I could just put her down awake and she'd fall asleep and sleep for hours, she was so content. She was a revelation to me!

So I've had two very different babies but I still never had a strict routine. I just went with what they wanted to do and after a few weeks they both settled into their own routine of feeding, sleeping and awake time. I was also breastfeeding on demand so it would have been impossible to impose any kind of routine on them without potentially jeopardising my supply.

Oliver 5 days old
Lydia 6 days old

When Oliver was born I did read the Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg and Melinda Blau and thought it sounded sensible and flexible. So I very loosely followed their E.A.S.Y. routine. This stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time - you just do them in that order. Now when I say I loosely followed it, I mean that I fed them when they woke up... that's all!

The only routine I've been happy with was a bedtime routine. From around 4 weeks old with Oliver and from birth with Lydia, we had a bedtime routine of bath, feed, bed. This has obviously evolved slightly over the last 3 years but it now goes something like this:

6.10 // Upstairs to get bath ready and kids undressed
6.20 // Kids in bath!
6.35  // Lydia out of bath (Oliver stays in supervised by hubby). I get Lydia dried and dressed in our bedroom
6.45 // Oliver out of bath to get dried and dressed. Lydia has her milk
7.00 // Lydia in bed, Oliver in bed for his story
7.15 // Oliver asleep!
7.16 // RELAX!!!

I'm not here to offend anyone who likes strict routines as we're all have different parenting styles. This is just my opinion and what has worked for my family. What do you think of routines for babies? Love or loathe them?!

6 comments:

  1. I love this post. I've never had a routine for Peter. I just go with what he wants. We do the same stuff at night time like bath, reading then sleep time. I am way too cruisy to do a strict routine! When Peter was a baby I just wanted to enjoy him and make sure he was happy, my midwife kept telling me I needed to do a routine but Pete's 4 now and she was wrong, I didn't want to be looking at the clock all the time making sure he was napping at x time and eating at x time!

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    1. Thanks Michelle! I'm glad the 'go with the flow' routine has worked out well for you all x

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  2. I'm a lover (with regards to routine) like you say every parent is different and so is the child. We have done Gina Ford with Josh since 6 weeks old. I'm very open to different parents ways of raising children but the only thing I disagree with is when you say having a routine stops you listening to what your child needs because that's simply not true, and a teenie bit offensive. And in reference to you comment about a baby crying with hunger, if you read Gina Ford's routine you will know that the whole point is to basically give them their 24 hours worth of food/milk in their 12 hours of wakeful time so they don't cry in hunger, well ever really. Like I said all parents are different, there is no right or wrong-just what works best x

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    1. Hi Chloe, thanks for your comment and thanks for the info on how the Gina thing works, I think I interpreted the book a bit differently! I totally respect your views on routines and I'm glad your way worked for you. I think this is a subject that everyone has their own opinion on and may disagree on but whatever works best for your family is the main thing! x

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  3. I have always been very much the 'go with the flow' Mum which shocked me a bit. But Alex wasn't great at getting to sleep the first few months so it's just what worked for us and then it's stuck.

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    1. It shocked me a bit that I went for the 'no routine' as it sort of goes against my whole personality and ethos is other aspects of my life. I agree that you have to do what's best for your baby, it's all trial and error really! x

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