The importance of routine

Recently a girlfriend of mine asked if my younger son, Reagan, 17 weeks old, was sleeping through the night yet. I replied that he had been since 12 weeks old. Impressed, she said, your kids ROCK! My 3 year old son Porter was the same way when he was a baby. Porter slept 12 hours on breastmilk only at 17 weeks old.

While I loved the compliment, I contribute this sleep success to getting them on a schedule. When we had Porter, I fed on demand for the first 5 weeks. After that, I couldn’t take it anymore! I always thought the kid was hungry! My sister in law lent me On Becoming Babywise, a book that stresses the importance of routine. While I didn’t follow this book to the letter, and always fed the boys when they are hungry, I found that it takes the guesswork out of an infant’s feeding/sleep schedule. The book suggests choosing a time in the morning and waking them to eat breakfast everyday. After that, feed every 3 hours, regardless if they appear hungry. (My boys actually did/does a 4 hour schedule!) If they are sleeping, wake them and feed. After they eat, they should have some awake time, and then take a nap. After their bedtime feeding, there should be no awake time and straight to bed. When they wake in the night hungry, don’t talk to them, feed and straight back to bed. This allows them to see the difference between night and day and know when to sleep.

The reason I love the schedule most is the security it gives to baby, mommy, and even daddy. It let all of us relax! Plus, the baby knows he will get fed, so there is less crying!! My boys rarely cry/cried to eat.
A routine makes perfect sense. Think about it, you probably get ready for work/school the same way every morning don’t you? If your routine is messed up, you are thrown off!

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6 thoughts on “The importance of routine

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve heard bad things about Becoming Babywise . . that it interfered with breastfeeding and natural parenting, but I appreciate your take. As long as I could feed the baby when he was hungry, I might enjoy learning more about creating a schedule. My babies seem to be hungry a lot which can be normal for breastfed. I think I’d like to read this before/if we have another to see what I can learn. I wonder if the milk supply/ milk storage capacity of the mother and baby’s personality would make a difference.

    • Your welcome! Curious, how often did you need to feed your boys?
      Porter ate only four times a day from the time he was 17 weeks until we started solids at 6 months old. Reagan eats 5 times for now until we drop the 10p feeding.
      I’m sure you could at least do a three hour schedule.

      • Ummm . . like all of the time. With Peter, he was 7 months old before I got through a grocery store trip without nursing. I would say that in the first 3 months, we were talking about every 2 hours or more. What is interesting is that what is considered normal breastfeeding patterns differ culture to culture. According to a LLL book I read recently, in some cultures it is normal to breastfeed once or more times per hour even up to age 2. In those situations, mothers don’t return to fertility until 14 months or more postpartum. Obviously, when Pete took a bottle when I was at work, he waited longer periods of time, like every 3 hours. That’s why I’d be interested to read the book. Maybe it won’t work for us . . . but I’m curious to see what I could take away from it.

  2. As a first time, who I admit read everything about pregnancy and breastfeeding, but not much about raising a child until Sophia was born, I saw benefits in both attachment parenting and babywise. I was feeding Sophia on demand for about the first 2 months of her life, and it was exhausting. Co-sleeping just didn’t work for us and I grew concerned about returning to work but of course wanted the best for the little lady. I had a hard time anticipating her needs and after, at the suggestion of Melissa, reading Babywise, I was much more in tune with what Sophia really wanted. I was nursing her at every single peep and the truth was, I was totally misreading everything for hunger. Babywise has been a life saver for us and it’s really nice to anticipate her needs and not feel so much uncertainty in what to expect every time I leave the house. She used to fall asleep all the time while feeding and then wake up screaming because she didn’t eat enough. I realized she eats a good full meal when she’s really awake. Now if I feed her before I leave the house (usually right after she woken up for the day or a nap), I know she’ll have about an hour of awake/playtime after she’s eaten and then she’ll get sleepy and it’s time for a nap, until her next feeding. She’s learned to fall asleep on her own in her carseat or on me in the ergobaby or in a pack and play at a friend’s house, no matter where we are. Sophia is really thriving on the schedule and it’s been a lifesaver returning to work. It physiologically makes sense. However of course if she was upset I would never deny her nursing, it’s for me about a routine, but being flexible. There is no routine for growth spurts, or hard days, and the book mentions that, nurse whenever they want if that’s what they truly want or need. There are days we don’t make it every 3 hours, or days she goes longer. I’ve not had any problems with my supply, I almost think the routine helps my supply. I love babywearing, and I love feeling close to my daughter through nursing, but I have sacrifices I have to make, and having a routine has helped me straddle the line of attachment parenting and a routine. At her first day of daycare she barely ate (that’s another story I plan to write on…my excess lipase issue!), and they still complimented us on what a lovely temperament she had. Sophia thrives on the schedule, she rarely has meltdowns and it’s easy for me to recognize what she needs when she does, so it clearly is working for us. Aaron and I call it “unattached attachment parenting”. haha. It’s really what works best for you, and ours is a mess of a few styles!

    • That’s definitely why I want to read it. I am always learning new things to make life and parenting easier and I think that the best mixture for a family often comes from blending lots of different styles and ideas.

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