I will hold my hands up and say I really didn't have a clue how to start putting him into a routine at all and I googled like a mad woman, ending up completely confused and trying to start something different every day. Mr H and I also went down with flu over Xmas which threw us off course even more and made restless nights and early mornings all the more difficult to deal with, and we would end up cuddling our little boy constantly to soothe him. Harry was starting to dictate our days when it should be the other way around!
After a visit from my lovely god mummy (now known as super god nanny) we have a proper routine in place, I feel in control and most importantly we have a happy baby.
I have been asked by a couple of my mummy friends what sort of routine we are following so I thought I would do a big ol' post all about it in the hope it will help other lost and struggling parents!
Now I really want to stress here that every single baby, parent and situation is different and what works for us might not work for you - I wish some of the forums I was reading had said this to me first off!! I have also realised that breastfed and bottle fed babies are quite different and routines need to be adapted to cater to how your baby feeds. Also any medical issues etc can also affect how a routine works so follow advice from your GP and not Google! Lastly, this routine is for when we are at home and isn't necessarily quite the same when we are out and about for obvious reasons
Firstly, I'll explain the type of baby Harry is (was). From day 1 he LOVED to be cuddled tightly, arms and legs tucked in and snuggled in a blanket. Most newborns are the same but this seemed to continue and actually became ridiculous as I was rarely seen without him sleeping in my arms. This was a huge problem when it came down to night time as he refused to sleep in his Moses basket no matter how hard we tried so when he hit 5 weeks we put him in his cot in his own room.
Harry is also quite colicky and we found it extremely difficult to settle him between 7pm and 11pm at first. He doesn't have full on colic which I know can be so horrendous for parents and babies due to endless hours of crying, but he just had a touch of it and quite a sensitive little tummy.
We give Harry his morning feed when he wakes up, in his nursery with a lamp on so its bright enough for him to know the day is starting. He will wake up between 6 and 7 so that's when we will also start our day. After a nappy change if its really needed he will go straight back in his cot to either to
play with shout at his musical mobile or to drift back to sleep for a little powernap. We then take this opportunity to have a quick shower and get ourselves ready for the day. When hes bored of playing in his cot I get him changed and dressed for the day. Its now time for Harry to come down for a kick about on the rug and to watch a bit of ITV and before we know it its time for his next feed. After hes given us an almighty burp we have a good chat, lots of smiles and a bit of playtime on his mat and bouncer. He gets bored quite quickly so we move him about, talk to him and basically tire him out ready for his next nap. When he shows signs of being drowsy (yawning, fidgeting and grizzling) we take him up to bed for his next nap. The day pretty much goes on like that right now with him going between 3-4 hours between feeds and a little longer during the nights. Sometimes we let Harry sleep on the sofa or in his bouncy chair but we do try to take him up to his own bed as much as possible.
Before his bedtime feed we give Harry a bath to get him nice and sleepy for night time. This is usually between 7.30 and 8.30 depending on his feed times during the day. He absolutely loves a bath, even if he is having a screaming fit beforehand the second his little bottom touches that warm water he completely relaxes! He has also been known to fall asleep in the bath hehe! When we're out and all dried I'll spend a couple of minutes massaging some lotion into his skin whilst he lays on the fluffy rug in his nursery - Harry HATES this bit of his day and screams at the top of his lungs, so we have to make sure we have a warm bottle ready immediately after! I will then turn off the lights in his room and feed him in there, where he drops off nicely (most of the time!)
We give him a dreamfeed still at around 10.30 - 11pm to keep him going through till about 4am at the moment which is pretty good, so he is only waking once for a feed and doesn't really wake for anything else other than maybe a suck of his dummy!
When we first introduced the routine if Harry cried when he went down we would wait for 10 minutes until we went in to see to him, this really helped to help teach him soothe himself. We did go in sooner sometimes if he was really going for it on the old tears! When we went into him we didn't interact too much or pick him up we simply stroked his head, face or tummy until he settled again. That was usually all we had to do to comfort him and sometimes we needed to give him his dummy. If he still wasn't having it after a few minutes we picked him up and held him close so he felt secure until he calms down but not so he falls asleep, and we then put him back down in his cot. We followed these "rules" every single time we put Harry down to sleep and we found it took less and less time to soothe him as the days went on. We now don't have to do the waiting 10 minutes hardly at all as usually if he does cry we can tell its for a reason - usually that he needs a big burp or hes been sick a little!
Another point I should mention is that we let Harry sleep on his tummy when he sleeps (cue readers shocked face and red mark from health visitor) He has never ever slept on his back he just point blank refuses to and has a much better quality of sleep on his front and for a lot longer. I am fully aware of the "risks" that are made clear to us mummys and daddys about SIDS associated with front sleeping and I completely understand that its not for everyone but if our little guy is happy then we are too
We feed Harry every 4 hours during the day which he has adapted to really really well. We used to do every 3 hours but this ended up in him just grazing and not actually taking a full feed. Exceptions to this are when he is clearly going through a bit of a growth spurt and really does want to feed and feed and feed!!
So there you have it.. long winded huh!? As I said this is what works for us right now and I am sure it will be all change again in a few weeks or months, but we will continue to keep a routine going as Harry grows. We are also a little apprehensive that his routine will totally change when he gets his hearing aids this week as we know this will be a huge change for him!
I would absolutely love to hear about your routine with your little ones!