FTM here, and was wondering if you all could suggest sleep routines that eventually allowed for your babies to have good sleep habits.
my baby is due in january, but i'm not sure when and how to start these routines.
I did not try to get my LO into any sort of routine prescribed by me. I did follow her cues closely to prevent her from getting overtired or trying to get her to sleep when she wasn't tired. I found that her intrinsic routine changed every couple of months.
Now, at 2.5yo I am very happy with her sleeping habits. She has one daytime sleep and sleeps at night from about 8pm to about 5:30 ish am ( she's always been an early riser, like her dad). I still feed her to sleep but I night weaned her about 2 months ago with no issues. Most importantly for us, she sees going to bed and to sleep as a positive thing. She wil ask to go to bed if she's tired and will often take herself off to our room and lie down without prompting from us. She wil also go to sleep without me fairly easily. DH and my parents have all been able to get her to sleep with very little trouble when I haven't been able to be there.
Full disclosure - I've had no other children to look after, I'm a predominantly SAHM, I still breastfeed and have always been happy and had the opportunity to feed her to sleep, and she seems like she is a pretty good sleeper based on the stories I've read from other parents. All that is to say that what has worked well for us wouldn't work for everyone in every circumstance.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
I think it really depends on the baby, as katelove said. One thing that really helped me was learning her cues. We tend to think babies will sleep when they want to sleep, but they don't always. My daughter was super fussy for a while and needed to nurse constantly. While the nursing was part of it, she was also tired and didn't know how to fall asleep. She's a very alert baby who doesn't like being left out, so she won't soothe herself down. So we started being very consistent as soon as we saw a yawn or an uncharacteristic fuss. Change diaper, swaddle, shush, and nurse until she falls asleep. Now at 3 months she's an excellent sleeper, though I know that may change. She takes a morning nap, an afternoon nap (at some point... the times are still variable) and sleeps through the night with 1-2 feedings in there somewhere.
Also, a lot of this is luck. Our daughter knew night from day almost immediately, which really helped set a routine. I think what you'll find is that your baby will fall into his or her own schedule and it's easiest if you follow suit and try to facilitate that schedule rather than setting your own. That's easier said than done if you have to work outside the home or have other little ones running around.
Beautiful baby girl born 8/13/2012. Little star baby lost at 10 weeks pregnant, 12/18/2013. Currently due 12/13/2014 with a rainbow.
Oh yes, I third taking baby's lead. I monitored Little Miss' habits for the first couple of months, and the only thing we did regularly was dim the lights at night, and then give her a bath before putting her pajamas on. She was 3 or 4 months old before I started to try to "put her to bed" (in her co-sleeper, we co-slept and bed-shared and still do), and as the previous posters mentioned, we always kept bedtime super-positive.
Actually, Mr. teased me that my methods would surely backfire, as if Little Miss could not get to sleep after a certain amount of time, I'd just take her out of the bedroom, feed her my nighttime snack and snuggle her while we watched TV. So basically, her reward for not sleeping was snack and TV. But at 14 months she's been reliably self-settling at her bedtime for several weeks now. I just kept doing her routine (bath, jammies, story, nunnie, bedtime) and not forcing the issue. It's misery when they won't sleep, but that doesn't last forever.
And on 09/23/2011, we were three; husband, daughter, and me!
Sometimes she wakes up at 10 or 11pm and wants to party! We don't stress it but keep her in our bed and nurse off and on until she falls back to sleep. It usually lasts an hour. She crawls around making noises and jumps on us. I'm a pretty laid back person and SAHM so I don't stress bedtime schedules, not worth it to me. I try to do a routine since most babies like that. We do jammies, say goodnight to dad, and nurse to sleep in bed. Bath time is during the day, since that's super fun playtime for her.
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DD Seraphina born at home on 2/21/2012!"Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one."
At first, (especially the first several months) it's kind of up to the baby really. You kinda just have learn to read your baby, and respond. Babies kind of evolve their own patterns that will be influenced by whatever's going on in the environment. Eventually, though, you can shape the process a bit, and a bedtime routine will evolve out of that.
Any attempt at "scheduling" an infant will only lead to frustration because all kids are different.
Once you start seeing some consistency in patterns, you'll be able to slowly implement the kind of "bedtime routine" that you hear people talking about (e.g. bath/pajamas/story/lights out). Until then, you kinda just have to "learn your kid".