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Do babies really need a routine or schedule? Most folks I know say they do. But my husband and I are really not routine or schedule type people. We both work from home, we love our flexibility, we like being able to be out of the house (with baby) any time of day, go backpacking with baby, etc... So we have made, thus far, zero attempts to get our 4 month old onto any type of routine. His amount of sleeping and times of sleeping are highly variable, but we just put baby to nap when we notice he's tired (walk him to sleep in a wrap, or nurse to sleep), and don't fuss about it. He seems happy. Is there any problem with this?
 

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Our daughter is 4.5 months and we've never put her on a schedule as I'm not a routine kid AT ALL. But with a normal rhythm, she's finding her own ... she usually wants to eat every three or so hours, and falls asleep for the night between 8-9pm, and has cat naps about half an hour before she eats. That's all her. Not imposed by me. I'm thinking they're schedulers by nature? Despite us?
 

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I like a routine because it keeps me from getting to 2 pm and realizing I've done *nothing*.<br><br>
Also, Lina is waaaaayyy less <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> if we get out of the apartment, preferably outside, but even just walking to the laundry room makes a huge difference.<br><br>
So, our daily routine consists of me getting dressed by 9am or so so that when she starts fussing some time before noon, I can just take her right outside. And around 5pm I start doing dinner.
 

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We started out with no routine. I'm a comfortable chaos type and both DH and I are happy to go with the flow leaving lots of room for spontaneity. Besides, IME plans and expectations often just lead to frustration and disappointment so flexibility has always been the way to go for us. Well...DS has imposed a routine on me and I must admit that I love it. It took a while but I gradually realized that every day would be exactly the same as the one before if it was up to him. He asks to go to bed at precisely the same time every day, wakes up at precisely the same time, his morning nap is exactly the same every day too! You could set your watch by him. I insist on some flexibility in the afternoon however, otherwise we'd never get out of the house. When I respect his routine, DS is the happiest little guy, my life is simple, and I feel way less frazzled than I used to.<br><br>
ETA - It sounds to me like what you do works well for your family so I can't see any problems with it. However, if you find that your LO gets into a fussier phase or notice that they get cranky at the same time every day, then your baby may be asking for a little bit of structure. This is what happened to us at around 4 mos and I really struggled to figure out what was wrong for a while till it clicked.
 

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I was wondering the same thing... DD still doesn't have an exact schedule. She has some things that are consistent... like she usually goes down for the night between 8:30 pm and 10:00 pm granted that's a large area of time to choose from, but she nurses to sleep and drops off at different times in between there.<br><br>
She always goes right back to sleep after her first morning feeding, but after that it's really play it by ear of what she will do.<br><br>
My Mom keeps yelling at me telling me I need to get DD on a schedule and DD doesn't know if she is coming or going and it's all my fault because I don't make her do anything.<br><br>
I keep telling my Mom I can't force DD to sleep. I won't just lay her in the crib and let her cry, I won't do it! I can try to nurse or rock, or walk in the sling to sleep, but if she really doesn't want to, she won't fall asleep. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br>
Same thing with eating. I'm not going to make DD eat if she doesn't want to. I just feed her when she is hungry.<br><br>
I just don't know how you would impose a schedule. And from everything I read babes tend to set their own... I don't know maybe there is a glitch with DD because she hasn't really set anything real consistent. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">
 

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I think many people are using routines, and many babies develop them naturally, but because it's so organic, it doesn't seem like a "schedule." Baby is getting used to certain cues from you, even on the level of not playing and being up at 2am and playing and being up at 11am. He/she notices when you put on a carrier that it's a signal that you'll be going out, or getting food out means the big people will be eating, etc.<br><br>
A whole lot of that will gel as baby gets bigger into a routine anyway, even if it isn't tied strictly to a clock. You tend to rise, eat, and sleep at certain times of day; not on a minute by minute basis, but let's say somewhere in a 2 hour range; baby will want to do the same. Naps usually gel into a regular pattern or two. (DS at 20 mo has two daytime sleep patterns; one for an "early morning" day and one for a more typical rising time day; early rising days he usually wakes up to poop; then he plays, then he has 2 naps that day. Typical days he does not wake up early to poop, and he has 1 longer nap that day.)
 

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I think there is something to be said for a loose schedule setting up expectations in the baby's mind, i.e., I already played, now its time for some boob juice, and then I know next is nap time. That is especially important for easing into bedtime. EVERY SLEEP HELP BOOK STRESSES A BEDTIME ROUTINE. Because my son WOULD NOT SLEEP or NAP b/c of his food allergy reactions, I had to work with his natural sleep cycle (90min) to get him to sleep and to achieve that in the easiest manner possible, he needed a schedule based on his biological clock. That way, there were no tears. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Sleep is soo soo soo important and I didn't feel like being able to fly by the seat of my pants was worth an underslept and thus cranky baby. Now that he is somewhat better and older, I am loosening up, and I won't keep myself at home for both naps if I want to go out, but he knows how the day goes, and knows that on Saturdays when I put him in the moby and start vacuuming, he knows its nap time.
 

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I do not believe in a clock with a baby. All four of mine did their own thing, we never ever had any kind of routine - not even bedtime routine. It's so easy not to worry about what time naps are, where to be at, where baby has to sleep, etc. etc. etc. We just go with the flow!<br><br>
All are doing just fine!
 

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The only routine we have is a bedtime routine. We started this early, and it's worked. Kate gets a bath at 8 p.m. followed by a massage, jammies, a book or lullaby and her last meal for evening. She's usually asleep by 9 or 9:30 and sleeps until around 5 a.m...<br>
Its the only thing in her day that's "routine"....
 

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With one kiddo I don't think there is anything wrong with comfortable chaos. We didn't have any kind of routine until this year when it became aparent each kiddo had their schedule and neither meshed with the things that absolutely had to get done. I think when you have one or kids spaced far enough apart they can set their own "routine" but when the chaos begins to take over, in our case, someone must step in and start laying some boundries. That being said I probably would not put a child under 1 on any kind of schedule.
 

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we have no routine at all. We tried for a week or so and it just made me miserable. I'm much happier when I do everything when I feel like it and DD doesn't seem to mind. There's some things we do at the same time everyday just b/c that's what DD fell into (the 1pm nap is not to be messed with), but trying to eat, nap, run errands at the same time every day or even getting certain things done on certain days just does not work for us.
 

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I think that every child is different in their need for structure. Just like us adults, really. For us having a rhythm to our day helps both DD and I. She naps when she's tired, eats when she's hungary, and so on but outings tend to be in the mornings, chores in the afternoon. That kind of rhythm to our day helps us. Bed time is not at the same time every day but I'm trying to create a bed time ritual. That being said, I'm off to run a bath!
 

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I don't have a routine, DS (9.5 mo) fell into his own pretty quickly. It goes something like this:<br><br>
Wake up at the break of dawn.<br>
One or two naps a day. Used to be 3 until very recently.<br>
Bed about 8 or 9 pm.<br>
Nurse constantly.<br>
Chew other food, but do not, under any circumstances, actually swallow it.<br>
Nurse some more.<br>
Do not touch the floor. It is lava. MUST be in mom's arms.<br>
Have some boob.<br>
Nurse until almost asleep, then make a huge poop. Scream while mom cleans it up.<br>
Nurse a little more.<br>
Wake up 2-4 times a night. Have some boob. If boob is not satisfactory, scream for an hour or two.<br>
Nurse to sleep.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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We implemented a routine very early on and we love it - it works for us, but then again DH & I are both routine kind of people. We like to know what are day looks like and plan accordingly. Since we know about what time DS will eat & nap then we "have a plan".<br><br>
Before we started a routine, it was complete chaos. We didn't know how long he should nap, when he took his last nap, how long to play, etc. After the routine DS thrived and so did we. He slept better and longer. Now, it is like clockwork - he knows it is nap time, bed time, etc.<br><br>
My sister has 5 kids and they have no routine whatsoever. The kids pretty much run the house and to me, its out of control. To her, its fine & she likes the chaos.<br><br>
To each their own!!! Go with what works for you, not someone else.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>frontierpsych</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/13950450"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't have a routine, DS (9.5 mo) fell into his own pretty quickly. It goes something like this:<br><br>
Wake up at the break of dawn.<br>
One or two naps a day. Used to be 3 until very recently.<br>
Bed about 8 or 9 pm.<br>
Nurse constantly.<br>
Chew other food, but do not, under any circumstances, actually swallow it.<br>
Nurse some more.<br>
Do not touch the floor. It is lava. MUST be in mom's arms.<br>
Have some boob.<br>
Nurse until almost asleep, then make a huge poop. Scream while mom cleans it up.<br>
Nurse a little more.<br>
Wake up 2-4 times a night. Have some boob. If boob is not satisfactory, scream for an hour or two.<br>
Nurse to sleep.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"></div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
That is so funny, sounds similar to my schedule with my 10.5 month old. Oh, and throw in a couple of two year olds <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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