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#1 Amelia Jane

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 12:01 PM

Eli is 12 weeks old and to date has not had any routine to speak of. He has set the tone for everything food and sleep wise and this has been working pretty well. But I'd like to start to introduce a gentle, flexible routine to keep things consistent and also hopefully stop any bad habits from forming as he gets older.

How do I go about this of a night time? What should I be aiming for as a time to put him down, and what sort of sleep cues should I be aiming for? During the day we have a rough 2 hour cycle, he is up for about 2 hours (that includes his feed) and then down for about 2 hours although it's still a work in progress. At night so far he is awake for a long time, usually between about 5 and 9, and during that time has 2 or 3 feeds and a shower or bath every second night. Then he wakes at least once during the night, anywhere from around midnight til 2am, then again at 4-5, then goes back down and we get up for the day around 8-8:30. It's so variable though. Last night he fed at 6, 7 and 8:15, fell asleep on the boob at 8:30 and then woke up again at 11:30 for a feed, stirred at 2:30, 3:30 and then had a feed at 4:30, took a while to settle then slept until 8:30.

I'd like to introduce a consistent bedtime in the hope that he then feels comfortable waking for feeds at the same time each night and we can start to get some predictability happening. He has always been excellent at going straight back to sleep after a feed but as he is getting older he is restless overnight and harder to settle after his early morning feed (usually 5ish). He is not sleeping enough hours overnight, usually 9 max.

So what do I do during the evening to get him ready for sleep? What's a good bedtime for babies? I hear a lot about sleep cues so they know it's bedtime along the lines of bath, boob, book, bed, but I think he's a bit young for that still. He doesn't get wrapped so apart from actually putting him in bed I don't know what to do or when to do it.

I am totally clueless so any and all advice appreciated.
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#2 bluenomi

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 12:45 PM

We didn't bother with a set bedtime until DD was about 1. If found before that age if I tried to put her to bed before she was tired she wouldn't sleep. It also had no effect on her overnight feeds or morning wake up times, she did and still does wake up at random times.

At his age I just put DD to bed awake when she got tired and started rubbing her eyes, yawning etc.
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#3 mango

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:03 PM

I'm not strict on a bedtime either. I have babies that are not happy and wont sleep when put to bed before they are tired. I would rather wait for their cues they are ready, more peaceful.

As for sleep cues, we have started to go into a darker room, put in her sleep suit (wrap me up or sleepy wings), and cuddled till about to drop off asleep then put into bed (working on getting her into bed more awake). If shes due for a feed or at night she will get one in the room once her suit is on. during the day I have some soft background bedtime music playing, to help block out DS.

To get a better day time routine the best advice I have read is to wake/getup/start your day at the same time everyday.

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#4 Sakorsha

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 02:37 PM

We started getting DD into a routine around 4 months because I was sick of having to carry her to sleep every night.

We started with bath, boob till almost asleep then bed. Now we've moved onto dinner & bottle, bath, a few books then into bed awake so she can chat herself to sleep. I tried changing it up a little the other night but she ended up staying awake in her cot for about an hour so then it was back to normal biggrin.gif.
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#5 scasey77

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 03:43 PM

I have always had a 7pm bedtime for my kids. So I made sure they were awake from around 5pm at that age so that they would happily go down at 7pm. This did mean I had to make sure they didn't have too much sleep in the day though so I did 2 x 2hr max sleeps + a little nap in the arvo.

In terms of bedtime routine we have always done bath, milk, play and bed. By play at a young age it just meant lots of interaction with us - singing songs etc. Now that they are older it is books and pretty active play - they dance etc. And obviously when older we added dinner before the bath.

As a sleep cue I used sleeping bags, a comforter and said the exact same thing to them every night. The comforter was/is only ever used for sleep so they don't have it any other time so they know I mean sleep when they have it. They do say only to use a comforter before 6 months if they are wrapped though. You could introduce a sleeping bag?
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#6 CookiesandCream

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 03:44 PM

Seth set himself to a feeding routine of 3 hourly at 7 weeks...we never had set nap times but he always woke ready for a 7am bottle and would feed 3 hourly till 7pm (5 bottles a day) naps and the rest of the day just sort of fell in place around his feeds.

We started doing bath / bottle / book / bed at 8 weeks so that was his night sleep cue along with the sleeping bag and being wrapped. I guess for daysleeps his sleep cue was the sleeping bag and being wrapped.

Now we pretty much go with the flow during the day, we have no set day routine at all but at night before he goes to bed we do nappy free time (bath every second day / top and tail the other days) than book and bottle and into sleeping bag. Bed time varies from 6pm to 7:30pm.

Does Eli have a sleeping bag? We started using sleeping bags from 7 weeks because he was such a wriggler and it has become a great sleeping cue for him for both day and night.

ETA: Even though he didn't really get the whole book thing at 8 weeks he got into a couple weeks after we started reading to him. At first DH would read to him while I gave him his bottle but after a couple of weeks he would sit on my lap while DH would read a short book than have his bottle. Now it is adorable watching him while DH reads to him....he still sits on my lap but looks back and forth between the book and DH with a huge smile on his face.
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#7 Magnolia

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 08:11 PM

Personally, I've never been a fan of a strict routine. What we do is more of a ritual rather than a routine iykwim.

From about 12 weeks, I started bathing DS daily - he liked baths and found them relaxing. At about 6:30, he had a bath, then after, I gave him a massage with a lavender moisturiser. If you don't want to bathe Eli each night, you could still moisturise him before bed. Once he was in his room, we stayed in there, with the lights down low as bringing him out, stimulated him. He had a bottle just before 7 and then a burp/cuddle in the rocker-recliner chair until he was sleepy. If you wanted to read a book, you could do that before/after a feed maybe? DS loved being wrapped, so once sleepy, I just popped him into his wrap and he fell asleep in a matter of minutes. In your case, a sleeping bag or tucking him in would probably work too. We've done this each night, and have had no problems with his sleep. However, lately he's having his bath closer to 7 and his bottle at about 7:30.

We usually do books before bath, only because DS finds them exciting, so I try to make post-bath time as quiet and calm as possible.

In our situation, even though his bedtime was more or less the same each night, he would sleep till 3 am and then wake progressively later and later the older he got. But occasionally, he would wake at an earlier, unpredicatable time. I don't know that a consistent bedtime always equals a consistent wake time? Sometimes I think there are other factors that affect when they wake like how much he ate/drank during the day, or how active/tired he was. I would keep doing what you're doing and Eli will find his own rhythm soon enough smile.gif

#8 kisma

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 09:30 PM

QUOTE(bluenomi @ Oct 20 2011, 01:45 PM) View Post

We didn't bother with a set bedtime until DD was about 1. If found before that age if I tried to put her to bed before she was tired she wouldn't sleep. It also had no effect on her overnight feeds or morning wake up times, she did and still does wake up at random times.


QUOTE
Personally, I've never been a fan of a strict routine. What we do is more of a ritual rather than a routine iykwim.

I am the same. I never wanted a set bed time as our schedule has always changed and i feared having a child that needed to be in bed at 7pm or something. And I found DS never really liked to stick to one too much anyway, when I thought I should try it when I was copping alot of kids need set routines he basically showed me he did not. Since being completely on solids (ie three meals a day) it has been dinner, bath (to wash food off mainly laugh.gif) and then bed, he knows this as he will go straight from his highchair to the bath. At about 9ish months is when he started sleeping more than 8hours a night . Before that he could wake multiple times and only twice slept more than 6hr stretches. Now he can sleep 14hours overnight, no idea why it started but I am loving it while I am pregnant.

His biggest cue has been his dummy, he gets it and minutes later will be asleep. He gets it only when he sleeps or should be sleeping (ie if we are out and he needs a sleep I will give it to him). As soon as he gets up I take it off him and have done so since day dot. For months now he will take it out and give it to me as soon as I walk into the room ph34r.gif blush.gif And if he manages to get it out of his cot when he isnt going to be sleeping he will put it in his mouth, walk out to me and give me the biggest grin trying to get me to chase him to get it off to him.
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#9 A-Canon

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 11:58 PM

We had exactly the same routine as Carolyn. After a bath straight to a dimly lit room for massage etc... I found this worked really well. I love the 7pm bedtime as it means after 7pm is my time to relax (after dinner/dishes/tiday up etc.. anyway!)


#10 Tigridia

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:52 AM

Rosy, I'm about a month ahead of you and really I think Eli is doing fairly well. Some of the June babies sleep more than him others less. It is all so variable!

The first 6 weeks were pretty much a free for all and then I got sick of having to cuddle to sleep and hold her all the time so I started a loose routine and sleeping in the bed. I also started a set bed time at this time too as the late nights and night wakings were getting too much. I tried a bed time before 6 weeks a couple of times but it didn't work the first few times.

We use a wrap me up for all sleeps so the biggest sleep cue is being wrapped (day and night). Then we put her in her bed awake and bounce her to sleep or rock (she is in a hammock). Sometimes she settles without the bouncing/rocking, mostly on the overnight feeds.

As far as bed time, it's 7pm. I also try not to let her sleep after 5pm. At the moment we are doing roughly 2 x 2hour sleeps during the day and a 40 min late arvo nap when I can get her to do it. Astrid normally has a bath or shower every day and that is about 6pm or a bit earlier if it's a bath as she loves them so stays in awhile. then we dress her in her PJ's (a wondersuit) and give her a feed. Then 5 mins of burping/cuddles and off to bed. I tried books before bed but at the moment the best time for a book seems to be mid arvo so that isn't really part of our bed time routine yet.

She never wakes before her dream feed which is usually around 1030-11pm and then back to sleep straight away and she now wakes for an overnight feed about half the time. Usually it's around 4am. If she gets to 5.30 or later I usually get her up to feed as I have no luck with the going back to sleep after this time and she needs a play. Hopefully that stops soon and she starts sleeping through til at least 6.30. It does happen occaisionally but I usually have to do a reasonable amount of settling post 4am. She is getting better though!

It seems all babies are different though, so just do what you want to try and see how it goes. I think you need to try something for at least a week though to let them get the hang of it. It doesn't always work to start with it seems!
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#11 Amelia Jane

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 12:00 PM

Thanks everyone. You've certainly given me some food for thought.

Don't get me wrong, I think he's doing really well so far too. I just want him to keep going well. I usually get at least one decent block of sleep per night and I'm pretty happy with that for a 3 month old, but mainly I worry that his sleep is not long enough or good quality enough if he is waking anywhere from 2-5 hours. Maybe I'm overthinking it and he will just do what he needs to do?

We do use a sleeping bag but it's not a grobag style one, it's one that wraps up at the bottom and sides, one of these We love it but it's getting too small for him now sad.gif . We've got one of the other style ones but I've been putting off putting him in it because it doesn't look comfortable. But I will have to make the move eventually so I might try putting him in that tonight and then wrapping the sides of the other one over him so it's not too big of an adjustment.

Will reconsider the massage thing as well, thanks. I've only tried it once because he didn't seem to enjoy it and then slept really badly that night but I only ever did it once so I know I didn't give it a fair try!

Maybe I will not worry about the time at night but will try to follow the same pattern no matter what time it is. Maybe feed, book, bath, massage, feed and bed, and skip the bath step on non-bath nights. He has strange skin so I don't want to bath him every night at this stage.

I have another question. We cosleep so I hear every sniffle and snort out of him during the night. A few times he has woken up, and I wake up too but I wait for a few minutes to see if he is going to go back to sleep or not. If he doesn't or he starts his hungry noise I feed him. Should I be feeding him at the first wake up, or leaving him to see if he really is hungry or not? I'm happy to leave him but he can do 2 or 3 wake-up-and-back-to-sleeps before properly waking for a feed, which disturbs both our sleep. I don't know if I should feed him at the first one so then he has hopefully another few hours of undisturbed sleep rather than waking every hour.

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#12 scasey77

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 03:51 PM

I personally always waited to see if they went back to sleep before feeding. As you know you can tell when they are really hungry vs when they are stirring and then resettle.

This is actually the main reason I moved my daughter to her own room early on - I was waking at every little noise and getting terrible quality sleep. Having her in her own room meant I only woke to the hunger wakes which was a lot better for me.

If you get up and feed on that first wake - which isn't a hunger wake - you might possibly interupt his natural sleep pattern?? I am no expert though.
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#13 Tigridia

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 04:26 PM

astrid is still in our room too and yes the little noises tend to wake me up. I usually wait for her to see if she will resettle and if need be do a bit of bouncing/rocking. If that doesn't work you can usually tell when she actually wants food. I only feed when she is actually doing her hungry cry or won't resettle after 10 or 15 mins.
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#14 L C

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 06:50 PM

We didn't really start following a rhythm (not a routine as such) until DD was 6 months old, and it was another 2 months before it was really recognised by her wink.gif laugh.gif As for overnight sleep - it's more about how much sleep in a 24hour time frame, not so much the sleep during the night. It sounds like he's getting enough for him, and his needs will change as he gets older - awake for longer, shorter or fewer naps, which in turn may affect how much he sleeps over night. It sounds like he's doing just fine, and trying to implement routine that doesn't follow his leads might create more heartache and frustration for you - not that following a routine won't be good, or work well - but be prepared to be flexible. A soft structured routine of bath/boob/bed (or whatever works for you) wouldn't go astray, but might not always work, nor change his sleeps much.

As for sleep cues, we always put her into a full-length onesie (with feet) for bed, we didn't use them during the day. That was enough of a cue for her, and it'd be a shower, onesie, boob, and bed. We didn't wrap her, either. The sleep cues can be whatever you want - dummy only for going to sleep, or a particular lullaby.


QUOTE(~Piper~ @ Oct 21 2011, 03:00 PM) View Post
I have another question. We cosleep so I hear every sniffle and snort out of him during the night. A few times he has woken up, and I wake up too but I wait for a few minutes to see if he is going to go back to sleep or not. If he doesn't or he starts his hungry noise I feed him. Should I be feeding him at the first wake up, or leaving him to see if he really is hungry or not? I'm happy to leave him but he can do 2 or 3 wake-up-and-back-to-sleeps before properly waking for a feed, which disturbs both our sleep. I don't know if I should feed him at the first one so then he has hopefully another few hours of undisturbed sleep rail ther than waking every hour.

We co-slept too, until just recently, and I usually waited to see if she'd go back to sleep on her own, or was wanting a feed. Sometimes her just changing position would sound like she woke up, and she wasn't looking for a feed. Sometimes she'd want a feed just because I was there, but not because she was hungry. It depends on if your happy to feed him or not - have you tried feeding him at the first stirring, or dreamfeeding, to see if that changes his wake-up pattern?

Good luck figuring it out - would be great if they all came with manuals! biggrin.gif


#15 HayleyNZ

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 11:36 AM

Put him in his own room ph34r.gif He will let you know if he is hungry wink.gif

Honestly though, babies wake up and resettle themselves all the time in the night, just as we do. DS was in his own room from day dot as I would never have gotten any sleep.

You should give him a chance (e.g. wait till he is at least crying) to let you know he is hungry before you feed him, otherwise, IMO, every time he wakes up he will expect the boob, hungry or not and his sleeping will end up worse.

Our routine we had- from 3 weeks- bath, boob, book (at 6 weeks), bed at 7pm. As he got a bit older- anywhere from 6:30- 7pm if he woke early from his last nap. Our bedtime indicators were being wrapped and me saying the same thing every night, curtains already shut etc. At 4 months I introduced a comforter, which he loooves. When he woke overnight it was no talking, no eye contact, no cuddling or attention- feed then bed.

He slept 12 hours overnight from 7 weeks and has done so since.
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