Too early for a routine?

Hi all. Sorry, this is a long one!

Grace is 6 weeks old tomorrow and I'm starting to think she should be in a bit more of a routine than she is.


Last week she was doing really well - feeding every 4 hours (mostly) and then sleeping through to about 4.30/5am. She did this for a week but then on Sunday she woke us up at 1am for a feed and has been waking up between 2.30 and 3.30am for a feed all of this week and has seemed more hungry during the day too, sometimes getting really upset after 2 1/2 to 3 hours. She's already having 5oz bottles and I've even given her 6oz a few times as I thought she could be having a growth spurt. She seems to have settled back into the 5oz feed and has been going more or less 4 hours between feeds but hasn't gone back to dropping the night feed. The HV told me a couple of weeks ago to try to reduce the number of feeds she was having as she was having 6 x 5oz bottles which she managed last week but has gone back to the 6 bottles this week. I'm not too worried that she's having too much (because of the growth spurt possibility and also ahe wouldn't take it if she wasn't hungry) but would feel better if she was taking a regular amount.


The problem is, as she's waking and feeding at different times each day, she's not got any kind of routine. I just go with 3-4 hours from the last feed, aiming for 4 hours if I can stretch her that far or longer if she'll allow. Because of her lack of feeding routine, she's got no structured sleeping pattern either. She nods off between feeds during the day, sometimes she has a good sleep and other time she cat naps. We have trouble getting her to sleep on her own also. The only way we've managed to get her to sleep is to bounce her in her bouncy chair which isn't too bad at the minute but we don't want her to get dependant on this and would like her to fall asleep on her own. It's also not great when she's having a cat nap day and I have to bounce her back to sleep every ten minutes. I've read posts about daytime naps but how long and how often should she be napping? I've also heard of cluster feeding before bedtime but I'm not completely sure what this is. I know it's two or three feeds close together but how much and how close together?

Has anyone got any ideas as to how I can get her in a bit more of a daily routine? Or am I jumping the gun aiming for a routine at 6 weeks? I'm not expecting her to sleep through the night but would at least like an hour or two with my husband when we're not exasperated with trying to get her to sleep.

Sorry to waffle. Hope someone can help!


  • Congratulations on the birth of Grace and Welcome to PP!!

    !Don't worry about a routine, you will settle into one! The more you worry and stress the less likely she is to relax and get into a routine!

    With regard to feeding, i fed on demand until Bronwyn was about 16 weeks. She evened herself out, having a bottle first thing, and then every 3 or 4 hours, her last one at about 10pm and then 2 during the night!

    We started a bedtime routine at 12 weeks after we had done a baby massage course and I realised that it knocked Bronwyn out for at least 4 hours!

    Don't panic! It will come, and it is very early days!! Just enjoy your new bundle of joy!!

  • Hi SarahP, congrat with grace.

    Welcome to pp.

    Im Emma mum to Riley 3 1/2yrs.

    Im with Caroline on the feeding,i also demand(bf) fed and a routine will happen. I never really had a strick sleep routine but he was down by 8-9pm and up a few times in the night then up at 7am.

    Best of luck.

  • Hi Sarah, I totally understand where you are coming from, sometimes YOU need a routine more than the baby as it helps you to know whats coming next and what to expect from each other in this crazy world of newborns!! all mine I got into a very flexible laid back routine from about this age. Read the baby whisperer im a huge fan they are really good routines. At around 7 weeks babies do have a growth spurt, some babies are hungrier than others, don't feed by the clock let them guide you. I fed ever three hours about 7oz I think! til luka was weaned. Tate had a little less and went a bit longer but he was a big smaller. You are not asking too much at all for her to be in a routine everyone is different and different lifestyles suit different families. I had to have a routine to keep my sanity, i like my evenings free and my babies in bed to eat my dinner in peace etc!!! Sorry if that sounds selfish. Please read the baby whisperer I can't recommend it highly enough, they should have it in your library. let us know how things go!
  • Thanks guys. I started off breastfeeding and lasted two weeks because I just couldn't keep up. I was absolutely shattered from a 36 hour labour and cesarean and I just couldn't seem to keep her awake long enough to fill her tummy up. She'd feed a bit, fall asleep then wake up anytime between 10 minutes and an hour later - all day and night. I felt really bad for 'giving up' on breast feeding as all the way through the pregnancy I was adamant I was going to bf. I felt like I was letting her down by moving on to formula. We started off giving a bottle of expressed milk at night only but this increased as she got fussier when breast feeding. We're much better in regards to sleep now we're bottle feeding but I was worrying I'm feeding her too much. I moved onto the hungry baby formula this week but she's still going 4 hours between feeds at the most although I have noticed that she fidgets alot part way through the feed sometimes which I have just read elsewhere that this could be her telling me that she's full.

    I'll keep with the lack of routine for now and just hope she finds her own rhythm! It's the sleep part that's most frustrating because she just seems to fight it so much then ends up overtired!

    Sorry - I've waffled on again! Guess it's just so much of a relief to talk to people that have been there!

  • don't worry Sarah, we have certainly all been there with our kids and I sympathise, the lack of sleep is the worse, I know everyone says that things will improve but they really will. Enjoy this newborn phase if you can we spend some much time willing them to reach the next milestone, before you know it she will be crawling then toddling around! We are always here for a chat/moan/advice etc. Take care xxx
  • Hi Sarah - totally with you there on the breastfeeding saga.  My son (2 years) was on bottles by day 2 but I was determined to try again with my daughter Freya, now 12 weeks.  It lasted 2 weeks but she was such a sleepy feeder and with a toddler running about it was hopeless.  Anyway, back on the bottles and Freya's sleeping from around 10 pm til 6/7 am ish.  

    I found Gina Ford's Contended Little Baby Book really useful. It has very strict routines but I tend to just take bits and pieces from it - including the feeding routines.  Freya also uses a dummy which I find is a great way of contenting her when she isn't quite due her feed or to settling her to sleep if she's fighting it. 

    She now has 5 x bottles a day and takes between 6 and 7 oz at each feed, roughly four hourly but I come and go with her. She's usually desperate for her 2nd feed of day - around 11 am but if she wants it at 10 am then she can.   The trick that Gina Ford gives is to give the 'last' full feed at around 7 pm and then wake baby up at 10 pm ish to give her a top up (may only take 2 or 3 oz). Freya then goes straight back to sleep. 

    Baby massage is also great of relaxing them - my neighbour's baby was very colicy and after going to baby massage she was much more content and slept right through night!  Keeping my fingers crossed it lasts.  Don't know if this helps but good luck. 

  • I used to dream feed luka and tate too like that before I went to bed, that way they only woke once usually in the night instead of waking like around 1am then 4/5am....aaaargghhh. nasty! And I want another one!! lol.
  • hello, my son is now ten months and we had same trouble with breast feeding and sleeping... we decided that we would feed on demand but have a strick routine when sleeping, harrison goes to bed every night at 7pm first of all we have nice warm bath and then quiet time which involves turning down lights silent massage with babytv on sky it shows colourful lights and relaxing music, then we have last bottle and then down in cot sleeping or awake. at first he would cry but we just went in held him then put him down without saying aword and eventually he lernt that we was close but it was bedtime, well by 3 months he was sleeping right through! give grace as much milk as she wants, some babies are not text book, i do recommend a routine because you will know that you can settle down when its babies bedtime...7, and grace will no what is happening and what is expected. she also needs to associate between night and day which is why we dont communicate with harrison during the night and then in the morning we go in with 'GOOD MORNING' and he gets big kisses and cuddles.

    good luck xx

  • I agree a good bedtime routine is essential Kai has  a bath with bedtime baby bath foam(not sure if it helps him sleep but it smells nice!) Then we always have a cuddle and a chat on my bed then bottle teeth brushed and I always read him a story while he sits in his cot and looks at pictures.

    As for the feeding all babies are different, Kai got himself into an every 4 hours routine in the first few weeks after I'd put him on the hungrier baby milk and he was sleeping through 8-5 by 8 weeks which was great cos Sean was getting up at 5 for work, he soon started sleeping through til 6 or half past but it was all him, I know someone who was still getting up 2/3 times a night feeding a 6 month old.

    Does Grace always take the full feed during the night? Sometimes its just the comfort of the bottle they want. Does she have a dummy?

    Kai also used to want to be bounced or rocked in  his chair to send him off to sleep during the day which is annoying when you've got alot to be getting on with! My grandma told me one day to put him in his pram rock him to sleep and let him have his naps outside, he sleeps alot better outside, maybe if you can get her to have a longer daytime nap she might settle better on a night? I once read somewhere that the better a baby sleeps during the day the better they sleep on a night.

    Like the others have said dont stress too much about it you'll all get into the right routine for you enjoy it too cos also like the others have said time just passes so quick, we willed Kai to crawl for ages and now he's off its all I can do keep up with him! Ive lost 3lbs in the last week running round after him!!

  • Thanks everyone. The advice is really helpful. Grace is having the full feed in the night and has had a dummy from a couple of weeks old as she was sucking for comfort. I'm not worrying too much about her feeding as she'll only take as much as she wants as long as she's full at bedtime. I would like to get her a bedtime routine sorted as every night is a battle of wills which usually ends up with Grace winning ad being bounced in her chair until she's fast asleep.

    She's had her 6 week check this morning and the doc's really pleased with her so we must be doing something right.

    Thanks again everyone!

  • What a little cutie.
  • Sarah

    Just another wee thought - Freya's in a baby sleeping bag which seems to help - covers don't come off etc.  My son was in his until 2.5 years and was also good sleeper.  Good luck.

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