Fletcher is now 3 months old and he is such a good sleeper and has one hell of a body clock so I decided to get him into a routine. I first tried an online guide and then decided to just follow his own routine… lets call it, baby led routine.
The Online Guide
Somewhere online I found a routine guide for a 3 month old, which was as follows:
7:00 – Wake *Fixed Time
8:00 – Feed
8:30 – Nap *Fixed Time
9:00 – Wake + Feed
11:00 – Feed + Nap
1:00 – Wake + Feed
4:30 – Feed + Nap
6:30 – Feed
7:00 – Catnap
8:30 – Bath
9:00 – Feed + Bedtime * Fixed Time
10:30 – Dream Feed (at our bedtime)
This was a schedule I tried to follow and unfortunately it didn’t really work for us. The *Fixed Times were basically times that you had to remain consistent every day to ensure the routine continued each day. To try to have fixed times with a baby isn’t always easy!
I’d set an alarm for 7:00 in the aim for getting up to begin the schedule but I failed. I’m the worst person for switching off an alarm and going back to sleep – especially if I look over and see Fletcher fast asleep too! Also, every day without fail, Fletcher semi-wakes up for a feed at 6:00am. So it never started well, and because of this, the rest of the routine would never work out either.
Baby Led Routine
So I decided for a few days, to write down Fletcher’s own routine. One completely led by his own body clock, just out of curiosity to see if he had his own pattern he followed everyday. I wanted to do this, because I have a very satisfied baby, one that sleeps through the night and very rarely cries unless he’s due a feed or nap; and even then it’s only a minor whinge for 5/10 minutes. So I felt I wanted to continue a pattern he quite obviously is happy with and works for us – why change that? So this was his own pattern:
6:00 – Feed + Back to sleep
(In the rare occasion I do wake up at 7:00, I spend this time having a shower getting myself ready without interruption for a change)
8:00 – Wake + Feed (Dress him for the day)
8:30 – Fletcher’s CF vitamins and play time (he’s usually wild for about half an hour, squeaking and flapping at toys)
9:00 – Morning Nap (ALWAYS)
9:30 – Wake + Play
10:00 – Feed
(This point of the day is usually when we have plans, so the naps can vary in time but if I was to stay home it would continue as follows)
11:00/11:30 – Nap
12:00 – Wake + Feed
1:00 – Nap (if cuddled he will always sleep longer than half hour)
2:00 – Wake + Feed
3:00 – Nap
3:30 – Wake + Play
4:00 – Feed + Nap
5:00 – Wake + Play
6:00/6:30 – Feed + Nap
7:00 – Wake + Play
8:00/8:30 – Feed
(Every other night we shave bath time between these times)
9:00/9:30 – Sleep (Basically his bedtime, but he falls into a deep sleep downstairs with us still while we are still watching TV – when he gets older we will put him up into his cot at this time by himself)
10/10:30 – Dream Feed (basically feed him while he is still asleep just as myself and Scott go to bed ourselves, this is his final feed which helps him to sleep through the night)
As you can see, Fletcher’s own routine is a lot more detailed, that’s because I’ve been able to note down more specifically when he wakes and when he feeds.
The times can vary depending on when we did wake in the morning and what we’ve been up to during the day – for example if I take him out in the pram or car he falls asleep regardless of what time it is. He also sleeps for a longer stretch of time if he is being cuddled. (This is usually required if he’s fighting his nap and getting eggy, so I will cuddle him to sleep, then I find myself trapped because he will wake if I put him down)
He will however always have a strict 2 hour body clock when it comes to feeding. No matter what! When he wants a feed, he won’t wait 5 minutes. He needs boob immediately or all hell breaks loose!
He very rarely wakes in the night for a feed, however in the hot weather he may whinge in his sleep at about 2:00/3:00am and so I give him a dream feed which just helps him to continue sleeping. (Just hearing his wriggling wakes me up before he’s even woke himself up) The benefit of breastfeeding is that this middle of the night feed is soooo easy, I barely have to move, which is great because I obviously have zero energy at this time. I’m also very lucky to have a fast letdown so Fletcher only take around 5 minutes to feed and he’s satisfied.
His mornings are a lot more strict with his routine and that’s because every morning without fail we follow the same pattern of: Wake, Dress, Vitamins, Play, Nap. All within the first few hours of the day, and so he’s just got this rhythm into his system which has remained consistent every day. The middle of the day as I said, can vary depending in what we do, so long as he gets his 2 hourly feed he will nap and wake as and when the times suit him, he will never go without his short day naps though.
He also gets a bit whingy at the time Scott comes home from work which is around 6/7pm, this is what I call his “Witching hour”. I think this is because he’s close to his last proper feed and ready to sleep deeply, and he’s feeling a bit overwhelmed by the days events and he is starting to struggle to switch off. Scott coming in from work can just simulate him further and so he can get a bit crabby. This luckily doesn’t last long, it may warrant an earlier feed just to settle him down and keep him happy. Sometimes, there’s good days and bad days with it but he tends to tire himself out eventually.
When Fletcher was a newborn, I was a new mummy and I had no idea what he wanted and when he wanted it. Every time they whinge you just assume they are hungry. Whereas now, I can read clearly his different signals as to what he wants.
I know he sticks to his 2 hour feed pattern and so if he gets a bit grumpy an hour after his last feed I know it’s because he is beginning to get tired. Sometimes if he’s had a bit of a stimulating play time, he can get eggy a lot quicker and just simply needs his toys removed just so he can gather his thoughts haha! He will usually want a quiet cuddle at this point which settles down his brain ready for his next nap.
All in all, Fletcher is generally a happy baby so regardless of whether the pattern changes or not, he gets plenty of milk and enough naps that help to settle him well for the night. And if this is the “routine” he wants to follow then I shall continue to do so! As he grows older I’m sure patterns will change, feeding and napping will become less often, but hopefully just by following his signals he will tell me what he needs and I’ll always be there to provide it. Cuddles and all!