Friday, 18 July 2014

Baby routines; yay or nay?

I've never particularly been one for routine (I mean in life in general), but if there's one thing I picked up when reading the 4365 baby books during the lead up to Joseph's birth it's 'routine, routine, routine'. They're quite a big deal in baby land, it seems, but I've also found that they're not for everyone.

Joseph made his feelings about Gina Ford clear from the start.

Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby (CLB) was the first baby book I read after it was highly recommended to me by a pal, and I found it a really helpful starting point especially when we were trying to figure out what we needed to buy. (Can I just say that Mothercare can be a scary place.) It was only after speaking to other mums, or expectant mums, that I discovered that ol' Fordy's is like, the strictest (and arguably least realistic) routine to stick to... 'and she's not even a mum herself' is what she gets the most stick for. (Can I also just say that I bought my copy second hand from Amazon and I swear there are breast milk stains on some of the pages. Gross.).

Whilst I wouldn't say Joseph is a 'Gina Ford baby' by a long shot as we don't implement half of the things she suggests, CLB is our 'go to' book when we're stuck or wondering what we 'should' be doing (mostly because it was the only baby book I actually bought, the others I just borrowed from the library). We often just take what her suggestions with a large pinch of salt/ give about an hour's leeway either way/ let Joseph have his say which is often 'throw the book out of the window, mum' but overall I think it's been a great help. 

Stuff we implemented...

Unsuccessfully:

Breastfeeding routine when actually breastfeeding. 
This was one of the things that Joseph poo-pood immediately. She says not to try anything 'til they're a week old but even then, for me... just, no. 'Feed from the right breast for 25 minutes then express 3oz from the other whilst they have a nap' [or words to that effect]... yeah right. Seriously, just no. Oh yeah and 'offer a bit of one boob then a bit of the other' - have you felt latch pain, Gina? Have you?! 
'Gina Ford' was a swearword in our house for the first four weeks of Joseph's life and I came close to shredding her damn book. But I made peace with her after that. I think maybe with your second child when you know what you're doing a bit more, that it could potentially work... but then you have the new challenge of juggling two (or more) kids so I seriously doubt it... Plus she has a separate book for that anyway.

Daytime naps in the nursery in the dark, in his cot.
No cigar. But... Daytime naps in the light, anywhere he damn-well pleases. Yes. Joseph's starting to nap in his nursery in his cot in the light (rather than just on a bouncy chair in the living room), but I doubt he'll ever be ok with dark in the daytime.

No eye contact during the evening and night feeds.
In the early days of bottle feeding Joseph just wanted to stare into our souls whilst he was being fed - there was no way we could avoid eye-contact, in fact it was a bit scary. But these days he's happy to look anywhere but our eyes. We are boring now it seems. We do something un-Fordy, in fact... Joseph is completely asleep at his 11pm feed, we do it as a 'dreamfeed' whereas Geen suggests you wake them so that they concentrate. Ruari 'plucks him' out of his cot and Joseph curls into him like a little mole. The bottle is put to his lips and drinks pretty vigourously considering he hasn't even opened his eyes. He still gets burped then gets put back in his cot, happy as Larry. He used to wake up at around 3am for another feed, but he is now sleeping through pretty regularly; he just seems to wake up for cuddles or if he's cold or bored.


Successfully:

Black out blind in the nursery. 
We bought a black out sheet from Easyblinds that goes underneath our Venetian blinds and is held in place by velcro stuck to our PVC window frames. I wouldn't say it was actually that easy, particularly if you have a massive window like we have, though. I'd probably invest in a proper black out roller blind if I'd known what the future held for us when we chose our Venetian blind. Gina suggests pelmets but they're so 1985, right? Or are they back in? Anywho, I reckon Joseph's pretty good at telling night from day and I think the black out blind may have had something to do with that.  I've also very recently learnt not to be lazy and to take the blind down during the day

Breastfeeding routine when not breastfeeding. 
Geen says her routines can be adapted for bottle fed babies and to just stick to the same timings (what if your baby take 10 minutes to finish a bottle when you've allowed for a 40 minute breastfeed? Huh?) When Joseph hit the bottle he was seriously like a different baby- happy to lay on his back, way less tears, his 'colic' disappeared, and just generally pretty happy to adhere to the suggested feeding times, give or take a bit of time here n' there.

Bath circa 6pm. 
Joseph's totally ok with this. I'll be posting about bath time soon. In fact this post was going to be about bath time originally.

Bed circa 7pm.
The latest Joseph has ever gone to bed, since being bottle fed, has been about 8.30pm and even that's only happened about twice.

Starting the day circa 7am.
We're totally led by Joseph on this one and his internal alarm clock just seems to naturally go off between 6-7am. Again, the latest he's woken up is about 8.30am, but I've noticed that it pretty much directly correlates with the time he went to sleep. It's like he knows when he's been laying on his back for 12 hours exactly (with the exception of one or two night-wakings). Weirdo.


Yet to find out:

Snoozeshade. 
A Snoozeshade is basically a cover (an unattractive one at that) that goes over your baby's pushchair to make it pitch-black in there for them to sleep. We had it kindly bought for us after being asked what we wanted but I've not yet tried it, based on Joseph's feelings towards naps in the dark of his room (plus I don't get out much), but I have a feeling it will come in handy when we go on holiday... if we go on holiday.

The rest of the book.
I could be counting my chickens too early here and Joseph could just turn into another baby again, (I'm partly dreading teething), but in the last eight weeks he has been pretty good and there's been no need to call Gina in for a personal consultation - ha! Whether he'll continue that way remains to be seen. 

Did you read any useful baby books and do you try to stick to a particular routine?

Nicki x 
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Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x

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