I have always been the type of person who relies on a routine. When I get up in the morning I do the exactly the same thing every day. When I shower I do exactly the same thing every time. So parenting (for me) was going to be always based on mine and the baby's routine. I've never consulted books but tried to use my own gut feeling about what we are doing with James. Sometimes I was tempted to turn to a 'book routine' to help James sleep through the night but thought the pressure of following it would outweigh the benefits. I always thought he would get there on his own time.
Initially it was difficult to work out what James wanted and we started
doing the feed, sleep and play routine but I soon realised he wasn't very happy
when he woke up and it was because he was hungry. So at around six weeks we
changed his routine to feed, play and sleep which has kept James happy. I
always fed on a schedule of three hours which again worked for James. I figured
the more he feed during the day the less he would want during the night. At
around ten weeks he didn't need any more night feeds and by fourteen weeks he
was sleeping for around ten hours through the night. I think the more I relaxed
I was, the happier we were.
The next challenge we face is naps and feeds during the day as James gets
older. He still has three naps, four (sometimes five) milk feeds and two solid
feeds a day. I'm not really sure when I should try to cut out one of his naps
as he gets older. And I'm assuming once he starts on three solid meals a day
that he will eventually drop a milk feed. This is where having a 'book routine'
has an advantage since they would guide you into what your baby should need.
Where I've again got to go on my gut and try to figure out what he needs.
I think families just need to work out what is best for them. Not one
routine or non-routine is going to work for everyone. You are going to be the
one that has to live with whatever you put into place. If you are rocking your
baby to sleep or letting them cry for a while, you have to live with it so do
what works for you. My advice for anyone TTC or pregnant is try to be flexible.
You initially might want to try Attachment Parenting or one of the multiple
'book routines' but find in the first few weeks you are stressing out and find
it's not working. Don't be afraid to follow your gut and listen to your baby.