Saturday, 24 October 2015

Baby led living...

Baby led living. Or 'sod it and do whatever the fuck works on the day parenting' as my friend likes to call it. 

We have had a bedtime routine for Luke since he was about 6 weeks old and it works brilliantly for us. However the rest our day was a little bit all over the place so, I recently decided to try and create a schedule for us so our days had a little bit more structure to them. 

As the mummy of a 6 month old I have read my fair share of baby books. Add in the fact that my little one has allergies, doesn't sleep fantastically and suffers with reflux and I probably have enough books to start my own library (plus the ones I have frantically downloaded to my kindle at 3am while desperately trying to rock Luke back to sleep!) So I flicked through the pages and came up with a vague plan to get our daytime routine started. 

I decided to go with the general idea of waking him at a set time every day, putting him down for a nap around 10 and then another around 2. A lot of advice told me that putting my baby in his cot at a set time each day would eventually lead him to learn that those were the times he should nap and that waking him at a set time every day would help set his circadian rhythm. We tried this and it did not work out well! I persevered and all I ended up with was a cranky baby and a grumpy, tired, stressed out mummy. 

So instead of trying to force Luke to do things at set times I decided to follow his lead and see what he wanted. As soon as I started to take note of Luke's natural routine rather than one I was trying to force on him, things started to take shape. I have since learnt that Luke needs to wake up when he is naturally ready and not be woken (this can be as early as 6am and very very occasionally as late as  8:30). I have learnt that he won't take a nap as soon as he shows sleepy signs - he has to be pushed as far as he can until he's exhausted, then he's out like a light and usually has a good nap! And I have learnt that sometimes he'll have a long 2 hour nap and other times he'll be wide awake and raring to go after only half an hour! We just have to take it one day at a time. 

I think books sometimes help by enabling you to get an idea of what could work. However it is so so important to remember that every baby is different, what works for one baby won't necessarily work for another. And just to make it even more confusing, what works one day for your baby might not work the next (they change their mind from day to day just to keep us on our toes - because it's not hard enough already!) 

Although strict routines work for some people, I think that baby led living may be the way forward for others. Don't worry If it's all going wrong and trying to create a routine isn't working for you - try having more of a rhythm to your day rather than a rigid routine and be led by what your baby wants to do. After all, think of it from the point of view of an adult. We are not always tired at the same time, sometimes we want an early night and sometimes we can stay up late into the night. I don't imagine babies are any different. That's just my take on things, but if you're struggling with routine then being led by your baby may just be worth a try. 





15 comments:

  1. We're entirely baby led here too and it makes life so much easier! Everyone is much happier :)

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    1. We have found it so much less stressful! X

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  2. We are baby led also! Makes life so much easier! #Love2Blog

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  3. We have always had a routine, it's the only way I could stop myself going crazy haha! But it was one that Abbie fell into naturally rather than something we pushed her into, we listened to her cues when she was tired and just worked it out, she doesn't like it being changed by even 10 minutes though haha x

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    1. Aaww bless her. Fab baba for sticking to a routine though! X

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  4. I agree! We had Sophie in a routine when she was a lot younger, but it could be quite difficult sometimes - as if we didn't follow it one night (for example visiting family or going out for a meal) then she would be grumpy and overtired as she was out of her routine. Once we relaxed a little, it made things much easier! I say just do what you think is best, as you say every child is different :) xx

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  5. I had a bedtime routine when Lamb was a baby. 6pm bath, bottle, bed. But as far as I remember in the day he would just nap when he wanted, but to be fair he slept a lot so it was quite easy to get him to go to sleep! This deteriorated when he turned one and he stopped sleeping through. Now he's a toddler we are trying to enforce a bedtime routine again but around his signs too. A bit of both works for us! Xx

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  6. I also think some babies are better at giving natural signals of what they need...also with my second I'm better at spotting the signs of sleepy time or grizzly hunger and I think you're right. ..its much less stressful to go with the baby's lead rather than impose your own routine x

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  7. We are bed led here too, I was with when Bug was a baby and now again with our second born. Except for school runs the rest of the day I go with the flow and follow my baby's signs and needs.

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  8. What a great post! I too tried to get my kids into routines that didn't fit them and it just didn't work. I know it was brilliant for some of my friends but it just wasn't for us.

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    1. Same here. I just think all babies need different things! X

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  9. I totally agree. Baby led all the way, its the only way to survive. Babies aren't robots after all. I think you're doing amazing- lots of babies don't really settle into a routine just yet and things like teething disrupts it all anyway. Especially when baby is refluxy (I have two reflux babies!!) its really not easy! Fab post x x

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    1. Refluxy babies are certainly not easy! X

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    2. I totally agree, and find to go by babys lead most of the time leads to a lot less stress and more happy times. Of course it s down to each baby and their particular needs etc. But I find parenting to much more enjoyable when it is not rigid and there is a lot of free time. I do enjoy having a rough bedtime hour give or take because that means my husband and I get some time and the kids dont wake up grumpy from not enough sleep. xx

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  10. I have four children and became more baby led with each one - it is far less stressful for everyone! Kaz x

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