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We are expecting our first baby soon, and I am trying to gather as much parenting advice as I can before he arrives! I would like to hear your views about a bedtime routine for newborns, and what you do to get them to sleep at night. Is a routine already important for newborns? Do you have a schedule or do you go with the flow?

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I am of the opinion that bedtime routines are useful and perhaps even important from about 18 months onwards. Certainly not for newborns, who are still working out what day and night are, and who NEED to feed every few hours, just to satisfy their tiny digestive systems. If you want to set up a kind of routine, I think there is nothing wrong with bathing them every night at a certain time, giving them a relaxing massage and trying to encourage sleep by creating a quiet atmosphere. But don't feel like it's your task to get them to sleep by a certain time, or you will end up angry, sad or frustrated, as you are definitely not going to succeed with that. Enjoy your new baby without the pressures of schedules, which are inevitably going to follow at some later point.
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as a resident practicing in a pediatric clinic and single father of 2 little girls, I know the value of a good routine.. i am raising my youngest (9 months) by myself and she has been on a routine since she was brought home from the hospital. it takes some work getting them on a routine but it can be done with plenty of patience. one thing that worked for me was nap times durring the day were spent in a cradle or bassonette and bed time was spent in the crib.. also, quiet time is only at night.. go about your business and don't worry about being loud during the day. it will teach him/her that noise is acceptable and it won't wake him/her up if someone has the radio on or laughing with friends. children love structure and routines.. but change the routine often or a sudden change will cause troubles. eventually they will understand thatg the crib is for sleeping and will play in there until they fall asleep. play pens can be used at about 5+ months.
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hello!

there is no bedtime routines for newborns! they sleep when they want, and mostly during the day ha and you do have to sort of go with the flow! when they start to the be more aware, i found at about 3/4 weeks you can start trying to keep them awake during the day in the hope that theyl get a few hours in a solid block at night time.

i found having the moses basket or crib next to our bed at night so when baby stirs for a feed you're right there to feed him/her. at about 6/7 weeks old this worked very well with our little girl, and although she wanted feeding every 2-3 hours,she'd stay asleep for her feeds and go back to sleep straight after. we promoted a sleeping environment aswel-whenever baby would sleep she'd go into a dark room, so she knew dark meant sleep etc.

as the months go on they go thru spells, so you may think you've got somewhere only for baby to start waking up more often. there are a lot of causes for this, with our daughter it was teething.

another way to get them sleeping for longer periods of time is to in the day drag out the length of time between feeds. so at about 12 weeks sophie was going every 4 hours between feeds, so shed wake less in the night.

on saying all that our son leon is very different. hes never slept well at all. he is now 10 months old and still wakes up 3/4 times a night! where as sophie 20 months old,sleeps from 5pm-8am!

good luck and get as much sleep now as you can! and dont worry about routines for newborns x
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