I didn’t read parenting books, go to NCT classes or even really prepare for parenthood before Alfie arrived. They talk about routines, feeding, sleeping, everything. I sometimes wonder if I maybe should have?
We started life as a family of three off by winging it and quite frankly we have done just that as life has gone on.
We started breastfeeding and apart from a blip we winged our way through 22 months of it. Alfie pretty much decided himself that he wanted to do baby led weaning due to his dislike of puréed foods and his desire to grab anything and everything he could from our plates.
We had Alfie sleeping in his own bed and sleeping through the night at four months old. But we winged it until we couldn’t wing it any more and Alfie will still come into our bed in the middle of the night during one of his wake ups!
We have never been a fan of routine, we like to live life to the fullest and that often means last minute plans, trips out and general chaos. There is not normally time for a plan of what is best to do. That is the same with Alfie and his routine. As I struggled with breastfeeding in the early days it worked for us to just go with the flow in the hope that he would take well and continue.
It worked, but it meant he fed on demand. There was no routine, no four hourly feeds, much to the midwife’s disgust, and nothing to stick to. He went up to bed in his moses basket when we went to bed and he had tea when did. I suppose you could say that Alfie’s routine fit in with ours, rather than us fitting around his.
But it worked for us. We often travel far and make the most out of our weekends, so that worked well with Alfie’s late nights and general napping in the car.
I have friends who have strict routines that their babies must stick too. That’s not a problem for me, we all do friends differently, but it never seemed like something that would work well for us.
I look back knowing that it wouldn’t have worked for us. However, I am now glad that we have changed, only slightly, to have a bit of a routine for Alfie.
Bedtime started to become a problem and Alfie would not fall asleep without feeding on me or having me in the bed with him. Obviously I love cuddles and sometimes it was not a problem, but it wasn’t something we could do every night.
We started to put him in his own bed, read him a story and shut the door. He fell asleep. Now, I’d be lying if I said it was that easy every night. We did have some tears, although not the ‘cry it out’ method kind of tears, but in general he was old enough to understand that it was bed time and go to sleep.
Alfie now goes to bed at around 8pm most nights. We have a routine that Dan takes him up to bed and reads him a story, says goodnight and shuts the door. It works. We have half a routine. It’s not strict, it’s not stuck to every night and it’s not something I would make anybody else enforce if they were looking after him, but it works for school nights.
Don’t get me started on nap times, because with Alfie that is just a disaster zone. He has never been a good napper and we will never have a routine for that! Well, apart from when he’s at his childminders… You know that children always do the opposite of what there parents say they do right?!
We didn’t have a routine because it didn’t work for us, we have a bit of a routine now because it does. Ultimately we all do what is best for our families and that is all that matters!
Do you have a routine? How did you do it? Do you wish you’d done things differently?!
Mummy Fox xx