Advice on Routines for Two Month Old

Updated on April 10, 2010
D.P. asks from Newton, MA
11 answers

My daughter is 8 weeks old. I am exclusively breastfeeding her. She eats every two hours during the day and every three hours at night. She never gives me more than three hours. I would like to establish good routines for her now but I am concerned as to where and how she naps. Her nanny swaddles her and bounces on a fitness ball until she falls asleep and then places her in her swing. The swing is on while she sleeps. Does a two month old need motion to help sleep or can they just become too used to this routine which creates the need? When I am with her and trying other ways to get her to sleep then she seems fussy unless bounced so I wonder if I will forever have to bounce her to soothe her. She does have alert time where she “plays” earlier in the day but generally is fussy from 4pm-7pm. Most often she is passing gas so I assume it’s usually a hurting belly that causes evening fussiness….and she sometimes wails. Could the daytime swaddling cause her to be gassy at night? Should a two month old not be swaddled for naps? Or could it be the swing that makes her gassy because she isn’t lying flat? If she is lying flat for naps then she does not sleep as long. As for the night time, she sleeps swaddled in a co-sleeper that is in our bed. I would like to move her to her own room soon but I want to tackle one thing at a time! Should I start doing all naps and bedtime in her room? Any advice is appreciated.

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D.K.

answers from Boston on

You could ask the nanny to start trying to put her down for naps in her crib. I wouldn't criticize the swing as a napping spot for young babies, except it seems a little strange to me that she's going into the swing after she's asleep. I'd suggest trying swaddle, bouncy ball, then crib... and if she wakes up, THEN try the swing... but if she adapts well, then eventually you could eliminate the swaddling & bouncing. Getting accustomed to her crib will make the nighttime transition easier for you too.

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B.P.

answers from Boston on

She is so very little and the littleness does not last long. Enjoy this time of holding her, because that's what she needs the holding. She's still use to the feeling of movement and rocking from being in your womb. The swaddling helps her feel secure.

4-7pm is the fussy time for most babies (and many adults) :) Babies get gassy, some more than others. Sometimes it's because of what they (you) ate, often it's just because there little digestive systems are learning to work properly.

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D.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

At 8 weeks, your baby runs completely on instinct. Most pediatricians and parenting experts agree that you can not spoil a child enough within the first 3 months of life.

It's also the period during which they're experiencing the most change and growth, so trying to establish a schedule or routine now may be nearly impossible as their stomachs become larger, are able to hold more milk, etc.

The best advice our pediatrician gave us when we had our first child was to listen to your baby and let them dictate what they need these first few months.

Our son was a snacker from birth. He'd nurse about 5-10 minutes and was done. He's still a snacker at almost 4. It's a healthier way to eat, so we encourage it. Our daughter's the opposite.

Babies are accustomed to the movement of your walking, driving, etc. while in your womb, so for a few months, they're really most happy in swings, bouncy seats, car seats, etc. Motion is very comforting to them.

Swaddling has nothing to do with gassiness - gassiness is purely based upon how she's digesting your breast milk (and may be affected by what you're eating/drinking, medications you're on, etc). Gassiness may also be accumulating during the day, and she may need you or the nanny to help her relieve it by pressing on her tummy, holding her differently, giving supplements of Mylicon, etc.

Trust your instincts - they're amazingly powerful. If your pediatrician didn't give you a free copy of "Your Baby's First Year", I'd ask for one. It was my saving grace with our first child (never opened it with the second).

Good luck. Enjoy your daugther and spoil her as much as possible right now.

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A.A.

answers from Chicago on

I do believe in CIO and other methods, but not on a baby this young. Don't worry mom--whatever makes that baby happy the first few months is what you should be doing. Definitely swaddle, swing, bounce whatever it takes. You can't spoil a two month old =) I would have the nanny and you gradually start to try and keep the baby awake for longer periods during the playing. Ultimately I try to get on some sort of nap schedule (3-4 naps a day) by about 5 months. I would get a copy of Weissbluth or Ferber's books after that to help with sleep training so you have a plan. Since you are breastfeeding exclusively the baby will probably get up more frequently to eat and right now it should be more on demand, but that doesn't have to continue til a year old. Basically keep up the great work, let the baby lead you, and slowly move to some kind of schedule in the next few months. Best of luck =)

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N.S.

answers from Boston on

Routines are hard to establish at 8 weeks. He is still young and getting used to things. The nursing every 2-3 hours is normal for some. My son was the same way. Our 2-3 hours also went from the start of one feeding to the start of the next w/out considereing how long it took. It was a lot of work in the begining. All went well though and he nursed til he was19 months. Way longer then I thought I would ever nurse my child and I wouldn't change it.

I can see how you'd have concern over how you get him to sleep as the routine may become habit. I am so not going to solicite the best sleeping habits because we did whatever worked. (We co-slept and enjoyed it, but it's not for everyone. As for nap motion of any kind did the trick.) I have a hard time thinking there's a "right way" every parent and child is different. Good luck w/your little one.

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C.W.

answers from Boston on

The evening fussiness is very common and could possibly be a case of colic. She is about the right age for that to be occurring. My daughter had colic and unfortunately there was nothing we could do to prevent it, lying flat, sitting up, on her tummy... it didn't matter. You just sweat through it and then somehow, miraculously, it clears up, usually at around three months of age. A bad case of colic is frustrating and can bring you to tears and fits of panic but you just... get through it. Good luck :-)

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J.S.

answers from Boston on

Oh this sounds just like my little one at that age and I had all the same concerns. I totally agree that the Happiest Baby on the Block (Harvey Karp) had good advice, and that at this age you just do whatever you need to to get the baby to sleep. My daughter ate every 1.5 hrs during the day for the first 6 weeks or so ad it gradually got to about 2.5 hrs but she's always needed to eat about every 2.5 hrs - she's two and a half now and still eats frequently.

And we ALWAYS had fussiness between 4-7 - we called it "fussfest"! When I was out on maternity leave I would just take her for a nice walk in the stroller every night at that time - I figured she might as well cry in the stroller while I would get exercise.

Anyway, right around 8-10 weeks she started sleeping longer through the night (6-8 hr stretches) but continued to need naps every 2-2.5 hrs during the day and eat every 2 or 2.5 hrs. I also exclusively breastfed until introducing solids around 5.5 months.

We used to let her sleep whereever she wanted. Rocking her to sleep, nursing her to sleep, whatever it took. I did have her in the crib at night for the beginning but she would nap anywhere - bouncy seat, moses basket, stroller. For her late evening cat nap I would put her in the swing as that was the only way to get her to sleep during "fussfest".

I highly recommend the Baby Whisperer (Tracy Hogg) books. Although we never got on a "routine" that was set in stone - it was useful to pay attention to her sleep, activity and eating patterns as it does seem that they are all related - the better one is the better the others are.

I had zero interest in the Weisbluth book or method - or Ferberizing - it's not for me though many are fans. You have just to read Baby Whisperer and then Weisbluth and you can see the completely opposite approaches to "teaching' a baby to sleep - one is about making the baby secure enough in your bond to relax (Tracy Hogg) the other is about letting your baby cry until he gives up and "learns" to sooth himself to sleep. WHile I totally agree with Weisbluth's premise that babies need LOTS of sleep and most don' t get enough, I don't at all subscribe to his methods. It's up to you to see what seems right to you - but either way 8 weeks is too young for even the most ardent cry it out supporter to suggest you start.

For now, enjoy this wonderful blessing that is an 8 week old, knowing how quickly it goes by and how fleeting this amazing age is. DO what it is you feel the baby needs and don't worry about setting up for bad habits. Everything changes soooo quickly.

Congrats and best of luck.

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L.D.

answers from Boston on

Sounds like your baby is completely normal! I would not try to force or change anything. Breastfed babies need to eat this frequently, even during the night. As she gets older she will outgrow the swaddle and won't be so
fussy during the evening. Bouncing on the yoga ball is a great way of getting fussy babies to sleep! I found out that secret with my fussy baby! You could have your nanny wear your baby in a sling or carrier
throughout the day. Babies are supposed to be jounced around and held
during the day, they actually sleep very well this way(think of them in your belly!). Pick up the book The Continuum Concept, an awesome read. Also the Baby Book by Dr. Sears is amazing in it well researched info about babies, sleep, and stages of development. I find all my books on half.com for only a couple of bucks. also askdrsears.com and mothering.com have info that you may resonate with. Sounds like your baby is normal and healthy! Good luck!

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L.O.

answers from Detroit on

wow lots of questons.. read the book.. healthy sleep habits happy child..

2 months olds have no routines.. at about 4 months they start to get a routine.

yes young babies often need to be swaddled to sleep they grow out of it.. it doesnot cause longterm problems.. yes young babies often sleep best in a swing.. you willnot have to bounce her forever.

no swinging and swaddling do not cause gas.. youung babies have gas becasue their GI track is immature.. they scream cause they havea burp.. then they brup and are happy.

I would start trying to get her to sleep in her bed. but she might be a bit young. and if you have a nanny then the nanny will be doing what works for her..

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K.L.

answers from Boston on

I agree with the other responses. Everything you described is soooo normal. It's natural to worry about doing the right things. But at 8 weeks your daughter is still so little. My son used to be swaddled at nap time and night time, and napped in a swing. I thought, will I be doing this when he's 2??? Ack! But no. You are doing great! A great website I found to put things into perspective related to sleep is AskMoxie (http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2005/12/quick_and_dirty.h.... Good luck and try not to worry too much (easier said than done, I know!).

K.

E.M.

answers from Boston on

In my opinion two months old is to young to establish a routine. If you read Dr. Harvey Karps book called the Happiest Baby on the Block, the first three months is considered the fourth trimester. It is called this because our babies are born three months early due to the size their brains need to be for survival at birth. If we carried them another 3 months they would not be able to be birthed vaginally safely. Think of a newborn at birth vs a baby at 3 months. This is when they actually start to interact with the world. This is why the first three months you can not form habits with your daughter. They need to be nursed often, swaddled, rocked, placed in a swing if you can't hold her. These are all things that mimic her life back in the womb and most babies need this for the first three months and some for longer. These are all things she had in your womb 24/7 So if she sleeps in a swing for 12 hours a day it is a 50% cut back from what she was used to while in the womb. They are constantly being rocked every time we move. Just like eating they constantly were getting nourished inutero feeding every 2-3 hours is a cut back from what she is used to. She will eventually not need all these things and around 4 months you can try to take the pacifier away first if she uses one then try slowing the swing down and eventually stopping it and then moving her to her crib or bassinett. Next try swaddling with one arm out and if her sleeping isn't affected then try swaddling with both arms out and if her sleep still isn't affected then you know she is ready to not be swaddled. Also lastly if you are using white noise to help her sleep then you can lower the volume until eventually you are not using it at all. If you remove all those things and her sleep isn't affected then you know she doesn't need them any more.

Swaddling absolutely does not cause gas. Most babies don't cry from a hurting belly either. It is usually because they are in need of comforting and that mimicing of the womb. The swing does not cause gas either. Enjoy her these days pass by so quickly as do the hurdles. Save the routines for when she is older. Should you have any questions feel free to email me at [email protected]____.com the way I am a Happiest Baby on the Block educator.

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