Since day one, we've had Sylvie in a routine. Not a strict routine, or one where we've ever left her to 'cry it out', but she's been in a planned feeding routine since the beginning. We did the same thing when we had Vivienne but didn't start immediately, when we got her into feeding at set times she started sleeping through quite soon after, so we thought we'd give the same routine a go with Sylvie in hope that it helped her too.
Sylvie was born just before 9pm, came out screaming hungry, had a big feed and then slept until about 1am, she was up again about 3.30am, then slept until 7-8am. Great, we thought. It won't last, but at least we've both had some sleep to keep us going for now. The next night she was up at 3.30am for a feed, then straight back down. The next night she was up once for a feed then back down.. we didn't dare believe this was 'it' and she was a real decent sleeper - it was too early to tell. She slept through for the first time at two and a half weeks and now she's sleeping until 5-6am wanting a dummy to tide her over until 7am when she has her first feed.
I do really think that we just got lucky, and also that, strangely, she didn't seem to be born nocturnal like most babies seem to be. But I also do think that the routine has helped too. When she was first born we fed her every three hours, so 7am, 11am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm. She'd take varying amounts initially but generally about 100ml or so each time in the first few weeks. We offer her a feed, she's never declined, and give her the next hour to have it before taking it away. Luckily she's never had to cry it out or get to a point where she's anywhere close to being distressed - the closest we've got is picking her up and cuddling her to tide her over until her next feed time. Once or twice we've had to feed her a bit early.
A few weeks ago, with her getting older and taking more milk each time, we've cut a feed out and now do 7am, 10.30am, 2pm, 5.30pm and 10pm. She usually sleeps between the two evening feeds.
I didn't realise that this was any sort of controversial until I mentioned to be health visitor something about her feeding times and she looked at me in horror saying 'You're not feeding her in a routine are you?' and for some reason I backtracked and said 'Oh not really, we feed her when she's ready..' which is a white lie. Her routine coincides with when she expects to feed now 99% of the time. I think routine feeding can be lumped together with controlled crying by some, and at no point have I let her become distressed.
Anyway, on my app The Wonder Weeks it says we're in for a four-month developmental leap soon, AKA the Four Month Sleep Regression, so this routine malarky that we're so convinced by may well be tested a little more. This leap also coincides with our first family holiday, so with all this going on it may well get a bit chaotic and less regulated! For now, though, we have our fingers crossed and will carry on feeling optimistic about our sleepy Sylvie..