A Newborn Routine That Works Every Time
It is really not an easy task to come up with a daily routine for your baby. There is so much that goes into creating a baby routine. Feeding times, naps, diaper changes, massages and so much more. Then there is the whole idea of how much they should eat or sleep. In addition, you still have to go to work and take care of your partner. Motherhood is not for the lighthearted. Nevertheless, a routine is important. A routine allows you to predict your baby’s patterns so you know what to expect and when. This makes raising your baby so much easier.
Here are a few basics that you need to create a successful routine:
- Start as early as possible
The best time to start a daily schedule for your baby is when your baby is between two and four months. It is during this time that their sleeping and feeding patterns become more consistent and predictable.
- Track your child’s habits
Days after delivery, you can start tracking your baby’s eating, sleeping and alert times. This will give you a better understanding of her natural rhythms so that you can note any developing patterns. There are different ways to log these habits either on a book or by using a mobile app.
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- Know your options
There are different kinds of baby schedules. They include:
- Parent-led schedules: these schedules are strict because they are set by you. You determine what your baby will eat, when she will sleep and for how long, playing time and other aspects of the routine. The schedule you create can be based on the observations you have made regarding their feeding and sleeping patterns. This schedule is consistent and every minute is planned for every day.
- Baby-led schedule: these are less defined schedules. Here, you simply follow your baby’s lead. What you do is look for her cues to decide what she needs next. This is unlike parent-led schedules because you don’t adhere to an imposing timetable for feedings, rest or play. A baby-led schedule does not mean the baby’s schedule will be totally unpredictable. It is only that the baby will form a pattern and schedule of their own by themselves. But the schedule can be different every day.
- Combined schedules: these are schedules that combine elements of both types of schedules so that you have a timetable for nursing, sleeping, playing and so on. While you may stick to these timetables, you will have a little bit more flexibility than with a strictly parent-led schedule. So, you look out for what your baby feels and accommodate this into the schedule. For instance, if she is not yet tired, then you can push the nap time.
Baby schedules are different for every baby and every parent. Sometimes, a schedule can fail to subscribe to any of these methods. What is important is to do what is best for your baby. Regardless of whatever type of baby schedule, the schedule should include time to sleep, nurse, play, and so on.
Sample Schedule for 2-12 month-old
7:00 AM – Wake + Diaper change + Feeding
7:30 AM – Playtime
8:30 AM – Naptime #1
10:00 AM – Diaper change + Feeding
10:30 AM – Playtime
12:00 PM – Naptime #2
2:00 PM – Diaper change + Feeding
2:30 PM – Playtime. This is likely to be baby’s longest awake increment of the day, so, get some fresh air out of the house.
4:00 PM – Naptime #3
5:00 PM – Diaper change + Feeding
5:30 PM – Playtime
7:00 PM – Bath time
7:30 PM – Feeding
8:00 PM – Sleep
11:00 – 12:00 – “Dream feed,” can help your baby sleep longer
Nighttime feedings – will vary and decrease as the baby grows
*** In the first few weeks of life, breastfeeding should be “on demand” (when your baby is hungry), which is about every 1-1/2 to 3 hours. As newborns get older, they’ll nurse less often, and may have a more predictable schedule.