The Basics of Newborn Baby Schedules
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It seems as though the life of a newborn is quite easy with uncomplicated needs. They only need food, sleep, play and love. However, it becomes problematic knowing what your baby requires when and how much of it. In addition, balancing your baby’s needs with your own, those of other children and those of other family members can be quite a challenge. For many moms, getting into a regular routine or schedule with their baby makes life easier.
Baby schedule – When to start
There is a disagreement between experts on when and how to establish a routine especially if you need to set a schedule in the first place. But generally, babies are ready for a general schedule between 2 and 4 months of age. During these months, their sleeping and feeding habits become more consistent and predictable. Some babies may fall into predictable patterns long before this. If it happens for your baby, then you can encourage your baby’s emerging routine.
If you track your child’s eating, sleeping and alert times, you can get an understanding of his or her natural rhythms and effectively pinpoint developing patterns. After delivery, you can begin to note when your baby feeds, poops and pees and sleeps and for how long.
There are various ways you can log your baby’s daily routine:
- You can use a notebook and pen
- A computer spreadsheet
- Using an app like Trixie Tracker, Baby Bundle
Whichever approach you take, your baby’s well-being must come first. In the newborn period, your baby should get enough breast milk, formula to avoid poor weight gain and dehydration. A schedule should not supersede the needs of your baby.
The options you have
Baby scheduling methods are in three main styles:
- Parent-led schedules
These are the strictest schedules. Such schedules specify exactly when your baby will eat, how much in some cases, when he’ll sleep and for how long, playing time and other activities. Schedules may be created based on your baby’s natural patterns or a suggested routine from an expert. However, when it’s set, it is very consistent, down to every minute and from day to day.
- Baby-led schedules
These routines are the least defined because you will only be following your baby’s lead. You will be looking for his or her cues to decide what he or she needs rather than imposing a timetable for feedings, rest, play, etc. But this doesn’t imply that your days will be totally unpredictable.
After the first few weeks, babies will have developed regular patterns of sleeping, playing and eating. The schedule will vary from day to day depending on the signals he or she is giving you.
- Combination schedules
These schedules bring together elements of both baby and parent-led methods and create a timetable for a baby’s time to eat, sleep and play. As a mom, you will stick to the pattern every day.
The advantage is that you will have flexibility, unlike the parent-led schedule.
Different schedules will work differently for every parent. Yours is to understand your baby’s needs and adjust yourself to meet those needs.