Establishing a Routine for Baby (Not a Schedule)
Life with a new little baby can be a challenge, but creating a good routine can help make it a little easier. Developing a good routine is important for both you and your baby, and it will also make it easier for other caregivers to remain consistent when someone else helps out with your little one.
Note that a routine is different from a schedule. A schedule is waking up and doing things at the same time each day. A routine means doing things in the same order, but the timing is what fits the day best.
I recommend starting with a good bedtime routine. You can begin to establish this as early as three months. Your bedtime routine might be bath, lotion, pajamas, story, a feeding, and good night. The important thing is to create a routine that provides consistency so baby receives the cues that it’s time for sleeping. Baby will feel comfort that comes from the consistency of routine, and this may even help him develop better sleep habits.
Track Your Routine
Soon, you’ll be able to make additional parts of your day more routine. We chose to start with the “eat, play, sleep” routine in order to develop good sleep and eating habits. Using an app to track baby’s feedings and length of naps will help you know what your baby needs. It’s also a great way to make sure your little one is getting enough to eat and enough sleep.
When trying to get your baby on a routine, the most important thing to remember is to follow baby’s lead. Babies don’t run like clockwork, and require some flexibility. It’s important to follow baby’s cues. Growth spurts and sleep regression will affect baby’s routine.
Try not to be too regimented, and use your routine as a guideline to help baby know what to expect from day to day. You’ll find that as soon as you feel like you have your routine down, baby will move on to a new stage. Just keep reevaluating what your baby needs, and continue to adjust your schedule based on your baby’s needs.
Wendy is a breastfeeding, baby wearing mother of four in central Illinois where she blogs at TheMessyMom.net.