‘Baby’ and ‘routine’ in the same sentence together is likely to provoke instant venom amongst some of you, while others will whole heartedly agree that getting your baby into a routine is best. So should routines be implemented from the off, or not?
I honestly believe they should. So why get your baby into a routine in the first place? Well, I think it’s common sense. Surely it’s crucial to establish a mutual schedule so you both know (more, or less) what’s coming next. In the beginning, a baby’s needs are minimal; eating, sleeping and playing. It’s hard as a first time mum to work out what each cry means, and if you’re leaving it to chance you’ll end up going through every possibility before actually getting the right one.
Creating that balance from day one practically eliminates all need for guesswork. You and your baby will both be happier and know what to expect next. This further allows for you to plan your days out when you’re ready to venture outside. You’ll know when your baby is due to feed (although this can be slightly harder when breastfeeding – I just worked out where I could go in public but still be discreet about it) and due to nap. Secondly, anybody who wants to help out with babysitting won’t have to guess either. You’ll be able to give them (roughly) a time when your baby is due to eat, sleep or want to be entertained.
When should you start getting your baby into a routine? Experts are often in disagreement, but I’m not really one for listening to them and tend to go with the flow. I’d say from day one – the sooner you get something established, the easier it will be. I breastfed exclusively for 6 weeks, and stopped completely somewhere around the 10 week mark. It was pretty hard at first considering breast-feeding is an ‘on-demand’ job but it did get easier – luckily for me the routine just fell into place. It also makes night times a dream. Our little one slept through from 11 weeks once we’d got him into a proper routine and he’d learned day from night. It’s amazing what good a bit of uninterrupted sleep can do for you!
Consistency is key for any routine, so stick with it. Babies tend to be so much happier when they don’t want anything, thus all focus can be on play time and allowing them to explore the world around them happily!
What’s your baby routine? How quickly did it take for you to settle in first time round?