Routine…yes routine, the very word that rings around many parents ears!
“If only we could get our baby into a routine, life would be so much easier..but we don’t know where to begin”.
How many times do I hear this said to me?
As a Norland baby consultant, I have worked for over thirty five years with babies and young children. During this time I have come to realise more and more just how important it is to have a flexible routine in place.
Children thrive on a loving routine. It teaches them what to expect and what is expected of them. I find that many of the problems facing parents later on, are due to lack of routine in the early weeks and months.
A flexible routine can be put in place from day one. Yes, this really is possible. You can have your peaceful evenings and even sleep at night!
A little hard work in the early weeks really does pay dividends later on. You will be able to plan your days knowing exactly when you will be feeding your baby and when your baby will need to sleep.
So, the first thing to do, is to set your baby’s body clock. In order to achieve this you need to put in place regular feed, wake and nap times. Babies very quickly slot into a three hourly feeding routine, moving on to three and a half hourly after a few weeks.
You should wake your baby for feeds during the day. The feeds need to be ‘good feeds’ and not snacks, so it is important to keep your baby awake during this time. A little tip from me is to try not to watch your baby fall asleep but to ‘catch’ your baby before sleep has taken hold. It is extremely confusing for a baby to keep being woken up…it is so much better if you can just keep your baby awake!
Babies do need to be encouraged to wake and stay awake at the right times. After a feed, babies will be nicely satisfied and they are then happy to be awake and will enjoy looking around their new little world. In the early weeks babies can only stay awake for about an hour and a half at a time. After this time they will start to become overtired, so you will need to pop them down for a nap. Babies will sleep better at night if they have had good daytime naps, at the right times.
Try to always put your baby down for a nap sleepy, but not asleep. The best sleepers are the babies who have been taught to self settle, so avoid your baby sleeping on you and also rocking your baby to sleep!
A bedtime routine is very important and starts at around 5pm. Babies must be awake and ready for a little snack feed, (the only time when you give a snack feed I might add!) and then play time. A lovely relaxed bath followed by a massage and then a calm feed before going straight to bed.
My golden rule is no sleeping past 5pm for a 7pm bedtime.
It is very important to go out with your baby and a routine does not mean that you are tied to your home twenty four hours a day. Just allow a little longer to do everything and remember to be home by 5pm!
Having been to the Baby Spa I can highly recommend it as a wonderful experience for you and your baby. Your baby will enjoy a relaxed spa session in a nurturing environment. You will be able to feed your baby afterwards in the comfort of their room or just chat and relax. The perfect outing for you and your little one!
Babies are very clever little people so learn to trust them. Give them time but be consistent and you will be amazed at what they can achieve.
They are looking to you for guidance, so be really positive but calm in your approach. After all, you will be doing the very best for them.
Enjoy the early weeks and months with your little one. Put a routine in place and you will be rewarded with smiles, laughter and plenty of good nights sleep!
If you need help or guidance with your baby’s routine then please contact me. An email can turn your life around.