Like several other things, the question whether or not your baby should have a routine has more than one right answer. Being organised and knowing what to do after the other saves time and reduces stress. In the same way, it would really help for your baby to know what to expect after what. The other advantage of a routine is that it serves as a guide to someone who doesn’t know your baby well when you need to leave your little cutie with them. However, strict routines are uncaring. Also, rigid routines may lead to your baby being underfed as well as cause him to cry more.

A good baby routine

Even though it is a schedule, a good routine must be flexible and responsive. Being responsive will make your baby trust you and reduce his crying. That is why you should not start off in a hurry. Take a month or 2 to get used to your baby and what he likes to do at what time. Then, you can try to establish a routine based on his behaviour. Some parenting experts advise no routines before a baby is 4 months old. However, if your baby becomes very predictable before then, we advise that you could draw up a routine if that is what you would like.

A routine should fit into your family’s overall timetable so that it doesn’t become stressful. For instance, if the whole family goes for a walk at 4 pm on Saturdays, then on your baby’s schedule, it should not be naptime. Or if you all go to church on Sunday morning at 7 am, that cannot be bath time.

A simple routine could be like

Baby’s Routine

6:00amWake up
6:30 amFeed
7:15 amBathe
8:00 amPlay
9:00 amChange diaper
9:30 amSleep

Also note that your baby will not be awake for the same length of time after every nap, or nap for the same length of time at particular times of day. Therefore, you need to be willing to adjust all the time. And when it comes to play, it can be just as simple as holding your baby’s tiny hand and wiggling his fingers, or smiling games. Play should last only as long as your baby appears interested.  

A night-time routine?

Establishing a night-time routine will help your baby have a better sleep at night. This can be as simple as bath time, massage, feed, swaddle, soft lullaby or reading time and sleep. To help your baby to sleep well, turn on some white noise and dim the lights when it is sleep time, before he actually falls asleep.

Help your baby to differentiate between night and day

To help your baby adjust to day and night, carry him a lot during the day and try not to carry him much if he awakens during the night. Long naps during the day cause less daytime eating and may increase night time feeding. However, it is not advisable to wake your baby during a daytime nap to feed him, unless the doctor advises so. This is because it may make your baby grumpy and cause him to cry more. Also, try to be more engaging during the day and limit night time interactions to the barest that is needed to change, feed and prevent your baby from crying. With time, he will learn to be more active during the day and sleep more at night.

Is a routine good for your baby?

Babies are different. Some are very adaptable and some prefer more structure in their day. Let your baby lead the way. If you decide on a routine, be prepared to be adaptable yourself.

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