Bringing home your newborn is a beautiful yet challenging time.
Along with the intoxicating newborn scent and newborn cuddles, also comes the 1 am wake-ups. Oh, and the never-ending feeding and nappy changes. So many nappy changes!
You will hit the stage where if one more person asks if you are sleeping when the baby sleeps, you might slap them! And you will learn to survive on very little sleep (I think it’s the mom superpower).
You may find yourself asking, is it really time for her to feed again?? When last did I change her nappy? Is she wetting enough nappies?
Although at the newborn stage a ‘schedule’ is not recommended there are little ways to create a sense of calm. Through understanding your baby’s natural rhythms, you can gently guide your little into a flexible routine.
Use a Baby Tracking Journal to understand your baby’s natural patterns
By writing down when last your baby slept or fed, you will start understanding your little one’s routine. Example, you may notice that your little one likes a longer sleep in the morning and shorter sleeps later in the day. Or you may see that your little one is tired every night around 18h30. Which signals that this is an optimal time to set bedtime at. By tracking your baby’s daily routine, you can start to anticipate her needs. You can then meet your baby’s needs before crankiness sets in.
Your baby will know what to expect
As your baby starts settling into a routine, she will begin expecting a particular flow of events in her day. Example, have a feed, play a little and then nap time. Your baby will feel secure and reassured by her routine. Because your little one knows that sleep time is approaching, it will also become easier for her to wind down and rest.
As the same thing happens every day, she will be more open to her daily activities when it is time to eat, sleep, play and so forth.
A routine also gives you an opportunity to plan your day and get much-needed rest in for yourself.
Leaving your baby with a caregiver is easier.
Once your baby is on a routine, she will transition better when left with a caregiver. Your little one will find comfort in the familiarity of a routine. Your baby will settle better if she can fall asleep in the same place and round about the same time. Following the same sequence of events with her caregiver as she does with you will help your baby settle faster.
Importantly, your caregiver will also be empowered as they do not need to wonder ‘what is next.’ Your baby’s routine will be clear and straightforward to follow.
TIP: Leave your Baby Tracking Journal with your caregiver to fill out so that you can see how your baby’s day went while you were away.
You will also get to sleep
Once your little one has a set bedtime, you will have an opportunity to rest. It may seem inviting to stay up late or do a thousand chores while your little one naps, however, stop right there. RELAX. Watch a DVD, eat, shower, sleep, do whatever you need to do to recharge. Okay, you should probably do a few chores around the house!
A little consistency goes a long way
You might be thinking, how do I build a routine, when I cannot even find time to shower? Take it easy in the first few weeks.
Your consistency, gentle approach and patience will be rewarded. Developing a routine for your baby is also about investing in building a lifestyle that is best for the whole family.
Remember, you bring the best version of you to your baby when YOU are well rested.