One of the things I always told myself before I had kids was that I would “never live by their routine”. If I felt like going out for lunch, then off we would go, baby and all.
Then I had my first baby and realised that nothing, and I mean nothing, could force me to leave the house at nap time and risk disturbing my son’s precious routine. And not just nap time – meal time, bathtime, bedtime.
Bring on the schedule
A baby routine is something every new parent will learn to love because our babies love it. Having a strict routine in place allows them to learn to adjust to their new surroundings and reduces the chance of them becoming overwhelmed or overtired, which can lead to crankiness.
• Make babies feel safe and secure. For your baby, a regular routine is as comforting as a warm cuddle
• Help your bub develop security and emotional stability – two very important traits to develop, especially before they hit toddlerhood!
• Help them develop an understanding of this new world and their place in it
• Reduce anxiety and build independence
• Encourage healthy eating and sleeping habits
• Establish a bond and trust with family members and loved ones
Tips to Getting Baby into a Routine
Eat. Play. Sleep.
This is a common routine to follow for babies. Let them feed first, nappy change, have some awake time, then when they begin to look tired, it’s back to bed. This helps teach babies to sleep without needing to be fed to sleep.
Watch for overtired signs
Losing focus, turning their heads, rubbing eyes, jerky arm and leg movements – all signs it’s time for sleep! In time you’ll be able to recognise these straight away and act before they get overtired. But it does take practice!
You may also be surprised how quickly nap times come around for young babies. Babies at three to four months can generally only last 1.5 – 2 hours between sleeps. At six months, babies can stay awake around 2 – 3 hours between sleeps.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling with routine
It’s tricky, especially if you have a busy schedule or other children who need to be picked up from school and chauffeured around. If you have a bad day, leave it at that and try again tomorrow.
Routines are not forever
Having a strict routine can often feel isolating and lonely as it means you’ll be staying home a lot to cater to bub’s naps and feeding schedule. Just remember, it’s only temporary.
Babies will eventually drop their naps from three, to two, to one, to none. They may wake up a bit earlier or later and they may start to have set activities such as playgroups and swimming lessons that require a bit of a schedule switcheroo.
So, while it may seem tedious now, the need for such a strict routine does subside. Soon enough, you WILL be able to go out for lunch again! We promise.