Settling into life with your newborn baby can be a challenge. But if you can get a routine in place which is full of fun and if you can create a great bond between you both, the process will be so much more rewarding for you both.
Here are five steps for creating a successful baby routine.
Put Your Baby's Routine Before Your Own
You may think that the best approach for implementing a routine is to try and make your baby work around your day. But there are a number of drawbacks to this.
Your baby is growing fast and will need to feed every two to four hours. Babies sleep cycles are very different from ours, and because of the frequency of lighter REM sleeping, they will wake often.
All of this means that you’ll probably need to work around your baby. However, you can still create a routine based on your baby's needs that will work for you both.
Understand What Your Baby Needs
If you can identify whether your baby needs sleep, feeding, their diaper changing, or just a snuggle, then you'll find life much easier.
Get used to the subtle differences in your baby reactions and try to learn their signals.
Create A Bedtime Routine Early On
The first couple of months will be tough in terms of sleeping; however, as your baby starts to grow, you will be able to put them down to sleep more easily and for longer periods of time.
Create a consistent bedtime routine; bathing, pjs, and bedtime stories or softly singing to gently soothe your baby to sleep.
Try your best to put your baby into bed when they are sleepy but still awake. This will help them learn to settle themselves in their cot.
Help Your Baby Learn the Difference Between Day and Night
For a while, your baby won't know the difference between night and day. However, once your baby is able to sleep for longer periods through night, you can begin to establish a routine that differentiates day from night.
Getting into pyjamas a bit before bedtime and spending quiet time together in dimmed lights will set the tone for bedtime. Keep noisy activities, socializing and playing for daytime to help your baby learn the difference between night and day.
Prepare for the Milestones and Growth Spurts
Your baby will go through growth spurts at different milestones. You’ll become aware of these spurts at around two weeks, three weeks, six weeks, three months, and six months.
During each of your baby's growth spurts, expect their sleep patterns to change. Your baby may sleep more or wake up frequently. They will also more than likely be a lot hungrier than usual.
Growth spurts can throw off all the routines you’ve worked so hard to establish but only on a short-term basis, you’ll be back in a normal routine in no time, once the growth spurt has passed.
Newborn babies and sleepless nights
What constitutes my baby "sleeping through the night" and will it ever happen?