Routine, routine, routine. I live for organisation and schedules, but as a mum (and as a student), that doesn’t always go to plan.
In my first year of university I was in bed for 9pm most nights, (minus the nights I was out, at work or at the gym etc), then I would be up at 6am and ready to start my day.
Since having Leo, things have admittedly changed, a lot.
Luckily for us, he is a good baby and started sleeping through from 10pm until 10am at 4 weeks old, so we could always guarantee a good nights sleep if we went to bed around the same time.
But like that was ever going to happen.
After Leo was bathed, fed and asleep, myself and Dylan would have our tea, do some uni work, shower, then get into bed.
By that time, it was 1am.
With a newborn, you feed them on demand. You don’t get to say they feed at 1pm, and they always seem to want to eat just as you want to relax, get into bed, or have dinner.
So I believe some form of routine is good for a baby.
In the day everything was up in the air, and like I said, you feed on demand. But every night we made sure we bathed Leo around 9:30, and gave him a bottle before putting him down to sleep.
That was his little routine and it worked.
Ever since he’s slept through the night and we’ve managed to slowly get his bath time down to 7:30pm just by bathing him 5 minutes earlier every other day.
Now, Leo knows he has his bath, a 6-ounce bottle and then a cuddle before going to bed, then sometimes a book read to him (on those nights he fights his sleep).
Now he’s a bit older too, he feeds and naps at around the same time every day. And he knows when he has them, (and no, he doesn’t look at a clock and think oh it’s dinner time).
One big problem I always come across when talking about Leo’s routine is…
“Why are you so strict with a routine? He’s a baby”
I don’t have a problem with this question because the answer is simple…
I don’t stick to his routine religiously, but I feed him and put him down to nap around the same time each day because it makes life so much easier.
When you know when your baby usually naps, you can make a plan. Cook yourself lunch, have a nap, do something practical.
I plan my day around when Leo wants a feed or a bottle. I know when he has his dinner, I can eat mine too.
When Leo naps, I know I have around 45 minutes to do what I want (usually laying on the sofa watching an episode of Friends and thinking about what I should tidy first).
Not only that, it stops Leo from crying and getting really mardy, so he’s a lot happier.
Routines can be seen as a bad thing, you feel as though you can’t do something because you should be doing something else.
You adjust to your child’s needs and wants. While they have to learn about your world too, I think a routine can make both lives easier and happier. If you go out in a morning and know your baby has lunch at 1pm, take a jar of food out with you ‘just in case’ you’re out later than expected.
Being a parent is incredibly challenging sometimes, especially with sleepless nights (here’s a sleep training program you can get if the sleepless nights are getting too much!) and you have to be somewhat organised.
But don’t worry if you can’t, just as long as your baby is happy, that’s good enough for anyone.