Getting into the swing of things
Now that you are parents, every conscious thought seems to be totally ruled by this tiny bundle. You may be feeling anxious about establishing a “routine” as soon as possible but the reality is, that days that fly by (and nights that don’t) in a blur of feeding, burping and nappies have become a way of life.
Your baby is obviously dependent on you for nutrition and nurturing, but he needs you to help him make sense of, and manage, his sensory environment in order for his own and unique rhythm to develop.
It is out of this rhythm that a routine will develop without any conscious effort on your part. Wouldn’t caring for your baby be so much easier if you understand how he experiences the world? A little stimulation and a lot of calming is essential in the first few months of your baby’s life, so work with your baby’s rhythm for the first few weeks, bearing in mind that his “awake” time (including feeds) will determine when he needs his next sleep.
In the early days he can manage to be awake for around 45 minutes before needing to sleep, stretching to about 60 minutes by six weeks of age.By the age of six weeks (even earlier if you are lucky), you have come to know your baby’s own unique rhythm. Some babies are very easy going and settle into their sleep/wake/play/cry cycles quickly and easily, whilst others are not as self-regulated and need longer to settle into their own rhythm.
When do I start with a routine for my baby
When your baby is about six weeks old, you can instill a basic, but flexible framework of structure to your day, working with what you already know about him. Without even consciously trying, you know when he is awake and happy, when he is hungry and when his sleepy, grumpy and crying times are, and guess what? He has a routine!
By Sr Ann Richardson
Sr Ann Richardson is the author of Toddler Sense and also co-authored Baby Sense and Sleep Sense. She is a qualified nurse and midwife and has worked in the midwifery and paediatric fields for 30 years. For more information from Sr Ann Richardson go to www.toddlersense.com or email her at email@example.com