Humans are creatures of habit, and the habits we form when we are young are the ones we’re most likely to adhere to as we grow and develop. Babies and children especially thrive in environments centered around daily routines. The benefits of a routine for your baby are enormous! A consistent schedule for newborns provides comfort and security because they know when they’ll eat, sleep, play, and bathe. While the idea of sleep schedules, feeding schedules, and more may sound daunting to new parents, establishing a routine for your little one is quite simple!
This article provides tips for creating consistent and beneficial routines for newborns to help them build healthy habits and secure attachments. You know yourself and your baby best, so you’ll have to decide which tips work best for you and how to implement them into your lifestyle. However, the tips below are all flexible and easy to apply to almost any daily routine!
Why is Establishing a Routine for Your Baby Important?
Babies and children thrive on routine. A predictable routine reduces anxiety and stress because your baby knows what to expect. Even though your newborn won’t have the language or cognitive skills to understand what meal time, nap time, playtime, etc., mean, their instincts understand that their basic needs are met on a predictable and reliable schedule.
Plus, establishing a pattern consistency and routine when they are babies will make the transition to toddlerhood, preschool, and school age much easier!
Routines also help parents because they can plan their day better, knowing when their baby will most likely need feeding, a nap, or stimulation through play or other activities. For example, if your baby typically breastfeeds or takes a bottle at 11 AM, you can avoid scheduling a ZOOM meeting or doctor’s visit at the same time.
A schedule also helps you understand your baby’s needs better. Not all babies are the same. There are many guidelines and developmental milestones available. But not all children will fall neatly into those parameters. To help you understand your baby’s routines, use the Baby Daybook Sleep Tracker and Feeding Tracker.
Tips to Establish A Newborn Routine
Tracking is the #1 thing new parents can do to establish a daily routine. A base schedule for newborns consists of feeding, sleep, meal, and play times. Parents may add daily walks or outside time, bath time, tummy time, and independent playtime.
When you first bring your baby home, there’s a steep learning curve. Suddenly, you went from a family of two to three and are entirely responsible for this tiny baby’s well-being! Despite months of planning and preparing, it is often overwhelming at first for new parents.
Before establishing a routine, take the first month or two to settle into your new life as parents. Spending quality time with your little one and gaining parental confidence is essential!
Keep a Log
One thing you can do from the start is keep a feeding log. Daily life with a newborn often feels repetitive, and even if you look at the clock when your baby eats an hour later, you may forget exactly what time it was and how long it’s been since their last feeding.
Of course, your baby will show signs they’re getting hungry, but it’s helpful with the new-parent brain fog to use the Baby Daybook Feeding Tracker! Our feeding tracker tracks when your baby ate, how long they ate, how much they ate, and if you’re breastfeeding, you can track if they nursed on the right or left side or both.
After the first month or two, your newborn will fall into predictable eating, sleeping, and playing patterns. Experts agree that between two and four months is the ideal time to put your baby on a sleep schedule.
The Baby Daybook Sleep Tracker makes it easy and convenient for parents to log their baby’s nap times. Knowing when your baby last slept and for how long allows you to maximize their wake windows for feeding and playtime!
Keep it Predictable
The notion of a schedule is predictability, so when establishing a newborn schedule, follow the established routine as closely as possible. Interruptions and changes will occur; it’s part of life! The plumber takes an hour longer than scheduled, your virtual meeting runs long, or an accident means you get home thirty minutes later than usual.
But when disruptions to the schedule occur, try to keep the order of events the same. So, for example, if your bedtime usually goes feeding, bathing, diapering, and PJs, then storytime, follow those steps even if it has to be later or earlier than normal.
Each step in the routine signals to your baby what’s coming next. Sticking to the routine is especially helpful if traveling to different time zones or during daylight savings time changes.
You and your partner know your baby and their schedule, especially if you’re linked to the Baby Daybook app. However, it is essential to communicate your baby’s routine to caregivers.
If Nana comes over to babysit while you have a date night or your newborn starts childcare at three months old, you will need to communicate your baby’s schedule. Communication eliminates guesswork and confusion and ensures your baby’s schedule isn’t disrupted.
Go With the Flow
Sometimes, things happen that completely disrupt our schedules. It’s easy for parents and babies to become stressed in these situations. Your baby emotionally cues from you, so if you stay calm, they’re more likely to stay calm.
What a baby needs the most is a sense of love and security. So, if your schedule is completely thrown into the air because of travel, holiday plans, a burst water pipe, etc., try to remain calm and go with the flow.
The Baby Daybook trackers will help you keep your baby’s routine as close as possible, even when disaster strikes!
Daily routines help parents and babies thrive! Establishing a routine and keeping your baby on consistent sleep and feeding schedules will decrease stress, help you bond with them, and ensure their needs are met. Among the many benefits of a schedule is that you can plan your day accordingly and effectively maximize your time for yourself and as a family!
Getting Baby on a Sleep Schedule. What to expect. www.whattoexpect.com [accessed November 2023]