Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Developing a Routine with Baby

Before my husband and I had children, we had a whole slew of theories about how to raise kids.  A few of those theories have stuck around.  Others have been relaxed.  Still others, like no Superheroes, have been thrown out by the individuality of our children.

One theory we hung onto was keeping our days routine.  Very routine.  And while this doesn't work for everyone, I want to encourage you to take a look at the advantages before blowing it off as too ridged.  We actually found it to provide more flexibility for us than the alternative.  For the basis our schedule, we worked with a three hour routine and then moved to a four hour routine.  Each day slightly different and yet similar enough to be predictable.

In our three hour routine, our time looked like this:

*Waking up and nursing/feeding- Our littles woke up and nursed first.  Similar to how we as adults wake in the morning for breakfast.

*Playtime- This could be anything from tummy time to bath, time in the swing to time with mama.

*Nap time- Most babies get slightly fussy before nap.  The key is to recognize YOUR child's cues.  My little ones would suck their fists, similar to wanting to nurse.  But I knew they had just fed.  It was time for nap.

To help my babies sleep, we swaddled them.  It worked like a charm.  Swaddling works in providing a similar security that the child felt inside your womb.  They squirmed a little, but never cried, and eventually settled down into sleeping.  Other tricks include: white noise, resting your child into a football hold, swaying back and forth in your arms.

The trick to the schedule is that it provides your child with a sense of security.  Their world becomes predictable and orderly.  They know what's coming next and they're confident that you'll provide them with what they need.

This routine saved us.  By knowing when our children would need to nurse and rest, we were better able to plan our day as well.  We knew when our children would be at their best for visiting friends and running errands.  And as our they grew we knew when we could take a little extra time and when they really needed attention.  It also provided us with confidence in parenting.  We were able to understand the moods of our children in how they were affected by lack of sleep and hunger.

Parenting is a grand adventure.  And learning what works with your children will take some trial and error.  But routine and schedule will go a long way in providing you with a smooth start.

1 comment:

Rob and Karina Barber said...

I also used this routine with all three of my babies, plan to use it again with number. It was fantastic. It not only provided the child with the security of being to anticipate what came next, but both mommy and daddy were able to relax more!

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