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Having a baby is a life-changing event. The first few weeks can be quite an upheaval as you and your baby try to adapt to your new life. But after a while, getting into a routine will help you both.
A new baby can be rather daunting and tiring, even if your baby does spend most of the time sleeping. And then there’s feeding. A newborn baby needs to feed every three hours on average. It also takes a while to get your baby used to day and night, so at this early stage you shouldn’t worry about trying to get into a firm baby routine. Simply focus on getting to know your little one, establishing breastfeeding, getting into a sleep routine, and making sure you rest and look after yourself.
After a few weeks, you can then think about establishing a baby routine. It will help you to feel more in control of your life and also help your little one feel more secure. Most babies will feel more comfortable knowing when it’s time to play, eat or sleep. And for mothers, it’s great to know that you can have a bit of ‘me’ time now and again.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to establishing a baby routine. All babies are different. Introducing a sleep-time baby routine is a good starting point though. In the early evening, by the time your baby is around two or three months old, try a bath, a quick massage, a feed and a soothing song or lullaby. When your little one reaches six months, you may want to introduce a story and a sleep-time teddy. You can encourage your baby to sleep more at night by giving regular feeds during the day, and at night, keep lights low, avoid too much stimulation and only change your baby’s nappy if necessary. Good sleep habits will benefit both parents and child for many years to come.
A soother may also help them to settle. Babies have a strong instinct to suck and that simple sucking action will be naturally relaxing. Try to choose an orthodontic soother, which is better for developing teeth. Remember to sterilise your soothers regularly and always do so whenever they’ve been dropped on the floor.
While it’s recommended that your baby sleeps in your room for the first six months, in a separate crib, there will be times when you’re not in the same room. That’s when a good baby monitor can help. It’s a great way to keep an ear on your baby without rushing in whenever you hear a sound. That way you can let your baby try to settle alone first, which will help to establish good sleeping habits in the long run.
Just remember there are no textbook rules when it comes to baby routines. Your baby is an individual and it can take time to learn what routine works for you both. Not only that, some parents don't want a firm routine, whilst others don't know how they would manage without one. This is your baby, and your time as a mum or dad. So follow your instincts, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice if you need it.