|Photo courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young at freedigitalphotos.net|
I felt I had a slight advantage when my daughter was born, as my twin sisters daughters (also twins!) were approximately 8 months old. I felt I would just follow what she did in regards to routines, this however didn't work, no surprises there!
For every baby has their own individual needs.
Looking back now the early days were the easiest, baby would just eat and sleep whenever she wanted.
Now though I have a good routine in place, it is far from strict and no times are set in stone. My daughter is 14 months old and her routine has looked like this since she was about 10 months old;
7-8am - wake up, breakfast of weetabix and a beaker of milk (approx 150ml)
10am - Nap (usually 30-60mins)
12-12.30pm - Lunch (either a Heinz, Hipp, Organix meal etc or fresh cooked vegetables and fish fingers etc)
2-2.30pm - Nap (usually 30-90 minutes)
4-4.30pm - Dinner
7.30-8.30pm 240ml bottle of milk and bed
Im lucky in that my daughter doesn't wake in the night, I have found she has always been a good sleeper.
The routine above is not set by me as her mum, or by her dad, it is something that my princess has developed herself and she thrives on it. I know that two to two and a half hours after she has woken up she will be tired, and after she wakes from her first nap she will generally be tired three to three and a half hours after she has woken. She will then normally go four and a half to five hours awake till she goes to sleep for the night.
I know maybe some of you are thinking how lucky I am to have a routine in place and one that works as well! But it wasn't so easy to establish in the beginning. As I said earlier I tried to follow my sisters routine that she had in place with her daughters but I was met with great failure, which resulted in an overtired and unhappy baby! My nieces have been on one nap a day for as long as I can remember really. They have lunch and then sleep from 12.30 to roughly 2pm. It can take a long time to learn your own babies needs and to understand how much sleep your baby requires. It was also stressful, if I missed a cue that my daughter was tired she would get upset and if I tried to put her down for a nap too early she would just fight me!
You need to be patient with your baby and you will try and fail, and try and fail but one day, BAM you will get that routine set up, and when you do you will be left with a very happy baby and also a happier mummy and daddy too!
I have found that some people will look at you silly when you say you need to time your day around your babies routine, and I have been met on numerous occasions by the response "baby should fit in with your routine, not the other way around!" but in my world at least, my baby's needs come first, and anyway I have found that if we go out for the day my daughter will still sleep at her usual times whether she is in her cot or in her pushchair. I have had to tell family, and friends, that they will have to be patient and understanding with me as I put my childs needs first when it comes to her routine and that sometimes if I upset her routine I am left with a tired and crying baby, they will just have to understand and be supportive of the way I am bringing up my child.
Routines are a great way to introduce stability and structure into your babies lives. They will often find it a great comfort knowing what is coming next, and you will also be able to plan your day easier as well.
How did you find putting a routine in place? Were you faced with any problems from family and friends?