A baby spends his day sleeping, feeding and playing. Getting into a daily rhythm for sleep, feeding, and play can certainly make life easier for your baby and you.
When you are trying to create a consistent schedule for your baby, start by having your baby get used to a bedtime routine. Make sure that the bedtime routine is convenient for you and your baby so it can be consistently followed. During the first few months, it can be difficult to establish a schedule for bedtime however once you are able to establish a consistent bedtime, it will be easier to create a daytime routine. The best time to start practicing is when your baby is about two months old.
The routine is really simple. After giving your little one a warm bath, put on his pajamas, give his sleep time feeding, then it is lights off. In the early months, feeding may lull your baby to sleep however by 3-4 months, try putting your baby down while he is still awake so he will learn to fall asleep on his own.
At first, babies may sleep long stretches during the day and is awake most of the night. Sooner or later this routine will change as you help your baby learn to distinguish day from night. Your baby needs to know that night is for sleeping and daytime is for playtime and socialization. Keep the house bright during daytime while keep your surroundings dim and quiet at night. During night feedings, maintain quietness and don’t talk too much. This is your first step to fit into a workable routine.
The signals and cues that your baby sends out is an important guide when you are figuring out an appropriate schedule for your little one. When you learn to read his signals, you will know what he needs. Your learning process will entail time and patience but as you try your best to observe and learn, you will see patterns that emerge over time.
If your baby is still getting used to the schedule, put his schedule first particularly during the first couple of weeks. Any break in the schedule such as vacations and outings can cause deviation from the routine. Your baby’s naptime might be pushed back when you there is a change in your activities.
Once your baby gets used to the established routine for sleeping, waking, and feeding, deviating from the schedule for a day is unlikely to undo what he has learned. However, consistency is the key especially while your baby is still in the process of getting used to the routine.
You should be aware that the routine you established when your baby is 4 months old will have to be changed and/or adjusted as time goes by. As your baby develops and gets older, he will need fewer naps during daytime and more time for play and socialization. He will also need to be fed several times a day. By knowing what to expect during a baby’s development stages, you will be able to adjust his routine accordingly.
Be ready to make adjustments as your child reaches major milestones in his very young life. Don’t be surprised if your baby tends to deviate from his usual routine during periods of growth or when he’s working to achieve another milestone. Just be patient, for your baby may be back on track again shortly. This is also a sign that you need to make adjustments to his daily regimen.
Don’t expect your baby’s routine to always run according to schedule. Although babies thrive on consistency, there will be changes anytime as your baby grows and develops. Any deviation in your baby’s routine is okay as long as you make sure that your baby gets enough sleep, play, food and care that he needs.