While the word, “routine” may bring the image of spreadsheets to your mind, having one with your new baby is the best way to go for everyone involved. With a schedule of sorts in place, you can minimize disruption in your household and reduce stress for you and your baby.
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Children enjoy having repetition because the world is new to them, and familiarity provides relief among all the chaos. For you and the other people in your home, fostering some habits eases the effects of the baby’s transition into his or her new home environment.
You don’t have to get out the stopwatch just yet, as creating a routine is actually pretty simple and involves following some basic guidelines. Make sure your family and friends are aware of your routine, so everyone is on the same page and they can give you support. Check out the following seven ways to start off life with your new child on the most organized foot possible.
Feed Every Three To Four Hours
Unless your doctor has advised otherwise, try to feed your baby every three to four hours. If you can get your child on a feeding schedule, you won’t be surprised by a hungry and upset infant in the middle of the grocery store. Use the feeding schedule to plan your day, as this will help things go more smoothly.
Don’t Let Your Baby Sleep All Day
One of the hardest things for me as a new parent was waking up my son during the day for a feed when he was sleeping soundly. But if I didn’t, I always ended up regretting it because he was up for most of the night instead or incredibly upset when he did finally wake up because he was starving.
It’s important to foster good sleeping habits in your child so they aren’t up all night when you’re trying to get some much-needed sleep. Wake your child periodically if they are sleeping for long periods during the daytime, and don’t hesitate to interrupt a nap for a feeding time.
Make Sure Your Child Is Full
Your baby needs to be full to have a proper sleep, so don’t let them go to sleep half-full if possible. One way to tell if your child isn’t fed enough is whether they need a diaper change and are tired after a feeding.
A baby who isn’t full yet will remain alert and more attentive than one who is full. Try to feed your baby more if necessary. Burp them if more food is refused, as your baby may be filled with gas, and this makes your child feel full and uncomfortable.
Avoid Snack Feeding
All babies are different, so your child may need a snack-feed here and there, but you have to be careful not to foster bad habits when it comes to eating.
Sometimes, a baby who eats in between feedings will develop problems staying asleep for long periods of time at night. They will awake periodically for small feedings instead of sleeping soundly in between regular ones.
Let Your Child Be At Nap Time
Generally, you should swaddle and lay your baby down in their cradle or bassinet for naps, as opposed to rocking or holding your baby until they fall asleep. This encourages self-soothing behavior.
If your baby becomes used to rocking, holding or being carried around before nap time, they will expect the same treatment every time. There will be times when your baby is unsettled and will need some soothing at bedtime. When this happens, try to take them for a short walk. Walks usually calm babies down and help them stay asleep for a longer period of time.
Watch Those Temperatures
Babies are very sensitive to temperature changes. Try to keep your baby from becoming too hot or cold at bedtime, as this can upset their usual sleeping pattern. Observe your baby for signs that they are too cold, such as shivering or cold skin, or too hot, such as flushing, sweating and fidgeting.
Take measures, like adding or removing a blanket, as needed to ensure your baby is comfortable.
Prevent A Mass Pass Around
While a new baby is exciting, and your family and friends naturally will want to hold your new child, try to limit how much your baby is passed around at a given time. Babies can get over-stimulated if they’re passed off from person to person.