Routines, Gifts In Disguise!
Routines. It’s not a bad word I promise! In fact, quite the opposite. A routine can be a saving grace in the day in the life of a new mother. In an already whirlwind realm of the unknown, having a routine (note: not schedule!) allows one to face the day head on with confidence. What’s the difference between a routine and a schedule? So glad you asked! By definition, a routine is a sequence of actions followed regularly. A schedule is defined as appointing, assigning or designating at a fixed time. See, the difference? Assigning a set time to do an action is a schedule. Doing actions in a sequence is a routine. One gives a new parent breathable room, the other can be stressful.
When raising a tiny human, there are many a routine families will endure. There’s a feeding routine. Perhaps a bedtime routine. A much needed for baby, nap routine. There’s immunization routines, and routine well-check visits. Some families will encompass all of these routines, while others will implement ones that fit their parenting and life styles best. Which is the beautiful thing about routines, YOU get to decide what routines to put into motion.
Routines in feeding are the most important. Feeding is the number #1 way for your baby to thrive in those early stages of life. ‘Feeding on demand’ is definitely one way to make sure your baby gets their nourishment. This entails watching baby’s hunger cues and feeding baby breast milk or formula to address this need. Sometimes babies are on a set regimen of eating every 2-3 hours, or 3-4 hours. Routinely setting up your feeding station and securing that you have all the supplies you need, nursing pillow, water, burp cloth, bottle, etc will keep you prepared without scrambling or watching the clock. In those first four weeks of life, it is recommended that a baby feeds a minimum of 8 satiated feeds in a 24 hour period. Think about what your own needs are (eating, showering, resting, etc) and intertwine that with baby’s feeding needs. Knowing that you have on average 3 hours between a 30 min feed, You are ready to rock your days as a new mom!
Routines in bedtime are a godsend.
Let me explain. Your baby will turn into a toddler. Your toddler will turn into a kid. Your kid will turn into a teenager…Well, you get the idea. Setting up night time sleeping routines is one that your child needs, neurologically. Babies need an average of 18-20 hours of sleep a day in those early days of life. As they age, 10-12 hours is still needed around age 15. That shift is not so grandiose. So you see, sleep is imperative. Start with putting your baby down to sleep after a filling feed in the evening. Knowing that baby will need to feed in 2-3 hours. This is prime for you-time, you and partner time, preparing yourself for your slumber, or preparing for tomorrow. At that next feeding cue, feed the baby. Once feeding session has ended, get ready for your own sleep and hit the sack. The benefits of a bedtime routine, is that your baby’s body will naturally begin to recognize the time of day that it is ready to turn in. As your baby ages, the time may change, but the time frame will remain the same. You will notice that around a certain time of the evening, your baby begins to show signs of sleepiness or show signs of over stimulation; and is ready to be put to bed. The difference? One allows you to feed, bathe, cuddle, and put to sleep. While the other wants to be settled into bed immediately. Amazing at what our babies tell us when we look and listen!
Since sleep begets sleep, how your baby sleeps during bedtime will impact how they sleep at nap-time.
Because your baby needs those 18+ hours of sleep, some of those Zzzz’s will be had during the daylight. Setting up nap-time routine can (and should) be flexible. This will allow baby to sleep when they are tired and be able to sleep anywhere. If you follow the E.A.S.Y routine, you’ll know that following a feeding will result in a naperooni. Mimic a variegated evening sleep routine with some daylight through the window. Run a sound machine to keep the noise at a consistent pace. This way, any loud or abrupt sounds won’t startle awake a peacefully sleeping baby. Thanks Alexa!
Baby’s first set of routine immunizations occur at at birth and then again at 2 months.
These vaccines are given on a routine basis throughout the baby’s first year according to the CDC recommendations. In many cases, families are able to opt out of the recommended immunization schedule, or implement a delayed vaccine schedule. The CDC recommends that vaccines be routinely given at 2 months, then again at 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months throughout babies first year. To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate is the discretion of you the parents.
Well baby checks are one of the routines that are up there with sleep routines in importance.
In that first year of baby’s life, there are well-check visits at 2-4 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year. These visits consist of checking baby’s height and weight, head circumference, and development and growth for their age. At the well check visit, this is an opportune time to discuss any concerns with the pediatrician. A precaution that I like to share with new parents in relation to the well-check visit, is the growth charts. Pediatricians utilize the WHO chart to determine preferred height/weight ratios. These charts are used for boys and girls across the world. These charts can also provoke fear and self-doubt in a new parent. The key to remember at the routine well-check visits is an incline in height and weight and developmental skills is what’s most important. Try to resist the temptation to compare your baby to your neighbors, sister’s, best friends’ child.
Routines can be a great tool to throw in your parenting toolbox. Having a little bit of predictability and foundation in your day as a new tired, anxious parent, You’ll be equipped with the ability to shuck and jive when life throws a wrench. Daylight savings time, teething, sleep regressions, illness, trips and travels, babysitters, daycare, etc. will all be a little more manageable. Remember, when children have an idea of what’s coming next (aka like a routine), there is less stress, instances of “acting out”, and the comforts of predictability and normalcy.