Getting your little one into a routine

A baby's needs aren't very complicated- food, sleep, play, and lots of cuddles pretty much sums it up.
 
But as a new mum, knowing what your baby requires when, and how much of it, can be a real challenge.
 
Not to mention balancing your baby's needs with your own and those of older siblings and other family members.

Many parents find that getting into a regular routine or schedule with their baby makes life much easier.
 
As a mum, you'll have a predictable pattern for days with your little one. And your baby will know what to expect - for example, that he or she gets a bottle after his or her morning nap. 
 
Experts disagree on when and how to establish a routine, and even on whether you need a set schedule for your baby at all.
 
But many paediatricians say that babies are ready for a general schedule between two and four months of age.
 
Your baby may fall into fairly predictable patterns long before this, however. If that's the case, you can gently encourage your baby’s emerging routine.
 
Tracking your child's eating, sleeping, and alert times can give you an understanding of his or her natural rhythms and enable you to pinpoint developing patterns.
 
In the days following the arrival of your little one, many parents begin to note when their baby feeds, when he or she poops and pees, when he or she sleeps and for how long, and so on.

To log your baby's daily routine, you can use a notebook and pen, a computer spreadsheet, or an online service like the Trixie Tracker phone app.
 
There are three main styles of scheduling your baby’s routine, so it’s just a case of seeing which one suits you the best.
 
Mums know best however, so you may want to combine all three or do things your own way - although these styles will give you an idea of how scheduling typically works.
 
Parent-led schedules: These are the most to-the-minute. They may specify exactly when (and sometimes how much) your baby will eat, when he or she will sleep and for how long, when he or she play or go out, and so on. The schedule may be one you create based on your baby's natural patterns or a suggested routine from an expert, but once it's set, it's very consistent from day to day.
 
Baby-led schedules: These are the least defined kind of routine. You follow your baby's lead, meaning you'll look for his or her cues to decide what he or she needs next rather than imposing a timetable for feedings, rest, or play. This doesn't mean your days will be totally unpredictable. After the first few weeks, most babies form their own fairly regular patterns of sleeping, playing, and eating. But your baby's schedule may vary from day to day depending on the signals he or she is giving you.

Combination schedules: This type of scheduling brings together elements of both baby and parent-led methods. With this approach, you'll have a timetable for when your baby will eat, sleep, play, and so on, and you'll generally stick to a similar pattern every day. But you'll have more flexibility than with a strictly parent-led routine. A nap can be pushed back if your baby doesn't seem tired yet, and lunch can be postponed if a trip to the store takes longer than expected. 
Déanta in Éirinn - Sheology
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