I am not the authority on raising kids and I’m sure there are plenty of mums out there with other methods that might work for them. But if what your doing isn’t working out so well its always worth while looking into other options. For me I have found that having a routine has helped me when I felt unsure of where to even start with a baby. How to help them, how to stop them crying.. why are they even crying? Are they getting enough sleep? Are they overtired? Will I be able to go to the Dr without having to breastfeed in the waiting room? All these feelings of anxiety and uncertainty can be helped by having a routine. Not only that you can structure in time to clean the house, have time to shower, time for myself and time to make dinner etc. You feel more in control and confident among so many other benefits for both mum and baby.
Some people wait quite a while before settling into a routine like 9 months when problems have started to arise. I think having a routine to work towards from birth is ideal, just know that tiny babies are learning the difference between day and night and will need a lot of feeds so you may need to go with the flow sometimes. The full benefits of the routine really set in from 3-4 months in my experience.
Benefits for you
- An hour or more to yourself each day during nap time
- Additional hour to have a shower and do your makeup or (other) on your own
- A tidy house throughout the day as chores are fit into the routine
- Balance between doing housework and playing with your child is achieved
- Have time to have an outing whilst still meeting responsibilities at home
- Have the ability to schedule appointments at times of the day you know your children will not need to be fed, grumpy or tired
- Have time to spend with your spouse after 7:30pm as kids are in bed and housework is done throughout the day
- Have your own needs met over the course of the week
- Feel in control and positive when reflecting on your week
Benefits for your baby and toddler
- Baby has little need to cry as you are feeding them and putting them to bed at appropriate times
- When baby does cry you can more easily identify what the problem is
- Problems from overtiredness don’t arise
- Child feels safe and in control by having a predictable routine
- Child has the security of a calm environment
- Toddler has a self-disciplined and productive lifestyle modelled to them
- Toddler enjoys a balance of activities each day – Independent play, quiet play, one on one time with mum and dad, indoor and outdoor play
- Toddler accepts and appreciates that mum and dad are in charge
Of course you need to be flexible with your day when following a routine. It’s a guide, something to work towards rather than the chaos of cleaning at random when you can, random feeds at inconvenient times and the screaming of over tired children. If one day your planned routine goes out the window there is always tomorrow to work towards getting back in track.
The funny thing is many mums who work on a tight routine with their first find that with their second the routine is looser and the child is easier. So do not stress about it. Its a guide to help you not to stress you. Although I believe the main reason the second is usually easier is because we fuss over them less, we have less time to get to them immediately when they cry as they go off to sleep, allowing them to settle on their own more often..
Please comment if you are interested to see some examples of routines, or if you have any great benefits or ideas to add..