She’s been living in the dark for the past nine months – waking when you’re sleeping, and sleeping when you’re up during the day — so it will take your newborn a little while to learn the difference between night and day, let alone get into a routine.
If you’re keen to timetable your baby’s feeding and sleeping, it’s best to wait until she’s at least eight weeks old to start implementing a routine. When she’s tiny, your child needs to know her needs will be responded to. She needs time to set her biological clock, gain some weight, and get used to the world.
Some experts believe that babies are happier when they’re following a regular schedule of feedings and naps that follows their natural body rhythms. Others argue that parents should respond in a timely, loving way to their child’s needs regardless of the time of day. In other words, routines can be helpful – just don’t be too dogged in your attempts.
- Don’t try to establish a routine until your baby is at least two months old. After that, you may find it helpful to keep a journal where you record when she sleeps, eats, has quiet but alert time, and when she is most likely to be grizzly (you can track her bowel movements too, if you like).
- Look for patterns in her behaviour and formulate a routine based upon the patterns. If your baby’s feeding every hour and a half and you’d like her to feed every three hours, try holding off feeds for 15 minutes the first day, 20 the next, and so on.
- Help your baby take regular naps for longer amounts of time by noticing when she’s sleepy and putting her to nap in a dark room with minimal noise. Follow the same brief ritual (reading a book and having a cuddle, for example) before every nap and at bedtime.