The best time to start a routine for your baby is from 3 months. According to experts that’s when they have a predictable and consistent pattern. You can tell when they poop or pee, nap, eat and when they are alert. It’s impossible to put a new born baby on a schedule because they feed on demand and sleep almost all the time.
However, this doesn’t mean that your baby can’t start showing a consistent pattern earlier than three months. You have to be keen though to realize the pattern. Some parents prefer logging in their baby’s activities and the timing to make it easier.
There are three main styles of baby schedules
Parent-led schedules – are strict schedules created by the parents or a baby expert. You can create this schedule led by your baby’s consistent patterns or not. Either way, parent-led schedules are followed strictly down to the minute.
Baby-led routines – are not as strict as parent-led schedules. This is a routine that goes with your baby’s flow. To create this schedule you have to be sensitive to your child’s cues. Experts say that babies form their own regular routines after a few weeks so your days won’t always be unpredictable.
Combined schedules – are schedules that have elements of both parent and baby-led routines. For example, if your parent –led schedule says snack time is 10am but your baby had a late breakfast you can push the snack time later. A combination schedule is more flexible and some experts highly recommend it.
How to start a baby schedule
Follow the cues Babies are unpredictable when they are young. They might have formed their regular routine for a few weeks but then change it in the next. Sometimes there are no two similar days so you have to be very keen if you want to establish a baby schedule. Picking up on your baby’s cues is the best way to avoid meltdowns during the day and at night.
You might think it’s silly to start a bedtime routine for your infant because they sleep for most of the day. However, experts say that it’s important to differentiate daytime activities and nighttime activities early. It’s all about setting the right environment. For example, make a habit of changing your child into their pajamas, reading a story, singing a lullaby or even dimming the lights to let them know it’s time for bed. Signals are not only important for bed time but also bath time and meal times. For example, just before bath time you can put out the towels, basin, soap and others so the baby knows what is about to happen. For meal times, you can put on the bib, prepare the feeding chair to they know it’s meal time.
As the child grows make a habit of eating together as a family even though your baby will be on their feeding chair. This helps them develop excellent feeding habits as they grow.
Finally, keep in mind that your baby’s schedule has to work well with yours. Remember you also have to shower, eat and most importantly rest. So as much as routines are important for baby’s do whatever works for you.