Introducing More Firm Routines

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Babies need routine the same way teenagers need boundaries, it’s one of the best gifts you can give your children. According to the experts, babies are happier, more calm and more at ease when they know what to expect.

Each child is different and every family has different needs which should guide them when introducing a schedule for their baby.

When Kairo was born we decided to let her develop a natural schedule for the first few months, that would work for all of us, and to then use this as our guide to start implementing a firm but flexible routine later on. She is almost 5 months old now and have settled into a natural schedule. We have decided that the time has come to introduce more firm, but flexible routines for Kairo.

During the first 6 weeks we were basically adjusting to having a baby around. Kairo was being breastfed on demand and we experimented with different bath times to see what worked best for us. Activities during her awake times were being randomly selected and decided upon, depending on what we had planned for the day and what we felt like doing at the time.

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She is currently on formula, feeding roughly every 4 hours and still has a night feed at about 2.30am. Bedtime is anywhere between 7pm and 9pm and she has 2-3 short naps during the day. We are also co-sleeping, either in the same bed or in the same room.

This week we introduced a more firm routine, structured around bathtime, bedtime, naps and feeds to help her get used to a schedule over the next four months (5-9 months).

We use the Sprout Baby App to track feeds, naps, diaper changes and activities.

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ROUTINE: WHAT WE WANT TO ACHIEVE

We don’t believe in the “let her cry it out” approach … therefore the emphasis on “gradually”. Kairo’s happiness and comfort is always our main priority when introducing anything new to her. We believe in the concept “learning through play” where nothing is ever forced but rather introduced in a fun way.

• Gradually establish a bathtime routine
• Gradually establish a bedtime routine
• Gradually eliminate the 2.30am night feed
• Start the weaning process and introduce solids
• Gradually introduce set mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks) in a fun way.
• Purposeful play with more structured activities during awake time (learning through play) … the emphasis is on FUN and PLAY
• Provide opportunities for her to learn self soothing techniques
• Gradually getting her to sleep in her own bedroom

SCHEDULE GUIDELINES

These are the guidelines that I am using to establish a schedule for Kairo. It is not set in concrete so I will adapt it as needed and as we go along. She is not on solids yet but we will start the weaning process in the next few weeks, around 6 weeks.

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This Month ( 5-6 Months)

1. Kairo’s milk consumption varies between 150 – 200 ml per feed and she has 5 feeds in 24 hours. Occasionally she will only drink between 80 – 100ml per feed, the 2.30 am feed is usually one of these.
2. She naps for 45 – 60 minutes at a time
3. We engage with her during her awake time

Daily Schedule (Guide)

6.30am                 Milk feed on waking (sometimes she goes back to sleep)
9.00am                 Nap
10.30am               Milk feed
12.30pm               Nap
2.30pm                 Milk feed
3.00pm                 Nap
6.00pm                 Bath (introduce routine)
6.30pm                 Milk feed
7.00pm                 Bedtime (introduce routine)
2.30am                 Milk feed (working on doing away with this feed)

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Next Month (6 – 9 Months)

1. Introduce solids
2. Establish bath and bedtime routines
3. Establish set mealtimes
4. Purposeful play during awake time

Daily Schedule (Guide)

6.30am                 Milk feed on waking
8.30am                 Breakfast (solids)
9.00am                 Nap
10.30am               Milk feed
12.30pm               Lunch (solids)
2.30pm                 Milk feed
3.00pm                 Nap
5.00pm                 Supper (solids)
6.00pm                 Bath (routine)
6.30pm                 Last milk feed
7.00pm                 Bedtime (routine)

Over the next 4 months, I will share details of the above, how we went about establishing schedules and introducing routine into Kairo’s life. I will also share what worked and what did not work for us and the adjustments we had to make along the way.

Some blog posts to look out for in the New Year !

1. My Breastfeeding Journey

2. Bath and Bedtime Routines (including: sleeping in my own bed and self soothing techniques)

3. Weaning and the Introduction of Solids

4. Learning through Play

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Please share your own experiences and thoughts on schedules and routine with us.

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7 Comments, RSS

  1. Stowitey@gmail.com'

    Thobela December 4, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

    My daughter is 7 months old. We also initially allowed her to set her own routine. She set out a routine whereby she would wake around 8am, feed, play, sleep around 11 till about 1pm and nap again at 3pm. I exclusively breastfed for 6 months and fed on demand. We co sleep. She know has also a bath and beftime routine. She is on solids now and breastmilk. I am back at work and express her day feeds. Its quite demanding but totally worth it.

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