I have always been a little OCD and extremely organised. So, when a baby came into our world and shook up my rather timetabled life it took some getting used to! When Isaac was just 2 months old I began to use a daily routine with him.
I wanted to ensure that Isaac had evenly spaced naps; regular feedings; scheduled nappy changes and a range of activities throughout the day. For the first few days this sort-of ‘worked’. Isaac played ball with all my exciting sensory-overload activities that he was tired-out enough even to begin sleeping through the night!
On reflection, after a week or so, I realised I was treating Isaac more like a Tamagotchi than a baby! My ‘routine’ was far too rigid for him to stick to when so young. As was completely appropriate, he needed to feed and nap on demand.
A change of plan
I decided to tweak my ‘timetable’ (on the advice of more experienced friends and family) and created a far more flexible plan.
Now I have a weekly ‘plan’ rather than an hour-by-hour schedule that must be adhered to. In my plan I have a ‘things to do with baby’ and a ‘things to do when baby is napping’ section.
Across the week I then spread out the jobs I wish to get done while Isaac sleeps, e.g.:
- Sterilising bottles and breast pump (daily)
- Cleaning house
- Skyping family/homeschooling friends’ children
Then I detail the activities I’d like to do with Isaac across the week including:
- Going for a walk
- Daily tummy time
- Story time
- Singing nursery rhymes
- Sensory sessions
I now simply ensure that the activities and jobs are done at some point across the week. This is at no set time and is led by Isaac depending on when he wants to nap or have his milk. It is working so well. We both have full and busy days without becoming completely worn out (and Isaac still sleeps like a total boss!)
I am sure once Isaac is old enough to have a concept of daily routine things will start to fit more neatly. However, right now things are working great as they are. After all, who is going to shoot me if I cuddle my baby all morning, read two stories instead of one, or skip a bath time?! Will the day really be ruined if an explosive poo occurs at 2pm rather than at the scheduled 4pm?! In short. No.
A handy app for the routine-lovers
One thing I have found incredibly helpful for keeping on track of Isaac’s needs is an App called ‘Baby Tracker’. It is free to use and has been so helpful for those times when Isaac is being grouchy and I’m trying to figure out why. It helps us to target what his most likely need is at different times of the day.
This free App allows you to:
- Keep a record of when your baby feeds (and how much they take in or how long they stay on the breast)
- Record when you change the nappy and what ‘flavour’ it is
- Track nap times and lengths
- For the expressers among us, schedule your pumping and how much milk you’re getting
Do you have a routine for your baby? Are you structured or led by him/her? What works for you? Let me know in the comments below!