Is Your Baby Ready For A Routine?

When your newborn arrives, his "schedule" will revolve around little more than sleeping and eating on demand. But eventually, he may benefit from a more set schedule.

Newborn baby sleeping

Rigid versus relaxed

Some parents swear by a strict set schedule for their little ones while other parents are a little more relaxed when it comes to their kids' routines, allowing their babies to set the pace for the schedule. Through trial and error, find the routine (or lack thereof!) that works for you and your baby. And don't get discouraged if baby doesn't take to the schedule right away but don't force it either -- you're not a bad parent if you don't put your baby on a set schedule.

Feed on-demand

Most experts agree that feeding on-demand is best for a newborn. You can start to create a feeding schedule around two to four months of age. Creating a feeding schedule is ideal for working moms who have to be away from baby throughout the day and need baby to take a bottle. Work with baby's natural feeding patterns when creating his feeding schedule.

However, take caution when setting a feeding schedule for baby. Never refuse baby a feeding simply to abide by the set schedule, especially if he is suffering from low birth weight or dehydration.

Setting a sleep schedule

Newborns will nap for two to four hour stints throughout the day and night for the first few weeks of life. When baby is about three to four months of age, you'll start to see his natural nap/sleep patterns so you can work with them to create the schedule that works for both of you.

To ensure sleep schedule success, create a nap and night time routine that baby will come to recognize. Give him a warm bath, wrap him in a cozy blanket, cuddle with him in a dimly lit room and/or read and sing to him.

Be flexible

Don't force a schedule so strictly that you or baby will get disturbed if the schedule is disrupted at some point. Reality happens so it's best for you and baby to be able to go with the flow and be flexible.

More on baby's schedule

6 Baby sleep solutions
Breastfeeding baby: On schedule or on demand
Adding playtime to your baby's schedule

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