A routine is something that is repeated and reinforced. When it comes to looking after a new baby, there are a lot of divided opinions on whether you should try to enforce a routine or take each day as it comes. Most parents find that having some kind of flexible routine or order of doing things makes their day go more smoothly and can help their baby settle more easily, but this doesn’t suit everyone. It’s up to you to find the routine and level of structure that suits you and your baby the best, especially in the early days.
During the day you probably perform a number of different rituals and routines without even realising it. Waving bye bye to Daddy in the morning, going for a walk to meet your mothers group and having a nap after lunch are all routine which can help your baby learn about the world around them and know what to expect. Although every baby is different, by the end of the first month or so, many babies have fallen into a pattern which resembles this:
This routine will change as your baby gets older and by 6-9 months may be more like this:
You can start establishing a routine as soon as you want. Routines help babies learn to train themselves on how to be great sleepers. It also helps your baby deal with separation from their parents and allows them to feel secure and safe.
For baby’s age 0 to 6 weeks, the average number of sleeps per day is 5 to 6 times. During the first weeks of your baby’s life, routine is more about each feed, activity, sleep cycle and these cycles happen every three to four hours. For 6 weeks to 3 months, the average sleep is 4 to 5 times a day. You will also feel more in control and your baby will start to develop more of a pattern with their sleeping and feeding. If your baby has reached the age of 3 to 6 months, the average sleep is 3 times a day. This time, babies can get into a nice routine. Remember that babies have short sleep cycles that last about 40 to 45 minutes.
During your baby’s 6 to 9 months, your baby sleeps twice a day, 1- to 12 hours per night. Babies should ideally be sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night and be reducing daytime sleeps to two sleeps a day for about one and a half to two hours each. And finally, from 9 months to 12 months, the baby’s sleep is usually the same when he was at 6 to 9 months. Babies should ideally be sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night and be having two naps a day for about one to two hours each. That’s it! But always remember that your baby should have some kind of activity after a feed instead of going right to sleep, so that your baby wouldn’t associate eating with sleeping.