How to get your baby into a routine

Having a routine can make life easier and more enjoyable for you and your baby. But how do you start getting your baby to follow a schedule? Here are a few ideas.

When your baby is a newborn there probably won’t be much of a pattern to what he does and even if there is, this will change all the time. You’ll probably find he will feed every 2 or 3 hours and sleep much of the time – although possibly not when you want him to! And you’ll be feeding whenever he wants to build up your milk supply if you’re breastfeeding.


But once your baby gets to 2 or 3 months old his behaviour will become more consistent. He’ll feed less frequently and sleep more regularly, which will be a great relief for you! This is when you might want to start establishing some sort of schedule around the basics of caring for him: feeding, nappy changing, sleeping and playing.


Some mums don’t like schedules at all, but many find having a routine makes life more manageable. Babies tend to like the calm and consistency of a routine too. It can help them feel secure and stop them from getting overtired and cranky.


This doesn’t mean you have to impose a strict schedule where you do the same things at exactly the same time every day. You can be led by your baby and be as flexible as is right for you and your family.


Here’s how to get started.


  1. Observe your baby. See when he likes to feed, nap, need a nappy change and interact with you – you’ll notice that there’s probably already some sort of pattern. Once you have a good idea of what he likes to do, you can start creating a routine that fits around his natural rhythms and his needs.


  1. Start slowly. Don’t impose a full schedule instantly. Start with the small things like putting him down to nap in the same place during the day.


  1. Do things in the same order – so for example, feed, wind, change then nap.


  1. Teach your baby the difference between night and day. Your baby may still be sleeping and waking regardless of what time of day it is. You can encourage sleeping at night time by making days different from nights. During the day, keep the lights on, play with him and stimulate him.


When night time comes, start a bed time routine. This could include a bath before bed, a relaxing baby massage and a lullaby or a bed time story. Dim the lights at bedtime so your baby starts to associate darkness with sleep.


Some parents also find it helps to have different places for daytime naps and nighttime sleeps.


  1. Keep things consistent. Try to feed your baby sitting in the same place every day, for example. Say the same words when you wish him goodnight and when you feed him. Little rituals that you repeat will help reinforce your routine.


  1. Be adaptable. Your little one is growing and learning all the time and life is probably changing for you too. Your routine needs to be consistent enough to make him feel secure and to allow you to organise your life, but flexible enough to accommodate his new needs and skills.

Did you know…?

Although your baby can’t talk, he’ll have lots of ways of telling you he’s tired. Yawning and rubbing his eyes are the obvious ones, but lots of babies also pull at their ears or rub their noses when they need a nap.


When do you think you should start getting your baby into a routine?

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