No method of parenting works as well for some as it does for others. There is no miracle solution to make any part of it easy, that’s for sure! But many parents have started to approach parenting new babies in the same way they might prefer to approach other areas of their life. Routine makes things become easier over time because you can turn those tasks into a habit. They soon become like second-nature, and you don’t have to even think about them. Best of all, the physical side of routine tasks becomes quicker and easier because it is so well practiced.
So what parts of bringing up baby can become routine for you as a parent?
If only nursing were easy! It’s a natural process so many moms mistakenly believe it should just happen. But you’ve never done it before. And your newborn certainly hasn’t. Don’t think for a second that some inbuilt instinct will take over. It rarely happens that way. Like most other parts of parenting, you need time to learn this skill and plenty of practice before it becomes a routine part of your day.
A lot of new moms find they need support and coaching to get things right with nursing. And some moms and newborns never find a way to make it work. That’s OK, and it doesn’t make either of you a failure. After all, breastfeeding can be very painful, and it can be difficult for your little one to do well enough to gain a healthy amount of weight each week. Does making feeding time routine help? Yes, and no.
New moms know that leaving it too long before feeds can make your chest hurt. A longer nap than usual, or simply having to go to work can lead to this dilemma. Equally, offering a feed before you’re ready means little one isn’t going to get a full meal. Sometimes any baby crying can set you off! Like napping, you just have to deal with demand on this one most of the time. Getting into a routine of sitting, positioning, and comforting can help make the experience more pleasant. It can help to become more easy-going for you both.
Some babies are very uncertain of the water. Others don’t want to come out! Washing your newborn at the same time each evening can help them prepare for bedtime. This same activity works for us throughout our lives to trigger the body and mind for sleep. Making the activities in the tub routine can be helpful too. But you might be missing out on opportunities to aid development for your child if you rush too much.
The texture of bubbles and the sensation of water running over the body are important for your child to experience. Over time, you’ll want to introduce different color and shaped toys. These help with vision, attention, and the reaching response. It’s OK to mix up the things you do for play with your child.
As for the process of washing? Keep it gentle and warm. This is the time of day you start to notice potential problems. You might spot skin disorders and cradle cap. It’s important not to panic. Most of these are normal and can self-correct over time. There is an article titled ‘The 6 Best Ways To Prevent & Treat Cradle Cap’ that can be very helpful if you spot something unusual on baby’s skin. Of course, if you’re spotting bruises or damage to the skin, it’s essential you make an appointment with your baby’s doctor to check it out.
Bathtime will end with gentle pat-drying and a fresh diaper. Then you might dress your baby, have a cuddle and lay her down to sleep. Do you read to your baby? Perhaps you sing or play a gentle ballad on your guitar? Making these activities routine is great for a child of any age. It gives you both quality time together and can be very soothing and comforting for a little one. Best of all, as a routine, it helps to settle down for sleep to become routine too.
Can activities performed every day support healthy development as your child grows? Yes, it can, but over time, new challenges and tasks need to be introduced to develop new skills. If you have a set time each day where you can massage your baby or help them to get moving, this can be hugely useful. There is nothing to say it will speed up the first crawl, or bring out the first word any quicker. But it does help you feel assured that you’ve spent that quality time with your baby.
Simple things like taking a walk each day can become routine. Of course, the time of day might have to change, depending on the weather and your other commitments. When your little one is a little bigger and stronger, tummy time helps to introduce your baby to the process of independent moving. It can help with rolling and crawling. It all takes practice. Should it be routine? Chances are your baby will be overtired sometimes, and hungry at others. Tick it off the list, but don’t expect 1 pm to be the best time to tackle this every single day.
Mom and baby groups are great ways to help you stay socially active. It also helps you to share your mom stories with others. You’ll soon hear that your worries and experiences are common to most moms. Best of all, your baby can experience social gatherings and identify those sounds as normal and comforting. Most groups are held by community nurses, midwives and other infant specialists. They can help support you through any problems. Most importantly, they can help you pick up any developmental difficulties your baby might be having. Make it a routine part of your week to attend these types of sessions.
Some moms, especially with two or more kids in diapers, tend to find it easier to change diapers at a routine time. Others prefer to wait until the diaper is full and then change it. This is far more cost-effective, but there is a worry that urine might have been in contact with your baby’s skin for too long. Redness and sores down there make a grumpy baby and this, in turn, makes you grumpy and tired! Routine checks are certainly a good idea, but it’s probably not necessary to change a diaper every time the clock changes. Find the balance that suits you both.
There are three different diaper changes. The first is the full diaper that will emit an odor telling the whole household it’s time to change it! This requires copious cotton balls, water, and wipes to clean up. You might need to add some cream to soothe sore skin in the area too. Of course, these can turn up half a dozen times per day or more. Getting your clean-up routine up to speed can be very helpful for the sensitive nose!
The second is the wet diaper. These become more common as your little one gets bigger. They don’t tend to smell, and often are difficult to pick up. Diapers tend to be very good these days at drawing wetness away. Still, some soreness might be evident, so don’t be afraid to use a little warm water to wash and then some soothing cream.
The third is the fresh diaper because you’re putting the baby down for the night, or you’re going out. You don’t know whether it needs changing, but you’re going out fresh anyway! Not every wet diaper has to be changed immediately so don’t feel guilty if you find it has become quite full of wet without you noticing. Change more regularly if your little one’s skin is sensitive to it.
We are creatures of habit, and most of us had quite strict routines before we became pregnant. We got up at the same time each morning, brushed our teeth, had a shower, ate breakfast and went to work. Even at work, we tended to do the same tasks at the same time each day. Then, back at home, we watched the same TV shows, ate the same meals on Friday nights, and enjoyed the same bedtime routine.
It’s important you keep up as many of your old habits as you can. A newborn can’t sleep for many hours before feeling too hungry. This will interrupt your own sleeping patterns. Still, try to start your night as you did before. It won’t be too long before they make it through the night. Then, in the morning, try to get back into your regular routine. It’s easier to do when you’re super tired because it’s so rehearsed!
Strict routines are probably impossible with a newborn. Still, some routines are incredibly helpful. You’ll undoubtedly pick up many new ones along the way. Others will require you to become more flexible than ever before. Which routines have helped you as a new mom?