I want you to look back on a week where you did every single thing exactly the same each day. Can you think of a time? I can think of routines that I stick to, but that changes fairly often. For instance, I may read after I shower in the evening, but I don’t have time to read every single night. In the same respect, if our own schedules fluctuate, how can we expect an infant to do the exact same thing every single day?
Have you ever woken up after a good nights rest, yet you are still exhausted and don’t know why? Or have you ever had those days where you are just hungry. All. Day. Long. I know that I have, and this is why I don’t stress a “schedule” with my infant. It isn’t fair! She is new here. She is still trying to figure this world and her needs out.
Don’t get me wrong. We do have a general “flow” to our day. Generally, we eat, sleep, get a new diaper, play, and repeat. Does she nap every day at noon? Absolutely not. Does she generally get sleepy in the evenings some time between 8 and 9? Yep. With that being said, here are my three reasons why you should allow a “flow” in your day with your newborn:
They are learning to Communicate
It is important to understand your child’s cues. Crying is the only way that they know how to tell you what is wrong. Both of your days are going to be rough if your sweet babe is trying to tell you that they are hungry, but you are trying to put them down for their scheduled nap. Allow your baby to communicate their needs and listen to them to establish any patterns in their day-to-day life.
Every Day is Different
I have good days and I have bad days. So does my babe. By allowing flexibility in each of our routines, I am enabling her to handle the changes of the day. For example, if your kiddo is cluster feeding all day, chances are she is preparing (herself and you if you are breastfeeding) for a growth spurt. She has to cluster feed if she is nursing so that your supply boosts and can keep up with her increase in appetite. There are so many things that can change your baby’s normal routine, and it is important to be thinking about those factors.
It’s their Routine, NOT yours
Everyone is different. Your baby is different than you. Even though the laundry may be mountainous, the dishes are beginning to stink, or the house looks like a tornado swept through the front door, your babe may not be ready to settle down and allow you to address the house. I had to learn this lesson the hard way and tell myself that the house could wait because my baby needed my attention. She was telling me in her own way that right now she needed me, and later I could tend to the housework. Even though it was far more convenient for me to declare nap time, the day flowed better and had less tears (from both of us!) when I listened to her needs.
Now, I understand that this is not a feasible option for some. My baby stays with me all day. She doesn’t go to a daycare where their day relies heavily on schedules and routines. If you are nearing the time to return to work, start documenting your baby’s day a few weeks in advance. Note any general patterns in his or her day, so that you can relay that information to the provider. Be aware of any changes that may present themselves.
If you do have control over your day, I encourage you to just stop and listen. I guarantee your babe has some things to tell you and will appreciate your ear.
The important take-away from this is that routines are just fine, BUT it is your baby’s routine, not yours. Listen to their cues and set a loose “schedule” based on their needs throughout the day!
Do you use strict schedules or routines in your day? Are you struggling to find a general “flow” to your day? Is your routine pretty flexible? Let me know in the comments section below, or send me an email! I would love to hear your responses.
Hang in there Mommas. You got this.