We were speaking to a mother the other day, who had recently had her third baby and was feeling a little stressed about baby routines. She was asking how to stay calm and get everything done each day.
Many families with toddlers don’t follow a strict routine because they’re busy with toddlers and family activities, you just get on with what you have to do, and the baby comes along too.
The main thing that newborn babies do is feed and sleep, with a small awake time. You want to encourage the awake time to be in the day! Feeding will occur regularly, typically every 4 hours – but your baby will let you know when they are hungry. Do half a feed, burp, change nappy, feed other half, burp, then put baby to sleep. When baby wakes in the day they might then have a little awake time before getting hungry and repeating the process. At night time, you’ll just want to feed and change nappy with minimal stimulation.
Typically baby sets the bulk of the routine. You cannot force a newborn to sleep, nor to feed. The best you can do, is try to set a time for things (say, 5pm is bath time), but be flexible with it. Mothers that are bottle feeding need to be slightly more organized to get equipment cleaned, sterilized, and prepared with formula compared to breastfeeding mums that have milk ready whenever.
Plus when babies go through growth spurts and need extra feeds or increased feeds during those times, it can throw out your routine.
A common question that mothers with baby plus toddler will ask is “I just don’t know what to do first!.”
The best piece of advice we can give is to deal with the toddlers needs first. Your toddler will remember that you left them crying while you dealt with the baby, though baby won’t remember that they spent five minutes crying whilst you gave their elder sibling a cuddle or whatever it is they needed.
If baby has a sleep in the car instead of their normal morning nap in bassinette, it’s not the end of the world.
Just relax a bit more and enjoy having a new baby and really take in how your older children are interacting with the new baby. Ask your partner for help if you need it, and take advantage of the fact that your other children might be able to help with things around the house.
Don’t forget that this stage doesn’t last forever, and in fact, really doesn’t last that long.
Written by Guest Author Charlotte