Creating A Routine For Your Baby

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image from wikipedia One of the most difficult, yet important things to do during your baby’s early days of life is to get a routine for the day.  Having a routine actually helps to decrease crying episodes and helps your infant begin to anticipate what “comes next”. This sense of familiarity or routine is calming for most babies and, in turn, results in less bouts of crying and fussiness.

During a baby’s first few days, it is common for them to “mix up” their days and nights.  In other words, they are awake most of the night and sleep during the day!  While you may be tempted to allow your newborn to sleep during the day so you can get some rest too, it’s best to try to fix the problem before the pattern becomes ingrained. 

During the early days, it’s best to try to rouse your baby every so many hours instead of allowing them to sleep during the day for long periods of time.  This should help them get back on track as far as sleeping for longer periods of time during the night.

Keeping a journal is a great way to try to figure out any patterns in your baby’s behavior.  For example, perhaps she tends to drift off to sleep each day around 9 am or he wakes up each day around 5 am.  By keeping a journal, you may discover that your baby already has developed a routine without your help!  All you have to do is continue the pattern that has already been established.

If your baby doesn’t have any discernible patterns in her daily routine, you can help her develop a routine.  Begin by trying to rouse her at a certain time each day.  Put her down for a nap at a certain time each day and also schedule a bedtime. 

You can help your infant tell the difference between nap time and bed time by developing a bed time routine which could include a bath and a story.  Many parents also rock their baby’s to sleep before bed time. 

Remember, while routines are important, there are times when you simply can’t keep the routine.  Don’t panic or stress out, simply go back to the routine as soon as you are able to do so.

After several weeks of keeping your routine, your baby should be sleeping on somewhat of a schedule and you should see a decrease in fussiness.  If you are having trouble with your child sleeping at night or your child is very fussy and can’t be calmed down, you should check with a doctor to rule out any physical causes.

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