During the first few months after I had Micah, I was fortunate to have plenty of help. My days revolved around feeds....I was on a “baby-led” routine.
Fast forward four months and my situation changed; I did not have much help, my maternity leave was over and I had to return to work. I would come back home from work, put Micah to sleep, cook, work out, then wake up every 2-3 hours to nurse him through the night and then wake up at 5/6am (depending on when he wakes up) to get ready for work...Every day!! After struggling for a few weeks (sleeping 1-2 hours a night), my sister in-law mentioned to me about setting a good and suitable routine for Micah. She recommended that I read the contented baby book by Gina Ford.
“I am not going to be one of those moms who puts her baby on a routine”....“I can keep going”.... boy was I wrong! A few days later, I was on Amazon ordering the contented baby book for next day delivery.
Let me just state that starting a routine with Micah is the best advice anyone gave me. In this part of the world where you have little or no help.... and you have to be a super wife and super mummy while working full time and trying to get your body back to your pre-pregnancy hotness, you really do have to perfect the art of time management. I have spoken to a lot of mums who are putting themselves under huge pressures; they are trying to do their very best for their babies, putting their own need for sleep, affection, food, support and friendship on the back burner. I have heard stories of women that had to quit their jobs because it was too difficult to manage. While I am committed to being the absolute best wife and mother I can be, I am also committed to my career.
By the time I read the book, Micah was already 6 months old. I thought it would be impossible to establish a routine that would work for him but I started anyway. A week later, my baby adjusted to his sleeping and feeding routine. The BEST thing about the routine is that it is a 7am – 7pm schedule, so it works perfectly for my husband and me since we both work during the week. During the weekend, we are a lot more flexible and we change the routine as required.
This is Micah’s current routine:
During the week, Micah has lots of activities (I think it is important to encourage his social skills) - play dates, monkey music, gymboree and mini mozart classes. If he has a gymboree class on Tuesday at 10.15, it cuts into his nap time, so we let him sleep till 7.45am.... so he’s still getting enough sleep during the day.
During the weekends, we are very flexible. We have a lot of family outings but it is also important that he takes his naps during the day. So we plan around it. Some Saturdays and Sundays he wants to go to bed at 7pm and other weekends he is happy to stay up till 9pm.
For yummy mummies who haven’t had a date night or time to hang with friends or simply just time for themselves, a routine comes with predictability and gives you better planning. So on a Saturday evening, when your baby is tucked up nicely at 7pm, you can hire a babysitter for 2-3 hours while you and hubby get away for an intimate dinner. Or you both can relax over a glass of fine wine, some good conversation and a quick kiss or two (with baby sleeping for the night, you can certainly do more, ;-) lol ). For other yummy mummies yearning for some “me time” (even super mummies need a few hours off now and then), you can have hubby take over while you get pampered at the spa (get your nails done... or a much needed facial). Or catch up with friends...it can be easy to lose touch with friends when you become a mummy.
Some people say a routine is too rigid for a baby, but I disagree! Babies thrive on routines. They give rhythm and predictability to a baby's day, so they're very reassuring. Babies like to know what to expect and they do not like surprises! If every day is different, every naptime is in a different location (I always make sure Micah takes his daily naps in his cot bed) at a different time, feedings are erratic and chaotic, then a baby may become overstimulated, stressed, overtired, and just miserable!
I think the most important thing when starting a routine is to be flexible and realistic about it – babies can be very unpredictable. Some nights, your baby might not go to sleep till 8.00pm... you are not going to tape his eyes shut or force him to sleep, lol... other nights, he wants to go to bed at 6.30pm. You are certainly not going to keep a tired baby awake just because you want him to sleep at exactly 7pm.
I strongly recommend reading the contended baby book with an open mind. There are parts you can choose to adapt to suit both you and your baby.
Have a blessed day my loves..x
There’s nothing like a mama-hug
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Hi, I am Amaka Benson. I have been married to the love of life for 2 amazing years and counting (wow, has it been that long). I became a mother for the first time in 2014. I am a full time wife, full time mother and a full time energy analyst…I guess I can now add full time blogger mummy...