Family & Parenting

Setting a Routine for your baby – My Experience

25 November, 2014
by Makys Corner

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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:

UntitledAs he grows older, he is not so keen on his morning nap and he is happy to skip it on some days so we let him take a slightly longer  nap in the afternoon.

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

23COMMENTS
  • February 13, 2015 at 05:18 PM by Jumjum
    Hey Amaka, I love your blog and it's surely preparing me for my new bundle of joy. I have a couple of questions: so how early is it to start a routine? Also how do you incorporate others who are helping you into your daily routine? Right now, I am in America but will be traveling back to Nigeria, do you have any advice in regards to how we settle with the time change? Thank you! Look forward to hearing from you.
    • February 19, 2015 at 12:53 PM by Amaka Benson
      you can start a routine from 4 weeks!! I had a copy of my sons routine, which i gave to his nanny and made sure she was clear on everything. my family all know his routine now because I dont play with it lol... with time change, if you already have a routine, give it a day or so and start implementing the routine like normal...
  • January 29, 2015 at 01:34 PM by » Sleep Training – My Experience
    […] Start a daytime routine:So I’ve talked about starting a routine with my baby when he was 6 months. If you missed it, please click here […]
  • December 04, 2014 at 05:42 PM by Soraya
    My munchk is 9 weeks old and I tried to start a routine ( i always wanted to from the beginning) but it doesn't go as plan. I currently don't have any help besides a housekeeper ...so we tend to sleep at 2-3 am ( but I put him in his PJ at 9 pm!!!! But he doesn't fully sleep until 1.30 ) and wake up at 12 -1 pm ( he usually wakes up way earlier but I put him back to sleep until iim awake...so we both have bad habits now as he doesnt want to sleep on his crib anymore....but we are going back to our country next week and I was planning on starting and sticking to a real routine but first any of you have an advice on how to make him sleep in his crib? i love sleeping with him in the bed but this is not how i want to raise him and i want his dad and I to still be lovers first ( so no crashing our bed). I'm open to everything you guys tried BUT let him cry out for more than 5 mins.. One of my friends suggested it already and it doesn't work for me. Also, is it best to wait to be back for the routine or start now?
  • December 04, 2014 at 03:00 PM by Oge Ihonde
    Why am I such a village girl. Abi didn't I add you properly?
  • December 02, 2014 at 06:37 AM by Oge Ihonde
    I definitely enjoyed reading this. My baby is about 9weeks old now...Oh boy! its not easy at all oo...lol He wants to feed every other minute. And you know that innocent look on their faces when they cry out to you just melts your heart away. Me and my husband actually discussed this routine thing yesterday, I guess I will try out that book. Thanks for the tip. :)
    • December 02, 2014 at 09:27 AM by Amaka Benson
      awww bless, congratulations! I am sure he is a cutie. 9 weeks is the perfect age to start a routine. with my next baby I am starting a routine at 2 weeks!! lol.. let me know how it goes...x
      • December 02, 2014 at 04:43 PM by Oge Ihonde
        Meanwhile I've added you on instagram and no reply
        • December 04, 2014 at 10:24 AM by Amaka Benson
          I don't get.. did you send a message on instagram because I didn't see it?
      • December 02, 2014 at 04:20 PM by Oge Ihonde
        Lol @ the exaggerated 2weeks, I feel you jor! Okay, will do. :)
  • November 29, 2014 at 07:01 PM by Monisola
    My questions are: How will this be feasible for moms with only 12 weeks maternity leave? I have a eleven day old baby and would like to establish such but with little time to spend with her before going back to work, just don't know how to work it out. How can I get a helping hand get into such routine?
  • November 27, 2014 at 07:23 PM by Eni's mom
    I need to order this book in a hurry and I hope I can learn a thing or two. my hubby kept saying when I had Eni (my first) that we need to set a routine for our daughter but being my first I just spoilt her and allowed her always have her way, now I am suffering for it because she is resisting a routine at age 3+. I just had my second baby and I do not intend to make the same mistake. definitely a good read and encouragement for me...
  • November 26, 2014 at 10:13 AM by Sàde
    I have a question. I really think it's a great achievement that you have managed to coordinate a routine for your son, especially having to go back to work so soon after delivery. I'm currently on 1 year maternity leave so I have until Kemi is 11 months old. Do you think it's neseccary to establish a routine whilst I am on maternity leave or would you suggest I wait until we are drawing closer to my return to work before getting her into a routine? I would really appreciate your view on this. God bless x
    • November 26, 2014 at 10:29 AM by Amaka Benson
      Hey Sade, If I had to do it all over again I would have started a routine a lot sooner. Do what you think is best for you and baby...x
  • November 26, 2014 at 07:20 AM by Doll
    My baby fell into a routine herself..... I just noticed she slept and napped at the same time I'm very interested in knowing if you sleep trained though? My 7 month old is not sleeping through the night yet and I am considering sleep training.
  • November 25, 2014 at 04:53 PM by May
    Not had mine yet but currently reading this and glad to hear routines can work from real mothers! I just cannot figure my head around how a baby can know what is good for them with the baby led approach and control my life...just not my style :) thanks for sharing!
  • November 25, 2014 at 02:18 PM by MamaJN
    This is absolutely right. My sons thrive on their routine. Thanks for sharing. Love the idea of activities but if you are working how can one do that... how do you do it? Do you havea nanny that can drive and also how do you manage his bedtime worth getting back from work, I often feel guilty of I'm not back before bedtime, what can i do.
  • November 25, 2014 at 01:29 PM by Dooshima
    Haha tape the babies eyes shut.....I don't have any kids yet (very soon God willing) but im here for this routine life! Even adults need routine or nothing will ever get done. Love this article
  • November 25, 2014 at 11:04 AM by Daya's mum
    Love this,my baby is 3months old but I haven't had time to read about routines or start it. Thanks 4 sharing!
  • November 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM by Temmy
    Can i put a 2 year and an 8 month old on the same routine?
    • November 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM by Amaka Benson
      Her book is great because it has routines for different ages starting from birth. I started my son on the routine when he was 6 months so you can definitely give it a try...It might be harder but not impossible! Good luck and let me know how it goes...x
  • November 25, 2014 at 10:44 AM by QuirkyYoungMom
    I absolutely agree with this! Even as a work-from-home-mom, it's essential for me or I'd get absolutely nothing done. It was because I started setting a routine from when my baby was about a month old that I was able to complete my Masters degree when he was 7 months. It would have been death otherwise!! Even now, if my son misses an afternoon nap, his sleep at night becomes erratic. Although I didn't read that book and our schedule is a little less structured, I'm definitely an advocate for some sort of routine. It saved my sanity! Thanks for sharing...xx
  • November 25, 2014 at 10:18 AM by mamavannjjer
    I could have written this. Exactly how it goes here. Elijah is my second born. I did the same with my first born. My daughter had this routuine. Most of my friends said i was crazy. But hey it worked and its still working. I just love the way you blog Maky. I wish to see you one day. We have so much in common. Have a blessed day my dear!

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Meet Maky

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...