Lets talk routine. Love them or hate them we mostly all live our lives by them. Since having a baby this buzz word ‘routine’ seems to crop up in the majority of conversations. This is an insight into my experiences with routine since having a baby. I hope it helps.
I will admit to being a very routined person, more than I thought, and as a teacher this has its benefits. However, when it comes to babies and routine, it can be a minefield! As a new mum, you are bombarded with books, websites and advice from everyone about how important routine is and you are surrounded by a very wide range of example routines that you could or should adhere to. I did my fair share of reading about nap times, feed times, and play times during my pregnancy, and to be honest they meant nothing, but as soon as my baby appeared I became obsessed with his routine!
At the start there was no routine and it felt quite unnerving, I think I was secretly craving a routine to be in place. I would constantly try to make one that he would fit into but soon realised that he was not about to do this any time soon. I had patterns of feeding and sleeping but nothing explicit.
As baby grew older a pattern or routine began to emerge, he sort of just fell into it, or did he? Did I actually enforce this routine without really realising it? Maybe! We fell into a nice sleep and feeding schedule and for a while all went well. But then things started to clash and our class times for baby yoga or baby sensory were now over nap times or feed times, this started to cause me a lot of anxiety as I wanted him to be the happiest and calmest baby he could be! At this point I could have easily just stayed in the house and worked the routine without any problems but I also would have become a hermit and very unsociable!
Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with the limitations of our routine but I am now beginning to have a more laid back attitude to it as I don’t want it to affect him! It is also very tiring and mind numbing constantly thinking about timings of everything and working back from the last feed, sleep etc!
I realised the extent of our routine when we left baby with my mum recently and I made her write it down…
So our daily routine at 8 months old looks a bit like this:
(By the way, she actually found having this schedule very useful!)
So this is us and how we work and most of the time it works brilliantly as this baby needs his sleep. As most mothers I know however, I do compare A LOT and so I have therefore compared routines A LOT! This is not a good idea and one of my new year’s resolutions is to curb this very bad habit but easier said than done.
I remember speaking to a Dad of a baby a little younger than ours a couple of months ago and he had an air of bragging in his voice as he was telling me that they have no routine, the baby eats when they eat, sleeps when they sleeps and generally seemed to coast along with no structure to the day at all!! I was literally aghast at this attitude and I remember it playing on my mind for a good while after. Was this how we should be? Could this work for us? Was their baby happier than ours? Have we made our baby to regimented?
In the end, my husband and I concluded that if that works for them then great but it’s definitely not for us and this is kind of what I’m trying to get across! You need to continue to do what’s right for you and your baby’s needs as they are a product of you. As adults we seem to be able to accept that we are all different, but for some reason when it comes to babies we compare more, as we expect them to be doing the same thing at the same time. This is not the case. Every baby you come across will have a slightly different routine. Stay strong and believe that what you are doing is the best thing for your child. So as I’m writing this and feeling quite happy with our routine I am also mindful that this can and probably will all change tomorrow or next week and there’s nothing I can do about it! This aspect for me has been one of my biggest challenges and a huge learning curve but one that I am definitely benefiting from in other aspects of my life.
Please comment below and share your routine helps or hinders, or any experiences that you have had relating to this, and follow me on Instrgram @mummy_fuel
Good luck to everyone embarking on any kind of routine!