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Putting a Newborn on a Strict Schedule - Yes or No?

February 19th, 2021
Putting a Newborn on a Strict Schedule - Yes or No?
Being a new mum is very daunting and does take a period of adjustment – especially if you have been used to having your own freedom, money and great work colleagues. Your new role can be really tiring and stressful in the early weeks as you learn how to cope with caring for your baby.

In the past, family members used to live very close to each other so mum or sister were more likely to be on hand to help in the early days. Today, it isn’t quite so easy and new mums often look to other new mums for guidance until they have gained in confidence. Good sources of information are websites and baby care books, but it is best to just stick to one as you will find that they often give conflicting advice!

A most debated subject!

You will soon find that whether you should try and get your newborn into a strict routine or whether you should opt for feeding etc. ‘on demand’ is one of the most hotly debated topics of all! You will find a wide range of opinions and probably end up in even more confusion than before. What is the correct answer?

What many experts say

Many experts believe that when your baby is newborn, their internal time clock is all over the place. By two months their clock has usually started to settle down and by 2- 4 months you can ease them into a sleep routine. By this age, your baby will have predictable periods for feeding and nap times and have moments in the day when they are particularly active.

With your help, your baby will achieve all of this without any major upsets. The important thing is that you listen to your instincts and very soon you will be able to differentiate your baby’s different cries and what they mean. It can be comforting to read advice in a baby book, but it is important to remember that no babies read baby care books!
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But some experts promise a great routine!

It is true that a number of experts do promise that they know the way to get newborn babies into strict feeding and sleeping routines, that will have you feeling like ‘super mum’ in no time. Sadly, their ideas rarely work and can lead to huge disappointment in new parents.

These ‘experts’ state that you should adopt a strict regime for your baby and use it, so whether your baby is sleepy or wants cuddle and attention, if it is feed time, it is feed time! This can cause both you and your baby distress, your baby will only want to feed well, when they are hungry. What will happen is that your baby will only take a little of their milk because they are not really hungry – and then demand more very quickly afterwards.

Breast fed babies need to be fed when they ask. Breast milk is so easily absorbed by your baby that most need another feed in two-three hours and trying to stretch them to four hourly feeds can cause havoc with your milk supply.

It is also important to remember that newborn babies often wake in the night and not just because they are hungry. They can be cold, too hot or lonely and they don’t know day from night! It is a good idea to have your new baby in your room so that you can hear them easily. You can move them into their own room when they are about six months old and in a better routine and you both know each other much better.
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Ways to encourage your baby to get a routine.

In the early days, your newborn will not know whether it is morning or night, but to help them get themselves into their own schedule, when you feed them at night, do so quietly in soft lighting. New born babies are very easily stimulated and that is not something to encourage at night! Young babies like to feel warm and secure, so you may find that wrapping them in a light blanket in the old-fashioned way called ‘swaddling’ helps to achieve this.

Keep a log of their sleeping and eating patterns and you will see how after a few weeks they are beginning to settle into more and more of a pattern. This is good news for you as you will be able to predict when they are likely to be asleep and during one of these periods, why not leave your baby with your partner or parent whilst you have a long leisurely bath or take yourself out for a walk or pop to say ‘hello’ to a friend – it is amazing how something so small can boost you so much!

The most important point to remember…

The early weeks of your baby’s life are so special and although they can seem so different to ‘life before baby’, they do pass quickly. Don’t push yourself too hard to keep on top of housework etc. after all, haven’t you noticed, the sooner you dust, the sooner it needs doing again!! Spend time just relaxing as you are probably tired and spend time watching your baby as they sleep because these are very special memories that will last a lifetime.
Most important of all, listen to your baby and give them milk when they want it and sleep when it suits them, very quickly they will form their own schedule and will be a happier, more contented baby for doing so….

Chrissie x

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