The basics of baby schedules: Why, when, and how to start a routine

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Figuring out a baby’s needs is child’s play—eat, sleep, play, and love, sums it up more or less. However, the real challenge is to understand when and how much of this does a baby need. Generally, parents struggle to find a balance between parenting, family, and their own needs.

So how does one breeze through this turbulent phase of infancy and parenthood? The solution that many parents vouch for is to chalk out a structure for themselves and their little one. Firstly, you can start with understanding the day-to-day activities of your infant. Then, you can customize a to-do manual for both—you and your tiny tot, accordingly. As a parent, a set routine will help you be at the wheel of your child’s eat-sleep schedule, and everything in the middle. Your baby will also feel reassured knowing what to look forward to in a day.

Why Your Baby Needs A Schedule?

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Once you have planned a schedule for your baby, s/he will know what to expect in a day. The set schedule will help the child feel at ease. For example, babies are more comfortable knowing that they will be handed their breakfast in bed, a bottle of milk, soon after they wake up.

During a child’s growing years, it is essential to set a definite pattern to provide him/her with sufficient nutrition and sleep. A child that eats well and sleeps well is the happiest. The advantage, you may ask, is a day full of learning and growing for your baby. For all you know, h/she might speak their first words sooner.

Also, when you finally decide to step out and work, the existing itinerary will help make the transition to a caregiver or nanny easier. The baby will be reassured and confident with their defined routine in place. With a schedule in hand, the caregiver, too, will know when to anticipate sleepiness, hunger, or a desire for playtime.

When To Start?

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Predictability and consistency are the keys here. After three or four months, a baby’s feeding and sleeping routine will become more predictable. You can track your baby’s daily activities, as to when he sleeps, eats, or poops. You can even log the same in a notebook or a spreadsheet. This is the time you can create a pattern for your infant, and encourage them to follow this set routine. Keeping your baby’s natural rhythm in mind will help you develop a plan suitable for your little angel and in no time, you will realize that your bundle of joy has already fallen into a pattern.

Different Baby Schedules

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A baby schedule can be classified into three categories: baby-led, parent-led, and a combination of both. The parent-led schedules are often very stringent. It specifically defines the time your baby will eat, sleep, play, and for how long. This schedule can be created by either keeping your baby’s natural pattern in mind or with the help of an expert’s suggestion. However, once it is planned, the routine is predictable and consistent to the very minute.

On the contrary, a baby-led schedule is the least defined and relies entirely on your baby’s needs at that very minute. The baby is his own boss. However, this does not mean an entirely unpredictable day for you. The infants will start forming a consistent pattern for themselves within a few days. As the name itself suggests, the combination schedules will have elements of both the baby-led schedules and parent-led schedules.

With the help of any of the three aforementioned approaches, you can chalk out a defined timetable for your baby. With designated time slots for your child’s daily activities, you will notice your little one crawling his way into the routine in just a few days.

All in all, it does not matter what approach you take, but it is essential that you incorporate a routine that ensures your baby’s well-being. For this, you need to keep in mind the advice of the pediatrician, your own parental instinct, and common sense.

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