As new parents, we are all face with the same concern; should newborns have a schedule? Every baby is unique, and their sleep patterns can vary significantly. With both my boys, I had no idea what a schedule looked like, and this became quite challenging. From not having proper meals to many sleepless nights.
The question arises: should you have a newborn schedule? The answer is yes. One that is not rigid. It is crucial to recognize that baby schedules are ever-changing, but providing consistency can contribute to a well-rested and well-fed infant.
Keep Notes: Tracking your baby's naps, feeds, and other activities is essential. Routines become more apparent when documented on paper or in an app, especially during the postpartum period. Analyzing these logs over time helps identify patterns, such as waking times, nap durations, or evening feeding tendencies. Once you discern a pattern, sketch out a flexible schedule, as newborn routines don't always adhere to strict hours. This might take the form of a "baby-led" schedule, allowing room for adjustments based on your baby's personality.
Guide your baby to follow the schedule with ease: Without being too strict, gently guide your baby to follow their schedule. Incorporate predictability into the day, such as consistent bath times, bedtime routines, and feeding schedules. The level of strictness is up to you; some parents prefer to stick precisely to the schedule, while others allow for a window of time for each activity. Continue track the newborn schedule, adjusting it as your baby grows and their needs change.
Prioritize your baby's well-being: Always prioritize your baby's well-being. If your baby seems hungry, feed them. Various factors, such as teething, growth spurts, or discomfort from gas, might influence their appetite. There's room to steer your baby back to the schedule later on, but addressing their immediate needs is essential.
Seek Help: Implementing good sleep habits can be challenging, so don't hesitate to seek support. Consulting with a newborn expert / Doula can provide valuable guidance for you and your partner, helping your baby become the best possible sleeper. Remember, you don't have to navigate this journey alone.